May 7, 2008 — Punta Pulpito — N 26 degrees 30′ 54.8″/ W 111 degrees 26′ 57.0″

10 nm for the day; 618.6 nm for the cruise overall

Ordinarily, by this stage in our Macgregor cruises, we’re getting antsy to close the loop and reunite boat with trailer. The sleeping bag feels less than comfortable, provisions are running short, maybe petty disagreements have robbed cruising of some of its joys. Visions of a bed that stays flat and stable all night, conveniences like a real flush toilet and shower, and musings of what the yard must look like back home start displacing the wonder of exploring new islands and beaches.

Not so this time. Our goal today was to have been San Sebastian, a decent 20 mile journey north from San Juanico. Punta Pulpito, a dramatic volcanic headland which dominates the horizon for 20 miles if heading either north or south, is situated halfway between San Juanico and San Sebastian. We stopped at Pulpito for lunch, liked the feel of the anchorage, and decided to stay the night here instead of continuing on to San Sebastian. Exploring this dramatic area seemed a far better idea than moving 10 miles closer to our truck and boat trailer.

We had lunch, napped, and then dinghied ashore. One notable feature of Punta Pulpito, according to the cruising guide, is its large vein of jet black obsidian. We set out to discover it. We hadn’t gone further than a few paces on the cobble beach before Sandy started seeing bits and chunks of obsidian mixed in with the sand and gravel. As we wandered along, we began finding larger hunks of solid obsidian, some basketball sized. We clambered over boulders, heading out around the base of the cliff until we were just below a broad black band which slashed vertically up the face of the cliff. I climbed up rubble to the start of the black vein and confirmed that it was the source of the countless pieces of obsidian on the beach below.

After filling our pockets with only the finest specimens, we returned to the boat. I mounted the kicker on dinghy, and we motored out around Pulpito, sneaking in and around submerged boulders. We got a great look at a pair of blue footed boobies, which were standing next to some pelicans on boulders at water’s edge. Their feet truly are a bright baby blue.

For most of the day, we were one third of a curious mix of boats in this anchorage. A few hundred yards astern of us a panga swung on its welded rebar grappnel anchor. Three local fishermen were aboard. When we arrived, they were busy tending either gear or their morning’s catch, I couldn’t tell for sure. They were bundled up in hooded sweatshirts to ward of the chill of the 78 degree air, which was clearly cooler than their comfort level. Around 1 pm they all stretched out and slept for the rest of the afternoon. Around dinner time they rose, rolled up their plastic tarp sunshade, and then after eating, laid down for another short nap. A short while ago they raised anchor and started working their way out into deeper water. They pause for a bit to try a spot with their hand lines, then move further out. I expect that they will be fishing all night.

The other boat sharing anchorage with us arrived in mid afternoon. She is a cutter rigged ketch, probably 60 feet in length, lemon yellow hull with green sail covers. She’s named Endless Summer. Around 6 pm she raised anchor and resumed her journey north. Perhaps she’s planning on making an overnight crossing from here to San Carlos. The forecast for the northern crossing is favorable for such a voyage tonight.

We are now the only boat anchored at Punta Pulpito. Wispy clouds overhead are painting the sky in hues of orange and peach. A pelican is circling in search of fish, and a pesky gull moves in to try and steal its catch following the pelican’s plunge. Our fishermen are about 2 miles out on a lightly wind rippled sea, working their hand lines. Not a light is to be seen except a sliver moon hanging above the sunset. The only sounds are the sea lapping at the cobble shore and our flag occasionally flapping in the light breeze. Another day ending on the Sea of Cortez.

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