Isolation in Paradise

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After leaving the town of La Paz we headed directly to our favorite spot (thus far) in the Sea of Cortez, Isla San Francisco. As you may remember from previous posts Isla San Francisco is a small island and National Park about 45 miles north of La Paz. The only way to get to this island is by boat and La Paz is the closest population center. Therefore we are pretty isolated yet within easy reach of any and all things available in a major city. The island is about 5 square miles and there is one primary anchorage. When we arrived there were already 4 boats in the anchorage. We set the anchor, turned off the engine and put away the sails. We then set about preparing Samadhi to be in one place for quite some time. First we put our rowing dinghy (pudgy is its name) in the water. Next we inflated the paddle board. Then out came all the bug netting. Finally we positioned our seedlings for the best sun. In a matter of an hour or so Samadhi went from being an ocean sailing vessel to a floating home/garden/mothership. It was a warm and calm morning when we arrived so soon after completing our above chores we set out for the beach to stretch our legs and swim in the crystal clear waters.

We spent the next fourteen days keeping our distance from the other cruisers but still took the time to say hello and discuss our new normal and these crazy times. The cruisers that were here before us asked for any updates and new information regarding restrictions to travel. We shared what we knew and we all offered to be there for one another should any need arise. Isla San Francisco is laced with hiking trails to its many peaks and throughout it numerous arroyos. We climbed to many of the peaks including a magnificent ridgeline trail hike leading to a peak overlooking both the anchorage and the open Sea of Cortez. There is a large salt flat in between two large hills on the island. We used this salt flat as a jogging trail. Every other day in the late afternoon, all four of us would put on some jogging clothes and head into shore. The first time we ran, we made a track around the larger of the two salt flats. This track was 1/2 mile long. Ashley, Alexander and Victoria all ran two miles and I ran three. The running surface is fantastic. It is perfectly flat (that’s probably why it is called a salt FLAT), there is almost always a slight breeze blowing, and the surface is soft enough to run barefoot but firm enough so that you do not feel like you are running in sand. Alexander and Victoria ran barefoot each time. I ran barefoot a few times as did Ashley. The kids seemed to really enjoy our regular runs. We made a chart in the salt ground using tally marks to keep track of our laps. Each time we passed our starting point of our 1/2 mile circle we gave ourselves another mark under our name. This helped us keep track of our distances for each day as well as give us a shot of dopamine to push ourselves just one more lap. Our track was perfectly flat and there are no trees to obscure our views. Therefore, Ashley and I felt confident letting the kids run at their own pace. We just gave them their distance goal and let them go. On one of the runs I told everyone that I was going to go a little faster than normal and not to try to keep pace with me. The days distance goal was 3 miles so it was important for them to pace themselves. Alexander usually runs an 11 min mile and Victoria usually runs 11:30. And when we all run as a group I usually have us run an 11:30 to 12 min mile depending on how far we go. On this particular run I planned to run two sub 9 min miles and then finish with two 9:30 miles for a four mile run for me. I started the clock and we all took off. As we all began together I gave each of them their normal pep talk as we jogged together as a family. “You are amazing”. “Pace yourself”. “It’s OK if you need to walk”. “Don’t run if you feel any pain”. “Don’t forget to drink water”. “I love you”. “You will be proud of yourself when we are done”. And then I set off at my pace. After making my second turn I could see Victoria and Ashley on the far side of the course. I figured Alexander was with them or a little ahead of them but outside of my line of sight without turning around, so I just continued on. After I came to my first full lap (1/2 mile) I picked up the stick we used to mark the ground to make my first mark and Alexander came in right behind me. I looked at my watch and saw that he was pacing a 8:45 mile. I smiled but reminded him that we are running 6 laps and he still has 5 to go. He smiled his perfect, cocky smile and said, “I know.” sounding not even a little out of breath. So I set off again maintaining my pace. I looked back at each turn looking to see where Alexander was and each time he was there about 50 feet behind me. After our second lap and one mile I again reminded him of the distance and he again gave me his wry smile and asked why I was not going faster with a wink. He stayed with me for another lap totaling a mile and a half all under 9 min miles. Then he listened to his body and slowed his pace. He finished his 3 miles in 31 minutes and barely seemed tired. Victoria has always been a hit a miss runner. Sometimes she is unstoppable and asks for longer distances and sometimes she doesn’t want to run 100 meters. However, she seemed to really like the fact that she could very clearly see the start and finish of the run that she needs to do. Her runs on the salt flats were the very best she has ever done. On one of the 3 miles days she led Alexander and Ashley from start to finish and when she neared the finish I was running about 25 meters behind her and I asked how she was feeling. She looked back without breaking stride and yelled, “LIKE A JEDI!!!” She crossed the finish line and continued running. I reminded her that this was her 6th lap and she said she was going to “treat herself” to another lap. And she did showing us all in yet again another way of her unrivaled discipline. These two amazing kids sure make being isolated with our family such a joy.

Victoria on the run!
Still running!
Our salt flats running course taken from the drone
Our favorite ridge line hike
At the high point of the ridge line hike. Check out the two different colors of blue of the waters.
Our little bay with our neighbors. The ridge line hike is in the background. Taken from the drone.
Keeping track of our laps around the 1/2 mile course.
Playing on the beach with friends.
We sailed the pudgy and paddled the paddle board to shore.
Taking a break on the way to the top of the ridge line hike.

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