OK so I’m jumping ahead here…to the actual present time. I tend to post about a month behind. Somehow we’re always just busy enough that updating the blog takes the back seat. But there is some pressing news to report upon…
We are about to experience our first hurricane… or tropical storm (fingers crossed)! We were not expecting this. You may be thinking, “Wait a minute, hurricane season starts in mid-May. Why are you surprised?” Well, hurricane season in the northern hemisphere does start in May. This time of year however storms in the Pacific form near Acapulco and head west, out to sea. Once the waters in the Sea of Cortez warm up, later in the summer, they head toward the Baja peninsula. Baja doesn’t even have hurricane scares until August. So our plan has been to be in Bahia de Los Angeles, way up north, by August and to spend the bulk of the hurricane season a day’s sail away from the protected hurricane hole there (“Puerto” Don Juan which is not a port). But we are in La Paz, way down south, and an actual hurricane is heading our way. This can be attributed to 2015 being a strong El Nino year and the sea surface temps are already unusually high in the western pacific as well as within the Sea of Cortez. So expect the unexpected right?
As you can imagine hurricane Blanca is the talk of the town in the cruising community. The daily net we hear on the VHF every morning has been sharing updates and advice. We moved into a slip at Marina de La Paz on Tues thinking that it would fill up, which it did later that day. Even though the storm is set to arrive on Sun/Mon most folks have moved from the anchorage into slips by today (Thursday) to ensure they get a spot. Several boats will stay on anchor in the bay trusting their ground tackle and that of the numerous derelict neighboring boats. But we want some peace of mind and of course some protection from the wind and storm surge.
Fortunately, it looks like it will be a tropical storm by the time it reaches us. We’ll get some rain to wash the rigging and an excuse to quickly finish up some projects. Unfortunately, this early storm is making us rethink our summer plans and how far north we need to be for the months of June and July. Even the old timers can’t make decisions based on previous experience; things are just different this year. El Nino years bring more storm systems to this coast and with climate change and general warming of the oceans it becomes more difficult to predict the weather.
Paradise is certainly exciting!
UPDATE AFTER THE STORM
Tropical storm Blanca was (thankfully) a total snoozer here in La Paz. We were in the marina and clocked up to 50 kts of wind there. We were excited for some rain to wash off the rigging but (can you believe it?) we didn’t even get one drop! Instead it was a giant dust storm all night long. We had the boat open for a while to cool things off and at one point realized that there was a thick layer of dust on everything… between books, in cabinets. We’ll be finding remnants of Blanca in the nooks and crannies for a long time. Glad it was mellow and we got some practice prepping for storms…since it is only June.