It was so nice to wake up at anchor this morning. The water was perfectly flat, there was no wind, and the sun was just coming up when I dragged myself out of bed. I started the coffee water and then plugged in the earphone (so as not to wake Lulu) and listened to the beginning of the Sonrisa net on the HF radio. Couldn’t hear too many of the check-ins although I heard net control just fine. Geary from Burro Cove started his weather broadcast and he was also coming in pretty loud and pretty clear. However, I already get his daily weather summary via HF Radio e-mail (Sailmail), so I figured I’d just download it and read the report rather than trying to hear it over the static and then try to remember what he said.
When we’re hooked up to shore power and there is a strong wifi or banda ancha signal, I spend most of the morning before Lulu gets up surfing the web. At anchor, with neither wifi or cell service, that’s not an option. So, once my coffee was ready, I climbed out into the cockpit, where the sun was starting to make its presence known, fired up the Kindle and spent the morning reading Cormac McCarthy’s “No Country For Old Men”. I get a lot more books read when we’re anchored than I do at the marina.
After breakfast we readied the dinghy and rowed ashore to do a little exploring. We’re just now starting to use our new Walker Bay 8 dinghy but so far we really like it. Yeah, it’s small, but it carries both of us as well as some cargo so what else do we need? The really sweet part of the new dink this morning was that it was so easy to launch. Untie it from the deck, attach two of the lifting slings I made for it, lift it with the jib halyard, lower it into the water, tie it off, and we’re ready to go. We loved the PortaBote but this is so much easier since no assembly is required.
Once we got ashore, we found the other really great thing about a small, lightweight dink with no motor. We wanted to park the boat up under a palapa on shore in order to be able to lock it up and keep it out of the water. We weren’t sure what state the tide was in. Anyway, we each got on one side, grabbed a gunwale, lifted and were amazed at how light 71 lbs. is when split in half. Carrying about 35 lbs. each, we easily moved the dinghy across the beach and parked it under the palapa. Didn’t even have to stop and rest along the way. Nice!
We followed the dirt road into the village on the SW side of the island. Along the way we passed a little tiny church up on a hill. Very picturesque. I’ll post photos when we get a good internet connection.
Walking in to the village was how I would picture walking into an old west town or, come to think of it, a town in old Mexico. Dirt streets, well-kept, although not fancy houses, a few dogs wandering around, the occasional resident that we bid “Buenos dias” to and always received a “Buenos dias” in return. We were happy to find that the dogs were more interested in barking at each other than hassling us. You just never know. We passed a couple of schools, the gymnasium, a baseball field, a community garden, and several small tiendas selling “regalos y noveldades” (gifts and novelties) or “abarrotes” (groceries). However, these did not appear to be walk-in stores. They were in peoples’ houses and it looked like the normal way of doing business was to walk up to the window (sometimes there were a few stairs to help)and do all your shopping through the window. Can’t swear that all the stores worked that way but that’s how it appeared.
Where the village met the water, the gypsum mine seemed to be in full operation. There was heavy equipment and a dusty haze hanging over everything. At the commercial pier a freighter was taking on a load of gypsum. As we turned to head back the way we came we saw a small hospital. This definitely looks like a company town but it also seems to be a more-or-less full-service town. When we were in Santa Rosalia we often saw the boats (usually a heavy tug) that came in to pick up supplies to take back to Isla San Marcos. I wonder, though, if the people ever get a reprieve and get to go to the mainland for a little R&R. I suspect they do.
Once we got back over to Bahia Puerto Viejo, we explored the beach some more. Lulu collected shells, then discarded some, then collected a few more and finally ended up with a few “keepers”. The rock formations along the shore are pretty amazing. Gypsum is mined here. I don’t have internet access right now so I can’t confirm any of this but I think that gypsum is basically powdered calcium chloride, the same stuff that stalactites and stalagmites are mostly made of (although they aren’t powdered). There was a lot of what looked like granite to me along the beach. There were also big chunks of something that I suspect is mica. If I remember right, mica, when split thin enough, yields sheets of almost transparent stone called isinglass. I once had a candle lantern for backpacking that had isinglass windows. Anyway, we found lots and lots of this stuff as we walked along. Is that where gypsum comes from? Or is the mica just a byproduct of the same geological process that created gypsum? Damn! Where’s my wikipedia when I need it? At any rate, there’re some really cool and interesting rocks on this island and I’d love to know more about them.
When we’d had enough, we rowed back out to Siempre Sabado, brought the dink aboard and secured it, and then hunkered in: Lulu crocheting stuff and me reading and, occasionally, dozing off. Tomorrow we’re headed for the anchorage at Punta Chivato. I think this is about a 12 mile trip. We’ll probably leave between 8 and 9 o’clock so we’ll probably get there before the wind comes up. The trip will be around 3 hours which will be just right to recommission the watermaker and replace the water we’ve used the last 2 days.
You cannot believe how dark it is outside right now. No moon yet, some stars, but no lights anywhere except our anchor light.
When we reach a good internet connection, watch for updates with photos.