I've been writing and storing blog entries on my computer throughout the last two weeks, so I will upload them as I can. It might be a little confusing in past and present tenses, but just bear with it.
We finally left Puerto Escondido on May 4th. We left early in the morning, and tiptoed out of the bay. Loretofest was a lot of fun, but I was happy to be back on the Sea.
Our first stop was Puerto Ballandra on Isla Carmen. We had heard from Sunbaby on the Amigo net that this cove was the next stop on their way home. It was only 16 nautical miles away from us, so we hurried over to see them. We knew this would be our last chance to see them before they headed home.
Puerto Ballandra is an exceptional anchorage (well they all seem exceptional so far.) It is a very protected C-shaped cove with mostly sand bottom. Outside the cove, a large pod of dolphins greeted us and escorted us in. That night we got together with Sunbaby and had lots of laughs filling each other in on our activities. The following day we just rested up and then had dinner over at Sunbaby along with a Canadian couple (Jeff and Linda on Curare) who are Amigo Net controllers - the hosts who run the cruiser's radio forum.
The controllers are a revolving bunch of cruisers who volunteer to run the Net - they keep everyone organized, record the current locations of everyone for safety, and generally just keep it flowing smoothly. No one is allowed to broadcast on the radio until the controller has recognized them and called for their input. We were very interested to talk with Jeff and Linda since Patrick and I are signed up to do our first Amigo Net controller job on Friday May 7th. It is a great way to get involved, learn a lot, help out and meet people. Lots of people rely on the Amigo net for connecting with friends, weather info from Don in Oxnard, and camaraderie. It's a great forum and we are really excited to get involved. Our first time will be as a fill-in for a regular controller who can't do it that day (Marcia on Juniata). We will also be filling in for Marcia while she goes home this summer in June and July. After we get a little practice, we hope to pick up a permanent spot. Many people leave over the summer and there is lots of room to help.
Puerto Ballandra has so much life in it. Everyday so far, we have seen a large pod of dolphins at the entrance to the cove, playing and feeding. This morning, I woke up to the sounds of a few hunting in the cove around the boats. I enjoyed the show as they caused shoals of fish to leap from the water for their lives. A couple times, I saw a fish walking across the water, with only their tale touching as they frantically tried to get away. And then the lunge and splash, and the fish became breakfast. Later that same morning, we saw a large sea turtle swimming underwater as we drove our dinghy over to Sunbaby for the Last Goodbye. We are so sad to see Bill (Uncle Bill as Jack calls him) and Sue leave. They feel like family. But they are planning to be back again next season and we look forward to seeing them again.