July 25 – 29, 2022
Bahia de La Ventana. Baja California Sur. Our first steps in the sand of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula after arriving aboard Exit.
We still needed to get further north before our hurricane def-con status could more fully relax.
Nearly every weather system that had developed on the Pacific side since the onset of hurricane season was following a consistent general pattern. After forming off the coast of Panama, it would work north skirting along the Pacific coast until eventually dissolving or drifting back offshore as it approached the Baja peninsula.
And yet, historically, relatively very few hurricanes had actually entered the Sea of Cortez.
There had been no doubt whatsoever; the Pacific coast between Panama and the Gulf of California was Hurricane Highway…which meant we were currently on the off ramp.
Much safer. But not still without some risk of passing traffic.
Regardless, we were momentarily going to pause, exhale, and relax.
For us, passage making aboard a sailboat shares a balance – the highs that accompany the sensory overload of magical experiences coupled with the inevitable exhaustion that results from prolonged heightened vigilance and coping with whatever gets thrown at you.
That escapade, occasionally more of a roller coaster than hoped for but always an adventure, often comes with an emotional hangover attached.
Sometimes doing nothing is the something you really need to clear that fog.
After a couple of days enjoying the sunny beach at Punta Arena de La Ventana, we sailed a relaxing two hours away to Isla Cerralvo, also known as Jacques Cousteau Island.
Not sure of the politics involved in renaming an island. I understand paying tribute to the French oceanographer, honoring him with an island in his name and all. According to infinitely knowledgable Wikipedia, he did call the Sea of Cortez the world’s aquarium which must have resulted in some pretty good press [on an ironic sidenote: it would appear the Sea of Cortez was also an imposed renaming of Gulfo de California but, in this case, I believe Cortez was more of an asshole]. Still, word had it that at least some of the locals were far less appreciative of the island’s renaming than the Cousteau family was. Fair enough.
Despite its apparent exposure, we couldn’t see why the bay we dropped anchor in was not listed as a viable anchorage on any of the charts. In the right conditions, it seemed perfect.
The holding was good. The beach was easily accessible. The uninhabited island was a fascinating study in geological and volcanic formations, mercilessly arid and covered with a feature strangely unique to the mangrove, tropical, and rainforest landscapes we had grown used to – cacti. The water was clear…eighty degrees. Coral. Marine life. Wow.
Outside of the occasional power boat briefly dropping a fishing line nearby, for three days we had the spot to ourselves.
Not having found a cell phone or internet connection for a week, we had been almost completely off the grid since leaving La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. Because our navigation equipment only requires GPS, that made our Iridium Go! the only tie with the outside world. The Iridium is great for uploading weather forecasts and tracking our current position, but can’t handle anything beyond a basic text email for data transfer…nothing more than an emergency contact.
That online detachment can be a giant pain in the butt when you want or need a link to the outside world. However, it can also be a key factor in separating from all the world’s daily background noise; background noise that interferes with one’s ability to focus on the important things that really matter.
There are times when that isolation bubble can help generate moments of pure carefree bliss. However, like everything, it is a pendulum of balance that always has a backswing. Those blissful moments can be very short lived when the isolation bubble gets popped and the outside world comes flooding back in.