Day 1: Even cruising has it’s down days. I don’t mean depressed days, but days where the boat (and us) are safely anchored and comfortable, but the wind is howling at 25 knots making it difficult to launch the dinghy and explore ashore . We have food for a couple of weeks, we desalinate our own water and the batteries are charged. It’s a spectacular setting; a small bay on a mountainous island, it’s a pleasant 80 degrees out. We are in beautiful Salinas Bay on Isla Carmen and can’t investigate the abandoned company town a quarter of a mile away and once home to 300 people. Bahia Salinas is on the east side of the island and from here we can see the island continuing to the south for another 15 miles. To the north is the beach and low headlands – which is why the north wind gets to us, but there are no waves because there is no fetch. Today there are a three people living on the island along and 500 mountain sheep living in the hills. In the 1980’s a handful of sheep were imported from the mainland and the population has risen steadily since. Through our binoculars we haven’t seen any, but we’ve heard they occasionally allow a few (well healed) hunters on the island to control the size of the herd. This wind is forecast to diminish slowly over the next three days, so I expect tomorrow will be a better day to explore. The Sea of Cortez, bounded by mountains provides a freeway like conduit for air to move from a high pressure toward a low. A large high pressure formed over Southern California and the low is probably left over from a now gone tropical storm that roared way south of here ]. Lucky these “Northers” are pretty easy to forecast, so we just find a place out of the waves and the wind and wait. Waiting is both a blessing and a curse. It’s unfortunate and can’t leave the boat but there’s reading to catch up on and Judy has some writing projects. I have pictures to edit and a new computer project to create a relational database for the boat. So the day flew by, way too fast. It ended with BBQ Mahi Mahi, sautéed tomatillos, Vagy potatoes and a bottle of cold white Chilean wine. I hope all our “off” days are soooo horrible. I’ve also been working on improving my photography and I’m looking forward to taking the camera ashore tomorrow to practice some newly learned skills. Day 2 The wind is less. So, at 7am I launch the dinghy, my backpack loaded with a water bottle, a portable VHF radio to communicate with Judy, and the camera. It’s about a quarter mile to shore and with one person in the dinghy, our 5 hp outboard gets the dinghy up on a plane and makes short work of the distance. It’s really fun. Judy recently painted large pink flowers on the outboards cowling to make it less attractive to thieves. But they are pink flowers nevertheless. I meet Omar, the caretaker, already working on his panga’s outboard. I ask if it’s ok to wonder around. My Spanish isn’t great but I get the idea across and he says its ok and I ask if later I can bring my esposa. After a couple hours of wondering, I go back to get Judy and the both of us discover and rediscover the visual treasures. Up to the early 1980’s this town was populated by hundreds of workers plus their families. They worked for Salinas of the Pacific ( Salinas del Pacifico) harvesting salt .They didn’t make much, something like 400 pesos a week (around $35), but it was a job and they lived in beautiful surroundings. The town has workers housing, a school, church, doctors office, executive houses, company offices and of course the machinery used to mine and process salt. I wish I had bandwidth to upload some of the pictures we took. But imagine an abandon town strewn with kids toys, rusted trucks and tractors, old typewriters, rusting file cabinets with personnel files, all in Spanish. All the daily detritus just left for us and our cameras to find. Later we meet a Colorado couple, from the Grand Junction area. They were paying to stay on the island to hunt the mountain sheep. Slightly away from the old town, someone had built a simple but comfortable lodge for paying guests. They shot an old ram a few days before. The United States would not let them import the meat, so they were sharing the sheep with Omar and his wife. We never did get their names but the wife was a wonderful photographer, showing us pictures on her iPad. The pictures, taken in the San Juan Mountain near their home with a little snow on the peaks and last fall’s colors down the slopes. A new place for us to explore next summer/fall. Day 3 Time to move. Another blow is forecast for this Sunday two days from today, so we need to find an anchorage with northeast protection and move south. A small village, Auga Verde fits the bill nicely, but on the morning net someone reported ten boats already crammed into the limited space. Nevertheless we set out on the 25 mile trip. There was no wind, so the trip became a motorboat ride. The sea had that beautiful, glossy, glassy look when there is no wind. Just a few gentle swells roll by every few minutes. Very peaceful. A few weeks back, in San Carlos, Judy and I had gone to a flea market/swap meet where a vendor was selling fishing lures. I think lures are as good at catch fisherman as they are catching fish. So, when I asked if he had a lure to catch Dorado (Mahi Mahi) he came up with a brightly colored torpedo shaped piece of plastic with foot long yellow and florescent greens plastic streamers. No hook came with, but, the vendor said mount the hook so it mingled with the streamers. I hoped I wasn’t being “hooked”. “Fish On” was the yell as the line from the reel screamed off the spool. About ½ hour later we had a beautifully colored Mahi Mahi abroad. I guess the vendor was ok. Auga Verde was as crowded as advertised. We ended up anchoring in nearly fourty feet of wate with over 200 feet of anchor chain out. Day 4 Lots have boats have left this morning so we move into a more cozy 20 feet of water. We’ll be here for at least two days, after that continue our journey south. We’d like to get to Puera Villarta by early December to meet our friends the Ruimys. But if these Nothers keep coming regularly, it may be tough. -Ron