We managed to land a dorado about 30 minutes after the Rascal splashed back into the water and we promptly turned him into a crisp, refreshing ceviche. It felt great just to sail around for pleasure (as opposed to needing to cover distance) and we spent the afternoon engaged in that manner. When the hour started to get late, we ducked into a small protected anchorage called “Martini Cove”.
Ever since arriving in San Carlos, the “Tetas de Cabra” had been quietly beckoning us. These “Goat Tits” are plainly visible from pretty much every vantage point in town and we were constantly staring up at them. With no more boat chores left on the list, and plenty of thirst for adventure, we finally succumbed to their siren’s song early the next morning.
Thus, the three of us hopped in Superhighway and did some motoring towards a beach, that led to a dirt road, that led to a paved road, that lead to a trail, that led to the tetas. We were careful to start this endeavor in the early morning hours in order to avoid the scorching heat that would make an afternoon mission unbearable. We were promptly (and very loudly) greeted by a pack of roving stray dogs that must’ve lived on scraps from the fishermen on the beach. They were quite happy to join us for a couple miles until, one by one, they started to fall off. It soon became clear that we were on a rival gang’s turf and the one stalwart mutt that remained with us was eventually chased off by the gang that lived on the dirt road.
We spent most of the day snorkeling and relaxing on the Rascal in Martini Cove. It was a Saturday and we finally realized the true source of its name. Its proximity to San Carlos (and the large number of Mexican and American tourists that stop there) makes it a perfect destination for day charters. At one point ,we were able to count 10 large boats sharing the cove with us (which couldn’t have been more than 600 feet across). One couple in a small motorboat (who were clearly American) tried to anchor so close to us that we literally could’ve jumped the distance between us. Pretty much any shift in the wind or current would’ve resulted in our collision. Thanks to Joe’s ripping sound system, we played some western-show-down tunes played at high volume and they soon decided to re-anchor further away.
As the day wore on, we suddenly felt our bellies rumbling with a familiar hunger for roadside roasted chicken. Thus we sped off in the Superhighway in the direction of Pollo Lopez. We met up with Jess and Chris from S/V Silent Sun along the way, and got together for a big, delicious dinner of roast chicken, potatoes, onions, chiles, and homemade corn tortillas. It was just as delectable as we had remembered it.
Though we were in a bit of a chicken-induced-daze at this point, we made it back to the Rascal and spent the night playing music, dancing, and gazing at the spectacle of a half dozen boats full of drunk, wild charter passengers.
The following morning came early, once again, as we had to get Autumn up to the Hermosillo airport for a 7am flight. Jess and Chris were kind enough to lend us their van for this endeavor. It is no ordinary van, however. It was an early 80s Dodge 15 passenger model with the interior gutted out, and an incredible Seattle Seahawks-themed paint job. As such, it is appropriately called "The 12th Van" in honor of the Seahawks fans who call themselves “The 12th Man”.
That first day, we made a short trip up the coast, caught a couple of Dorado, had a magnificent lunch of Dorado tacos, and anchored just off the Club Med and several palapa beach bars. There were lots of kite surfers cruising back and forth, and thus, we had no shortage of entertainment as well. We also did a bit of exploring on the islands nearby which happened to be completely covered in cacti. There was hardly a single square foot that wasn’t bristling with spines. That night, we dove into some cribbage (which Joe was just learning) and made a rather tasty soup from the Pollo Lopez leftovers.
I heard some splashing behind the boat and looked back to see a bird struggling in our wake. “That’s odd,” I thought, “I wonder what he’s doing…” It eventually dawned on me that he dove for our bait squid and managed to get hooked. We immediately stopped the boat and slowly hauled him in. It was a delicate procedure, but I managed to get one hand over his eyes to calm him and de-hooked him quickly and easily with just a few frantic wing flaps. He quickly flew away after this and landed a couple hundred yards away to preen his feathers and glare at us.
