Dorian Hargrove 2:23 p.m., Aug. 4
- Community Blog
- Tales of Adventure
Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you 'grave for me:
Here he lies where he long'd to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
This is the final tale of my Island Trilogy, a chronicle of my first voyage to Middle Island and Middle Rock, the lesser two of the four Islas Los Coronados. I made this voyage in the spring of '93: I can remember the two-day voyage itself with crystal clarity, yet the exact dates elude me, which is okay because the dates are not relevant to the story itself. I think I completed this voyage in late April, but it might have been May... no matter, as dates are meaningless in the islands, except where seasonal weather and astronomical events are concerned. Island voyages made by Laser are not for the weak-willed or ill-prepared, particularly when conditions are rough; a Laser makes for wet sailing even in the best of weather, so a wise skipper checks the extended weather forecast prior to embarking upon each overnight voyage. The weather window I chose was meteorological perfection, therefore weather was not really an issue during my voyage. I enjoyed a moderate breeze and warm sunshine in daylight hours, and seldom wore anything but shorts, Sperry Wave Runners, billed cap and sunglasses while fulfilling my ardent desire to explore these two lesser-known islands in the chain.
As with my first two voyages of discovery, I began this third island expedition by rigging Laser # 2069 on the beach overlooking the cove below the Coronado Municipal Golf Course Clubhouse. At the time, this area was known as "Hobo Harbor" (a derogatory phrase coined by locals), due to the number of liveaboards and "floaters" anchored immediately offshore. "Floaters" are essentially the waterborne homeless, the last of a dying breed squeezed hard by the Port District. In those days, the Port and its badge-sportin' goons had not yet made life miserable for this fringe element of society, and true locals could still leave boat hulls on the beach... mine was secured by lock and cable attached to a heavy cement-and-steel "deadman" anchor buried in the sand, and I routinely transported the spars, sail gear, rudder, tiller, and daggerboard to and from my house a few short blocks away. A good system while it lasted, since it cost me nothing but time, and I stripped all valuable fittings from the hull at the end of each voyage, rinsing and flipping the Laser topside-down into the bargain. As I rigged my boat that morning, I looked forward to yet another radical nautical adventure... island voyages are always a blast, and I love the chain itself, as it has given me so many good memories.
Some of you may have already read the narratives of my first two island adventures: "LASERIUM" and "ISLA NORTE" (first and second voyages, respectively). In this third narrative, I will share details of my first visit to these two lesser islands, Middle Island and Middle Rock. Sure, I've sailed to Islas Los Coronados many times since these first three voyages were successfully completed, but there's still a powerful memory associated with the very first visit to each island. On subsequent voyages, one already knows what to expect, but when one first approaches an island, especially an undeveloped island which also happens to be a bad-@$$ wildlife sanctuary, the island itself looms large in all its mystery and natural grandeur. Even Middle Rock, covered in bird guano and stinking to high heaven when approached from down to leeward, has its own particular beauty and aesthetic place within the island chain. In fact, a true Zen master might well choose its summit for a three-day fast and period of meditation, knowing that few @$$holes would be likely to bother him during this spiritual exercise.
Once my boat was rigged on the beach at "Hobo Harbor", I lashed my cooler, water jugs, and waterproof bag full of expedition gear into their designated positions in the cockpit. Experience had already taught me to bring the essentials, as well as plenty of gourmet food and beer. I stashed a nugget of heller chronic and a few loose rolling papers in a small plastic film canister, as I was intent upon burning a fat one at the summit of Middle Island. Once everything was scientifically lashed down with an eye toward equal distribution of ballast, and my running rigging was clearly free of all obstructions, I dragged the boat down to the water, shipped my rudder and tiller, dropped my daggerboard into its well and lightly leapt aboard, shoving off and embarking on yet another grand adventure. A calculated abandonment of "civilization" and everything for which it stands: a concept wholeheartedly embraced and executed with military precision, this deliberate turning of my back on the rotten human race. It's hard to explain, but my spirit always soars at that precise moment, since I know I have a bad-@$$ two-day voyage ahead of me, and I'm setting sail for one of my favorite destinations... "WAHOO!!! DAMN, I LOVE THE ISLANDS!!!" So many positive memories, and such heller natural beauty!!!
The tides were favorable that day, and I cleared Point Loma in excellent time... the westerly breeze built to approximately 12 knots, and my Laser steadily rode the ground swell at a constant speed. San Diego fell further and further astern as I made my merry way across the surface of the ocean, pounding cold beers at intervals to celebrate my freedom from "civilization." Drinking beer while sailing a Laser can be tricky in gusty conditions, but it's no great feat in a steady moderate breeze: I usually throw a toe or heel hook round the fore end of the tiller, extension angled toward my lap, with the mainsheet and weather rail gripped firmly with my (gloved) forward hand. This frees up one hand to hold the beer in its cooler cup; I'm the kind of sailor who constantly trims everything, and this system still enables me to do just that, although I will often "let it all ride" and pound my cold beverage if the craft is performing well and my boat speed is at optimal levels. I sailed my Laser for twenty years, and there's no finer small craft in terms of overall performance... you can read my humble observations on the class in "THE CULT OF THE LASER" (another tale of nautical adventure from an old school local's perspective).
