Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Writing from Bahia de Tortugas

We did well on our first night passage with just the two of us. I should say, I faired well, getting about 6 hours sleep, and lucking out by getting to catch the sunset and the sunrise! The full moon’s rising and setting have been equally mesmerizing…What a way to watch the world turn…

Morning watch -- warm clothes still feel good
I think Lanham slept quite a bit less, but was still energetic when we arrived about 10 am at Isla San Benitos. We were able to sail most of the night! in 10-15 knots. We only saw one freighter about 2 in the morning, but we did learn that there is lots of chat, music, cat-calls, and even farting sounds broadcast over VHF channel 16 through the night in Mexican waters.

Sunrise over Cedros Island

And in the other direction, the moon is setting.

This is a beautiful area of islands and waters that are absolutely teeming with sea birds and dolphins. We sailed through a herd(?) of dolphins that must have numbered 400 – the water was 
literally bubbling with them jumping in all directions. They especially like to swim along right under the bow, mostly staying clear of the boat, but sometimes nudging us – what must they be thinking about us??

The fishing village of San Benitos (we didn't go ashore) but our telephoto
lens gives us a good view

We anchored among the rocks in 30 feet off West Benitos Island. A very small town, but large enough to have a two-towered church was around the corner.

Before we even had the anchor set, we had the traditional visit from a panguero and made a trade of 3 langostinas (lobster) for 2 cans of cold beer. Word got back to his buddies, because in a half hour another boat pulled up, clearly hoping we had more cerveca to trade -- four more lobster for 2 more beers. With dinner chilling in fresh seawater, we sun-screened up and headed out in the kayaks to explore the sea elephant colony (from the water) and the tidepools.

With the water at 76 degrees, I used my shortie wet suit and snorkel gear to swim around in the turquoise water. Lots of little fish, the most tropical looking species was an abundant bright orange goldfish shaped fish, ranging from 4 to 8 inches. We didn’t get too close to the sea elephants – just close enough to smell them!

We feasted on lobster, with olive oil and lemon, and slept a solid 10 hours. Again, the flopper-stoppers were put out to reduce our rolling in the swell. We had decided to only go a short 15 miles the next day, breaking the 65 miles to Turtle Bay into two shorter days and giving us a more leisurely start time.

We are so glad we decided to take our time… on the way to Isla Cedros we put in the line and caught the biggest fish to date – a beautiful, maybe 30 pound dorado (mahi mahi). While we are certainly enjoying the fresh seafood, it is with mixed feelings that one brings such an amazing and beautiful creature on board. We have also had 3 or 4 large ones on the hook that have shaken free and we are always a little happy to know that they CAN win sometimes.

The light at play in the hills
Our only chance to use our well-stocked first aid kit so far.
L stubbed his toe big time on our little hike. That will sound familiar to his big sisters.
All healed now and he was good about not swimming for a few days!

Another variety of fish tacos and iced coffee for lunch underway.

We followed the guide books’ recommendation to yet another gorgeous and protected spot in Bahia del Sur on Cedros Island for Sunday night. A long relaxed afternoon of swimming, sunning, (a little on board work-out with my weights), and then making sushi and grilling dorado steaks, proceeded a full moon kayak into the beach. We had watched a local family of 6 hike down the cliff side to enjoy this little beach earlier in the day. Our excursion left us soaked as we negotiated the surf to get back to the boat – but our inflatable kayaks are intrepid!

And so… Monday morning we got an early start, motoring by 6 and arriving in Bahia de Tortugas by 1 pm. It is a well-protected bay, and we are one of 4 sailboats anchored here. We are very glad not to be one of the 120 boats that will arrive as part of the BaHa Ha Ha in about 2 days. Too crowded for us! We plan to get going by Wednesday morning and stay a little ahead of them.

Once anchored we turned off the computer (and anchor alarm – ahh!) for the first time since Ensenada – what a champ! We took the dink in, tied up at the rickety metal stairs on the town pier and gave the gang of young men a propina to watch the boat. They are gearing up for the yatistas arriving and were ready to sell us fuel and anything else!

Lanham explained that his “pelo es no muy corto!” Pedro jumped right in and walked with us at a breakneck speed to the shop and house of Jesus, the local pelucuero for un corte de pelo. This was a great intro to the working part of the village. Jesus’s family was all in the next room with the TV blaring, and his kids kept bopping in eating sweets and talking about Halloween. Pedro, a one armed, baggy shorted, fifteen-year-old liked the tip we gave him for the walk to the barber and wanted to hang out with us hoping for more.

He showed us to the minimercado, where we initially tried to pay 700 pesos for a box of cereal and 2 cans of juice. The shopkeeper wouldn’t take $56, only $5.60 and we all got a good laugh. Pedro then walked us to a family restaurant overlooking the bay. We managed to ditch Pedro there, with another small tip, and we chatted with the gringos that were from the two other sailboats.

Cute dogs about town
Maria's restaurant, where we made a friend and found a spotty internet connection -- Solar Wind is out in the bay -- plenty of room for more boats
King of the roost
 After a great selection of beef and shrimp tacos, we made friends with the waitress and owner. She hoped we would recommend her place, which she took over from her brother only 2 months ago. Her English is about on par with my Spanish, but she was so happy to try to talk. She has big plans for her new venture. She would like it to be a gallery/museum in addition to a restaurant. The first item in her collection will be her fossilized sharks tooth, which she proudly showed us. It came from the mountains, inland (I think!! I understood). She wants to have a school for children to study music on the top floor of the museum/restaurant. She asked if I could maybe put a letter on the Internet, telling people about her place. When I asked the name of the restaurant, she thought about it… and finally said, there are 4 Marias in my family and named them all. We agreed the place should be Los Cuatros Marias! And she added, Los Cuatros Marias y Melinda! So – here’s my plug for Maria and her project. The next time you are in Turtle Bay, you must stop in. And ask about the shark’s tooth fossil!

Maria made a cake to sell to the upcoming BaHaHa crowd and insisted that we try a piece.
Before heading back to the boat, we walked the town a bit more, found the elementary school (one of my favorite photographic subjects wherever I go), looked for the tortillaria, but only found the panderia (with the ubiquitous dry sugared stale sweet rolls) and enjoyed watching the dogs and kids playing on the abandoned boats on the beach.

Lots of pride evident at the escuela primeria

Shade- wherever you can get it! 

We are headed back to Maria’s this morning to – we hope – post this on the blog. While there is no reported Internet CafĂ© in town, we did see a kid on his computer and Maria asked him for his code… it all seems pretty mysterious to those residents that we’ve met… maybe there is internet… maybe not… sometimes… mas o menos…

Next post will probably be after we hit Cabo San Lucas, but the deLorme tracker is working well and we have been posting our position nightly. Also, you can send short emails to WDF6911@sailmail.com and we will probably answer back! Thanks again to everyone who is reading along and sending their good wishes and thoughts! What can we say? We are having the trip of our dreams???

1 comment:

  1. Two more amazing blogs from paradise! Can't wait for the next installments. Thanks for taking us along on the ride!