Continued from previous post…
After motor sailing for a few hours, we rounded a point and caught sight of the town, a small village with two little coves, one of which had about a dozen pangas grounded on the sandy beach. Both coves were completely exposed to the very large westerly swell, and as we neared we could see the beaches getting pounded with five and six foot breakers. But we needed diesel fuel for the long run to Bahia Kino, so we turned in and headed for El Choyudo.
We dropped anchor in about 20’ over sand, which was the good news. The bad news was that we were now riding up and down five and six foot swells, with a lee shore close behind us. Bojangles, the hard dinghy was stowed in front of the mast, and it was no time to be messing around with her on a heaving foredeck. We pulled out the inflatable kayak and starting pumping. Has anybody ever tried to blow up a ten foot kayak in a six foot cockpit?
Needless to say it wasn’t fully inflated when I jumped in it, a thousand pesos in my pocket and an empty diesel jug in my hand, and I started paddling. I beached her and hustled up to the fish camp where a dozen fisherman were standing around, watching one guy cut up a block of frozen mullet. I ask in Spanish if there is diesel to be found, the first old man points to a younger guy, and when I ask him he points to the lone woman, sitting in a lawn chair with pad and pen, and says “pregunta la jefa” …“ask the boss.”
She looks at me a bit confused, then says no, then asks a few other bystanders. She then says that there’s another woman who might have some, and that she’ll be back soon… “ahorita.” Meanwhile Katie and Wylie is back at the boat, waiting for the moment that the pitching waves dislodge the anchor and send her hurtling towards the shore, and I’m sitting patiently making small talk in Spanish. For those of you who haven’t been to Mexico, “ahorita” can mean two minutes, or it can mean many, many hours.
Just as I’m contemplating calling off the whole mission and returning to the boat with empty diesel jug, another guy tells me to follow him. We walk up the hill and through a neighborhood and come to a small house. He approaches the door, leans back and lifts a knee high to his chest and boots the door with all his might. Nothing budges. Another woman with small child in tow comes around the corner and says something to the effect that the owner of the house was not in. We turn back towards the beach. As we reach the last crossroad, he heads up and tells me to wait down below. I do so. More small talk.
About five minutes later, he’s walking down the hill again and waves at me to follow. I jump up and join him, and we head back to the house, behind which is a big, beautiful, white Ford F-450. An ice truck to take the fish away to market. But more importantly a truck with a big tank full of diesel strapped to its undersides. The driver grabs a hose and without hesitation, introductions or negotiations, he puts the hose to lips and sucks out a siphon. Before I know it he’s spitting up diesel and wiping his mouth on his sleeve, and that wonderful elixir is dribbling into the jug.
It takes a while to fill, and we talk a bit of sailing and of the “ugly northern sea” as he called it. When it’s full, he asks for $200 pesos, a fair market value, perhaps even on the cheap end, and I pay up happily and throw in a tip for his troubles.
I bought four gallons of diesel that day, and we arrived at Puerto Don Juan with 9 left in the tank. We didn’t need it after all, but it was nice knowing it was there.