Normally, whenever I sail to the islands, I initially hold a high course to fetch North Island (henceforth known as Isla Norte in this narrative, so unlocal readers don't confuse it with NASNI, the Naval Air Station, North Island, Coronado). By choosing this high course, I can always bear away later and sail a deeper course for other islands in the chain. No use in making extra work for oneself in the event of a drastic wind shift... unlikely to occur with our prevailing westerly winds, but not impossible, while the half-knot coastal current does its share to set one further south. A moot point on this voyage, as the wind held steady in its quarter and I made good progress in transit. Within an hour-and-a-half, I gradually bore away and steered toward the Middle Ground, ultimately heading directly for Middle Rock to get a good look at it en route to Middle Island. My excitement grew as I neared these two lesser islands in the group... as with the other islands, I had circumnavigated these two in the past aboard a sportfishing vessel, but I had never truly examined them at close range, with an eye toward executing a landing in the Laser. I planned to study Middle Rock prior to landing on Middle Island and setting up camp: that would give me all afternoon, evening, and the following morning to explore Middle Island, while leaving me enough time to suss out Middle Rock on my return voyage.
I sailed into the lee of Middle Rock and scrutinized the shoreline. A small rocky point, very rugged in nature and potentially dangerous where all fiberglass hulls were concerned, seemed to offer the safest landing, as it was partially protected from the swells that wrapped around the island. Even this point had a sizeable surge, a factor which must always be taken into consideration when executing a landing in a rigid fiberglass hull. In a sturdy inflatable, no worries, but the Laser is not inflatable. Extensive hull damage can occur quickly on a rocky reef or point, particularly if there is a wicked surge running due to wraparound swells. The Laser may be relatively light in terms of displacement, but her hull can still be holed in short order if she is suddenly slammed down onto a jagged reef... hull integrity is very important when making island voyages in small craft. I know for a fact there are sharks in those waters, and the thought of a long swim to the mainland originating in shark-infested waters doesn't really appeal to me. Even a short swim toward a nearby fishing boat might end in disaster, since sharks are alerted by splashing at the surface: better to be marooned on the island itself and signal one's distress. Call me particular: I didn't live to my current age by making unwise decisions in the wilderness.
Sailing past Middle Rock, I altered course slightly to clear the eastern cape of Middle Island. This is a rugged and extremely beautiful cape, with rocks and soil dramatically sculpted by erosion. I looked up in wonder at towering cliffs as I sailed into the half-mile-wide channel between Middle and South Islands. Jagged reefs skirt the eastern cape of Middle Island, but I was far enough offshore to avoid all risk. I intended to round this cape and sail into the protected cove in the lee of Middle Island; from pictures taken during my earlier voyage to South Island, I knew I could execute a landing in that cove. I was mildly concerned about the small detachment of Mexican sailors and marines stationed in a barrack on South Island, but the northern headland of that island now lay between me and those military personnel, effectively hiding me and my boat from view. Once ashore, I figured I could quickly derig the Laser and flip the hull topside down, lessening the likelihood of detection: unauthorized visits to the islands are not allowed, since the islands are designated wildlife sanctuaries.
Of course, one can always plead ignorance where small craft are concerned, or claim nautical emergency... I don't know about Mexico, never having bothered to ask, but I know it is perfectly legal to make an "emergency landing" on any beach in the State of California. With the high northern headland of South Island lending excellent cover for my purpose, I continued my 007 "stealth voyage" and sailed into the protected cove in the lee of Middle Island. Sea birds crisscrossed the sky above as they flew to and fro on their mysterious avian missions. Here I also met my first marine mammals of this island voyage: a colony of Harbor Seals who collectively eyed my silent approach with mild apprehension. My greatest priority when visiting any of the islands is to NOT disturb the wildlife: I do this by adopting a nonthreatening stance and leaving as much distance as possible between myself and all animals. Harbor Seals are timid creatures, however, and four small furry cove dwellers flapped down to the water's edge and slid beneath the surface, to reappear nearby in floating formation with all eyes steadily turned my way. Other Harbor Seals and at least one Sea Lion snored away on the shingle as I gently drifted into the shallows at the far eastern end of the cove.
According to plan, I derigged the boat as quickly and as quietly as possible. After removing the battens from my mainsail, I furled it around the mast and hid it at the base of a short cliff at the head of the cove; same for the boom, sail bag full of running rigging, 5-gallon jerry jug of water for bathing on the morrow, life vest, daggerboard, rudder and tiller, etc. I knew that once I "walked" my derigged boat up the shingle and flipped it topside-down in ideal position, the spars and sail gear would be effectively hidden by the hull itself. From a quarter-mile or more away, the dark blue hull would merely resemble another rock at the base of the cliff. I had successfully employed this technique during my "stealth voyage" to Isla Norte, so I knew exactly what to do and wasted no time in doing it. Once the boat was situated to my satisfaction, I retreated to the eastern end of the cove and swapped out my wet Sperrys and clothing for dry socks, Nike Hi-Tops, baggy field shorts, and tank top. I planned to stash all wet gear and empties behind the boat before ascending to the summit of the island.
