Patience and Planning Pay Off
16 July 2015 | Sweet Pea Cove
Living aboard SCOOTS has taught us many things, including patience: patience with the weather, patience with the sea state, patience with getting places, patience with getting things done, patience with each other. We exercised some of that patience in the north Punta Chivato anchorage, waiting for the sea state and wind to subside enough that we could stow our dinghy and its motor on deck. We've learned during our time in the Sea of Cortez that when the sun sets, the umph tends to go out of the wind, leading to an eventual lessening of the seas. We hoped that this would happen today.
The dinghy loading/unloading process involves two main steps: (1) getting the outboard motor on/off its perch on the stern rail using a manual hoist with ropes and cleats, and (2) lifting the dinghy over the side onto/off the foredeck, using the topping lift. Both of these exercises are most easily accomplished in settled wind and sea states, neither of which was present for most of the afternoon. Trying to do these steps in wind and waves - though we have had to do it on occasion - is a dicey and potentially damaging (to SCOOTS and her crew) undertaking that we prefer not to do.
All afternoon, the wind came at us from the southeast, as expected, but the waves came at us from the east, NOT as expected, right on our port beam, rolling SCOOTS from side to side. Shortly before sunset, the wind and waves both subsided a bit, as we had hoped. Though still rolling in from the east, the waves were lower and came in sets of three, with some lulls in-between. Time to initiate the dinghy process!
Long story short: though it took a bit more planning and a bit more coordination and a bit more timing - and patience - to get the dinghy and its motor up on deck and stowed, we were able to accomplish both without any glitches. We shared a well-deserved fist-bump when it was all done.
Believe it or not, soon after sunset, the waves rolling into our anchorage from the east were bigger than before! Lightning repeatedly flashed over the Sea to the east of us, from north to south, as far as I could see. Big doin's were going on, over the mainland, and possibly even out over the Sea. They were most likely causing the wind that resulted in those bigger rollers, and I hoped that they didn't bring their craziness over to our anchorage during the night.
They didn't; we slept - or, more accurately, TRIED to sleep - under a multitude of stars. A multitude that rolled back and forth, back and forth, all night long, as SCOOTS was tipped one way and then the other by the beam-on waves. As I lay on my bunk, watching the stars move back and forth through the hatch, I kept thinking of Teri Garr's line from the movie, "Young Frankenstein": "Roll, roll, roll in zee hay...." I didn't really want to "roll in zee hay," but it kept me amused, nonetheless.
In the morning, the rollers were still with us, occasionally rattling the dishes in the cupboard, and continuing to make life unpleasant for SCOOTS' crew. With the dinghy and its motor stowed, and the sun shade packed away in its bag, we were ready to leave. More than ready, actually. We uncovered our mainsail and got it ready for action, fired up Yanmar the Magnificent, pulled up the anchor, and headed out into the 10-15 knot east wind and pointy waves.
Our chosen destination was Sweet Pea Cove, a little notch in the northwest end of Isla San Marcos. From our anchorage at Punta Chivato, a couple of miles south of the island, two route options were available to us: Option 1, the shorter route, would take us between the mainland and the island's western shore, through narrow, shoaly Craig Passage, which has a reputation for brewing nasty waves and currents. Option 2, the longer route, would take us around the island's east side, on the outside, as it were, where we would spend more time sloshing around in those pointy waves. Given our adventures of the previous day, guess which one we chose.
We had a very nice, if somewhat rolly, three hour sail around the east side of Isla San Marcos. As we rounded the north end of the island, and the point off Sweet Pea Cove came into view, I was overjoyed and relieved to see the waves lay down. It was a completely different world over here, with the island blocking all those pointy easterly waves. Which is exactly why we'd chosen Sweet Pea Cove as our destination. We sailed the last mile or two in almost-calm seas, dropping the anchor in 24 feet of placid, emerald-green water. Ahhhhh... I think I'm gonna like it here.