I know, I know, that’s just crazy. Who DOES that? Certainly we never had before, but I’m not sure why… usually it causes the headsails to luff. We certainly were never taught by our sailing instructors TO do it. Blasphemy? Bah humbug. We were making 6.5 knots! The boost the motor created to keep us from slowing down every 4 seconds we hit a wave added to the sailing power and we combined forces for the good, like Luke and Leah fighting the evil empire. While yes, we were using fuel, we were also making better time against the waves than we could either sailing alone (2-3kts) or motoring (5kts) alone. Why didn’t anyone ever tell us about this little trick?
We got to the island in record time. Along the way, we were followed for a minute by a pod of dolphins and then saw a 5ft manta ray leap from the air in the rough waters. Upon arrival we scouted out the south bay which is most popular for its picture perfect beach and crystal water. But if we had another southerly wind tonight like last night we’d get whacked as it was exposed to the south. So we went around the bay to the other side. Not as postcard perfect but still very cool in its unique way.
Kayak’s maiden voyage.
It took a while to blow up our new kayak, figure out how to get it in the water from the boat deck, and then how to get ourselves in it without tipping over. We had high hopes after hauling it down from San Diego and we love it… rudder pedals work well for turning, the tiny 4” keel tracks nicely, it doesn’t bow in the middle with 2 people’s weight. We have been using this exclusively as our dinghy ever since this day as it’s so easy to deploy.
We hiked across the low, crunchy, salt flats to the original picture perfect anchorage. Sparkling crescent beach meets stunning aquamarine bay. There were so many shells, all bleached a perfect white, speckled amidst tiny red rocks. Then we explored our opposite side of the island along the rocky beach. Ground smooth by wave action, a beautiful array of stones lined the shore… black, grey, green, rust, maroon, even clear quartz. I may have found an agate; they are supposed to be plentiful on this beach. I could stay here for days.
I hiked up the steep hillside topped with loose, rusty shale to take a photo of the bay. I imagined one false movement bringing an avalanche of red shale 300ft down to the water in an instant landslide. In many places this seemed to have occurred already, cliffs sheared off leaving exposed some sort of crusty, mossy green stuff, not sure if it’s rock or some form of lichen. The cliffs are dusted with a lone cactus here and there but mostly slabs of the pink and maroon colored shale, patches of green sea grass and tufts of straw yellow scrub. From the boat it is a beautiful kaleidoscope of desert colors.
It’s 9pm and I am sitting out in the cockpit. It’s still, no bugs, perfect temperature of 73 degrees. We are pointed as anticipated, south, with a gentle roll from the east. I type this outside in the cockpit, in complete darkness using my back-lit keyboard, hearing the lapping of waves on the rocky beach. Finally a decent night’s sleep.
Not so fast…
It was calm for much of the early part of the night, then about midnight it started gusting. Brian got up of course, and watched the anchorwatch hold right at our radius limit of about 158 ft. Then all of a sudden Brian watched the boat move about 25ft on the gauge, setting off the alarm. Did we drag anchor? Perplexing. Discouraging. Inconceivable. There was barely 15 knots of wind that night, normally nothing for our Rochna anchor. We have held in much higher winds with less chain out. We let out some more chain and that held through the night. Still, another sleep-deprived night.
We sat up at 1am contemplating this phenomenon; 3 nights in a row we have had issues setting our anchor. This is inconceivable; we never have a problem, and we have been in some 25-30 kt winds at anchor. This last night was the last straw. It should never have moved in 15ft with 150ft of 5/16” chain out and only 15 kts of wind. That is ridiculously lame, any anchor should hold like nobody’s business in that little wind.
There were two possible factors for those 3 disturbing nights.
1.) The wind shifted all three nights (but that is pretty much the norm here) and maybe the anchor didn’t reset properly with the new wind direction. Hard pack sand? Rocks? But again, the wind shifts in the anchorages here 2,3 or more times daily. The anchor has never had a problem resetting in the daytime before – it's inconceivable! (You keep saying that...I don’t think that word means what you think it means).
2.) Prior to leaving La Paz, Brian added an Anchor Rescue. This is a collar and small chain contraption bolted around the anchor shaft to assist getting the anchor up if fouled on a line on the sea floor, conveying the anchor up and out at a different angle. It SHOULD have no effect on anchoring. But, maybe the collar isn’t allowing the shaft to penetrate the sand and dig in? It is the only thing we are doing different in our anchoring technique. So Brian removed it the following morning and we have had no issues since. We will eventually put it back on to test anchoring with and without it in equivalent conditions, but for now, we just need a good night’s sleep.