I also decided to minimize my impact upon wildlife by not returning to my boat until the following morning. Once above the cove, I would stay well above it, thereby limiting my disturbance of the Harbor Seal colony. The four little seals were still floating in formation, although they had moved closer inshore out of curiosity... a comical squadron of marine mammals whose heads barely showed above the surface, all eyes turned upon me, not in fear but in a collective effort to figure out exactly what the f#% I was doing on the shingle. Within minutes, I was rigged and ready for my ascent, with Gregory Mountaineering pack on my shoulders and loaded cooler in hand. My pack contained clothing, thick blankets, toothbrush, dental floss, weed canister, lighter, a couple canteens of lemon water, folding plastic magnifying glass for studying samples and specimens, and a few other small items which never leave my pack due to their usefulness in the field. Naturally, the cooler was jammed full of food and beer.
I set out for the far side of the cove, staying against the base of the cliff and stopping briefly to stash all wet gear and empties behind the boat. A sleeping Sea Lion woke and momentarily eyed me as I made my way past, but did not move from his comfortable position, since I clearly posed no threat. In fact, I often avoid unnecessary eye contact with wildlife in the islands, that way the animals don't get gripped and I can ease past to carry on my expedition. As I came to the western end of the cove, I discovered a rift in the island, between the lower-lying eastern cape and the main western land mass or body of the island, which rises in dramatic fashion to a summit elevation of 251'. Middle Island has its own distinctive shape, with the eastern cape branching off at a right angle from the northeastern corner of the island, kind of like an inverted "L" or capital gamma from the Greek alphabet, with the fatter long side under half a mile in length and the island less than a third of a mile wide at its widest point (which includes the eastern cape). The rift I mentioned lies on a small isthmus where the eastern cape meets the main western land mass of the island: through this rift, one can access another cove on the northern side of the isthmus. This northern cove is smaller and not as well protected, as you can see from the photos I have posted (or will post) before I am done with this story.
After exploring this northern cove and snapping a photo or two for posterity, I began my ascent of the main western land mass of the island. As I rose higher upon a steeply-sloping ridge, a fantastic view of South Island opened up to the southeast. Halfway up the ridge, I detoured slightly to avoid a pelican's nest, complete with several fledglings. One pelican parent stood in nearby scrub and stoically eyed me as I moved past. Soon the ridge tapered in width, and the danger increased due to gritty downsloping dirt and rock flaring steeply away to either side. Once an intrepid explorer starts sliding on that crap, it's difficult to perform self-arrest, while gnarly drops lurk below, exponentially increasing the odds of personal injury or death. I've said it many times before, and I'll say it again: I go into the wilderness to find solitude and adventure, not to F#%G DIE. With extra caution, I ascended the remaining distance to the summit of the island, where I thankfully lowered my cooler and lightly dropped my rucksack. A cold beer tasted mighty fine as I took in the panoramic view... which of course was absolutely spectacular.
The isthmus and coves lay below, immediately to the northeast, my Laser looking like any other rock ashore from this distance and elevation. To the south, the spine of the island dropped away, gradually turning into a knife-edged arete upon which numerous pelicans perched. Across the channel to the east and southeast, South Island loomed in all its natural splendor, offering a view completely different than that seen from the mainland. Northward, across a channel little more than a quarter-mile wide, 101' Middle Rock stood in rather martial isolation, brave Samurai outrider of this end of the island chain. Point Loma and San Diego were visible on the horizon, but my attention was focused upon the islands themselves, since I had never viewed them from this vantage point. How different they all seemed in appearance! Miles away to the northwest, Isla Norte ("The Sarcophagus") rose in solitary splendor, still bearing some resemblance to an ancient stone coffin, but seemingly shorter in length due to my angle of perspective. After much contemplation (and a couple more beers), I devoted all of my attention to the island on which I stood: my current expedition was no less important than expeditions to other island summits in the past.
Each of these islands has its own aura, its own mystique for the casual explorer. I knew by looking around me that my visit to Middle Island would be different from other island expeditions. For one thing, much of the island consisted of steep and dangerous slopes or gnarly cliffs, and these did not encourage active exploration. Furthermore, ground nests covered much of the island on its leeward side, and I don't like unnecessarily disturbing wildlife by making my way over terrain that I can already see from above. Everywhere else I looked, I saw birds perched upon rocks and ridges, with neverending avian traffic winging to and from the island. Birds also circled overhead, a few glancing in my direction to assess my intentions and capabilities. I decided to limit my activity to the summit area, including the upper end of the ridge just south of the summit, thereby curtailing my impact upon the sensitive environment. The summit plateau itself was rather small, but it broadened for a short distance as the spine of the island descended southward, so I had enough space in which to move around and stretch, while the exposed summit itself was the area least frequented by wildlife. A good compromise, hanging out at the summit while studying the island and meditating upon life: I had a heller panoramic view, and the animals would not be disturbed.
