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No Sharks Yet

I am writing from an anchorage at Isla Tiburón in the Sea of Cortez; we arrived here in the dark last night so today was day of exploring the bathwater-warm waters. We were blessed with the surprise of cell service--this was highly unexpected and is not under-appreciated. The last couple of days we've been out of range, using a "sat phone" service called Iridium to get weather updates and send bare-bones texts to family about where we are.

After leaving Phoenix in Andrew's parents' minivan, the trunk packed with their new main sail, our backpacks, and a couple of shopping bags full of items that are not easy to find outside of the US, we road tripped about eight hours down to San Carlos, Sonora. Galapagos was ready and waiting.

Ominous skies, no?

We stayed at the marina in San Carlos for three nights, which was mostly to wait out Mexico's big welcome gift to us: Hurricane Lorena. There was a bit of a flurry in the marina as folks storm-proofed their vessels as best they could, and we went out on the dingy to check on a few boats that belong to friends who aren't down here full time. By the time the hurricane got to us, she was just a bit of light wind and heavy rain. We all slept through the night just fine, though closing up the hatches meant no ventilation for the eighty-something-percent humidity and temperatures in the nineties.

Pretending like I, too, know what to look for as far as "hurricane preparedness."

On Monday we set sail! Andrew's parents were chomping at the bit to get going; they'd been hanging out in San Carlos for a while in preparation for our arrival (and staying in an air-conditioned condo to avoid the brutal heat of a late Mexican summer--no AC on the boat). Andrew was excited to get back out on the water, too. The sky was clear, the sea a bright turquoise, and the wind just right... until I got hit with the motion sickness I most feared.

Being out on the swells of the sea is very different from being docked in the marina. I wish I could say I was surprised by my own seasickness, but I have felt quite ill on pretty much all of our bus rides on this trip, and I will get carsick if I look down at my phone if we're on anything other than a straight and clear highway. The boat was, unfortunately, no different. I spent our first day sail laying down in the cockpit, sipping water slowly, and testing out a small dose of Stugeron. I struggled to sit up for dinner that evening, and decided to just try to sleep out in the cockpit--the anchorage was rolling with leftover swells from the storms. It was almost peaceful out there, with the stars twinkling overhead and the sounds of swooping bats to sing me to sleep, but it started raining and I was forced to retreat into the cabin. Not much sleep was had.

I took a stronger dose of seasickness medication in the morning, but spent most of the day flat on my back again. We sailed to another anchorage a few hours away, and everyone was relieved to find that it was much quieter. I napped the whole journey. By Tuesday evening, likely due to a combination of the meds, some sleep, and simple acclimation, I was feeling much more myself. This was just in time for an evening of the boat treats we've been dreaming of: fresh caught mahi-mahi fish tacos and piña coladas!

It's part of the routine to put out a couple of fishing lines off the back of the boat as we sail, and the sea has been generous with us. (Perhaps an apology for what it put me through.) Both Tuesday and Wednesday, without hardly any effort on our part, Andrew and his dad have reeled in dinner. We're hoping the streak continues, because nothing tastes better on a boat as the sun goes down than buttery, garlicy fish that was caught mere hours ago.

Fish numero uno--a dorado (mahi-mahi)

Meatier fish number two, with some nasty teeth!

Apart from the hurricane, seasickness, and wicked high humidity (sweaty all the time), our days are looking pretty damn picturesque. Even our many-day journey from Cuenca to the boat went as smoothly as it possibly could, not counting the sunburns we acquired killing time on the beach in Fort Lauderdale. (Shoutout to the Hollywood Beach Hotel that graciously allowed us early check-in and late check-out to minimize our layover hours wandering the Floridian beaches aimlessly!) There's nothing a few dips in the sea, aloe lotion, and a cold beer can't cure. The waters here aren't as clear as we hope to find next, but our snorkeling today revealed our first glimpses of stingrays, lots of reef fish, even a moray eel and a lobster. The stars at night are incredible. A few nights ago we saw bioluminescent jellyfish swimming next to the boat. Tonight, the water is glassy smooth. Andrew's parents stocked up on Trader Joe's wine for us while we were across the border, and it tastes even better in the cockpit under the string lights. Don't ask us about showering or ease of toilet use--things are feeling a little reminiscent of our car camping days--but it's not a bad finale to this wild year.

- J

First try at the classic underwater couple's photo.
We'll try again in clearer water.



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