Posted by: Sailing Camelot | May 26, 2011

Sun May 22nd – Ensenada de Los Gatos

Rise and shine, by 7:30 we’re already on our way. Next stop Ensenada Los Gatos, four hours further up. Again we encounter only a couple of boats going the opposite direction. There’s no radio chatter, the only noise is the low rumble of our engine and the water sloshing on our bow. I see some sort of commotion on the water straight in front of us and before I can even blink
we’re surrounded by a pod of at least 30 dolphins. Reaching our bow they gracefully turn 180 degrees and split into two groups –one on each side of Camelot- , immediately starting their playful antics.

Dolphins flanking Camelot's Bow

Having a Blast!

One of our Escorts for the trip

These guys are big! They’re so close we can see scars on some of them. Riding our bow wake with great enjoyment, they occasionally look straight up at us. I’m frantically shooting pictures before turning the camera to Tom. He’s admittedly better at taking pictures of these fast-moving creatures. After having their fill of fun one by one they peel off, diving deep underwater and disappearing from sight. The show lasted about 5 minutes. There will be more performances during the trip, some involving incredible acrobatics
– and I have the photos to prove it!

Airborne!

Mid-Air Twist

Pirouette Completed!

Los Gatos is even more picturesque, surrounded by boulders of rock in shades of red and orange making a strikingly beautiful contrast with the jade and turquoise of the water. There’s only another sailboat sharing this slice of Paradise.

Arriving at Ensenada de Los Gatos

The Red Boulders of Los Gatos

We find our perfect spot and get busy lowering the dinghy in the water. We want to go explore! Just as we’re getting ready to leave,
however, a Panga approaches. We invite the lonely fisherman aboard for a chat and a beer. His name is Manuel and he talks very fast –Spanish only-, so I get a real language workout trying to keep up and respond. We get along quite well!
After the customary exchange of information about our respective families and places of origin, Manuel offers us some lobsters he just caught. Pulling up a small net, he dumps five lobsters on our cockpit floor. I get my first close encounter with these curious creatures. Unlike their Atlantic counterparts, these crustaceans have no claws. They look like giant insects! They also make a
lot of clacking noises, spreading their tails and waving their long antennae.
I’m fascinated by their colors. They’re muddy brown with splotches of orange and turquoise. I feel repelled and riveted at the same time. Tom picks the biggest two and puts them in a bucket of sea water.

Pacific Lobsters

Just look at those colors!

They’re supposed to be our dinner, but I’m already plotting a different plan… Manuel also offers us
a kilo or scallops, already shucked and neatly packaged in a bag. The total cost for this bounty is 150 pesos, about US$ 12. I almost feel guilty… After more amiable chit-chat Manuel leaves, wishing us good health and good luck, and may the Lord protect us. Thanks, Manuel, same to you! What a pleasant fellow.

Manuel, the Friendly Fisherman

Leaving the two lobsters resting in their bucket, we finally jump in the dinghy to go explore the bay. The water is crystal clear and far
below we can see lots of colorful fish darting in and out of their caves, interesting rocks and a whole lot of underwater life. And we didn’t even have to get wet!

Once satisfied with our excursion we return to Camelot, peacefully bobbing on the calm sea. It’s only late afternoon, so we lazily
settle down for an hour or two of reading. My mind, however, is forming a plan to free the lobsters…

I know very well that if I had to catch and kill my own food I wouldn’t last very long. I love lobster just like everyone else, but don’t ask me to put them alive in a pot of boiling water! Tom catches me while I’m furtively eyeing the lobsters. I must have a guilty and revealing expression on my face, as he sighs and shakes his head. “Go ahead” he says, “do what you need to do”. He knows me so
well! He keeps shaking his head, muttering “what a waste of a good dinner”, while I swiftly empty the bucket returning the lobsters to their home. I feel better, and stupid, and guilty… So I go downstairs and make a nice pasta dinner to make up for my silliness. Tom has no complains, although he’s still shaking his head. I love that man!

As soon as dinner is over we get literally swarmed by bees, seems like a hundred or more! We heard about this, but never had any problems before. Apparently, the bees come out in droves looking for fresh water. If there’s a single drop around, they’ll find it. And there’s more than just a drop in my galley sink right now… We sit speechless in the cockpit, watching the bees fly directly into the companionway, invading the galley. It’s unsettling but fascinating at the same time. They mean no harm, they just want water! Tom goes below, fills a bowl with water and brings it above, placing it on top of the liferaft in an attempt to divert the bees. It takes about half an hour, but the strategic plot works. The bees concentrate on the bowl, leaving the inside of the boat. Sadly, however, they start drowning in the bowl! So I place a brush in it for them to climb on and escape death. No, I’m not a soft heart; I just like bees and respect their job!

At dusk they all leave, returning to their hive with their water load. I clean up, picking the casualties. We find maybe a couple of dozen dead bees over the floor. Another new experience! From now on, however, I’ll wipe every surface dry.

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