S/V INTREPID II - Cape Dory Intrepid 40

My photo
Intrepid II is a Cape Dory Intrepid 40 sailboat, hull #2, designed by Chuck Paine and discovered by the Captain in Blue Hill Maine in 2006. The crew are Kelly (Captain) and Carol (Admiral and Blogger). In 2009 INTREPID II embarked on her West Coast journey from Victoria to San Francisco, the Baja Sur Peninsula and into the Sea of Cortez. In 2010/2011, we sailed ifrom Guaymas, south to Bahia Banderas and back. In 2011/2012 she left Guaymas, headed south to La Paz, spent three weeks at anchor on our northward journey and rested on the hard in San Carlos. Her 4th, 5th and 6th seasons were Boat Projects related. Season 7 - we are hoping to cruise again at long last.

April 3, 2011

Caleta San Juanico March 30 - April 2

South side Caleta San Juanico - time to explore
INTREPID II paid her second visit to Caleta San Juanico, arriving on this journey from Isla Coronado on Tuesday, March 30th; a short 4 hour motor crossing with light winds. We were raising the anchor and underway by 08:10 am, heading around the eastern side of the Coronados. There are supposed to be very good dive sites but no good anchorages.  The water has been far too cool for diving in the lighter weight suits we have on board. 68 degrees F is not comfortable for anything more than jumping in to clean a boat bottom or the water line.  Dolphins swam by as they chased fish for breakfast.  We heard their hoarse barks before we spotted the sunbathing seals on the northern-most cove.
If you look closely - seals along the water's edge
INTREPID II was motoring into 1 foot swells, with south/south west winds 4 - 6 knots.  Not enough wind to keep us moving unless we took all day.  Our heading was 330 degrees; pretty much a straight shot into Caleta San Juanico with its distinctive rock formations.  Of course, when the wind increased it clocked around to be 'right on the nose'.
Wind 'on the nose'
On our first visit in 2010 there were a dozen boats anchored.  This time as we motored in we spotted a very large power boat taking over a large part of the anchorage, with a few sailboats nearby.  As we slowly progressed into the cove, it became obvious that the power boat had anchored considerably further out and that there was a prime spot available between 'the spires' and 'the lump'.  We would have good protection from the anticipated north winds.

While we weren't able to see clearly to the bottom to determine if there was seaweed or sand, the anchor held in 17 feet and we were settling in at 11:30 hours. 76 degrees F in the cabin, sunny skies. A pair of ospreys flying overhead.  It is a welcome treat to arrive at an anchorage with much of the day left to relax, put the dinghy in the water, get the outboard on and go exploring.  We did just that later in the afternoon to visit the 'cruisers' shrine' and check on the condition of our home-made burgee we had hung in the tree a year ago.

The "shrine" is a fairly bushy, low tree which has the honour of displaying a variety of creative endeavours.  Everything from elaborate wood carvings to wine bottles with notes inside, shells, carved sandstone, flip flops.  Anything on which to record one's visit.  Our 'burgee' was fashioned from linen coloured Sunbrella canvas, inscribed with felt marking pens.  All in all it was in good shape, but the ink was fading.  A quick touch up ensued.  We've promised ourselves to make a more distinctive tribute to INTREPID II's visits to leave at our next opportunity.

It was a perfect late afternoon meander from boat to boat to introduce ourselves and chat with new cruising friends, before heading home for some bird watching.  We used the camera zoom and the binoculars to watch the osprey couple visit their nest high on the spires, then go off to hunt for dinner. Their chicks were loud in their demands for attention, although we did not see any heads pop out from the nest. 
Kelly hiking up the dusty road
Our night was calm and Thursday morning was pleasant.  We made another dinghy trip to the beach on the south side, followed by a hike along the dirt road which leads up and around to the northern cove called La Ramada.  This is said to be a good anchorage for south wind protection, but the north winds were already kicking up and breakers were rolling in.
La Ramada - good protection from south winds
We continued our hike around to the south and found that the small chunks of obsidian known as 'Apache tears' were in evidence in the roadway. The road fill comes from a quarry which apparently contains a large amount of this shiny black stone in sizes from small 'tears' to larger half inch sizes.  There are private homes at the end of this road, but someone has fashioned a well defined path of rocks and stones through the bushes and cactus over a ridge and down to the beach fronting our anchorage.  Very thoughtful and much appreciated.

This really is a pathway

There is the anchorage - right where we left it
By the time we had walked back to our dinghy, the water was choppy and the wind was increasing. That meant a damp ride back and ensure we'd tied the dinghy tight before we settled in.  The north winds had arrived.  Gusts of 19 to 23 knots moved the boat about for 4 hours, until 16:00, with white caps and wind waves making for a rolly afternoon.  Sometimes the forecasts are right on target!  A blustery end to the month of March.

On Friday, April 1st, the weather gurus were predicting winds with a 'southerly flavour'. We planned and deliberated, finally deciding to make our crossing back to Guaymas from this anchoraged, about 98 nautical miles.  That distance could mean anything from a 17 to 20 hour crossing, depending on whether we could sail, or motor and the actual sea conditions.  It would have been enjoyable to extend our stay with more hiking and beach exploring and watching the bird life, but our clock was ticking.  If we were caught waiting out other northers for too long, we would be delayed getting home.  (We know....don't have an fixed agenda!)

The wind picked up from the south east just before noon on Saturday.  We raised the anchor and headed into brisk easterly winds on a heading of 19 degrees true, towards Guaymas.  Our plan is to arrive at daybreak outside its harbour.  A fond farewell to Caleta San Juanico, a special place.

The Spires at dawn

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