Another Norther at Isla Coronados
26 February 2020
We have only gotten out to the anchorages a few times this winter, but every time we have we’ve made a beeline for the south side of Isla Coronados because every time there has been a Norther coming.
It is that time of year and the Northers are well forecast so we just look for a day with light winds to motor north and tuck in behind the old volcano. The wind still blows but we are close enough in towards shore there isn’t the fetch to build up the waves so it’s a pretty comfortable ride.
Our first day here we took advantage of the calm sunny day and took a refreshing swim around the boat knowing that once the cold north winds kicked in we wouldn’t want to be getting in the water.
Riding out a norther feels a lot like being on an ocean passage with the sounds of the wind and the motion of the boat. But minus the night watches and short sleep periods it is quite enjoyable sitting in the cockpit watching the birds and dolphin (and a turtle every now and then) always hoping for a whale to come by!
Today should be the last day of the strong winds and then we’ll go to shore and explore the island and finally get out for another swim.
Everyday now the temps on land and in the Sea are warming a bit and soon the best of the cruising season will be upon us!
Merry Christmas from The Cetus Crew! 🎄
17 December 2019 | Marina Puerto Escondido
Photo credit to our great harbormaster Javier
Well this past month, since my last post, flew by as quickly as the rest of the year! I'm just coming to grips with it's already fall when it's actually almost Christmas and the end of the year!
Due to weather (lots of rain and clouds and now some good old Northers) we haven't gotten out to the islands as much as we'd hoped but we did have a very enjoyable few days anchored off of Isla Coronados at the beginning of December. Relaxing, swimming and hiking filled our days. No snorkeling as the water has cooled down considerably so just short swims around the boat in the "refreshing" water. The highlight of the trip was the hike to the top of the old volcano. We haven't done it in a couple years -- it is a challenging hike but well worth the effort for the amazing view from the top as well as the great feeling of accomplishment when we were done.
We've made the best of our time here in Puerto Escondido on a buoy in the Ellipse by getting to shore for beautiful morning walks and then hiking the hill behind the marina every Saturday. All those rains we've been having have made for some beautiful scenery -- things are greener than I've ever seen and wildflowers are abundant. 🌺
Our other fun pastime has been gathering with friends up at Pepegina's restaurant here at the marina to cheer on our favorite football team.
We will enjoy another low key cruiser's Christmas -- hopefully out at anchor in the islands if the weather cooperates. While we miss doing the holidays with our families back in Washington there is something to be said for the lack of hustle & bustle and the pleasant temperatures we enjoy down here.
Our trip north of the border
23 November 2019
The beautiful Baja drive
Our planned trip north to Washington for our usual fall visit kept getting delayed by one thing after another until we decided it wouldn’t be prudent to do the drive so late in the year. Early snows in some areas along with wildfires in California and Baja sealed the deal, so it was time for plan B.
We still needed to drive north because it was time to renew our 6 month FMM’s (tourist visas) — and we’d already prepared our “wish lists” of supplies that we wanted from the States so we decided to make a quick trip up the Baja to San Diego and back to take care of everything.
It turned out to be a rather enjoyable trip as Hwy 1 has had a major facelift over the last couple years and the terrible pot holes are almost completely gone and much of the road is freshly repaved and widened as well!
We also changed up our pattern and tried out a couple new hotels this trip. On the way up we pressed on past our usual stop at Guerrero Negro and stayed at the charming hotel at Cataviña. It made for a bit longer drive but it wasn’t bad with the improved road conditions. So the 2nd day we were able to go beyond our usual stop at San Quintin and stayed in Tecate (where we cross the border). That turned out great because we would usually reach Tecate late in the day when the lines to cross were the longest resulting in 1-2 hour waits. Being able to choose our time we crossed the border about 8 am (after the early morning crowd) and it only took us about 15 minutes! That was nice.
We spent 2 nights in San Diego shopping at Target, West Marine and, of course, Costco as well as getting new tires put on the car. We were stocked up and ready to roll!
We left at the crack of dawn and we were changing our driving plans as we went because there was a late Tropical Storm that formed and was heading to Baja! We weren’t afraid of Raymond turning into a hurricane but rather we wanted to be done driving before heavy rains hit making for nasty driving conditions — or even flash floods or wiping out roads.
So we bypassed our planned stop at our favorite Hotel Santa Maria with its great Long Beach on the Pacific Ocean and we pressed on all the way to Guerrero Negro, pulling into Hotel Terra Sal just as the sun was beginning to set. Another good day for a long drive.
