Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

After working on the boat projects for several weeks in Guaymas, Sonora, we set off sailing on a lovely beam reach across the Sea of Cortez to the Baja east coast.  The last few miles were the best as some dolphins joined us in the morning light. They swam in front and around Ladybug, twisting their bodies as they whizzed by to make eye contact with me as I leaned over the bow pulpit.

We arrived at one of our favourite anchorages, San Juanico, and were soon swapping stories with friends from the past on s/v Hotspur. That night we were invited for mouth watering pizza and our first margaritas on S/V Just a Minute.

Algodon flower -"windmill" stage!
That was an auspicious start to three weeks of near perfect sailing down the coast towards La Paz, anchoring at some familiar anchorages on the coast and the islands nearby. On Isla Carmen we sat out a northerly blow for 5 days in Puerto Ballandra and made new friends with other stormbound sailors.Since it was still possible to row ashore, we set out on exploratory hikes across the island to find bighorn sheep and new vistas from the scrubby hilltops. We did catch a brief glimpse of a sheep disappearing over a rock face thanks to the eagle-eyed Steve of s/v Corvidae.I ran down the steep gravelly switch back to try and get a photo for the blog but the creature just vanished. Maybe we had a collective hallucination!You can, however, see us in a photo taken from the top of that ridge as we featured it on our Christmas card.The view below of Salinas Bay with it's white crescent beach and giant rectangular salt pans framed by reddish brown volcanic cones was stunning.

Salinas Bay salt pan from the ridge 

Chris's shelter on Isla San Francisco

Exploring new anchorages is always a challenge as the seasonal northerly wind dictates our course for the night. However, we were fortunate to experience a few moderately calm days and sailed Ladybug into new bays. Hiking into new territory was a novel experience and we found many treasures; flowers, shells and beached skeletons, including a mummified wild cat.

wild cat, maybe a lynx, found mummified on shingle beach. 

This wild cat, maybe a lynx, was probably shot ( see bullet hole above left eye) and ran off the cliff onto a shingle beach.

Looking south towards Isla Cerralvo

Sailing into the sunset
Coyote melon vine
Thanks to the recent rain, the flowers were spectacular in the arroyos. Vines of bright yellow morning glories and pretty pink San Miguels clambered over rocks and shrubs and purple nightshade flowers stretched out like bats' wings. The plateaus above were decked out for Christmas with the luscious red berries of the boxwoods competing in the colour contest with the scarlet chilli-like flowers of the coral plant.

Boxwood shrub on Isla San Francisco

Nightshade family
Rama parda ( Acanthus family)


Cassandra Petrachenko said...

Merry Christmas, Chris and Rani! Our party with the pleasure pickle wasn't quite the same without you!

genesisincalmh2o said...

Merry Christmas. I will be following your blog wishing I was boating on the water! Spring will come soon enough and I will be outnon Genesis. Still doing engine work.
Stay safe.
Your friend Faye