21 March 2012 | Esconida Grande on Espiritu Santo
Bill in Sun
We spent Solstice in this lovely bay on the west side of Isla Espiritu Santo. Although there was a fairly large camp of tourists who were kayaking, snorkeling, and diving, they stayed to themselves and we stayed to ourselves. Large pangas would periodically ferry a load out to a nearby reef for diving and snorkeling, or a group would pass us in kayaks. I wonder how much a few-day's stay was? It seemed a nice setup.
We arrived in early afternoon after a short morning of motor-sailing, and dropped the hook in 19 feet of water: deep!
And, the wind was still howling. Here's the process. In the Four Corners section of the American Southwest, cold temperatures cause massive volumes of cold air to descend toward the ground. There's a slope all the way to the Sea of Cortez, and that's where the air goes, causing strong, cool wind that can last for many days. We experienced gusts of 28 kts, with steady wind in the high teens. We got great anchor sets, but the boat would fishtail around all night.
During lunch, I ate something that disagreed with me so I was vomiting all afternoon and was less that useful. Still, we managed to get the dinghy over the side, get the solar panels producing, and dropped the Sea Cow onto the dinghy so that Debbie and Philippe could get to shore.
They hiked to the top of the nearest ridge where they came upon a large metal cross dedicated to an American family that had experienced some deadly bad luck, losing a son to a climbing accident, a few more to auto accidents, and most of the rest in a plane wreck. Terrible! They saw black jack rabbits, and oddly, some large shells toward the top of the mountain. Did they get carried by birds? People? What? We saw Blue Herons, some hawks, and lots of gulls and pelicans. My favorite, the Frigate Bird, appeared now and again, soaring high above the sea.
Nature does NOT make any species perfectly adapted! It can't! Disney movies were wrong and it required a bit of re-learning to get over that piece of propaganda. The best that evolution can do is make a species "good enough" since the selection pressure wanes at that point. Frigates appear to me to belie that statement by seeming to be the minimalist bird, having nothing but the barest essentials for its niche. They're pelagic, so have less need for large swimming feet. They have bodies and wings that seem designed to be the perfect glider. I am always impressed with their design and cannot imagine anything to add or delete.
I motored D and P over to a secluded and tiny sandy cove, and they went hiking and snorkeling for several hours. Conni stayed in the cockpit, drinking cocktails and reading in the sun. Happy Conni! I stayed below decks, sleeping and groaning.
We had given D and P the handheld VHF so they called for pickup which was accomplished with few problems, and we enjoyed a fresh shrimp dinner, although I was more subdued than usual. Distressingly, they found that pleasant! D and P had never even spoken in a VHF but Debbie called us with good radio etiquette and used "over" when she was done. Not bad!
It was a lovely place to stay, and the wind finally dropped and allowed an undisturbed night of sleep. Conni and I, of course, are a bit on edge when the boat's not completely safe and tend to worry through the night. We had a great set on the hook, so Wings didn't budge. Never the less, it gets us on edge to have her in even possible danger. I am reminded of one of those little "encouragement" posters that used to appear in schools in the nineties. This one read, "Ships in a harbor are safe, but that's not what ships are made for." Yes, true, but I still like my boat to be safe.
We left late on Thursday morning and headed for Isla San Francisco.