We’ve been leading our usual idyllic lifestyle on Raven – always more of the same, but always new and different as well. Up ’til now we have been retracing our past route, but as the prevailing wind is from a different direction than last cruise, we are able to overnight in new anchorages that weren’t suitable prior. We did repeat one of our favorite anchorages at Puerto El Gato, a very scenic spot fondly remembered from last voyage for our lobster dinner. This time the local lobsterman only found one lobster for us (late notice) and was very apologetic, but we shared and it was delicious anyway – plus much cheaper ($50 pesos and a six-pack of cerveza) than “market price” at a good restaurant!
Otherwise however we’ve stayed in some absolutely lovely new places – my favorite was an incredible cove with a small island (Isla Cosme) where we anchored three nights ago. The mountains in the near background were very reminiscent of Grand Canyon geology, with rugged peaks striated with reds, creams and browns, contrasting with relatively lush vegetation for this part of the world thanks to the recent summer rainy season. There was a spectacular home built on the side of a bluff that we mistook for a resort – absolutely stunning but unfortunately no “For Sale” sign posted or I would have been sorely tempted! What an idyllic location. We ran into its Mexican owner next day in Puerto Escondido as we were refueling and he told us we should have dropped in for a fish dinner, as they had just caught a mess of tuna and mahi mahi that afternoon!
We tried a little snorkeling off the island but ran into a swarm of something invisible but stinging, so retreated back to the boat and I have been sporting some itchy red welts as a result. Nobody else had a reaction; it appears that I have some kind of sensitivity to things that sting, as I always seem to be the only one to break out with itchy red spots as a result of encounters with jellyfish, bees, and no-see-ums! I keep the anti-itch spray in good supply!
Late in the day I went voyaging on my kayak for a twilight photo shoot and got some lovely shots, one of my more successful outings.
We’ve been on three dives so far this trip, with another scheduled for this morning. Nothing spectacular, but always something interesting to see – once a school of more than 100 queen angels (usually we see them in twos and threes), another time a rocky wall covered with gorgonian sea fans. I have a very cool new dive computer (birthday present) that I wear on my wrist like a large watch. Yesterday snorkeling Rod spotted three mahi mahi cruise right past us, only 6-8 feet distant – the first time in his life he’s seen that species underwater, even though we have them for dinner regularly! We’ve heard reports that the sea temperature is getting cold up Guaymas way, but so far we are still enjoying water in the 80s.
Two nights ago we made our way as far north as Loreto. For lunch we sailed up to a beach-front baja style cantina and enjoyed fish tacos and ceviche ashore within swimming distance of Raven. That evening we anchored in Loreto proper, just off the town’s small boat harbor – not a true anchorage but with glassy calm seas and a wind speed of 1-2 knots, we could get away with it. From there it was just a dinghy ride to shore and a walk down the malecon to our favorite restaurant where we wined and dined on a balcony overlooking the sea with a good view of Raven riding at anchor.
Now that we have left Loreto behind we are marking new territory. Last night’s anchorage was Caleta de San Juanico, a very large bay with lots of variety – exotic rocky outcroppings in the sea, and a peaceful lagoon where Mike and I kayaked at high tide, enjoying the variety of bird life – several white herons, grey herons, an osprey or two in addition to the usual pelicans, cormorants and gulls. Also a flock of blue-footed boobies – the first time I’ve seen the blue-footed variety in my travels, and their feet are very definitely an icy blue color. Quite exotic, much more svelte and elegant than the clownish brown boobies we see frequently. Speaking of brown boobies, one hitched a ride on our dinghy coming into San Juanico. Towed behind Raven steaming along at 8 knots, the dinghy throws out a vigorous bow wave and wake, this time ornamented by the booby stationed center front on the dinghy like a ship’s figurehead. Webbed feet planted wide for support, she rode several miles with us that way, staring right at me unperturbed as I took a slew of photos. She finally took flight and headed to shore, having saved herself quite a bit of exercise for the morning. I got some fun photos to be posted when I get a chance.
Evening dinner conversation has been revolving around investment strategies! Rod has an email pen pal (Nick) who keeps us updated on the latest stock market gyrations. Mike brought a suitcase full of investment strategy books with him, all of which appear to be at least half-wrong in hindsight! Last evening I wanted to kayak/photo shoot at a spot too far to reach by paddle, so Mike delivered me and my kayak by dinghy. I bobbed around for a couple of hours taking pictures, and Mike sat in the dinghy reading “Empire of Debt.” When we’re not discussing the market, we’re making plans for next season’s cruising through the South Pacific from Bora Bora to the Cook Islands to Samoa and Tonga, with a final destination of New Zealand in time to take delivery on the new power boat still on schedule for October/November 2010.
We got up early this morning – before six a.m. and still dark as we have a long stretch to cover today – some 55 miles to Bahia Concepcion which will probably be one of the highlights of the trip from all the descriptions we have heard and read. I saw several meteorites in the first half hour before dawn, including a spectacular one that lit up the sky like a rocket. Just as the sun rose we hooked a tuna – our first catch of the trip. There must be a reason serious fisherman head out at dawn. More brown booby hitchhikers circled Raven making multiple efforts to land on the jib forestay, although without success. There were six or eight birds, but they made so many passes it seemed like a hundred or so – I sat with camera in hand on the bow shooting in motor drive at a high shutter speed – hopefully some will be in focus!
We plan a short detour for a dive on an offshore island mid-day. Steaming along with the motor running, it’s a good time to run the washing machine and catch up on the laundry. I have some salty clothing to wash after more than one mishap getting into my very unstable kayak.