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Sunday, June 12, 2005

Puerto Escondido

June 12, 2005
Puerto Escondido, Baja California del Sur

We stayed in Agua Verde until June 5, hiking in the hot sun and snorkeling in the cold water. We saw an osprey and an octopus. The local goats made their ritual evening strolls along the hillsides surrounding the anchorage. With a well-stocked tienda and fresh tortillas within walking distance, it was hard to leave.

We moved on to Isla Monserrate and anchored off low yellow sand bluffs. Although we gave it our best shot, hiking here was next to impossible because of the dense brush and cactus, but the beach was perfect for walking and shell hunting. We stayed a few extra days when we heard that Bob on Air Power was coming in. He and John went spear fishing together and John came back with something called a Hog fish for dinner. We all did some snorkeling out on the reefs to the east and it was the best visibility and most fish we've seen so far. Really a pretty place and we were glad to have spent the extra time there.

We were going to "run out" of water at any minute according to John's calculations, so we were a little antsy to get to Puerto Escondido. We might have run out of the water in our tanks, but we still had 16 gallons in jugs in case that happened. But we were also out of fresh provisions so it was time to go and get restocked. Puerto Escondido is great. There was a big fuss when they installed moorings in the inner, almost landlocked, harbor, but they only charge one peso per foot per day, plus 10%, and now that you don't have to pay to check-in, it seems reasonable to us. There's a place to dump garbage, a dinghy dock, a place to fill water jugs from a hose, and it's been flat calm at night. The only drawback is that it's 25 miles to Loreto with no bus service to speak of. People who base out of here have cars, which would make life much easier.

Yesterday we got seven people together to hire a seven passenger taxi van for the day. Our driver, Gustavo, picked us up at 9:30 AM and drove us into Loreto to run all our errands. We dropped three people off at an internet cafe and the remaining four drove from ferreteria to ferreteria looking for acetone, butane, and hydraulic fluid among other things. We must have tried at least half a dozen places before John finally gave up on the latter, and we cut Gustavo loose until Noon. The four of us walked around town (fishing tackle was the next goal), and checked out the Malecon, before rendezvousing at the internet cafe. Gustavo then drove us all back to the center of town where we had a nice lunch at Cafe Ole. We split up for some quick shopping and sight-seeing and met back up at the taxi again at 2:00. Then we did our "big shop" with stops at the supermercado (not so super after La Paz!), fruteria, panaderia, and finally, the deposito. By the time we arrived back at the dinghies it was almost 4:00 and everyone was tired. The taxi was 700 pesos round trip, and split seven ways it was worth it. It was especially nice to be able to store our purchases in the back of the taxi throughout the day, instead of having to haul everything around with us the entire time!

But it wasn't time to relax yet. John needed to go up the mast to 1) fix the roller furling (which got a little messed up when he made the mistake of letting off halyard tension before unfurling the drifter), 2) attach the Mexican courtesy flag to the outer shroud (this way it won't bang on the shrouds like it does from the flag halyard), and 3) affix reflective tape to the mast to make it easier to find Nakia in a crowded, dark anchorage (Phil, remember the panga ride in Turtle Bay?!). While John was up the mast I was putting away the mass of stuff we'd bought. This entails taking everything out of boxes (actually I did that before we even put it in the dinghy), wiping off dusty cans, labeling cans with a Sharpie, removing labels from cans, stowing everything, and separating the tortillas. The latter is something we learned about only recently. We had trouble with our fresh tortillas sticking together until John finally asked a local what to do about it. The secret is that you need to separate all of them until they've had a chance to cool, then you can stack them again and store them. So picture a kilo each of corn and flour tortillas strewn about all over the galley and dining table. In the midst of all this I was up and down the companionway helping John while he was up the mast.

We finished all that at 6 PM and John decided it was time to go fly fishing. He got quite a rush when he hooked a bonito which took off so hard that he had to grab the pole with both hands. He's using barb less hooks now which makes releasing the fish we don't want to eat (so far, most of them) much easier.

Today was water day. John made four trips to the water hose with our six water jugs to fill the tanks (on both Air Power and Nakia) while I used some old water from our emergency jug to wipe down the fiberglass and try to get the boat cleaned up a little. Of course we chose to be on one of the moorings that's farthest away from the water hose because it's in the shade earlier than the others, so each trip was a long one. We're getting our three gasoline jugs filled here but it's costing 375 pesos for about 40 litres (about $2.62/gallon plus delivery charge plus Pemex, the national gas chain, ripoff; it's a ripoff because we paid for 50 litres and only got 40 even though the meter on the pump said 50 litres; this happens all the time).

Stan and MJ on SolMate need to make a beer run so, in lieu of the hike we were going to do today, we're going to walk with them to Willy's tienda which is down the road about 45 minutes at the junction with Highway 1. We've already been to the one at Tripui RV Park, about a 15 minute walk. For those of you that read about the fire that destroyed most of it, Tripui is really looking good. There's a beautiful pool outside the office/gift shop/internet cafe and the grounds are lovely.

Tomorrow we move back out to the islands with a stop at Isla Carmen first. Our short term goal is to reach Bahia Concepcion by July 1 for the Fourth of July celebration at Burro Cove.

Linda and John