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Tuesday, July 10, 2007


9 July 2007

We spent most of the past week enjoying all that Mulege has to offer thanks to Garth on S/V Inclination. He has bounced between Mulege, San Carlos, and Friday Harbor for over 20 years, and has spent so much time in Mulege that he's been "adopted" by a local Mexican family. He has a small apartment attached to the back of their house where he spends a few months a year fishing and diving the local waters in his panga when he's not working on improvements to the house.

Ever since we first came up into the Sea it's been a goal of John's to take Nakia into the river basin at Mulege. We knew Garth did it, but had never met him until this year when he reported a new channel, deepened by the flooding from hurricane John (in 2006), and with minimum depths of 7-8 feet. He sat down with us in the Santa Domingo anchorage to point out the route and hazards using the excellent aerial photo in our Williams guide. Garth returned to Mulege in his panga that afternoon and led another boat across the bar. At 5 PM when we heard they had made it safely in, we made a quick decision to get over there ourselves before John had to start the Southbound net at 6:45. Garth and the other people had already gone out to dinner so we were on our own, but John took it slow and easy and we made it in without bumping anything. The water was green and opaque, making it impossible to see the bottom, which may have been for the best!

Rather than rush ourselves trying to get Med moored to the sea wall before the net started, we dropped our bow anchor on short scope just aft of the other boats. John went ahead and ran the net as if there was nothing out of the ordinary while I sat up on deck to make sure we stayed put. After the net finished we pulled up the bow anchor, dropped the stern hook, and pulled in close to the wall with two bow lines securing us in position. Once everything was set it felt like we were in a marina (other than no power or water), and the best thing was that the temperature was much cooler than it had been at Santa Domingo. Instead of a hot land breeze we were now getting a cool sea breeze and even the water was cooler.

Garth was kind enough to loan his truck to the two visiting sailboats and we rode all over town in the back of this little pickup. In his spare time Garth introduced us to various members of his family, and he even drove us up to the Lookout for a lovely view of the river winding through acres of date palms and up into an agricultural valley. We did some shopping, laundry, internet, took on water, and had delicious mango and lime paletas (real fruit Popsicles) before it was time to go to Gary's for the big Fourth of July party in El Burro Cove.

The ride in the back of the pickup was wild (top speed of 55 mph) and surprisingly hot. We were amazed to feel a 10 degree rise in temperature between Mulege and El Burro Cove, and were very happy we made the decision to keep Nakia at Mulege. I counted 16 boats anchored off of Gary's beach palapa, and the karaoke machine was getting a workout when we arrived. Gary had just handed out the last of his 240 free hot dogs, so we had some of my corn bread and ice-cold 10 peso Pacificos to tide us over until the fireworks show. These started before the sky was completely dark, which was probably just as well for those of us who had to drive home. There were lots of oohs and aahs for the wonderful efforts of the volunteer fireworks committee, and an especially enthusiastic round of applause for the moment when a bunch of rockets lit unexpectedly and fired off mostly horizontally into the desert brush. We loaded everyone back into the truck for the return trip, and Garth was a prince to stop at a hot dog stand in Mulege so we could have salchichas with the works to make it a truly complete Fourth of July experience.

Linda and John