Sunsets, Sea Lions & Spinning Hub-Caps! - Bahia Asuncion
We spent 2 nights at Bahia Asuncion after leaving Turtle Bay. It was more protected from swell than we expected, the people onshore we extremely welcoming and friendly. At night the sea lion pups swam over from the island where they live and dance beneath the boat, jumping and doing underwater flips. Every so often we would hear a “thud” of one of them miscalculating their tricks and running into Gemini’s thick hull. They must be using our boat to corner sardines, or something!
The second day we went to shore and braved the surf beach landing, making it in relatively dry although we nicked the prop on the last shallow rock before making it successfully to the beach. Darn! Well, I guess it’s a good thing we didnt replace the prop after hitting a rock up in Canada… Add it to the list of things for family to bring when they visit!
Once ashore, we walked down the main drag - the only paved road in the town that ran parallel to the beach. Just 2 blocks in a car passed, it’s hubcap flying off nearly missing both of us before rolling into the bushes beside the sidewalk. We tried to flag the car down to return the parts to him, but he had already made a left turn. We figured he had made a turn to come back around and pick up the hubcap but when the car didn’t return, we set off on a mission to find the car ourselves. It was a great excuse to take a stroll through as many back roads as we could, to find the hubcaps owner. After about 40 mins of walking we finally looped back to the main road where we started, deciding to leave the car parts on a noticeable corner, in hopes of it being returned to it’s owner.
We weren’t even a full block away from the corner when Jack spotted the car, a white sedan with only 3 hubcaps! We flagged him down, he pulled over and we reunited his with his missing hubcap. He introduced himself to us as Manuel, we shook hands and I used the opportunity to ask where he recommended we find some lunch. With vague directions we set off on the next leg of the onshore adventure: finding lunch. Although the restaurant lacked any signage or distinguishable “restaurant” features from the outside, we opened the door to find a quaint little shoreside spot, music from the radio serenading an empty room. We called out and a woman came out from the kitchen, confirming that she was indeed open and we could sit wherever we pleased. We settled on the larger outdoor table, where our chairs sunk into the sand - the beach only a couple yards away. The woman came out, wiped the dust off our chairs and table, spreading out a bright green table cloth. She asked if we wouldn’t be a bit cold outside, which of course felt warm for us San Francisco ex-pats.
We indulged in some crispy tacos and watched in awe as the pangas made theri way back to the beach, traversing the surf break like pros. Each panga carried about 4-6 fishermen, plus 2 enormous bins, full to the brim with sardines from the days catch. A tractor onshore towed them up the beach when we made it past the set of crashing waves - each worker knowing their role and although the whole system seemed like so many things could go wrong at any moment, somehow they didn’t. Organized chaos is the only way to describe it.
With full bellies, we set off to find some provisions at the market we were recommended by the restaurant owner. The market was just beside the Water Purifification center (where you bring your jugs to fill with clean drinking water) and the tortilla factory. I guess the town figured it was best to put all the essentials on the same block, for efficiency. We stocked up on eggs, carrots, onions, potatoes, jicama, limes, cilantro, peppers and some apples. We have plenty of dry goods onboard so this run was mainly from a re-stock of fresh items. With just enough groceries to carry, we headed back to the dinghy to make it back to Gemini before dark, as the sun sets so early these days.
Upon arriving to the beach where we had left our dinghy, we found quite the commotion. The tide had gone way out, leaving the pangas and tractor crew to maneuver their machinery in the soft, sticky sand. Their tractor, along with 2 large trucks that carry the fin bins had gotten stuck in the sand, their wheels buried at least a foot deep.
We sat by the dinghy and watched the action, as the stuck trucks where right where we would’ve tried to leave on the dinghy. Once again, even with all the vehicles stuck, pangas piling up just past the surf break waiting to come in and the tide still reseding, everyone was smiling, working like a well oiled machine and everyone seemed to know their role in getting the trucks out. They brought in the big guns, a different tractor - one used to plow and till farm land, and with this they were able to pull the first tractor out, and subsequently get both trucks out of the soft sand and up the hill. Then we watched as they did the panga-tractor dance once again: the panga carefully timing the waves to get up to shore, then the tractor braving the smaller surf to reach the panga’s tow line.
Wow, we are impressed by the level of calm, organized chaos and pure resourcefullness we saw as they eventually got all the boats and tractors off the beach, meaning the 20 or so fishermen were finally ready to head home to then do it all again in the morning.