Sep 9, 2012

La Ventana - Blue Footed Boobies

I don't want to get to the end of my life and find
That I lived just the length of it.
I want to have lived the width of it as well.
Diane Ackerman 

Sailing with spinnaker on way to Bahia San Nicolas
July 9th, thank you S/V Lolo
A small island less than five miles away from the Village and we feel like we are a world away – no more music at night, no more pangas or jet-skis frantically buzzing by, no more lights, no more traffic, and a little more protection from the winds. 

Spinnaker is a little small for our boat
but it's a good size to learn with
Great help in light winds

We are in a small cove large enough for only 1 or 2 boats. We enjoyed, although for a short while, our first rain in an awfully long time but it was very sparse and barely wetted anything – just got things a little spottier…

Other than hiking around, there isn’t much to see here. If one doesn’t appreciate nature or geology, one wouldn’t last very long in this area. Pelicans and gulls are a lot less tame for there are fewer fishing boats they can regularly beg from. They actually have to work to keep up with their food quota on a daily basis. There is even a pelican fishing well into the night in this cove – not sure if that means it’s older and needs the extra time to meet its caloric demand or it’s just the nocturnal type but I’ve never seen one fish so late into the night before. Or is this caused by the overfishing (Oh wait!! I mean ‘overutilization of resources’ to be politically correct) the Sea of Cortez is plagued with? Or is this due to the shortening of the days?

Alone in small cove - see how sparse the landscape
The pelicans blend so well with the dry gray background of the island’s rocky outcrops that one has to really pay attention to find them. They seem to each have specific perches and like to preen their feathers before the dark of night, not an easy task when your beak is at least a foot long and you are perched on a one square inch spot! The further north we go, the more barren the landscapes seem. We are now down to only ocotillo, barrel, pin cushion, yucca, and cholla cacti and very few scraggly bushes unless you are near the couple of lagoons at the top of the island with their usual salt water friendly bushes.

We ventured by dinghy to a couple of islands nearby (Keyhole and Key Islands) where we see our very first blue footed boobies. We had previously skipped the two or three places where we could’ve seen them in rookeries for they were remote areas or the winds were not favorable at the time. We hadn’t known we could observe them this far north into the Sea so we are pleasantly surprised (sorry no pictures – these birds are just too quick or far for our poor old camera)…. I wonder why nature created them with blue feet. What purpose can blue feet have? Another cruiser said they spotted one with green feet rather than blue??? Probably something I could research on-line if I had internet access but can only ponder for now. It is nice to be surprised when you have no expectation of finding something and it is right there in front of you. Just found on the internet: The feet on blue-footed boobies range in color from blue to turquoise to green, but ones that are this green are pretty uncommon. Males display their feet during courtship, and females look for brightness of color. They don't care about the color itself.

Very few people come this far north, passing Bahia Los Angeles for there is no fuel, no provision, no internet, no marina, no ATM, nothing for miles around. Many are also worried of the huge tides and currents found in the north of the Sea but with good planning, it hasn’t been a problem for us all summer. One has to be quite self sufficient to travel this far but fuel seems to be the real issue since so many people use their engines most of the time and do not sail - - - they are distance bound from the last fueling station by how many gallons of fuel they can carry. Our energy source follows us wherever we go, usually up at 6am and off for the night!

Evenings are often spent paddling around islands, lagoons, and coves when the wind is usually lighter. It is so nice to glide over the water and just watch nature around us. Tonight we are blessed with a great sunset – a few clouds help set the stage with additional colors and shapes. Later we watch shooting stars, the International Space Station and another satellite orbiting earth before quietly falling asleep. The night sky is so clear it sparkles from horizon to horizon. We don’t miss the city a bit.

The little black bumps on the rocks are water bugs of some sort
We like to call them water cockroaches

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