Sunday, August 15, 2010

August 9, 2010 - Isla Angel de la Guarda

We’ve had a lot of excitement over the last week.  We caught three dorado (one got away), we saved some lives, took a roundtrip to the mainland, saw pods of dophins and huge whales, sailed in 30 knot winds with water covering Jake while he slept (oops), got boarded by the Navy (again), and met back up with our friends on Eyoni.  Not bad for 5 days, huh?
I had a long post typed up about the saving lives part (literally four pages) but then everything else happened and I thought there just wasn’t enough space.  So here are the clift notes.
We stopped in several places on the eastern side of Isla Angel de la Guarda, all of them beautiful.  We also noticed lots and lots of Navy activity – helicopters, fast boats, etc.- as we moved around but assumed they had some sort of exercise going on (we’re still not clear on what they were/are doing).  Our first night on the northern side of the island, around sun down we had eight guys come out of the rocks swimming towards our boat looking for water and food.  I would like to make a long story short but maybe it’s better if I give you the three versions we think we got (remember our spanish isn't very good yet) and you chose one.  1)  They were fishing on the eastern side of the island and the winds tipped over their panga(s).  2) One guy had orders to go to the Navy and they were partying one last time by taking a fishing trip, winds blew the panga over.  3)  basically same story but the pangas sank and the Navy had something to do with it which is why they didn’t jump out when they saw the Navy.  Regardless of the real story, it was obvious they had been stranded for two days in over 100 degree heat with no shade, food or water.  After supplying them with food and water and making several attempts to contact someone via our SSB radio, we finally took one of them over to the mainland (80 mile round trip on a boat doing 5-6 knots per hour) where he was picked up by his very grateful father (and a case of beer for us).  They said they had arranged for another boat to go pick up the others.

My attempt at showing how dry this place is...

Our attempt to sail back through the night to Bahia Los Angelos was aborted due to 30 knot winds and a small waterboarding incident with Jake and an open hatch ( I swear it was totally unintentional). We ended back at our same anchorage to watch the others being picked up by a tiny fishing panga at 6:00 in the morning, a full day after we had left with their friend.  After another full day of more Navy activity and a close call with their boat as they drug their anchor within 15 yards of us, we decided to attempt Bahia LA again the next morning.  More 30 knot winds caused us to turn around again and we came back to the same spot.  We approached from a different direction this time and saw our friends Eyoni tucked into a cute little cove.  They were a sight for these sore eyes.  My stress level was approaching it’s maximum and it was nice to just sit and talk and have someone for Jake to play with.

The next morning we were greeted at (7:30) by eight or so masked Navy guys wanting to board our boat.  Normally the Navy is very friendly and the experience is fairly pleasant.  There was something different about this time.  Anyway, we showed them our documentation, answered their questions and let them do their little inspection.  (Eyoni’s story is probably better…they were greeted at 6:30 at low tide with guys having to walk to their boat because they couldn’t get their boat in the cove)
As we were waiting for Eyoni to come over later that day we saw a panga coming for us.  For a deserted island we sure were getting a lot of traffic here.  It turns out it was four fisherman, two of who we actually helped a few days earlier.  They were looking for FOUR MORE PEOPLE!  Will it ever end? 
So here we sit, with a close eye out for four more guys (I personally think there’s no way they could live in this heat this long without water or food and I cannot for the life of me figure out why the Navy hasn’t found them either), waiting for a weather window to get to civilization so I can call my family and make a plan to visit!!!  I told them we may just show up on their doorstep.  I didn’t really believe that might happen!
We still don’t know if all of our incidents this past week are related or if the guys we helped were even legitimate.  But we do know that they were in trouble and we think we did the right thing.  People may criticize us and call us irresponsible or crazy but in the end, what would you do?   Leave them there?  Give them some water and hope for the best?  I doubt it.
We’re looking forward to leaving here and finding some more beautiful, less active places to visit.

Lots of the places we go to have these tiny little churches where the fishermen have set up places to worship.  Nancy on Eyoni took these pictures when they hiked up to the one near our anchorage.

Added note:  The night after I wrote this we were sitting on Eyoni's boat finishing dinner when a huge spotlight was aimed towards our was the ARMY. They wanted to board us again.  After telling them we were boarded the day before, they were gracious enough to leave.  ugh.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.