Friday, October 7, 2016

Across the sea to San Carlos

The spectacular Marina San Carlos 

After several idyllic weeks in Bahia de Los Angeles (give or take a few hurricane scares),  the summer was winding down. One by one, our summer-in-the-sea armada of sailboats lifted their anchors and headed south.

Last images of the Bay of LA:

Me and Brenda of s/v Firefly kayaking to yoga

Gringos clown around on a fishing charter being lowered into the sea

Remnants of Hurricane Roslyn, our last tropical storm of the summer in BLA

Everyone loved the s/v Kanta Anae family dinghy 
named "Better Than Walking"

Chris enjoying a contemplative moment at Guillermo's

I earned a reputation over the summer for talking into the wrong 
radio microphone (either VHF or SSB). 

"Hello! Hello! Is anybody there? Do you read me?" 

            (no response) 

Someone would gently say: "Um...Liz...are you using the wrong mic again?"  

 Smile. Well, I have a 50/50 shot of being right each time! 

Locals on the beach during a holiday weekend

There's a surprisingly well equipped little museum in the Bay of LA -- 
make sure and check it out if you pass through. 

Let me introduce you to this horrifying little guy 
-- a Tarantula Hawk Wasp

Here's his super-creepy side view.
Fortunately I only saw him in the museum!

There are ram in the wilds of Baja...

...but this sculpture in the museum 
was a bit -- ahem -- over the top!

A BLA eatery 

Vultures and a seagull rest on a lightpost waiting for discarded fish parts below

We watched the first Clinton/Trump debate live on our laptop with our 
conservative friend Ted of s/v Firefly. 

I think Ted sensed things weren't going well for his candidate...

BLA lighthouse

I got one last opportunity to swim with a whale shark before the summer was out.
A big guy meandered by Espiritu, so I donned my snorkel gear and gently slid beneath the water.

This photo isn't me -- but it could be!

I didn't want him to be afraid of me and swim away, so I made a quick decision to gently hum through my snorkel -- basically, to sing to him. It couldn't hurt, right? 

Crazy as it seems coming from this musician, I couldn't think of a single song to hum. 

My mind was blank. Finally, desperately, I just started humming the first 
song that sprang to my mind.

The song I hummed to the whale shark?

The Barney Song.

I know.  How I have hated that song, and everything about Barney and that lame TV show. 

I serenaded the whale shark with The Barney Song

But, you know what? It kinda worked. As I hummed it, he circled back around to 
hear a little more of the famous little ditty.  

Since I was stuck with the damn song, I tried to hum it as lyrically 
and melodically as possible -- andante, mezzo piano. 

Crazy as it sounds,  I think he liked it! So I kept on humming it, over and over 
again, and the whale shark and I gently swam around each other in gentle swirls.

If I ever get another chance to swim with a whale shark, I'll hum something by 
Bach, Shubert, or Miles Davis -- I promise, Dad! 

Soon we had a good weather window, and we set out alone for the 150 mile sail southeast, away from Baja, through the Midriff Islands and past Isla Tiburon to San Carlos.

San Carlos, our current location

Fortunately, it was smooth sailing on our overnight voyage. 

Passing the isolated and uninhabited Midriff Islands

We didn't see another boat or another human being during the entire passage. The only evidence of humanity was tiny, blinking jetliners on overnight flights seemingly hopping from star to star in the distant night sky.

While I do see beauty and explosions of joyful life all around me, I confess that I also see life -- my life -- as a perilous condition.

We live on a razor's edge.

I think being a nurse as I am forces one to see and acknowledge this as the true nature of things. We see so much sadness and suffering in our profession -- happy families suddenly torn apart by sickness, injury and death. 

Things can, and do, go south on us at any given time. It's not morose -- it's just reality. 

The obvious remedy for this truth is to live each moment as fully as possible, 
as if it truly may be your last. 

On my night watch from 10PM to 3AM, the phosphorescence was off the charts!

The moonless night made the phosphorescence that much more dramatic. Dolphins whooshed through the water, leaving behind twinkly trails of glowing bubbles like aquatic Tinker Bells.

Dolphin phosphorescence (courtesy of CNN)

The next morning, the famous skyline of San Carlos arrived in the distance. We were so 
excited to go ashore and explore, as this is our first visit.

Approaching San Carlos from the north

We dropped anchor in the San Carlos anchorage 

We were welcomed by our friends on s/v Trovita, Windcharmer 
and LeaHona, who showed us around.

They introduced us to HammerHeads, the cool hangout at the marina.

This sign at HammerHeads ("Hurricane Evacuation Plan: 1) Grab Beer 2) Run!")
is especially timely as Hurricane Newton was a direct hit here only a few weeks ago.

San Carlos did relatively well through Hurricane Newton, but there are signs 
of the melee if you look for them. 

A few of the docks were destroyed here in the marina.

Take a look at this dock ramp. Something powerful and dramatic happened here during Hurricane Newton -- most probably boats repeatedly slamming against the handrails. 

There are only a few more weeks of hurricane season, and we're putting Espiritu up on the hard here in San Carlos and flying home to SoCal to hug on the family. 

As I write this, Hurricane Matthew in the Caribbean is devastating Jamaica, 
Haiti, the Bahamas, Florida and South Carolina. 

If you have health, home and family, food to eat and good weather, be grateful. I know I am.

I love you, you love me,
We're a happy family,
With a great big hug and kiss
from me to you,
Won't you say you love me too?