Bridgie's Babble - Nov. 17, 2007
Nov. 17, 2007

Season 1 Finale; The  Sea of Cortez

My first mistake when planning our "Summer in the Sea" was my expectations.I had done lots of reading, asked questions of
seasoned cruisers and developed an idea of what I thought would be a perfect 5 months. In the future, I'll ask better questions and
comprehend what I am being told. I'll take my head out of the clouds when it comes to important matters.

First off, with only 45 boats spending the summer along the 650+ miles, there was sure to be lots of time spent in cozy, private
anchorages.  I was looking forward to the solitude and the one on one time I could spend with my favorite man John. We did have
some opportunities for quiet coves but not as many as I would have liked or imagined.

The weather always play a major roll in which places one can anchor for a night or period of time. Weather dictates just about
everything. Consequently, we missed visiting some islands and areas just to maintain safety and comfort. Our lack of experience
didn't allow us to be foolhardy and risky. That's OK! Likewise, we plotted our courses based on weather reports. So did half of all
the other cruisers. We often ended up sharing anchorages with other boats that had the same dreams of solitude.

The coves, as nice as they are, are not always "flat calm". There were swells and current which make floating on inflatable pool rafts
downright dangerous! But the noodles work well as long as you don't care about salt water getting in your can of beer. Personally, I
could never master the combo so I stayed off the noodles. Something had to give.

I didn't get to practice my Spanish. Even the locals in the smallest pueblos have managed to speak English well enough to
accommodate tourists. And, there are lots of Gringos living here, too!

Bees, no see'im bugs, dead squid and green water.

Bees With the exception of a casual mention in the guide books about insects, I don't recall  anybody saying  that certain places
have a bee population the size of Los Angeles. They are looking for fresh water and
know just where to go for it. Don't, I repeat,
don't leave any water outside the boat. Also, make sure all screens are in and/or ports are closed at ALL times. In the morning,when
there is dew on the decks, expect a cavalry of bees.

No see'im bugs, aka teeth with wings. You'll  see from the photo the damage they can do. They are very small and march along
your body taking bites. You don't see them until it's too late! The itch, which lasts for about 4 days, will make you crazy. You just
can't scratch enough to satisfy. Once you scratch one, the next one becomes itchy and then the next..... I've tried all the remedies:
anti itch cream, topical solutions such as rubbing alcohol,  tequila, limes, Mexican hot sauce, cucumbers, salt, you name it! I also tried
rubbing them off with pumice stone and threatened to shave them with a razor. I melted aspirin with water and made a rub. The best
solution I found was to scratch them good and soak with vinegar. It stings like heck and that is a welcome pain! Repeat the process
every 6 hours or so. The bites had just healed from our experience at Ballandra Cove, where we endured those pesky's for several
days to enjoy some beautiful scenery and water, when we discussed where to go next. We've never been to Isla San Jose! We must
go there! It has a small mangrove stream that runs from east to west across the island that we can transit in our dinghy. We can't miss
that! What were we
THINKING? Mangroves are the places where no see'im's lie in wait for  people with a good blood supply. We
know this! Round two, no see'im's win again! Next time I'm going to give a place more consideration before we go (and we'll
probably go)
. Oh, by the way, someday I'll go into the subject of repellents..or John would take too much space for nothing!

Dead Squid. These fish are ugly enough when they're alive. What we experienced was thousands of dead ones on the shores of
many beaches early in the season. Seems it is part of their mating ritual. They have some fun and call it quits. Hum...I wonder who
ever thought of this plan. Don't count me in!. They bring the seagulls, who have a feast and then are too fat to move. Then along
come the flies, who have their snack. They smell putrid as they decay and you don't want to be downwind, that's for sure!

Green Water was supposed to be turquoise blue and clear. There's this thing called plankton. I don't know the first thing about it
except that it is good for the balance of marine life and the fish like it. It makes the water green and uninviting. I can't see what sea
creatures are swimming about and that makes me nervous. What if there are jellyfish? Yikes! The green water cleared up and met
my expectations, depending on location, but very late in the season.

I was reminded by John that, after all, we are the intruders, not the other way around. What was I thinking? Of course, he was right.
I just hadn't thought of it! Still, these things were not in my plans......

Now, I know I've sounded negative so far but I wanted to make a point. For the first 6 weeks or so, I was so focused on what I
wasn't experiencing that I missed the good points. After all, how could I complain about my current situation when I don't even have
to get up at 4:30 AM to go to work? I don't have to get up AT ALL if I don't want to. And take a look at the
photos. A picture is
worth a thousand words. I now realize how much my negative thought process robbed me of some time that was otherwise fantastic.
I'll be smarter going forward and appreciate/enjoy every bit of the rest of the trip..and the rest of my life. Tomorrow we're scheduled
to go into La Paz to prepare for the next adventure. I'm saddened to think we'll be leaving the Sea just when I discovered a great
love for it. Perhaps we'll return next year........
Photos for Nov. 17, 2007