Sometimes, a decision like this can be really liberating, with freedom from any agenda allowing one to simply exist in the present, basking in the sun while contemplating magnificent scenery. As an added bonus, no interruptions from the douchebags of society: no materialistic money-grubbin' wanks, no dirty grasping self-centered swine or spoon-fed maggots, no crooked badge-sportin' firearm-wavin' goons with small reproductive organs and massive inferiority complexes, no corrupt lying greaseball politicians or biased homosexual judges defying majority vote... none of that rotten human garbage in sight, and good f#%g riddance. No crackerheads or lot lizards either, although I'd gladly take them over the dirtbags previously mentioned... at least their criminal behavior is easily understood. But I digress: on this glorious day, I had the entire island to myself, and it was PARADISE, a regular SHANGRI-LA to this nautical pilgrim. Yesiree, there's a reason why I love these islands so much... why I'm spiritually drawn to them as I wholeheartedly am. Let others sail to Catalina and wallow in the crowds: as an aspiring Zen master, I'll take powerful isolation and solitude every time.
Glancing across the channel toward South Island and its still-deserted northern headland (no sign of La Armada de Mexico, as it was siesta time), I turned my attention to Middle Rock, since I planned to execute a landing on its rugged shores the following morning. I studied the swells which wrapped around the island; on the leeward side, several jagged rocky points jutted into the sea, and the most central point was the same which I had earlier observed and chosen as a potential landing site. From my perch high above sea level, I could still detect the violence of the surge at that location: landing there in a rigid fiberglass hull would be a dicey maneuver. While loading gear aboard my boat at the outset of this voyage, I had included a 50' length of 5/16" line, in the vague notion that perhaps I could employ that line after landing on Middle Rock. I figured I would bend it onto the existing bowline prior to landing, then shove the boat offshore and pay out this extended length of line, thereby (hopefully) allowing my boat to ride calmly in the lee of Middle Rock, while I went on to explore the island and bag the summit for posterity. If this plan worked, I would spare myself the aggravation of trying to haul the boat ashore, and also spare the Laser hull from damage in that dangerous location. Whether the boat would calmly ride offshore remained to be seen.
Having sussed out my future landing site to the best of my ability, I opened my cooler and dug out some gourmet grinds... I had worked up an appetite during my sail and subsequent ascent. Food always tastes better in the field, especially on the islands; thick sandwiches loaded with trimmings are easily unwrapped and devoured, while more substantial entrees and sides can be safely transported in lightweight plastic storage tubs and freezer bags. Although I possess a perfectly-functional 2-burner Coleman Propane Camp Stove (the oldest piece of field equipment I own, purchased in '82---everything else dating from that era wore out long ago from hard usage, and was subsequently tossed), I never bring it to the islands... it's more trouble than it's worth in a marine environment, and there's such a thing as light discipline at night. Yeah, I miss my hot valve-bursting cowboy coffee in the morning, but cold steak and BBQ chicken still work, backed by sides of tater salad, coleslaw, corn on the cob, baked beans, tabouli, pickled jalapenos and carrots, etc., etc., ad infinitum, with fresh bread and real butter thrown in for good measure. Cold carne asada burritos also work, with plenty of habanero sauce to heat that sh*t up pronto... I'm pretty easy when it comes to food in the field, since "hunger is the best sauce" and I have a friggin' Hoover switch on the back of my neck, don'tcha know?
After grinding hard, I broke out another beer and tentatively proceeded to explore the South Ridge of Middle Island. This was an impressive terrain feature in its own right, and it provided excellent perches for numerous pelicans, all sagely and stoically observing me from a distance, probably wondering what the f#% I was doing on the summit of their island. Not fearful or apprehensive, mind you... just curious, the way a common house cat is curious in its own digs. Truth be told, lest some idiot zoologist or ornithologist start squawking, there were no nesting sites that close to the summit, only adult pelicans who had clearly already accepted me as one of their own. Had I broken out a deck of cards, the bastards would've readily cracked their billfolds and anted up, no doubt. Wouldn't have been the same stakes as you find in Vegas, I reckon: "I'll see your pinhead (anchovy, to you unlettered types) and raise ya two mackerel... What?!? No mackerel?!? Alright, throw in the rest of that carne asada burrito and you're good to go... and NO, I don't want the God-damned habanero sauce!!! Now show your hand, pilgrim!!!" Ah, yes, playing high-stakes poker with pesky and persnickety pelicans can be a particularly perilous pastime, lemme tell ya, pal...
Just south of the summit, there was a fairly broad shelf or ledge cut into the leeward slope directly below the spine of the island, and at least a dozen birds hung out in this area, chillin' like villains as they eyeballed me for entertainment. For readers who don't know any better: "WTF, ain't no CABLE PELICAN TV on the islands, BITCHES!!!" I didn't mind the scrutiny, as these beautiful wild creatures probably never had an opportunity to closely check out a human being who wasn't actually trying to kill them, tag them, track them or relocate them, let alone f#% with their nesting sites... guys like me are good as gold in the wilderness, as far as lesser creatures are concerned. Not only that, I might toss some food their way when so inclined. Wild birds on the islands don't always understand my intent when I toss meager scraps in their direction: so-called "experts" tell you not to do this, as (according to these fooliots) IT WILL DISTURB THE ENTIRE ECOSYSTEM!!! A crock of sh*t if I ever heard one, considering how fast most of my scraps are snapped up by foraging sea birds. Sometimes, irritating and pedantic "academic" douchebags really bore me, the same way self-proclaimed "engineers" really bore me (If I need something built, I'll design and fabricate it myself, dumbass!), and thankfully they're never in sight when I land upon the islands. I'd probably have to strangle 'em or shoot 'em if that happened, and we all know that weapons and ammunition are prohibited in Mexico (unless, of course, you're a crooked cop, greaseball politician, paid Mexican-American "straw purchase" weapons buyer or scumbag cartel member).
