Amortajada to Aqua Verde

Lots to do at Bahia Amortajada, Isla San Jose, between walking the beach and kayaking  around chasing the rays jumping out of the water .  Eventually after breakfast we all convened and took a long walk and a tour of the abandoned salt mines, deciding a little exercise before we headed for San Everisto was in order.

There was another very large yacht over on that side of the bay, and the crew were obviously setting up for  lunch on the beach for their passengers. An awning, some chairs… as we walked by, several ladies were arriving to settle themselves in for the day, and later, the boys with the water toys arrived (  men, actually). 

The salt mines are located at Punta Salinas, behind the abandoned remnants of the buildings that housed the people who worked there, along with some machinery and a few rusted bits of trucks. It was interesting checking out each building and trying to determine what each one’s purpose was. One looked like it may have been a church, or perhaps the “boss” house – it was one and a half levels ( the roof was long gone but the rebar supporting it was still very much in evidence)… and had lovely red and yellow square tiles for the floor showing here and there through the rubble.  One building was full of garbage, and I can only think that it is perhaps the efforts of the locals and the yachtistas, collecting garbage and depositing it there rather than leaving it on the beach.  Much of the garbage consisted of shoes and flip flops.

At the end of the beach, the two light towers stand, one old and interesting (red and white striped tower) and one newer and kind of generic, although it was still in good shape.

Christopher saw fit to climb to the top  just to make sure.

There was also a pretty foul smell coming from up wind, and we found the culprit – a large dead sea turtle.  I couldn’t bring myself to go over and check it out, but I  did notice on one of my photographs you can see it in the corner. There was also a dead but very desiccated goat, and of course the other usual suspects, puffer fish and small fluffy sea birds.

But it was overall probably the most beautiful and the cleanest beach I have walked on. There was a paradise like feel to everything, the shells on the beach were white, the sand was clean, the water was sparkling, and even the crumbling buildings and machinery were more like a museum to be explored than a dump to be avoided. I never did find a paper nautilus shell, but the whitened sea stars and the opalescent shells of the oysters? were beautiful

Walking back we nodded to the yacht people, now enjoying their lunch under their shade, and climbed in the whaler to head to the boats. Diana of course had to feed us and give us a cold cervesa ( bless her!) before we could leave… and then it was off to San Everisto to meet up with Ron and Nancy on Duet – a pretty short ride across Canal de San Jose. 

I took the kayak to the beach and explored the rocks, looking for the fish darting around in the shallows ( of which there were many and all brightly coloured! And I didn’t have to get wet to do it!) and then Christopher picked us up and delivered us to Colibri, where dinner was being served.  Once again, a typical boaters meal, with halibut and meatloaf a la Diana, salads, and the obligatory and always heartfelt toast from Christopher. Meeting up with friends is indeed a blessing, even if we only get to spend one evening with them, we always seem to make it memorable! 

Life indeed is good! 

It is 1442 May 7th…. we are motoring up The SOC with final destination today being Aqua Verde.  Even the name sounds beautiful, I have high hopes! Although it also sounds like either a bad men’s aftershave or what your water maker filter looks like if you don’t clean it often enough.

We are passing by (albeit from a distance ) some incredible scenery.  The Gigantica Mountain range is nothing if not colourful. It calls to mind the inside of the Grand Canyon, only these thrust up rather than plumb down. The mountain literally tumbles into the water, in some places as plunging vertical cliffs.  One can’t help but imagine virgin sacrifices. And the colours of the rock faces are amazing. Occasionally  you get some actual greenery, where the ( ? )  has water in it somehow and there is actual vegetation, but mostly it is the subtle shading of cactus and succulents-  everything is pastel. I try to imagine what colours I would use if I were to be so bold as to bring my paints out – but I am not that brave.

So far, disappointingly, there has been no sign of sea life in the form of whales or dolphins. I did hook a fish on my line, most likely another skipjack. Although we thought it was good cold, it didn’t entrance fresh off the barbecue , so I played it halfheartedly for fun and managed to lose it in the process. Still – entertaining.

The weather is also being incredibly cooperative ( touch wood). We have left the clouds behind, and as the day has progressed there are fewer and fewer of them left.  Although there is some wind, the seas are flat. We have the poles and the fish out anyway, so the ride is smooth. 

We said goodbye to Duet, Nancy and Ron, last night, as they have headed back to La Paz and are aiming to catch a small window of decent weather to facilitate their move back up the outside coast to Ensenada for their summer moorage. We only have until Thursday, and had not intended to go much further than Aqua Verde- Loreto is a ways away and it would mean spending more time doing what we are doing today, just motoring.  But the prospect of hanging out with Christof and Diana on Colibri and sharing a few more adventures is tempting. We shall see! 

