Isla la Ventana – Bahía Alcatraz – Puerto Refugio – Isla Estanque – San Carlos.

16.08.21: We’ve had a lovely few days, having found Polaris and Manta again. They were at Isla la Ventana, so instead of sailing to check out the hurricane hole, Bahía Don Juan, we scuttled over to join them. Had a super fun evening on their boat, then I visited Manta for sundowners last night. Bernie was too delicate from the night before!

Yesterday we snorkeled in that bay and today we’ve sailed up to this lovely bay rounding Punta Alcatraz. It should give us good shelter from the forecast strong westerlies tonight. We went fishing / snorkeling on arrival with the Polaris crew. The kids are getting so good. Brave with snorkeling. Kai is still a bit nervous to put her head under. She’s only just 3 though! Bernie got 3 fish and we’d hoped to do a beach BBQ for everyone, but the wind’s already 20+knots.

We saw a whale though! Yippee. I spotted it. A humpback we think. And many turtles. So cool.

18.08.21: We arrived in Puerto Refugio about 4pm yesterday, after a wonderful day’s sailing from Alcatraz. We had a very successful fishing day too, landing three decent sized Mahimahi (Dorado) of about 10lbs each. So Bernie filleted them and we’ll can some, smoke some and do a beach BBQ for everyone tonight with the rest. I think Polaris got one too.

We’re in Middle Bay, which had a long sandy beach. We swam last night to get rid of the sweat and blood of the day! This is as far north as Bernie wants to go so we’ll likely spend a few days here. The geology is amazing, so many colours in the rocks. No pressure to go fishing anyway! Tylor is fixing my spear, bless him. I’m so grateful.

1700: My spear is fixed and works perfectly. Tylor is my hero! Clever guy. We are hoping to beach BBQ tonight but it’s really windy at the moment so that might not happen. Bernie has been fiddling with the engine most of the day.

Thursday 19th August: What a windy night, very gusty. We were both up and down checking all was well, and it was. Still howling this morning. We didn’t BBQ. But Steve came over and got the food I’d made for him. Today is going to be a canning day. Smoking might have to wait since its so windy.

I’m feeling a bit antsy, like I need to get off the boat and go travelling on my own for a while. I might do that once we get to San Carlos.

1545: Tylor is now a double hero! He welded a new exhaust elbow for the engine and its running perfectly again. He’s very handy with the metal work! I’m glad it’s fixed and Bernie can stop swearing and blinding over it. It puts me on edge when every few minutes there’s an explosive “ffs” from the floor. And if you ask if you can help, you get a very clipped “no” that makes you want to hide. We’ve only just had lunch, as when I offered earlier I got my head bitten off, so I didn’t dare open my mouth again until well after the job was finished. I took the dingy to the beach to get away from the taut atmosphere. The stones are very cool here, multi coloured, really pretty.

21.08.21: Polaris and Manta left around 0500 this morning, heading down to Isla Estanque. We met up with Dirk and Silvia from Lisson Life, on the beach last night. They’re anchored round the corner and we hadn’t realised! So we stayed here to have a beach night with them tonight. We fished and I’ve made my fish parcel specials to BBQ. Should be a fun evening. Tomorrow afternoon we’ll jump on the outgoing tide to head to Caleta Pulpito, on the way side of Isla Angel de la Guardia. Then on to Isla Estanque the next day, most likely.

22.08.21: @ 1300. We’re under way again, heading SE, following the coast. Jack is on deck with us, stretched out in the cockpit, enjoying the wind in her fur. We have a light northerly breeze.

Last night was a lot of fun and everyone enjoyed my fish parcels. I had trigger fish and grouper, with potato, kumara, onion, pepper and corn in them. Bernie and I stayed on the beach long after Dirk and Silvia had gone home, watching the tide slowly come back in to where we’d put the dinghy. It’s springs at the moment so a roughly 4m tide fall. Quite dramatic.

I’m suffering from a million tiny insect bites which are hellishly itchy. They’re from “no see ’ems”! Tiny translucent biters which you can barely see. You sure know they’ve been though!

