After two weeks in Turtle Bay, we upped anchor at sunrise and headed south for Bahia Asuncion. Asuncion is a small town of around two thousand people of which six are full time North American residents. There are also quite a few Americans and Canadians who make Asuncion their part-time home. The town is situated on a spit of land between the Pacific Ocean and a large sheltering bay.
We anchored late in the afternoon and contacted Shari Bondi, a Canadian marine biologist
we read about in a boating magazine who, with her Mexican husband Juan, runs a bed and breakfast, fishing outings and Campo Sirena. She has lived on the Baja for 20 years, and has made Asuncion her home for more than a decade. She invited us to her End of the World Party the next afternoon, which we gladly accepted.
After getting TARDIS cleaned up and put away, we deployed the boat’s Flopper-Stopper, as there was enough swell moving through the bay to cause the boat to roll more than rock, which never allows for a good night sleep. Tired and satisfied, we settled in to make dinner and to relax for the evening. At dusk we began to hear splashing noises around the boat and went on deck to investigate. A pod of juvenile sea lions had discovered the Flopper-Stopper and were busy inspecting it. We were a little concerned that they may chew on the lines to the Flopper-Stopper, but they never did more than nose the lines, which I would jerk when they got close, scattering them in a panic. They stayed around the boat all night, and when we woke for our late night anchor checks, you could see the sea lions darting around the boat, leaving swooping trails of phosphorescence.
The next day we dinghied in to shore and explored the little town. Asuncion is charming, with sidewalks for strolling, many tidy homes painted colorful greens, pinks, corals and blues and bright flowers planted everywhere. There is a large covered basketball court, as well as a baseball field with giant night game lights. Both are used for sporting and cultural events: our last night there a party was held at the basketball court that went to 4 in the morning, with loud dancing music we could hear out to the boat.
After lunch and a little shopping, we walked the mile out to the point where Shari and Juan have built their home, and bed and breakfast. They are in a gorgeous location, overlooking Isla Asuncion off the point, the Pacific Ocean and several small coves where Juan keeps his fishing pangas. Shari threw a small party attended by many locals, Mexican and North Americans alike, with lots of good company, food and drink, including a delicious cactus pear margarita that she had invented. After lots of fresh fish, shrimp balls, chips and salsa Jamie and wandered back to TARDIS.
For the three nights we were anchored in Asuncion, every night at dark the sea lions arrived and stayed until sunrise. It was like the boat was the new attraction at the local water park. There would be anywhere from a dozen to three dozen, all night swimming and frolicking around the boat. Ten or so would be around the Flopper-Stopper, swimming around in a circle, splashing and diving and trying to get as close as possible. Then there were several exploring the anchor chain, diving along it and pushing at it. By the time they were comfortable with the chain, there would always be one hanging on to it by the surface, rubbing its face on the snubber! And all night, more would be swimming around the whole boat, pushing on the rudder, rubbing the hull, diving under and around, blowing bubbles against the hull, splashing and playing.
All this activity around the boat made it hard for me to go in to a deep sleep, so my nights were spent in REM, dreaming of roving, jumpy juvenile delinquents, ridiculous and dorky, but vaguely menacing. In my waking moments I was worried they would bite the Flopper- Stopper lines and it would drop to the bay floor and we’d never be able to retrieve it. So on the morning we left, as we brought the Flopper-Stopper back on board, I was more than a little relieved. However, when Jamie brought the anchor up, he saw that they had chewed off the length markers! On the other hand, as we sailed out of Asuncion we saw our speed paddle-wheel was working again. It had jammed up sometime in Turtle Bay; perhaps a shrimp or crab had crawled up there and got stuck. One of our sea lion tormenters must have discovered it while exploring the hull and had sucked it out! And off we went to our next destination, Punta Abreojos.