The afternoon wore on, with no undesired and unwelcome appearance by "La Armada de Mexico" or any other nonnative primates, including those aboard diving and sportfishing craft. I had successfully established myself upon Middle Island, and now it was time to set up my bivouac site... this involved pulling thick blankets from my rucksack and choosing the ideal location for placement. The summit of the island was a sleepwalker's nightmare: somnambulists wouldn't last long on any of the islands, I guaran-f#%g-tee ya, but the summit of Middle Island is particularly small, while the steep surrounding slopes and cliffs are highly dangerous . I actually laid my blankets about 10' south of the true summit, as the summit itself is rather uncomfortable (I tried it from every angle, but it sucked in terms of comfort, and I'm no slouch in the field, having slept on exposed roots and rocks down in the rainforests of Panama, where mud and reptiles reign supreme and friggin' vampire bats abound). Once I positioned my blankets, I weighted them down with my cooler and rucksack, then I grabbed another beer and continued to chill out, watching the sun as it slowly sank toward the horizon. High as I was (prior to smoking dope, I mean), I knew that I would see the sun set just a tad later than most San Diegans, due to my offshore location and 251' elevation above sea level. Considering that phenomenon, I dug out the canister of weed and proceeded to roll a big fat delber of heller chronic, as I was wont to do in the wilderness back in the days of my youth.
The sun sank further, dipping below the horizon, and the colors intensified... I sparked the fatty with my lighter while sitting like Buddha atop the summit of the island, and I slowly inhaled that exquisite chronic flavor while watching the sun set in all its fiery atmospheric and oceanic glory. Bright red and yellow rays dominated the scene, with blue and purple hues subtly blending into the background. What a cool celestial event that was, with the sun ultimately setting beneath the waves, and the sky lit up like a friggin' Vegas casino... no fancy high-dollar hookers slingin' @$$, mind you, but that was okay, since there were no snake oil peddlers present either, and no "CB Rambos" to abruptly ruin the ambience with their acerbic remarks and brutally harsh observations. The sun disappeared, and the birds began to roost in the gloaming... certain species of sea birds still fly at night, but most settle down onto comfortable nests or perches, or in tunnels burrowed into the side of the island itself. Roosting is an everyday (or everynight) occurrence, and countless sea birds squawk away as they settle comfortably into their chosen positions. I always love this process: a natural avian symphony sans composer, accompanied by the barking and bellowing of marine mammals below, and the rhythmic thundering of the surf as it strikes jagged rocks along the shore...
One by one, the stars came forth and blazed in the darkening sky. I love stargazing in the islands, as there is minimal light pollution and the skies are continually swept clear by fresh breezes during good weather. On a previous voyage to Isla Norte, I had a grandstand seat (or bivouac site) during an absolutely fantastic meteor shower, the greatest solo night of my life in terms of wilderness adventure... viewing the heavens as I kick back at the summit of an island is simply part of the program, as I'm already looking skyward once I lie down on my blankets. The surrounding natural symphony enhances this stargazing in a big way: where else can you hear birds squawking, marine mammals bellowing, and surf thundering against the rocks as you chill out and explore the heavens? I suppose one could do it at Sea World with one of those taped surf recordings, but it wouldn't be the same... nowhere near as wild and remote as an offshore island, and the sounds of vehicular traffic in the distance might put a damper on the viewing and contemplation. Needless to say, I enjoyed a good stargazing session at the summit of Middle Island before drifting off to sleep, comfortably tired and perfectly happy with my accomplishments thus far on this voyage of discovery.
I woke to a fine clear morning full of promise and adventure. Stretching luxuriously in my blankets, I considered my next moves... breakfast first, in the form of a choice fruit smoothie (Naked Juice, which has accompanied me on every voyage, as I'm probably the outfit's most loyal anonymous customer), then break camp and head for the boat to clean up, rig that bad girl, and get under way in the second phase of this island expedition. Rising from my makeshift bed, I bade good morning to all feathered friends within speaking distance; as I had posed no threat to these creatures, many of them now took my presence for granted and never gave me a second glance. I didn't mind, as I often feel the same way: "This @$$hole doesn't pose a threat or a problem, therefore he can be ignored." Sound instinctive animal reasoning, if I don't say so myself. That's another thing about being surrounded by wild creatures: their actions and intentions are so honest and easily understood, I have no qualms about dwelling in their midst. I have no doubt that, as an animal lover, I could tame these creatures, but then they would no longer be wild, and there's a lot to be said for that whole "wildlife in the wilderness" thing.
