We left La Paz on Sunday 6-8-08.After motor sailing out of the bay we enjoyed a nice sail out to Isla Espiritu Santo & anchored at Ensenada Gallina on the first night.We sailed most of the way to Isla San Francisco the next two nights where we dingy'd over to Isla Coyote a tiny rock islet where a group of fisher folks have lived for about 100 years & got a tour of the place.A Gringo came down to this area about 100 years ago & figured he could make a living fishing the area which he did & then he got lonely, so he went to La Paz & picked a seenyourita (‘have you 'seen your Rita?She just married a gringo’ :-) to be his wife & help out with the fishing; low & behold she got pregnant & wasn't much help fishing so he picked up another spousa...repeat at least nine times & small village has gone on for about 100 years.For quite a while they brought the islet kids 9 miles over to a Baja town for school, then for a while they ran their own school on the rock islet; now there is only one kid & he goes to La Paz for school & is back on the rock on weekends & summer.We bought some nice bracelets & necklaces from the gals for cheap to help out rock islet folks & bought a few lbs of Lobster to help their fading economy.The grandson of the old gringo has moved on north to Santa Barbra.The last Niño left will not likely follow the fishing tradition for the fishing has become a lot less abundant do to over fishing by foreign vessels using mass harvesting technology witch has decimated the fish populations.Perhaps past governments have allowed this to go on to help out the fledgling economy but the results of the unintended consequences are diminishing what little economy they had before.
We sailed to San Evaristo with ‘fair winds & following seas’. There were a few boats all huddling the area with the only protection from the southern swell so we were ‘odd man out’ of the calm section. The anchorage had a bit of swell coming in but the wind held us pointing towards the incoming waves.
We then sailed to Los Gatos where the swells were quite big & the only flat water was between to very hazardous reefs so after a couple hours we hauled anchor & went to Punta Pritea where the swell was not much better & the wind kept us sideways to the swell so we deployed our 'flopper stopper'; a pair of 12"x 24" aluminum plate hinged together & suspended in the water from a long pole held off the side of the boat, it folds to a point & dives when the boat leans towards the device then opens flat to attempt to slow the boats rolling.Another smaller boat there was rolling to beat the band but the tough old salt ‘Garth’ hardly noticed but hauled out before dawn to find calmer areas but returned later the next day saying it was worst further south; he then put out a 2cd anchor off the stern to hold the boat towards the swell.That night just after sunset a panga came along, an awkward situation in the darkness, to say hi & catch his breath…:-OHe said he was returning from Puerto Escondido which was about 30 miles away with a small load of fuel for his panga fishing boat & still had about 10 kilometers more to go to his small fishing village.I asked how the fishing was, he replied that is was poor, not much fish around to catch.Then Bobbie asked if he had kids, he had 5 kids, his wife was ill & he was short of ‘din air o’.He was an upbeat friendly enough guy, he didn’t need or want any food or water & didn’t directly ask for money but we gave him $5 bucks which made his day, he bid us ‘bo anus no chez’ & drove off into the darkness:-O
We took a short hike in the morning & peered over some high vertical cliffs down to the clear reef below.Around 1:30ish we motor sailed toward Agua Verde.After enjoying a good night sleep in an anchorage with very calm seas & low wind night, in the late morning the wind began to build to a steady 18 to 20 knots SE breeze coming off the gap in the tall mountains beyond this anchorage point our tail safely out towards the open sea as we site quite flat & comfortable with our old jib now sun cover hardly flapping in the strong breeze:-)
We'll be in the Aqua Verda area for a few more days before heading northward with the first stop Isla Monserrate.
The first two nights we spent in a nice cove just outside of Agua Verda proper; the water was green like the names says, not clear like all of the guide books show. It’s said that the water’s clarity is a function of the things living in it, as the water temp increases more mini stuff grows & clouds the water, when it increases more those things die off & the water gets clearer but then other things begin to flourish & the water greens up but they say when the water gets the warmest all the stuff dies out & the water is the clearest.
