Thursday, December 10, 2009

Eaten Alive!

High View
High View
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
Isla San Francisco is a jewel in the chain of islands that line the Baja California Sur coastline from La Paz to Bahia de Los Angeles. A little bit of an island just east of San Evaristo, the island boasts three lovely anchorages, each offering protection from a different wind point. The views range from the wide open vista of the Sea of Cortez on the east side to an absolutely stunning panorama of the layered, sculpted Sierra de Gigantes. We always plan our trips through this region to include at least one - preferably several - days at Isla San Francisco where we hike, snorkel, and enjoy amazing sunrises and sunsets.

So it was with anticipation that we pulled into the southwest anchorage of Isla San Francisco. We had pulled anchor early in Los Gatos and motor sailed the 20 miles south in light, frustrating winds. The winds were so light at one point that we put the kids on harnesses and lines and threw them off the back to float along with us for a few miles as we transited the San Jose Channel. With dusk falling, we had a pleasant evening of rum drinks, rosemary beans, and fresh yeast rolls to look forward to as we tucked into the litter box, a shallow section of the anchorage on the very southern most tip just inside a natural breakwater.

The first few minutes went about as expected. A little kerfuffle skuffling over who does what as we settled in for the night. It’s Jaime’s night for dishes. No it’s not! It’s Mera’s. No it isn’t! I don’t CARE whose night it is, just get the dirty dishes off the d* table... You know. The usual.

Then they arrived. It was like a scene out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. A cloud of insects perked up, noticed six juicy tasty creatures had pulled up a mere dozen yards off the shoreline, and swooped down upon us. The bug tornado consisted of a few bobos, a fleet of mosquitos, and about seven berjillion no-see-ums.

Slap. “Ouch! Ooow... Ow! Bugs!”

The crew scrambled out, “Get the screens!” “Where are they?” “Behind the freezer in the office... hurry!” “Close Jaime’s porthole, she pitched the screen overboard last week!” “Got the shower hatch!” “Screens up!”

The mosquitos buzzed in impotent fury at the screens. They lined up, an army of proboscis-wielding blood suckers waiting for us to get stupid and slip out the door for a moment of fresh air. But we were smarter than that! We were ready! We had Screens! So we settled down to eat, smugly assured of our safety.

Slap. Smack! “Ouch! Oooow.... Ow! Omigod what is that thing?”

The crew tumbled out of the salon seats, smacking our exposed arms and legs with a collective cry of “What the hell?” The air of the salon was alive with microscopic, fast moving, flying vampires each armed with a ray of sting-death. They would alight on an arm or leg and dig in for the duration, plumping up and leaving behind a small red dot which itched worse than a 10-day-old road rash scab.

There was nothing else we could do. We shut every window, dogged down all the hatches. This served to trap a metric buttload of no-see-ums inside the boat, but no new ones could sneak in. Then the entire family began to slap, smack, and smear. Smearing was for the nasty bastards who had already eaten. They would settle on the white ceiling, fat black spots full of juicy gooey blood, slow and lethargic as they indulged in a post-feast siesta. These evil minions of bloody doom were the easy ones to kill with a well placed thumb. We spent the night huddled under sheets with the windows shut and the fans on, dying from a combination of slow blood loss and incredible, suffocating heat.

At the first glimmer of dawn, we ran away. We pointed the boat into the wind, fired up both engines, and tried to blow the remaining bugs out of the boat. It didn’t work. The entire day was spent eliminating black terror dots. The most effective method was to go to a no-see-um hideout... say the cockpit... and bare two fat juicy calves then wait. Wait for it. Wait for it. Slap! Another one down. We eliminated thousands using this method until our calves and forearms were a solid smear of jejenay guts. The only creatures with a stronger blood lust than no-see-ums are apparently my husband and children when exacting revenge.

Layered Morning
Layered Morning
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
Even so, the battle was a draw leaving everyone on the boat looking very much as though we had caught a particularly virulent strain of the measles. We were exhausted from lack of sleep, tension, and itchiness. Dean slapped cortisone on everyone, poured two rums down each of the adults, and sent everyone to bed early. We’re told it will only take a week or so for the red spots and itchiness to fade. I suspect it will take longer for my high-strung family to relax enough to not smack every black dot they see.


Anonymous said...

You "trolled" the kids through the San Jose channel? Catch anything?
Great posts, Toast, we really enjoy them.


Singing Land Cruiser said...

Hello my dear Toast, sounds like you lived out 2 movies there. Water World and The African Queen. We are now Mgts of a RV Resort in Ramona, Ca. If you are coming this way, on your way, stop an stay in one of our casitas for a day or two on us. We would love to meet you guys.
Be safe, Michael & Christi