Season One Finale - Prairie SeaShell Sea Stories by Lynn & Don Campbell
On one of the few rare occasions we got the two largest sails up, we were fortunate enough to be close to another boat who happened to have a digital camera. As you can see from the flat water, there was barely enough wind to keep the sails filled. We radioed s/v Romany Star, then exchanged pictures when we both got to the next internet cafe.
San Juanico was not a very comfortable anchorage, so we left early the next morning in the company of Jack & Caroline on s/v Charmer, heading for Bahia Conception.
We anchored at Punta Santo Domingo, a very shallow bay, but it was a nice calm anchorage. Next morning, we headed further down into Bahia Conception, to Coyote Bay.
While we were still setting anchor, a big dingy came over and we heard them commenting on our Edmonton transom. I called out to them that we were actually from Calgary, and they responded with "we're from Canmore".
Tom & Ruth live in a palapa on the beach and have been coming here for several winters now. They have their 5th wheel tucked into one side of the palapa, and kitchen/dining area along the other. The overhang on the palapa is made from cordone cactus 2x2's and palm fronds.
Quite a comfortable arrangement, and they no longer have to haul the 5th wheel with them. They were wonderful folks to visit with, full of information about the area, and they even acted as our tour guides, driving us into Mulege for groceries and lunch, took us on a tour of the river valley, the old harbor and to the mission. We had a wonderful day!
Snorkeling wasn't great in El Burro Cove, but we did take a dingy tour around one of the islands where the pelicans were nesting. One of the fuzzy little white chicks had fallen out of it's nest, and we're not sure if Mama was able to pick him up and take him back. Hopefully the buzzards didn't get him!
While we were in Coyote Bay, we also visited with Joe & Sandy from s/v Windsong. They also have a cold-molded boat, but theirs is over 40 years old and in excellent condition. Hope Prairie SeaShell holds up as well.
We stayed another day here, enjoying another dinner at Bertha's restaurant and visiting with other cruisers, including Fred & Rena from Spirit of Sidney. They had been on our dock in La Paz and had told us about some of their favorite places in the "Sea".
It is now the 19th of May, and we must make our way across the Sea to San Carlos for our haul out on May 25th. Our last stop before crossing over was Punta Chivato.
The beach here is absolutely covered in sea shells, like a few dump trucks came and deposited their load. We found many of the long cylinder type, a few pink murex and a couple of purple rimmed oyster shells and many other interesting types that we hope to turn into Christmas decorations etc.
I really must get myself a book on sea shells so I can tell one from the other, as well, I'm seriously lacking on bird ID, fish species and the plants and cactus around here. I've got lots of studying to do!
The rest of Punto Chivato really brings to light the drastic contrasts of this country. The Punta Chivato Hotel, with it's tennis courts, swimming pool, and rooms costing in excess of $400 US per night, is just steps away from the runway for the private planes that brings the owners of the extravagant homes along the beach to their week-end retreat, and just steps away from the runway are the homes/huts and tienda of the local folk.
We visited the tienda there, and I'm sure we were one of the few "gringos" who ever stepped across the track so to speak. The tienda here had lots of soda pop for sale, but little else.
Our last overnight sail, and it wasn't a nice one, except that we had our best dolphins sighting ever, a huge school, surfacing all around us, and stayed with us for about 25 minutes. Unfortunately seas were too rolly for pictures.
We arrived in San Carlos about 10 am in the morning, and after fighting 6-10 ft. seas, and about 20-30 knots of wind, we were very tired and tried to squeeze into a calm spot in the very crowded anchorage.
No luck, it was too shallow, so we radioed Marina San Carlos, and amazingly enough, they actually had a spot for us, although it was a 104 ft. dock that we would have to pay for half of, even though we are only 38ft.
However, it was worth every penny at this point, just to get some sleep. With all the boats in the anchorage, I had figured we would be totally out of luck and would have to be taking sails off etc out in the rolly polly anchorage.
We pulled in to the dock in front of s/v Windhorse who we had visited with in Aqua Verde, and over the course of the next few days, while we were doing wash downs, mending sails and general clean up, we met many new cruisers.
Our dock was much sought after, and people kept asking us when we were getting hauled. Not to worry though, we had our very own security sentry right on the end of the dock, keeping guard over Prairie SeaShell.
Moving day has arrived again, and all went well. We motored over to the haul out dock, Don stayed on board while I stayed behind to take some pictures.
The marina staff took the lines, the trailer was backed up under the boat, one of the boys maneuvered the supports in place (all by remote control) and within minutes she was high and dry and heading down the highway to Marina Seca Dry Storage.
For those of you who witnessed the day long ordeal getting her on the trailer while she was in the back yard, this was certainly a lot easier and quicker, and much less stressful.
Once she arrived in the yard, again, the staff had her off the trailer and on to the stands in no time at all and ready for her "bottom wash".
Now that the works all done, it's time for a little rest and relaxation, around the pool at the hotel, and in the water at Seal Island.
Yes, we finally did get to do some diving and had the dubious honor of swimming with the sea lions. It was by far the largest dive boat we had ever been on, it probably burned as much diesel in the one hour trip out to the island and back as we used in the past 10 months.
We have travelled about 3,600 nautical miles (over 4,000 land miles) thru storms, rough seas, flat calm water, and occasionally on perfect days with fair winds and sunny skies.
Most of these miles were done at a cruising speed of about 5 mi per hour, picture a farm tractor pulling a big motor home! It has been a test of our endurance, strength and weaknesses and the learning curve continues.
We are very proud of our 12 year labor of love, the Prairie SeaShell has become a home away from home (although I do miss my big comfy recliner) and has proven to be a very reliable and seaworthy vessel.
We are grateful to have been able to see this part of the world without the time constraints of vacations, and have enjoyed interacting with the people of this most friendly country.
Although I am mostly able to make myself understood in Spanish, I am having great difficulty in understanding the barrage of words that we receive as soon as we try to converse in their native language.
We are looking forward to re-acquainting ourselves with our family and friends over the summer, and then, God willing, we anticipate another "Great Journey" to the Mexican Riviera and beyond. We hope to continue our learning curve as we see new places, re-kindle friendships with folks who have crossed our path this year, and meet new people who share this lifestyle with us.
(webmaster's note - I'll be adding the pictures real soon)
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