Sunday, May 16, 2010

Trying to Reason With Hurricane Season...

Yesterday officially marked the beginning of hurricane season in the eastern Pacific ocean. That exciting day hid the sun behind clouds and sent a trickle of rain down onto the top of Nanu's deck. Not that the rain had anything to do with huricane season. Nor did the hundreds of jellyfish that floated into our favorite surf spot, or the cold water that couldn't have been more than 70*f.

In fact, according to the "facts," not to much is going to start happening around here for at least another month. I've been doing my research and here's what I've come up with...

If you want to read more, these are the sites I grabbed stats and images off of:


1951 not a single tropical storm or hurricane has passed within 250 miles of Baja.


In June the Eastern Pacific is starting to really warm up and the storm activity increases. By mid June hurricanes become a possibility in Baja, although still pretty remote. The last time a June hurricane hit Baja was in 1958. The early season storm packed winds of 85 mph as it passed within 25 miles of Cabo San Lucas, which wasn't much more than a few fishing huts at the time.

A map of the west coast of Mexico showing all the hurricanes in the month of June since 1948.


In July the water in the Sea of Cortez is warmer. But hurricanes in our hemisphere want to go to the west because of their rotation. The jet stream usually doesn't drop southward across Baja until late August. Historically speaking, July is a safe month too, as the storms move harmlessly out into the Pacific and dissipate. There has been one Category 2 hurricane brush past Magdalena Bay and make landfall north of San Ignacio back in July of 1954. Tropical storm Calvin hit East Cape in 1993 and another tropical storm Calvin hit Todos Santos in 1981.

A map of the west coast of Mexico showing all of the hurricanes in July since 1948.

SO... knock on wood that this will be like any other year!

But our trusty hurricane watch website has told us there's nothing to worry about...

Our trusty hurricanewarning site tells us we don't have to worry about hurricanes right now...

So- on to more exciting things!!

Rum for everyone! We finally left Punta Mita!

Rachael trying to ride a left wave. I have only recenty become competent at standing up regularly...

With the predictions of the surf swell dying off in Punta Mita, Eric and I decided that it would be fun for a change of scenery... we were laughing about being "locals" at the place where we surf and were itching to check out something new...

About a week ago we scrubbed Nanu's bottom (which is in dire need of a paint job) and grabbed some last minute provisions in town.

Nanu, Tao and Caramela left pUnta Mita before the wind picked up. The sun was just rising over the land as we went around the point and headed north.

The sailing was phenomenol! A straight reach all the way to Chacala (30 miles) without any need for a tack. We chatted on the radio with Tao and Caramela and had a lovely sail with our main and 120 drifter keeping us going between three and five knots...

S/V Caramela managed to anchor in the prime spot for some phenomenol sunset pictures at Chacala.

Chacala was wonderful! We stern-anchored (when we have two anchors out- one on the bow and one on the stern to keep us facing into the swell) and were amazed at the clarity and temperature of the water. It was so warm!

The little bay was surrounded by fruit orchards. Orange trees, pineapples, bananas and every other kind of fruit you could ask for waited to be picked for the local markets in the area.

Chris, Kristina, Ryan and Eric on a mission to go to Las Varras... Chacala in the background...

We surfed our hearts out on a left break that Chris and Eric knew about and explored around town. Although the waves were small, it was a fun break that kept us all entertained for several days!

Eric enjoyed Chacala's left wave. Although the swell was small, it still provided us with hours of entertainment!

Ryan managed to get an infection in his eyes and Christina had insisted that they go and see a doctor. Chris (Tao) and Eric and I went along and we hopped in a taxi that took us 12 miles inland to the bustling town of Las Varras. While Ryan and Christina visited the doctor, Chris, Eric and I explored the town.

The main drag in Las Varras. The small tiendas and stores were well-stocked and everyone was friendly...!

Trying to find an internet cafe, we found the local library that was (in my opinion) not very full of books. And very well-hidden in what looked like an apartment building. Had there not been a massive sign, we might not have known...

La biblioteca de Las Varras. The library was hidden away in an apartment building and had maybe a thousand books.

The poor juice-maker lady had to fill my painstaking order of three fresh-squeezed orange juices. Do you know how many oranges it takes to hand-squeeze three large (750ml) cups of orange juice!?

Eric and Chris taking a break in the Las Varras zacala. The community church is in the background.

Meeting back up with Caramela we ended up at a neat little taco stand owned by a fellow with a smart- butted comment for everything you said... the tacos were great!

Kristina and Ryan choosing only the best mangoes from the fruit stand...

We managed to get the taxi driver to drop us off at a HUGE fruit stand on the side of the road and we spent 20 minutes marvelling at pineapples, mangoes, bananas, yacas and CANDY! We walked away with a kilo of mangoes and enough fruit-based candy to make anyone (other than a sugar-holic) a tooth ache... success!!

Although it looks like tons of variety, there was mostly only watermelon, mangoes, pineapples, coconuts, bananas and yakas...

With the promise of 8ft surf, we left Chacala and headed another 30 miles north to a bay just south of San Blas caled Matenchen Bay.

There was no surf.

Rachael, Eric, Kristina and Chris waiting for waves on a very flat day at Chacala...

But lots of bugs (we're still itchy!)

Please. Don't poo here. A sign that we giggled over in Chacala.

We spent a day at Matenchen hunting down "potential" surf spots. Chris crammed into the Fatty Knees and the three of us went on nearly a three hour sail around the bay to see the breaks. The sail was nice, but we didn't turn up anything interesting...

Chris came over for dinner that night and we enjoyed an evening of beers and stories before bedtime.

The next morning, Eric made the executive decision that we were going back south to catch the last of the swell at Punta Mita.

We bid a final farewell to Tao and Caramela before pulling anchor and headed south again in the name of surf.

The sail was another wonderful reach with only one tack and an average speed of around 5.5 knots. Awesome. We arrived in Punta Mita right before the sun set and dropped anchor before hitting the hay.

In the morning, the clouds and a chilly breeze greeted us and as we headed out to the surf spot, we knew it was going to be a weird day. Indeed it was. A jellyfish infestation and cold, cold water drove us out and we spent the rest of the afternoon in Punta Mita picking up some fresh produce.

Once again here we are in Punta Mita, although now we are beginning to seriously think about heading north.

With the winds of change coming soon, Eric has been making more of an effort to listen to the weather and we're slowly getting the last bit of our kicks in Banderas bay in before we begin the bash north.

We still plan on going to Quimixto one more time for a hike up a waterfall and haven't quite gotten enough surf in, but soon enough we'll be one of the boats that we regularly see northbound.

1 comment:

shawn and chris said...

The elusive 8-foot surf...Thanks for the update! It's nice to know the details of the passage- Chris' computer died, so no blog updates from him until I get down there with a computer early June.

Sorry that the Endless Summer is coming to an end, but that means new beginnings start. Safe travels, and I look forward to updates!

Besos y abrazos,