Waking up in Isla San Francisco on our third morning to southwesterly winds and rolly waves, we headed over to Bahia Amortajada as planned so we could hit the high tide at 9am to dingy into the estuary. We planned this trip after marveling at what a difference a few months makes in Isla San Francisco. Instead of having it to ourselves, with just a few other sailboats, there were multiple 100 foot plus crewed yachts setting up tents and lunches on the beach for their guests, jet skis and water skiers zooming around, and music playing out across the anchorage. We still enjoyed beach walking and snorkeling in the 70- degree water early in the day and lounging back on our boat on floaties in the water off the cockpit out of the action, but were also happy to move on.
We’ve explored other estuaries while here in Mexico and were looking forward to this one. Armed with long sleeves and a thick layer of bug spray against the reputed jejenes (little tiny flies) that bite, we got in our micro-tender and headed to the opening just before high tide. An inward current helped our little engine. The mangroves looked very healthy, and the entrance had a crowd of pelicans and scattered herons to greet us.
As we went further, we looked for fish in the relatively clear water. We saw a few – some trigger fish, some long coronet or pencil fish, some puffers and some groups of small fish – but much of the time the water was empty. This probably explains why we didn’t see birds in much of the estuary. We looked hard but didn’t see any of the usual mangrove crabs either.
We made it to the other side and the other entrance – which looked hairy and quite turbulent. Not a good place to take one’s tiny tender through!
Overall, it was a fun dingy trip and a worthwhile visit. We rank it number three on our explored estuaries – behind La Tovara at San Blas and Tenacatita, south of Puerto Vallarta, both on the mainland side of Mexico.
As we were wary of bugs and swarming bees – which have quite the nose for a single drop of fresh water – and of predicted strong southerly winds affecting the wide open anchorage at Amortajada, we headed over to the north side of Isla San Francisco a short mile or two away. As soon as we dropped the anchor, some fishermen from nearby Isla Pardito came over and showed us some humongous crabs, harvested from 200 feet deep out on the far side of the island. We took one, and I was scared to bring it in the boat. But I “womaned up” as Larry said, grabbed its two foot long front arms with big claws and held it while Larry sent it to heaven with a sharp knife and a mallet. It made a wonderful dinner for us, plus another meal, and a good paycheck for the fishermen, so we thank it for its life.
We were joined in the anchorage by 4 other boats, one a beautiful crewed 80-foot sailboat, seeking protection from the southerly winds stoking rolling waves. And we all woke in the middle of the night to 25-30 knots winds and rolling waves, despite the good protection. It’s never dull around here.