Bahia San Marte II

The southerly blow had eased up by Saturday morning, so we took advantage of the lull to scoot back around the rocky corner from Agua Verde to Bahia San Marte, to get ready for the forecasted norther that was going to arrive on Sunday.

Arriving early, we stopped first to check out some nearby sea caves. 

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Unfortunately the swell had churned up the water so that the visibility in the caves was pretty much nil.  The Sally Lightfoots were glad to see us go.

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The rocks outside the caves were teeming with fish.  Fearless snapper taunted K as if they knew he was powerless to spear them.

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Our curiosity satisfied, we headed up into the bay to shelter behind the reefs and headlands.  This time we had the bay all to ourselves.

In an effort to foster a good night’s sleep in case the winds came early, K set two anchors off our primary chain: the usual Davis Talon delta anchor (aka “Triceratops”) and our Fortress danforth anchor (aka “Fortress America”).  We hooked up the snubbers and settled in for the evening. (Snubbers are lines we attach to the chain and cleat off on both sides of the bow.  They transfer the anchor loads from the wussy bow rollers and anchor windlass to the sturdier cleats.)

We took advantage of the clear water to watch the anchors embed as we set them. K snorkeled over the anchor while S powered back to dig it into the bottom. K enjoys watching his 50 pound plow digging in almost as much as he enjoyed watching 75 tonners dig in to the Aleutian volcanic sand (in spite of the difference in salary.) The similarities are striking even though the loads are not, Bint Al Khamseen sets her anchors with a couple of hundred pounds of pull, the 75 tonners needed about 1,600,000 lbs.

Right on schedule, the norther arrived early Sunday morning and the winds gusted up to the mid-20s, with a few in the lower 30s. The annoying thing is that the 1-minute winds probably averaged less than 10 knots (an excellent example of the meaninglessness of wind data without sample period.) The boat responds with constant dancing and swinging like a nervous horse on her tether.  She’s released from each gust like an arrow into the calms, shooting forward down the anchor rode and nearly overrunning the anchors before turning sideways to provide her full beam profile for the next gust. The gust hits, we spin through 130 degrees over the slack chain while the snubbers slowly pull the bow around in an ungraceful square dance. Below in the cabin we look up and watch the mountain ridges windsprinting past the companion way opening, equally fast in both directions.

So with nothing better to do we fussed with our ground tackle.  First, the snubbers were getting quite a workout so we moved them both to the port side and added another heftier one on starboard to share the load.  Then we decided it’d be a good drill to get our third anchor, the 20-kg Bruce, ready to go – just for fun.  Here are the snubbers doing their thing, and the Bruce anchor at the ready in the bow roller.

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For more kicks, we even readied some line (complete with a spiffy orange kellet) for our 25 lb danforth that lives on the stern rail.

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Satisfied that we were ready for almost anything, we got down to some hard core loafing. The words of K’s old friend Bawewee the Kenyan AB, “Big sea is bad for the work but good for the relax”.   That is, if your anchoring gear is happy.

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25°30.23’N 111°01.01’W   24-Jan-10 23:00 UTC

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