We didn’t have to leave as early the next day because we didn’t have as far to go, but we also knew the rains were moving up from the south and had already started in Puerto Escondido. We made reservations in Loreto (only 20 miles north of PE) so we wouldn’t have to unpack in the rain after the drive.
We saw our 1st rain drops just north of Santa Rosalia but we were very fortunate to not hit “real” rain until a few miles outside of Loreto. We enjoyed a relaxing evening at the Hacienda Suites and hit the grocery store for some fresh foods before driving home the next morning.
We were able to slowly unpack the car between rain showers so it was easy to get everything stowed away. A good end to a great trip.
And I have to give a big shout out to Roadtrip Rosie who is a fantastic passenger. She has the routines down pat and I think she almost enjoys the trips. We have a traveling toilet for her in the back of the car (she’s trained to a toilet not a litter box) so we don’t have to worry about her if she doesn’t get a chance to go before we take off. She likes to curl up in a tub we put in the back seat and sleeps for most of the drive — but when we reach our destination we say “time to go inside” and she gets right in her carrier ready to go explore a new place.
Just hanging out in Puerto Escondido......
14 October 2019 | Marina Puerto Escondido
Love waking up to the beautiful Gigante mountains every morning
It looks like we've seen the end of hurricane season in our area!
It's not officially over until November 1st, but the weather patterns have changed over the past week and we've even had our first Norther which, along with the flying of the yellow butterflies, is a good sign we're done with hurricanes for the year.
The last one to threaten us, Lorena, ended up going right up the middle of the Sea passing by Puerto Escondido as a Catagory 1 hurricane, but she was far enough east that she gave the mainland coast a good drenching but we really had no wind or rain from her.
And as hurricane season comes to an end the cruisers begin pouring in and putting their boats back together for another season in the Sea of Cortez. It's a whole new world.
Our plans have us staying in Puerto Escondido for at least another month as we offered to cat sit for a couple different friends so they can travel north leaving their kitties comfortable on their own boats instead of having to endure unwanted air travel.
So for now we are staying put in Marina Chica and enjoying the cooler temperatures that are setting in 😎😎.
We survived our Summer in the Sea!!
Lorena changed her mind........
20 September 2019
Waiting for weather
Just as we thought we were well out of the path -- all forecasts changed and Lorena will come closer to us than originally predicted.
So we'll get more wind but we're ready for anything she sends our way.
We're expecting the excitement to commence tomorrow morning and peaking around noon -- so tonight we're all up at PepeGina's restaurant here at the marina for a hurricane party!
“Trying to reason with hurricane season......” Jimmy Buffett
19 September 2019
Weather roulette — where she stops nobody knows!
It’s that time of year again and as Jimmy Buffett said in song we are trying to deal with it or at least make sense of the different forecasts.
The official hurricane season in the Northern East Pacific (where we are) began May 15th and so far all of the storms that have brewed up south of us (in what’s called the ‘Tropical Kitchen’) have spun off to the west of Baja and the most effect we have gotten from them has been some clouds and convection resulting in some thundershowers providing some much needed and welcome rain.
Well this week things have changed and we have 3 active storms going at one time. Kiko has headed west and doesn’t appear at all like it will turn back to Baja, but Lorena appears to have a couple possible tracks that head to Cabo San Lucas at the tip of Baja (a little over 100 miles south of where we are in the Puerto Escondido/Loreto area). And then there is Mario who appears to be heading NW paralleling the Pacific Coast of Baja.
So with 3 active systems out in the Pacific and different forecast models offering different scenarios about all we can do is keep checking the forecasts and scratching our heads.
As always we will be prepared for the worst while praying for the best and we are confident that here in Marina Chica in Puerto Escondido we are in the safest, most protected place we could be.
For the next couple days we will be watching the weather and preparing Cetus for whatever might come our way and will keep you posted on how it all turns out.
One thing I do know is none of these storms pose a threat to Alabama 😉.
Is this frequency in use?
23 August 2019
This is KiloCharlie7OscarKiloMike
Is this frequency in use?
Another interesting aspect to our “Summer in the Sea” is my becoming a net controller on the morning Sonrisa Net! Anyone who knows me knows how totally out of my comfort zone this is — I can’t even make telephone calls!
In the active boating months down here this is a very popular and busy amature radio net that many rely on for keeping in contact with other boaters and for information, most importantly the weather. You must have a radio license to participate but many others listen in. So it’s important to keep things up and running even during this low season — the show must go on!
