Sequoia Changing Latitudes

22 June 2019 | Scappoose, Oregon
27 May 2019 | Back home in Oregon
09 May 2019 | Villas Alturas Hotel, Costa Rica
02 May 2019 | San Vito, Costa Rica
23 April 2019 | Golfito, Costa Rica
11 April 2019 | Panama City, Panama
04 April 2019 | Shelter Bay Marina, Colon, Panama
22 March 2019 | Jamaica
11 March 2019 | Zar Par Marina, Boca Chica, Dominican Republic
18 February 2019 | Culebra Island, Puerto Rico
31 January 2019 | Simpson Bay Lagoon, Sint Maarten
21 January 2019 | Nelson's Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua
04 January 2019 | Portsmouth, Dominica
23 December 2018 | Rodney Bay, St. Lucia
12 December 2018 | 791 nautical miles east of St. Lucia
04 December 2018 | In the middle of the ocean
27 November 2018 | Santa Cruz de Tenerife
11 November 2018 | Pasito Blanco, Gran Canaria, Spain
28 September 2018 | Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands
19 September 2018 | Rabat, Morocco

At anchor in the wind

29 January 2011 | Barra de Navidad, Colima, Mexico
Craig/sunny and windy
We finally pried ourselves loose from beautiful Bahía Tenacatita after nearly a week among the 15-20 cruising boats anchored in the sheltered north end. The bay is about 3 miles long, book-ended by some impressively jagged rocks at each headland. Near our anchorage was a tidal river connecting to a small lake, so we motored up it in the dinghy --"jungle cruise"! As we proceeded up it, the channel between the mangroves got narrower and narrower, until we were hand-paddling to avoid the branches just under the surface in a section only as wide as the boat. Memories of The African Queen surfaced. The local pangueros (boatmen) cut the mangroves back so they can keep up the tourist trade"if they didn't, the mangroves would completely close off the channel. We saw many birds, but no cocodrilos or iguanas.

Yesterday we experienced a new kind of cruiser get-together. Led by the "mayor" of Tenacatita (a long-term cruiser who claims he was actually elected a few seasons back) we all dinghied to a quiet spot, tied to one anchored dinghy and shared food and stories. Mark from Southern Cross got up and sang, a capella, his own variation on Paul Simon's "There must be 50 ways to leave your lover," which he had creatively turned into "There must be 50 waypoints to enter Barra." I will explain why this is so clever in a bit.

While in Tenacatita we swam off the boat nearly every day , also managing to scrape off the 5" of weed from the waterline. Other activities included practicing dinghy landings in the small surf at the beach (we were 2 for 4 on dry departures) and visiting the small village of La Manzanilla at the other end of the bay. A charming, if tourist filled, village, we were able to buy fresh fruit and vegetables there and have a nice dinner on the beach. The only negative memory was losing our small camera there on the last visit. It must be a sign of aging"we seem to lose things now more often than we break them.

Almost every day in Tenacatita we were graced by two large pacific bottlenose dolphins cruising through the anchorage, often within a few feet of the anchored boats. And for the last two days, we have seen what Craig thinks is the surest sign of being in the tropics"flying fish. These are the small ones that fly like arrows for 30 or 40 feet when chased by predators. We couldn't find clear enough water for snorkeling but the boat was surrounded by trout-sized baitfish every morning.

So after making inquiries about the camera and putting the word out, we left Tenacatita for the short 16 mile trip around the corner to the lagoon of Barra de Navidad. It turns out the channel into the lagoon is only partially buoyed, at the most about 12 feet deep, and follows a winding course into the anchorage area, which is 6-9 feet deep at low tide. We had downloaded many waypoints from S/V Kavenga (www.kavenga .com) and amazingly they were accurate at describing the edges of the channel and anchorage. Hence the song title referred to earlier.

The outer bay at Barra is surrounded by a beach full of modest tourist facilities, including many empty concrete condo attempts. Melanque, at the north end, is famous for having St. Patrick as its patron saint and two weeks of fiesta around St. Pat's day. Barra is at the south end between the bay and the lagoon. But what we had driven home immediately was that the bay and lagoon form a WIND TUNNEL. As we approached the narrow channel, the light westerly became a gusty 22-26 knot blow. We idled through the many anchored boats, making 4.5 knots downwind and having to really rev up the engine to come back upwind.

We picked our spot and dropped our trusty spade anchor in about 9' of water (Sequoia draws 6.5'). After letting out 100' of chain, the anchor failed to set and it was obvious we were dragging. As we approached another boat, we motored back up to recover the anchor and try again. Up it came with gobs of greasy mud and fouled with an old fishnet. Now here is where experience has taught us a lesson: we had been warned that boats drag all the time at Barra, and we could easily remember difficulties anchoring in Fiji in a similar bottom. So Craig dug into the bilge for our massive Fortress FX-85 (bigger and of a different design than our normal anchor) while Barbara motored around the anchorage avoiding the other boats. After getting the Fortress out"some assembly required"and dragging it up to the foredeck (it is almost 5' tall and weights nearly 50 lbs.), Craig detached the chain from the normal anchor and fastened it to the beast. Our first attempt left us too close to another boat, but after a tip over the radio from a sympathetic soul, we put it down in a different spot and set it hard. As I write this, we have about 1.5' of water under the keel.

They say that the only anchor that is too big is one you can't shift on the deck. It is great to have a big storm anchor, and experience has shown that mud may require a different type of hook, but it is a fire-drill to deploy it. Speaking of mud, the foredeck, spade anchor and the anchor buoy retrieved from the first abortive attempt were covered in mud and it took almost a half hour with the wash deck hose to clean it all up. But we are hooked-up, washed up, and Barbara just pulled a loaf of rich cracked-wheat bread from the oven. So we will enjoy another great evening in paradise...just as long as none of the southern California cruisers with their tiny little anchors drag down on us!
Vessel Name: Sequoia
Vessel Make/Model: Outbound 44
Hailing Port: Portland, Or
Crew: Craig & Barbara Johnston
We are the proud owners of S/V Sequoia, Outbound 44 hull #5, built for us in Shanghai, China in 2001. [...]
We care about the world and its people, and try to live responsible lives, mindful of ourselves, the places we travel to, and the people we meet. When we are away from home, we miss our sons and extended family, and try to get together as much as possible. And, dear reader, we look forward to [...]
Sequoia's Photos - Main
Putting Sequoia aboard the M/V Merwedegracht in Victoria, B.C.
3 Photos
Created 29 March 2017
Photos of our preparations to have Sequoia shipped by freighter from Victoria to Europe.
6 Photos
Created 13 March 2017