Baja date 2/24/16

It’s 0630, after a restless night anchored in the middle of a large bay with winds funnelling down various crevasses and tossing us around like the aforementioned rubber duck.  I’m not sure the other boats, Sea Level included, have any less wind than we do, although they are tucked up closer to the cliffs which may offer some protection.  After spending a few nights snugged in close to land and waking up with less and less water under our keel every morning, I feel a lot better swinging around merrily in the middle by ourselves! And upon checking the little squiggle that is our path through the water during the night  on our i-pad chart, it looks like we only moved within the confines of the 100 or so feet of chain attached to good old Ultra… so everything is working as it should.

However it is windy still ( gusts to 26 at least that I can see, could be worse!!) the sun is rising to what looks like another beautiful day.

The colours in here are gorgeous this time of the day, cliffs are red and water is stunning blue, there is the sunrise staining everything pink – but it all happens quickly so if I want to get some good pics I had better do it now! 

…. The sun is up and the winds are not abating…so much so I have to close the pilothouse doors as the books and papers in here are all threatening to take flight. I’m not sure what adventure the day holds for us, but somehow I don’t thinking snorkelling is in the picture!

Also in this anchorage there isn’t a beach nearby, although we aren’t allowed to take anything away with us as this is Espiritu Santu and it is protected. There is probably a lot to see though, and it being the last few days we are out I am anxious to go swimming again! 

One of the  books we brought with us to read is John Steinbeck’s The Log from the Sea Of Cortez.  It seemed an appropriate book, in light of where we are, but also  because we enjoy searching for new and different things by the seashore, whether they be empty shells washed up on the beach or fish darting past us as we snorkel. All of us aboard have now finished the book, and I think Lawrence the ex-marine biologist appreciated it the most – while he was reading it he burst out laughing numerous times.  I am slower to get through it, as I keep going back and re reading passages when we find ourselves in a place the Western Flyer had been. 

I am amazed at his description of the sea life here, and must confess I am quite horrified at the number of  specimens they took and the way they sacrificed so many to get the ones they kept. Now when I am in the water, I see one solitary sea cucumber, one solitary red urchin… crabs scattered here and there, a few brittle stars and spiny stars – but nothing in the numbers Steinbeck describes with such glee.  It must have been amazing! However, one thing I have noticed is there are new coral formations, small globes of young new coral, which are home to the bright blue and yellow fish darting around. Perhaps things are coming back to their former glory. (although we still see that life is indeed nasty brutish and short for puffer fish, and other fish, and small diving birds.. there were many many bodies littered along the beaches along the way)

One passage sits with me though, and gives me some understanding of the pull of the Baja. We are used to green – rocks and Christmas trees, we always say, as we explore our part of the world up north. Here all is rocks , but no greenery clothes the land and the geology and geography are exposed for all to see and admire. I had wondered if I would find it too harsh, too boring, too much the same… but there is a certain loveliness here and wonder, at the rock formations, the plants that actually do grow here in this hostile environment… and John Steinbeck writes about it, beautifully..

“If it were lush and rich, one could understand the pull, but it is fierce and hostile and sullen.  The stone mountains pile up to the sky and there is little fresh water.  But we know we must go back if we live, and we don’t know why”. 

The crew is waking up, and cleaning in the galley – there are whitecaps on the waves as they roll past us, and the two sailboats  anchored between us and the cliffs are being tossed and rolled like toys.  Sea Level, being a very big heavy boat, looks as though she is totally untouched by the wind, although I can see the flags snapping on the halyard… if we were going to spend another night here and it didn’t get any better, I’d be tempted to put the fish in the water. But that all remains to be seen!!!