The net starts at 7:30 am and the weather doesn’t come until 7:45 so those 15 minute leading into weather time need to be filled with check ins because it’s important to keep the start of the weather at the same time each day so that anyone needing that information can find it at the pre set time. But with so few boaters left in the Sea there aren’t very many ham radio operators that can check in to the net, so Terry & I started checking in regularly a couple months ago to help fill in the time and keep the net going.
As the days went by and the other net controllers left the Sea it came down to the summer net manager, Bill in Tucson, was having to do net control 7 days a week! To give him a break so he wouldn’t be tied down every day, I volunteered to do it 2 days a week. Now I’m covering Thursdays and Fridays every week and the 1st Tuesday of every month. As I said, not really something I’m real comfortable doing but it does get easier every day.
There is a preset script, or preamble for the net to keep things running smoothly. The most difficult part of the job is trying to fill in time when there are too few check ins before weather time. And some of those checking in can have a weak signal and it’s difficult to hear and that can be frustrating for both parties. And then there is the weather. Net control is responsible for doing the weather forecasts for the Mexican cruising grounds — or finding someone else to cover that for them. Luckily there is a NOAA forecast page covering these areas that is easy to open and read from (as long as you have an internet connection).
So my new volunteer net control position is challenging me and keeping me busy and on top of the weather so it’s a good thing and I am enjoying it.
This is Heidi, KC7OKM clear.
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.
Cetus is at the dock!
01 August 2019 | Marina Puerto Escondido
We’ve enjoyed having a mooring buoy in the Ellipse here in Puerto Escondido for the last several months — short dinghy ride in to shore, great spot to catch the cooling SE breezes and easy in and out for going to and from where we really want to be which is out in the nearby anchorages.
But now it’s August — midway through the hurricane season here in the North East Pacific and the time when there is more likelihood of something developing that could head up our way. There have already been 6 named storms develop south of us and as is usual for early in the season they took off in a northwest direction and headed toward Hawaii.
So we have opted to secure our usual dock space in the well protected Marina Chica as we have for the past 3 years. The plan is to spend as little time here on the dock as possible since the temperatures in here are much greater due to its protected location. Out at anchor or even out on a buoy the boat swings to the wind and the breezes flow through the boat but at the dock you lose that too.
We will make good use of our time at the dock getting projects done that aren’t easily done elsewhere but hopefully the majority of our time will be enjoying life in the islands, knowing that we have this safe haven to come back to should any nasty weather threaten to come our way.
Just a little something more........
23 July 2019
Lucky little Cheeto 😻
I know, I know.......
How many times am I going to say the Big Kitty Round-up is over only to talk about catching more cats?
Well the round-up in Puerto Escondido is over. But we did lend a hand when our good friends and partners in our kitty round-up had a mother with 2 kittens show up in their yard!! Yikes! They already care for some 27 cats between their house, their courtyard and adjacent properties. That includes our 6 boatyard cats that we had to suddenly relocate.
So when Mike was presented with even more cats to contend with, we were more than happy to help out anyway we could after all he and his wife have done for us.
Trying to locate those little kittens in the thick undergrowth was pretty futile, but we had some brief glimpses and heard a few meows to know they were still there. That night Mike was able to catch the young mama and one of the kittens. Mama has been spayed and returned to the wild -- she was very feral. And Mike's wife Jean took little Cheeto in for some good socialization.
The same day Mike saw the mama and her two orange tabby kittens show up -- I saw a post on a FaceBook site saying a local cruiser was looking for an orange tabby kitten! What are the odds of that? He had a great orange tabby cat onboard his trimaran for the past 18 years, and after he passed a couple months ago he knew he needed a new cat to make things right again.
A couple days later our little Cheeto was off to a wonderful forever home -- truly a match made in heaven!
The other little orange ball of fur is yet to be caught and in the meantime Mike was told about another new mom and kittens a couple houses down and he is in the process of rescuing them. So it is a never ending job but the little successes make it all worth while.
Javier & Juanita are happy in their forever home!
06 July 2019
Together forever 💕
The flight north with the kitties went smoother than I could have hoped — they were perfect little travelers!
They went home that night with their new dad and settled in right away — we’ve been enjoying pictures and videos of them everyday as they play and explore their new home. They have even made friends with their new big sister, Jezzabelle 😻😻😻.
It couldn’t have worked out better 💕
The final Chapter of The Big Kitty Round-up
02 July 2019
Some very special kitties
This "Final Chapter" is on a much happier note than my last post on the "Final Kitty Round-up".
