Thursday, March 31, 2016

San Carlos Arrival

It has been a while since I've had good internet, so sorry about the lack of postings, but I am arrived in San Carlos, Sonora, now, and have a few days until Altair goes up into the air and onto the hard-for summer camp!  Altair summer camp will probably be quite hot and sunny, and I will of course go to work during that time.
But let me tell you about the trip I had getting here, from Bandaras Bay.
The first leg of the trip was from Punta Mita to Isla Iabel.  I had arranged to work my way north with the boat Shamaness, and we left at Midnight to hopefully get in before dark the next day.  I hadn't really looked at the weather too much, and Shamaness is a bigger and heavier boat than Altair, with a much bigger motor, so it didn't work out too well.  The winds came up against me and the seas became choppy, and Altair was working very hard just to keep moving in right direction.  Shamaness got in before me, but I sailed and tacked and motored and swore at things until well after sunset and finally got into the island.  My morale was low because of an oil leak and a water leak and the floor of the boat was a nasty mess, and also because of the lack of sleep, but the next day on Isabel cured me right up.  This is the island that I love to go to because of all the birds and the clear water.  There weren't as many birds at this late time of the year, but the water was clear and full of beautiful fish, and there were still some birds.  

 I set off from Isabel the next day, bright and early in the morning, and with a promise to myself that I wouldn't try to match the speed of the mighty Shamaness.  It is just that in choppy seas, Shamaness can go to windward and through those seas much better than Altair can.  After a time, I saw a sail on the horizon to leeward and soon enough she was upon me.  We sailed close together for a time and then she passed me by, and I spent a night out in the nasty chop and arrived at Mazatlan the next day.  All this makes me wish I had a heavier boat and a bigger motor.
Mazatlan was a turning point in this trip, and I began to go West instead of North, to head over to La Paz and the Baja.  The weather also began to turn and I had a nice calm flat ocean to glide over on my crossing to La Paz.  It took me two nights and three days and I was there.  On my way in, I headed over to look for Whale Sharks, and there was one swimming by.  I got a picture, but sadly it is hard to see.
I spent a few days in La Paz in order to hang out with my friends aboard the Safari Endeavor, an Un-cruise boat that departs out of there in the winters.  Then I began to go North Again.
My first stop was Esperitu Santu island, where the rocks are carved out of a sandstone similar to the rocks of Chuckanut drive, and the waters are clear and blue.

There were dolphins playing with me,
And a few grebes as well.
The islands up here are like the islands in the San Juans, where the ocean meets rocks without a crashing breaking wave, just a calm cliff into liquid.  It is also similar to Joshua Tree National Park, and sometimes like the Channel Islands.  The moonrise over the tranquil bay shone brightly in the desert.
I stopped next at Isla San Francisco, where there is a nice round bay to anchor in, and salt flats in the middle of the island. I think during the summer there are low pressure systems (like hurricanes) that raise the sea level enough to come up over the sides of the island and fill up the middle with water.  That water then evaporates and leaves behind its sea salt.  I collected some to bring back.

Some succulents grow in this salty soil.
and a little higher, some very spiny trees explode right up out of the ground.
Here is an overview of the cove
and a vulture overhead.  This guy had a bare patch on his (or her) chest, which I thought rather unique.
From Isla San Francisco, I headed to San Evaristo.  This is one of my favorite places, but I didn't linger long.  Here is a view from the kite of the anchorage.

I left early the next morning, and saw a few Humpback Whales!  There weren't many in Bandaras Bay this last winter, so I was glad to see them now.  

I stopped shortly on an island I had never been before, Isla San Diego.  It is a small little thing, with no protected anchorage, but I went up for a walk and it was nice.
As I was climbing the ridge, a Red Tailed Hawk soared overhead, looking at me.  The first shot I like because it shows the bird well...
But the second shot is a rabbit's eye's view.
I also found a berry that I couldn't identify and hadn't seen before.
I then pushed onward to Bahia Agua Verde.  (the bay of the green water).  This is a place I have been before, but the furthest north in the Sea of Cortez that I had previously been.  I really like it here, and I spent a few days.  On a short hike up the ridge, I saw a fox!
There was a north wind blowing during the time I was there, so I sent up the kite to get a picture of the anchorage.  You can see Altair as the little white speck just up from the center of the picture.

The wind died down, and I headed north, to Loreto.  I spent the night anchored out from Loreto, then took off the next morning to cross the sea again and had an easy crossing with wind from behind all the way to San Carlos.  Here is a kite shot from the bay in san carlos.  I haul out on Saturday and Wes will pick me up and we'll start driving back to Seattle.

No comments: