We wake up to an overcast sky and a slightly choppy anchorage. Pretty as this cove is, we’ve made up our mind to move, to go find more protection from the wind. We cross Bahia Las Animas and just 8 miles further up we land in yet another picture-perfect bay: Ensenada El Pescador (Fisherman’s Cove). We find quite a different scenery, here: a nice round bay with a small island in the middle (Isla Rocallosa) and a white sand beach with a few deserted palapas. Looking at this Bay from a certain angle, it reminds me of a perfect donut! Why do I always think of food… Anyway, the water color is amazing and so clear we can see the sandy bottom. Anchor down! To celebrate life -or just because I’m hot and sweaty- I dive in as soon as Camelot is settled, for once beating Tom, who’s right behind me with his signature whale splash.
El Pescador Beach
This will be home for a few days.
Sunday Morning we take the customary dinghy tour, circling the little island, annoying the pelicans. We round the northern corner of the bay, admiring the rock formations and truly irritating a large family of dozing sea lions we didn’t expect to find . We came up on them as they were laying belly up, fins sticking out of the water, snoozing the day away. I dig out my camera; this would be such a funny picture! But I have no chance to take the shot, the whole group suddenly moves as one unit and starts swimming in our direction.
The Angry Mob!
The shiny, round heads all pointed towards us seem so cute, until we realize that they’re swimming fast, they outnumber us, and they can jump!
The Ring Leader
Suddenly they seem less cute, some seem curious, others a little aggressive, so we take flight. The aggravated bunch abandons pursuit after we round the corner. Whew! Crisis averted.
Artistic Rock Formations
We move slowly towards the beach, wanting to take a closer look at these few new-yet-abandoned-looking palapas.
Not a soul in sight! We spot one larger bungalow with beautiful teak tables and chairs and looking closer we see a man waving at us. There’s life! I yell my friendliest Hola and would be content to just leave it as that, but Tom as usual decides he needs to go meet this man and have a chat… We beach the dinghy and walk the short distance to the bungalow, noticing a very impressive and enormous whale skull neatly arranged beside the house. There’s also a neat row of light poles all along the beach, and they’re solar-powered!
For some proportions perspective, skull against house and generator
Solar Powered Beach Lights!
We reach the house and the man –apparently in his sixties- is now sitting on a chair, his right leg propped up on a table. He welcomes us, apologizes for not standing (his leg is bandaged up and obviously injured), and introduces himself as Ramon. We exchange pleasantries, apologizing in turn for “invading” his property. He waves away our apologies, says he’s happy to have some visitors and invites us to sit down.
Ramon tells us that he is the caretaker of this private cluster of small bungalows and gives us a little information about the bay. The buildings are owned by a wealthy businessman from Caracol who rarely comes here. His last visit was during Easter’s Holy Week, when he brought his large family for a vacation. The solar-powered light poles were installed about a year and a half ago. Ramon is a little lonely and eager to talk; he explains that he gets food and supplies delivered by boat every week, but ran out of cigarettes and batteries for his radio. Have no fear! -I think to myself- You just met The Man Who Travels With A Hundred Packs Of Cigarettes and The Woman With Boxes Of All Sorts Of Batteries!
Tom offers him a cigarette and hand-signals him “just a minute”, before running to the dinghy where (I knew it!) he has a spare pack of cigarettes. In the meantime Ramon is apologetically telling me he has nothing to offer me, his supply boat comes on Tuesday and he’s out of most anything. I tell him not to worry, that I’m fine, but he keeps rummaging until he comes up with –of all things!- a small and well worn Bible. As politely as I can, I tell him that he doesn’t need to give me anything and I don’t want to take the Bible away from him. Tom returns and hands him the pack of cigarettes, Ramon is very appreciative. We chat some more, the rest of the conversation basically one big apology for our mutual inability to speak each other’s language very well. But, surprise, I get instead quite a bit of compliments for my Spanglish! There is hope, after all… We leave him after a short while, promising to be back tomorrow with the batteries he needs.
It’s now Aug 1st , we’re still in Bahia El Pescador, enjoying the peace and quiet. In the morning we notice a big group of people laboriously raising small tents on Isla Rocallosa. Having nothing better to do, we observe the activities for a while, guessing the nationalities of our new neighbors. Basing our guesses on the degree of their tan and their hair color, we decide they must be Canadians! They’re too skinny to be Americans I think… Tom declares that he must go speak with them. “There’s people!” he exclaims “I must go talk to them!” . True, he hasn’t had a decent, English-speaking conversation in over a week, and I guess my company gets old after a while… But before going to bother the campers we head to the beach to go see Ramon and bring him a pack of batteries.
Ramon has company, but he welcomes us like old friends regardless. He thanks us profusely for the batteries and enthusiastically installs them in the radio –which from then on will blast news and music uninterruptedly-. His three visitors are part of the group gathered on the island. We meet Mike, Adrian and Basilio.
Mike and Adrian explain that they are marine biologists and that the young people on the island are college students mainly from California, twenty-seven of them. Americans, not Canadian! We were wrong after all… The group is based in Bahia Los Angeles Village for the summer, and today they came to Rocallosa Island for a snorkeling trip to see up close a few of the species they’ve been studying in books.
Basilio is one of four local residents in charge of the boats carrying the students; in fact there are four big pangas beached on the island, patiently waiting to ferry the group back to the village after the excursion.
It’s a very pleasant visit, so pleasant that we don’t notice the rapidly rising tide that floats our dinghy from the beach and carries it away at sea. Thanks to the watchful eye of Basilio, who raised the alarm, we see the dinghy slowly but surely getting far and farther away. Tom jumps on his feet ready to swim to the rescue, but kindly Basilio offers to give him a ride with his panga to go claim the wayward dinghy. Good thing, as it would have been quite a long swim!
The Runaway Dinghy
Dinghy recovery completed, we head for the island to go meet and greet the college students. What a great group of people! They’re all very friendly, all of them studying to become Marine Biologists and every single one of them totally enthralled to be in one of the best spots on Earth to study marine life. Tom strikes a conversation with their professor, Ray, and gets the scoop on what they’re doing. I’m surrounded by a small group who wants to know all about living on a boat. Most are incredulous upon hearing that the beautiful (and only) sailboat anchored there is for all intents and purposes our home. Jaws drop as I explain that this is our way of life and not just a short vacation, and that we have everything we need aboard, including air conditioning and even a washing machine, among other things. The girls are intrigued by the washing machine and curious about our kitchen and shower arrangements, the boys are impressed by the watermaker, the generator and the electronics. How typical!
We invite them over to take a good look, but their professor is shepherding them towards the water. It’s time for them to go snorkeling. And so we part, with the promise of meeting again in Bahia Los Angeles in a week or two.
Tom is happy and satisfied (having gabbed for a good hour) and we’re both ready to go back to Camelot for lunch and a good afternoon of reading, swimming and generic cruiser-living.
Sun setting in Ensenada El Pescador