Added 22 January 2006
Because the wind drove us to bed earlier than normal we were all up before dawn, cameras in hand, to take photos of the sunrise. We weren't disappointed by what we saw. It was a beautiful sight. If BOLA were less "crowded" (and I use that term very loosely), we probably would have stayed longer.
While getting our gear packed up, we heard from Michael on the 2-meter radio. We had expected to touch base with him, and all go out to a remote beach north of BOLA. We met Mike and a bunch of other folks at the gas station on BOLA then headed north out of town. In all, we had seven vehicles with us now.
We all drove out across a dry lake bed then down a rugged and isolated canyon to a "fishing village," which was really no more than a single, smelly, run-down shack on a rocky beach in Bahia Guadalupe (Guadalupe Bay).
Although everyone in the group was nice, our crotchety old hermit genes were kicking in and all three of us were secretly plotting our "escape" from people who were by all accounts friendly and interesting folks. We hung out with Michael's group at the "fishing village" for a while and when they left to go to a different beach further north, we parted company and went south in search of a promising looking spot to the south. It would have been cool to check out the place they were going, but in the end, I certainly can't complain about our choice.
After some searching, we could see the area we were looking for, but it took some route finding to get to the beach of our dreams. As soon as we got to it we knew our search was over. We found ourselves on a pristine white sand beach with no vehicle tracks and fewer than a handful of footprints on it. There was no trash except what the sea had brought in, which wasn't much.
The beach itself curled around a small bay within the larger Bahia Guadaupe. The water was clear and nearly turquoise in color. We had views across to Isla Angel de la Guarda (which I think translates to Guardian Angel Island). Just around the end of a nearby point was Isla Alcatraz, sitting an easy 1/4 mile kayak offshore. What's more, we had it all to ourselves!
We ate lunch and got camp set up, then explored the beach a bit. Chuck found a large green sea turtle shell washed up on the beach, which was really neat. The shell was nearly three feet long! It wasn't until seeing the underside of the shell that I knew that the spine and ribcage of a turtle is fused directly to the shell. It was pretty cool to make that discovery.
We also spent some time kayaking right near camp to look for fish and bat rays. We didn't see any fish, but we did see plenty of rays that I think were Cortez Round Stingrays (Urolophus maculatus).
And of course we also did some obligatory lounging and commenting on our amazing find. I spent a little bit of time in the late afternoon photographing the dolphin skull I found at Gonzaga Bay. That skull found it's way into everyone's portfolio at some point during the trip.
Basically we just wandered about, talked and relaxed most of the afternoon. As the sun set, we were witness to what was perhaps the best sunset of the entire trip. The evening was spent as usual around a campfire.
The following is an excerpt from my journal entry:
31 December 2005, 2:00 a.m., Ensenada Alcatraz, Bahia Guadalupe, Baja, Mexico
There is a rather large tidal swing here in the Sea of Cortez. In the last several hours, the tide has marched up the beach 200 feet or so. With our camp less than 50 feet from the high tide line, the ocean can really mess with your mind at night. The waves move closer and closer, but as you lay in bed, you can only hear them, and imagine that at any moment they'll be lapping up against your bed.
So after a period of sleep, I woke up and had to go to the bathroom, so I decided to wander down to the water to satisfy my curiosity. It was then that I saw hundreds of little bioluminescent creatures apparently riding the advancing tide, such that came to define the highest point that the water had advanced to. As soon as I tried to shine my light on them, the green bioluminescence was completely lost, but I think that the light was emanating from phytoplankton. How such tiny creatures can put out such bright light I have no idea.
What an amazing thing to wake up to!