Archive for June, 2009

It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

We left La Paz for the last time this season on Saturday, June 6. As the coromuel winds blow pretty reliably from the Southwest at night, we decided to make an overnight passage up to Isla San Francisco with our buddies on Theophilus. At first, it seemed we had picked the one night that the coromuel wouldn’t blow, but it finally filled in around 10pm.

When I came on watch at midnight, Capn Micro Manage told me, “We’re a couple miles off of it, but watch out for that island.” I looked in the direction he indicated; to hit the island, I’d have to turn us 90 degrees and continue for half an hour on that course. Does he think I’m a complete moron? Perhaps I’d get bored and start playing “Spin the Helm” to entertain myself? I’d have to be an idiot to hit that island (no offense, Ron!). Luckily it was dark and Toro couldn’t see me roll my eyes. “I’ll do my bestest, Capn,” I responded with a mock salute. Despite my incompetence, we somehow made it to Isla San Francisco the next morning.

I had wanted to do a long hike over to the North side of the island, but though we got an early start, it was quickly apparent that it was too hot even for gringos to be out walking. I always imagine that Mexicans think we’re crazy to go hiking at all, and once it’s June, I have to agree. So, we decided for a shorter hike and a swim instead. That night, Toro and I began sleeping in the cockpit because it was too warm in our berth. (more…)

And the Award Goes To…

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

Thinking back over our two seasons in Mexico, it’s difficult to decide on a favorite marine mammal. Breaking down the category into dolphins and whales doesn’t help either. Bottlenose dolphins come closer when we’re at anchor, but common dolphins stay longer on our bow. And while we were blown away by being so close to the gray whales in San Ignacio lagoon, in terms of encounters on Sugata, we’re quite taken by the humpbacks.

In the bird category, though, there is really no contest. Sure, the frigate birds are spectacular arialists, but they are such shameless thieves! The boobies have much to recommend them: they’re cute, they dive like arrows, and hey, they’re called boobies! But alas, none can compare to the ubiquitous, splendiforous… pelicans!

Whether in the shallow coves or the open sea, we see these hard-working birds fishing from sun-up until after sunset. They often hunt together, with several circling, angling, and then diving straight at the water with a resounding crash, only to bob back to the surface almost instantly. They’ll sit a moment, letting the water drain from their pouches, and then, after a little shake of the tail, they’re off again for another go.

In some bays, like The Hook at Isla San Francisco, there might be hundreds of pelicans fishing and resting. We like to sit in the cockpit at sunset and watch them circle and dive; it’s better than watching Nova on PBS!

Sometimes, a bird will fly overhead, and without seeing it, I’ll know it is a pelican because of the slight whistling sound of its wings. And maybe it is that recognition, that familiarity, that pleases me most.

Family Time

Friday, June 5th, 2009

We left La Paz on Sunday, May 24 for a last family trip out to the islands. We had a good Southwesterly wind, so we sailed out of the anchorage and up the channel. Halfway into the bay the wind got pretty light and we were doing just over 1 knot, so Todd and Koiya jumped in for a cooling swim. Koiya enjoyed jumping off the bow, then quickly surfacing to catch the swim ladder. Toro preferred just being dragged along, yelling things like, “We’re picking up speed, I can feel it!” and “That’s right, we’re heating it up!”

We’d hoped to catch up with Third Day, who have two kids aboard. But when we pulled into Ensenada Grande, there was no sign of Third Day… just a swell rolling in from the West. Surveying the building swell and increasing wind, Capn Anxious asked me, “What do your instincts say?” Although it was already sunset and we’d just got the anchor down and everything put away, I replied, “I think we should move.” “I think so too!” he shouted over his shoulder, already heading up to pull up the anchor.

Luckily Caleta Partida, a great all-weather anchorage, is just a couple miles from Ensenada Grande, so we still had plenty of light for anchoring. Given that the night-time coromuel winds were predicted to continue through the week, we decided to just stay put. Todd thought that I would get antsy after a few days, but I was determined to embrace my inner slacker. (more…)