Thursday, November 12, 2009

Puerto Balandra

[GPS: N 24° 19' 17" W 110° 19' 53"]
Wednesday morning we slept in a little – anchor up at 6:45 am. Well, when it’s dark at 6pm and when it’s 8pm it feels like midnight, so we go to bed early, it’s not too hard to get up early. But we slept in for 15 minutes this morning. The winds were light all day, so we motored north through the Cerralvo Channel, west through the San Lorenzo Channel, and then turned south towards La Paz. Just after the turn towards the south, and still 12 or so miles from La Paz, we pulled into an anchorage at Puerto Balandra.

This is a beautiful spot. Clear blue water (we could see our anchor down 20’), several smaller coves around the anchorage where the water shoals to a green color for as much as a hundred yards up to white sand beaches. The beaches are separated by rock formations –one has a rock on the point called “El Hongo” (the mushroom) – perhaps 12 feet high with a stem and then a large cap. Unfortunately, it actually fell a few years back, and some engineers raised it again and reinforced it with rebar.

In the evening a southwesterly coromuel blew up to about 12 Kts and blew all night until mid-morning. These coromuels result from low land southwest of La Paz which allows the cool air from the Pacific Ocean to flow across Baja peninsula towards the warmer sea of Cortez. We decided to stay another night in this anchorage. There were only a few other boats anchored here. Each day one or two large power boats would come in for the day, dinghy people to the beach or El Hongo. We took down our kayak and paddled around the bay, stopping for a while on the beach to sit under a palapa near El Hongo. On the way back to the boat we stopped by Avalon another boat in the anchorage and visited with Phil and Katie. Cathy cut Doug’s hair in the cockpit – a good first effort . But the hairs were not as easy to clean out of the cockpit as we thought, so we’ll have to do it on land in the future.

The second night was a bit less comfortable. The coromuel was blowing 16-18 Kts and there was a boat that had anchored next to us, that when the winds picked up and shifted was almost right in front of us. With only about 12 miles to La Paz, we got up really late (7am) Friday morning, had breakfast and put things away (including pulling the kayak back up on deck), before pulling anchor at 8am.

We have been so pleased with our new 60 pound Manson Supreme anchor. We're not sure if it's the sandy bottoms or the new anchor, but it sets each time and you better be holding on to the boat when it does. We usually drop the anchor to the bottom, then slowly pay out a 4 to 1 scope, and then back down at about 3kts to straighten out the chain and set the anchor. When the anchor grabs the boat suddenly stops, while the engine strains against the load. This is very different from our experiences in the SF bay with a Bruce anchor in mostly mud and eel grass bottoms.

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