Sea of Cortez - San Evaristo
I'm happy to report the fish tacos were fabulous!
We had a fun evening there at the restaurant meeting others anchored in the bay, and cruisers who had been there before us had painted their boat names on shells and put them on a wall. We recognised so many of them, people we had met in marinas and remote anchorages, from all corners of the globe. The restaurant is owned by a local family and they all play a part in the running of it. Dad catches the fish, Mum and the older kids cook, the younger ones help serve and clear tables. In between tables the kids are doing homework and practicing their English with the guests. A stark contrast from first world kids with their lack of manners, sense of entitlement and faces stuck in their iPhones.
We also met Charlotte. Before we went out to dinner we had heard her make an announcement over the radio that there would be a fundraiser at the restaurant with the proceeds going to the local school. We made sure to have some cash with us so we could contribute. I'm always fascinated by the stories of others, how their lives have lead them to where they are and hearing Charlotte's story was no exception.
She and her husband were cruisers also, sailing from the US down to Mexico and the Sea of Cortez. They were anchored in San Evaristo for a week, unable to leave because of weather, and came to love the little village and the people they met. They decided to stay for a while, which turned into something more permanent as they moved ashore and built a house. They helped build the restaurant too, and Charlotte teaches English to the kids at the school and fund raises for school supplies. Text books are issued by the government to the schools but things like workbooks and pencils are not. They're shockingly expensive in Mexico, and the cost can sometimes be out of reach for some families. On this evening Charlotte was selling toys made by the local women and the proceeds would go to purchasing supplies. We bought a turtle for our grandson Michael and decided next time we came this way we'd bring supplies with us to donate. Most days I weep for humanity (or the lack thereof I should say) but hearing stories like this inspires me to try to be a little kinder, a little more selfless, a little more present and a little more compassionate. I don't always succeed of course, but anyway, the world could definitely use a few more people like Charlotte and her husband!
We spent the evening enjoying the view and meeting other anchorage mates before heading back to the boat. We're usually in bed early these days, well before “Cruisers Midnight” (which is 9:00pm for the non-cruisers out there) and after our rough previous night we were thankful the wind was negligible and the water mirror smooth. Ah the bliss of a calm anchorage!
Famous last words of course. We were woken at about 9:30pm to all sorts of kerfuffle going on around us! The wind was howling through the rigging, there was lots of commotion onshore with much in the way of celebrations, horns (remember those vuvuvela things from the World Cup a few years ago?) and music blaring and cheering. Once on deck we could see boats around us dragging, cars driving up and down the beach, pangas weaving in and out of the anchorage, all manner of craziness that completely befuddled us having just woken from a deep sleep. The wind was screaming over a saddle in the mountains behind the village, funnelling into the bay and pushing those without good holding towards the reef at the bay entrance. We could see people on deck scrambling to reset their anchors, some had to fire up their engines to reposition before dropping again. With all the shoreside celebrating, the wind and the boat rocking back and forth, there was no way I was going to get back to sleep. Daz checked the anchor alarm and confident in it's range, went back to bed. I slept fitfully on the sofa, worrying about absolutely everything, getting up every 10 minutes to shine a torch around outside to check the location of the other boats. They were all doing that too! Things calmed by about 5:00am so I went to bed then and woke up a few hours later to a gloriously sunny day, with barely a zephyr to ripple the water! After a leisurely morning of watching the world around us as we had coffee on deck, we went ashore to explore around the village.
A little about San Evaristo: only about 100 people live here and this includes the families that live outside the actual village at the more remote fish camps. We counted about 20 homes. There's one shop which is resupplied weekly on the return trip from La Paz by the person who has delivered the fish catch to the co-op. Even though it's only 100kms away it's an all day trip each way, a good chunk of which is over dirt roads in various states of potholed and rockfalled decrepitude. Electricity is made with diesel generators and solar panels, so if you run out of gas and it's cloudy, no electricity for you! There's not much in the way of washing machines or dryers, lines of laundry are strung out over the dusty yard to dry and a hand cranked mangle on the porch tells me there's no luxuries such as an automatic rinse and spin cycle in these households. In fact, mod-cons in general are pretty few and far between.
There's a desalination plant at one end of the beach and a water truck delivers the water to each home on a weekly basis, filling the tanks attached to the house. Everyone communicates by radio as cell phones don't work for the most part. There's only one spot on the beach where you can get a weak signal, and the lovely older gentleman who's house this fabled spot is in front of has most generously built a small sun shelter for those who need a connection. Our anchorage neighbor told us she had been lurking under the shelter, twisting and turning in all manner of contortions, holding her phone to the sky in a desperate attempt to get something more than two bars when the old man came out with a chair and a glass of water for her, no doubt amused by her travails and yet so kind.
Note the shelter on the beach!
We enjoyed a sundowner on deck as we watched the pangas returning to the beach as the sun set, the little boys, shirtless and shoeless, running out to greet their dads as they came in. Jumping into the pangas to help unload the catch, they were so cute as they stood on the seat peering into the depths of the engine, faces a study in concentration as they watched and listened to the men diagnose a problem.
The evening was spent having dinner with our neighbours on M/V Zhivago and again we were home before “midnight” as we were leaving the next morning.
Oh, and all that crazy celebrating the previous night? It turns out Mexico won an important football game!