“It’s a pretty day. Let’s take the boat over to the island and go for a swim,” Tom suggested. The temperatures have been quite hot lately, the air humid. We’re longing to feel the cooling water on our skin.
Isla Danzante rises jagged from the Sea of Cortez just a couple of miles away from where we are docked at Marina Puerto Escondido. Friends here told us that Honeymoon Cove, on the north end of the island, is a lovely place to anchor. With plans to spend the day there, we unplug the shore power cord, untie the dock lines, and depart the marina. We set the autopilot on the Maritimo for a direct cruise straight across the channel to the cove. The sun sparkles on the calm sea as the island ahead beckons.
(When we flew Alaska Air’s direct flight from LAX to Loreto recently, we banked directly over Isla Danzante. You can see the marina above the wing and the cove to the right of the wingtip just inside the tip of the island. It takes no more than 15 minutes to zip between the two locations.)
Frigatebirds soar above the cactus-studded cliffs as we pull into the cove. Brown pelicans glide low over the water alongside us. Tom finds a good spot to anchor in 30 feet close to a sandy beach. I go to my position on the bow and release the safety cable from the anchor, When he gives me the thumb’s-up signal, I step on the switch that releases the chain, dropping the anchor to the bottom. I watch it descend through the clear water.
From the bridge, Tom watches the amount of chain that’s being let out (called the “rode”) on a counter at the helm. When it’s just above the bottom, he puts Tangaroa briefly in reverse, allowing the anchor to settle properly on the sandy bottom so that its flukes dig into the sand. As he slowly backs up, I continue to let more chain out. The weight of the chain, along with it digging into the bottom, is what holds even a large vessel in place. When the anchor firmly sets, Tangaroa won’t go anywhere. Tom turns off the engines and joins me below. We decide not to attach and lower into the water the heavy-duty stainless steel ladder we’d use for scuba diving.
It’s so pretty, we decide to get a few quick drone shots so I launch my Mavic Pro. The sun is really bright making it hard to see the iPad monitor in the sun. I duck into the shade in the cockpit so I can see the screen better. The flight is going well; it’s cool to see Tangaroa from this aerial vantage point all alone nestled in this beautiful environment.
But I’m having a hard time concentrating: bees are starting to swarm all over us! I bring the drone in after a quick flight. We get a small bowl of fresh water and put it on a far corner of the vessel, hoping the bees just need a drink. They quickly find it, gathering on the water bowl. There are too many of them. Hundreds upon hundreds are buzzing everywhere. More are flying over. They are swarming all around the boat, getting inside every time we open the door. We can hardly find a place to stand that isn’t covered with bees.
It’s all we can do to get our snorkel gear on. We can’t wait to hop into the water!
Ahhh! The cool water feels so refreshing and the bees stay behind.
Tom first goes under the stern of the boat to check out the running gear. He likes to ensure the shafts, propellers, and rudders are free of debris (like discarded fishing line, for example). He checks the zincs, chunks of metal attached to the hull and stern thruster that help slow down electrolysis from the corrosive action that occurs when seawater and metal come into contact. Also called sacrificial anodes, zincs nobly corrode in place of more expensive metal components of the yacht.
Everything looks ship-shape.
We swim to the front of the boat, watching little fish that have gathered in the shadow of the hull. At the chain, Tom duck dives and descends towards the bottom. He likes to see how the anchor has plowed into the sand. I remain above filming him with the GoPro.
Little sensations prickle my legs but I don’t worry; there are teeny creatures in the sea that now and again tickle our skin. Tom rises from below and we start to swim back to the stern. Both of us now feel the tickling coming on more intensely. But it’s not a gentle or a pleasant tingle anymore. Now it’s a fiery stinging sensation! We’re slapping at our legs as the burning intensifies.
Looking ahead, we see a mass of tiny, but beautiful, jellyfish coursing through the gentle sea. We’re swimming right into the swarm that is all but invisible. We’re in such a hurry to get out of the jellyfish we don’t bother to lower the small ladder that Maritimo has cleverly installed beneath the swim step. Instead, in a most ungraceful manner, we clamber and crawl up onto the boat. Tom wants to take a fresh water shower on the deck, but the bees are too thick. We’re both getting stung as we dance around trying to avoid them.
With welts rising on my legs from the jellyfish stings, I dash into the boat, shutting the door while Tom takes a few moments to dry off before he, too, realizes a nice shower is futile. He rushes in, letting more bees inside. There’s a big rug by the door, so we stand there, strip down to dry off, and pluck bee stingers out of our flesh.
Thank goodness we can winch the anchor up from the helm! Tom goes upstairs to the bridge while I get out the Dyson to suck up the many dozens of bees that are in the boat. With the anchor up, Tom puts Tangaroa into gear and kicks it up to 18 knots. I open all the windows to let the bees escape and we say “adios” to Honeymoon Cove.