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Saturday, September 24, 2005

The latest

Well, it's been awhile since I've updated the blog. I'd like to say it's because we've been too busy, but I know you all would just laugh at the outrageousness of that (how can two people without jobs, kids, or schedule be too busy to do anything). So I'll just say it's because I haven't been in the creative writing mood lately.

After our crossing from San Carlos we met up with Milagro and SolMate at Isla Partida. There's another, better known, Isla Partida just outside of La Paz but this Isla Partida is special in it's own right. It reminded me most of the island of Molikini off shore from Maui. It has the same shape, almost as if it were once a volcano and one side of the crater washed away opening up a 'U' shaped bay. We rafted up to SolMate when we got there to pass off all their treasures from the States as well a few 'bonus prizes' we brought back with us. Milagro came over too, and we had a little party watching Stan put together his new fans. Unfortunately the wind came up out of the north (that's where the 'U' is open) and we had to leave the next morning because of the chop driving into the bay.

Our next stop was Ensenada Alacran where we spent four peaceful nights. Backed by a large white sand beach and a small eco-resort (10 yurts and a hut) Alacran was a great place for fishing, swimming and diving. Of course I'm not qualified to do the latter so I was happy playing support crew for Lance and Stan while they swam around in the briny deep. One of their dives was for large 'free swimming' scallops and they managed to bring back enough so each couple could have 4. Now 4 scallops doesn't sound like a lot, but these are BIG, one scallop gives 3-4 ounces of meat, so four is about all two people can eat. When Lance brought his load up to the dinghy he began examining them closely, explaining that when one is down on the bottom it's hard to tell if the scallop is alive or just an empty shell. He threw out a few empties and gave me four which seemed good. We took them back to the boats to clean them and having done my first three easily I started puzzling over the fourth. The first three opened without much of a fight but the fourth wasn't even starting to open. As an experiment I put my knife in at the hinge of the shell and gave a twist and the shell popped right open. However, the inside of the scallop didn't look like the others, in fact it looked like something else entirely. Gently opening the shell, I peeked inside and found a small octopus staring back at me with several egg sacks attached to the inside of the shell. The octopus was holding the shell closed as hard as it could, presumably four legs on the top half and four on the bottom. I showed my discovery to Linda, and then slipped the expectant mother and her brood back into the water where they can finish their development in peace.

There are places to stay all over in this area, probably 30 anchorages in a 60 square mile area. So the next spot 'down the road' is usually only 5-10 miles away making it easy to sail from one spot to the next. This is just what we did to go from Ensenada Alacran to Bahia El Quemado, a whopping six nautical mile jaunt. Amazingly, we actually passed a third anchorage on our way, El Pescador. Since we weren't going far we decided to sail the whole way, even if it meant having to go very slowly. We set our nylon drifter and sailed at speeds anywhere from 1.0 to 4.5 kts and made it to Bahia El Quemado in two and a half hours sailing 7.0 nautical miles to get there. We used the engine when pulling the anchor, but dropped the anchor under sail. All this slow sailing was very amusing to our buddy boats, Milagro and SolMate. We were the brunt of several comments about being purists. That's okay, I'll get them back when they have to lug diesel fuel from the Pemex to their boats in jerry jugs when they have to refuel.

John and Linda