Friday, 26 October 2012

a gem, clearly (or itchy ankles in neverland)

“For the Neverland is always more or less an island, with astonishing splashes of colour here and there.”  – J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan)
Early morning's glorious colours
Our boat appeared to be hovering over the sand. The water was that clear. Our first night, the cockpit light illuminated the sand 25 feet below, and we watched the fish swimming above it as if we were looking into an aquarium. We had yet to see that in the Sea of Cortez. When I stepped inside the cabin for a minute or two, Rick saw the silhouette of a startled sea turtle swim into the light and scoot away at high speed.
The lagoon
It’s beautiful here. So much so, that our friend John joked about getting goats and settling down in this spot. At the head of the bay, there is a valley crowned by jagged mountains. On first impression, Caleta Pulpito1 feels welcoming; perhaps it’s the light dusting of greenery at the base of the mountains. Once again, there was no one there but us: Two boats, in a lesser-known bay with crystal clear waters. Perfect. Or nearly so. There are jejenes here; lately they seem to be everywhere. (Jejenes are what we know in Canada as no-see-ums: Pesky, tiny flies that bite with the gusto of mosquitoes, at dawn and dusk.) In spite of itchy ankles, it still was love at first sight.
The bay, as seen in the valley
This place is a treasure in itself. The lagoon, hidden from the anchorage – and home to egrets and herons, stretches for a mile around the small mound that sprouts up at the head of the bay. There is actual grass in this valley: Thin patches that unwittingly compete with vast expanses of rust-coloured gravel. A few leafy plants and a small number of gnarly trees are scattered among the customary chaparral and cacti. Further inland, I chased monarch butterflies and scaled crumbling hills. In my delight at the greenery surrounding me, I inhaled the fragrant scent of nearly every plant I came across. I’m sure I looked the fool for it too.
The boys, without their pole spears
I enjoy snorkelling with my camera in hand; while I also like it, lately I have not been as keen to spearfish. Rick has taken up the slack with enthusiasm. He and John scout out favourable reefs and head there with grand ideas of what they’ll bring home for supper, (and lunch for that matter). Needless to say, our diet is high in fish. Our last day in Pulpito, I joined them at a nearby point and swam with a large sea turtle while they were off catching dinner. The turtle was beautiful, as well as unafraid.  When she disappeared into the shadows, I looked down. Thirty feet below me, I could clearly see the most incredible collection of reef fish I’d ever seen in one area. The water was swarming with fish, fish everywhere; at least a dozen species were mixing it up: It was mesmerizing. Of course my camera battery had died 20 minutes earlier – but I didn’t mind. It was one of those moments I was to cherish on my own.
Trees are such a novelty these days


View of our boats from the mountain side

Sun-kissed

Found a float, turned it into a football
The only day the guys didn’t go fishing in Pulpito, they looked lost. The day before, they had caught enough fish for two days. I asked them to forgo fishing for one day. After all, we don’t want to be greedy with the Sea’s offerings. That’s when I took them exploring ashore, I wanted to show them what I’d discovered earlier. As we walked inland, John kept talking about fishing. Later, as the three of us made our way back toward the beach, John and I hunted for sparkling rocks while Rick eagerly led the way to the water like a horse returning to the barn. Near shore, rocky areas are lined with beautiful patches of fine sand; there, we happily cavorted in waist-deep water after our walk in the sweltering heat.

Happy as a clam in the water

Got my "supersuit" on - Ready to snorkel
We wear skin suits in the Sea to avoid getting stung by various jelly fish -
Rick started calling it my supersuit... Remember in "The Incredibles"?
"HONEY, where's mah supersuit!!" (Frozone)
 The next morning I waved goodbye as they eagerly left with their pole spears. Relieved, I sat down with John’s latest issue of Latitude 38 2, and in between refreshing swims, I drank my coffee in peace.
In all the days we spent at Caleta Pulpito, there was a third boat also anchored there, for less than 24 hours. We enjoyed a friendly chat with the father and his 5 year old son. While hiking the mountain side the next day, we saw their boat sail away. They had somewhere to be.
So did we. Though, in our case, we were already there.
1Caleta Pulpito is a bay located midway up the eastern side of Isla Angel de la Guarda (Guardian Angel Island). It is my favourite anchorage in the Northern Sea.
2I read with interest the Latitude 38 article about this year’s “Puddle Jumpers”. Friends and acquaintances have made the leap and gone to the South Pacific. We have been eagerly following their adventures. It was wonderful to read their accomplishments celebrated in the magazine. Nyon’s sister ship SV Clover and her skipper Shane, made the leap to the Marquesas this year. It’s pretty cool to know another Lapworth 36 is also actively cruising.

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