Loc: Isla San Esteban
Acc: Hilleberg Keron 4 tent
Dist: 47,0 km
Start: 05:30 End: 15:45 (back to old time)
We couldn’t have picked a better day for this crossing! It was most of the dead calm, even oily, mirroring water. Nothing really to suffer besides occasionally a certain amount of boredom on open water. We had an early morning whale show, twice came two Blue Whales up close to each other, huge guys, but diving with showing no flukes. Another whale came up in the far distance two or three times. Not too bad, compared to NO whales the other weeks! That was it with whales for today. We had a brief encounter with two fishing boats with some young guys asking us some stuff we couldn’t really understand but explained with the regular answers where from and where to. We saw a few turtles, and coming closer to our destination, we heard the lions on Isla San Esteban!
We obviously skipped the first island Isla San Lorenzo, as it was about 5 km off the direct way. We didn’t really know Isla San Esteban was packed with sea lions on the end we were arriving! We couldn’t really figure out on which rocks they were sitting, as it sounded they were living everywhere with their barking echo reflecting from all sides of the steep, colorful cliffs. Basically, this was correct! They were not on the cliffs, but the whole sandy spit we were aiming for was not sandy, but rocky, and every 50 to 100 meter, there was a huge male sea lion gathering his harem around him. Maybe 15 to 20 groups of sea lions lived straight on our precious one and only camping option! Barking, howling, trumpeting and making noises of all kinds.
Ok, let’s get closer, give the guys a wide berth and see if there isn’t some space for us inside the spit without being the intruders in this beautiful wildlife scenery. We spotted from the distance some colorful things on the far corner of the spit, which turned out to be a fisherman’s camp. This time not one of the normal abandoned sort, but it looked like the guys have just left it to go fishing. Some birds were picking on some leftovers, woolen blankets were rolled up or simply left as they have just go out of bed. A large onion waited to be eaten, cigarette butts, clothing, gas bottles, pots, and pans, just anything was simply spread out regardless if birds would be picking or shitting on it. Ok, …people are living differently!
We decided if the fishermen can stay here in the corner of this wildlife refugee, we can also…even if they will be back later. We made camp on a flat rocky area just about 30 m further, and it didn’t take long a boat came around the corner, five guys waved at us, but rather aimed to the end of the spit to go still fishing or better said diving with three guys down on compressor air hoses. When they came in, they were greeting us friendly, and later invited us to eat some fresh clams with lemon juice and spices. Elizabeth had one, but honestly, I am not too much into raw seafood and friendly rejected. We had a look into the bucket were they kept parts of their prey. Besides the clams they were eating themselves, they caught octopus and a lush selection of glibber things like a sea cucumber. It sounded they were up to cook those guys tonight in a huge metal barrel for conservation. They collected wood and lit the fire with a gas burner connected from a huge bottle.
About eight to ten sea lions kept watch on our beach and made quite a continuous show. One had fun playing with a red plastic bag…Elizabeth tried to ask the guys if the lions kept on “talking” noisy all night, and she took here google translator on her phone, pointed at the lions and out came:” Hablas todo la Noche?” LOL! And yes, they are noisy all night…hope at least our five neighbor guys will be silent at some point…they seemed to fancy a good smoke, and are sleeping just with some blankets on the pure cobbles. Honestly, I LOVE my Hilleberg tent…