Painful Predicament in Paradise

“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.)

Marina Puerto Escondido top left. Honeymoon Cove right of the Alaska Air wingtip.

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.

A frigatebird soars over the tip of Isla Dantanze on a hot day.

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.

Anchored at Isla Danzante

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!

A few of the thousands of bees that swarmed us take a drink of fresh 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.

Tom checking out the rudder and running gear

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.

You can’t see the bees and jellyfish from this angle! We’ll be back…

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.

21 thoughts on “Painful Predicament in Paradise

  1. What an unpleasant end to what started out as a beautiful and fun adventure.

    1. Oh well! That’s Mother Nature 🙂 We’ll try it again soon and hope the bees & jellies have moved on!

  2. Ahhh the glamorous world than yachting!

    1. Isn’t that the truth? At least (we hope) this was a one-off misadventure!

  3. Oh my gosh…so much for a nice relaxing day!😟 Hope the rest of the evening was better.

    1. It certainly was anything but relaxing! We’ll try it again soon. Once we were out of the stinging critters, it was just fine :-)!

  4. Who knew….bees and jellyfish. Glad no one is allergic!!!!

    1. I know! It made me realize we need to have an epi pen on board!

  5. Well written.

    1. Thanks! Doesn’t hurt to have good subjects to write about. But I hope we don’t have to write about bees & jellies again!

  6. From the most beautiful view above the peaceful cove, to a crazed departure!
    Must have been some sight!
    Life is good! Stay safe! Much love!

    1. Life IS good! Even with bees and jellies…can’t beat such a beautiful location. Hopefully the little critters will have moved on by the time we go back to that area!

  7. What a great chapter. Intrepid exploring and outstanding reportage.
    One wonders if it is all part of some diabolical ‘honeymoon’ package!

    1. Warren! Do you think those bees know something we don’t? LOL! I wonder how that cove got its name! Thank you for the kind words…and for following the adventure 🙂

  8. Good Morning…wonderful location and beautiful scenes. Experience is a reward. You did not panic but rode out the interuptions, beautifully. CHEERS ..Be Safe..

    1. I guess it was no worse than being swarmed by the zillions of mosquitoes in the Arctic, Willy! It is certainly a gorgeous area.

  9. The Honeymoon’s over! Hope you have recovered from all the stings!

    1. Thank goodness neither of us is allergic, Walt! The experience made me realize we need to add an epi pen to our onboard first aid kit!!

  10. Oh My God, talk about a nightmare to go thru, I thought at first in the beginning that the Anchor got hooked up on some rocks, thank God that was not the case, I cannot imagine going thru all the Jelly Fish and also the Bee’s, like somone said in one of your letters, thank the lord neither of you are allergic to stings. I got stung up my nose once when I was very small, it was in front of Buckingham Palace looking at the Roses, yes I do remember that.
    The way you write a story is so Wonderful to read, keep them coming.
    Love to Both of you.
    George.

    1. Getting an anchor stuck in the rocks is better than bees & jellyfish, George!! At least we can dive on the anchor and move it out of the rocks!! Oh my…I can just imagine you getting stung in the nose at Buckingham Palace! Did the chaps in the tall black hats crack a smile? Thank you for your kind words!! XX

  11. You’ll have SO many stories from this adventure. Hopefully most of them will include less venom!

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