|Back to Baja|
A cruise among the islands of the Sea of Cortez offers true romance and a return to yesteryear.
By Capt. Bill Pike — October 2001
Thanks to a stint as a nosy newspaper reporter when I was a kid, I’m the proud possessor of a handy bunch of goofy remarks and questions I use to smoothify social situations and render strangers easy to interview. The one I normally employ on married people goes like this: “So how did you two love birds first get together anyway?” Invariably, a good story results. And when it’s done, everybody feels cool, calm, and talkative.
Some stories are better than others, of course. Take for example the one that brought a tear to the eye of Beverly Parsons in La Paz, Mexico, recently, not long after photographer Dave Shuler and I’d stowed our sea bags aboard the 77-foot Italversil motoryacht Sogno for a cruise of the islands of the Sea of Cortez. Bev started the story while she, her husband Bob, Shuler, and I sat around a big table in Sogno’s cockpit, drinking Perrier and waiting on a customs clearance from Marina Palmira. The fact that the tale featured an old, romantic hotel not far away, as well as many of the wild and wonderful spots we’d be seeing over the next few days, added some interest. But the fact that Bev and Bob hadn’t been back to any of these places in more than 30 years added even more. There’s little room in the charter business for vacations, apparently, or even short getaways like the one the pair was taking on Sogno, a vessel managed by Interpac Yachts, the company they own and operate in San Diego.
“I was vacationing in Mexico for the first time, and I’d just bought some Aztec earrings in the gift shop of the Hotel La Playa,” Bev said, sending a fond look toward her husband, “when this gorgeous guy came into the lobby.”
Bob grinned wryly, adding that he’d stopped by the La Playa on a whim, having just finished a meeting with the owner of the yacht he was skippering at the time. Later in the dining room of the hotel, he continued, he’d succumbed to another whim—he’d sent a bottle of wine to the table of the beautiful young woman from the gift shop. She invited him to her table. They talked. They spent a few days together.
“And that was that,” Bev laughed. “I went back home to Canada, quit my job at the University of British Columbia, gave up my apartment in Vancouver, told my fiancée I’d met somebody else, and flew back to Mexico to marry Bob and live on a boat.”
“We spent five years down here,” Bob smiled, as his wife dabbed a tear.
That evening Capt. Armando Almaguer dropped Sogno’s hook in a deep green cove on the northern edge of Isla Espiritu Santo, a small island 26 NM north of La Paz. Except for a dozen shark fishermen living in huts on a beach at the head of the cove, the place was deserted. Old volcanic cones poking up from a mountainous desert landscape strewn with igneous rubble and vast slabs of uplifted sedimentary stone gave the place an eerie, prehistoric look. After a jicama appetizer jazzed up with lime juice and chili powder and a supper that consisted of a green salad, smoking-hot chicken fajitas, and yellow rice and black beans, topped off with a superb flan, the four of us donned jackets against the desert chill and gathered in the cockpit again to examine the night sky. “Things haven’t changed here at all,” Bob said, as a shooting star faded mutely. Bev agreed.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.