Sunday, October 24, 2010

Baja Update - October 2010

We are starting our 4th fall down here; it seems to get more beautiful and full of friends each year.

Some old friends who moved to the mainland visited, and a group of 15 of us had a reunion.  We rented a catamaran and cruised to a nearby island for snorkeling and dinner.  There was a reef full of star fish – no less than 6 different kinds – some were pink with light blue spines!  Water was in the high 80’s.

Joined an overnight Turtle Tagging Expedition.  They net sea turtles, bring them to the beach and measure and tag them and let them go.  The new program hopes to expand and employ previous poachers, and bring out locals so they can see how turtle tourism can be a renewable business instead of hunting them.   We sailed over to Isla Coronado and met up with the group of about 16 with 3 guides who prepared a fish taco feast and put up tents for the overnight.   We anchored off the white-sand beach and were picked up for our 2 hour shift in the evening.   We spotted 5 turtles, but didn’t net any. 

When we returned to our boat, there were so many blue needle fish around our hull that the kids netted a couple of them.  
Every week we set sail and anchor to get the boat ready for our 
6-month mainland cruise.  Last week, Ann caught up on the home-front work, and neighbors joined the kids and Doug onboard.   (These neighbors had given the kids a coin-cutting class during the week).   A couple hours south we found a secluded cove with donkeys on the beach and snorkeled in 70 foot visibility waters loaded with fish.   In the morning, a school of brown sardines were bubbling around our hull while two big Yellowtail tuna stalked them from below.  Our friend Mark, a forager, hunter, gatherer, threw a net, caught a sardine, hooked it on a line, and Henry hooked a Yellowtail that unfortunately broke the line and got away.   So they smooshed bread on hooks and cast them overboard and reeled in 3 good sized Porgy -- a tasty, white meat.   Fish kept Henry and Mark so busy I had to bring their pancakes to the deck.   Later, Mark speared a Sun fish, Rooster fish and Bass, and we ate like kings.   The snorkeling was like swimming in a Sea World exhibit aquarium.   If you hung out at about 30 feet down, in 10 seconds fish would appear from all around.   Huge colorful, parrot fish bigger than rugby balls; flat fish like big saucers with yellow tails; and school of silver and black striped fish streamed right at me within 3 feet before veering off to the side.

Henry played a comp round of golf and occasionally goes out to hit a bucket of tennis balls with Dad.  He and two friends have recently been in a crab hunting mode and head out for the beach in the afternoons with a bucket and shovel and sticks.  They come back with dirty feet and knees and stories of raw crab they ate.  Chandler reads volumes and has a couple girlfriends that visit to get dressed up and act out lives in all ends of the world in their imagination.  Ann home schools each morning, is planning our trip to the U.S. and has made new curtains for the boat; Thursdays a friend joins her for a pool exercise / chat session.   The neighborhood maintenance business fills Doug’s mornings, and afternoons it is often the boat maintenance or a little tennis with Henry.    

We recently went to a high school talent show of singing, skits, and dancing with beautiful traditional costumes in an outdoors stage at night.  Loreto continues to offer us culture, adventure, and friendships amidst the beautiful and quiet environment of the Sea and mountains.

We’ll soon be in San Diego for our last provisioning trip before launching on our cruise to mainland Mexico in December.   H and C are excited about a U.S. Halloween night!  

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