Summer, that is.
Yesterday morning it was summer. By late afternoon it was fall. How to tell the difference? By late afternoon long pants actually felt better than shorts. Been awhile since that’s been the case. Anyway, looks like summer’s over. We now face daytime highs in the 70s and nighttime lows in the low 60s. At least until winter sets in when the highs will be in the low 70s and lows may dip down into the 50s. Brrrrrr……
What happened to change things so immediately was that a norther blew in. If you’ve been reading this blog for a long time, you know about the northers. These are the winds that come down on the Baja from up in the States, sometimes even carrying cold air from as far away as Canada or Alaska. Of course, the air has warmed up considerably by the time it reaches us but it’s still plenty cool.
We’ve spent many northers anchored in the Bay of La Paz and, let me tell you, it’s no fun. Once the wind gets up around 17 knots or so from the north, it churns up the water and makes the anchorage a very rolly place to be. Even here in Marina del Palmar, where there is no real protection from the seas, we do a fair amount of bucking at the dock but nothing like we’d be doing at the end of an anchor rode. Our dinghy tends to be on the small side and I get pretty hinky about riding around in it in choppy seas. We see lots of folks doing it, mostly in inflatables with big(ish) outboard motors, but I’d rather not do it myself unless I really have to. So, when we’re at anchor during a norther, we’re pretty much confined to the hobby-horsing boat until it’s over. Northers generally seem to last about 5 days, with the three days in the middle being the ones with the highest winds. So, even though being tied to the dock doesn’t abate our rocking and rolling much, at least we can just step off the boat when we want to go to town. And we are relieved of the stress of wondering if our anchor will continue to hold.
Yesterday, two boats that I know of drug anchor. They were both unmanned at the time. One of them had been anchored just north of our dock and when I say “just north” I mean just north. The day before he had been anchored a little further away from the dock but, for some reason he let out more scope putting him less than two boat-lengths away from a disabled sailboat side-tied to the dock. And then, the crew all climbed aboard their dinghy and headed ashore. Bear in mind that the norther had already been predicted when he did this. Maybe he was letting out scope as a hedge against dragging, giving no thought to where that put him in relation to other boats and docks.
Well, sure enough, yesterday morning he started dragging. The one bright spot was that, just when he started to drag, the marina crew had hooked up to the disabled sailboat and was pulling it off the dock so they could haul her out. If not, the dragger would have plowed right into the side of her crushing her between him and the dock. The crew of s/v Tink tried to raise the dragging boat on the radio but got no answer. Figures, since they were still ashore somewhere. Shannon from Tink dinghied over, climbed aboard and rode her past Marina del Palmar’s end dock. Then he let out enough scope to bring her to a stop in the middle of the bay between our marina and the Navy base. This area is generally off-limits for anchoring and is also pretty shallow. Eventually the owners came back and repositioned their boat and it looks like it stayed put through the night.
The other boat that drug was one that appears to be abandoned although maybe the owner is just away for awhile. Anyway, it drug almost clear across the little bay before it’s anchor dug in again and stopped it. The fleet, having been alerted via the VHF radio, several cruisers in inflatable dinghies sped over to try to help. Near as I could see there wasn’t much for them to do as the boat had already stopped. They may have let out a little more scope just to ensure she stayed put. She’s still over there, practically on the Navy base. Not sure what, if anything, the Navy will do about her if her owner doesn’t show up sometime soon.
Anyway, we’re happy to be firmly tied to a dock where we can watch the action without being too much a part of it.