The Sea of Cortez Adventures come to an End.

One of the private dining room areas in the swanky restaurant we ate at Thursday evening.

Knowing it was our last day there in San Carlos, we woke early once again to make the most of every minute left there! We walked around the desert area once again for a bit, and then headed down to the beach to see if the dolphins were by any chance swimming in the surf close by. After eating breakfast, we got on the bus along with the others that were to spend the day on Glenn and Martha’s beautiful boat. After a short, lovely ride, we arrived at the marina. It was another beautiful day, one for the picture books, as we boarded the boat and settled in for the 11 mile ride out to the island, where we were to spend much of the day. The marina is a beautiful setting unto itself, surrounded by the mountains with beautiful homes sitting atop some of them. There were a variety of Seagulls and Pelicans everywhere as we headed out into the beautiful Sea of Cortez. The color of the water was simply amazing with its shades ranging from deep blue to light emerald green and turquoise! The wind was very cool that morning, so Martha graciously shared her special sitting place on the boat, out of the cold wind and blistering sun with me, for which I was very grateful! It was so relaxing, just riding along, listening to the hum of the engines and watching the birds flying about the mountain ranges that became smaller and smaller as we went along. I have always found something very mesmerizing about watching the wake made from a boat as it splashes, changes form and eventually fades away behind you. Fortunately, I had a front row seat for this ever-changing scene from my shared spot with Martha.

A hillside covered with large homes by the marina.

Martha shares her favorite, warm place to ride on the boat with me.

Before we knew it, we had arrived at the location of the island, and beautiful and grand it was!  Three miles long in total, and completely inhabited by numerous bird species and Sea Lions. Before going closer to the island itself, they decided to make a swap with three fishermen in a beautiful, brightly colored little boat, for some bait fish. The bartering implements of choice were several Pesos, and three diet Canada Dry Ginger Ales, which were put into a five gallon bucket and floated across the water to the men in the boat, with a small rope attached to bring it back with the bait fish in it. I found this a very interesting and good trade, especially since I too  greatly enjoy drinking diet Ginger Ales!

The fisherman that we got the bait fish from.

Having this task accomplished, we slowly pulled away from them and went closer to the island. It was teeming with life and the air was filled with the cries of Seagulls, Pelicans, Blue-footed and Brown Boobies along with many other birds, as well as the calls of the numerous resident Sea Lions. The island mountain itself was quite lovely in form, with scattered Cactus growing about and a good portion of it being draped in white, or what I’ve heard also called Mexican snow. It’s actually bird droppings, and thousands of gallons of it, piled thick, creating wonderful and interesting patterns all around paired against the beautiful warm pink, salmon and light orange colors of the rocks, and the amazing emerald green of the sea water below! Bird nests were built everywhere and one could easily tell that this was a serious bird housing development!

A section of the island with the gorgeous green water!
Two of the many resident and beautiful Blue-Footed Boobies.
Some more of the local island inhabitants.

It was the first time that Wes and I had ever seen the beautiful Blue-footed Boobies, as well as the Browns. Their blue feet were stunning in color and really showed up nicely at a distance. By this time we had made several mental notes already of future miniature paintings to be done! Then we started to watch the Sea Lions, and what a show they put on! A few people with much, much thicker blood than me, along with wet suits enjoyed snorkeling with the Sea Lions. It was then that I greatly regretted once again, having such thin, Florida blood! But all was not lost! Glenn and Martha were both so amazing with their preparedness to make sure everyone had a great time, and before long they had the smaller Zodiac boat lifted off of the big boat with a crane on the front, and placed in the water. We all then took turns loading in the Zodiac and enjoying a ride with Glenn, taking us right up to the edge of the island. We carefully and slowly got close enough to be right with the Sea lions and alas it was like snorkeling with them, only we stayed warm!! We got several great reference photos of them, while we enjoyed watching their interesting tactics and graceful maneuvers as they dove into the water and swam about, splashing and jumping. It almost appeared as if they were playing water games of sorts. Whatever it was, they were having a ball, and so were we watching them!

Using the crane to lift and unload the smaller Zodiac boat.
Wes gets really great photos, while I too get photos and some nice video footage.
I can just hear them saying "Ah . . . this warm sun feels so amazing!"

We also saw at very close proximity Sea Urchins attached to the rough surfaces of some of the colorful rocks. The Sally Lightfoot Crab was a real treat, and one of the most beautiful crabs that I have ever seen in my life! We watched in amazement as this good sized crab moved across the surface of the rocks. It was then time to head back to the big boat, as a few of those on board were going to try troll fishing for a bit, while we slowly circled the base of the island. It wasn’t too long after the fishing guide had put a very pretty hot pink lure on the heavy line, when someone hollered “We got a fish!”, and all headed toward the back of the boat. Sometime later a large, beautiful Yellow Tail was pulled aboard.