On our last day at the first anchorage when the wind finally calmed down we took the dingy to shore to play on the beach & take a short hike.I set off for points unknown but soon a large hole in the rocks came into view on a nearby rocky peak.After non hazardous rock hop to the intriguing precipice I was awarded a breath taking view like thru a window pain out towards the open sea on one side, the vast valley below & the craggy mountains that form the Gigantic range.Although Robin said he was tired, after seeing me way up near this irresistible precipice he talked mom into making the ascent even though they were only wearing sandals.I met them halfway down but Robin insisted on making it to the top.
We got back to the boat & made our way towards the center of the fishing village of Agua Verda.The first day I snorkeled around a small rock islet near the anchorage, the visibility was…verda – green but still the fish thrived around this rocky area.That night we enjoyed a beach party with a campfire with our friend Monty from the cat Heavenly Star & a handful of others, time went by fast with interesting conversations, we didn’t get back to the boat until midnight :-O
The next day we all took the dingy over a mile out to Solitaire Rock, a very small rock islet with lots of fishes.Robin got to use the Hawaiian sling spear for the first time in a nice protected shallow area & speared his first ‘kid sized’ fish which we BBQ’d back on the boat along with the daddy sized one of the same species I caught.That afternoon we went into the village to have a meal out & had the main menu item which was fish tacos with freshly caught fish from that morning.The senior father of the family had an ear problem & asked if we had medicine for it, we told him that the next day to come out to our boat & it would be ready.The next day they arrived while I was out snorkeling with Robin & gave Bobbie four bright orange fish.Later Bobbie & I went to their restaurant house with our ear medicine; according to two of my medical books an equal mix of vinegar & rubbing alcohol should do the trick.It felt nice to help out the folks in this remote fishing village.
We sail out to Isla Monserrat where the water was much clearer, we all enjoyed a nice swim around the boat until the bee’s found us.Our first method of dealing with the bees were to treat them with respect knowing that all they want is the fresh water we had all over the place, in the sink, in our cups, all over the cock pit after our showers…They really enjoyed the water & rushed back to tell all their friends about the abundance of fresh water we had & the kind friendly treatment they encountered.The next morning we spoke to Bill of ‘Rocky & Brew’ who had a much more rational approach to the bees; “you’ve got to kill the scouts that come out first, if not they’ll bring on the swarms”.We’ll it really did the trick.
The next day I drove the dingy out 2 miles to some rock islets to do some snorkeling with my new spear gun.The fish there abounded with plenty of large multi meal sized fish but they proved to be smarter than the average fish & all stayed beyond by spear gun’s range.After two nights we sailed for Los Candeleras which had us following the guide book through a pass that the charts describe as ‘no safe passage’ :-OWe made it fine & enjoyed three nights in a flat calm anchorage with spectacular views of the islets that form a large chandelier in the sea. We swam off the boat at least twice a day & took two hikes up into the hills to view the century’s old caves that the ancient peoples used & to cook & eat their shell fish for hundreds if not 1000’s of years while below the local fishermen come to shell their catch & clean their fish.On the last day we took a swim & then hauled anchor, heading for Puerto Escondido.
On June 22 we pulled into Puerto Escondido which is the most completely protected harbor in the Sea of Cortes with it completely surrounded bay with a small channel the curves out to the sea.We attempted to anchor in the ‘waiting room’ but with depths around 70’ & most of the other boats on moorings that run straight down to the bottom, if we were to set out a minimum chain scope of 4:1 we would have nearly 300’ feet of chain out & then swing into the many nearby boats; so after two attempts we went inside the huge basin.They charge you to anchor or pick up a mooring anywhere through out the place so we might as well go where we’ve got some space.
We went to the new facilities near the new dingy docks & enjoyed a nice swim, Robins love chlorinated water for a change of water:-OWe then walked out to the RV camping & hotel area & had a nice meal.