Blown out of Bay of LA a 4 AM (4th update)
Thursday April 26th 4 AM.. Gato Loco shutters as a 45 kt wind gusts blasts off the Bay of LA shore. We’re up as the anchor drag alarm sounds. Not the way to start a day..
Yesterday was an awesome day and our first day with wind to sail without motors. Our entire leg from the south end of La Gurada to the LA Bay was windy with a north breeze at 15 kt . It’s always a pleasure to have nothing but the sound of the boat rushing through the water. Doug was smiling ear to ear. Entering the Bay, north islands shadow winds but having 4 hours of great sailing make the final push motor sailing just fine. Anchor down by 2:30 in front of Guillermo’s and time for margaritas before we begin our chores. Next, off to the internet cafe to send 2 updates from the past days and to the mercado just across the street from the cafe.
Exploring the east shore of Isla La Gurada, we’ve used most of our gas with the light winds since leaving Penasco. That means two runs to the Pemex for gas. The drill for gas is to stand out on the highway with your cans until someone stops. This doesn’t take long since locals know there will probably be a tip for the ride. We scored with one of the village seniors stopping with lots of information and history. Gillermo Smith is from here in Bahia de Los Angeles, 64 years old and has 9 bothers and sister here. The second largest island in the area is Smith island and he jokingly said it was his. His USB thumb drive music was great and we had him blast it to show off his stereo as he shuttled us for our gas.
Hey, notice in the photo of me and the gas cans. The dock behind me is the one that holed our dinghy last year. Looks like the Sea took revenge and destroyed it. We used the ramp this year with no problem.
While truckin our gas we kept hearing great 60’s music (Doors and such). We had to stop and chat. Scott Thibodeau, self proclaimed videographer, photographer and vagabond had a video production on wheels. That is a 73 VW bus poptop fully equiped. He’s touring Baja writing a travel guide and feeding is blog www.wanderglobe.com with photos and video.. Another interesting evening. Thanks Scott for the internet. Sorry we were gone when you awoke this morning.
Talking with Scott we were late to dinner. Clouds loomed over the Bay at sunset making for a colorful sunset. Suspicious light breezes blow through Guillermo’s while we had dinner. Guillermo’s was busy with big group of motor cycle riders that had rode over the mountains and were ready to cut loose. We finally finish our vera cruse fish well after dark giving us a dark ride back to the boat. A quick game of Bitchin Rummy (Doug wins) and lights out after an awesome day.
12:30, Gato Loco shutters as a wind blast from shore hits and the anchor alarm sounds. We’ve drug a distance before winds lighten allowing the anchor to get a bite. Not sure how strong the gust was but it startled me awake before hearing the alarm. After a little inspection we have a problem being near a large steel buoy. Doug’s up and we haul in the anchor with wind blast still coming at us. Time to move out clear of everything in case we drag again..
Bay of LA is known for very strong winds created by a pressure spill over from the Pacific. There’s a low pressure in AZ and probably making for windy conditions. Winds calm and anchor is stable with all 200’ of our anchor chain out in a new clear location. Time to get some rest.
4 AM.. A blast stronger than early and the alarm fires again. Doug and I are up quickly watching the GPS screen and see us drag as each blast in the 40-45 kt range cycle at us. Now we’re in 50’ of water and our anchor scope will never work. Time to reset. Life jackets on, safety now is the main concern. We’ve got to get the bridle off the anchor to haul it. Doug braves the bow to get it removed. 200’ of chain takes forever to reel in these condition. Anchor up and motoring toward shore we begin thinking it’s time to get out of here. This is probably a local wind and there’s a great anchorage just outside the Bay. A little light showing on the east horizon by now and it makes sense to use this wind in our favor and “get out of dodge”. We have a GPS track from our arrival yesterday to ensure we can clear the island channel. Looks like we’ll have enough light by the time we reach the channel anyway.
Clearing the channel leaving, the Bay winds are down conciderbly. Screacher headsail out and we’re running down wind at 8kts with a 15kt breeze behind us. Looks like we made the right decision and we’ll have the wind at our back all day as we head for San Francisquito with a very early start.. Another Bay of LA wind adventure is now just memories. Unfortunately we’ve had a few of these.
Until the next Update
BTW: Doug has become a great crew mate. Our night in Bay of LA was a true test.
We’re send this from Gato Loco approaching Santa Rosalia..
Love the sun rise thru the Screacher headsail (Hope I got that right!~?) Happy sailing boys!
Wow, our little Seawinds have gotten a good work out this past month! Cruisers here are still making repairs after of 70 k plus storm. Stray Cat is fine and Guy is swinging in his hammock. Hope the Loreto Fest has calm weather. We may be heading back to the new marina at Chiapas (which is south of the Tehuanatepec) for the summer instead of staying in El Salvador. We’ll see what the insurance says. Save travels
Gotta watch out in Bay of LA. Winds there are highly localized and extremely variable. I remember a night when we were down at the far south end. After swimming with whale sharks, we came up for air to listen on the cruiser channel as our friends in the north up near Guillermo’s got hit with 70 and a bird blew up their wind generator. Boats were dragging all over everywhere while we watched in horror from where we sat, drinking sundowners, just two miles south in 10 knots. We could SEE them. Weird. They just pulled up the hooks and let the blast blow them down the bay until they could join us.
Great pic of the sun thru the schreacher. These are the kind of experiences make me wish I was with you guys. See you in a week.
I love hearing about your travels…..so cool to meet and chat with the locals. Would be fun to thumb a ride for gas haha. Wow, those winds do sound scary. Way to go you two…..unlike Bill, I’m glad I wasn’t there hanging out ‘in the way’ with my life jacket on……love the smoooooooooooth sailing trips. Take care boys. See you soon Doug.
Toast…. Yep… It’s not the first time we’ve been caught in a big blow there. Years ago in a 27′ Stiletto catamaran we tied a line to telephone pole to keep from blowing away. The Stiletto is so light it almost became a kite and we were cleaning sand from our teeth for days.