Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day 14 - Amortajada Lagoon, Isla San Jose

It was a four day wait and two sail trips to the village of San Evaristo before the little grocery store opened its doors again for business. I think the goats and cows out in the yard were pretty happy to see their owner too as they lined up along the fence, eyeballing his pickup truck loaded to the hilt with bales of hay, groceries and a flat tire. Three gringo yachtistas, myself included, lined up too, however I was last in line and therefore missed out on the last of the fresh chicken legs for sale.

You won't find a grocery store like this in the U.S., but it's all the more charming for that very fact. Three of us sifted through stacked boxes of produce to find what surprises were inside. And surprises there were. I asked the proprietor if he had any milk or meat to which he responded by taking me to the outside porch. There, in a large refrigerator, where more mysterious brown boxes and I scored 4 hot dogs plus a 3-inch stack of baloney, but no milk or cheese.

Loaded up with enough food for the return trip to La Paz, we finally pulled anchor late in the afternoon and attempted to sail across the channel for laguna Amortajada (the Shrouded Lagoon), the largest mangrove lagoon on an island in the Sea of Cortez. There, we hear, is a narrow channel only accessible at high tide by dingy which leads into a lush estuary.

The winds that day, being typically uncooperative, made our journey slow but relaxing. As we entered the west facing Bahia Amortajada, I spied only one other vessel anchored - a catamaran.  The sun was low in the sky and I was on alert, carefully monitoring the depth as we approached the south end of the bay to anchor. A good half mile away the sandy floor rapidly came closer to the keel, one foot per second.  I called out the depths to the captain on bow watch, "21 feet, 20... 18... 15... 14.. 12..11..10 ..9.. 8...8.. 8.. 9..10...and rising.".  That was close - 2 feet to spare from the keel hitting the sand bar.

With the sun setting fast we scrambled to anchor, drop and attach the dink motor, and scoot over to a postage stamp sized "island" that had my name written all over it - and my foot prints. Exploring the lagoon would have to wait until the next day during high tide to allow a dingy passage.

On the way back from my island *:o) we stopped to visit with the fellas on the catamaran - retiree's from Sacramento on a week long sailing adventure. We enjoyed a glass of wine, good conversation and a sunset, then it was time to head back to the boat for dinner.

Since the boat coffers were restored, I whipped up a batch of awesome Baja Nachos served with ice cold Modelo beer and fresh lime. Salud!

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