The next stop on our Southern Meander was Caleta Partida, a lovely nook on the north end of Isla Espiritu Santo. Right here: 24 31.988'N, 111 22.713'W. We decided to stop in to Caleta Partida not just because it is a beautiful place, but also because we were hoping to meet Diane from s/v True Love, a frequent and friendly voice on the Sonrisa radio net, who had reported that very morning that she and her husband were still anchored in Caleta Partida.
The beautiful Caleta Partida anchorage
When we pulled into the bay, we were surprised not to see any boats at all. Finally, when we got in far enough, we saw a single boat, a tiny 25-foot Macgregor, tucked into a nook. Was this tiny little thing s/v True Love? A quick look with the binoculars confirmed that it was not. So where was True Love?
Soon after we set SCOOTS' anchor (it took three tries; the holding isn't that great here), Morris and Debbie pulled in on Impulsive and anchored nearby. The woman from the Macgregor paddled by on her kayak to say hello. Nene and Phil had chartered the little boat in La Paz and were spending a couple of weeks sailing around Isla Espiritu Santo. What a cool vacation! Nene is an amateur archaeologist and she had been having a wonderful time tramping around on shore, discovering ancient home sites and stone tools. Phil was having a good time birdwatching.
Eric demonstrating how to chop with a stone ax.
On the next morning's Sonrisa net, Eric told Diane that we'd stopped into Caleta Partida to visit them and were surprised not to find them there. Diane said that she and husband Bill had taken a day trip to another anchorage, but they'd be back to Caleta Partida in the afternoon. During our stay in Caleta Partida, we exchanged boat tours with Diane and Bill (s/v True Love is a beautiful and amazing custom steel boat!) and spent time getting acquainted with these friendly and interesting people.
Ancient fish traps.
Over the next day, another eight boats arrived, hoping to tuck in before the next Norther began to blow. Many of the skippers seemed determined to drop their anchor as close as possible to the anchor icon on the chart, making for quite crowded conditions in that one part of the bay. SCOOTS, True Love, Impulsive, and a large power boat were all situated on the fringes, away from the crowd.
The following morning, when the wind was blowing a steady twenty knots, a boat who will be known here as s/v Clueless arrived. To our surprise, rather than seeking out an open area in which to drop his anchor, the skipper of s/v Clueless headed straight for the knot of anchored boats. To our amazement, he dropped his anchor right in front of another boat, and proceeded to begin blowing down onto the anchored boat. To our dismay, after almost taking out that other boat, s/v Clueless pulled up his anchor and headed in our direction. To our consternation, he stopped right in front of SCOOTS – upwind of us in those twenty knots – and dropped his anchor.
What happened next is described in a segment I'd like to call...
How NOT to Anchor
Ever arrive in an anchorage to discover that another boat is already anchored exactly where you'd like to be? Bummer! Don't despair. You CAN have that spot. Here are step-by-step instructions for getting that boat to move so you can take their anchoring spot.
Step 1. Lower your anchor to the ground and drive through the area in front of the boat that's anchored in the spot you want (we'll call this boat SCOOTS), dredging as you go. Continue dredging, ignoring the man on SCOOTS' bow, who is telling you in no uncertain terms that You-Are-Too-Close.
Step 2. Eventually you'll feel the tug on your anchor chain indicating that you've got SCOOTS' anchor chain firmly entangled in your anchor. Excellent! Now you can move on to Step 3.
Step 3. Keep driving until you pull SCOOTS' anchor up off the ground, so that she is now adrift. To add a little bit of excitement to the mix, make sure that the wind is blowing twenty or more knots so it will tend to push both boats in the direction of the large power boat anchored downwind of you.
Step 4. To counteract your move, the crew of SCOOTS will put her engine in full reverse and proceed to pull herself and your boat out toward the middle of the bay, away from the other anchored boats, with the two hooked anchors taut in the middle of their chains, suspended above the water.
Step 5. When the helmsperson on SCOOTS has moved both of your boats a safe distance from the other boats, she allows the tangled anchor chains to sag so that you can pull both anchors up with your windlass and figure out how to get the anchors unhooked and the chains untangled.
Step 6. When you get the anchors unhooked, drop SCOOTS' anchor back into the water. While the man on SCOOTS' deck is pulling up his anchor, head quickly and directly for the spot SCOOTS had been anchored in, and drop your anchor. Voila! It's your spot now!
Yes, that really happened. We motored around, waiting for s/v Clueless to get firmly anchored, before we dropped our anchor again. We eventually chose a spot further out in the bay, more exposed to the wind and waves, but far away from this wrecking ball of a boat.
One day, we ventured ashore with Morris and Debbie to explore the hillside where Nene had seen the home sites and stone tools, and from which we could see the ancient fish traps in the shallows. The home sites and tools were pretty subtle, to our untrained eyes, but with Nene's descriptions, we were able to find them; the fish traps (now that we knew what they were) were pretty easy to see.
Eric pointing out a corner of an ancient home site.
As the wind died down over the next few days, one by one, the boats left the anchorage to continue their adventures, until only True Love remained. Which seemed fitting.