Wednesday 7th – San Juanico Cove to Carmen Is.
San Juanico Cove looks even better this morning. The wind has very conveniently shifted around to the north – perfect for our sail south to Isla Carmen. The other boats in the bay start leaving – most of them continuing north as the season draws to a close & they want to be home before the hot summer & the threat of hurricane season.
The early morning sun makes the sea sparkle and the colors of the nearby islands look wonderful. Lowell takes Richard & Neely ashore for a camera lesson. Richard listens & learns but Neely seems distracted, her mind elsewhere..
We motor over to the next bay where Bill has previously experienced some great diving, Our new anchorage is just tucked in under a sheer rock cliff and some smaller rock formations. Dark grey pelicans soar overhead riding the thermals – in this stark, brown & barren landscape, they look like Peridactyls from another age. They compete with airspace with a couple of ospreys who have made their rough stick nest high in the cliff-top. The diving is good with some nice color and a variety of fish, but hampered by unusually cloudy water. Despite the day warming up, the water temperature is bracing and most of us feel chilled after 20 minutes or so.
Tucked into the lee of the bay, we didn’t notice the wind building and, once clear of the headland, we throw up the spinnaker and are soon flying along at 8 to 10 knots in a gentle following sea. The wind is warm but not hot – perfect tropical sailing. But the fishing remains dismal, despite a frenzy of lure changes. Bill assures us that this lure was last year’s grand Dorado champion – obviously 2008 is its year off.
Isla Carmen is the biggest of the islands in the Loreto group and its 17 mile lengh runs north – south affording many good anchorages. We sail into a beautiful small bay, Vee Cove, in the north of the island. It is spectacular with high limestone cliffs giving way to a white sandy beach at its head. Beyond the beach, the sand dunes rise up then fall away abruptly into a deep chasm alive with vegetation, surprisingly green in parts and creating a sharp contrast to the white and pastel colors of the surrounding mountains & cliffs. The bay is rather open to the north and we joggle around at our anchorage. But our meteorology experts on board predict that, as the day cools, the northerly will slow and later turn to come from the land.
We head off on a long cliff hike across the cliff tops. The limestone is weathered and cratered with sharp serrated edges. The walking is tough going in parts. But all over there are an amazing array of plant life eeking out a precarious living. Plants grow out of what seems to be impervious rock. A cactus looking very healthy at 4 ft sprouts from a small crevice. A flourishing wildlife on Mars is no more incredible. Three seagulls suddenly swoop down on us, only feet from our heads. If they hadn’t done so, we would have almost certainly walked past their nest, the two large eggs completely exposed to the open. Why there are three seagulls protecting it remains a mystery – possibly a muslim family.
Back on the boat, Lowell has the margueritas ready as the sun sets on another spectacular day. After dinner, we review the day’s photos on the laptop and resume the card game, Frankie continuing to trounce us unmercifully.
Richard for the Gato Loco Crew.
Leg 1 April 11-19, Crew: Lowell, Bill, Dave – Puerto Penasco to San Carlos
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