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December 12, 2012

Beware of King Tides This Week

Walkway to nowhere? No, it’s a pedestrian ramp at the St. Francis YC boat basin during last year’s King Tides.

© Matt Richardson

If you woke up this morning and saw that sea water had encroached onto roadways and walking paths where it doesn’t normally travel, you may have been tempted to think those much-publicized doomsday predictions — asserting that the world will come to an end in late December — might actually be true.

Fear not. That abnormally high water is simply a result of the so-called King Tides that will be with us through Friday. A look at any tide chart will confirm that their arrival is no surprise. That said, NOAA scientists working with the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary point out that these highest-of-all winter tides (which we’ll also see January 9-11 and February 7-9) can provide  "a glimpse of what the state can expect as sea level rises in the coming years." A special study group called the California King Tides Initiative is asking local residents to "photograph these ultra-high tides, highlighting the way homes, harbors, and other infrastructure, as well as beaches, wetlands, and public access to the coast may be affected by sea level rise in the future." Heightened concern comes after a National Academy of Sciences report released earlier this year projected approximately one foot of sea-level rise along the California coast by 2050 and up to five feet by 2100. You can view the timing and location of tide levels throughout California here. And you can submit and view tide images here.

King tides can cause havoc in a variety of ways and for boaters the lows can sometimes be more problematic than the highs.

© 2012

So this week’s tides really aren’t signaling the end of the world as we know it. And those predictions that the planet Nibiru is going to collide with Earth. . . eh, we’re not buying it. Especially since the same thing was supposed to happen in 2003. But we definitely do believe you should take precautions against this week’s dramatic tidal ranges (at Golden Gate Bridge):

  • Today: 7.1 high @ 0945; -1.6 low @ 1635
  • Thursday: 7.2 high @1034; -1.8 low @ 1722
  • Friday: 7.0 high @ 1124; -1.7 low @ 1810
A biker weighs his options during the ’10-’11 season, as his usual route is deeply flooded.

© Yanna B.

Fort Baker public access

Fort Baker Boat Shed & Marina, situation inside Horseshoe Cove at the entrance to San Francisco Bay.

© Brocken Inaglory

The National Park Service has issued a Request for Expressions of Interest — an informal precursor to a Request for Proposal — from those who might be interested in rehabbing and operating the Fort Baker Historic Boat Shop & Marina. Currently run by employees of Travis Air Force Base, Fort Baker has been part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area for more than a decade and the NPS hopes that a partnership will develop a diverse mix of programs and services that will benefit the public. 

"This is part of a National Park and it needs to be accessible to the public," said Katharine Arrow of the NPS. "We want to take the next step and really open up the place."

Arrow says the RFEI allows those who might be interested to discuss their ideas with the NPS, allowing everyone to make sure they’re all on the same page before going through the labor-intensive process of a formal proposal. To facilitate those discussions, Arrow will be hosting informal tours of the facilities — the main building that houses Presidio YC, two smaller buildings, a shed and the marina — today from 2-5 p.m. Email or call Arrow at (415) 561-4971 if you might be interested.

"I get a lot of people asking me if we’re going to evict Presidio YC tomorrow," Arrow noted. "A lot of different scenarios could play out at Fort Baker, but we really want to try to fit PYC into the change. They’ve been there over 50 years, and they’re a nonprofit, volunteer group who teach sailing — they do a lot of the things that need to occur out there." She points out that no matter what happens, this is the federal government and "nothing is done suddenly."

New Classy Classified Deadline

In case you missed the news in the December issue of Latitude 38, the deadline for the Classy Classifieds has been moved to the 15th of the month, even if it falls on a weekend — which it does this month. So get your ad placed by 5 p.m. on Saturday if you want it in the next issue. 

Latitude’s Classy Classifieds are an institution. For the last 30-something years, eager sellers have known that an inexpensive Classy ad generates more quality — and qualified — leads than any other source. It’s often the first section of the magazine readers turn to. And now that Classies are added to our website at no additional charge, sellers are exposed to even more potential buyers.

Placing a Classy is simple — just click the link above and follow the instructions. Forty-word ads are still just $40 and will go online quickly, as well as in the next month’s issue of the magazine (if submitted by the 15th). If your boat is priced at under $1,000, an online ad is free!

Dinghy Thefts at South End of Town

Based on recent reports we’ve received from cruisers, there have been a couple of brazen dinghy/outboard thefts and attempted thefts at the south end of Mazatlan, meaning the Old Harbor and Stone Island. This is at the opposite end of town and miles away from El Cid Marina and Marina Mazatlan.

Dinghy and outboard thefts have been reported in the Old Mazatlan Harbor and Stone Island anchorage.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The first report came from John Gatton of the San Francisco-based Hans Christian 33 Nakia. He and his partner Linda Hill were anchored near Stone Island in early November and had their dinghy hoisted out of the water on a halyard. Thieves drove their panga right beneath the dinghy, then cut the lines holding it up. They got away with the 12-ft inflatable and outboard motor.

More recently, Max Shaw and Elizaberth Brown-Shaw of the Halifax, Nova Scotia-based Stevens 47 Fluenta reported they were at anchor in the old Mazatlan Harbor near Club Nautico when "someone tried to steal our outboard while it was mounted to our pushpit. They loosened off one of the screws, but the other was locked to the mount, so they were unsuccessful. Our neighbor was less lucky, as thieves stole one outboard from the boat, and tried to cut a second one loose. Fortunately, the second one was attached with metal cord and they didn’t get it." 

We’re not positive, but it’s our understanding that the second boat was Robert and Nancy Novak’s Sausalito-based Oyster 485 Shindig.

We want to emphasize that these incidents are extremely uncharacteristic of Mexico. Indeed, the U.S. Department of State has just revised their travel warnings for Mexico, and virtually all cruisers destinations along the Pacific Coast get a clean bill of health. The only exceptions are certain areas of Acapulco and Mazatlan late at night — and again, only certain areas, and well after dark.

Indeed, the cruising life in Mexico has been very, very good. Well, it was warmer and more humid on the Riviera Nayarit in November than in years past, but that’s Mother Nature’s deal, and it’s been much nicer the last few weeks. But the vibe in Mexico seems great, with the inauguration on December 6 of a new president, followed shortly by an agreement by the leaders of the three leading political parties about the country’s needs. Sort of not like the Democrats and Republicans. Among the priorites: pensions for people over 65, health insurance for single mothers, two new national television networks to compete with the current duopoly, and reducing the power of the feared and corrupt Pemex and teachers’ unions. There was no mention made of continuing outgoing President Calderon’s war on narco traffickers. The unspoken policy seems to be, ‘If Americans want drugs, they’re going to get them, we just don’t want innocent Mexicans killed in the process.’ 

People back in the States still ask us if we feel safe in Mexico. After rolling our eyes a few times, we tell them, yes, we do feel safe. Indeed, we feel a lot safer in Mexico than we do in many places in California. As we spend three months a year in Mexico and three months a year in the Caribbean, we can also tell you that we feel safer in Mexico than we do in the Caribbean. If that changes, we’ll let you know.

It’s possible we had reason to believe we’d be put on Santa’s ‘Naughty List’ this year but, to our collective relief, he turned a blind eye after having such a festive time on this year’s Baja Ha-Ha.
Are you a new cruiser to Banderas Bay? If so, join us aboard Profligate — or another boat — tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m.
The top five leaders in this year’s running of the Vendée Globe have been dancing back and forth, in and out of the lead position since the fleet passed the tip of South Africa.