Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 12 Isla del Carmen "Taiko Cove" to rocky beach south of Nopolo

Day 12 Isla del Carmen "Taiko Cove" to rocky beach south of Nopolo
At dawn we talk for awhile in our bags, comparing our experience to that which might be had by members of one of the guided kayak tours that are camped down the coast from us. I know that I would learn more of the local biology from a local guide, especially with my own questions. But I would give up so much of the independent, elemental sense of discovery of nature and of myself, so under-experienced by our modern culture. AndI have come to value that kind of self-work too much to make it a fair trade.
By the time we have left 'Taiko Cove' (which I dubbed it, based on the regular drum like sound produced by waves striking the curved undercut section of the cliffs), the drums have shifted from the south to the north end of this tiny 40 meter beach. A small pod of dolphins feed in the water before us as we put in, and begin our paddle across to Isla Danzante. Part way across, we here the great Fin breathing again...
Making the two mile crossing, we circle Danzante in a clockwise fashion to the south. The water is very clear as we glide over schools of Sargent Major, Black Tang, King Angel and one Parrot fish. Oyster Catchers, herons, gulls, neons and osprey watch us from the shore. The beaches here are rocky, where on the older Isla, they were made of ground up shell (later, at a dive shop in Loreto, we here that this is the best local area for snorkeling, and that there is indeed a shell sand beach, but at the north end of Danzante, nearest Isla Carmen).
After another respite, we head across the 2 mile stretch over to the mainland coast, heading directly into Puerto Escondido to explore it's deep pocket harbor. Protected by a rounded hill to the south, it is strangely seductive. With each stoke of my paddle, more of her beauty is revealed, like a shawl slowly slipping from the shoulders of a beautiful woman...
It takes us almost 20 minutes to reach the far interior of Puerto Escondido. As we had hoped, from there is is only a 50 meter portage over the rocks back to the sea. The wind and waves begin to pick up after a bit as we paddle north along the coast. We need rest and shade and aim for a tiny, very interestingly shaped island in the distance. It turns out to be an excellent choice, for after a break, we decide to circumnavigate it on foot and discover it's impressive biodiversity. As we walk, we see skeletons of birds, trigger fish, crabs and even a seahorse. There are rocks are covered with a species of tiny (5mm) mussels and a great variety of cactus cling to there existence here, in 'the land with no rain', to borrow the phrase from the title of the Mary Austin book I am reading. There is also a huge variety of human detritus. We pick up as many plastic bottles and cans as we can carry as mitigation or penitence for human transgressions which we know, are also our own. A mother gull nests on the ground along our path. She does not squawk like the others, but stands resolute before us with never a though of abandoning her 2 green eggs. We admire her defense of life, and turn away. Back by the water, I unscrew the forward hatch cover and we slip each of the plastic bottles we have collected through the small opening, like we might do in a recycle can. "Explore, Enjoy, and Protect the Planet", the Sierra Club motto comes into my head. Everyday.

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