1730: Well, we’re anchored in Caleta Pulpito. It’s very pretty, actually, and we’ve had a beautiful sunset with lovely purple light fading into inky blue. Jack has curled up on top of the Yankee, on the bow, so we haven’t had the heart to move her and put it away! They do love finding cozy spots in the sails. I saw Alex tucked into a fold of the staysail this morning. So cute.

We ended up motoring most of the way, as the forecast northerly wind veered to a very light SE, almost on the nose! We saw a couple of whales briefly. Otherwise an uneventful trip.

23.08.21 @ 1400. We’d barely done an hour and a half this morning when the wind swung sharply onto our nose. So we’ve hunkered behind a headland rather than trying to punch into it. If it eases later we’ll carry on, otherwise might catch the morning tide at 0130, to continue to Isla Estanque. The weather gods are not cooperating!

1915: Been underway about 45 minutes, motoring. It’s a pleasant temperature at last. It was 35°C earlier and muggy. Too hot!

24.08.21: I’m suffering terribly with insect bites. Locally known as Jejenes, and as No See Ums by the gringos, these ferocious, almost invisible, tiny gnats make you itch insanely. I’ve got dozens of bites, and long sleeves and trousers only help so much as they can penetrate the fine cotton layers. I’m taking as much antihistamine as I dare, swimming a lot to cool down and clean them and using barrels of repellant and topical creams. All too little effect. My sanity is in question right now!

To really make life awesome, I’ve cut my big toe alongside the nail bed. It’s not looking good. This morning I cleaned it using sterile gear, debriding it and dressed it. Ouchy! But hopefully that’ll do the trick. I’m almost at the point where I just want to get to San Carlos and hide in a 5 star hotel for a week!

Plus – yes, there’s more – the growth I’ve been keeping an eye on, which I think is a BCC, has accelerated and become sort of scaly and sore. I need it removed asap. I’d do it myself if it, wasn’t on the back of my right forearm! Murphy has a lot to answer for!

Jack caught her first bird this morning. Of course, she brought it inside, thinking we’d be delighted with her and let her devour it in the saloon, however she was sadly disallusioned! I released it, as it was at that stage unharmed, other than terrified. Jack wasn’t thrilled with me but really! Isn’t their instinct to hunt incredible.

1440: We’ve just rounded the Eastern side of Isla Estanque, having decided to get to SC as fast as we can. The wind is supposed to go west, then north tonight, so I hope it does and we can sail. I’m on watch. Bernie’s been busy spear fishing and made tacos for lunch, so he needs a rest!

Wednesday 25th August, 1745: We’re 40nm from San Carlos, Bernie having decided unilaterally to go direct, not rest at Isla San Pedro Mártir as planned. So it’s been light sailing conditions, very slow, hot and sleepless. The cats are sacked out on the floor like limp rags, poor kitties. We’re not much better! It’s 35°C right now.

We’ve had engine troubles, again. My faith in the old Perkins is shakey. Then Bernie said he wanted to sail west of Mártir and take a straight run to SC. I pointed out that that would put us on a lee shore of a very nasty place if we got into trouble with no engine. He concurred and we jibed and went east of the island. Amen. But his calls are concerning me too. Its not the first time. I know we’re both tired but it’s nothing on what the Pacific crossing will be like. I’m rethinking my wish to do that.

It’s been nicer sailing the latter part of this afternoon though. We’ve caught and released 4 Mahimahi, too small for my conscience, and hooked a really big one that got off! Of course. Not before I’d expended a lot of energy reeling it in though! Interestingly, there was a whole school of small mahimahi following it in. The water’s so clear we could see them all. Fascinating.

We’re almost out of food, so a big grocery shop will be first order of the day on arrival! OK. Maybe a visit to Hammerheads for mojitos! And Barracuda Bob’s for their amazing clam chowder. I’m so looking forward to being able to talk to the whanau, and to seeing Kim, Nancy and Glenn.

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