Our First Chabasco!
17 August 2011 | Bahia San Francisquito
Yesterday the day started out pleasantly enough as we woke up to dolphins feeding around the boat. Around 10am Ian and I decided to go for a walk to a bay across the mile wide spit where we are now anchored. There is a runway there for small planes and an abandoned resort. We walked the beach for a while and chatted with a Mexican family who are camped there. As we started to walk back to our bay, we noticed that there was a large bank of dark clouds out in the Sea but was coming our way. We started to walk faster and faster as the black clouds started to overtake us. We arrived at our beach and jumped into the dingy just as the first gust hit and it hit hard. One of the other cruisers in the bay said that the first few gusts were in the 40 to 45 knot range. In the 2 minutes or less that it took us to motor to our boat, there were whitecaps on the water. We got aboard and as Ian got the dingy hooked onto the davits ready to haul out of the water, I ran forward and started to remove the sunshade cover. When I let go of the front of it, it whipped right out of my hands and was waving wildly in the wind. Between Ian and I we managed to get it under control and stowed away before any damage could be done. We stowed the wind scope and closed the forward hatch as by now the sand from the beach and surrounding hills was in the air and we were getting sandblasted. The first hour was the strongest winds and then they slowly diminished over the next 2 hours. By the time they got down to about 15 knots, our boat was covered in sand - what a mess! We have heard and read about this weather event called a Chabasco, and now we know what it is from experience. I'm glad we got to experience the first one in the day time which is rare, and that we are in a very protected anchorage. Because it is so protected where we are, there is no big waves that can build up so we only had to deal with the wind. We fared better than some of the boats that had left here in the morning as they got hit with it at sea and had a rather wild ride before they got to a safe anchorage. Anyhow the good news is that everyone is okay and made it safely to where they were going with only one boat that we heard of that sustained some damage to the boat. You can be sure that when we see dark clouds on the horizon we will be preparing for them. Today is Ian's birthday and I've just finished baking him some cupcakes. This evening we will share some of them with the other boats that are here in the anchorage with us. We have decided to stay put here for a couple more days as the weather is a bit unsettled at the moment and we feel this is a good, safe place to be right now. So for now it's just another day in the Baja and we will enjoy the swimming and the beach.