HERE COMES MARTY!
I brought Mirador all this way north so that we would be exposed to as few Hurricanes as possible. The Global Tracks database shows only four Hurricanes or Tropical Storms getting this far north during the period 1949 thru 1998. Good idea - BAD results!
We are expecting Hurricane Marty to hit land 125 miles SE of us in the early AM tomorrow, Tuesday September 23. At this time Marty is a 971mb hurricane with winds over 80 knots, moving true north at 18 knots. He blasted La Paz early today with 70 knots gusting to 100 knots. The Hurricane force winds lasted from about 1 AM thru 8 AM when the eye based over La Paz. We have not heard from any station in La paz since then (it is currently 1 PM PDT).
Marty is forecast to go ashore at San Carlos/Guaymas in Sonora, Mexico with winds of 65 knots gusting to 80 and then continue north into the Sierra Madre Mountains and Sonoran Desert. If he behaves as predicted we should experience no more than 25 knot winds for a few hours because his closest point of approach will be over 80 miles to our east after he has been over land for 12 hours.
Our big concern is the possible waves and swell. This anchorage has hills and mountains from 60º magnetic thru South all the way around to the North. The only wave action that can affect us is that coming from the North to the ENE. Unfortunately, the track of Marty which is always to the east of us means that his winds will intially hit us from the East and then, over a 10 hour period, work their way around to the NE, North, and finally the NW. Looking NE, the closest land is 60 miles away so the wind will have room to build up some waves if it blows for any length of time.
That is what is good about Marty moving forward at 18 knots, the wind will back thru 120 degrees in 10 hours so we hope the wind doesn't blow consistently enough from any one direction for long enough to build a significant sea. Mirador is anchored in 20' of water over good dense sand. My choice is to stay here, where there is no current and a good holding bottom with a nice sandy beach to leeward, and remain exposed to the N to NE waves.
Or, I can move about a 1/2 mile to the west between Isla Divsion and Isla Mejia. That location is pretty well landlocked, except for a 100 yard wide pass looking NE.
The picture to the left shows Isla Division to the right of the pass in the center of the picture and Isla Mehija to the left of the pass. The preferred anchorages are along the shore of Isla Mejia. The point on Mejia that is closest to the pass provides excellent protection to one anchorge. Then, despite not looking so good in this picture, the low sandy shoreline along Mejia on the left part of the picture is pretty well protected from north and NE waves. The pass between the two islands looks exactly NE.
The problem with moving between the two islands is threefold. There are strongish currents running thru there because the tide level changes seven feet every 19 hours. The second problem is that the bottom over there has a lot of big rocks and is quite a bit deeper than here. The third problem is that there are five boats here in the West Bight of the East Bay at Puerto Refugio. If I move over to the inter-island anchorage every other boat will also move over there and I don't know if there is enough room for five boats between the islands.
The same problem occurred when I considered moving 45 miles west to Bahia Willard on the Baja Peninsula east coast. There were eight boats here yesterday noon. Three of them decided to move to Willard which will only hold five or six boats. Once those three left it was I was reluctant to head to Willard because at least three others would have come with me and then Willard would be full and dangerous.
I will decide what to do when I get the 2 PM PDT updated forecast for Marty via the HAM Winlink2000 system. At that time I can decide to:
1) Stay here and put down a lot of chain and another anchor
2) Move between the two islands
3) Head for Bahia Willard.
Finally, here is a picture of the West Bight Anchorage when there were eight boats here:
Mirador is the boat closest to the camera in the lower right.
This picture is looking due east from a hill above the anchorage. The preceeding picture was taken from the same spot.