A few days ago, we decided to sleep in a bit and instead of going straight to the boat, we packed up the snorkel gear and the fly rod to go explore a new beach we’d been eyeing from above. With flyrod in hand and a coat of wet varnish on some teak outside, we should have known that the weather would turn nasty.
The clouds were a bit ominous as we pulled out of the driveway, and soon the wind began picking up. By the time we parked at the beach it was gusting to 40 knots, so the flyrod remained in the backseat.
We scrambled down the mountain to check out the beach despite the inclement weather, and we were greeted by a taste of the power of the Sea of Cortez. The beach was a little sliver of sand nestled between to cliffs (i.e. a wind tunnel), and by the time we got down, it had picked up even more steam. We later looked at the actual wind speeds, and a nearby weather station clocked 49 knots, so we’re guessing that we were feeling close to 60 knots in that little constriction.
In the big gusts there were times when we physically could not walk forward through the wind, and exposed skin was painfully sandblasted. Waves were being blown back into the water before they could break on the beach. Thank god for sunglasses, or we would have been blinded by the blowing grit. Needless to say, we didn’t stay long.
By this time we were also getting worried about Selkie, so we headed up and drove back towards the bay to get a look. She was still on her mooring, riding over the big waves that were coming through the entrance to the bay. Later that day we paddled out, and sure enough, everything was ship shape. Nothing had chafed, nothing had blown away, and the bilge was dry; we had survived our first chubasco!
The storm was a good experience in what 50 knots in a protected area feels like. We were also reminded that the next two weeks are statistically the most likely time for a hurricane to make it into the sea. We’ve been keeping a close eye on the tropics lately, watching the forecasts like a hawk for any cyclone development (www.eebmike.com is a fantastic site for all the tropical storm info you can shake a stick at). Currently we have our eye on Tropical Storm Kristy…
Here’s our Go Pro video of the event!