Bahía Santa Maria — The Return of Bitey

Bahía Santa Maria (24 49 86N 112 22 77W)

Environmental conditions: Perfectly toasty. Enjoyed the water play, SUPing, surf, and a buggy hike!

Fridge temp: Perfect

Battery state: 13.2V (i.e., perfect)

Euchre score: Girls crushing.

Departed San Juanico on Nov. 10 at 1300 for the overnight to Bahía Santa Maria. We managed to sail most of the afternoon, but in preparation for nightfall, we rolled up the drifter and put a reef in the main. Ultimately, we ended up motoring with bare poles because the sea state was so sloppy and there was no more wind to help stabilize things. Drats. Finally dropped the hook in BSM at about 1000 — it was hot and calm.

The landscape here is so unique — first, the bay is gigantic! One could walk the beach for nearly 11 miles (which we did, but only probably for about 3). Then, there are mangroves juxtaposed with a vast, seemingly endless dune system. Super cool. But the thing about estuaries with mangroves is that there are bugs. Namely, mosquitos. And in case you didn’t know, Jody is a mosquito magnet. Dammit! Knowing this, it was just dumb to go hiking along the mangroves in shorts and no deet. What the hell were we thinking? Um, well, we weren’t. Mostly because we’d landed our SUPs on a little beach a ways away from the mangroves and didn’t calculate the risk that lay ahead on the hike. We’d hoped to hike via the mangroves through the uplands to the lighthouse on the other side of the point, but alas, we, not just Jody, were seriously swarmed, so we turned back. Jody, also known as “Bitey” (a nickname given to her when chewed up in the Virgin Islands years ago), came away with no fewer than 28 bites. Bitey is back and may just be here to stay.

The following day, we avoided the mangroves altogether and walked along the beach, which was wide and long and there were sand dollars everywhere. Most had been washed ashore with the tide and were likely going to meet their demise. Kinda sad. Thad tried to save a few, but soon recognized that his efforts were futile. There were so, so many — almost like a sand dollar stranding event. Curious. Also quite curious were these little green worms. What are those things? Whatever they are, they’re so cool! Anyone who sees the photos and can tell us what they are, please leave a comment. It has occurred to us that we have a lot to learn about this marine environment we now find ourselves in 24/7. Being a terrestrial biologist hasn’t helped Jody or the group much. Sadly.

One of highlights of BSM was the super moon! First time in 68 years that it has come so close to earth and we got to witness it in a perfect setting. A warm night with no light pollution of a big city in a big bay all by ourselves. It was super spectacular.