Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In the sea with my dad

My dad and I went out on a trip together for two weeks, and we just got back. The trip was quite successful because we caught a lot of fish, and that is of course what my father wants to do whenever he is near the water.
Here is a shot of him with a nice little Dorado. They are called Dorado because they are golden, and the name Dorado means "Golden" Or at least that is what I heard. Sometimes my ears are full of prejudice and I can't hear so well. I want to catch a silver fish, and maybe a bronze too. And I'm always interested in stainless Steelhead, especially on the boat. Speaking of the boat, we battered and bashed our way around in big seas and heavy (relatively) weather and I broke some things on poor little Altair. I've devised a new roller furling mechanism, but I need to get the steel to make it with, it is just sheet metal about 3 inches wide and 7 ft long. Well, a few sections of it. LaFawnda suffered some damages too, and I am trying to pursuade her to come off strike and go back to work. I need her. Maybe I will even give her a raise and some pension benefits or something.
There are plenty of Cacti on the islands north of La Paz. The air is dry and exciting, like all desert air is, filled with wind and howls and sometimes dust and needles! A few big howling winds bore down on us during the trip, sometimes we hid from them and sometimes we proudly went out where nobody else would go and had a wild ride down the big waves that are produced by the winds down here. The waves get big really fast and the wind doesn't even blow that hard, but somehow it comes and hits the water with more force than the winds up in Washington. It is all part of the mystery of the desert and the reason that this is the Mar de Cortez, not just the gulf of california.
So. The trip began going north to Isla Esperitu Santu, which is the holy spirit island, named for the moaning and howling wind that blankets it all the time. We were Egyptians the first time we went and the ghost did not pass us over, but ravaged upon us in the night the wrath of god. Not quite the wrath of god, but maybe God before he had his coffee. The waves come from the direction you do not expect and make it so you cannot sleep. The people here call them Corumel winds.
After two near sleepless nights we sailed north with a stiff breeze to get to Isla San Francisco. There is a beautiful hook to hide from the north winds, but since the winds were coming from the southwest at that time, we tucked ourselves around the other side of the island and waited for abatement. Dad got some salt in the salt flats there. The sea comes in on a super high tide and fills up a basin, but not very often, and then the water dries up and the salt is there for the taking. We got about a liter, but it would be easy to get lots more. And it is beautiful clean and white.
The next morning we awoke at dawn and sailed through the day to get to Punta Evaristo, which is one of my favorite places. It is a beautiful little double cove with lots of protection from all sides, and the holy spirit doesn't often visit there in the night from the wrong direction to try and disturb our sleep. I like to dive in Evaristo, so I got out my mask and snorkel and did some hunting. And since I have a new spear to test out I shot some fishes. I out an extra band on my speargun, so now it is super powered, and the new spear is heavier and longer with a better tip, so I can go after fish that are way too big for me to handle now! But there weren't any around, so I had to settle with a fish that was just about right. Goldilocks by default.
The next day the winds had picked up again from the north, and since we were going north, that wasn't going to be so good. But there was a little protection from the winds near Isla San Jose, so if we only went the six miles north and stayed near the island we would be all right. So we left early in the morning to sail around in the channel and try to catch some fish, which we did! A big Dorado! We came right back to Evaristo and gave the pieces to other people (on other boats) and then ate a quarter of it ourselves, and then set off again for the next place six miles away. The next day the winds were resting, and we were forced to use the motor, and burn some "motion lotion".
And then we got to Bahia Agua Verde. The bay of green water. It was very green, and that's not easy. So green, in fact, that when I was diving I could see only a little ways, and I took a few shots into the murk to test the range and hit a big fish! But it got away, sadly. I am a murderer, of course, of fishes. Dad likes to torture them and make them late for whatever fish schedule they have, and a sore spot in their jaw, but I am the one that hides in dark alleys and stabs them through the gut with a spear and sometimes lets them stumble away into the gloom to die slowly. At least there weren't any Sea Lions around. Agua Verde was the furthest north we were planning on going, so when the wind picked up from the north it was to our delight.
We picked up the anchor after a few days and blasted our way through big seas (some waves I think may have been 10 ft high) and surfed up to 13.2 knots and made it back to Punta Evaristo again. This time in Evaristo we went for a hike up to an oasis up in the desert mountains, where water leaks from a cliff and big palm trees and bamboo grow. I took my camera, and sadly, lost the lens hood that I just got in China a few months ago. I had lost another one in Alaska a few years ago and was trying to find one for a long time, and then I find one and lose it again! The poor life of my camera! Speaking of cameras, my GoPro is working out great, and I like the pictures it takes. I will try and make a movie and post it in the future, but I don't have the software to edit movies that this one takes. The old one took non-HD avi files, and the new one isn't supported by windows movie maker, so I need to buy some program or something. Any help on that would be greatly appreciated....
So after Evaristo we made our way back to Espiritu Santu and became the persecuted jews with lambs blood on the doorstep and the winds passed us over in the night. I think it is the first night I have had a good nights sleep there. Then back to La Paz and here we are! Still both alive and my toe, which I was worried about having to chop off before, is still with me and healing. I am a little worried about it still because the bone or joint is hurting, but the antibiotics seemed to kill the infection on the surface. I'll wait a few more days and if the toe still refuses to heal, I will heel-toe it to the doctors again.
So here are a few more pictures from the trip. The Cacti are beautiful when they bloom and the thorns are cool too.

1 comment:

Danny Blanchard said...

Stainless Steelhead, God before coffee, and losing that hood - again! Great stuff - wish I had time to join, seriously. Just flew in a Bell 210 this afternoon after placing 30 A/C units on top of a Fred Myer's, blog update pending...since two months or so ago...