This morning I got up at 5:30. Nothing unusual in that.
I ground some really well roasted Mexican coffee beans and had a big cup while I fiddled with the radio dial. Recently ,while I have had the boat to myself, I listen to Mexican ham radio operators to understand what I can of their spanish conversation. Not much.
Dawn doesn’t happen until 6:30. Sunrise was spectacular , rays coming through cumulus clouds onto the mountain wall just to the west. Sierra de las Gigantas.
The Amigo Net starts at 0700. This is a radio network wherein small boat cruisers from all over the Pacific coast of Mexico ‘check in’ to maintain social contact. A gentleman in California by the name of Don Anderson supplies a weather synopsis for the different areas around the Pacific coast. This takes him hours to prepare every day. Purely to be helpful , and it is. The radio serves mainly as a social tool , useful for weather , and very rarely is useful for safety or rescue purposes. One must not underestimate the importance of social media , like facebook and Ham radio. I was corralled into being the ‘Net Control’ or moderator for one day. It is like being the chair at a committee meeting where there is only a vague agenda, you don’t know who is attending and you can’t see them anyways.
Ok , turn the radio off now. Have a 2nd cup of coffee and breakfast. The wind is north , so the cockpit faces south and into the sun. It is warming up from the 18 degrees C at dawn. The solar panels are tilted south to maximise watts.
I succumbed and sat in the sun reading ‘Canoe Lake’ by Roy McGregor , a novel about the mysterious death of Tom Thomson in Algonquin Park around 1917 or so. Very romantic and Canadian. Finished that.
Examined the mountain wall with binoculars to see if there is an easy way to the top. I had asked on the radio net if anyone knew of a way to get high into those mountains. Jeff on ‘Verdia’ who left Squamish 2 years ago , responded with a general description of how he got up there.
Time to go ashore and explore. After a long walk north and south from the tiny fishing village I found the tienda and got some tortillas , avocados, and bananas. Then I found a gringo , ‘Reno’, pulling his dinghy up on the beach. we went along and had a beer at the palapa. He has been cruising off and on since returning from the Vietnam war in the late 60’s. He was in LaPaz in 1987 when Barb and I first came down the coast. He also sailed across the Pacific. He and his wife lost their 2nd boat on a reef in Tuamotus in a storm in the middle of the night. No injuries. Another in a long list of stories of shipwreck. The 40′ steel boat he had in 1987 was his 3rd boat. He sold that boat a few years ago, he said his wife had had enough cruising. Now he and his wife split their year between their 45 acres in northern Montana and their 35′ sailboat(their 4th sailboat) in the Sea Of Cortez.
By this time it was 4:30 pm and I returned to the boat and studied Spanish verbs for an hour. A meal of tortillas , avocado , and tomato.
Not an unusual day.
Christmas went by. Four days at Isla San Francisco. Sunshine , a sandy beach , a few new friends , good hiking and paddling. Christmas dinner was an impromptu gathering for lobster on the ‘Sarah Jean II’, a Saga 43 from Whiterock BC. Norm and Beth Cooper are taking a couple of years to sail down the coast and across the Pacific. A long held dream ,happening. Also aboard for dinner were Stephen and Heidi , lately from Alert Bay BC on their 33′ boat Narama. They have worked on Antarctic cruise ships as naturalists , among other roles. They also work for the Raincoast Conservancy up at Shearwater. They met as crew on the ‘Maple leaf’.
The Christmas Eve beach potluck had 15 or 20 people. Among them was the Gonzalez Ortega family from Mexico city. They are unusual. In fact they themselves do not know of any other Mexican family that own and sail their own cruising boat. I have never heard of it either. Jorge Gonzalez Ortega , his wife Irma , and kids Leonardo 24 and Natalia 19. Jorge wants to take his Maple Leaf 48 to Australia. Irma is not so sure.
For three days in Isla San Francisco I was anchored in near the beach to be well out of the wind. There was a dense shoal of small (1 -2 “) fish surrounding the boat and darkening the water the whole time. This shoal of fish was under pretty steady predation. Cormorants , pelicans and boobies from the sky. A variety of larger fish from the sea. I didn’t see anything big enough to keep me out of the water.
I have maintained radio and e-mail contact with Jeanne Socrates on the ‘Nereida’. She is rapidly approaching Cape Horn on her solo circumnavigation of the world. She is really ‘sailingaroundtheworld’. Her weather is getting colder and stormier.
Tomorrow I hope to spend in the Sierra do las Gigantas. My running shoes are falling apart from desert rock hiking ,so I shall dig out my hiking boots.
The sky was cloudy today. This is unusual. In fact the cumulus accumulated all day , and it looked like rain. Never happened. Five inches of rain per year. Probably in one or two storms. Not today.
Not a sunrise or sunset goes by unexamined. The moon shines on my face in bed. Every breeze is heard in the rigging. The impact of pelicans diving for fish is a background noise. Esta bien.