When it's time to go ashore, Sammy knows the way.
The anchorage all to ourselves at Ensenada de Candelara, on Isla Espiritu Santo
A Thanksgiving day paddle into the sunset.
Tonight we float under a nearly full moon, below the peaks of the Sierra Gigantica. There are boat tunes on the stereo and the hum of the wind generator now and then, and somewhere the crickets or maybe tree frogs are chattering away. Rebecca is reading me a line now and then from her book, the dogface is sleeping off another day on the water, and the Cappy is very, very happy.
We have settled into the marvelously simple rhythm of cruising. That means falling asleep and waking up to the sounds of water and wind. In a typical morning we paddle the kayaks ashore for a bit of a ramble with the dog, then return to eat a late and very leisurely breakfast al fresco at the 'Liberte floating restaurant.' And on goes the day and the search for the next island.
The inflatable kayaks are a great bit of cruising kit. We carry one on each side of the boat, and in about a minute we can have them launched and ready to go ashore. In fact, we haven't splashed the 'Liberteeny' dinghy since La Paz. The dog knows when the kayaks appear at the swim deck, good things are about to happen. She rides up on the bow of the kayak like a pro.
Speaking of Samantha, that little critter has proved to be a pretty awesome boat dog. She has nimbly figured out how to get around, and has her favorite spots for sunbathing and dolphin watching. She gets involved in all yachting activities. She is known onboard by many names, including "Charter Guest Number One" and "Popo." When the small black flies named Bobos attempt to land, 'Popo' is on them with a snapping of jaws.
Here's the funniest thing: It turns out that Sammy is absolutely crazy about fishing. Every time she's come eye-to-eye with a tuna or dorado she's got a manic glee on her face that most human fisherman can only feel inside. We are wrestling wheel, sails, throttle, rod, line, net and now a freakishly intent dog. All it takes now is the Pavlovian sound of line zipping on the reel - even just letting out more line - and the dog goes nuts. Part of the fishing ritual now is that Sammy has to wear her yellow life jacket and tether for her own protection, before the lure even goes in the water. Now she wears the heretofore scorned life jacket as a prize fishing vest, as if she's a pro fishing dog with sponsors.
A few days ago now - who is really keeping count? - we left La Paz for Isla Espiritu Santo, where we had an anchorage all to ourselves for Thanksgiving and called our families on the sat phone. From there, we stopped at Los Islotes, where we had beautifully settled weather, giving us the opportunity to swim directly off the back of our boat into a community of sea lions. Being in the water with these creatures is a magical, mystical experience, a powerful taste of the wonders of the Sea of Cortez, with its 3,000 animal species and 6,000 plant species. We've also climbed to the summit at Isla San Francisco, anchored by the fishermen's fires at Bahia San Carlos, and now find ourselves in the thrall of the misty spires of a mighty mountain range along the sea. Under the stars, watching the glowing bioluminescence in the water, listening to night birds speaking, these words from Meister Eckhart come to mind: "However dull the world may make this sense, in awe one feels profoundly the Immense."
Next up: Exploring the town of Loreto and the mission of Francisco Xavier, then islandhopping our way back down to Los Muertos for a weather window to make the crossing to Mazatlan on the mainland. Our kids arrive in Banderos Bay in two weeks, and we're pretty excited about them apples.
Local fruits and veggies waiting to be devoured.
Between beach and boat.