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.

June 22, 2012

Anchorages in review - Yellowstone Beach, Isla Monserrat (April 10 -11)

White sand and yellow limestone bluffs
Our morning weather update from Geary on the Sonrisa ham net was for winds ESE 15 - 19 knots for the 'northern crossing' some distance away, and SSE 11 - 14 in the Puerto Escondido/Loreto area, which was approximately 30 nm northwards.  We needed to find an anchorage offering SE protection and considered Aqua Verde, Candeleros and the north end of Isla Monserrat.   By 09:30 we were underway, leaving the rusty red rocks of Los Gatos anchorage with blue skies overhead, seas rippled and 70 degrees already.   Kelly had to raise only 40 feet of chain by hand this time, as the windlass still was catching.  Definitely need to fix that problem!

Winds were light, SW 7 - 10;  we motor sailed our way with the jib partially rolled out.  The VHF radio caught our attention as SV Tamburan hailed us as they passed Timbabichie.  They thought Candeleros or all the way into Puerto Escondido would be their target for the night.  A large splash off our beam signaled a breaching whale.  Shortly after that surprise, Kelly spotted wing tips about 10 feet off starboard.  |Then -  just under the surface, a 6 foot manta ray, head flaps very apparent, glided passed INTREPID II.  That was a treat!  At noon we were in the vicinity of Aqua Verde and spotted 2 boats leaving with at least 6 masts in the north anchorage and 1 in the southern. By then we had determined we would try for Yellowstone Beach and add a new anchorage to our experience.  Off we went on a heading of 350 degrees to the north end of Isla Monserrat.
Courtesy of GatoLoco Sailing
The seas were becoming somewhat confused as we rolled out the jib further and revved back on the engine.  Without much warning, we were being knocked  about by steep 2 - 3 foot westerly swells and pondered whether this could be refracted swell this far from shore.  The Tamburam crew called to say they were experiencing the same situation closer to shore near Candeleros.  As we inched our way to the north end of the island and cleared the low headland we spotted a large motor vessel anchored off the white sand beach.  Drawing well around the shallow underwater reef which extends out from the northwest shore we could see the rocky islets known as "Las Galeras", which are known to offer great diving.
Layers of yellow limestone weathered by wind
The shoreline offered white sand beaches topped by distinctive yellow limestone bluffs, offset by sparkling clear green water.  We anchored at 14:45 inshore of MV Safari Quest, in 15 feet, with a scope of 110 feet. (25 degrees 42.533 N, 111 degrees 03.080 W) The cruising guides promised us wind and wave protection from south and southwesterly winds, although we should expect swell wrapping around the point.   Nothing we hadn't experienced at every other anchorage!  The westerly swells were manageable with the flopper stoppers at work on each side.

A big wind event building
As we zipped on our sun shades and were admiring the views we noticed an increase in the wind speed and choppiness of the waves. The dinghy stayed onboard; the winds continued to build but all was secure.  The motor vessel brought in the last of its explorers, raised anchor and headed south.  We had Yellowstone Beach to ourselves.  As the weather deteriorated we were very glad of that fact.  No vessels to drag into us and if we dragged, we'd end up in Topolopampo on the mainland, as the Captain commented the next morning.

This was a stressful and exhausting evening and night.  The ESE winds clocked and clocked again until we were facing west winds.  Mo anchorages were protected in the vicinity from that direction. Checking in with the evening Southbound net at 18:55, we advised winds were gusting to 18 knots and seas were in the 3 foot range in our anchorage.  Others advised they were experiencing W 20 - 30 knots in Bahia de Angeles and 15 - 20 at the Coronados.  More scope let out.  Our highest gust was 23 knots overnight. There was little sleep for us as we checked our position against the GPS mark. Black outside, no lights on the island and the clouds obscured the stars.  One for the 'worst night' scenario books!
Waves building

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