Once again we spent the winter in
fixing stuff on the boat. The big
project this year was overhauling the little diesel engine used for making
water and charging the batteries. The
project was in limbo for two months while we waited for replacement parts to
arrive from the states. Finally, our
mechanic found a Mexican guy who was driving down from La Paz .
Unfortunately, this delivery driver’s trip was interrupted when he found
an opportunity to earn a few pesos working at a whaling camp along the way. The good news was that our parts were finally
in California . The bad news was that they were in the trunk
of a car on a remote beach on the Pacific side.
Such is life on the Baja. Mexico
With the engine back together we were free again. Itching to get going somewhere, we decided to get an early start on the journey north for hurricane season. By mid-April we were in the Loreto area. In past years we did not make it this far north until June. We quickly found that two months make a big difference. The weather was still cool and comfortable. The wind was fluky and inconsistent. The water was too cold for swimming. And the fish were not biting.
Just because the fish didn’t want to bite does not mean that there was no fishing. We fished and we fished and we fished. We were hopeful that our continued investment of time and energy would be rewarded but the payoffs were few and far between. The fish we did catch tended to be species with which we were unfamiliar. Fortunately, looking them up in the fish book provided additional entertainment value.
The cool weather also makes for great hiking so we continued our explorations on Isla Carmen. As you may recall, last year we were excited to discover a watering hole used by bighorn sheep and wrote a blog with a few pictures of sheep fleeing the scene. This year we found something a little more disturbing.
The heavy rains delivered by hurricane Odile last September sent torrents of water down the island’s arroyos (canyons) unearthing much of the prickly vegetation and sending it out to sea. Arroyos that were impassable last year now provide clear rocky paths that can lead deep into the island. Exploring one such arroyo we started in a large rocky wash that was about a quarter mile wide at the beach. The farther we went the narrower it became until the path was only a few feet wide with high steep walls. At the mouth of this steep section we discovered the freshly cleaned bones of a bighorn sheep. The spine, legs and ribs were all scattered about, but the skull and the horns were conspicuously missing. The obvious question: Where’s the head?
|Trisha surveys the bighorn sheep bones|
The head is by far the most desirable part of a bighorn sheep carcass. Considering this, there was a good chance that a hunter or hiker had made off with it before we arrived on the scene. Nevertheless, it seemed mandatory that we have a look around trying to locate the skull. After a more detailed scan of the area we noticed a cave high up on the wall of the canyon.
I climbed up the wall to have a look inside. There, propped up like an evil spirit guarding the entrance, was the prize.
My first thought was to take the head. As I envisioned this really cool piece resting neatly on our coffee table back home, Trisha chimed in with more realistic thinking. Practical matters such as the smell of decaying flesh were raised. We were also concerned about the legal penalties associated with the possession of bighorn sheep parts. They might find it in our luggage at the airport. Long story short, the skull was left guarding the cave.