I’m sure that most of you know about the “La Paz Waltz” but, for those who don’t, here it is. The anchorage in La Paz is along both sides of a very long, fairly shallow channel. The channel carries the water that fills the bay on a rising tide and empties it on a falling tide. Because of the amount of water carried and the small size of the channel, the current running through the anchorage can get very strong. Strong enough at times to overpower the winds. So, full-keeled boats will typically sit parallel to the current flow while fin-keeled boats might more likely sit parallel to the wind direction. Or, either type boat could sit anywhere in between these flows. This means that, at any given time, boats may sit all lined up or they could be sitting all akimbo. When the current is running one direction and the wind is running the other, all sorts of hilarity can ensue. Hilarity if you’re just watching the show anyway. Sometimes not so funny if you’re involved in the production.
Such was the case yesterday evening. We’ve been anchored in the same spot for almost a week. I check the GPS occasionally and we haven’t veered out of our swinging arc yet, so I feel pretty comfortable with our position, which is (or was) far enough away from everyone else so we wouldn’t have to worry about them hitting us either. That is, until yesterday.
A big beautiful steel ketch named Iron Butterfly anchored between us and the shoreline. To Iron Butterfly’s south (our southeast) is another large, possibly steel, ketch named Spirit of Ecstasy. “Ecstasy” may or may not have a working engine.
Late yesterday afternoon, we’re sitting in the cockpit shooting the breeze with our friend Frank (s/v Island Seeker) and watching the other boats. The wind was blowing pretty hard and the the current was changing from flood to ebb (or maybe vice-versa). Seems like Iron Maiden and Ecstasy are getting mighty close to each other. The skipper from Ecstasy rowed over to talk to Iron Butterfly but no one was home. We watched awhile longer and it occasionally looked like Iron Butterfly was swinging closer to us. After awhile they swung back the other way and we breathed a little easier. Then Ecstsasy and Iron Butterfly got awfully close to each other again. Like REALLY close! But then they drifted back apart. Next thing I know, it looks like they’re both swinging towards us! I checked our GPS again to make sure it wasn’t us swinging towards them but we were still in our same little swinging arc. This went on a bit longer. Each swing seemed to bring the other boats a bit closer to us. With the sun getting ready to go down, I decided it was time to make a move.
We fired up the engine and raised the anchor. We were already closer than we probably should have been to both the municipal dock and the channel. There was really nowhere else to anchor in the vicinity that wouldn’t put us even closer to a number of other boats, several of which also appeared to be moving somewhat erratically. So, we decided to head across the channel to El Mogote. This is an anchorage adjacent to the long spit that separates Ensenada de La Paz from the larger Bahía de La Paz. The only thing spooky about this anchorage is that there are only a couple of safe channels to it. All other routes will likely put you high and dry on a sandbar. Fortunately, we had some waypoints in our GPS that showed us the safe route.
We got the anchor down and well dug in just about the time the sun disappeared.
Talked to the folks on Iron Butterfly this morning on the radio. They apologized for terrorizing us but apparently weren’t dragging according to their GPS. I’m glad we moved anyway. I would not have gotten any sleep last night if we’d stayed put.