I had wanted to stay in San Francisco to do some more hiking and rock-hunting but we didn’t think it would be good wind-wise as the winds were supposed to get stronger over the next few days. So we left for San Evaristo about 7 miles away, across the narrow San Jose Channel and back to the Baja Peninsula.
San Evaristo is a small fishing/goat-herding/salt mine village of about 20 families, 3 hours by 4-wheel drive truck from La Paz. After anchoring, we relaxed and stayed on the boat, reading, napping, writing, etc. For the first time in 4 days, we slept through the night. Thank. God.
The next morning, Gary, the go-to weather guy from the ham radio Sonrisa Net, says high winds are coming in and already at noon we are experiencing gusts to 20kts at times. You can see the channel outside the bay getting choppy. A friend boat “Resolution” arrived from Isla San Francisco and told us about their miserable night rolling in wrap-around swell all night long. So as much as I wanted to stay in SF another day, Brian WAS right and it was a good thing we left. Yes, sometimes he IS right. We stayed there for 3 nights due to strong winds for the next couple days. No more anchor dragging despite the higher winds.
Brian, in searching for what the air vent in the sink goes to, found a leak in the hose connection for the aft water tank that is a slow leak into the bilge. We saw water in there the other day and thought it might be from the packing gland or from all the anchor water draining from the chain into the bilge every time we pull up the anchor. Apparently not. It’s a slow leak and we are not equipped to fix it other than to keep the aft tank half full to keep it from draining. Good thing we have a water-maker.
Speaking of that, we made water for the first time with our watermaker. Yay! OK it was the second time, but this was the first time we would use it in a real cruising situation, not just for testing. It took us about an hour to refill our tanks as we don’t let them get much below half (we have tanks for 70 gallons).
I filled up an additional 2 buckets of water using “free” test water and did a big load of laundry. I washed (plunged – see photo of my plunger washer) about 2 shirts in a “set”, plunging about 100 times per set, using the same detergent water for everything. Putting aside the wet cleaned clothes, I poured out the dirty detergent water. Then I rinsed… again 2 shirts at a time, doing my “sets” (great for the triceps), plunging fresh water through and rinsing each “set” in just a few cups of new water each. The plunger works by pushing and sucking water through the material with each plunge down onto the clothing; plus it stows easily. It took at least an hour to do one full load (several shirts, shorts, and a couple yoga pants), but as Brian says, what else do I have to do that day? Isn’t he funny?
“Resolution” invited us to their boat for dinner. So in the afternoon I made oatmeal/cranberry/raisin/almond bars for dessert. Just so you understand the time involved in endeavor such as this: 2 hours from 4pm-6pm, including 40 min of baking time which also is clean up time. Resolution was going back to La Paz in a couple days and had over-provisioned, so they made us a virtual feast. Margaritas, pork filets on the BBQ, farfalle/garbanzo bean salad, real salad with actual lettuce (too fragile to store on my boat) and tomato, roasted green poblano chilies with cheese, fresh cantaloupe… and my lowly bars. I can’t even cook more than 2 dishes at a time and that’s only if the second is rice or pasta to be put into the first, let alone make 5 courses. Some people have that amazing talent for entertaining…and the fridge space. Jealous. I envy having space in my refrigerator for an entire cantaloupe.
El silencio de la noche
That night we slept like rocks but woke up in the middle of the night knowing something wasn’t quite right. It wasn’t; it was a still as a lake. Windy anchorages are no fun; but no wind is also disconcerting. After so many days of motion, such stillness was downright eerie. We felt as though we were in a sensory deprivation chamber or ensconced in a black hole. No sound, no movement whatsoever, pitch black… we couldn’t even tell we were on a boat. That night it creeped us out enough that we went up on deck just to make sure we weren’t floating off into Never-Never Land. So sorry, it was all a just dream, you have to get up for work in an hour…NOOOooooo.
Hiking San Evaristo
The next morning the weather net still predicted more northwest winds and Mother Nature did not disappoint. We kayaked to shore and after hiking a half mile, we arrived at the salt ponds on the north shore where it was blowing like snot. We were glad we stayed put… the waves were looking pretty squirrely in the San Jose Channel.
