Oh what a night! A Christmas to remember
27 December 2018 | Bahia Salinas, Isla Carmen to Juncalito, BCS
DreamCatcher peacefully anchored in Bahia Salinas Christmas Day
After enjoying a wonderful Christmas Eve in Marquer the next morning we, along with DreamCatcher, upped anchor and headed for a new anchorage because west winds were predicted for that night and Marquer is wide open to the west.
We chose to go around to the other side of Isla Carmen to an old favorite of ours, Bahia Salinas. Salinas is well protected from all but the south, and this time of year you don't often get southerlies and none were in the forecasts we'd checked.
After a pleasant day motoring around the island we dropped our anchors just off the long white sand beach of Salinas. Plans were made for Christmas dinner aboard DreamCatcher -- Barbara would be cooking ribs and after a nice swim, I put together a potato salad.
It was during that swim that we started feeling a bit of swell (rolling waves) coming in from the south along with a light southerly breeze. We were a bit surprised by the swell, but brushed it off as the wind just clocking around from the north heading to the predicted west.
As the afternoon went on the swell was increasing instead of shifting and decreasing and we were no longer in a comfortable anchorage. The swell rocked both our boats, first hobby horsing then as the west wind picked up we turned sideways to the swell and began rocking side to side. Not good! That would be no way to spend a night and we had no idea when it would end since it hadn't been predicted in the first place.
So following DreamCatcher's lead we upped anchor at 5:30 and headed out of what had become not only an uncomfortable situation but potentially dangerous if the swell didn't calm down.
At first we were hopeful that we could just get out to deeper water and re-anchor where the effect of the swell wouldn't be as great, but it was soon clear that wasn't an option as we were still pounding in to waves as we left the bay.
The next big question was where to go?
That would have been easy had it been daylight -- there's a little bay around the corner with protection from both the west and the south, but with the sun setting there was no way we could navigate into an unfamiliar anchorage in the dark. So the safest course was to follow our track on our GPS chart plotter and head out the way we came. It was a long slow bash back down to the southern tip of Carmen but by 10:00 we were finally out of those nasty waves!
Once on the other side we could evaluate our choices of where to go. We'd had some westerly gusts in the high 20's but were now in 10 - 12 knots which would be very comfortable anywhere.
DreamCatcher, who was about 1/2 hour ahead of us opted to go back in to home base in Puerto Escondido and we were tempted to follow suit, but another west protected anchorage was just a little further and we still had a GPS track in there from last month when we hid from a strong westerly there. Let me note for you non-sailors that when an anchorage is protected from a direction of wind you still get the wind but you don't have any fetch or distance for that wind to create big waves which is what you really want to avoid.
So with the comfortable conditions and re-checking the forecast which was promising 14 knots from the west (but knowing gusts could be higher) we headed into Juncalito. With tracks on two GPS's and the radar as a 3rd set of eyes we easily made it in to our old anchoring spot. But wouldn't you know it, just as Terry started lowering the anchor the gusts began! First in the 20's and before we were done we had one at 32!
No problema though -- the anchor was down and dug in tight and within an hour the winds were down and we were off to bed by midnight. We had a few gusts in the night and Terry got up to check everything out several times but we got some good sleep in the end.
This crazy cruising life isn't always sunny beaches and beautiful sunsets -- but it's always an adventure.