There’s a hurricane a comin’. As of yesterday, we were not sure if we would go to Coronado or continue on north a bit earlier than planned, just to get a bit higher in latitude. We were following a low – turned tropical depression, developing down near Manzanillo and this morning it became a hurricane. Andres was traveling north but arcing to the west out away from shore. Feeling a bit safer, we are stopping at Isla Coronado, as planned, instead of moving farther north.
The north bay of Coronado is a lovely, wide spot suitable for holding many boats; we had 12 others in here with room for 3x that many. We kayaked to shore and walked a bit on the beach but the sand was so deep and fluffy that strolling the shoreline wasn’t easy; your feet sunk in and slid down the 45% incline at each step. Rocks line the shore nearby but those proved to be littered with some sort of cockroach-like sea bug that skittered in the thousands amongst the small volcanic reef rocks – no way am I hopping and skipping along rocks with those crawling around. A small palapa sits on the beach where the panga guys bring tourists for an afternoon of lunch and swimming.
This island is a dead volcano, so the land is littered with interesting volcanic rock. A 4-hr hike will take you to the top of the volcano. But we’d heard about difficult footing with sliding rocks near the top and Brian didn’t want to go hiking for 4 hours. I know…lame. :) Sandy, manicured trails using volcanic rocks as path outlines, meander around the lowlands.
That evening, the sun set across the channel behind the Sierra La Gigantas and the whole scene was like a textbook painting you'd find in a Holiday Inn hotel room. Mountains highlighted in gradient shades of dark gunmetal greys, indigo blues and purple mountain majesty, each lower and closer mountain range darker than the one behind. The misty sunset lined in sherbet orange and watery rose fading gradually into linen cream and then soft baby blue. No clouds, nothing that spectacular… but it was simple and elegant. Heck, maybe even I could paint it… with the help of Bob Ross, painting guru, minus the happy clouds.
At dusk, we witness the most spectacular phenomenon. Mobular rays traveled amongst all the boats in packs from 5 – 20, moving as one dark shape under the calm surface like an amoeba. When the light was just right you could track their shadowy form underwater. Telltale circular ripples led our eyes to little wingtips and swishing tails disturbing the surface.
Then, suddenly… CRACK! The sound of a gunshot started the whole thing… and they would start jumping. Not just one, but ALL of them… slap, crash, smack, crack. It’s like one would start and they’d all get in on the action, one after another in succession, like they were trying to outdo each other. Whoever does the best belly flop wins the prize ceviche, or whatever rays eat! Once, their fireworks performance lasted so long they created their own widening circular wake, and our boat started bouncing from the disturbance in the still bay.
This didn’t just happen once, or twice, but on and off, ALL NIGHT LONG. We could hear them splashing right near the boat once in the middle of the night and got up to watch, but it was too dark. Just when I was complaining about nature… this is just too cool. Brian was irritated at not getting much sleep. But I’m not sure we will ever see this again in such numbers. The onesie/twosie’s splashing about is normal, but huge packs flapping away, hour after hour, all night… I have a feeling what we witnessed was pretty special.
Why this was not as annoying as the hull-slapping fishes or the rat-a-tatting fishes is beyond me. Mobular rays, like pufferfish, seem puppy-dog-like. Stingrays glide on the bottom, and settle in the sand. Glide and settle; instinctive movement. I suppose mobular rays seem to put thought into it… like watching dolphins or whales. Their wings gracefully undulate, allowing them to fly through the water like birds. Whether floating at the surface with just their wingtips protruding… or leaping and flapping their little wings, trying their hardest to fly away… then belly-smacking like little kids… they are just fascinating to watch, and it never gets old. You get the sense they are just happy little creatures. If I can’t have a dog as a pet…hmmm… mobular ray?
May 30 Isla Coronado Day 2
Last year, on this date, I quit my job. Wow. How time flies when you're having fun. Do I miss it? NO.
Listening to the weather this morning, Geary the weather guru determined hurricane Andres was indeed moving off to the west. However, another low is developing just below it off Manzanillo. Geary is predicting early on it will turn into a hurricane as well and hit Cabo a little over a week from now. Not good. But this gives us time to evaluate…we will look at the weatherfax at 4pm today and see what it looks like. Either way we are leaving for San Juanico tomorrow in order to get further north. Just in case.
I would have liked to stay here another two days (and goad Brian into the volcano hike) but things keep changing. At least we got to see the island - we almost skipped it due to Andres. If the hurricane does track up this way, we have enough time to get to San Juanico tomorrow (Sunday), Pulpito on Monday, Domingo on Tues and possibly Punta Chivato on Wednesday. If they say it’s going to hit Cabo the following Monday we will be in a good position to jump on Thursday or Friday and make it to San Carlos the following day, 2 days before it hits Cabo.
Yak to the Beach
Today we did some boat work and then took a long break, kayaking a half mile away to the east beach. This side is an exquisite walking beach, with harder packed sand, bright aquamarine water, black lava rock and whitewashed coral and miniature shells. This long sandy strand is really a half mile long sandspit/natural breakwater, stretching out like a boat hook and cocooning the shallow water in its lee. Perfect for hours-long beach-combing. Later the wind picked up and we headed back to the boat in choppy 1/2ft waves at 1 second. The kayak took it well, bouncing away happily. Brian was not so happy, soaked by my paddle strokes skipping off the wavelets and splashing him every few seconds. :)
Dinner: pasta salad with tuna, cheddar cheese, cabbage, ½ apple, last of the green onion. Showers. More cake. More Alias. Typing. Then bed. Exhausted. Right now, after having 10kts of wind all day from the north it is quiet and still... no flopping rays... no wind. Like a switch had turned off. Speaking of switches, the summer heat switch has been turned ON. Since we got here to Coronado it has been HOT. And muggy. Mid 90’s and water is now 84! Holy hotness Batman!
I put up a video on YouTube of the jumping rays. Too bad they did not jump closer to the boat and I don’t have zoom on the GoPro. The two portions that are zoomed in are artificially done in the editing process and are therefore pixelated. But at least you can get an idea of what we witnessed, and how special it was, even if it’s a little blurry… Jumping Ray Video