Bahia San Quintin – A story of landing

Sunset on the Pacific

Bahia San Quintin was our first overnight as the Taco Runners, a 15 hour run (110 n.m.) from Ensenada. We left Ensenada in the afternoon, traveling overnight so we could arrive at the anchorage in daylight.  The bay is a 5-mile-wide crescent shaped anchorage south of a 10-mile-long sand bar.  The bay is open to the ocean. This is important to know because to get to the beach on the dinghy, we had to “land” the dinghy through the ocean surf.  Charlie’s Charts (a cruising manual), page 18 states, “Landing a dinghy through the surf can be hazardous, few cruising sailors have found it necessary to do so in the US and Canadian waters so it is a technique that will probably be learned in situ.” 

Scott was well prepared and had installed Beachmaster wheels on our smaller dinghy. The wheels can be folded down to allow for easy maneuvering of the dinghy once on the beach. The technique of beaching a dinghy through the surf requires waiting for a slack period in the incoming swells and then quickly accelerating forward past the breaking surf zone. This also requires quickly pulling up the outboard motor before/while beaching the dinghy and expediently getting all crew out of the dinghy before the next incoming wave crests. Yikes! Right?

Adjustable Beachmaster wheels

We were ready for our first beaching. On our way to the beach we met Alison and Kevin in their dinghy with their two puppies, Zoe and Max coming back from the beach.  How’d the landing go?  Their story of beaching their dinghy with the pups was both informative (for me) and entertaining, sort of.  They were wet, Zoe was wet and looked a little perturbed, and poor Max was wrapped in a towel shivering! They had overturned during their beach landing and overturned getting back out to the bay but were in good spirits, as they always are!  To say the least, I was apprehensive and a little scared! I quickly tied everything down in the dinghy and without a word or preparation, Scott floored the motor and we beached! Yay! We pulled the dinghy up the beach and had a nice walk finding sand dollars and enjoying the sunshine. Then it was time to get back out through the surf.  We were successful, but the last incoming wave that hit us was so enormous that the dinghy went airborne bow up about 6 feet!  Gasping, I found that I was still in the dinghy and when I looked behind me, Scott was there too with a huge grin.  All good.

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