December 10, 2005   

Ensenada Mexico to Islas Benitos

We departed Ensenada at 0700 not knowing whether we were going to day hop our way down the Baja coast or make the 30 hour run down to Isla Cedros which requires a long open water run offshore of about 80 miles as much as 50 miles offshore.  That water can kick up a bit with larger swells and wind waves so we want to pick our weather. 

Off Punta Santo Tomas just south of Ensenada, we found two uncharted islets.  Neither our paper charts nor our digital charts showed these large islets.  Scarey!

Along the way after reviewing all  the weather information we had, light and variable winds were forecasted for the next few days so we decided to make the 230 mile run overnight and chose Islas San Benitos for our destination.  This group of islands is just about 15  miles west of Isla Cedros and has a couple good anchorages as well as a small village where it is reported to have good trading.

The weather held as was forecasted and we had an uneventful smooth run all the way with calm waters although it was a bit tiring.  We arrived at our anchorage at about 1300 and was setting the anchor when a fisherman in a beat up panga approached our stern with a big smile.  He wanted to trade lobster.  He said they were having a festival that afternoon and they needed some beer.  At least that's what we think he said.  We ended up trading six beers for six lobsters, a tee shirt for four more lobsters and a small zip lock bag of hard candy given freely to him for his children yielded a couple more lobsters and a big smile in gratitude.  He left and we finished setting the anchor, put out the flopper stoppers as this anchorage was surrounded by breaking swells on shore so was a little rolly, and settled in.  Kath had a big smile as she was dealing with the lobsters.  This was what she had been waiting for.

About 30 minutes later, he showed up again at our stern and wanted more beer.  We agreed on six for six again and he counted out six lobsters and then six more.  He wanted twelve more beers, so we gave him twelve more beers happily.  He wanted more beers, but I said no mas cerveza and he understood.  I wanted to keep the beer we had left until we could resupply (you know, that perceived thing).  He asked about more tee shirts and we said no mas.  He asked about hats and we said no.  He wanted to trade!  It seems that for these remote villages, the perceived value of beer, tee shirts, candy and hats are greater than the lobster which they so easily harvest.  We felt that 24 lobster was enough for now.  Later, we wished that we had traded for more and hoped that he would return before we left the following morning.  He did not. L

We expect to trade for more lobster at Turtle Bay.