Oct 27, 2012

Puerto Balandra - the New Hurricane Paul Improved Version

I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless,
As it extends into the world around us,
It goes an equal distance into the world within.
Lillian Smith 

Anchored near a new entrance to the mangrove area
I had one wish on the way back South and it was to, hopefully, anchor in new places along the way, bypassing anchorages we had seen before. Well - - - what one wants and what one gets are sometimes different things. With the winds and waves as they were (or not, as the case may be) and the closeness to hurricane Paul possibly heading our way, we decided to tuck in a known anchorage that we knew was well protected.

Red rock caves enhanced by greenery everywhere
To our great surprise, even though we had visited three months prior, the place had a completely NEW look and feel to it. It was like we were visiting a new location. The region had received a fair share of rain this summer and the hills went from brown, crumbly and dry, to lush, green and sparkling with life and sounds. We had just finished a book about Dr. Fossey (Woman in the Mists) by Farley Mowat and it felt we were up with her in the high rainy, misty, volcanic mountains of Africa rather than the Sea of Cortez. We have met cruisers who have been in the Sea of Cortez for over 30 years and they say it’s the greenest they’ve EVER seen it. I guess we lucked out to be allowed to witness this rare gift from the natural world.

Day of hurricane Paul - waterfall forming on the right
Water of bay is brown instead of blue-green
One day later all that remains of the waterfall is this cave
The mangrove/marsh has also changed. Three months ago, there was only one way in/out of the mangrove, at present the water enters/exits the mangrove in 4 different locations! It speaks volume about the constant changes of nature. The heavy rains have completely modified the topography of this marshy area. Given that we now have kayaks, we were able to paddle within the mangrove area, something we weren’t able to do before. It is nice to be closer to the birds and fish that inhabit it.

One evening, we watch a bird of prey carry away a snake caught near shore. The next day we witness another one catch a needle fish and fly it to its nest. Crickets are singing all night. Life is seemingly at its fullest.

Of note as well was the new smell, rather than a dry dusty desert scent, we had a green, lush, vibrant aroma with hints of new pine and lime. It was so new, tingly and refreshing; it nearly felt like we were in the jungle of southern Mexico again.

Nikki cooling off in river bottom's large puddle day after hurricane Paul
Nothing like cooling water to make a dog happy
The place was swarming with white, yellow, orange, bluish and red butterflies hovering over the numerous vines, shrubs, and ground covers in ephemeral blooms of white, bright yellow, burnt orange, powder blue, lilac, or deep burgundy. With a breeze and so many blooms and butterflies, it was difficult to differentiate between them – where did the blooms start and where did the butterflies begin? It was quite magical.

As it turned out, it was the perfect location to be protected from hurricane Paul which came about 75 miles from us. We only had 40 knot winds and no waves. We had nearly a foot of rain and were able to see waterfalls forming and cascading down cliffs on three sides of the sailboat. Although we were ‘grounded’ for a whole day, it was thrilling to see it all unfold. On a hike the next day, we couldn’t see any waterfalls but could still hear faint trickles of water in the distance. How quickly that dissipated – as rapidly as hurricane Paul did.

This to say that although I had wished for new places to stopover, and even though this wasn’t one, it certainly felt like a new one and we are happy we visited again.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11/14/2012

    Glad you were safe during Hurricane Paul! Up in Pt. Don Juan se saw saw the same amount of wind, experience no waves, and didn't have nearly the amount of rain you had. Wishing you guys well! :)


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