Gathering my gear and prepping for departure from the summit, I took one last long look at the panoramic view. Damn, that place was beautiful... like poetry on a grand scale. Shouldering my rucksack and grabbing my cooler, which was now somewhat lighter and easier to handle, I made my way back down the ridge I had ascended the previous afternoon. Downclimbing is always dicier than ascending, as one can't see footholds as well and gravity plays a bigger role. Cautiously avoiding all sketchy areas and holds, I descended to the rift mentioned earlier in this narrative. As I stepped onto the shingle of the cove where my boat lay, I whistled softly so as not to startle any marine mammals on the beach. A few critters were sprawled here and there, but many were out hunting or fishing at this relatively early hour. I sidled past those still present and made directly for my boat, where I dropped my rucksack and cooler before digging fresh clothing out of a waterproof bag. Hauling clothes, towel, and 5-gallon jerry jug to the far eastern end of the cove, I proceeded to strip, bathe, and outfit myself for the next leg of my voyage.
Soon I was "walking" my beloved Laser down to the water's edge, alternately lifting bow and stern and executing short arcs of rotation in the process. With hull flipped and boat rerigged, I loaded the cockpit, donned my Sperry Wave Runners once more (still damp), bade farewell to all marine mammals on the shingle beach, and cast off... besides my trusty nautical footgear, I was wearing thick baggy field shorts, T-shirt, billed cap, and sunglasses hanging on a goon cord, as it was barely 0800 and the sun had not yet cleared South Island. Rounding the eastern cape of Middle Island, I made an unexpected discovery... a mid-sized sportfishing craft, the "New Lo-An" (go figure, could be a bankster's boat if you ditched that hyphen), was lying in the channel between Middle & South Islands, passengers and crew actively involved in angling from either side of the vessel, as well as from the stern. I had enough breeze to stand well clear of this boat as I beat toward Middle Rock. I've always wondered if, at the moment of my mysterious appearance in a Laser at that early hour, any of those passengers or crew asked: "WTF?!? WHO THE HELL IS THIS @$$CLOWN, AND WHERE THE BEJESUS DID HE COME FROM???"
No big deal, as the "New Lo-An" and its anglers were soon on my quarter... one thing nice about the Laser, that bad girl can perform in a wide range of conditions. Some arrogant and condescending pogues have dissed the class out of hand, but their fagtard punk bitch asses were nowhere in sight during any of my island voyages, thank goodness. There's a reason for that, but I won't bother getting into it here; just know that "Daddy's Checkbook" can't buy EVERYTHING on this planet. Another reason why I LOVE going to the islands... no squawking punks, no spoon-fed clubhouse kooks and maggots, none of that trash in sight, which is JUST THE WAY IT SHOULD BE in the wilderness. Enough said, back to my narrative: I approached Middle Rock while reaching on the starboard tack, and I scrutinized my chosen landing site as I neared this mysterious island. Smallest of the group, it is under a quarter-mile in length, barely one-sixth of a mile in width at its widest point, and, as previously mentioned in this story, it has a summit elevation of 101'. Covered in white bird sh!t, it is sometimes referred to in Spanish as the "Pile of Sugar" (even Cabrillo referred to it as a "sugarloaf" in his log entry). I don't know about you, but bird sh!t doesn't taste that sweet to me, yeah?
Choosing my moment and rounding into what little wind existed at that hour in the lee of Middle Rock, I stepped onto a jagged reef which constituted part of the rocky point I had selected as a landing site. The swell had not abated, and the wicked surge was still in effect, rising and falling at least three feet as I executed my landing. Right off the bat, I was fending my boat off the jagged rocks, doing a ridiculous and comical reef dance as I tried to spare my boat from hull damage. The surge was gnarly, and my reef dance turned into a full-blown circus act as I pulled the nautical "Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey" number, alternately tending to bow and stern as the boat wildly pitched and rolled... it was crazy, and I had no time to worry about anything except saving my Laser. The surges came hard and fast: quick as I am with catlike reflexes, I was hard pressed to deal with this repeatedly violent onslaught. My former plan to shove the boat offshore and bag the summit went out the window in record time... none of that stupid sh!t would be happening on this glorious morning. Flustered and angry, I hurled the extended bowline into the cockpit and shoved off hard. Grabbing my tiller, I made things right before looking astern at this inhospitable rock in the ocean.
A deep cleft rent the island in two, and green ground cover could be seen within this cleft. The rocks rose on either side, covered in guano; a future bivouac might be possible within the cleft itself! Looking down, I saw that my starboard calf was streaming with blood, as a result of my violent and ridiculous three-minute circus act on the jagged reef... some of the blood had fouled the quarterdeck and was slowly dripping off the stern. This was an alarming observation: these islands may be wildlife sanctuaries, chockablock with avian and marine mammal colonies, but they are also food sources for marine predators. Great Whites mack marine mammals, and 2-ton specimens of that same predatory species have been caught in local waters. The moment I looked down and saw all that blood dripping overboard, all I could remember was the voice of a narrator in a National Geographic Special: "A HUNGRY SHARK CAN FOLLOW A BLOOD TRAIL FOR TWENTY MILES!!!" A big-time damper on my morning plans, with my calf still streaming blood and the relentless surge rising and falling like Swiss clockwork... right away, I resolved to abandon my plans and sail for San Diego, as the whole bleeding "feed the sharks" scene didn't appeal to me.