We spent the day sailing out to San Pedro Island and managed to catch not two, not four, not six, but 9 Dorado on the trip out. Joe even managed to land one from the Superhighway! San Pedro Island didn’t really have any anchorages or good stopping spots as its pretty much surrounded by rocky cliffs. Some sea lions do call it home, however, and we took some time to practice our mating calls before sailing back to San Pedro Bay.
The next day we decided to hike up to the top of a nearby peak. There was no goat path this time, and there was a lot of loose rock and plenty of sharp, spiny cacti. The view was great, though. When we got back to the beach, we ran into a Mexican cowboy and his loyal dog and chatted with him for a bit about the cows in the region and the inhospitable mountains he had to cross in order to graze in this area. He was quiet, but friendly and it dawned on us that he was about as legit as cowboys come these days. He had a tough life, but a happy outlook and it put a smile on our faces. You can see a quick shot of him at the end of Joe's video.
The following morning, we made a big bacon and egg breakfast and spent a good amount of time reading our books and laying in our hammocks. As time wore on, we eventually developed an incredible thirst for ice-cold Tecate and as we were several miles from a store, and totally out of ice we knew it would be quite a trial to satisfy our burgeoning thirst. Thus, we jumped in Superhighway and started the 4 mile trip to the beach that was closest to a convenience store (which happened to be the same Oxxo that saved us after our climb of the Tetas). After a couple miles of walking, trespassing through a private vacation-home development, and a little bit of hitchhiking, we returned to the superhighway completely laden with cold beers and several bags full of ice. The trip back was uneventful and we even managed to dispatch a couple Tecates during the transit.
That afternoon, we spent a lot of time relaxing on the beach and congratulated ourselves for such a productive day.
We knew we had to get back to Guaymas to drop Joe off, so the following day we started sailing in that direction. We didn’t catch nearly as many fish as we were accustomed to that day, so we decided to build a big, glorious French onion soup instead. We anchored in a remote, rocky cove that night and enjoyed our soup immensely. Such a soup does have drawbacks, however, and we suffered later that night after some digestion had occurred.
The next morning around 5:30am, we both awoke to the incredibly loud buzzing sound that was loud enough that we both figured it had to be inside the boat with us. It was not a relic of the onion soup, however, and we both clambered up on deck to greet a Mexican family that was trolling circles around us in a boat that seemed to be built entirely of bird poop and discarded plywood chunks. Their outboard appeared to have been in service since the sinking of the Titanic (if not the dawn of time) and it created a racket that scared off all of the birds in a five mile radius. They made another dozen passes by the boat and eventually decided to troll about a mile away. Their outboard was still exceptionally loud, even at that distance, but we managed to ignore it and build ourselves a tasty breakfast of chorizo and eggs.
As we continued our sail towards Guaymas, we ran into a couple of large “bait balls” like those that we had observed a couple days previous. We decided to cast into them with the fly line which proved ineffective. We trolled for a bit with the fly as well, and all of a sudden the fly line took off like a freight train. We’ll never know what monstrous fish hit it, but after about 20 seconds, it had peeled off all of my fly line and about half of my backing. I started to crank down my drag, and it didn’t seem to be making a damn bit of difference. When I got to about a quarter of my backing remaining (which is about 1000 ft of line peeled off at this point), I increased the drag a few more clicks and felt a surge and then the line went loose. We eventually reeled it all the way back in and the leader had been so stretched out that the whole thing was curled up like a pigtail.
That afternoon, we pulled into Guaymas, which is a fairly industrial port, and dropped anchor close to down-town. There was no dinghy dock available, but we left the superhighway by a breakwater and went into town to grab something to eat. We found some birria stands that had incredible goat tacos, and grabbed a bunch of supplies to make steak sandwiches for dinner. We spent the afternoon on the boat drinking cold beer, playing cribbage, and listening to the din of a Saturday night in Guaymas.
The following morning, Joe had to head back to the states, so we got up early and motored back in to the breakwater. With a big hug and a big thanks, we parted ways and he went to the bus station to catch a ride to the airport.