Parking the boats
06 June 2008 | Isabela
Our fifth day on the island would not be complete without a trip to the Capitania. They have been on our boat or asking us to come to the office everyday since we got here. We have also had to print them pictures of our broken hub for some reason. To repeat my note from a previous blog, I am certain that everything would be less hassle and much cheaper if we spoke Spanish.
We have learned all of the dinghy routes around the bay now. Our first day here some nice guys on a tour boat gave us a ride in to the stone pier from the anchorage on their way to pick up clients. This is a hairy run. Waves break all around the area here even without a big swell. To get in you have to head north toward the fairly dangerous rocks where waves are breaking just off shore. Before you run into them you cut to port to head north toward the west end of the beach. This takes you close in behind the waves breaking to port of the nasty reef that you are now inside. You go through the pipe with the waves breaking to port on the reef, big chop under you and waves breaking on the beach to starboard. A small wall of the stone pier creates a niche of sheltered water with some stone steps inset. You time it to avoid any break on the corner of the pier and shoot into the niche. Once in there is really so good place to tie up. There is a big hunk of rope hanging down from the corner of the pier and a couple of stubby branches on a platform on the beach side you could try to go bow and stern with. Tying up to the rope leaves your dink likely to swing into the break at the corner of the pier. Tying up to the small wood posts leaves your dink to scrape against the stone wall of the platform and at low tide possible the turbulent bottom.
So of course I took this route this morning. It is pretty gnarly. I would not recommend it on anything but the calmest day (it was fairly calm today). I tied up bow and stern and took the short walk to the end of the pier to visit the Capitania, a blue roofed building right on the beach. The return is a little more tricky. You have move your dingy around to the rope side where it is a little more calm near the steps first. Then you have to stand on top of the wall for a bit to get the timing and location of all of the breaks. Next you run down to the dinghy start the motor (while tied to or holding on to the wall's rope), then when your timing predicts an opening to shoot out (you can't see around the wall), you blast into the surf and power back through the pipe toward the cut in the reef. The reef can break even across the opening so you have to time this as well on some days.
The run to the marina from the anchorage is much safer but still tricky. You basically connect the dots from your boat to the next closest boat in the bay moving counter clockwise in a large 200 degree arc. After leaving your boat the next target is a fishing boat anchored in the south end of the bay. This is right next to the small mooring buoys where the penguins hang out. Next you make your way around to the floating dock and the next fishing boat. This circuitous route takes you clear of the large shoal in the middle of the bay. At high tide you can cut right across but at low tide it breaks. At low tide the last stretch approaching the marina is pretty shallow but no problem for a dinghy. You need to go all the way over to the last fishing boat in the bay and then make for the outer most boat moored in the marina area. This of course could all change so keep a good eye out and travel in good light your first couple times.
We moved the boat up deeper into the anchorage today. Right near the yellow mark is fine but a little more rolly than deeper in. If you anchor up tight to the rocky islands you will have very smooth water in most conditions.
We spent the day finalizing our departure plans and watching all of the little baby marine iguanas laying on the beach.