A Perfect Day
12 January 2008 | Islas San Benitos
After a good night of interrupted sleep, we woke up to a sunny morning - cold but definitely warmer than we are used to. I made scones for breakfast and just as we were sitting down to eat, our local fisherman friend Hector showed up with the eight lobsters he had promised the day before. We gave him some crackers, Oreos, peanut butter, granola bars, toothpaste and toothbrushes and he was thrilled. On top of that Chris threw in our jerry cans that we hopefully will not need again and he left very happy. A few minutes later, three young boys came up and asked if we would like some abalone. Sure, why not. They were back in five minutes with two large black abalone which we traded for some fishing monofilament. We assume that was a good trade for them as he proudly showed his dad who looked very pleased as well.
Chris inflated the kayak and we paddled to shore. There is a small fishing village with very basic homes made of concrete and wood. There is virtually nothing on the island, so they are making the most with what they have. The villagers were all very friendly and interestingly modernly and well-dressed, and one man showed us to a path leading up to the faro (lighthouse). We climbed up and over to the other side of the island which is pretty rocky and barren but had spectacular views. We walked up to the lighthouse which was nice enough, until we saw an older, prettier one in the distance. Of course we had to continue on to see that one. It was clearly very old but in good condition. We are not sure if it is still in use, but if it's not, there is absolutely no looting of the structure which was surprising. It was pretty wide open so we climbed the stairs to the top. Most impressive was the glasswork - they certainly don't make glass like that these days.
We hiked back over to the other side of the island to an elephant seal colony where there must have been at least 75 of them - and some huge ones at that. They don't like you to get too close and if you do, they will try to charge you, however they are not the most agile creatures and we had no problem outrunning them. Interesting species, they are.
At sunset, after a piping hot shower, we had an abalone appetizer. We cleaned them, pounded them flat, salt and peppered them and then just sauteed them in olive oil, garlic and a bit of white wine. It was really excellent.
Chris and Andrew are up on deck cleaning the lobsters for dinner. They seem to think we are going to have a hard time getting through all eight of them, but I beg to differ. In any case, I'm really looking forward to it as we have been talking about these lobsters since we left La Paz.