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'Laser Island Voyages' part II

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Starting with "un marino de la Armada de Mexico" polishing his boots at 0600 on the stone & cement rampart of the primitive barrack building where I spent the night on Isla Sur... I suppose there's some sort of inspection held out there every morning, and I was on my way up from shore when I took this photo. This guy actually had a fully-automatic rifle lying next to him, though you can't see it in this photo... an FN, if I remember correctly. I had already shared some fruit smoothies with this hand before walking down to my boat and taking a field shower, so I was on my way up to explore the island... had permission from the man in charge to pull a solo exploration, therefore I didn't waste any time getting past the barrack and getting on with my mission, LOL. :confused:


Here's a shot of my derigged Laser riding at a mooring below the barrack building, the shot taken from higher ground across Smugglers Cove. Those buildings to the upper right are the squalid abodes of civilian light keepers on Isla Sur... not a bad gig for those Mexicans into nature.


Here are a couple shots of my loaded Laser on a bayside beach in Coronado, it's early yet so the cloud cover hasn't burned off, though the breeze is already picking up...


Here's Isla Norte on approach... no Mexicans stationed here, so stealth voyages leave you in command of the entire island. An awesome venue too, as seen in certain photos in a link in Post #1 of my 'Laser Island Voyages' thread.


This shot was taken looking up toward the summit from that prominent saddle seen in the previous photo:


And here is the SW coast of Isla Norte, unseen from the mainland, a very rugged and beautiful area, though this particular pic doesn't do it justice... I had a really cool shot of this area of the island, but I gave it to a friend in a wheelchair back in the day, so he could enjoy the view as well. I suppose he still has it on a wall of his home.


Now we go to Middle Island for a little bird action... cue the 'SCARFACE' line: "C'MON, PELICAN!!!"


Here's a montage of the knife-edged arete on South Ridge of Middle Island, a sh!tload of pelicans hung out here and we got along famously, LOL:


Here we have a shot of a small rocky cove on the north side of the isthmus on Middle Island, read the third story in my 'Laser Island Voyages' thread to get the details. That land on the horizon at left is actually Middle Rock, so there are two islands in this photo, separated by a channel roughly 1/4-mile wide.


Here's a shot of my derigged boat lying upon the shingle beach at the head of the cove to the south, on the other side of the isthmus. Battens removed & sail furled round the mast for stealth purposes... one is supposed to have permission from the Mexican gubmint to land on Los Coronados, which are designated wildlife sanctuaries.


Yes, those are seals lying among the rocks in the previous photo, but they know I'm an animal lover so they're still hanging out in lounge mode. However, when I first sailed into this cove, four small juvenile seals flapped down to the water for safety's sake... later, as I derigged, they floated closer inshore to suss me out, a comical squadron of pinnipeds as described in the story I mentioned earlier. That would be "ILLUSION DWELLER" in my 'Laser Island Voyages' thread, the pinnipeds deserved mention, AYE? And here they are:


Damn, it's already 2007 hours, I gotta take a break to load some beef medallions in the oven, I'm having those with mushroom gravy tonight, after a primo salad, of course... but I'll be back to post up some more shots in a bit, gotta grab another beer and have a slash while I'm at it. Enjoy the island pics, you won't see their like anywhere else, due to the situation with stealth voyages in Los Coronados. Don't forget the Mexican jailhouse scene!!! LOL... :eek:
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Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Okay, now I'm golden, those 'medallions' I mentioned are actually primo burgers, but they're cooking now and I have a fresh cold one at hand, so here we go... hmm, while going through an old photo album I found these shots of a trailer cradle I built for my Laser, this one was designed for hauling the boat at freeway speeds to destinations far afield. I used the 'spiling' technique to cut the curves so my Laser could rest topside-down, the slots were cut to accommodate spar sections, aye? I used vinyl flooring material for the cradle where the boat rested, and I glued thick-@$$ neoprene wetsuit pieces into place as padding for the spars... stainless steel eye screws served as tiedown points for the hull, and the whole deal worked like gangbusters for driving 75 or 80 m.p.h. down the interstate, LOL. Meh, enough said, here's this one particular trailer, just one of many cradles built over the years... the trailer itself began life as a utility trailer from the Depot or Harbor Freight, can't remember which, my friend who ran a landscaping business had it set up as a stake-side, but I got rid of all that and just mounted the custom cradle on it. I usually had a passenger on such adventures, so it wasn't a big deal to flip the boat once we reached the launch point. :rolleyes:

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Here's a shot of my clew tie-down, guess it ain't going anywhere in a friggin' gale, LOL... :eek:


What else do I have for this brief interlude, before I post up more island shots? Ah, here we go, some classic youth shots from my days as a bulletproof 175-or-180-lb. rock climber, go figure... I'm scowling in one shot because I never liked having my photo taken, even by friends, it went against my African religion which says that every photo taken steals part of your soul, BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! But I always was a bit of a ham, as seen in the Queen Mary shot... dunno where the time goes, but these pics were taken decades ago. :confused:


