Sailin' the Sea of Cortez - Spring 2008 travel blog

buying jewelry

cactus forest panorama


our floating home

dinghy at San Jose

distant hikers

Isla Coyote home

Isla Coyote

jewelry sign

John Wayne view

Ken enjoying the raft

pelicans guarding the harbor

San Francisco Bay

San Jose harbor

whale bone house

an island of pelicans

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A short sail brought us to San Jose, one of the largest islands around and completely uninhabited. Recently it has been designated as a national park and instead of being welcomed by rangers, we cruised past a huge flock of pelicans into the bay. There were so many of them it looked as if they were an island unto themselves. Must be lots of fish here. The water was shallow and even when we tried to dinghy in, we soon found ourselves wading. The guide book mentioned a mangrove swamp and we got close to the edge, but the bugs discouraged us from going further. Besides the pelicans, the other attraction was a huge forest of saguaro cactus. There’s something disconcerting to the eye to see cactus marching down the hillside and right into the sea.

Next we investigated Isla Coyote, one of the densest populated and smallest islands in the area. We wish we knew why this particular group of people chose to live in such splendid isolation. Obviously, running water was not available on this piece of rock and solar panels hinted that there may be some evening illumination. We always feel somewhat awkward, peering into people’s homes and wandering around their yards, but folks are so friendly and hospitable here. One enterprising couple had jewelry for sale, made from sea shells, colored twine and bits of silver wire. With so little to work with, they did a credible job and we did our best to stimulate the local economy. Once we spent some pesos, we felt a bit less weird about wandering around their little piece of heaven. The main source of income here is fishing just as it has been everywhere else we have been thus far. The men had made their own salt evaporating the sea water and were carrying fifty pound bags of it up the hillside into storage. Dry and salted fish hung in the sunshine. We asked about lobster, but they only had two. Oh well...

We anchored in San Francisco bay, the one without the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a popular spot; by nightfall there were sixteen other boats there as well. It has a smooth white beach along most of the bay with a gentle incline into the azure waters. On the edges of the bay cliffs made for excellent snorkeling. We swam through thick schools of fish, needle nosed ones on the surface, and sergeant majors with their black stripes on a yellow field below. A nurse shark was hovering around the dinghy when we got back. We’ve concluded that it’s not worth the effort to learn the names of the fish. We don’t snorkel often enough and between the opportunities, we forget them all again. Before we left La Paz, we were warned that there is a tiny jelly fish in these waters that stings when you swim past them, and those jellies abbreviated my snorkeling. They left tiny welts and a stinging sensation that lasted a few hours. Hope we get another chance to snorkel before this trip comes to an end.

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