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Saturday, October 8, 2011

10/7/2011 - Seasons are changing

Hard to believe that winter will ever hit Baja but last night and today we're beginning to get a hint that it really will happen. Right now, I'm sitting in the cockpit at 6:30 PM and the temperature is a cool 84°F although the breeze makes it feel more like 78°. May not seem cool to you but once you've spent months on end with temperatures in the high 90s and low 100s, 84 is pretty darn cool. Matter of fact, I think we're going to watch our shows down below tonight lest we catch a chill.

Yesterday we were at Ensenada Blanca. However, the weather reports were calling for fairly strong northers this weekend with small craft warnings on Monday. Ensenada Blanca is wide open to the north so it wouldn't be a great place to be during a strong norther. We've heard these predictions before and blew them off. Why did we pay attention this time? Well, Wednesday night we had very strong winds blowing through the anchorage from the west. No worries as we had protection from that direction and, even if we drug anchor, we'd blow more or less out to sea rather than up on the beach. However, the winds were something of an eye-opener. If this is what it was like with winds from our protected side, did we really want to weather high winds from our unprotected side? And, being from the north, the winds made the shore a dreaded lee shore. In other words, if we broke loose, we'd get pushed right up on the beach. Not a good thing.

So, about noon yesterday, after the winds and waves had laid down some, we set sail for Puerto Escondido which offers better protection from the north. Richard on the trimaran "Trinity" and Phil and Anna on the ketch "Sea Wind II" preceded us. Jay and Judy on "Wind Raven" and Jack on "Miss Maude" planned to leave later in the afternoon with Puerto Ballandra on Isla Carmen their destination. That leaves only Mick on "Kashmir". Not sure what his plans were.

We had a very mellow trip back up to P.E. The mooring we had been using in the Waiting Room was taken so we headed out to a mooring in the main harbor, even though they are pretty overpriced since the price increase earlier this summer. However, later in the afternoon while having a beer outside Pedro's teinda and discussing life with other cruisers, we were convinced to move into the Ellipse, an anchorage run by API. Since API only charges 11 pesos a day (about 1/10 what Fonatur wants for their mooring balls), we weren't hard to convince. The Ellipse would not ordinarily be my first choice of anchorages. It's small and the boats are close together. But, we were assured that the depth was mini al and short scope would do the trick. We anchored in 12' of water with about 50' of rode.

We're pretty much the furthest boat out, with the green awning.

Although the strongest winds are supposed to be Monday, we are already feeling their effect. These winds are coming from the north where Fall is definitely in the air. Right now (it's now 7:25 PM - no, I'm not that slow a writer; we had dinner in the interim) I'm sitting at the table writing this, with shorts and a t-shirt and without the fan running. Even yesterday this would have been unheard of. Going to be excellent sleeping temperature tonight. Supposed to get down into the low 70s.

So, where to from here? Well, in a week or so, when the norther is just a memory, we'll start working our way back south. Give ourselves a couple weeks to get to La Paz where we'll spend November. We'll spend a few days in Agua Verde, a few days in San Evaristo, a few more in Isla San Francisco, a couple more days in Ensenada Grande and finally a day or two in Bahia Falsa before settling back into the routine in La Paz. Looking forward to it all. We can now say we've spent a summer (minus 3 weeks) in the Sea of Cortez.


Anonymous said...


When you're anchored so tight how do you ensure that with wind shifts your boat will change position in sync with all the others. We've noticed on our W32 that the angle of the rudder and how we tie our snubber can have huge effects on how the boat rides at anchor. Is there some protocol everyone follows?


Steve and Lulu said...

We would normally never anchor this close to other boats. The saving grace here is that almost all of the other boats are on permanent moorings so they don't swing very darn far. And we're on a fairly short scope (about 4:1) in 10' of water so we don't swing very far either.

We tie our snubber through both hawsepipes so that we get equal pull on both sides of the boat, tending to keep us somewhat centered to the wind. We do tie the tiller off on the port side which has some effect on the swing if there's any tidal current running. However, we generally seem to be swinging about the same way as all the other boats. Had one instance at Ensenada Blanca when we were too close to our neighbor (well, actually, HE was too close to US since we got there first by at least a week). There was no wind but plenty of tidal current. We were sitting kind of cattywumpus compared to everyone else until we tied our tiller on the centerline. I don't like to do that as it takes up too much room in the cockpit but sometimes you just have to.

BTW, finally getting caught up on your blog. Good to see you're back in the water and fully motile.


Steve and Lulu said...


As to your question about a common protocol: Not really. In general I think everyone tries to have about the same amount of scope out but beyond that (tillers/wheels lashed, etc.) I found no commonality.