Oh, wait, here's a shot of my Laser behind the surf shop, I must have been doing some resto work on her at the time... somehow, this photo looks the way an old school local's photos SHOULD look, LOL. Don't mind the rags, pallets & other cr@p, this was a working man's surf shop, don'tcha know? ;)


Ah, last shots before I get back to the islands, here I'm passed out on the carpet at a friend's house in Venereal Beach (Imperial Beach), shots taken after we drank a truckload of beer and macked heller BBQ... this home owner (now deceased) had thick-@$$ shag carpeting & pads on the floor, and a bunch of us would routinely party at his house (pool table & big screen TV), so whenever a hand wanted to take a nap, he just laid down wherever he found a spot out of the way, ya know? So, while I was snoring, my 'friends' covered me with newspapers, like I was some bum sleeping in Central Park... the next time I visited those friends, they busted out the shots and had a good laugh at my expense, LOL. Meh, what are friends for, I ask? And oddly enough, I've outlived at least three of the hardcore party animals behind this stunt... no worries, I still love 'em, this sort of gag was common between us back in the day. :D


Okay, lemme post these up and grab another beer, then it's time for some CLASSIC PHOTOS from Helen Ellsberg's book LOS CORONADOS ISLANDS, the definitive text upon the islands. I won't do it tonight, but later I will post the entire book, it's only a thin text as there wasn't much knowledge available back in those days. :cool:

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Oh, hell, it's time to mack, but I'll post up those Ellsberg book photos in a bit... gotta throw a salad together before I mack these medallions, LOL. :rolleyes:

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Damn, that meal was so good last night, I never made it back to post these shots. You know the drill: "I'll just lie down for a minute..." And DONE, lights out, snoring away, I woke after midnight to find two cats next to me, so I rolled over and went back to sleep. Meh, here are the book photos, maybe I'll post the entire thin text in the future, I dunno... :confused:

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Pretty cool shots, even if they are black & white... that large imposing structure is the hotel & casino which was built and operated in Smugglers Cove from the early-to-mid-1930s. I took some detail shots of that building to give y'all a closer look... now there's nothing but a rude cement foundation with rusty steel beams jutting upward from it. Those smaller buildings are straight out of the Wild West, looks like they were building a gallows in one shot, probably for the losers who couldn't pay up in the casino, LOL. That excursion craft in the penultimate photo is the Silvergate, still in San Diego today, though they might have taken her out of service... I've ridden aboard her many times, especially when she was pulling ferry service across San Diego Bay. Nice little boat, beautiful brightwork, and very comfortable for passengers. Last shot shows how rugged the island shores are, there are very few places where one can safely effect a landing, as the waves are often much larger than seen in this pic, and the surge on the leeward side of each island can also be wicked. Well, gotta run, I'm considering going back over the road, but I gotta find an outfit that goes out and back, so I can pull restarts at my house... otherwise, I just wait till something crops up here in this little high desert burg. :cool:
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Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Oh, yeah, in that same photo album I was checking out yesterday, I found a brochure with the maritime artwork of one Raymond Massey... pretty cool artwork, I reckon I'll post a few pics of his paintings. These look like they're off Hawaii, maybe that's where Raymond lives. :rolleyes:


I'm no shill, but this artwork is pretty cool, I suppose you can find ol' Raymond somewhere on the Internet... if he isn't dead or in prison. ;)


Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
A follow-up to that last post: it's not Raymond Massey the Canadian actor, but Raymond A. Massey the maritime artist, figured I'd clear the confusion after pulling a web search. Ol' Raymond is quite the hand, he has some really cool and historically accurate paintings to his credit, including some purchased by the Smithsonian and the National Park Service. I guess you can buy prints of his work, dunno how much they cost, but some of the paintings are very nice, and quite detailed too. So I doff my cover to Raymond the Artist and congratulate him upon his success: "RAYMOND, YOU DA MAN!!!" :cool:

Alright, that's about as close as I get to an apology for the "dead or in prison" line, LOL, I'm off to answer a post by AIR, who is quite the adventurer himself. :rolleyes:

Edit: I wonder how many times Raymond was mistaken for the actor in his lifetime... or vice versa, LOL. ;)

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Okay, I'm back to make another observation: that shot of the Silvergate might just as easily be a shot of the historic Silver Gate (two words) built in 1888. The Silvergate (built in 1940) was a model or replica of the original... I never knew that, and given the time frame between photos and book publication, that could be either boat, though it looks like one word or name on the transom. So that photo might have been taken years AFTER the hotel & casino shut down, no way for me to tell and I'm not that interested in determining the truth, LOL. The original Silver Gate was built in the same year the historic Hotel Del Coronado was finished stateside, construction of that historical landmark (also known by old school Coronado locals as 'The Victorian Fire Hazard') occurred in 1887-1888, so the coincidence leads me to believe that the same folks were behind both ventures. Meh, not that important in the grand scheme of things, but I'm learning from Raymond A. Massey to be a stickler for historical details... :rolleyes: