Hey everybody! I’m back in La Paz after 16 days “cruising” for my first time and let me tell you it was an adventure! I got in about 4:00 pm, paid for a week at the marina, went and grabbed some of my beloved Coke Zero and went out to dinner with some friends in the boat next to me from Bandon, OR. We went to Stella’s which is right on the picturesque waterfront overlooking La Paz Bay for one of the best pizzas I’ve had in awhile. I’m really tired as I was up half of last night on anchor watch because of strong winds and waves. Worrying about that anchor at night was one of my greatest concerns and sources of fatigue. As a matter of fact, one of the most exciting parts of my adventure regarded anchors or a lack thereof. When I left La Paz on Mar 3 there was a weather front coming in on Mar 7 or 8 that I was keeping my eye on. It was calling for 30 knot winds from the west and I was planning my stops to be in position to be in an anchorage that would allow for good protection when and if that did occur. San Evaristo is right where the green marker is. It did occur and in fact the wind peaked at 44 knots which is 50 mph about 4 am Mar 8. Needless to say I was up most of the night. I was anchored in San Evaristo Bay as were 17 other boats. Around 4 am when the wind was peaking 5 boats broke free and were drifting around through the other boats and then motoring to try and get set again. On a moonless night in these conditions I’m here to tell you it was madness! I had just gone down below to monitor the wind on my weather station when I hear this loud bang up towards my bow on the port side. I ran up top just in time to see a catamaran that had broke free hit me on its starboard side towards the bow, swung up against me and then slid down my side. I heard a lady say “did we hit someone” to which I replied “yeah! you hit me!” Miraculously Desiderata came away unscathed and even more importantly she never budged an inch through the entire wind storm! The catamaran came out on the losing end with a big hole in it’s side. It was a charter boat and it had lost all of it’s ground tackle. The anchor and chain were all gone. I’ve added a couple of pictures here for now but I actually took some video later that day when it was still gusting about 35. It actually went over 40 knots 3 more times during the day. I’ll be uploading pictures and video from the trip the next couple of days.Still gusting up to 40 kts the next day.The unlucky catamaran with it’s temporary patch job. That’ll teach her not to mess with Desiderata!
All in all it was a great experience. I learned so much! I learned single handing can be really exhausting at times but the most important thing I learned is how to read my weather data. I’m sure it goes without saying how important it is to understand the weather. The wind literally dictates every part of your life in this lifestyle and it was my misunderstanding of this that caused my trip from Ensenada to San Jose del Cabo to be such an unpleasant experience. I stayed in San Evaristo for a week just to get rested up after so many nights not sleeping good because I was worried about drifting or breaking free. Things I learned on this trip will help my confidence so I’ll sleep better at night in the future. The scenery and the wildlife in the Sea of Cortez are absolutely incredible. I don’t think my pictures will really do them all justice they deserve but as I said I’ll post what I have over the next few days.
Desiderata is 38′ and this giant is considerably larger than she is. Unfortunately this is my closest and best whale shot yet!
Happy to be back to civilization! One of the biggest things I missed was whenever I had a question that I wanted the answer to I didn’t have the ability to just Google it! How old is the Sea of Cortez?!? If the wind is blowing on one side of my boat with the mainsail up, is it ok for the lower rigging on the other side to be slack? Why do manta rays jump out of the water so much? Does God believe in Atheist? So many questions!!!
I want to give a huge thanks to my good friend George Phillips from Ventura once again for stressing being well hung in the anchor dept. I know his advice was pivotal in helping me survive the “Big Blow” intact. And to Ron Lamb, I want you to know I can see Uranus from all the way down here 😉 This is just one of the many reasons that make all of the risks worthwhile. Warm regards from La Paz.