Final days before summer
Summer was right around the corner, and unlike the Pacific North West, we do not want to be living on a boat come summer time. Not only is it blistery hot, it is hurricane season in these parts. It is why Kerri chose the northern tip of the Sea of Cortez, it is a fair bit off the exact path of the seasonal hurricanes. Still, there was no way to avoid the heat, so we had plans to rent a small apartment in Puerto Penasco for the worst of the heat. This would allow the repairs we were building up and just non-boat time to repair the soul.
But before that, we still had some activities out on the last island in the Sea. We were still calling one anchorage or another in the greater Refugio area our home. Kerri enjoys sampling them all, so we did. We hiked where we could. Boated in other places. And some times we just at in our own cockpit enjoying the view. Life was easy and tensions were low, as the should be.
Not far from our anchorage was a small island that has a large contingent of sealions. We went out there to see and hear them up close and personal. A little too close at one point where we were drifting in the dingy while snapping a few photos. The big males made it clear we were not welcome to get any closer, and we quickly headed the warning. We did park at a nearby empty beach as Kerri wanted to swim with the sealions. It is unlike her to take on any level of risk, so I chose to be the more cautious and stay back with the camera as protection. Kerri didn’t make it too far into the water before the curious younger sealions started approaching – extremely closely. It didn’t take long before Kerri jumped out f the water and we decided that was a bad idea.
It was nearing end-of-season for many other boats anchored nearby as well so one night we all got together for a beach party. This was a real pleasure; to socialize with a group, and the playful kids. Kerri and I do not socialize like this often, so it is a treat in moderation. The kids put together a dance. The adults had a few beverages and chatted over a camp fire. Yea, it was a good time in our final days of boat life for a while.
Eventually the day came and we had to leave. Our haul out was scheduled for the following day, and we had a 26 hour sail to get there. It wasn’t the greatest weather window, but we did get to sail a good amount of it. Not much of note happened during the overnight sail. Kerri and I both slept well, considering. We have gotten very familiar with this routine now – the overnight hops to another destination – and it is coming with greater ease than before.
Arriving in Puerto Penasco at 9am, we called in on the radio. Met with silence, we moved Meriwether into the harbor area in hopes of finding a place to put our home for a few hours while we wait our turn to be picked up and placed on the hard. The only place available cost us $50 USD for the two hours we were there, and is known as Pelican Dock. Why? Because of all the pelicans that use that dock to shit on. It was an inch thick… the poo, and does not come off no matter how much you wash after. The stench was truly amazing.
Once we got the call, we moved into the slings and Meriwether was once again lifted out of the water and placed on dry land. We too the better part of a week to move our belongings off the boat and into an apartment a half mile away. This was all done a few bags at a time, hauled in our wagon and on our backs. The payoff is air conditioning and a shower every day, which is oh so nice.
Now begins the whole “working on a boat in the heat and humidity of a Mexico summer” phase of my life. Ugh!
The plan was to set up and set out snorkeling a good ways away from the sea lion rookery but close enough that if any sea lions wanted to swim up to check us out, they could. Well, the plan went afoul as, as soon as I got halfway in (and I’m very immobile in only a couple of feet of water with fins on), some precocious pups immediately came by wanting to check me out, and kept getting getting closer and closer. A cool experience… except mum was right there with them and wasn’t having any of it, I kept backing up, and the pups kept getting closer, and mum had some things to say about it. And as she was looking directly at me while she said them, I’m pretty sure she wasn’t saying, “Come back here, kids,” as much as she was saying to me, “I can’t keep these kids in line, so it better be YOU who makes the mature choice.” Which I did. Because moms are freaking terrifying. Shortest snorkel ever.
The last 10+ days at Puerto Refugio, our final stop before starting passage up the North Sea of Cortez tomorrow and hauling out in Puerto Peñasco, has been full and a lovely way to end the season. It started with grand isolation, pelican rescues, and close-up marine mammal encounters and ended with the first-meeting of long-time insta-friends, new friends and those we’ve crossed paths with several times before. Last dusk the anchorage (all six boat who are still here) got together for a bonfire, some Mexican dancing lessons expertly taught by the kids from S/V/ Nike, scorpion hunting, and good conversation under a sky crowded with stars (and Starlinks). As we slowly dinghies home, a sea lion followed us, then two, as we kept track of them by the bioluminescence that glowed around them. Our final day here is full of cramming in a lot of work before two days under way, but with full hearts. After not even having stayed in so much as a marina since January, I think we’re ready fully for the air conditioning, real shower, and separate bedroom (with a real door!) in or short-term apartment that’s waiting for us where the Sonoran desert meets the sea. – Kerri