A couple of weeks after we went to Todos Santos, Arione and El Tiburon took off for the islands. Isla Espiritu Santu and Isla Partida are a short hop from La Paz. Isla San Francisco and Isla San Jose are a bit farther. All are part of a national park. We had gone to Isla Espiritu Santu, where we spent one very pleasant night in Bahia San Gabriel - the second night we had coromuel (land) winds blowing so strongly into the anchorage that it was rougher in there than many of the passages we made getting down here from Seattle - right after we got to La Paz. It was beautiful, but although these winds are supposed to be a summer phenomenon, someone apparently neglected to inform the coromuels of this.
El Cardonel looked to be a bit better protected than San Gabriel, so off we went. It was quite windy the first night, but as the wind was coming out of the west and into the anchorage over a low part of the island, it didn't have the fetch (open water) required to build up any big chop. A mite uncomfortable, but the holding in there is pretty good, so we weren't too worried. We did, however, forgo rowing over to El Tiburon for drinks. We stayed for two days, Darrell and Art went rockfishing in the dinghy but didn't catch anything that looked particularly edible, and we got our drinks in on the second night. I somehow managed not to take any pictures.
Sparky (El Tiburon's dog) was getting pretty antsy because he couldn't go ashore, so we decided to head up to San Evaristo, a fishing village about 30 miles north of Isla Partida. It is extremely well protected, and as the winds were forecast to be high for the next few days, looked like a good choice. Boy, was it ever.
On the way up, I once again failed, despite using three different lures over the course of the trip, to catch a single fish. I am beginning to feel like a bit of a poor excuse for a fisherperson. After we got our hook set, the boat to starboard of us left, so we pulled up our anchor, moved over about a football field's worth and got set in about 12 feet of water - perfect spot. Of course, a couple of later arriving boats decided that if we were in there, it must be a good spot for them too. I don't know why that happens so often, even in large anchorages - it's a big bay, people. Let's use the whole thing. Our boat, like many, can sail around at anchor quite a bit if the wind comes up, so if there's room best to use it, really.
We went over to the beach and walked around a bit. There's not much there, a bunch of pangas, some shacks where the fishermen sell their fish to buyers who drive up from markets in La Paz, a few houses on the hill (most of the town is on the other side of the peninsula that divides this bay from the one to its north) a small store that sells beer (good thing, that - we were running low) and a sort of restaurant (more on that later). Sparky practiced his egret stalking skills, and played with a local black lab puppy. We saw lots of these guys - I think they clean up from the fish cleaning.
The second afternoon, we went over to the beach and bought a snapper (pargo perro). It was incredibly good. I however, in addition to being completely unable to catch fish, need to bone up on my fish anatomy. It had been gutted, but filleting a fish should not take a person 45 minutes.
Snapper with Pecans
1 T. butter
4 snapper fillets
2/3 c chopped pecans
1/2 tsp paprika
1/3 c butter
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Saute the filets in the tablespoon of butter until done (a couple of minutes). Remove to a plate and keep warm. Wipe out the pan. Melt the 1/3 c of butter and saute the pecans until fragrant and slightly brown. Add the paprika and lemon juice. Put the fish on serving plates, spoon over the pecan butter.
San Evaristo is home to thousands of pelicans. They dive into the water in large groups, making for a sort of staccato effect. I tried to capture a diving pelican on film, but couldn't, so you'll have to settle for a bunch of them floating around.
The last night we were in San Evaristo, Darrell found out that if you went over to the little cafe and told them you wanted dinner in advance, they'd cook for you. Well, yes, of course we wanted dinner.
Macho here was there to greet us when we arrived.
Fish, handmade tortillas, beans, fresh salsa, all delicious, were cooked for us by Lupita. We played a bit with the kids - Sarah had brought bubbles and a wand over for them, but we weren't able to communicate exactly how the bubble blowing process worked, so I suspect most of the bubbles wound up on the ground. The kids appeared to enjoy them anyhow - I know we did. As it got dark, we piled back into El Tib's dinghy and went back to our respective boats - we had a long trip back the next day, and were planning to leave early. What a lovely place.
The trip back was fairly uneventful, but in further fishing follies, a fish stole not only my last cedar plug, but my entire line. Yes, apparently, cleating the black nylon part of the handline isn't sufficient, although it had been all the way down the coast. Of course something that could pull a locked and cleated line off the boat was probably big enough that we really didn't want to deal with getting it aboard, so there's that. When I put out my other line, I tied a bowline in it. Did I catch anything? No, I did not. The fish are definitely winning - score stands at fish: 3 (2 cedar plugs, one handline) Jaye: 0. Fishing fail.
We are surviving the winter - hah!
1 month ago