Summer in the Sea
20 August 2019 | Beautiful summer sunset
By August there aren’t many boaters left in the Sea of Cortez because the “snow boaters” (those who have another home in the States or Canada) usually leave by May, and the rest of us who have made their boat their home often choose these hottest of months to take road trips or travel to visit family and friends in cooler areas. That’s what we have done many years but this year we decided to shake things up a bit and spend the summer in the Sea.
There are a few reasons we decided to do this, one being that we do like to be with the boat if any weather comes this way (after all it is hurricane season) so we can tend dock lines and make sure all is well.
Another reason is I love to swim and snorkel and the sea temperatures and water clarity are perfect for that right now. We usually start getting really good conditions in May but this year the water stayed cool and pretty “green” well into July so we didn’t want to leave just as things were getting good. And, for the most part, the weather is quite settled and consistent in the summer months. Nice SE breezes and beautiful sunsets.
Plus, traveling in the States is much more pleasant in the fall when kids are back in school and temps are cooling off — so avoiding the ugly crowded vacation travel time in August is always a good thing!
But now for the downsides of summer in the Sea........
First of all is the chance of “bad weather” — as in hurricanes that develop down south and could take a turn up the Sea. Cabo and La Paz are most vulnerable to those storms and that’s why we choose to stay in the Loreto/Puerto Escondido area because the further north you are the less likely you are to get the full brunt of a storm. Many of the summer boaters go even further north to the Bay of LA to sit out the hurricane season, but we’ve found this area to be much more comfortable and just as safe.
There is another weather phenomena that we deal with starting in July: Chubascos. They are basically just squalls that sometimes pass across the Sea from mainland Mexico (that always has lots of convection going on this time of year). The problem with the Chubascos is they normally show up at night and you never know what will be involved — rain, thunder & lightening, strong winds and winds from changing directions as it passes over. Luckily there are weather sources now that are very good at predicting where Chubascos might be heading so you can be prepared. In all our years here in the Sea we’ve only experienced one Chubasco out at anchor and it was a very light one.
Then, of course, there is the heat. It can get into the high 90’s during the day and only cooling to 83 to 85 at night! Luckily there are often nice breezes in the afternoon and we have fans throughout the boat so we manage. It’s easiest at anchor where we can catch the breezes to funnel them into the boat as well as spending a lot of time in the water keeping our core temps down.
And there are the bees. When it’s hot and there isn’t much water to be found on shore they will scout out the boats in an anchorage in search of water. They aren’t aggressive, just annoying, but they can get really out of hand if they find your boat to be a good source of water and boats will end up with hundreds of them swarming around if they’re not careful. We have had pretty good luck this year and we thank a fellow cruiser for telling us a trick he learned — burning mosquito coils! On mornings when we are out at anchor we started burning a coil early when the scout bees begin their search and it seems to discourage them, and then by afternoon the breezes start up that also keep them away and they always leave when the sun goes down. The bees aren’t ever any problem in marinas or if you’re anchored by a resort because then they have plenty of on shore water to keep them satisfied.
So that pretty much sums up Summer in the Sea of Cortez — the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s certainly not for everyone! But we are enjoying it all the same.