|All Aboard the Pez Sapo
Pez Sapo at Ensenada Blanca.
Making decisions abroad the Pez Sapo.
Dolphins bow-riding as we approach Los Dolores.
Unloading the pangas at Los Dolores base-camp.
It was long day! Our challenge today was to travel 60 miles to the south by boat along the Baja California coastline. Destination Los Dolores: a remote valley, inaccessible by car, and site of our first base-camp. Plain and simple, traveling by boat with 35 people and their gear is a tiring exercise. We woke up before sunrise to pack our gear, loaded the pangas by 7:30am, and shuttled people and equipment to the Pez Sapo. While she still floats, the Pez Sapo doesnít motor like she used to. Our trip south started smoothly, albeit slowly.
Trouble arose when a north wind started blowing and the sea became choppy. Landing on a north-facing beach would be troublesome if the seas became too rough. Three hours into the trip and only 30 miles completed, the Pez Sapo and her crew had had enough and turned towards Santa Marta for refuge and decision making. The crew wanted to put us ashore at Santa Marta and shuttle us to Los Dolores over the course of the week in smaller pangas. This put us in the difficult position of having to establish two base-camps when we had only planned for one. After some quick negotiating and a little persistence, the crew of the Pez Sapo was convinced to motor onward; Los Dolores it would be.
Another three hours and finally our journey was complete. Excitement came across the expedition as Los Dolores came into view and the dolphins guided us in. The expedition could at last begin. Los Dolores is a wide arroyo facing eastward from the Sierra de La Giganta. The north wind made landing on the beach troublesome only because the crew dropped us off in a quiet cove two miles from the area we wanted to use for base-camp. We hiked the rest of the way in, while the gear was shuttled in through the rougher surf.
Base-camp was set up within three hours and our cook started to make the first hot meal from a fully functional kitchen. Shade tarps, screen-tents, bathrooms, and showers were put together, specimen prepping gear was sorted and moved to individual tents where tables were erected.
We had made it after two hours of packing in the morning, six hours in the boat, one hour unloading the boats, and three hours setting up the camp. Itís time to go to work!
From camp at 10:30pm