Raul was inspired by Steinbeck’s “Log of the Sea of Cortez” to visually document the sea specimens that were the objective of Steinbeck’s voyage, noting that Steinbeck himself deeply regretted the lack of a photographer on their voyage. Raul has a small sailboat, docked near Cool Change, with a short, retractable keel that he has taken into secret coves all up and down the Sea of Cortez to collect the specimens. He then brings the specimens into his cabin only long enough to photograph them under a special microscope he has developed, and then returns them to the sea. He has made 60 plates on a special paper like what may have been used in Steinbeck’s time, and then copied them and made boxed sets for sale. http://www.raulgonzalez.com.mx/ He has spoken at the university and had many exhibitions with these plates. He plans on dedicating his life to this documentation, albeit mostly as a passion rather than as a business.
Raul is from the Yucatan but his photography business is in Mexico City, as is his family. He has been coming down to La Paz for weeks at a time for years. We were fortunate to have met him on his last visit here. We invited him over to our boat for conversation a few times and he came armed with a small bottle of authentic Oaxacan mescal – such a gentleman! He is a man of vision, artistry and science. We consider it an honor to have met him. And he signed and gave us one of the prints of his plates! We intend to have it framed and hung in one of the few wall spaces we have on Cool Change in a prominent location.
We had a less lengthy conversation with a couple just as interesting, who set out from San Francisco on a homemade bamboo bike! They are headed for Argentina, his home. I believe she is originally from the Czech Republic. Marketa and Nicolas visited us on our boat while we were showing our Northern California friends around Cool Change. They were hoping to catch a ride with us over to Mazatlan, but have since found a larger boat much better able to accommodate them than we could.
We managed to squeeze nine people (including Cherie, who is taking the picture) into the cabin of Cool Change for her tour.
And then there was the long awaited visit of our salsa/rueda dancing friends from Sacramento who came down here to visit us for a week starting January 14. Wow, what a whirlwind tour! Having danced every day since they arrived, and twice on Saturday, including two nights in a row out till past 2 am, I think we exhausted them and ourselves by about halfway through their visit! But after a day of rest, they snapped back and ended up going to yet another salsa dance class with us on Monday night, and then they took a full day boat excursion out to the islands and to swim with the sea lions on Tuesday before they left on Wednesday. We all had a ball together, learned some more dancing moves, and rekindled as well as deepened our friendships. Parting was such sweet sorrow.
Rick and I have since been standing by, preparing Cool Change to toss off the docklines once again and sail on over five days to our next destination, Mazatlan, on the other side of the Sea of Cortez. It will be at least two days at anchor along the coast heading south to our jumping off point, and then two nights at sea crossing the 190 n.m. to Mazatlan. But the weather doesn’t seem to want to cooperate – we keep seeing big seas and winds in the Sea (28 knot winds in 8 foot seas at 6 seconds? No thanks!) and want to wait until there is more likelihood of fair winds and following seas. It is not that we can’t handle a big blow should it happen, but we are in no hurry, and why invite heavy weather intentionally?
On top of it, it seems that all the excitement of our Sacramento friends’ visit, likely combined with the endless hands we’ve danced with over the last week, have culminated in me getting La Gripa (a cold), and Rick is starting to feel a little under the weather as well. So we may continue to enjoy La Paz a little longer!