Bridgie's Babble - 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
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

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........