Because this wasn't a round-up. It didn't involve trapping and relocating our furry friends from the only home they've ever known to unknown territory, but rather moving the 3 sweet kittens (Mama Kitty's last litter) from their wonderful foster home to their fantastic forever homes!!
The only hard part about this was that all of us that knew these special kittens wished we could keep them ourselves, but none of us could due to other pets that weren't accepting, travel plans and even allergies. But that sadness was lifted when such perfect homes came up.
We were getting down to the wire as their foster parents, Anne & Tony needed to head North at the beginning of July and we hadn't found any homes. But our luck changed when our amazing vet, Dassia, took the outgoing black male who has fit perfectly into her life going between her home and her clinic with ease.
A couple days after that a home opened up that could take the last two as a pair! That couldn't be better because the little female was still very shy but thrived when she was with her big gray brother. The only hitch was this perfect forever home was in the Seattle area! And even that process was eased because another partner in crime with all this kitty business, Barbara, had transported 2 kittens up to forever homes in Washington about a year before. And the icing on the cake was that their new Daddy, Adam, wanted them so much he paid for my flight north! A double bonus is that Adam is a friend of our daughter Carly (who found the home for them) so in addition to getting the kits to their new home I get a nice visit with my daughter.
So between the tips and experience of Barbara and the preparations of Anne (not only raising them to be such good kitties, but working with them to get used to their little harnesses as well as traveling around in their carrier) our plane ride north yesterday couldn't have gone better.
There were lots of concerns and worries about the trip which was about 8 hours from the time we left our boat until they were happily exploring in Adam's car. That's a long time for two kitties to be cooped up in a carrier with lots of loud noises and moving around, including going through customs and security. But they were perfect little travelers and didn't make a peep and didn't ever seem distressed when I would frequently reach my hand in to scratch their heads reassuringly and give them some kitty treats to keep hunger at bay.
So this final chapter has a very happy ending, indeed 😻😻😻.
The Final Kitty Round-Up 😿
07 June 2019 | Marina Puerto Escondido
Our celebratory mood after catching Momma Kitty and getting her kittens into foster care was short lived because just as we thought we had everything under control with our small group of non-fertile people friendly ferals, disaster struck.
The powers that be at the marina suddenly decided they couldn't tolerate seeing any cats on the grounds -- with cat hair being the main objection. The 1st we knew of this sudden decision was when the cats food and dishes disappeared from their feeding area. The 1st time that happened we bought new supplies and moved the feeding area farther from the marina. That lasted one day before going missing so we needed to get to the bottom of it and had a meeting with the on site marina management.
That's when we were told in no uncertain terms that all the cats had to be removed from the marina property within 2 weeks (as that's when the person that objects to the cats would be back).
We have always tried to reason with the marina by explaining the many benefits of keeping this little band of good cats here, but once again that fell on deaf ears. Once these cats are removed and the population of cockroaches and rats and mice increases -- along with the strong likelihood that new fertile cats will move into the now open territory maybe they will appreciate the great service we provided the marina when we got the "out of control cat population" taken care of with the catch/neuter/release program we started here in February of 2018.
Fearing the worst for what would happen to the cats if we didn't remove them we immediately started catching them. With nowhere to take them on such short notice we released them temporarily on to a friends property where we hope to feed and maintain them until we can find permanent homes. It has been heart wrenching having to take these cats away from the home they've enjoyed for many years and it's so sad not to see the happy faces of these cats we've watched grow from tiny kittens over the 9 years we've been coming into Puerto Escondido. If you've ever seen "Harry and the Henderson's" you will know what I mean.
So, unfortunately our work here continues, but now with heavy hearts.
21 May 2019
Dassia checking out the kittens
The three beautiful kitties from Mama's last litter had their 1st check up and 1st shots this morning when our wonderful vet, Dassia, took the time to see them today even though she was checking in to the hospital this afternoon to have her 2nd baby delivered tomorrow! Talk about love and dedication! 💕💕💕
And then we delivered them to their new foster home and we couldn't be happier with the ideal situation these three fur balls are in with their very experienced and loving foster mom Anne!
We have been so blessed to find so many wonderful people to help us with the Big Kitty Round-Up here in Puerto Escondido -- from hands on help with trapping, feeding and fostering to monetary donations as well as food and supply donations and even toys!!
It does indeed take a village to raise a kitten 😻 thank you all!
The Tail of Mama Kitty
19 May 2019
Mama Kitty’s Last Litter
A year and a half and three litters later we finally caught and spayed the infamous Mama Kitty -- completing our catch/neuter/release program in the boatyard here in Puerto Escondido which we have affectionately called "The Big Kitty Round-up".
