We were on the home stretch with no scary crossings left to do and I had agreed to relax our early morning rush. I cooked a breakfast of the last chicken eggs I had carried with me all this way. We took our time getting up, breaking camp, launching and paddling around the east side of the island. When I came to the slot with the double beach I saw someone standing there. It turned out to be John Weed! His panga fishermen had abandoned him while he was visiting with us and he had paddled to Salsipuedes late in the evening expecting to find us in the usual camping beach on the other side. We talked for a minute and asked him to join us paddling down the east side of Isla Animas. He declined, saying that he really wanted to get to Bahia Kino before Easter. This is a 60 mile trip by the most direct route, and I would plan a more conservative trip, hopping from one island to another and take 5 days to do it. But John expected to be there in two days. A few hours later we caught site of him paddling fast and far from shore so I’m sure he made it.
We made the short crossing over to Isla Los Animas, stopping to watch some California sea lions playing in the shallow spot in the middle of the channel. Once we arrived at Animas we started seeing caves everywhere. Although we were planning on going down the east shore, I ducked around to the west shore for a minute to find a cave that I took some beautiful pictures in five years ago. I found the cave but the light was not as good as last time. Another reason for coming back for an extended stay in a place like this is so you can hang around in one place all day and photograph it when it is at its best. Then we all went down the east side of the island together going into dozens of caves. John Somers remembered one large cave carved in green stone and told us to expect the “Jade Room”. I found a pair of caves that were connected by a low passage that came down almost to the water. By holding onto the walls, edging my boat way over and scraping my helmet on the ceiling I was able to pull myself through from one cave to the next. The Gulfo de California was so calm for us that I had no qualms about performing a maneuver like this. Don Fleming found a crack in a point that a kayak could just fit into. He went part way in and thought he could see light coming from the other side around a few corners. So he backed out and told me to go through there, he’d go around and wait for me on the other side. He was kidding, but I stowed my paddle and pulled myself into the crack. There was just enough room for the kayak to turn the corners with only a little scraping and I soon made it through. Doug Hamilton followed me, then John and Dave Harry. Don had to roll his eyes and say gruffly “If everyone else can make it through there I guess I have to do it too”.
After we took our time exploring every nook and cranny, literally, of the east side of Animas we arrived at the channel to Isla San Lorenzo. The tide was rushing (in our direction) through this gap and creating another little tide rip to play in. Once on the other side we found that there was a current going south, but you had to stay far from the island to catch it. We paddled down the west side of this island until we got to the first big point, and then started looking for a place to camp. From this point and farther south the island curves to the east and the crossing from anywhere along here to the main peninsula is about the same everywhere. So we figured we could stop at the first wonderful beach and not bother going the whole distance down the island. Unfortunately, we never found any wonderful beaches. They were too close to the cliffs with rocks falling down on them. They were too barren and dry at the mouth of an arroyo. They were made out of gravel or cobble that was too large to comfortably sleep on. Or there weren’t enough flat spots for all of us. We kept looking and kept paddling and eventually found ourselves down by the cardone forest at the south end of the island where we first crossed over to here. There the camping wasn’t perfect either, but it was OK and the sun was going down. We had to go to ground at last.