July 6: Shopping, a Pig Roast, and the Party Continues.
In the morning, the crews of SCOOTS and Cavale dinghied ashore, where we piled into Geary's pickup truck (two in the front, six in the back, yes this is Mexico) for the ride into Mulegé. Mulegé is a town of a couple thousand people, crouched along the Santa Rosalia River. According to Geary, the bridges wash out and are rebuilt every couple of years. Geary was a great host, taking us around to three abarrotes (small grocery stores), which all have different offerings, so we could procure all the items on our lists.
In the afternoon, SCOOTS and Cavale
headed south to Playa Buenaventura, where we reunited with the rest of the boats from the El Burro anchorage. Apparently, the Fourth of July Week festivities had continued in our absence, the previous night.
Mark and Olivia, the owners of the Playa Buenaventura Restaurant and Resort, and their son, Nathan, put out a delicious spread of food - roast pig, veggies, mashed potatoes, cole slaw and dessert - and told us to eat all we could (for 200 pesos each). We did. Their two dogs and a lilac-crowned parrot named Georgia also hang out in the rustic restaurant, which looks out over beautiful Playa Buenaventura. The walls and rafters are festooned with a quirky, eclectic assortment of posters and paraphernalia, including a shirt worn by Travis Pastrana in a local motor sports event (bearing his signature #199), and donated to the restaurant's collection when he dropped by afterwards. The food and the hospitality of the Playa Buenaventura Restaurant can't be beat!
July 7: Eric Runs the Net, and Birthday Party #3.
This morning, Eric had his first stint as net controller for the Sonrisa HAM net. As net controller, his duties include making all the “official” statements and disclaimers for the net, coordinating check-ins and messages from other boats, cutting to Geary at the appointed time for his weather forecast, and generally keeping things running smoothly. He volunteered to help out “once in awhile” as the net controller pickings are pretty thin, this time of year, when most cruisers are somewhere else. The net managers asked him to take every Tuesday's net, and he has obliged. This is quite a commitment, from someone who most of the time doesn't know - and usually doesn't need to know - what day of the week it is, as is the case with most cruisers. He set an alarm on his phone to go off every Tuesday morning, so he'll know it's his day.
Steve, who was originally introduced to us as “the celebrity crew” of the catamaran Viva
(skippered by Viva Bob) turned 75 years old today. All the cruisers in the anchorage came ashore in the afternoon to cheer his accomplishment, including enjoying a couple of cakes that Becky, from Manatee
, had arranged for Mark and Olivia to provide for the occasion, and some truly scrumptious burgers grilled by Nathan. It was a fun afternoon!
July 8: All Parties Must End and Van Dumps the Kayak.
Today, many of the cruising boats left the Playa Buenaventura anchorage, heading for their next destinations. Some were planning to stage at Bahía Santo Domingo, before making an overnight passage across the Sea to San Carlos. Others were heading further north, to reprovision at Santa Rosalia. By noon, only The Wet Bar
and SCOOTS remained in the anchorage, both of us planning to remain another day.
In the morning, before the sun blazed down too hotly, I splashed the kayak and went paddling off to explore the shallows and shoreline. It was a beautiful morning, and I could see right down into the clear water. I waved as each cruising boat left the anchorage, continuing its journey.
Now and then, as I paddled along, some bright orange wasps would land on the kayak, walk around a bit, then fly away. I didn't pay them much attention, though I did keep an eye on them. Along the shoreline, I discovered a little mangrove-lined cove, where the shallow water was thick with inch-long fingerlings. A trio of brown pelicans made dive after dive after dive, each time filling their beak pouches with mouthfuls of the tasty fish. I floated along, looking down at the critters on the sandy bottom, and the fish lurking in the shadows.
When another one of those orange wasps landed on the kayak, I watched it walk around on the hull. And then, it went down into the cockpit! Yikes! Holding my breath, I watched as it crawled along the inside, closer and closer to my right leg. As it came closer, I inched away, leaning more and more to the left...until I suddenly remembered: Uh oh, I am in a kayak. Too late. The kayak rolled to the left, then turned upside down. Sploosh! My backpack and I were dumped unceremoniously into the shallow water.
Fortunately, I was in knee-deep water, so I could easily stand up and right the kayak. The wasp flew away. Draining the water from the kayak was a bit harder. I floated it over to the small sandy beach, the soggy mud of the bottom doing all it could to keep my Chaco sandals as a souvenir. Once at the beach, I tipped the water out of the kayak and spread my wet gear out to dry, and sponged the remaining water out of the kayak. While I was waiting for the kayak cockpit and my gear to dry a bit, I had fun watching the thousands of little hermit crabs who lived on the beach waving their oversized white claws at each other in displays of crustacean bravado. In the shallows, an eight-inch-wide blue crab waltzed by, sideways. This was the first blue crab I've seen in years, and it reminded me of happy times spent in many Florida waterways during my youth. I was glad I hadn't stepped on it, with my open-toed sandals.
Back at the boat, Eric and I had a good laugh about my misadventure. We spent the rest of the day watching the thousands of fish that were hanging out next to our boat, frustrating the pelicans, and putting up a couple of extra fans, to move the hot air around our cabin more at night. Eric likens it to sleeping in “a hot air popcorn popper.” We knew it would be hot here, in the Sea of Cortez, so we're not complaining. Tomorrow, with the Fourth of July Week festivities over, we'll pull up our anchor and sail north to Bahía Santo Domingo, at the mouth of Bahía Concepción.