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.

February 11, 2012

On the Baja! Puerto Ballandra (26 01.006 N, 111 09.9 W)

INTREPID II in south anchorage Punta Ballandra
Hola from our picturesque anchorage in Puerto Ballandra on the west side of Isla Carmen, across from the historic mission town of Loreto!  It is Saturday afternoon, February 18. We've completed our boat chores; the Captain has rowed us around the south side of the anchorage to explore and get some cardio exercise. The Admiral has downloaded pictures to her laptop to ensure they were saved.  Suddenly we realized we are directly across from Loreto ; perhaps we could get 3G cell coverage to check emails. Voila!  Not a speedy connection, but much appreciated.
Another view from our dinghy
We have some great photos, which will be included once we get a better connection.

From February 4th to 6th, we were busy people.  Boat cleaning, scrubbing, stowing, laundry, provisioning  and saying 'hasta luego' to our friends in the works yard, many of the security fellows, Blackie the security dog (hope your leg heals soon - a pox on whomever kicked you!), staff, and the remaining cruisers on the dock and in the anchorage.  February 5th was an Independence Day celebration, with Monday being a government holiday, so the marina office was closed.  Tuesday morning was rushed for all concerned as we puzzled over incongruous electricity readings, finalized our bill, and received our 'despatcho' which is the port leaving document required by the next Port Captain.  In our case, we planned on it being La Paz.
Departure day - fog and the port was closed
This was taking place mostly in FOG - not in 'a fog' - but real, moist, cloudy fog, which by 10:00 am had effectively closed the port.  When the Port Captain says it is 'cerrado' you stay put.  Our perfect plans for leaving with a full moon at night, a good, but short weather window for moderate NW winds were halted by another of Mother Nature's phenomenons.  The tide was dropping steadily.  Just behind the  marina docks the sand silts up considerably and we did not want to be left stuck in the muck.  SV Iron Butterfly headed out to the anchorage and we followed and idled abou; hoping the skies would clear, as there was blue all around except to the south east,the harbour entrance.

Fog rolling in over Punta Haro 
At 13:00 we heard the Port Captain announce over the VHF radio that the port was now "abierto".  Thank you to Ariana for attemping to contact us as well from the marina office to confirm we could leave.  As we headed out, a large freighter was being ushered in by a tug, with our friend the Harbour Pilot waiting to finish directing the vessel.  Turning the corner we realized the fog had left the harbour entrance, but not the channel leading in.  On went the radar and running lights and warmer wind gear.  Iron Butterfly was following, as was Wandering Star, both boats intending to head north to San Carlos.  The fog cleared somewhat but we could see it rolling in across Punta Haro.   Condensation was forming on our bimini framework. We had to keep wiping the water droplets off our sunglasses.

Foul weather gear in Mexico??
Our main was up to steady the rolling movement in the gentle swells and we entered another fog bank. Iron Butterfly headed north into the gloom; they were sounding an air horn to advise vessels they were in the area.  We had our trusty ship's bell at the ready.  Eventually INTREPID II emerged out of the fog bank and settled into our passage towards Caleta San Juanico.

We will fill in the details in later posts, but this passage was fairly uneventful (thankfully) except that we were dressed for the Pacific Northwest in winter!  The full moon came up around 18:45, but was obscured by clouds much of the night; so much for a starry, starry, bright night!  However, having its glow even from behind the clouds was comforting as it shone faintly on the rippling water as we made our way south.
Full Moon rising 
Our destination was 98 nautical miles from Guaymas; we'd planned to arrive just before sunrise.  We sailed for a good part of the night, keeping the engine at idle, because we had been using the radar and auto-pilot and because it seemed the battery wasn't holding a charge.  Our "watches" weren't all that restful, as it takes awhile to get back into a routine of feeling comfortable enough to rest below. It was good to warm up and do some tasks in the cabin.
Sunset and calm seas
By 06:30 am the moon had set and sunrise was still a half hour away.  We could make out Punta Pulpito to the north and the entrance to the anchorage of Caleta San Juanico.  This bay is a lovely spot; we've been there twice before, admiring the Spires, the beach with the Cruisers' (Tree) Shrine and the ospreys nesting nearby.  We were surprised to have the place to ourselves with the pick of the spots.  Once the anchor was down and everything tidied up, we settled in for a few hours sleep and woke up about noon ready to enjoy our destination.
Spires with osprey nests at San Juanico
More to come about San Juanico.  Due to forecasted changing wind directions with a more 'southerly flavour' as Sonrisa weather guru Geary stated, we made plans to leave sooner than expected.  We're saving our explorations for the trip back, if all goes well.

Closing in on Isla Coronados
Friday morning, February 10th, we raised the anchor and were underway by 09:30 towards Puerto Ballandra on Isla Carmen, about 26 nm away.  As our estimates are based on 5 nm as a conservative rate of progress, this was 6 hours.  We made close to 6 knots, under jib and the engine, arrived and had the hook down by 14:00 hours.  It was a rolly ride as we more or less kept pace with the NW seas as they were turning into 'buffaloes' (if you were heading north).  The winds were 13 - 15 knots from the stern but weren't enough to entice us to turn off the engine, as the seas were building and we wanted to ensure we had a spot to anchor.

This was our first time into Puerto Ballandra and it is hard to spot. That's why we have cruising guides and way-points to complement our own calculations and observations.  There were two boats at anchor, but the south-east side was available, which suited us, as by Saturday the winds were forecast to come from the south east.  This anchorage has high hills surrounding it, with scrub and cacti, and some tan coloured cliffs.  The south beach off our stern is rocky and does not connect to the NE beach.
Entering Punta Ballandra on Isla Carmen

Deploying flopper-stopper
Surprise!   Rolly, rolly, rolly.  The rocks at the entrance don't block the swell and we had to put out two flopper-stoppers to keep the sideways motion manageable.  This continued into the evening as we cooked dinner but eventually things steadied and we had a calm and quiet night.  It was another absolutely beautiful night for stars, but we were in bed before the moon began to rise.  All that fresh air!

Today, Saturday Feb. 11th, dawned a beautiful clear day and we savoured the view from our back porch.  The winds have picked up as we write, so weather guru Geary is on track as usual.  There is a bit of calm now at 16:30 pm.  It is time to sign off and determine if we stay another day or head southward tomorrow.  We have in mind Aqua Verde, south of Puerto Escondido, or San Marte around the southern corner, if the winds do shift back to the north.  From there, we might stop at Los Gatos and quite likely drop into San Evaristo and Isla San Francisco on the way to La Paz.

Gull and cormorants looking westward

Clear water
In case we don't get a chance to update again before the 14th.  Happy Valentine's Day, especially to our family who are so supportive back home.


Anonymous said...

Nice to hear you got away from the dock. Our motor is still in the hospital and awaiting parts. Probably be out of here in a week. Likely to be in La Paz for a day or 2 before the end of February. This is a lot longer to be around Mazatlan than we expected!
We are making the best of it at poolside bingo. So far we have 6 T shirts and 2 hats. Looks like our wardrobe is good for now.
Jay + Anita

Diana - Calgary said...

Happy Valentines Day from family in Calgary. Had a bit of snow between yesterday and today so it has a wintery appearance again. Enjoy your sun!

Arlete said...

I took a great picture of your boat leaving Guaymas on 10 Feb with the fog in the background. You can see it at funwithdickandarlete.blogspot.com
Loved this blog entry and being able to keep up with your travels. ~Arlete & Dick