The stunning Sally Lightfoot Crab!
The wonderful boat that Glenn and Martha graciously took us out on.

Spirits were high as we started the journey back to the marina. I enjoyed riding in the warm, cozy spot once again as we went along, gently swaying back and forth. I watched the beautiful island in the distance grow smaller and smaller until it completely disappeared into the horizon. Just then someone shouted “Dolphins!” and the boat came quickly to a halt as we enjoyed watching them gracefully jump about, seamlessly leaving the water with what appeared to be no effort at all! Wow, what a day we’d had! We returned to the marina where the bus and Jaun, were waiting for us. That evening Wes and I enjoyed eating our little bit of leftovers at the condo, along with Susan, there at the large dining room table. Afterward, I had to walk out and see my beloved ocean and beach one last time, and was rewarded with one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen! I just stood there silently as the numerous bats flew above,  with such gratitude, taking it all in, trying to remember the sights, smells and sounds that would hopefully stay with me for all time!

Wes enjoys the ride, along with a few others, on the way back.
Wes and I enjoying our most amazing day!
A gorgeous sunset in San Carlos!

We woke early the next morning and packed in time to load the bus for the return trip back to reality. The drive back was nice and relaxed. We passed several small homesteads, cemeteries and what seemed to be acres and acres of green houses, as well as Shanty Town near Nogales. Before we knew it, we were at the border crossing once again. However, this time it didn’t go as quickly and we were there for two hours, before getting through. While waiting we saw a semi truck and trailer hit a cement wall and explode into flames stretching high into the air, before it quickly burned and melted completely to the ground. It was at this point that the big black truck filled with Federales dressed in their intimidating black uniforms, pulled right up alongside the bus, and with machine guns in hand, jumped off and ran to the site of the incident. It looked like something straight from a movie indeed!

A lovely cemetery alongside the highway going towards Nogales.

There is one particular sight I remember most, however. It took place on the narrow road that the bus drove down to get through the border crossing. From the edge of the passenger side of the bus to the chain link fence running alongside, was the distance of about3 feet. Lining the fence in these 3 feet, I saw many young Mexican families, and at times a small child by itself trying to sell things. Jewelry, pictures, baskets, purses and popsicles, among other things, were the items available for sale. As we sat there for quite some time at one location, I watched a baby boy, about one and a half years old, sitting there on the bare pavement, barely sheltered with the little bit of shade offered by the old tarp that the mother had pinned to the fence. He sat no further than a foot and a half from the tires of the big bus, contentedly playing with three small plastic toy animals. And as I watched him, my heart went out to him and to his family, as well as the many others, as this is how they probably spend most of their days. This heart-tugging, emotional incident, along with seeing the numerous tiny houses and shacks, looking at Shanty Town from the bus window and hearing the stories of how many live there, not to mention learning that the minimum wage there is a mere six dollars a day, filled me with an overwhelming feeling of just how very blessed, perhaps at times too blessed, we are here in America, as well as many other countries. Way too many of us are so very spoiled, and too many times very wasteful, taking way too much for granted!! I think we could all learn something from what I learned that day . . . that is to live a much simpler life, take nothing for granted and remember to be very thankful for even the littlest things in life!! 🙂

This amazing expedition trip to San Carlos was organized by David J. Wagner, L.L.C. to enable participating artists to produce a body of artwork for display in an upcoming museum exhibition entitled, “The Sea of Cortez”.  I simply cannot express how totally blessed Wes and I both feel having been able to be a part of this most wonderful and enlightening experience!!

Fresh off the easel: While I continue to work on one of my miniature paintings of three Bison along a river in Yellowstone, Wes has finished two miniatures. One is of a beautiful Painted Lady Butterfly on a Blazing Star. The other is of several wonderful Bison that we photographed while in Yellowstone on one our trips there.

I’m also delighted to share with you that Wes recently won the “Best of Show” at the Ridge Art Association Miniature Art Exhibition in Winter Haven, FL as well as the “Best of Show” at the Alabama Miniature Art Exhibition in Mobile, AL.  We’re also excited to announce the start of our new three-year museum tour featuring fifty of our miniature paintings which opened this weekend at the Dunnegan Gallery of Art in Bolivar, MO.

"Painted Lady on Blazing Star" by Wes, measures 3½ x 2½ inches
"The Herd at Rest" by Wes, measures 2¾ x 4¾ inches.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the journey!

until next time ~ Rachelle    🙂

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