Monday, March 06, 2017

Los Gatos

[Kyle]We were up early for what we knew would be a slow sail to Los Gatos. The wind was light, but still strong enough to keep us moving at a steady walk, which made for a nice day enjoying the changing scenery from a flat sea. The highlight was when a Blue Whale crossed our bow no more than two boat lengths away. They are such huge animals! For the rest of the day, we read to each other and tidied up and fixed a few minor things along the way and before we knew it we were almost there. Through the binoculars, we could see a whole stream of northbound boats with their sails down and engines on disappearing behind the bluff into our anchorage. I was worried we wouldn’t have much space and would end up on the outside again.

A pleasant sail with whales and orange algal bloom patches
we arrived in time to have fish delivered to the boat

It wasn’t bad. There were four other boats, all lined up in front of the beach with just a big enough gap for number five. We pulled in and set the anchor. About a minute later, while we were still in the very early stages of shutting everything off, a panga approached asking if we wanted to buy any fish. Not really, I thought. I’m kinda busy right now. Maryanne however was very happy and had other ideas. For 50 pesos we got what I think was a grouper, that Maryanne was able to use to make a delicious fish dish called kedgeree. We had just enough time left to enjoy it over sunset.

We were up early the next day to deploy the dinghy and get to shore. Everybody else beat us to it, though. By the time we left Begonia, the whole lot piled onto one dinghy and sped around the corner to the next anchorage, presumably to meet up with someone there.

We rowed ashore and landed on the beach. Los Gatos is surrounded by sandstone rock that erosion has worn away unto beautiful curving shapes, making it look a little like Zion National Park in the U.S. There were few paths, per se, but we spent the morning scurrying all over the rocks, marveling at the amazing shapes and enjoying the novelty of being able to get traction on solid rock.

We followed the shore for a bit and then found a road we had hoped would allow us to walk to the next cove. After a few minutes of that, I left Maryanne and took an animal trail to the top of a hill to get our bearings. Our road had left the coast completely and was headed nowhere hospitable for a long way. We turned around and headed back to the beach...

When we got there, all of the other boats were pulling up their anchors one by one and heading north around the corner, leaving Begonia as the only boat. When we got to the dinghy, we met three kayakers who had camped for the night on the beach who were also leaving. We had the whole place to ourselves!

Amazing rock formations of Los Gatos

We returned to Begonia to watch a brilliant sunset as it descended behind the steep mountains to the west. The orange light made the red rocks of Los Gatos seem even redder. When the stars came out, I noticed that the only artificial light we could see was coming from our boat. What marvelous peace and solitude!

I was up early the next morning so I could see the last of the amazing starscape before it faded. I sat in the cockpit drinking coffee and watching the eastern horizon go from a thin blue line to an explosion of red. I was inside cleaning out the coffee pot when I heard what sounded like the underwater sound of a panga’s propeller approaching. I’d better get used to fish, I thought.

Instead, I went outside to find a small cruise ship dropping anchor. Well what do you know? Los Gatos has Cruise Ship Day. We were glad we managed to get all of our photos the day before when it was easier to keep unexpected people out of the shot. We passed by them as we left the bay. There were a couple of people who got up early enough to be out on deck. We waved to them and they waved to us as we turned south toward our next stop at Isla San José.

Our sail was another slow one. It was warm and flat like the sail to Los Gatos, only this time, no whales.

We pulled up to an open beach (Solo Mangle) right in front of a handful of fishing camps and set anchor. For a while, it looked like one of the families ashore was getting ready to launch their panga to meet us. How were we going to refuse a fish when they went to so much trouble? It turns out it they were going somewhere else with it. The kayakers we had seen leaving Los Gatos arrived and set up camp on the beach. That’s 22 miles of paddling in two days.

From Los Gatos to the Cordon forest of Solo Mangle

After dark, we went out to have a look at the night sky. Again, like the night before, our anchor light was the only artificial light in evidence. Looking up at the moon, there was a really prominent Moon Dog, which was likely the leading edge of the next day’s winds. Maryanne says she doesn’t ever remember seeing a Moon Dog before and was quite taken with it. There are several types, but this one was created by octagonal ice crystals in the stratosphere, which reflected the Moon’s light in a big ring 22.5˚ from the center.

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