Cruising plans delayed by Hurricane Paul
13 November 2012 | Santa Rosalia
warm, humid, and cloudy
We're back in Santa Rosalia ready for another season of cruising in Mexico. We've provisioned and taken care of our boat jobs and we're ready to leave, but the weather is not cooperating. A "norther" is expected, so we'll wait in the marina until it passes. A 'norther' is a strong north wind that blows for 2-3 days. When it is finished we'll head south.
The "norther" has gone and we're ready to leave but now there's a tropical depression called Paul that is threatening Baja. We watch its progress on the weather channels for a couple of days and it looks like it won't be a problem this far north, so we plan to leave in the morning.
However, Mother Nature doesn't want us to leave the marina just yet. Overnight tropical depression Paul has become a category 2 hurricane Paul and is heading for Baja and will come up the middle of Baja with a lot of wind and rain expected where we are in Santa Rosalia. Even stronger winds are expected a little south of us where we were planning to go, so we'll stay in the marina and wait for Paul to go by. The morning dawned with heavy clouds and some rain. Another boater from the other end of the dock was knocking on boats and saying "Paul is coming with 100 mph. winds and will be here by noon, so you have 5 hrs. to get your boat ready!" Needless to say, that was a bit of a shock, because we had been looking at several weather sites and hadn't seen any wind predicted to be stronger than 40 mph. and it was supposed to be here in the middle of the night, not at noon. As I looked down the dock I saw a beehive of activity, as other boaters in a controlled panic mode, were stripping their boats of sails, biminis, dodgers, and any other canvass that might blow away. They also deflated their inflatable dinghys and took everything up to an empty room in the marina. We thought this was a bit extreme. We decided to go with the weather reports we got online, including the National Hurricane Center website, and made preparations accordingly. There were 4 boats at our end of the dock who did not take everything off our boats, but we all tied extra lines to the dock and tied some to the pylons in case a dock cleat broke. The wind began increasing that evening and reached 35 mph. before midnight with a lot of rain. We went to sleep, occasionally getting up to check on things. We felt very secure. When we woke up in the morning the wind was decreasing as Paul was moving on to create havoc in other places. Another boater said he saw wind in the 40 mph range in the night. 40 mph is a long way from 100 mph. So, we all 'survived' Hurricane Paul with no damage. It's interesting that many people will believe what someone tells them without checking the information for themselves.