Using a bailer to completely rinse my afterdeck, I hunkered down inboard while under sail and pulled a few short tacks to break up the friggin' blood trail... my calf eventually stopped bleeding, but my paranoia remained. After half a dozen short tacks to (hopefully) lose all hungry two-ton Great Whites, I relaxed a bit and figured that at least I had LANDED on Middle Rock, which was a step in the right direction. Later, I would land on that same jagged reef and rocky point again, when the surge was not so violent... any @$$hole who hasn't done this can spare me his or her remarks, because, as always in the islands, unless you've successfully completed this maneuver you don't know your @$$ from a f#%g hole in the ground. That's the way it is when you venture offshore, and don't let any sh!t-talkin' fagtard tell ya otherwise... you'll hear those claim-squawkin' douchebags on shore in Dago County, usually in bars or at parties, but you won't find the fagtard trash offshore, and good f#%g riddance. Why do ya think I go out there whenever opportunity allows me to go??? I don't hafta listen to these kooks, and there's no slimy strap-on scrub p.o.s. Douche-Manis, no crooked lying greaseball cops, no criminal-enabling politicians or biased homosexual judges, none of that scum in sight... call it PARADISE!!!!!!! Oh, yeah, don't forget to ask for photodocumentation whenever some lying sh!tbag talks story about the islands.
Anyway, I set a course to clear Zuniga Point (or Zuniga Jetty, as locals may choose to identify it), and I enjoyed a long reach while macking grinds and pounding a few more beers... as a truck driver, I have no problem cracking a cold beer at dawn if necessary, if that's what it takes to put me in a good mood while I'm enjoying time off, yeah? While I was in transit, cruising aboard my Laser with a glorious day developing, I reflected upon my voyage: I never get bent when vacation plans change in the islands, or any other wilderness area, as that is the rule rather than the exception, and it doesn't take much in the field to make me a happy camper. I thought of those precious hours spent upon Middle Island, without another soul in sight...my kind of island vacation, with no douchebags of society present to botch the whole deal. Not long ago, I was falsely charged and maliciously prosecuted by the crooked scrub queer p.o.s. D.A. in Dago County (at great expense to taxpayers, mind you), and though I backhand-bitchslapped that nasty clam-buffin' scrub and her corrupt badge-sportin' goons in their own rigged courtrooms (while defending myself, go figure), nothing ever happened to those lying greaseballs. They kept their jobs, their pensions, etc., despite their blatant criminal activity. I value my freedom far more than that crooked trash will ever know, and my voyages into Mexican waters can't be touched by those slimy friggin' strap-on scumbags. The sooner criminal trash like that are exposed, the better, I reckon... nothing but corrupt badge-sportin' scum of the earth who drag this country down.
Sometimes, during these island voyages for which I'm known in my own small circle, I dwell upon the disparity between my life on the mainland and my life on the islands. On the mainland, I hold questionable status as a so-called "citizen" of the United States: despite documented birth (unlike the Kenyan pogue), service in the Infantry, a lifelong record of voting, and a patriotic spirit, I'm forced to deal with scum-sucking liberal trash, corrupt politicians, slimy biased fagtard jurists, a flood of foreign cockroaches, all the shady banksters and war profiteers who should've been lined up and shot long ago, nothing but traitorous f#%g scum who are actively turning the U.S. into a Third World country. Let's face it: thanks to these grasping self-centered dirtbags, the U.S. is now nothing more than a mongrel empire rapidly swirling down the God-damned sh!tter... "Yeah, bring on more wetbacks and refugee resettlement programs!!!" For those readers who are wholly ignorant, so-called "refugee resettlement programs" are where crooked hucksters and foreign greaseballs rake federal and state grant money to bring in sh!tloads of ethnics, then dump the foreigners straight into the taxpayer's lap, using the grant money to purchase mansions, toys, etc. SOUND FAMILIAR, BITCHES?!?!?!?
On the other hand, my life in the islands is completely different... there, I'm Zen master of the natural world; there are no slimy scrub queers, crooked cops or scumbag politicians; everything that happens actually makes sense, and I want to go back every time I leave. Go figure: I feel more at home in the islands than I ever did in Dago, where I was f#%g born in '62. That whole business about voting? That was shot down with the slimy Prop 8 fiasco, when some disgusting robed sodomite (who had no right to even rule on the issue---biased scrub queer scumbag should've recused himself) defied majority vote, making it pretty plain that a citizen's vote doesn't count anymore where so-called jurists and greaseball politicians are involved. Scrub AG Brown looked the other way while all that went down, and refused to do his public duty by defending Prop 8. Scrub queer jurists and politicians are bought and sold by special interests nowadays, so you can kiss your vote goodbye, pal, because it doesn't mean a God-damned thing anymore. If you think it does, you need to firmly grasp your own shoulders and pull your head out of your F#%G @$$.
