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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Lightening Strikes

May 30, 2005
Agua Verde, Baja California del Sur, 25o 30' N 111o 03' W
About 90 miles North West of La Paz

We spent an afternoon at the sand spit on Isla San Jose to take the lagoon river trip. The weather had been kind of over cast and humid all day and after we had been anchored at Isla San Jose for half an hour or so we started hearing the distant rumble of thunder. There was a big power boat anchored close by and they started pulling their anchor around the time the lightning started. The problem with being anchored near a sand spit is that we had full visibility of the lightning all around, so it looked like it was much closer then it actually was. Anyway, the power boat was pulling his anchor but not really going anywhere. At one point we heard him make a comment about 'staying near the lightning rod', which we figured was supposed to be our aluminum mast sticking 50 feet into the air. Linda and I sat in the companionway watching the lightning and hoping that we wouldn't become the protection for a power boat worth 10 times our little boat and finally it became apparent that the storm was going to pass far to the south of us.

With that bullet dodged the big power boat motored off into the distance and we got ready for our Jungle River Trip. We loaded up snorkeling gear, fishing pole and other water toys and headed into the 'river'. A friend had told us that there was good fishing in the inlet so I put out a lure and sure enough something started chasing it. I got a strike and hooked a small fish that I was delighted to find to be a small rooster fish, my first ever. I've been 'dreaming' about catching one of these since I'd read about them before my bicycle trip with Mike Green in the '80s. This one was pretty small though, so it didn't put up the huge fight that rooster fish are known for and in a few seconds I had him next to the boat. Unfortunately he got off the hook just as we were getting ready to take his picture. The rest of the river trip was pretty uneventful. The channel is very short and it ends in a lagoon that doesn't inspire much awe. Maybe if the weather were better... Soon after we reached the lagoon the weather started closing in again so we high tailed it back to NAKIA to get near some higher ground, this time however we didn't get nearly as much lightning as the previous storm so we were much more relaxed.

Our destination was a short run across the channel to San Evaristo where we spent two nights with three other boats; SolMate, Secret O' Life and Mutineer V. There are supposed to be a couple small tiendas in San Evaristo so we went ashore one day to see if we could find them (we're getting pretty low on fresh provisions). The first store turned out to be closed so we went on down the road to the reported location of a second store which turned out to be a few small shelves in the kitchen of a local's house. After putting the owner through all the trouble of showing us around we felt like we should buy something, so we bought 18 eggs at a cost of about $1.50. Big spenders. The next day we took a hike up the hills overlooking the anchorage where we found the crews of SolMate and Secret O' Life already at the top. They had started after us but took a shorter route. Oh well, we beat them sailing all the time so I guess they get to win the hiking contest (just kidding you guys!).

We left San Evaristo and had a great sail to Bahia Rincon (corner or nook bay). What an awesome place! It's one of those places that not too many people stop because it's close to a lot of other, better anchorages but they're the ones missing out. It's a little cove out of the wind surrounded by high cliffs, several hundred feet high. There's a smooth sandy bottom about 35 feet down and good fishing all around (I caught a leopard grouper and another bottom fish). We only stayed one night but probably could have stayed several as long as the wind continued to come out of the south.

The next morning we left around 10 to make it to our planned anchorage at Los Gatos around 2pm. Of course when we got to Los Gatos we were wishing we were back at Bahia Rincon. The southeast swell was rolling directly into Los Gatos and no matter where we went in this little bay we couldn't find any place out of the swell. Our backup, a spot around from the point nearby was equally bad so we bit the bullet and made for Agua Verde, another 20 miles away. In the end we had a great sail getting there, even if it was a little longer than it should have been. A few weeks ago I hooked the autopilot to the GPS, so the autopilot will actually take us from waypoint to waypoint without us having to tend the course. We just have to watch for traffic. This works great as long as I enter the waypoints into the GPS correctly, which in this case I was off by about 3 miles on one of the waypoints. The autopilot did as it was told and steered us about two miles past my 'intended' waypoint before I noticed and corrected the error. Good thing I was pay attention, those machines will get you every time if you don't watch out. We pulled into Agua Verde two hours before sunset to a welcoming from several rays jumping in the late afternoon sun. I guess it's not all bad.

Today is Memorial Day and there's going to be a potluck party on the beach. We're taking a cabbage salad and were going to be taking cupcakes until we found that the cake mix we've been saving for so long is a little too old to be good now. Guess we shouldn't have saved it for so long!

John and Linda