August 20, 2010

Afternoon Adventures

Add two more anchored boats and you have how the anchorage looked during our blow
We’re hanging out in the Santa Rosalia area, enjoying the town and the internet. After we leave here we understand there’s one pay-(a lot)-as-you-go internet café in Bay of LA and that’s it. And considering I have a couple of research-heavy stories in the works, being in Santa Rosalia (or out at Isla Marcos where we can swim, fish and get Banda Anchas 3G service) is pretty much the best option as long as nothing too untoward is brewing in the south.

The problem with Santa Rosalia is it has a small, crowded, busy and very old (as in 140-years-old) harbour that has a bottom consistency of Jell-o. And not just your standard Jell-o; it’s more like that nasty Jell-o salad stuff, with chunks. So sometimes you hook a chunk (which could be anything from the wreck of a 19th century schooner to an old car) and sometimes your anchor simply drifts around in the Jell-o.

If all goes well, the boats at anchor (which are all crowded in a back corner) all drift around together and no one's the worse for it. But yesterday our flat calm, slight overcast day brought an afternoon blow that added some excitement to the place.

Big winds typically come at night; when people are home. But yesterday’s breeze picked up when half the folks were off their boats. And as the wind hit and we all pulled back into the sludge, some of us moved, and some of us didn’t. The first boat to start the slow drift was just upwind of us. We watched Francis Lee (whose owner Jesse was on shore) head straight between our bows, threatening to make us a trimaran.

As Francis Lee closed on us, we slipped out rode, until we were within a boat length of Third Day. But Third Day had nowhere to go because although Lori was aboard she couldn’t get the windless to work (and she also had a solid wall behind her). Meanwhile Hotspur was also on the move and was closing in on Third Day's port side. But Jim was aboard with 10-year-old Carolyne (who got a crash course in driving the boat in high winds and became a hero for the day).

Fortunately it’s a small town and Jesse got back to Frances Lee before she made any structural modifications to our hull. He picked up his anchor and moved. Jim picked up his and moved. Then for good measure we picked up ours to give Third Day a little space. While moving though we got garbage caught on our prop (the harbour is full of stuff…) and lost propulsion, which forced us to anchor a bit sooner than planned.

The fact it was daylight and the wind never got above 30 knots was our saving grace. That and the fact no one dragged quickly. The lesson though is this is not the place to be in bad weather. It’s a terrible harbour. Nice town, good internet, but a terrible harbour.

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