Here you will find tales of voyages past and present on our trusty Pacific Seacraft Dana 24, "Sockdolager," and our Bigfoot29 powerboat, "Raven," from Port Townsend, Washington, USA. In 2009 we sailed north from Puget Sound up the west coast of Vancouver Island to the Queen Charlotte Islands (now called Haida Gwaii.) In 2010 we went back to the west coast of Vancouver Island. In July 2011 we left the Northwest, sailed to Mexico, and in March 2012 we crossed the Pacific to French Polynesia, then on to the Cooks, Niue and Tonga. We spent several months in New Zealand, and in May 2013 loaded Sockdolager (and ourselves) on a container ship for San Francisco. In June and July 2013 we sailed north along the California, Oregon and Washington coasts, and in August we arrived home. In October 2016, Sockdolager found new owners, and we began cruising on Raven, a unique wooden 29' powerboat. In 2018 we cruised up to Glacier Bay, Alaska, and back. But in 2024 we had the chance to buy Sockdolager back (we missed her), so we sold Raven. We hope you enjoy reading about our adventures as much as we enjoy having them. (And there will be more.)

Friday, December 23, 2011

At Anchor Southeast of La Paz--The Christmas Gale

We're safely at anchor in a spacious bay called Ensenada de Los Muertos, about 40 miles southeast of La Paz as the crow flies, further by water.  But boy is it ever blowing like stink!  Winds are alternately singing and howling through the rigging, but at least they're not roaring or screaming.  The forecasts range from 35 (gale) to 50 (storm) force winds, and it's supposed to last into Christmas Day.  Jim used his hand held anemometer, and the readings he's getting seem a bit low.  Neither of us has ever been pushed from standing to sitting (as we both just were) by a 23-knot wind.  Best guess is 30-35 steady and 40 in the gusts so far, but the wind is still rising.  Who knows what the wind speed is until the weather folks weigh in on the afternoon radio nets.

With the approach of this gale, we decided to stay with a sure thing (good holding, good protection from the winds, lots of room) in this bay, rather than continue on to La Paz, where we'd heard the marinas are full, the anchorage is much more crowded, and we might have been one of the last boats in before the storm, which means not as much choice of location.  However, as soon as this gale is over we'll head over there.  Also anchored in here are Luckness, Clover, and Three Sheets.  

We're reasonably comfortable, and it's exciting to watch this spectacle of nature.  Best of all, it's not cold and rainy.  BTW, the name Ensenada de los Muertos (Bay of the Dead) is about all the huge old anchors laying buried on the bottom from its silver mine-export days.  These old anchors are called "deadmen," but local developers didn't cotton to the colorful name and re-christened it "Bay of Dreams."  Yawn.  And no, we can't tie to one of those deadmen because they're all buried in sand.

You can see sand blowing off the dunes in this photo.  The seas are 1 - 2 feet high with less than 1/3 mile of fetch to the shore.  There's a lot of grit in the air, which we can feel and smell, and the boat's getting covered in it.  In the photo you can see Sockdolager heeling to the wind but pulling nicely to her two anchors, which are keeping her fairly well aligned with the wind and not rocketing off sideways to it.  This is one reason why we like two anchors with lots of scope out, in a Y configuration.  The other reason is in the event another boat drags into you and you have to cut one anchor away to quickly free yourself, you have a backup.  (This has happened to Karen.)  

If the storm had been forecast to be hurricane-force winds, we might have done more - strip the sails and canvas off the boat, probably put two anchors in tandem on one rode, and deploy the other two anchors in the direction of highest anticipated winds.  But wind directions in this gale are all steady from the north and northwest, and with two anchors well-set and chafe-proofed with old canvas hose from the Port Townsend fire department, we'll just thank our lucky stars we're not out at sea right now!  

1 comment:

  1. yep..blowing like stink here in La Paz. Steady 25-28 with a not so rare 30-32 gusts. If the weather guessers are right, the worst is about right now, 6PM and dying down gradually thru Monday. Be safe out there, and we will see you when you get to La Paz

    Tom & Jeanne
    SV Eagle