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Out to the Islands

Updated: Mar 21, 2022

I woke up early and excited. We were heading out to the islands today, and I wanted to get off to a good start without having to rush anything or push Josh and Jon beyond their comfort levels. I packed up my gear, loaded into the Jeep and headed off toward town to meet the guys and get any last minute details sorted out. I was about half way there when I spotted an Osprey taking his breakfast across the highway and into the top of a small cluster of Saguaro cacti not far off into the desert. Figuring that this could be a great picture if I could get close enough, I pulled over and wandered off into the scrub to find the perfect shot. Moving quite slowly I got as close as I dared to the Osprey without scaring him off and possibly sacrificing his fish to one of the scavengers that are never more than a second away in this harsh environment. Satisfied with this early bonus I hopped back behind the wheel, pulled out onto the highway, and cringed as I immediately heard the drive shaft smack into the underside of the Jeep with an angry, authoritative “whomp”. I knew it was the drive shaft because I’d broken one before. When I lived in Berkeley I couldn’t afford to get a new battery for the Jeep so we always parked it on hills and roll started it. This was a perfect plan for a while, but just days before I left to head back East I sheared the drive shaft and shattered the Universal joints to the tune of several hundred dollars. I was not pleased with the prospect of doing that kind of damage to my limited budget on this beautiful Monday in Mulege. Fortunately I was feeling like a local by this point, and thus was able to find a couple of construction workers to give me a tow, and directions to the best shade-tree mechanic in town. For a grand total of $50 I was towed, disassembled, and repaired before 10:00am. Thank you Phillipe! Now it was time to get the boys on the move and start this adventure. I hightailed it over to the Maria Isabella campo and found a very grumpy man telling me that my friends had left and that I should do the same. I looked around their camp and saw both tents, all their belongings, and John’s bike. Something wasn’t quite right here, but this guy was about as friendly as a bag of Hornets, and I was in no mood to be pissed on. As I headed out John ran out of the woods to flag me down. After a brief discussion with the angry man (Mike), we realized that I was probably the reason for his discontent. Apparently in my haste to depart the night before I had run over a spigot which had resulted in a lack of hot showers at the camp today (oops). Mike’s mom runs the place, and he had to deal with the angry RV crowd that had missed out on their rinse today. I placated him with $4 and a pack of Oreos and told John to find Josh and meet me at Santispac beach. No angry little man was going to derail this train. By 2:00 Josh, John and I were on the beach and getting our gear ready for the adventure at hand. Boats were unloaded. Food was divvied up. Dry bags were stuffed. And beer bottles were emptied. By 3:30 we were on the water and searching for the shallow water wreck of a shrimp trawler we were told was in the lee of our first island. We never found the boat, but we did find hundreds of Pelicans, and several dozen blue footed boobies playing on and above the rocky alcoves we paddled past. As the sun set we approached our destination on the back side of Isla Coyote. A gently curving white sand beach reached out from the rocky coastline and welcomed us ashore. After quickly setting up camp and gathering up some rather sketchy firewood we were ready for dinner, and looking for Josh to perform his magic as self-appointed camp cook. Had we known what was coming, we would have simply eaten a handful of sand and called it a night. The fire was a disaster. Green wood and pyrotechnic shrubbery were a volitile and impotent combination. The “meat” that Josh had purchased resembled untanned leather, and went down like cow flavored chewing gum. To say it was disgusting is to compliment this meal beyond it’s most ambitious charms. Eventually we decided to skip straight to dessert, which was, of course… pop corn. Upon discovering that he had used all the salt to “tenderize” the meat, Josh decided that garlic salt would be an acceptable substitute on the pop corn. If you ever debate this same mistake, consider yourself forewarned. It’s a bad call. The seagulls were spitting out our popcorn all day long. We retired to bed that night with empty stomachs, but full spirits and eagerly looked forward to the day ahead.


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