Becoming Upperclassmen

Our flying time from Los Angeles to Puerto Vallarta was 2 hours and 35 minutes. During the last half of the trip we flew directly down the Sea of Cortez giving us an awe-inspiring view of the places where we had anchored last year.

It was surreal to see the endless beaches and hilly pathways, the off lying rocks and shallow reefs, and the rolling white caps in a sea of beautiful aquamarine blue, all from our perch at 35,000 feet. To remember the heat and the sounds and the serenity of those places left us both with silly grins on our faces as we sipped our cranberry juice and listened to the flight attendant remind us to keep our seatbelts buckled.

Tomorrow we’ll untie the dock lines and head back up the path left by our Boeing 737-900 (good job Marty!).   We’ll put another 700 miles under the keel as we slowly work our way north, stopping at the bays and beaches that we have come to love in the past two years. In a sense we feel like we’ve graduated to upper classmen and will be exploring this year on the varsity team. We know the lay of the bays, where the covered rocks are, where the currents are, and where we want to spend more time. However one really never knows the Sea, and we’ll always be students of weather and winds. We have learned much in two years, and we know we have plenty more to absorb.

This will be our sixth crossing between the mainland and the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula, and we’re hoping for the forecasted SW winds to show up and blow us north. We have a bit of a love, hate relationship with forecasts, and it’s mostly hate. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that this trip will give us a little more love.

We traveled about 1,000 miles in 2-½ hours yesterday, and tomorrow we’ll begin a 2-½ day trek of 330 miles. There’s a bit of a difference in speed from 450 miles per hour to 4-5 knots per hour, and we’re definitely entering the Sea of Cortez time warp, where time is measured in gentle ripples on the water, and in counting the dolphins on the bow. Then there are those nights when measuring time takes on a stressful edge; those nights when the Coromuels or Chubasco winds blow. We (mostly I) spend the night watching the clock waiting for morning after a dark night of listening to the waves crash behind us as we dance close to a lee shore.

So why do we keep going back to the Sea? Why deal with the heat and crazy unpredictable winds?  It’s a magical place. The water is so clear you can see your anchor below you. The sea life is abundant; we’ve had the pleasure of seeing blue whales, humpbacks, orcas, pilot whales, sea turtles, dolphins, seals and sea lions. There are so many different kinds of fish that I can’t even begin to name them. The rocks and mountains are incredible with colorful striations and shapes. There are forests of cacti, volcanoes, and salt flats. It draws you in, even for this NW girl who loves her pine trees and green forests.

In a mere 65 hours we’ll be there.

Yet another selfie on Isla Carmen

Yet another selfie on Isla Carmen