As soon as seasoned cruisers heard that we would be spending our summer in the Sea of Cortez, they asked, “Are you going to Geary's Fourth of July party? If you're in the Sea, you have to go!”
Geary, the Sonrisa weather guy, lives in a palapa on the beach at El Burro Cove (AKA Playa El Burro), a picturesque little bay located about halfway down the western shore of Bahía Concepción. You can tell which palapa is his, by the collection of antennas and satellite dishes sprouting from it, which Geary uses to pull in weather data from many sources. Each morning he distills this data into a comprehensive weather forecast, which he then transmits over the Sonrisa net for the benefit of the cruisers within earshot. Thank you, Geary!
But Geary's Fourth of July party is the reason we crossed the Sea of Cortez and made our way to El Burro Cove when we did. We weren't the only cruisers to make the journey; by the time the Fourth rolled around, SCOOTS shared the anchorage with eleven other boats - Manatee
, Cavale, Neetje
, Dad's Dreams
, Coastal Drifter
, The Wet Bar
, and Delight
. The fun began two days before Geary's party and continued for another three days afterwards, in what came to be called by those of us in attendance, as Fourth of July Week.
July 2: Music at JC's and Bombero Bingo.
Behind the beach, Mexico's Highway 1 - which starts at the US border as a continuation of California's Highway 1 and runs the length of Baja - meanders along the coast. Just across the road is JC's Bar and Grill, where we gathered with some of the other cruisers to enjoy seafood dinners and live music. There was also a Bingo game, to benefit the El Burro Cove Bomberos (Volunteer Firefighters), but it had ended by the time we arrived. (We'd known there was going to be Bingo on Thursday night, but we'd forgotten that it was Thursday until it was too late.) The music was provided by a group consisting of a smooth-voiced guitar player, who, we were told, was also the Mayor of the nearby town of Mulegé; a guy playing bongoes; and another guy playing a metal-beaded guiro. Two percussionists and one string player...I like that ratio.
July 3: The Sweatroglyph Hike and Birthday Party #1.
The day before Geary's party, Eric and I decided to hike up the hill to see some petroglyphs, which, according to one of our cruising guides, were “a short walk across the road.” The trail, which also meandered further up and over the hills, would be marked with rock cairns. In the morning, before it got stinkin' hot, we dinghied in and started our hike. We walked across the road, found the first stack of rocks, and started up the hill. Following the small rock cairns, we made our way up the hill, looking all around for the petroglyphs. Thirty minutes later, we were sweating buckets and we hadn't seen a single petroglyph. We began to wonder if someone had been messing with the rock cairns, setting them up in random places to confuse the tourists.
Up and up we went, past mesquites and cactus and lava. Lizards skittered along the rocks, and vultures circled overhead. We were streaming sweat like fountains, and had begun to call this the “sweatroglyph hike.” We eventually came to a wide place in the path, where we had a commanding view of El Burro Cove. In this area were some iron-rich rocks that would “ring” when you hit them with another rock. We tried it, and it worked. Our guidebooks had told us about these rocks, which, they said, were much farther up the hill than the petroglyphs were. Where the heck were the petroglyphs? How had we not seen them?
After tromping around for a couple of hours, we were ready to forget the petroglyphs, get back down the hill, and jump into the water for a swim. Rather than retrace our steps down the part of the trail we'd already done, we opted to take a shortcut down a boulder-strewn wash. Following the rock wash back down was pretty easy and quick, and we were soon back near the road. Eric, who was walking ahead of me, suddenly called, “Petroglyphs!” What? Sure enough, down near the bottom of the wash, almost every boulder had carvings. They were all over the place! We'd found the petroglyphs, they were really interesting, and they were indeed “a short walk from the road.” But how had we missed them?
Hiking back out to the road, we saw the error in our ways...at the point in the trail where we had followed the first rock cairn up the hill, there was also another rock cairn (three small rocks on top of each other, really) off to the right, hidden somewhat by some bushes. That's where the petroglyphs were. So now you know, if you ever go on the petroglyph hike at El Burro Cove, you must look for the rock cairn on the RIGHT, soon after crossing the road.
Later that evening, Rob and Becky invited everyone to Manatee
for a party to celebrate Rob's birthday. Some alcohol was involved. The fun continued late into the night. Everyone had a good time.
Now, onto Part 2...