Mama Kitty was notorious not only for ability to escape capture and procreate but for her nasty disposition as well. All the other cats feared her and would run from a food dish if she approached and she would swing and hiss at any cat walking in front of her. She scared us too -- especially when we were trying to track down her kittens. That's where Mama Kitty's tail became so important -- because she, like several others in the boatyard group, is a tiger stripe tabby. So in the dark or from a distance it could be hard to distinguish one from another except that Mama had a distinctive white tip on the end of her tail!
I suspect that her poor disposition had a lot to do with the fact she was always either in heat, pregnant or nursing and protecting little kitties. So the hope is that she will now be able to relax and enjoy an easier life as the other cats have once they made that important trip to the vet and we will no longer fear the cat with the white tipped tail.
Now once we find homes for these 3 darling little fur balls our work here will be done 😻😻😻.
Under the Sea
04 May 2019
The beautiful Cortez Angelfish
We managed to spend most of the month of April enjoying swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, beautiful sunrises and sunsets and watching all the dolphin, Grebes, Pelicans and other birds entertain us in various anchorages.
The first half of the month found us moving around a bit to stay protected from some blustery winds and we stayed on the Southside of Isla Coronados while the Northers blew, then when west winds were predicted we tucked in near the beach at Nopoló.
Finally by mid month the weather settled in to a nice Southeasterly pattern making it perfect to hang out for a week in one of our favorite spots: Bahia Marquer on Isla Carmen.
After our great "vacation" we are back on a mooring buoy in Puerto Escondido to get back "to work" planning out a good strategy to catch the elusive Mama Kitty -- but first we have to catch and find a home for the darling little kitten she presented us with 🙀 recently.
So on it goes.......
Cetus is sailing again!
06 April 2019 | Isla Coronados
After many months in Marina Puerto Escondido we completed the boat projects and the chilly winter weather has warmed into Spring so we are off to enjoy the beautiful anchorages in the Sea of Cortez!
We were so happy to raise the mainsail and find no surprises — like bees or bats that sometimes will find refuge in the folds of a sail that’s been under wraps for many months. It felt great to put full sail up and turn off the engine and enjoy slipping through the water under wind power.
As the wind died and we were getting ready to motor in to our 1st destination (Bahia Marquer on Isla Carmen) Terry saw a lot of activity ahead and we were soon surrounded by flocks of Pelicans and other birds diving into the water and a huge pod of dolphin! And to top it off a lone whale also passed by! It was the perfect start to our little “vacation”.
We are now settled in for a few days at Isla Coronados to enjoy the swimming, snorkeling, hiking and kayaking that this small island has to offer.
So good to be back on the water again!
A new year and a new look for Cetus!
31 January 2019 | Marina Puerto Escodido
Happy New Year from the Cetus Crew!
After our crazy Christmas Day bash from Salinas to Juncalito we headed up to one of our favorite anchorages to sit out a Norther: Isla Coronados.
We enjoyed hiking around the island for several relaxing days and when the norther died down we hoisted our anchor and headed back in to Marina Chica in Puerto Escondido and enjoyed New Years Eve with friends.
We decided to keep the boat at the dock to make it easier for Terry to get boat projects done while I flew to Seattle to house and critter sit for our daughter and her husband as they went on their yearly mid January sun break vacation.
While I was gone Terry was busy preparing the blue stripe on Cetus for repainting. We originally added the blue stripe in 2008 changing Cetus’ look from her original all white hull. Now it was time for a fresh coat of paint — but I thought it was time for another change and I convinced Terry to switch from the blue to a Steel Grey.
So once I returned from the States we got busy painting. Terry had even gotten the tedious taping done in addition to all of the surface prep — so we were rolling and tipping in no time!
Changing the color turned it in to a much bigger project than if we would have merely put on a new coat of blue, but with one side done we are both happy with the fresh new look and feel it was worth it.
Once this painting is finally wrapped up it will be off to the nearby islands for some R&R!
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.
Feliz Navidad from the Cetus Crew!!
25 December 2018 | Isla Carmen
We are happily enjoying a peaceful Christmas out at anchor in one of our favorite anchorages: Bahia Marquer on Isla Carmen.
After a month on the dock in Puerto Escondido working on a big boat project it was heavenly to get out here yesterday and once again swim in the Sea! For me that’s the perfect Christmas present.
We wish you all health and happiness this holiday season.
Merry Christmas everyone!!!