We're in San Francisco!
30 May 2015
Not THAT San Francisco...ISLA San Francisco, a little island on the west side of the Sea of Cortez, north of La Paz. We dropped SCOOTS' anchor in 16 feet of absolutely clear turquoise water at 2:45 PM local time on May 30, a little more than two days after leaving Mazatlan.
I know, I said in my last post that we were going to Caleta Partida. Well, we changed our mind last night, when the wind was blowing so smooth and steady from a direction that would carry us a bit further north than Caleta Partida, and since our goal is to be north of 27 degrees latitude as soon as possible....
...we came here instead. We're anchored on the east side of the island, in a little cove; the anchorage on the other side of the island is apparently quite stunning and is featured in many pictures (you can probably see it if you Google "Isla San Francisco") but it is also open to winds and waves from the south and southwest, which we've had in abundance for the past two nights (yes, the pointy waves returned last night for an encore). So we opted to stay here, as it is more protected from those directions. And the island is so small that we could dinghy to shore and walk across to the other side to see it, if we want to.
After a day of completely smooth and gentle winds and seas yesterday, which made that toilet fixing project not only easier but possible, we sailed into about 20 knots of southwest winds and its accompanying pointy waves just after midnight. It might have been a coromuel, a local weather condition that features strong south or southwest winds that blow all night long. And this one did. It was one wet and poundy ride for awhile!
Just after sunrise, while the wind and waves were still rocking, and we were about thirty miles from land, a bird circled our boat and landed on the pulpit rail. A close look revealed that it was an immature red-footed booby. It rode the pitching, bucking pulpit, rocking back and forth as it tried to balance and get a grip on the slippery metal surface with its webbed feet. That couldn't have been very easy. I thought it would fly away when the winds and waves calmed, but instead it spent the next several hours perched there, preening. Occasionally, it would tuck its head under its wing and take a short snooze. It was even quite considerate, leaving only one dropping on the boat in all that time.
As we approached the island, we decided to get the booby to leave, so it wouldn't hang out on SCOOTS in the anchorage. It was really tame! We could walk right up to it and almost touch it, before it took off...and circled around and landed on the boat again. And again. And again. Uh oh. The bird did not want to leave. This could be a problem. Each time the young bird took off, it didn't seem to want to land on the water (maybe it didn't know how to take off from the water? or land on the water?).
We decided to let the booby stay until we were right at the island, so that it had the option of landing on land, in case that's what it wanted. As soon as Eric went forward to drop the anchor, the booby flew off...and didn't return. Problem solved.
So here we are, back in the land of clear, turquoise, Vandy-approved water; pointy waves; coromuels, chubascos and elefantes (three types of localized weather systems); uncrowded, calm, picturesque anchorages; cacti and sticker bushes; dry, searing heat; and dinghy landings without swells - our summer stomping ground, the Sea of Cortez.