I spoke of the yin and yang of sailing/cruising before and this week was no exception. We had our yin (negative) of several days of high winds, a couple nights of uncomfortable swell & I slept poorly most nights. Aside from that, the yang (positive) of it all was that we had THE PERFECT DAY. We like to call these “Lipiec Days”. We say “we’re having a Lipiec day!” when multiple events conspire unexpectedly in our favor.
Up at 7am, we listened to Amigo Net (a daily morning weather report and check-in radio net for Mexico boats). They say there’s a “norther” (strong north wind) coming on Tuesday so we decide to leave Caleta Partida and head over to Ensenada Grande today to see if we can tuck in there for the next few days. We ended up staying 5 nights it was so beautiful we didn’t want to leave.
We arrived at about 10am and dropped in 20ft of the most crystal blue water yet. Probably the best anchorage so far. Immediately, we headed off rowing the dinghy along giant weatherworn sandstone and lavarock cliffs. Multitudes of holes and pock-marks were sculpted into the ruddy faces, looking like Easter Island heads, skulls or enormous blocks of Swiss cheese. The holes formed small caves at the water’s edge, and we ventured halfway into one. Crabs scuttled across the rocks. Squawking seagulls protected their nests.
We rowed across the tiny bay to a sheltered, 100 ft long, sand beach littered with shells and surrounded by towering black and reddish rocks. We landed and took in the immenseness and solitude. By all accounts this was the best beach in the islands…and we were alone in it.
We rowed back to the boat and relaxed in the cockpit. After lunch, our activities consisted of merely reading a good book, soaking up the warm sun and watching nature unfold at its finest, enchanted by our surroundings. It seems as though every few minutes there was something else to see.
We watched the frigates and pelicans and seagulls soar overhead. A small sea lion surfaced here and there searching for dinner. Tiny ducks swam in pairs near the boat, suddenly dipping below, swimming as fast as a fish to catch their meal and popping up on the opposite side of the boat in perfect synchronization. I don’t get tired of seeing those little guys work. We contemplated huge schools of fish rustling the water surface, sounding like a fresh rain, and wondered what on earth had them so spooked.
Mobula rays jumped out of the water. They’d appear to be trying to fly, wings flapping frantically, belly-flopping against the surface. In the mountainous area each splash sounded like a shotgun blast echoing off the valley walls. When we heard a splash we knew to look up for the second act as they usually performed twice in a row, sometimes three times. We also saw them float to the surface ever so quietly and lift both wings tips, just the tips, out straight up vertical to the water, as if to test the air like we would with our fore-finger. They did this over and over again. I don’t know why, but it was adorable. We only saw them do this on calm days when the water was smooth. (See photo in the gallery and look closely in the middle.)
We witnessed thin silvery fish running on water. One fish about a foot long would suddenly jump out and skip across the surface at a 60degree angle, his little tail propelling him 20ft across the surface to get away from the second and larger chase fish doing the same. Add some fuzzy pink boas around their tiny fish necks and it would complete the bizarre Dr. Seuss illustration.
The day was remarkably calm. At one point, dead calm; 0.0 knots said the wind indicator. Not a ripple to be found, the great Sea of Cortez was a lake of glass. And we were the only ones in it. It’s hard to describe such a day, other than maybe this is what contentment really is.
The serenity was broken when a panga came to the larger beach in front of us. It was good ‘ole Caroline, the Fun Baja boat that docks directly in back of us at Costa Baja Marina, the one who wakes us every morning and near-misses us by 3 inches every time they drive out of the slip. They take to the beach and, except for the kids screaming for a while discovering that the canyon makes a great echo-machine, we don’t care that they are there. We continue our reverie of reading and just BEING. We keep smiling and saying, Wow this really sucks! (Yes, we are sarcastic by nature.) Look at this place. There is nature all around us and we are immersed in it, like a National Geographic documentary. SO unreal.
We watch the splendid sunset eating dinner of kielbasa sausage and pasta salad in the cockpit and my photos just could not capture the beautiful reds and oranges. Even the opposite hillsides competed with their own shades of pink and blue. Dessert: apple cinnamon rice pudding. Mmmm.
BUT, there is always that niggling in the back of your head that this is just the calm before the storm. I feel lucky to have seen it so perfectly still though. Had we been in any other anchorage we may have thought the same, “Ahh what a perfect day”, just for the mere calmness of it all. Zero wind is the bane of a sailor and the ecstasy of the anchorer. We have no fear of swinging on anchor, dragging, hitting another boat, smashing against the rocks, rocking til we want to puke, not sleeping. Always worried about the wind shifting, we are constantly aware of minute changes…is it increasing? Switching around to the south? Yes…damn we should have pulled the dinghy up…. Indeed it is as if we are at the dock. The boat is completely still, not a single sound but for the click of my keyboard and the hum of the refrigerator. We feel like we are back in the quiet tributaries of the Chesapeake once again.
Amazingly, the water is still completely flat at 9pm. Nothing but a black sky littered with millions of stars. SO bright are the stars that even Orion is almost indistinguishable for the millions of others amidst that are now visible in this light-less abyss. We soak in the solitude together. The bio-luminescence in the water is like hundreds of fireflies floating in a black pool. Brian swishes the boat hook in the water and the resultant “starry–night” swirl evokes Van Gogh’s painting and reminds us of Mickey Mouse's sorcerers wand. This is peace.