We continued on down the coast, which was very low and not all that interesting. So we shaved off a little time by cutting across Bahia San Nicolas directly towards the town where I had a GPS waypoint to lead the way. On the topo maps the town surrounds a small lagoon. The lagoon was closed off from the sea by a berm and it was difficult to tell when or if we had made it yet. There were also several other fish camp communities on the shore on the way to confuse us. I asked a passing panga fisherman where San Nicolas was and he pointed to the beach and shacks all around us. We landed and confirmed that we were directly in front of the lagoon.
Doug Hamilton walked down to the nearest shack and talked to the locals. They told him that the market was out of sight up the side of the lagoon. They offered to give us a ride in their truck when they went to town “in a couple of minutes”. This dragged on for some time and I suggested to my friends that we would rather get a ride back from town with heavy water-bags than into town with light ones. So Doug negotiated this with the locals. Doug, Kate DesLauriers, Don Fleming and Andrea Wolf walked up the road to find the market while Herb Howe and I watched the kayaks. Eventually the kayakers came back down the arroyo carrying the heavy water-bags since “a couple of minutes” had apparently not passed yet.
The water that we bought at San Nicolas came out of a hose out off a well. We decided to treat it. Some people had iodine tablets and vitamin-C to kill the taste. Water that we used for cooking that was boiled first was OK without iodine. For the rest of the trip Kate and I used her untreated water to cook with and I supplied drinking water from the desalinator for both of us.
After a drink and a snack (Andrea bought chocolate covered “Mammoths” from the market as a treat for everyone) we continued along the coast. We paddled up to Punta San Antoino where the shoreline became rocky and interesting again. Here I found a cave to poke into and took a self portrait over my shoulder from the inside of the cave. Unknown to me until I saw the picture later, you can see an island behind my head. This is Isla San Idelfonzo and I would paddle around that island the next day.
All day we could see a large lump of rock ahead of us. This was Punta El Pulpito, a tall point that was visible even over the top of lower Punta San Antonio. Between the two points was a large cove that had several visible roads and building in it. Looking for a more secluded wilderness experience we headed directly across the cove. Punta El Pulpito is reputed to be a difficult point to round in a motor boat, sailboat and especially in a kayak. Rumor has it that kayakers have died trying to get around this point in bad weather. But we had perfectly calm weather as we approached and had a wonderful time getting up close and personal with it. The point is made of several different types of rock that rise to different heights. The tip of the point is a very hard rock that rises vertically from the water with two arches in it. One arch had deep water in it and we all paddled through that. The other arch looks like the trunk of an elephant curving down, but did not have enough water to paddle through. Perhaps at high tide it does.
Behind Punta El Pulpito we searched for a beach described to me by Penny Wells. She told me that there was a long beach with pea-sized gravel. If you walked along this beach in bare feet you would find an area that was warmed by geothermal heat coming from below. Holes in the gravel near high tide would fill with warm water and sleeping bags positioned in trenches higher up would stay warm all night without a tent. That is what we were looking for but we never found it.
The long beach behind the point was not made out of pea-gravel but large half-meter boulders of sharp broken granite or basalt. The next couple of beaches were small and did not match the description. Finally we gave up and settled in for the night on a pocket beach a mile south of Punta El Pulpito. A large pod of dolphins swam by near the point and some of them jumped up out of the water to put on a show for us!