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Tuesday, August 14, 2007


14 August 2007
Puerto Don Juan

We must finally be in cruising mode because we had a record stay in one anchorage/area: five nights at San Francisquito, three nights at Isla Las Animas, 10 nights at San Francisquito, and four nights back at Isla Las Animas. We knew it was time to move on from San Francisquito when I began to recognize every rock and sea star in the bay from my daily swim. The water there never really cleared up much for us and the weed was still ringing the perimeter of the shore when we left so I couldn't swim in to the sandy beach. But we took the dinghy in to shore and were amazed by the number of pencil urchins we saw there.

Isla Las Animas was the first place we've been since La Ramada where we could clearly see the bottom. We had a couple of excellent snorkeling days, but by the time we left the water was getting a little warmer and was greening up. We went snorkeling two times on Sunday and had the pleasure of seeing a jewel moray (which John actually fed from the tip of his knife as he gathered objects off the rocks for our dinner); two golden grouper in one sighting followed by a third on my swim back to the boat; a sea lion checking me out by leisurely swimming below me in about 15' of water; a free swimming/creeping octopus making its way back to a hidey hole where we had seen it the day before; a flag cabrilla, a parrotfish, a few giant hawkfish, a few stone scorpionfish, a barred pargo, and several Cortez angels; and many, many triggerfish, grouper, shovelnose guitarfish, Cortez stingrays, and other fish. It was the best!

We could have easily stayed there longer but we were out of fresh vegetables, including basics like potatoes and onions. And then the weather helped make up our minds. After our last snorkel of the day on Sunday we noticed a big black cloud forming to the east, and hastened to finish our bathing in order to exit the water. We watched in awe as the cell moved NW, headed straight for Isla Partida (IP norte - not the Isla Partida down by La Paz) where Hooligan and Gettin' Around were anchored. We called them on the VHF to make sure they were aware of it, and they reported that they were battened down and waiting. After it was all over (well before sunset) we had seen only 10-12 knots of wind and barely enough rain to wipe the decks with, but the boats at Partida had their dinghies flip (with outboards on) as they took an almost direct hit, with a 52 knot highest measured gust and lots of rain. The lightning and thunder were impressive but nothing compared to what was still in store for us.

Fortunately we left everything stowed and tied down from our previous storm prep before we went to bed that night, because more lightning and a building wind from the E/SE got John up at 0200. I soon joined him to watch as lightning began to appear on every point of the compass. There were some phenomenal triple strikes that I dubbed "retina burners" but nothing came within 10 miles of us and we got very little rain. The new 55 lb Delta anchor (thanks Flying Free!) held us in gusts to about 45 knots, and Adios rode it out just fine right next to us. We finally went back to bed at 0430, and the morning HAM and SSB nets came all too soon.

We decided to take advantage of the leftover breeze and headed out at 0900 to ride the back of the front (which was still obvious to our north and moving west). It was a perfect downwind sail. We eventually rolled up the jib and even reefed the main after the skies cleared behind us and the seas got a little boisterous. We briefly dropped the hook in Quemado but there was too much swell wrapping around the point for our liking so we upped anchor again and used the jib alone to get us to Puerto Don Juan. We'll be here for a day or two before heading into the village of BLA to get veggies, water, gasoline, beer, and clean laundry.

Linda and John