Monday, August 15, 2016

Our First Hurricane

Remnants of Hurricane Javier enter Bay of Los Angeles from the south

We left San Francisquito with two buddy boats and headed north to our ultimate destination of summer in the Sea of Cortez: the Bay of Los Angeles.

The map shows our route from San Francisquito 
north to Bahia de Los Angeles

It was flat calm and hot -- a perfect day for a motorboat ride.

S/v Vivacia motors north alongside us through the tropical heat

About halfway through our journey, Captain Chris suddenly yelled out: "Oh, no!"

He quickly killed the motor, turned over the helm to me and scampered down to the engine. 

"We're dead in the water," he said.

We called our buddy boats s/v Vivacia and Stryder on the radio and filled them in. Chris was fairly certain we blew a bolt in the raw water pump. He couldn't be sure, though. We needed to get to a safe harbor where Chris could take the engine apart, diagnose and fix the problem.

Unfortunately, as there was no wind, we could not sail.

Jeff and DeAnne of s/v Stryder volunteered to tow us to Bahia de Los Angeles.

Wow. We couldn't believe their generosity -- and we gratefully accepted.

Our good buddies on s/v Stryder tow Espiritu to 
Bahia de Los Angeles

We passed the majestic Coronado Volcano as we entered the Bay of LA. Wow! I was inspired -- excitedly I announced on the radio to our buddy boats that we MUST climb it! But first, we had an engine to fix.

We entered the harbor, Jeff and DeAnne dropped the tow line and we promptly dropped the anchor.

The next morning Chris awoke early and began working on the motor. Within 2 hours he diagnosed the problem and repaired the damaged raw water pump.

We went ashore and gratefully took Jeff and DeAnne out to dinner in gratitude for their above-and-beyond help during our engine failure.

A Trump speech was playing on the TV at the restaurant -- YIKES!

We poked around town, exploring for the first time. We heard the town had hired a band and there would be dancing, so we checked it out!

I'm blurry because I'm dancing to the music!

We nabbed some WiFi and got the latest weather. 

Oh, no. Category 1 Hurricane Javier was south of Cabo San Lucas and predicted to head north. According to this weather map, it could be directly over our heads in 72 hours.

Well. Here we go. 

The next morning, the several sailboats in the greater Bay of LA area all headed into 
the nearby Don Juan anchorage, a well known "hurricane hole."

The odds were on our side, though. The reason we're all up this far north for the summer is that hurricanes tend to peter out before they arrive at this latitude.

Several of us settled in to the beautiful Puerto Don Juan to await Hurricane Javier

Once we all arrived at Don Juan, we had some time to kill as we waited for the storm. Jeff of Stryder did some serious clamming on the beach and invited us all over for a clam bake!

Clam bake!

I might look excited in the photo, but actually I was a "Wimpy Cruiser." That's because I had never actually tried clams before.  Clams, oysters, snails, liver -- you know -- foods that tend to squeak when you chew them -- these I had avoided until now.

But I dug deep and bravely dove in -- and of course, I'm now a convert. Simply delicious!

By the next morning, Hurricane Javier had already been downgraded to Tropical Storm Javier, and was rapidly losing strength to become Tropical Depression Javier. 

A coyote ambled by the anchorage in Puerto Don Juan, 
unconcerned by the weather report

In the end, all we got was a bit of rain, some 30 knot winds and a a 
not-so-exciting story to tell all of our friends.


Relieved, we pulled anchor and returned to the Bay of LA village anchorage, where we did have some  unsettled weather for a couple of days as the storm remnants blew through. 

Weird cloud over Coronado Volcano

Whitecaps in Bay of LA

The next day Bay of LA bloomed with green!

It's inspiring how little rain it takes to make the desert spring to life

And did I mention it's hot? 

Each afternoon, at the moment the sun falls behind the mountains, folks in the village slowly emerge from their homes. Gentle smiles slowly appear on face after face, 
as one by one they go down to the sea.

They enter the water like a sacrament, as if to say 
"Yes! We have survived another blindingly hot desert summer day, and it is good to be alive."

Now that we've emerged unscathed through our first (and hopefully only!) hurricane scare, we plan to spend the next few weeks exploring the Bay of LA and the islands that surround her.

Gracias a Dios!

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