Sailing the Sea of Cortez
November 24, 1996 - January 12, 1997
On January 1, 1997, Dennis and his friend Don dropped me (Susan) on the beach and went fishing while Goldie and I hiked to the top of Punta Pulpita, just south of Conception Bay on the Baja Peninsula. I stopped to rest when the sailboat came into view, anchored in a cove below and framed by sheer cliffs. From the top, it was hundreds of feet down to where waves pounded the cliffs. I could see for miles in all directions, almost to mainland Mexico, from which we'd sailed ten days earlier. We'd spent Christmas at Santispak Beach with new friends who took us in their four-wheel drive vehicles to remote desert areas, even to the top of the peninsula from where we could see the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Sea of Cortez on the other.
Dennis and Don didn't catch much that day, just a long skinny trumpet fish they didn't keep. They did see a whale! It was early in the season for whales.
The next day, as we were getting ready to hoist the spinnaker, dolphins raced up and frolicked around the boat. Goldie must have thought they'd make good playmates. We heard a big splash and the dolphins were gone. "Dog overboard!" Fortunately, the sea was almost calm. We were able to turn around and, with a great deal of trouble, retrieve him (remember that he's supposed to be the retriever). We kept him attached to a life line after that! The photo shows him "talking" to the dolphins.
We'd worried about sailing with a dog, but he did quite well. Even during our 18-hour crossing from Guaymas to Baja, he didn't have a problem. He loves water and fish, so it was a dream trip for him, despite the aloofness of Quest, the cat.
We worked our way south, anchoring in beautiful locations and hiking on the islands. One night Dennis and I camped on shore. In the middle of the night, the wind started to blow. A kayaker arrived and told us our friends wanted us back on the boat, so we broke camp and motored back across the cove. The raft made a fluorescent wake, and we could see fish stirring up fluorescence as they darted through the water below. The wind died down, and it turned out we could have stayed on shore. When wind shifts in the night, it can become necessary to pull anchor and move. Our friends didn't want to leave us behind had that happened.
At Puerto Escondido, we received an emergency message over the HAM network to call home. My dad had died. We left immediately for Colorado, taking the ferry back to Guaymas from Santa Rosalia. Only a few years earlier, in 1991, we'd ridden that same ferry with Dad and stood in line for fresh pastry at the same bake shop in Santa Rosalia. I was glad to have shared so many adventures with Dad over the years. He always encouraged my adventurous side.
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