02 May 2010

Sailing in the Sea of Cortez

at sea in our vessel, the "Caribbean Reef"

Last week we went sailing off the coast of Baja California Sur, our second "babymoon" (our first was to London). Our friends, Ben and Jieun, who live outside of Seattle are big fans of the nautical vacation and we were delighted when, earlier this year, they invited us to accompany them on a boat for five days in the Sea of Cortez. It's not everyday your friend calls you up and says, "I'm going sailing, want to come?" We said yes post haste.

boats, bouganvilla and cactus

We set sail last Monday morning out of La Paz, BCS, from the Moorings marina that was inundated with bouganvilla - my favorite non-mid-western flower. There were cactus everywhere, too - the climate in Baja is so arid, though the nights on the boat were so humid. It was like New Mexico plopped down smack dab into the ocean. Our journey took us up and down a short piece of the coast and in and out of several islas. Our captains were my friend Ben and his dad who sailed and motored us adeptly while the rest of us did our best to help "batten down the hatches," "unfurl the jib," learn to tie a "bowline" or - at least cook dinner.

practicing the bowline at night

at anchor during the day

Our vessel was a 4 cabin Catamaran - Sergio and I had the bunk at the front of the boat on the right side - er, uh - the "starboard berth in the bow of the boat?" (Still learning my nautical terminology.) The boat was fully stocked with food and had a well appointed though tiny kitchen; we all took turns prepping and cleaning, and we easily fed seven people almost three meals a day for five days. (Despite the itsy bitsy grill.)

Sergio's guacamole with the freshest of avocados

a mango, superbly fresh and local in Mexico

We did make several stops along the way, including a nice dinner (Captain Denny's treat!) at the Playa Pichilingue restaurant on the night before our return where I had delicious garlic fish and tried to practice my Spanish by telling the waiter that "Over there where our boot is there are many pots." He knew I meant boat and waves. I think...

The Gringo's whale skeleton on Isla Coyote

But my most favorite stop of all was a tiny - and I mean tiny - island called Isla Coyote or Isla Pardito. It is a simple slab of rock jutting out of the sea where there live twice as many sea gulls as pelicans and ten times as many pelicans as people. There are only six families living on Isla Coyote plus "The Gringo" and his wife who collect whale skeletons. They all live in and among the closely clustered 8 or 10 buildings visible on the north side of the island (the south face is uninhabitable rocky terrain) and everyone there fishes. Including the pelicans and sea gulls. I have never seen anything like this tiny island and I was amazed.

And when we weren't exploring tiny islands, or mangroves, or cooking food, or successfully enduring a few nights of really rocky waters ... we all spent a lot of time reading.

What a way to vacation.

Bloodroot, by Amy Greene (L), Better Off, by Eric Brende (R)

PS: LOTS more pictures on Flickr


Jeanee said...

Looks wonderful!!!

Jenni said...

Oh my goodness! What an amazing vacation!!!! You are one lucky gal!

Deena said...

I really enjoyed reading your post. What an amazing experience...the sea, the sun, great company, good food. It all sounds and looks wonderful.