Jun 28, 2012

Bahia Agua Verde – Goat Cheese, Buzzards, and Marlin

Happiness never decreases by being shared.

Overlooking the Sea of Cortez near Agua Verde
During hike with Conor and Lanea on s/v Moondance
A very slow sail where we have plenty of time to practice using our new asymmetrical spinnaker (thank you again s/v Born Free!). The winds, as seems to happen most often, start really picking up just as we attempt to anchor – from no wind to 22 knots in a matter of minutes but we are ready as we just put away the spinnaker and were only using the jib at the time.

OK enough sailing jargon for the non-initiated; it was a slow sail but we made it. During the lull we made fresh water and read more of our book.

Our new asymmetrical spinnaker at work in light winds
We weren’t sure where we would anchor when we heard the familiar voice of Conor (s/v Moondance) on the VHF. He indicated that where they were was safe and not crowded so we took his advice. We hadn’t planned on anchoring there as the guide books described the area as having poor holding due to a shale shelf but it didn’t seem to be the case.

Solitary rock at the entrance of the bay
Our vessel framed by trunk and vultures...
Agua Verde is quite a cute little desert oasis which so far resembles most the landscape surrounding our home in Arizona: mesquite, paloverde and oleander trees as well as date palms and low bushes interspersed with cacti of various shapes and shades of green. A few yellow blooms are present and an odd vine carries seeds that look like they are wearing large bright green skirts to help them float where the wind will carry them. We think we see Oregon pipe and hedgehog cacti or something very similar to it.

The village of about 225 people is as quiet as the one in San Evaristo. No electricity and hardly any light bulbs on at night.  The little bit they have is helped by a few solar panels. Solar energy also helps keep some items cold at the tiendita. On the night we arrived, there is a musical event and we hear many live tunes played until about 3am but it comes from so far away that it is lulling us to sleep rather than keeping us awake.

Young cows surrounded by date palms near beach
Goats climbing very steep cliff
There are many great hikes to adventure on around this area. We see several very healthy looking goats with their many kids, cows and yearlings, one pig, as well as the always present vultures, gulls, frigates, and pelicans waiting for leftover morsels thrown out by the returning fishermen after a day or so at sea. Dogs chase and catch pelicans that get too close when diving for goodies only to be yelled at by the fishermen to release them. Kids in early mornings and after the heat of the day play on the beach or are there to say goodbye or welcome back to their kin leaving for, or returning from, the sea. Seagulls line up, evenly spaced like winged soldiers, just a few moments before the pangas get back. They are tuned into the rhythm of the fishermen. Sea turtles slowly swim around the bay and we cringe when we think that they may get hit by a panga zooming by at high speed.

Very lush and green for a desert
Date palms overlooking sea and mountains
One hike leads us around a mountain – we can circle it at low tide, seeing several caves, a cemetery, a lush and shady date palms area, as well as several boulders carved out by the waves and the wind. Another hike leads us through an archway on the beach, more caves, and some tide pools. At the end of the last hike, we find a dam at the base of some 600’ majestic mountains with striations of various colors. In the rainy season, there is most likely a beautiful tall waterfall at the back of the canyon. It would be magnificent to see then. Behind the dam there is no water. We are told the government has helped bring water to the town from some 5 miles away. Not sure the local still use this dam for water supplies except perhaps for livestock.

We heard the account of many cruisers getting together to purchase gear and solar panels to run dialysis equipment for a little boy in the village waiting for kidney transplant. Cruisers also have sent money to San Evaristo to support their small school. Despite this helps it is hard to connect with the locals – they certainly like to keep their distance much more than on the mainland.

Unlike San Evaristo where the lack of greenery made it easy to identify all the homes, here it is trickier to get a sense of how many there are for they are all tucked away behind trees, palms, and shrubs. It is much more private and pretty.

Locals keep coming up with ways to earn some money, here, someone in a kayak comes around the anchored boats and offers to take their trash away for a small fee. Not sure what is being done with the trash since we often get a whiff of plastic burning, but I guess it’s one way to support them a little.

There is a goat dairy and you can purchase goat cheese – although on the salty side to help with preservation, it is scrumptious. A lunch of fresh local goat cheese and fresh flour tortillas is a must and delicious.

One of the many coves around has such clear waters we can see needle-nose fish, and another type of fish so close in color to the water and the bottom of the cove that we need to make out its shadow to locate it. Bright orange/red star fish, sea urchins and crabs are abundant.

It has been so hot we sometime sleep outside in the cockpit. The locals have also moved their beds outside under any types of canopies. During the hottest part of the day, we see many curled up on their beds, looking towards their house's opened front door, watching the miniature TV that is nestled on a chair in the doorway… Mothers and kids sometimes are huddled together on the bed passing the time this way.

For three nights now we have seen lightning and heard thunder very far away to the East. We wonder if it’ll ever reach us but last night all that went away after about 10 minutes of sprinkles, just enough to hide all the cushions, go back to sleep, and get the boat a little dirtier rather than cleaner…

We finally get to purchase some fish directly from a returning panga. For the equivalent of $8US, we get 8 nearly 2” thick marlin steaks or about 6 pounds!

This is probably the first little town where I don't see a cross on any of the high points anywhere around it... A first for the Mexicans really love their crosses...

Clever Boat Name: Lungta – which means prayer flag or galloping horse for the wind, like a galloping horse, will bring your prayers to the Gods… Sailing is a bit like that - - - your sails looking for wind to get somewhere…

Pyramid rock - snorkeling is good here
Other side of pyramid rock
On a three hour hike...
Mushroom rocks
Small passage through the rocks

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