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Friday, May 25, 2007

Moreno Rocks

25 May 2007
25 degrees 11.5 minutes N, 110 degrees 53.5 minutes W

The settled weather has made this a good place to hang out for a few nights. There's basically no wind blowing down the middle of the Sea of Cortez or on the outside of the Baja, making for calm seas and light breezes in the anchorages. Last year we only spent one night here probably because it was too rolly. The rocky reef provides only a little protection from the SE swell, otherwise it's just a stop on the side of the road. It took us six hours of spinnaker sailing and a little over an hour of motoring to get here from San Evaristo; that's 23.5 nm for 20 nm made good. But it was a beautiful sunny day with cool breezes and we were in no hurry.

Yesterday we walked the beach around Punta Cobre to see if there was anything remaining from the dead whale we found on the beach last May. We didn't see a single sign of it and a later chat with Manuel, a local panga fisherman who routinely visits the cruisers to sell fish or bum a cold Coke, confirmed that Hurricane John washed the remaining bones away. There wasn't much in the way of shells on the rocky beach but pin cushion and pencil urchin shells were plentiful. The (sandstone?) rocks were wonderful to walk on at low tide, in one place looking like a jacuzzi and in another, a tiled terraza. We left the beach to hike back along the low bluff and up the ridge of Punta Cobre for a nice view of the shallow spots in our anchorage.

The water clarity was terrible when we first got here. We dropped the hook in 14' of water, the boat ended up sitting in about 9', and we still couldn't see the bottom through the green murk. This morning we woke to much clearer water and went for a "dinghy snorkel." The water is still only about 69 degrees which is too cold for swimming, so we went for a ride over the reefs and rocks to view urchins, King angel fish, porcupine fish, sergeant majors, coral, and even a school of Jack Crevalle from the warmth of the dinghy.

We found a good spot on the beach below the high tide line to burn our weekly grocery bag of garbage. We're very meticulous about separating our garbage into non-burnables (cans and glass), kitchen (food scraps), and burnables (paper and light plastics like bags). The first two categories are broken down as much as possible and saved until we can dispose of them when we're in deep water and far from any inhabited shoreline. We thoroughly burn the third category, and are subsequently left with very little that actually has to be stored for disposal in a larger city. We take pains not to leave our garbage with any of the smaller fishing villages because they either burn it in unsightly piles (including cans and glass) on the side of a road or next to a house, or it's left out in the desert to be blown back to the sea by the winds. We met one boat asking where to dump their three full size garbage bags and can only assume they have no onboard garbage management plan yet.

We hope to try a short swim this afternoon before our daily sea bath. We like to take care of the latter before 5:00 which is when two pangas arrive to catch bait fish. They beach the pangas and then two of the guys walk a small mesh net along the beach. The men are fully clothed, including rubber boots, and they walk in waist to chest deep water while the other two guys walk the pangas over to them to pull the net of fish in. There's a third panga which throws their net into the water from the panga and then pulls it in to the boat, which makes more sense to us, but maybe they don't get as many fish that way.

Except for the cold water, we are living in paradise and loving it! I heard a reference to Memorial Day weekend on the radio today and experienced a moment of total confusion when I couldn't place the holiday - wasn't that weeks ago? No, it's this weekend. That's how disconnected we are from the "real" world. It's a lovely feeling. :-)

Linda and John