The salt ponds on this side of town are very neat and orderly, large mushy rectangles lined with rocks. Perfectly smooth, round pebbles lined the shore in masses here - the kind that would cost a mint for your backyard garden pond. Like pebble dunes instead of sand dunes, all the loose stones caused a minor landslide with each step. A small cemetery with about 6 tombs surrounded by a short rock wall sat lonely in the corner of the beach.
We walked back to the village on the dusty road that only a 4-wheel drive would love. Past the small one-room school house. Past a fishing shack with the guts of a fish hanging from a clothesline. Past ramshackle casas smaller than a 2-car garage, with no electricity other than a lone solar panel. One house boasted the decayed remnants of 4 pickups in a row, each broken down further than the next, scavenged for parts for the current truck.
We walked past a fisherman feeding scraps to the pelicans who lined up waiting patiently for a few bits. We noticed the seagulls around here are quite fat and happy, and lazy, barely moving from their resting spots as we pass by. They squawk louder and more annoyed the closer we get… “really… don’t you come over near me… this is my spot…seriously… I mean it… I’m not getting up…ohhh fine… dammit.” They get up from their comfy seat, waddle sleepily a couple feet away just out of reach, and settle back down.
Tacos de Pescado
We came to the town restaurant (singular): Lupe & Sierras & Maggi Mae’s Restaurant. The owner (Maggi and her husband Lupe) operates this little gem out of their house - you can see the beds behind the curtain off the kitchen. We eat in plastic furniture on their little patio adorned with home-made shell and dried starfish garland fencing that hung and twirled in the wind. Basically the menu is: fresh fish, whatever that happened to be at the moment. Decide if you want it fried and breaded (emparizado), just fried, or poached for 100 pesos with rice, avocado and cucumbers. I had awesome 80 peso ceviche with big chunks of cucumbers. SOOO good I had to take a picture. And cokes for 15 pesos each. That’s a dollar. So for 210 pesos or $14 plus a big tip we had a truly awesome lunch. Forgettaboutit.
Our 2-night, sinfully quiet, sleep streak was rudely interrupted. The wind had died completely and as it got dark our little cheapo solar cockpit lights came on ($3 home depot garden lights) and the illumination drew the plankton near the boat…which drew the fish to eat them. These particular fish were loud, they’d fidget and swish, splatter and splish, and generally cause a ruckus. We’d seen them before at another anchorage and it was cool to watch. If I’d had a net I could easily scoop up a dozen of them at a time and never run out of food for the rest of the year. Usually they got bored and went away after awhile…
As the night wore on, and I mean wore on… and we tried to sleep, it got progressively worse. Normal fishies, when encountered with something looming in their path, like a snorkel-masked human, or a huge lurking sailboat hull, naturally dart out of the way, seemingly in the nick of time. Most fish are smart in that way; not these fish. Whatever these were, some moronic carp-like creature at the bottom rung of the food chain, they ignored the boat hull completely in their feeding frenzy. They slid and slapped, whipped and whacked their 2-foot-long bodies against the hull. ALL. NIGHT. LONG.
I’m trying to sleep here! The water-line is about level to our v-berth where we sleep. Every few seconds…thud, shwack, flap and gurgle…right next to my head. Of course it was completely still, so no wind or wave noise means every sound is amplified. Eventually Brian went out and moved the lights a bit higher to eliminate the shine down into the water. But it was too late. They already claimed their spot and I swear I heard them calling to their other fishy friends telling the whole bay just what a great meal they were having at that Indigo boat.
This same night of the frolicking fishies was also the same night that I heard someone’s alarm go off at 4am on shore, beep-beep-beep for several minutes at a time. Then it would stop, then 15 minutes later it would start up again. It was so faint I almost thought I was crazy but when Brian woke up he confirmed I was not. At least this time.
The final straw in the camel’s back was about 5am, when we were going to get up at 6am to begin our long 26 mile trek up to Timbabiche, the roosters started. It was dark out. Completely. I had just commented that morning that the chickens here seemed to be pretty lazy, cock-a-doodle-doing at a measly 9:30am. Sheesh. Should have kept my mouth shut. Later, I realized they crowed at 9:30 on a Sunday when nobody worked, and 5am on Monday. Smarter than your average fish at least.