Posted by: Carol | August 13, 2008

Puerto El Gato

CBParker_D3_20080811IslaCarmen-066PHOTO GALLERIES
2008 Mexico 3 – La Paz to Loreto

Nothing much exciting to report – really just more of the same. We’re working our way south again towards La Paz from Loreto and keeping our eye on a new tropical disturbance that shows some signs of possibly heading north rather than west. Meanwhile the weather is consistently calm and warm.

On Sunday, our last day in Loreto, Mike and I took ourselves to lunch at an authentic Baja-style hangout called Vista del Mar, overlooking the sea (ceviche and breaded shrimp) and afterwards explored a sleepy little beach town nearby called El Juncalito which consists primarily of RVs parked under nice palapa shadeports more than anything else. Then we drove our rental car onto a nearby popular beach, parked on the sand with all the other Sunday holiday crowd, and hiked over a rise for half a mile or so to a quiet cove to go snorkeling. We got hot enough on the short hike that we determined to snorkel all the way back to our parking place rather than walk, so towed our towels and clothes along with us in a dry (or at least semi-dry) bag.

Monday morning we sailed away from Loreto to Isla Carmen and a nice anchorage at the northwestern tip named Puerto Ballandra. It was a good spot for swimming to the sandy beach and circumnavigating in the kayak for exercise. I also took my camera ashore to photograph a drab cactus snugged up to a nearly dead mesquite tree, but adorned with gaudy red flowers so bright that at first glance I truly thought they were plastic flowers perhaps marking a memorial. Rod (who hates seagulls under the assumption they will perch and poop on the dinghy) waged war on one who lingered close to Raven for a couple of hours, bobbing on the water and probably hoping for scraps after dinner, until finally driven off by a spray from our deck hose.

Tuesday morning we sailed from Isla Carmen over to an island with the not very Spanish-sounding name of Isla Monserrat. En route we stopped at Punta Tintorera on Isla Carmen (Tintorera means female shark but we didn’t see any – haven’t seen a single shark the entire trip) to scuba dive for half an hour and enjoy lunch after, before continuing on to the night’s anchorage named Yellowstone Beach – a small arid island with a white sand beach, sand dunes and sandstone rock formations that were an ochre yellow instead of the usual pink or red. Another good swimming spot, with surprisingly good snorkeling on a shallow point where we saw a free-swimming moray, a lobster, three different kinds of rays including an electric ray, brightly colored tropical reef fish and good-sized schools of somewhat larger fish, all in clear water less than six feet deep.

The Perseid meteor shower peaked last night so we set our alarm for 3 a.m. (moonset) and spent an hour or so lying on the deck star-gazing and counting meteors – I probably saw about 20 in that time including three at once.

Several hours today were spent sailing south towards La Paz, passing schools of dolphins and a few leaping manta rays. Now we are settled in a very pretty anchorage named Puerto El Gato on the Baja peninsula, with dramatic red sandstone cliffs (reminiscent of the Grand Canyon) flanking both ends of the sandy beach and a rugged grey and green mountain range stretching out in the not too far distance. It’s a hot afternoon and I haven’t decided which method of cooling off I prefer at the moment – taking a plunge or staying in the air conditioned salon!

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