30 kt winds in Puerto Refugio (3rd Update)
Tuesday April 23rd, 8 AM — Confused Seas was definitely the word of the day on our crossing from Lobos to Puerto Refugio. Winds started at 8 WNW, enough to motor sail through 3’ seas. As the morning progressed winds died and we had to take our sails down as they were being bashed by the quartering seas. Seas flattened to smooth as we approached Puerto Refugio on the north end of Isla Angel de La Guarda the second largest island in the Sea just off Baja. Another uneventful crossing after starting our rough. No sea life spotted during the crossing, especially whales since this is leg we hit a whale last year.
As you approach Refugio the first island you pass is Isla Granito which has a huge sea lion rookery. We made the anchorage early and decided to stop from some photos. Getting close we could smell fish breath and soon started picking up gnats like Bird Island near Penasco. Passing the eastern end of the island we found lots of them lounging in the sun.. As you can se we started a stampede of one large sleeping group.
Our normal anchoring spot was taken by a small sail boat. There was room but with this huge anchorage why crowd. This all turned out to be definitely in our favor. We ended up in the west bay off a north shore. Right at sunset strong south winds started blowing and as we retire gusts were blasting by at 30kts while we were smooth and quiet. Our usual anchorage would have been uncomfortable with white caps and swell. We’re livin right.
Tuesday April 24th.. When we woke this morning winds were gone, seas were glass and we had two Mexican fishing boats anchored next to us. They must know the anchorage and came in during the night.
The West Bay landscape looking south is interesting with cool trees well adapted to the dry harsh conditions on the island. They have huge trunks and very little vegetation on them and probably only bloom if it rains.
<<< West Bay anchorage shoreline
Doug checks out the trees >>>
Our usual cruise south leads us directly to Bay of LA. We have some extra days and have decided to explore the eastern shore of Isla Angel de La Guarda. This will take an extra day because the island is 42 miles long, 7.5 miles wide with peaks at 4315 ft. The east side has 3 anchorages that would be new to us so we’re going adventuring.
BTW: Doug, Dougie as his wife Connie calls him, is doing fine. He’s an old naval boy and is right at home on the sea. Neither of us are big fishermen so don’t expect in big fish stories. We do have a line in the water how ever. He will be an old salt by the time we reach Puerto Escondido.
On to the east shore…
Early cruiser Gerry Cunningham documented anchorages on La Gurada in his cruising guides. The group of anchorages on the north shore near the south end of the island Bill and I have been eyeing on Google Earth so that’s our east shore 1st stop and then on to Isla Estanque and an overnight anchorage in the Pond.
<<< Gato loco anchored in 20’ on sand bottom in Caleta Pulpito West. Good anchorage with lots of steep rocky shore line near by looks to be good diving.
Right – Gato Loco anchored in the “Pond” on Isla Estanque off the SE tip of La Guarda. Below is a sea cave we didn’t have time to explore near the east tip for the Caleta Pulpito shore. We need to check it out.
The tale of “The Pond”.. As you can see the “Pond” is a perfect anchorage with total protection from sea conditions. The entrance has a shoal with a narrow channel. Tides are swing 10’ at the moment. You’ll notice the panga in the right side of the Pond. Arriving at high tide we made it over the shoal with 10’ to spare. Anchor down, we check out what looks like a typical fishing camp. At closer inspection with the binoculars everybody is in uniform and the panga is dark green. Nice we’ve got some authority present (Marines). As you might expect their job is to check out all boats in the area and they soon launch their panga and motored over. With my limited Spanish and their zero English we finally settle their concerns about who we might be and as they depart they ask if we have any extra water. It’s always nice to have an offering and we give them one of our 5 liter bottles of water.. There’s a well worn trail from their camp to the mountain top and we ask if we can climb it?? No problem.. Since they are providing security in the Pond we take cerveza for the six camp members. With big smiles, they accept our offer and we enjoy a cold beer with them and then on to the top of the mountain for the photos you see.
At night fall clouds obscured the sunset and darkness arrives early. Steak dinner and a game of Bitchin Rummy (I’m holding my own at one game a piece) and we done..
Wed April 25th.. Still cloudy and wet decks. Ham weather report indicates winds forecasted won’t arrive until Thursday.. Time to depart the pond. Tides are out at least one meter from our entrance and flowing out.. Approaching the channel out, 17’, 10’ 4’ 3.5’’ Nope.. Back up and retry to port… Same result. Backup and set the anchor. We may be here for a while. Next thing I notice is the Marines are launching their boat.. They come to Gato Loco and indicate for us to follow them. Much closer to the south shore than we would have braved, they lead us safely out of “The Pond”. The moral of the tale of “The Pond” is a “favor given is a favor returned”.. Thank you to the Marines for the escort from the Pond.
We’re off for Bay of LA.. Fresh breeze from the north as we clear the south tip of La Gurada. Engines off and smokin toward the Bay at 6kts.. Until the Next Update
Sending this from Bay of LA.. All is well on Gato Loco
BTW: Port motor working great. Keeping it 5/8 throttle or less and it doesn’t use any oil. Sounds like Jackie’s diagnosis of a leaking lower crank seal is sound. Less power mean less crankcase pressure reducing the amount of oil force out.. All good news. The problem is manageable.