Don't worry, I'll still vote, just to chop some gay or ethnic greaseball voter to his knees, but I'm not sure it'll do any good with so many corrupt scumbag politicians and sodding jurists in power. If I had my way, I'd see every last one of those slimy unpatriotic scumbuckets shot on sight. As for Mexicans, and all those traitorous liberal fagtards who cater to ethnic cockroaches??? Who the f#% are you to question my landing on Islas Los Coronados, when boatloads of beaners land in San Diego County every night like motherf#%g landing craft hittin' the beaches of Normandy on D-Day??? Stupid slimy liberal fagtard bitches... you'd gladly kill the futures of your own children in some misguided effort to promote "diversity." What a joke, and, unfortunately, that joke is on the taxpayer. Welcome to the "Brave New World"... uh, make that the "BRAVE NEW THIRD WORLD!!!" What a disgusting f#%g sh!thole this country has become, thanks to scumbag politicians, scrub queer jurists, and the special interest groups who own them.
Yesiree, I often wonder which is real, my so-called life in this swirling Third World dump known as America, or my beautiful Zen-like existence on the islands offshore... which is real and which is an illusion??? I haven't figured that out yet, although I'm leaning toward the islands in the reality department. There, whatever I experience makes perfect sense, while in Dago nothing makes sense... crooked firearm-wavin' cops kill unarmed citizens at will, knowing that they'll never have to face charges as long as their slimy strap-on scrub queer D.A. protector has their backs, those crooked greaseballs. "Yeah, he went for my gun... or was it his gun? WTF, flip a coin and put it in the report." And politicians??? Sheeeeeee-it... which one of those slimy f#%g scumbuckets would you NOT like to shoot??? One fine day, a violent revolution will sweep this country, as it did in the past, and these stinking traitorous scumbags will all be shot or hung with God-damned piano wire, and GOOD F#%&G RIDDANCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As I said, I'm not sure which is real or which is an illusion... my life ashore on the mainland, or my periodically brief yet beloved life ashore on the islands. There, at least, I feel like my own man, Zen master of the natural world, while this stinking Third World sh!thole does nothing for me... too many foreign parasites and leeches have already ruined the entire scene here in the United States. Scumbag politicians continue to give the country away, since their bribe-sportin' Big Business Buddies need cheap labor to increase obscene profits, and their War Profiteering Buddies need more clueless American cannon fodder for useless foreign conflicts in countries whose only intent is to bleed our coffers dry and ultimately bring us to our knees... If my periodic life in the islands is an illusion, let me dwell there for the rest of my days, because my loyalty and patriotism to the country of my birth no longer matter, with slimy greaseball politicians and fagtard jurists calling the shots, majority vote be damned. This is what I've learned after being falsely accused and maliciously prosecuted by some dirty stinking scrub queer p.o.s. D.A. here in Dago County. This is the future for most white Americans: your children shall be wage slaves toiling under massive debt, their votes and so-called civil rights meaning nothing to robed sodomites, while foreign scum continue to stream across so-called borders, encouraged by slimy scrub politicians, hyphenated Mexican-American Border Patrol douchebags, and the special interest groups that make all this happen.
Yesiree, ain't life grand in this Third World sh!thole??? I'm glad I was fortunate enough to see this formerly beautiful country before it was completely ruined... one thing about truck driving back in the day, a hand could see some country and explore some primo wilderness areas. Now that industry has been destroyed, with companies trying to cram two wetbacks with fake CDL-As into every truck, making minimum wage while endangering the American motoring public. F#%, I'm SO GLAD that I never brought any children into this world, seeing the way this country is rapidly swirling down the sh!tter. Thanks a lot, liberal scum, corrupt greaseball politicians, disgusting robed sodomites and grasping foreign cockroaches!!! You took what once was the world's greatest superpower and turned it into a Third World sh!thole, and you did it in record time!!! The recent credit rating downgrade is simply more proof of your traitorous intentions... another slap in the face to every native white resident who ever served in the Armed Forces. Oh, by the way, that service was useless, the same way service overseas today is useless. Not only useless, but downright harmful to this country... how much are those wars costing taxpayers again in terms of wasted lives and money? All so some hostile foreign scumbags brainwashed since birth can bleed our country dry...
Some say America is still the greatest country on earth, but this is merely an illusion. Greed, corruption, and moral decay have taken their toll, and today the country is a far cry from the one envisioned by our Founding Fathers. When a law-abiding native resident taxpayer's rights and livelihood are destroyed by crooked politicians, slimy biased scrub queer judges, lying badge-sportin' goons, agenda-pushing liberal fagtards and sodomites, and grasping self-centered foreign cockroaches streaming in hordes across so-called borders, I reckon it's safe to say that this country is no longer the greatest country on earth. It doesn't take any rocket scientist to figure out that America as we once knew it is rapidly swirling down the sh!tter, well the f#% on its way to becoming a stinking Third World dump. Give me the offshore islands any day of the week... there, ironically, I can still experience "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."
Note: I'll soon post more shots of the islands in the usual manner, and add them to those already on my profile page. Those who wish to know more about the islands should read "Los Coronados Islands", by Helen Ellsberg. Packed with information, it is the definitive work on the islands.