We planned on leaving Puerto Escondido a couple days after Thanksgiving but the winds were not cooperative. Again. Another norther was coming… up to 30 kt winds Monday through Thursday. What? That’s only 2 good days of weather before it hits. You mean we are stuck here for a whole week? Sigh. I suppose there are worse places to be trapped. Better to stay here on a new mooring ball surrounded by 360 degrees of mountains than out in an open anchorage with nasty swell worrying about dragging anchor. So we stay put.
It’s now Tuesday, Dec 1st. We…OK…I… am getting ancy. Constant 20+ kt winds are tedious. Puerto Escondido is THE place to be though, as at least 25 other vessels are here riding it out together. One lone boat called into the radio net from “out there” in the high winds and rough seas. Fearless or crazy? Apparently they got pooped…meaning a large wave flooded their cockpit full of water. The weatherman reported 7-8 ft seas at 7 seconds today. Whew. Glad we are in port.
So we sit. And we wait. The wind is howling. Indigo is in constant motion. Wind waves persistently rock the boat, splash against the hull and jerk our mooring ball. We are not rolling; thankfully there is zero swell from those 7-8ft seas inside this protected bay. But the boat swings a good 45 degrees… very quickly. It’s kind of like tethering to the end of a water-ski rope, moving in and out of a wake. If you were to look outside from below through the companionway, watching the mast of our neighbor boat appearing and disappearing from sight is dizzying. The dinghy is bouncing up and down in the waves, slapping and splatting and tugging mercilessly on its line. We removed the motor so as to not worry about it flipping over.
Need more terabytes!
So, we watch a lot of DVDs when we’re stuck. We are certainly grateful for those who have given us the gift of cinema (you know who you are). Our latest hard drive transfer took an entire day to copy all the files and we didn’t even download half… need more terabytes!
We just watched the latest Hobbit flicks and hearkened back to a favorite 80’s movie The Goonies! But right at the moment we are more into TV shows. Here is our playlist: Just finished the 4th season of Game of Thrones, started Defiance and the 2nd season of The 100, in the midst of the final season of Justified, the 5th season of Alias, the 3rd season of Shield, the latest season of Walking Dead and the first season of Downton Abby (Terry, he likes it already, he just won’t admit it yet). We downloaded all of Battlestar Galactica AND Game of Thrones which we will watch all over again… ‘cause they are that good.
What else is there to do when you can’t go anywhere and you have no internet? Use that oven! I came across my mother-in-law’s recipe for toffee bars and realized it is the perfect boat candy. I’d never made it but it looked easy - it requires just 5 readily available ingredients. I already knew it was delicious – this stuff disappears in the blink of an eye when she makes it. Ooooh this is going to be YUM-EEE.
I don’t think I’ve ever made something that looked this gross. First-off, my odd-sized pans necessitated jagged, broken crackers along each side. Then my brown sugar didn’t dissolve readily into the butter… the oil kept separating and would not smoothly combine. I think it’s because this particular Mexican style brown sugar is dry and granulated, not sticky and moist. So I probably over-boiled to get the two items to meld together. Once the toffee finally turned bubbly and thick I took it off the burner. Too late.
As soon as I began pouring over the saltine crackers, it was already cooling into rock hard candy. Not fast enough, my toffee formed a dog-poo-like lump that immediately congealed upon landing. The next pour over my second pan was even worse. Spreading the mixture was impossible - I only succeeded in disintegrating the poo into crumbles. Now it looked like dirty kitty litter! Putting them in the oven didn’t help smooth out my mess. Then the chocolate chips, dried out from severe summer heat, were a crumbly jumble, also refusing to melt down. Undeterred, I finished it off by adding pecans on top.
I have embarrassingly supplied photo-proof of this abominable creation below… my disgusting-looking Kitty Litter Toffee. Despite the lack of presentation skills (Gordon Ramsey would be appalled), it still tasted awesome and we ate every last crumb. So I suppose it wasn’t a total failure. Here’s the recipe… you should try it. Really!
Mom Gioia’s Toffee…AKA Christmas Crack (google to see what it should actually look like…it’s everywhere on Facebook) Place a single layer of saltine crackers in a 9x13 pan. Melt 1 cup butter, mix in 1 cup brown sugar. Boil 3 min. stirring constantly. Pour over crackers. Bake at 400degree for 7 min. Sprinkle immediately with a 12oz bag of chocolate chips. Spread when melted. Sprinkle with chopped pecans or other nuts. Bam. Seriously good stuff.
Now it’s Thursday, Dec. 3rd. We are anxious to hear the weather today on the Sonrisa radio net, anticipating this darn wind to die off so we can leave tomorrow. Yay! Geary says the winds should abate and we’ll have a nice 10kts on Friday and half of Saturday. BUT… Saturday afternoon the winds ramp right back up again to 20-30kts! Wait. WHAT?? For 3 more days! WHAAAAT??? Are you kidding me?
El Nino Year?
Last year, before we left for Mexico, everyone was warning us about El Nino. “Oh, it’s going to be an El Nino year. You’re going to get crazy weather, big winds…” Bah, we said. And we were right. In November and December we dealt with the normal northers but they were well-predicted, lasted 2 days… 3 days tops… and then you get at least a week or more of great weather.
THIS year, it seems reversed. Everyone is disgusted with these non-stop norther patterns: an entire week of wind, 3-4 of which are really high winds, then 1, maybe 2 days of pleasant sailing weather. Worse than opposite. It’s been 25 days since we left San Carlos and I can remember only 2 entirely calm days. Two.
It would take 3 long-haul, 40-mile days to get to La Paz. But we only have 1-1/2 days of good weather. So here goes our discussion...
Option 1. Travel Friday and Saturday. Hope we can get to San Evaristo on Saturday and hunker down for the week. It’s still 40 miles from La Paz but we’ll be closer if we get a good one-day window. Except… is everyone else thinking that? There are 25 boats in here, the majority of which are probably headed south at the same time. Will we be jockeying for anchor spots?
Option 2. Stay another week. Hanging out here isn’t exactly bad; it’s great protection, no swell. But dinghying to shore in this chop is, at worst, pretty rough, at best, annoying. We only go once every other day. No kayaking. No snorkeling. No exploring. We’ll need to rent a car for a day-trip into Loreto for groceries. And what if we end up with the same weather sliver again next week? We sure seem to be getting truncated traveling windows.
Option 3. Overnighter. Leave Friday and go 24 hours. A straight shot. Seriously, this is Cranky Crossing girl actually considering an overnight just to GET to our slip and be done with this wind already. But then again. It’s a full 24 hours. And we’re not even sure we’d get into La Paz before the wind picks up again. Plus, we’d have to motor to ensure we do it within that time frame.
What’s behind door number #4 folks?
By noon on Thursday, the wind lessened and the bay calmed down. We took a dinghy ride to the “window”, a low and narrow land bridge, to view the sea-state for ourselves. While breaking waves crashed on shore and the sea looked a little bumpy, there were no buffaloes. It was supposed to be 18kts today but we hadn’t seen much wind at all yet. Hmmm. Maybe we leave right now? Get a leg up?
VIDEO: Windy in Puerto Escondido