La Panga and wet exits
October 17, 2010
We had a quick breakfast at the hotel restaurant and then gathered at the front door of the hotel to meet Rafael. Our first task was to collect our PFD’s, snorkeling equipment, and Lycra suits and then take a skiff out to the first beach. The kayaks were waiting for us, two singles and two doubles with an additional kayak for the guide.
Patiently he explained and demonstrated a wet escape which included getting into the kayak from the water and adjusting the spray skirt.
A wet escape from a kayak was practiced by all with much laughter from the guys as they awkwardly climbed into their skirts. You might think that being half Scot would have made that experience a bit easier. I was surprised to find that I could do that wet escape without sputtering although I did not manage the three knocks on the sides of the kayak while upside down in the water. I was assured that a double was unlikely to tump, particularly since our plan was to have Don be in the rear and do the majority of the work paddling. Now that we were all wet, we sat down and had lunch.
We took an easy paddle in the late afternoon, very easy for me as Don did all the work. The island is volcanic with a layer of brecia, sedimentary rocks topped by tuff and then pinkish basalt. The Basalt is very architectural in appearance and for awhile I thought there was a condominium at the end of the point. Vegetation is sparse with a few tall Saguaro like cacti and cholla. We see a frigate bird colony nesting near an old pearl farm started by a French man long before the days of masks or swimming goggles.
Camp is set up with each couple setting up a tent. Rob and Sue fly a Canadian flag on their tent, while Glen and I have the rain fly up which flaps all night long. A tarp is set up with short beach chairs for us while Alvaro and his son Alvarito prepare the evening meal. The girls bathroom is a canvas screen at one end of the beach with a hole, toilet paper in a canister, water free hand cleaner and a trash bag for the toilet paper. Men were asked to go belong high tide line and face the ocean.
Paco the psychologist is the name of the porta-pottie which is placed in a secluded spot with a blue dry-bag containing toilet tissue and waterless cleaner located at the beginning of the path. We are all instructed in the use of Paco and it becomes a challenge to find Paco in the daylight. Sometimes it was up a hill or over a ditch or behind a cactus or through salt cedar.
The water here is so beautiful, turquoise and deep blue and purple and lime green and so warm—in the 80’s. It will be full moon in a few days and the suggestion was made for a moonlight paddle. Our guide didn’t say no but I think he resolved to keep us so busy and active we would be so tired by dark we would want nothing more than bed.