Isla San Jose – 8/6/2019

Bahia Amortajada

Our first stop for the day after leaving Isla San Francisco was Bahia Amortajada.  However, our plan for a dinghy trip through the estuary had to be delayed until the tide had come in further to allow us entry with the dinghy.  Apart from hitting the bottom a few times it was a peaceful and serene trip.

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We stopped at a rocky spot that Totem had visited in 2009 and went for a look.  It was only a few moments later that Jamie and Mairen had spotted the skeleton of a puffer fish, followed by skeletal remains of trigger fish.  The kids happily ambled along collecting various treasures, I think Mairen collected the most with everything from the exoskeleton of a crown of thorns, bird bones, trigger fish skeletons and some other unknown bit.

Behan and I sat and chatted as the kids continued scouring.  Siobhan raced over with her excited discovery, a nudi branc.  It turns out Ava had spotted it and was keeping an eye on until we could get there.  After stumbling along over the rocks for a few minutes, the two girls eagerly pointed out their find in the shallows of the water.  I must admit that I have not seen one before or I have overlooked it, but it was very cool.  I did discover as soon as I zoomed in with the camera I would lose it, so Siobhan helped out by keeping her finger near it so I had something to focus on.

We had planned to stop at a little beach on the way back to the boat, but after a few attempts and hitting the bottom we gave up.  No one was keen on accidently stepping on either a sting ray or a stone fish to pull the dinghy in.

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We had a relaxing trip back to the boat before we pulled up anchor and continued on.

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Punta Salinas

Our second stop on this island was at Punta Salinas.  Punta Salinas was once home to a large salt mining operation, but today it largely resembles a ghost town.  The beach is scattered with rusting and slowly disintegrating abandoned buildings, vehicles and other debris.

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Max stayed onboard our rocky anchorage while we dinghied to shore.  Its safe to say it was our worst beach landing yet.  The beach slope is quite steep and with the waves it made it difficult to get out and move the heavy dinghy quickly.  The dinghy was swamped and partially filled making her heavier.  Andrew quickly bailed her out as we all scrambled ashore with her.  We finally got up the slope with both the dinghy and us all very wet.

We spent about 45 minutes wandering around the site admiring the pink salt pools in the distance.  Although the guide book said the mine was closed it did look like there were ponds on the other side of the island in use. There remained a couple of cars and a bulldozer, although they scarcely resembled the pictures in the cruising guide book.  I guess years of salt water and air has rusted some things beyond recognition.

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A few windowless buildings remain standing with views over either the beach or the salt ponds.  In fact, one of the floors still had perfect sections of tiling amongst the crumbling debris.

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While mindful of snakes, we did step on some of the myriad of cactus needles scattered amongst the sand and ruins, you definitely need some type of footwear.  Leaving the beach in the dinghy thankfully was easier than the arrival, but that may have been because we waded the dinghy out past the shore break.

San Evaristo

Due to the rolly anchorage and wind on Isla San Jose, we continued to the protected anchorage of San Evaristo.  The following morning with the rising sun gave a beautiful view of the anchorage.

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