Across the Top of Isla Carmen, April 22nd 2008.

As planned we got up early and paddled up around the northeast corner of Isla Carmen before the wind had time to come up. Before getting to the corner we passed a large cove that has safe anchorage for hundreds of yachts but only had a few in it this day. The northern end of this island is spectacular with limestone deposits sometimes sitting on top of other rock and sometimes going down below the water. The bottom was often white sand giving the water above it a beautiful electric blue color. When the limestone came down below the water, the sea had carved cracks, arches and caves into it.

Around the northern most tip of the island Don Fleming found a beach with a large palm tree in it. He convinced us to land there for lunch just to joke with me about the Valley of the Palms. He had come with me to look for a lost valley full of palm trees on Isla Angel de la Guarda, and here was the valley on the wrong island! At least thats what Don was saying.

After lunch we continued across the top of Isla Carmen and soon came to a beach that Don had camped on once before. It was called V Beach because it was in a deep v shaped cove in the island. According to our float plan we would take a layover day and spend two nights on this beach, so it was good to have a recommendation for it. But when we arrived it was a hot day with a blindingly bright sun glaring off the hot white sand beach. (Ive never liked camping on sand) There was no-place to hide from the sun unless we could get our tarp to stay up in the wind. Nobody was all that happy to stay at this beach, especially for two days, so we agreed to keep paddling and look for a place on the east side of the island that would at least have some afternoon shade.

So we kept paddling through some wonderful rock gardening around the northeast corner of the island. This corner fell off the edge of the good maps from Google Earth so we were completely surprised by large rocks (small islands) with a fish-camp on one of them. A large gravel point that was too exposed to consider camping there. Then we started down the east side of the island. Finally we came to a wonderful gravel beach that swept out to point at some offshore rocks. An onshore rock had a cave-like crack in it that had shade all day long to store food in. Sometimes we stored ourselves in there out of the noon day sun. This was a wonderful beach and we were all glad we had paddled the extra distance to find it for our two night stay. On a shelf on a rock there was a collection of shells, dried sea stars and bones: a treasure chest left by previous campers on this beach.

Don went fishing and caught us two chino mero fish for dinner. These are named after the markings on the side that look remarkably like Chinese characters. We filleted both fish and made ceviche by soaking the flesh in lime juice and vinegar for a day. The ceviche was the appetizer for our second dinner on this beach the next day.

Kate DesLauriers had been living in dead that her birthday cake was going to be Dons infamous Flaming Twinkies recipe. Now that the birthday was over and her guard was down Don brought out the Twinkies! We called this the third birthday celebration. Twinkies drenched in rum, warmed in a frying pan, dowsed with a splash of 151 rum to guarantee ignition, and then FLAME ON!

All text and images Copyright © 2008 by Mike Higgins / contact