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Saturday, July 09, 2005

Hot Fourth

July 9, 2005
Isla San Marcos (23o 13' N 112o 07' W, about 10 mi SE of Santa Rosalia)

We stayed at Los Pilares for two nights. It would have been very nice except for the bees. The are the most difficult insect pests to deal with. They come to the boat looking for fresh water and investigate every little nook and cranny they can get their little bodies into. If they find any water, they go back to the hive and bring back a couple hundred of their buddies. SolMate left some water filters soaking in the cockpit to find a swam of 100 or so buzzing around the boat. They aren't that dangerous, like they say if you leave them alone they'll leave you alone, but the sound of 100 bees buzzing around your head is a little too much to take. The beach at Los Pilares, though not very inviting for sitting on, had very good shelling. We spent many hours looking for new kinds and trying to identify them. One afternoon we dinghied a couple miles back down the coast to the manganese mines. There are many abandoned buildings and a huge open pit which would have been fun to hike around, but unfortunately it was too rough to land. Maybe next time we can hike into the mines from the anchorage.

After two nights at Los Pilares we moved up the coast with the plan of going to Pta Santo Domingo (just inside Bahia Concepcion). When we got to Pta SD we found about a two foot wind chop running out of the bay so we decided to stop at Pta Aguja instead. It was nice, we were by ourselves, but the wind came up in the afternoon making it a little uncomfortable.

After one day at Pta Aguja we went over to Pta SD and picked up Stan and MJ from SolMate for a day trip to Mulege for provisions. We dropped anchor off the river mouth and dinghied in since the entrance is too shallow to get NAKIA through, and then left the dinghies at the beach near the mouth of the river. We chatted with a bus driver who was leaving a load of divers at the docks and then started the long walk into town. About the time we were wishing there was a taxi around a big bus drove up behind us and threw open the door. It was our friend from the beach there to save us. He gave us a ride into town where we immediately headed for the grocery stores. One other stop we needed to make was for water. NAKIA doesn't have a water maker, unlike 90% of the other boats in Mexico, so I'm constantly worrying about where and how to get pure water for her tanks. The good thing is that people in towns also worry about where/how to get pure water. As a result just about every town has one or two reverse osmosis water plants where city water is purified and bottled in five gallon jugs. They charge about $1 per jug and will deliver it by truck almost anywhere you ask. So, after walking around for 5-10 minutes, we found the local reverse osmosis water plant and I talked to the attendant to arrange for a truck to bring water to the dinghy down at the beach in two hours.

We took a taxi back to the beach and took all our groceries back to NAKIA then loaded the empty water jugs into the dinghy to exchange for fresh ones from the water truck. The truck was 20 minutes late, right on time for Mexico, and we loaded 25 gallons of pure fresh water into the dinghy for the trip back to NAKIA.

After spending the night at Pta Santo Domingo we moved into the oven of Bahia Conception and Burro Bay. The water temp there was 86o F and it got up to 97o F in the cabin the first day. Linda was still able to sleep in the pullman berth with two fans running, but I had to sleep on deck. This was the first time I'd had to get out of the cabin to sleep, but it was just too stuffy below for me. The next day was The Fourth, we're not sure how hot it got, since we were busy on shore with at the big party. There was a big picnic with potluck sides and free hot dogs and chili provided by Gary (a guy who's been living in his shack on the beach for 10 years), and ice cold beer served for $1 a bottle. We both played water volley ball, though Linda had a tough time with the loosey goosey "rules" (whoever had the ball started it over the net, you didn't have to serve it, and you could actually catch it with both hands to throw it back over to the other side). The fireworks were a little disappointing - a bunch of expired flares - but we'd done what we went to do and that was have a party with all our cruising friends.

On the 5th we moved to Santispac to go out to dinner for Stan's birthday. The high that day was 102o F in the cabin, but that wasn't the worst part. When it was 102o it was pretty dry, so even though it was hot it was quite bearable. Then the wind shifted and the temp dropped to 96 but the humidity went way up, and we were all wishing for the dry 102o F back. We went out to dinner at Ray's, the fanciest local restaurant (www.rayshaciendainn.com.mx), and we very pleased by the quality of the food and the presentation. Seafood entrees (including salad and vegetable) were 110 pesos, margaritas - 40, limonada - 25, and kahlua rice pudding - 35. I had calamari steak and Linda had scallops breaded in panko crumbs; both were excellent and, except for wiping the sweat from our brows during the meal, this rates as one of our best meals in Mexico.

Early the next morning (the 6th) we set sail back to Pta Santo Domingo where we were the only boat in the anchorage. Everyone else was still in Santispac. We found the water temp had gone up a little while we were in Bahia Concepcion and the temp was a little warmer, but it never got much above 93 so we were a lot happier. We spent the days walking on the beach looking for shells, scrubbing the bottom of the dinghy, and snorkeling out around the point. The high point of the snorkeling trips was sighting about a dozen large (up to 3 ft) rooster fish swimming around the reef. Of course we only got the anchorage to ourselves for one night as the rest of the Fourth of July party came out of Bahia Concepcion the next day. But we had fun for awhile.

After two nights at Pta SD we set sail for points north, hopefully cooler, and dropped anchor at Isla San Marcos (about 10 mi South East of Santa Rosalia). The trip was uneventful and we arrived to find 80o water and 88o air. I don't think it's been over 90o since we've got here, much better. There are really cool caves to explore right around the corner, so we're looking forward to spending some quality time here, before we get set to go back to the states for Linda's 30th(!) high school reunion on August 13.

All for now,

John and Linda