October 19, 2010
grinding stone from ancient people of Baja
Less wind this morning; Alvaro prepares hot coffee on the Coleman camp stove and I guzzle it down. Granola is in a large zip-lock bag and it flies away as I spoon it onto my yogurt and fresh fruit covering Alvaro with what looks like powdery snow. He just laughs and says it is okay. We all lounge about, I think I am the only one that slept well despite several visits to both Paco and the ladies bathroom all in the dark. We go on a hike past a fresh water well complete with bucket and home-made windlass. I am very sore on my right side and stop here while the others continue up the hill. I hear a wren and hope to see one in the fig trees nearby but no luck.
Lunch was a wonderful ceviche made from yellow-tail and a cactus salad similar to a 3 bean salad. Our second breakfast that morning was quesadillas made from aserado cheese, a soft stringy cheese much like mozzarella.
The group further down the beach have walled tents with solar cells, huge sun showers and huge kitchen with probably real appliances. The guides and cooks all seem to know each other well and there is a lot of borrowing of foodstuffs and trading of stories.
We pack up and Carol and I ride the skiff to our new campsite on Isla Partida, an island separated from Espiritu Santos by a narrow channel at low tide. Packing the boat with all the gear is an interesting spectacle with everything needing to fit in just so. The paddlers take off and we empty the garbage pail and Paco far in the middle of the Sea of Cortez. We unload the skiff at our new campsite and I thought about putting up our tent but got no further in the project but good intentions. Early in the week, we discovered identifying the path to Paco and putting up our tent was best done in the daylight and preferably not after supper. Sunsets were spectacular along with the moon-rises but still it was very dark very quickly.
The paddlers appeared and we went out for a short run around the bay. Glen and I went out in one kayak, Carol and Don in another while Sue took out a single. The water here is so clear—we saw trigger fish, Sgt. Majors, tiny minnows and then surprised a group of tiny flying fish. There was a small blue footed Boobie colony, their feet a brilliant turquoise blue against the orangey red of the rocks. A kingfisher scolded us as we paddled near him.
We have ceviche again tonight—it is so tasty and so fresh.
Paco is up the hill behind a cactus, a challenging trip during the day as the rocky path is quite unstable. The moon and Jupiter are out and Don patiently points out constellations.
October 16, 2010
We were awakened by the laughter and chatting of teams gathered for a race to Cabo San Lucas in buggies, motorcycles, and trucks. On my way to breakfast, a smiling ten year boy waited patiently at the elevator with a mounted tire nearly as tall as he was. When he saw a group of nicely dressed older ladies inside, he smiled even broader and took the stairs, bouncing that tire down three flights.
Breakfast was expensive but quite tasty at La Panga, a short walk up the marina. They serve octopus so I suspect we will be back. Next on our agenda was shopping. Somehow we didn’t notice that we needed sleeping bags, insect repellant, our own cups, and sunglasses. A taxi driver took us to the local Walmart. PFD’s were located prominently on the front of each aisle and we were challenged to remember the names of things we wanted in Spanish. The clerks tried very hard to be helpful although they directed us to the grocery section for our coffee cups.
Our taxi driver had waited for us, chatting amiably with someone on his cell phone; his English was quite good as he had spent several years in the U.S.
I went for a quick swim in the pool and then settled in a nice chair with my Kindle. Don and Carol arrived late afternoon, we ate a nice evening meal at La Panga with Glen having his octopus although it was not on the menu.
Our guide, Rafael was waiting for us in the hotel lobby along with Rob and Sue, a couple from British Columbia who were also part of our group. Each of us was asked what our expectations of the trip were—Sue wants to learn how to roll the kayak; Rob quickly responded not in a double. The rest of us were interested in scenery; Glen said he wanted to lose five pounds—Rafael laughed at that knowing what was ahead of us. Tomorrow we will pick up our gear—life jackets, snorkeling equipment, wetsuits, take the skiff out to the island and do a wet exit from the kayak. I am not looking forward to the wet exit.
No pictures today but starting tomorrow there will be plenty. Photos from the entire trip are at:
October 15, 2010
The beginning of our adventure
Mexico City Airport
Our day began early—at 2 AM and still very dark. No matter how much I plan, there are always last minute things—depositing a paycheck, paying bills, running the dishwasher, emptying the trash, and fueling up the truck. We made good time to the airport even though we stopped at Duncan Donuts for coffee and a donut.
Our plane was small, 3 seats across but it wasn’t too full. Immigrations & Customs in Mexico City is a bit challenging as there are few directional signs. We have a six hour layover, originally planned to allow Don and Carol ample time to catch up with us but they are flying Alaskan Airlines directly to La Paz from Los Angeles.
Glen just barely misses being arrested for taking photographs of me in the airport. The airport is spotlessly clean with a small army of folks sweeping or washing windows. The walls of the airport look like concrete perforated board with hundreds of tiny windows about ten inches across. Mexico City is in the mountains and is quite cool; I am glad I brought a jacket and the Café Americano is hot and strong.
We lunched at the Alfa Bar with the hostess doing an excellent job of inviting people in. Had we been a few minutes later, we could have ordered from the lunch menu, but breakfast any time of day is always good. Glen had eggs with machaca which is dried or shredded meat while I had panela which turned out to be squeaky cheese cut into slices and fried on a griddle.
The flight to La Paz was uneventful and I tried hard (unsuccessfully) to take a photo of Espiritu Santos from the air.
view from the restaurant window at sunset
Our hotel is pleasant, right next to one of several marinas. We have a balcony view of the pool with huge bougainvilleas everywhere. Of course we were hungry for supper, and we sampled a fish sauce with chips along with great guacamole at the Dinghy Dock, the hotel restaurant.