Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day 11 - In search of food, water and a hot meal

A glassy sea quiets the mind and the stillness breeds contemplation. Views are stark, stunning and inspirational. To the west, desert mountains - stratified in hues of sage green, sand beige, ocher, shades of lavender and brown - float on the horizon as far as the eye can see.

Looking north, island bumps appear as blueish shadows in the distance. This subtly colored lunar-like landscape seemingly devoid of visible life,
human or otherwise, evokes a sense of mystery. There is life here but it takes on a quiet, careful existence.

Here, the few land creatures and plants have mastered water efficiency while a larger variety of animal life travels beneath the visible eye in the Sea of Cortez, sometimes making themselves known to the delight of land lubbers.

This morning the winds look promising as we scan the channel from our anchorage at Isla San Francisco. Without internet access or weather information we count on our eyeballs to tell us the news. This morning we will outsmart the wind and ready the boat for departure EARLY at 5:30 am.

Our provisions are now at a ridiculous low – rice, tomato paste, a couple of boxes of macaroni and cheese, a few condiments, a cube of goat feta, one box of Cheerios, three cervesas, and 1/2 of a good bottle of Tequila. San Evaristo, a fishing village on Baja mainland, is now a tantalizing 8 nautical miles north of our location - across the channel - where we hope to round out our food selection.

A 5 knot wind greets us as we depart, but yet again, it peters out to a big, fat goose egg after heading the Compass Rose on a northerly course. Seems to be the pattern since the day the boat left La Paz – wind when we are at anchor and no wind when we attempt a sail. So, here we are again bobbing along with a billowing drifter sail searching for a breath of air.

Five hours later we give in and motor the remaining 3 miles, pulling into San Evaristo cove around 1pm to join 5 or 6 other boats at anchor.

The dingy "meet-and-great" is one of my favorite activities once Compass Rose is securely anchored.  Today our biggest question, as we visit each of the anchored vessels, is how do we locate the market. The village has no paved roads, signs of any kind and only several dozen tiny homesteads. Cast Away (also a Tayana 37) is very helpful, escorting us to the market - which we find closed - however next door is a smaller operation that is open. Entering through a driftwood gate and a palapa garage, the store entrance is just beyond the proprietor’s dining room. A small back room offers few choices but we are delighted to add pasta, a few potatoes, eggs, chocolate bars, salsa, and re-fried beans to the boats’ coffers.

Our check list is food, water and a hot meal – in that order. Water is next on the list. Hand-gesturing through the language barrier with the store/home owner, we learned that Tony is the man who operates the water desalination plant on the other side of the store beyond the cactus patch. We are instructed to call him on VHF channel 16. The town has no phones. Later, from the boat radio we call, “Tony, Tony, Tony… para agua.” Tony replied, “No hay agua – planta problema.” Why am I not surprised! Thankfully, our neighbors on Cast Away have a water maker and top us off generously!

Finally... the hot meal. It turns out, that isn't happening either. The only 'restaurant' in town isn’t serving today - it’s Sunday (more about that later).  So dinner is spaghetti on the boat. Today is my dad’s birthday, and I toast him with a concoction made with tequila and Mexico’s version of Tang. Feliz Cumplianos, Pops!

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