Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority,
It is time to pause and reflect.
|Nikki finally free to roam on a nice beach|
Although having a full moon makes it easier to see what is happening on Déjàlà, it makes it more difficult to spot the lights of approaching vessels. Darkness is best to see the red, green, and white of vessels traveling the same waters. We had to keep a more watchful eye. For 2-3 hours in the morning, dolphins followed us, playing in our wake. Turtles were floating by as well – back to more marine life around us. We sailed nearly 125 miles in 24 hours, a very swift trip for us.
|Got an idea?|
The first anchorage we tried based on a cruiser’s guidebook, turned out to be nothing we could attempt. Where the cruiser’s guidebook said there should be 25 feet of water we only found between 5 and 8 feet! Not enough for a good night’s sleep at anchor. With an incoming tide, the current kept pushing us further into the bay (i.e.: into the shallower section) so we had to motor out of there for a little while until we saw at least 8 feet under the keel again… Sigh of relief! Shallow bays like this one and Altata’s have constantly changing underwater sand bar patterns. It seems that the information about these places is only good for 3-6 months. One good storm and all bets are off.
|Chelelo, our guardian shrimp boat|
|Chelelo left, us (tiny dot) right...|
|Sand worms at low tide|
|Nikki chasing, chasing, chasing...|
|Crab hiding, hiding, hiding...|
|Mike in his element, climbing... a sand dune|
The gentleman working on the guardian shrimp boat comes by to say hello. He is accompanied by a driver and 4-5 Marines. We thought we were going to be searched or boarded but all they wanted to say was that they were there if we needed anything, and the purpose of their protective mission… Very nice people and it made us feel especially safe to be anchored near armed Marines watching the bay. No one would notice our boat.
On the second day and despite fairly high winds (15-17
knots), we find the energy to kayak nearly 4 miles (round trip) to visit the
Topolobampo lighthouse. It is about 300
feet high and they built a steep sidewalk with stairs in sections to access
it. A dock is located at the
bottom. We leave our kayaks there and go
exploring up the mountain where we eventually meet Joel who is the lighthouse-keeper
for the day. Four men rotate to do this
job. Joel works Mondays and
Thursdays. The place is immaculate,
especially by Mexican standards. All the
equipment is in great working order and they are planting fruit trees, collect
rain water, and are seemingly very energy conscious. Coming back is quick with winds at our
backs. We should rig up small sails for
|Lighthouse we are kayaking and hiking to|
|View to north, on our way to the lighthouse|
|Steep sidewalk and stairs to lighthouse|
|Marie-France in her element, looking at plants|
|The seemingly dead tree above is covered with beautiful purple flowers|
The weather forecast speaks of large swells coming up this way thanks to far away hurricane Cosme south and west of here. We decide to head to the marina for a few days while the swells diminish. It will give us time to visit the other side of Topolobampo, its town of nearly 6,000 people.
|Mike, Nikki between sand dunes and breakers.|
|Sand dune looking north|
|Lines of trucks full of corn to load up large shipping vessel - seen through chain-link fencing|
Thousands and thousands of bobtail trucks full of corn stream by to fill one of the 32 ton cargo ships. It will take that many truck-fulls and several days/weeks to fill it up. Trains also come to the port. It is a very busy place.
Narrow alleys of Topolobampo
We meander on one of the hills layered with homes. There is only one street to the top of the hill leading to the church and a school. The rest of the homes are reachable only by tiny sidewalks or primitive concrete trails usually following drainage pipes or electrical conduits. It is like a maze to walk around never knowing if you are in someone’s yard, at the end of a trail, or on track.
|Church in need of repairs - Like so many others|
|In front of the town's Virgin... Once in a while one has to pose|
|Laundry bordered by Nopal cactus (edible ones)|
Old fishing nets are made into hammocks and every available tree has at least one hanging from its lower branches. People spend the hot afternoons in them: mother with sleepy child, an elderly watching traffic go by, clam vendors waiting for customers, kids relaxing before heading back to school in the late afternoon, men waiting to get back to work. Few people are in their homes where it is too hot; they prefer to stay out of doors.
We notice lightning one more time, the monsoon season is decidedly approaching, time for us to head west to the Baja side of the Sea. This time however, the rain doesn’t make it here but across the Sea, our fellow sailors over there got wet! Interesting that we saw the buildup of the storm but they got the rain from it.
We do a little bit of varnishing while we wait to head out. It is definitely needed – the sun is extremely harsh, the upkeep is a little more than we had expected.
|Old US school buses turned into city buses...|