It’s interesting listening to people’s plans for the future. We took part in the Cubar rally to meet up with like minded individuals and to ultimately get Northern Ranger down to Mexico, so we could plan our next great adventure.  There are boaters now ready to take the plunge, and the question is always which way do we go? Those who have had a life-long hankering to experience the South Pacific and see the paradise it is purported to be, will be jumping off, probably from Puerto Vallarta, for a long trek ( three weeks?) across the Pacific Ocean in 2017.  From there, each island is another Long Trek… nothing is easy down south. Ultimately, the goals could be either New Zealand or Australia or both. There are threats of hurricanes during certain seasons, so weather is always an issue.  Having enough fuel to go the distance is also an issue. Doing it as a couple with no crew is possible, many people have done it. But why would you? Your sleep patterns are already discombobulated when you do overnight passages and you have someone sharing watches with you – if you are just two, and one gets sick or injured, and you are halfway from nowhere, the adventure turns sour pretty quick I would think.

Going East, through the Panama and through the Caribbean, and ultimately over the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, is also a popular dream. Although the Caribbean itself used to be  paradise in a lot of people’s minds, I believe it has changed somewhat over the years and boaters don’t always feel welcome or comfortable in a lot of the places that used to be favoured. I don’t think that’s always the case, and there are things about the Caribbean that must still be pretty great -but it’s not on my bucket list anymore, except as a ways to a means. Get across with the minimum of fuss, and then stick your nose into the Atlantic and chug across. A shorter trip than the Pacific crossing, and somehow the similarities in culture and the echoes in our genetic backgrounds would make it a more comfortable adventure. Maybe. Things are changing there too, and perhaps my romanticized vision of wine and cheese in France or Italy, or the art and food of Spain and Portugal, or the history and culture of Greece, has been sullied somewhat by recent events. 

Head down the coast of South America and explore the other side of the world? Head North in the Atlantic and roam around the uppermost regions of the continents? 

One thing for sure, there is comfort in companionship, and knowing that a group of boats and their crew are planning to make the crossing next year and go to the South Pacific, certainly piques my interest and makes me wish that we could go too. “Wait for me!  Wait for me!”  I am tempted to say, but then I realize that this wasn’t my dream, it wasn’t our dream. And it certainly isn’t our time.

For now, we can barely script  a two week holiday down here in the baja, and with the preparation before we depart and the clean up and putting away for the summer at the end of the two weeks, our time on the water is short but definitely sweet. 

Perhaps next November, when we can get down again, it will be for a month, and we can truly enjoy a voyage of discovery, stopping where we find ourselves enchanted or moving along when we crave new and different scenery. 

And that, for now, is certainly a future adventure I can look forward to. 

1700: anchored in Aqua Verde, next to Colibri and one other boat in this little bay. There is a fishing village here, and other boats on the other side of the main bay. Goats are making their way across the rocky hill right behind us, very nimbly I might add…. about 20 of them, all wearing bells.  Very pastoral! A panga is setting up what looks like camp on the beach right behind us.  There are chairs, and tables, and a big orange drink cooler… lots of bags in the panga and on the beach, and now it looks as though they are setting up a tent. I am curious and not a little concerned! Where was my invite to the beach party!  No sign of the party goers yet, I guess they will come when it’s all ready for them. 

Diana tells us we are going to the tienda for dinner, over in the other bay. Not sure when, so perhaps I will have time for a kayak. There are amazing reefs and rock formations around us, and I noted on the chart several spots considered good for snorkelling. Depending on what happens on the beach tonight, this could be a fun place to stay for a few days. The guidebook tells us there are petroglyphs or rock paintings nearby, so  a hike may be in order.

Just got our five minute notice – the whaler taxi is picking us up to go ashore!  Time to go play!!!

later: we wandered around the town, asking directions to the tienda and the palapa…. avocados and fish tacos were needed… and cervesas.. eventually found one of the three tiendas… and then the second… bought a few things but no avocado! then the palapas … found one inland, seemed like we were kicking the man of the house off of his deck, but the wife fed us a wonderful meal of fish tacos. We were entertained by the resident dogs, the white cat, and a noisy peacock. Rather a startlingly noisy peacock.  It was all good!  We said goodbye to them, and wandered back out to the beach, waving at children and chatting to whomever would talk to us.  And right on the beach… we found the other restaurant. The owner was sweeping the backyard, and we chatted her up. They serve breakfast, start at 9, and have mole, as far as I could tell.  So tomorrow…. we are eating on the beach!

and maybe fishing…and snorkelling..and kayaking. Speaking of kayaking, it looks as though it is indeed a band of kayakers on the beach next to us.  They have been fed, their tents are up, and they are probably fast asleep by now. That is the way to do it! someone else set up the camp, feed you, you go to bed,  be fed in the morning, then leave in your kayak while someone else deals with the camp.

Sounds like a good deal to me!