When we last spoke, we were at the north end of the 41 mile island, in Puerto Refugio. We thoroughly enjoyed that remote area, snorkeling every day (at least once!!), spearfishing, and generally taking in the natural beauty of the place. We were there for about 1 week, before we headed south, down the outside (east side) of the island. Very few boats venture down the east side, with most of the traffic heading down the channel between the island's west shore and the Baja peninsula. But we were eager to explore new places, and the east side did not disappoint!! In fact, we had some of the clearest water, with best snorkeling we've seen in all of Mexico, in Bahia Punta Pulpito, about midway down the coast. The area is not close to any population center, so the fish are abundant, and save for a(nother) boarding by the ever vigilant and ever polite Mexican navy, we saw no other boats in the several days we spent out there.
We then headed in a somewhat roundabout fashion back over to Bahia de los Angeles, and into town for resupply. One night we went in for pizza with a bunch of other cruisers to the local Italian joint, owned by an interesting character from Rome. (Before opening the pizzeria, he rode his motorcycle from Rome to Beijing, and then from Tierra del Fuego to Prudhoe Bay!!! ....David, are you listening???) Good stories! While munching down our meals, we saw a spectacular lightning show to the east. The sky continued to darken, and we novices to the area didn't take the warning signs seriously enough. (The Baja veterans all seemed to need to get back to their boats before dessert...go figure!!!) Well, when we finally got to the dinghies on the beach, in the dark, the winds were starting to howl. We got drenched making it back to the boat in the really dramatic gusts, and when we finally got aboard Bravo, the chubasco was in full swing, with gusts of over 50 knots noted by all of the anchored boats. We clambered aboard the transom ladder, between gusts which were healing Bravo at nearly 20 degrees...Certainly an evening to remember. No damage done, but lots of lessons learned....this Baja weather, especially in the summer, really requires constant vigilance, as the storms come up with little warning, and with high winds and waves. But our anchoring system is working well, and as long as we get the laundry in and sun awnings down, all is generally a-ok. Some boats have had trouble holding in the winds, but they've been able to claw their way to safety, avoiding a nasty beaching.
Whale shark report: The entire Bay of LA is a summer hang out for whale sharks, as they feed in the warm, plankton rich waters. While anchored off the village one afternoon, we saw several swimming nearby on the surface, (cue the Jaws music), dorsal fins slowly circling, a tail fin here and there. We hastily threw our snorkeling gear into the dinghy, and went off to greet these truly gentle giants. (Whale sharks are the world's biggest fish, reaching nearly 50 feet and 15 tons.) We saw three feeding lazily on the surface, and one by one, we each slipped into the water with them. They swam right toward us with their upside-down 5 foot wide grin, looked at us and turned away to continue their feeding showing us their entire body and tail. It was a truly wonderful experience, as we watched the 25-30 foot long fish swim by so close we could see the remoras clinging to their sides. They seemed aware of our presence, but not at all disturbed by it. Fantastic!!!
We're now in the anchorage known as La Gringa, just north of the BLA village by 4 miles or so. The whole summer "fleet", of around 30 boats gathered here for the past few days for the second "floaty party", celebrating the full moon. This was a MUCH bigger deal than the first full moon party (last month), with prizes going to best costumed floaties, in many categories!!! Your trusty scribes from the good ship Bravo were even fortunate enough to bring home some hardware for our effort!!!!!...photos will follow when we next get a chance to access the internet. A great potluck followed on the beach, as we watched the moonrise over the lagoon....not a shabby day at all!!!
Went diving today with friends from Buena Vista and, what else, Goin' Diving, who was nice enough to fill our tanks with their compressor. Nice to get the kinks out of all the systems, as we haven't really been diving at all since last winter down south on the Mexican mainland. There just isn't really a good place to fill tanks in the northern Sea, and we like to keep at least one full tank aboard for emergencies. Maybe a compressor in our future...we'll see.
Fishing report: Fishing continues to be excellent up here. Now in addition to dorado, we're catching a type of Spanish mackerel known locally as sierra. Ranging from 15 to 30 inches or so, they are most tasty additions to the freezer!!! Also small yellowtails are now biting, and they make wonderful raw poke, sushi, or ceviche.
Tomorrow we'll head back to BLA for some supplies and possibly internet access, if it's working again! It has been intermittent. As you can probably tell, we're in a bit of a holding pattern now, as we wait for the hurricane danger of the season to pass. We'll then begin to make our way south sometime in October. More to follow...