What to expect

Rants, missives and occcasional updates about where Masquerade is located and what we are up to.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pulling the anchor under duress!

The weather continues to be capricious. On the way to La Paz we get blown out of two anchorages. We stopped at Amortajada at the south end of Isla San Jose, this anchorage is well protected from the south and east. The first night was very quiet and calm and we had a nice day exploring the estuary, so we decided to spend another night. At 1 AM the wind started to blow from the west and by 3 AM, we decided that the anchorage was untenable and that we needed to leave. We pulled the anchor as the swells built, then threaded our way between islands, rocks and reefs in a very dark night. We had plotted a course ahead of time and used the radar to check our position. After a few a watchful moments, we were out in the open channel and heading south. We decided that rather than move around the point and re-anchor in a protected spot, it would be better to stay underway, make some distance and anchor in daylight. Watching a sunrise while under sail is always enjoyable, when you are the crew on watch you have the time to enjoy the changing colors and shifting clouds. There are few other times when a person will sit and watch a sunrise from beginning to end.

We stopped short of La Paz in a small bay called Caleta Lobos. We started getting grey skies and more rain, so after another quiet night with the anchorage to ourselves we decided another night would be good. This time the wind started at 1 PM, and by 3 PM good sense indicated that we had overstayed our welcome. This anchorage was protected from all but the west, which was where the wind was now coming from. We figured if we could make good time we could get the La Paz anchorage just before sunset. We started out very slowly, clawing our way out of the narrow bay into head winds and large swell, but once we turned south we could make much better time. Once into the large bay of La Paz the wind and waves were much reduced and we relaxed considerably.

It was fun to come in and talk to several friends from boats that we had met over the last several months. We wanted to get in and out quickly, and head across to Mazatalan for Christmas, but we also wanted to meet up with friends we have not seen for a while. We also wanted to get out before we spent too much money! Everytime we get into a bigger town we end up spending much more time and money than we intended. Other cruisers refer to this as being unable to get their anchors free.

For a more fun anecdote, we also had a whale shark sighting. We arrived in Agua Verde after leaving Escondido, and as we were moving around deciding where to anchor we saw a disturbance in the water ahead of us. At first we thought it might be a dolphin or a sea lion, but then I recognized the unique motion of a shark swimming. The whale shark is (one of?) the largest in the shark family and can grow to 40 feet! However it is a filter feeder and has no teeth, people sometimes even swim with them. There were two here in the anchorage swimming together both were over 20ft with one a bit larger than the other. They like to swim right on the surface so the tip of the fin and tip of the tail are usually above the surface of the water, giving the opportunity to see their large head and wide mouth. We stopped the boat to watch these amazing animals and try to get some photos. They were not concerned about the boat at all, and continued to make their winding paths around us. We watched for a while then headed closer to shore to drop our anchor.