Posted by: Carol | January 16, 2008

Magdalena Bay

2008 Mexico – San Diego to Barra

CBParker_D3_20080116_Baja (67 of 551)We pulled into Bahia de Magdalena early yesterday morning, right on schedule. A very busy night on watch our last night at sea – cruise ships coming and going, lots of traffic on the radar. A cruise ship passing by a couple of miles away at night looks like the Disneyland Light Parade – quite a festive sight!

Mag Bay is enormous – we cruised down to the far end and anchored off a pleasant beach with a view of a cactus forest and mountains rising up behind. The land here, as expected, is arid and very much a desert. The plants are similar but not the same as ours in Tucson. The cardon is similar to our saguaro, and there is a type of ocotillo but twisted and gnarly instead of upright branches.

The weather is warm enough for shirt sleeves and bare feet – although we’re still not tempted to swim. We did some housekeeping, laundry, and then launched the dinghy for a sight-seeing trip. We are too early for the whales, unfortunately. There are a few early arrivals in the lagoon, but the mass influx comes in a few more weeks apparently. However the bird life is quite interesting – this is a place where migratory waterfowl come to spend the winter. There are huge flocks of ducks and black brant, as well as the usual pelicans and seagulls. Also osprey – we found a couple of enormous nests in the cardon cactus and I have been “hunting” them with my camera – with some spectacular results (more details later).

We have a new dinghy after our old one pretty much disintegrated after all its tropical travels. The new dinghy is Italian-made, longer and skinner than the other, with a hard bottom and very fast. It gets up on the plane very easily and is a more comfortable ride – although possibly tippier as well. We shall see how it performs when we go diving and have to pull ourselves back in from the water!

After our dinghy exploration Rod went running down a dirt road alongside the shore, and Mike and I took a longer but more leisurely walk, me with camera in hand, reluctant to return to the boat until the last of the pretty afternoon light faded away.

Then a grilled steak and salad for dinner – a welcome change after three nights of microwaved Lean Cuisine! Early to bed (8 p.m.) and a long night’s sleep with no alarm clocks signaling the next watch. Very refreshing and relaxing.

This morning I took my kayak out for a paddle (love the new carbon fiber paddle, Michelle! Like a feather). I enjoy kayaking on a quiet morning, paddling or coasting, taking in the quiet and the scenery. This morning the water was so glassy calm that it reflected the sun like a gigantic mirror – completely blinding. I take my camera along and sometimes get some great shots, in spite of the rocking motion of the boat. Today I was practicing high speed shooting of flying birds and got really lucky when an osprey headed right for me and splashed down into the sea, grabbed a fish in his talons, and took off again! Fortunately I had been practicing my technique, and I nailed some fabulous photos, tack-sharp with every feather crisp, every drop of water sparkling, a glow in his eye, and an unhappy rockfish in his (actually probably her) clutches. Can’t wait to post the photos for you to see! I have some terrific flying pelican shots as well.

This morning we have pulled up our anchor and are moving to another area of the bay with sand dunes for a beach. Tonight will be our last night here, and we will head out to sea again tomorrow heading for Cabo San Lucas or, more likely, Cabo San Jose which is nearby but more peaceful. From there we will strike off to mainland Mexico. Our lunch and dinner were just delivered by Mexican panga (Mexican fishing dinghy). Three fishermen pulled up alongside us as we were motoring and held up a lobster for our consideration – we bought six for the price of a 12-pack of coca cola, a few beers, and a couple of dollars!

I had to interrupt this email as I heard the cry of ‘thar she blows’ and rushed up with my camera to try for photos of two more gray whales cruising the lagoon near our route.


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