Day 3: The highlight of today’s cruise was a horse-burro-mule ride into the desert

Bahia-Aqua-Verde
Our approach to Bahia Agua Verde came with a spectacular sunrise.

DAY 3: ABOARD THE SAFARI ENDEAVOUR—A glorious sunrise greeted us as we approached the fishing village of Bahia Agua Verde and dropped anchor near a handful of sailboats bobbing gently on the calm waters off a fine beach. The Endeavour dwarfed the other vessels, and I remarked that their occupants were probably saying, “There goes the neighborhood.”

This proved to be untrue, at least in one case, as we kayaked along the cliffs, nosing into small coves, each with a deserted strip of beach. One of the sailboats had moved into a small bay, and three small dogs were swimming from the boat to the beach. We struck up a conversation with the couple aboard, who were happy to talk about the dogs and their month-long sailing vacation in the Sea of Cortez. “Life is good, eh?” I called as we rounded a rocky point out of sight.

The highlight of the day was a horse-mule-burro ride into the desert.
The highlight of the day was a horse-mule-burro ride into the desert.

Our guide, Jeremy, was amazed at the amount of flowering vegetation among the rock cliffs, the result of unusually heavy rains before our arrival. Some desert plants only bloom every four or five years, so they were unfamiliar even to the avid botanist.

The water was so clear we could see the bottom 20-30 down. We caught sight of several small stingrays gliding across sandy areas, and kept a keen eye out for the manta rays that live in the area. Pelicans and blue-footed boobies were busy dive-bombing the water for fish or basking on the cliffs.

After lunch we opted for a burro ride into the hills above the beach. More accurately, it was a mule and horse ride, with a few burros for smaller riders. I was happy to be on a sure-footed mule mysteriously named Mojado (Wet), because the mountain path was steep and rocky. As a former professional horsewoman I was pleased to see that our mounts were all in good flesh, with tack that wasn’t fancy but fit the animals well.

Julio and his son led the ride, with several stops to check girths and adjust saddle positions before inclines. The trail led to the top of the cliff, providing a fantastic view of the harbor, and into the interior, weaving among mesquite and cacti.

The mountain trail gave us a bird's-eye view of the Endeavour in the quiet harbor at Bahia Agua Verde.
The mountain trail gave us a bird’s-eye view of the Endeavour in the quiet harbor at Bahia Agua Verde.

We passed a cemetery with markers dating back to the mid-1900s, but saw none of the locals. Fishing is their life’s blood, and all of the men and boys had set off in their pangas before sunrise.

Dinner tonight was a delicious corvina filet with caper brown butter. I may grow gills before this trip is over, but I can’t resist good seafood. Chicken mole and vegetable empanadas were the other choices.

After dinner, Chris, the very talented bartender, set out a selection of ports, which I happily sampled. A master sommelier, Chris is also quite knowledgeable about single malt scotches, which we’d discussed at length before dinner. The bar is stocked with excellent scotches, as well as fine tequilas, rums and other premium liquors, and Chris whips up a special cocktail every evening. All drinks are included, of course.

 

Photos by Donnelle Oxley

 

November 9, 2015

 

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