Daily forecast & on-site reports by Mike Godsey
Tomorrow will be the last forecast of the season. Thanks for all your reports and encouragement. Watch my personal web site this coming year for videos and photos: windnotes.com
On site report, Thursday Feb. 28. UPDATE #1 @ 7:25AM: 2-3 foot surf on the beach and winds in the 8 knot range and patchy 15 knot wind 500 feet from shore. About 1/2 mile out patchy 25 knot wind and large swell.
Human Forecast summary updated @ 7:30AM: El Norte continue at the surface while powerful winds aloft descend to the surface randomly making for UP AND DOWN wind and some NW shifts. Wind low to mid 20's with periods stronger. Sky blue overhead and inbound.
Los Barriles: Gusty low to mid 20's.
La Ventana: Gusty low to mid 20's. Slightly shifty and up and down inside.
El Sargento:Gusty upper teens building outside to mid 20's. Shifty and up and down inside.
Discussion: Several huge domes of high pressure in the 4 corners region of the USA ally with a beefy North Pacific High to create powerful wind the length of the Sea of Cortez. At the same time strong 925mb winds aloft will descend to the surface at times making for up and down winds.
Extended forecast:Friday upper teens then we go into a period of light wind. Send recap reports and feedback to:
Photo of the day. Old Baja spinning wheel still in daily operation.
For lots of Baja Kiting & Windsurfing videos and photos go to: windnotes.com.
Understanding Baja Wind 101:
There are 3 basic winter time wind patterns in Sea of Cortez shore line of Baja Sur.
1. Local sea breeze pattern:
There are frequent local sea breezes or thermal winds in the 10-15 knot range at locations like Los Barriles and especially La Ventana where a large valley downwind heats up in the afternoon. As parcels of hot air rise in the afternoon they create a low pressure area. As this low pressure increases the wind offshore begins to ramp up and head towards shore.
Often in this pattern the Sea of Cortez will be glassy calm in the AM then mid day you will see see a wind line in the distance. Shortly there after very steady but mild winds reach the shore. As you head further away from shore the wind will gradually weaken. Expect very small swell in this pattern. At sites like LA bay that lack a large valley down wind local sea breezes are uncommon.
These winds are strongest in the La Ventana to El Sargento area. On the weakest days the strongest winds will be north of El Sargento in the 1/4 mile stretch from the Hot Strings southward. Only kites are likely to be powered on these weak days.
2. Strong El Norte wind pattern: These gusty winds in the 20-30 knot range occur every several weeks. These winds occur after a storm passes over California and high pressure that follows the storm settles for a day or two in the 4 corners (where all the square states meet). This creates a strong pressure gradient from the 4 corners to low pressure south of Baja. This high pressure is strongest at night when the frigid airs of the 4 corners strengthen the high pressure. So typically you will first notice huge blasts of wind in the middle of the night that announce the arrival of El Norte. These winds roar down the middle of the Sea of Cortez so you will notice huge lumps on the eastern horizon at dawn. The key to getting these winds to move to the shore is inland heating. If the sky to the west is mostly clear then expect the wind to ramp up between 8 and 11AM.
A lot of the force of El Norte is from winds just aloft that make the surface wind UP AND DOWN. Sometimes the wind just aloft is NNW which tends to blow the El Norte surface wind away from shore. This often means on and off wind at the beaches. Typically Los Barriles has the strongest El Norte winds because it stick further out into the Sea of Cortez than La Ventana. The further outside you sail the stronger the wind and the bigger the huge swell.
3. Local sea breeze pattern + Weak El Norte wind: This is the most common wind on Baja's East Cape with winds in the 18-24 knot range. This occurs when there is a weak low pressure in the 4 corners which creates wind that slides down the Sea of Cortez as 5-10 knot winds. Once it arrives it combines with the 10-15 knot local sea breezes. This brings you wind in the 15 to 25 knot range with small swell.
Remember Baja's East Cape wind blows in cycles as high pressure areas move across the USA. So you have several days of good wind and then several days of modest to no wind. And every season there are periods of a week or more without wind. So sailors and kiters in the know stuff every possible toy into their caravan that space and budget allow. The most useful toys are mountain bikes, surfboards, dirt bikes, ATVs and kayaks.
Useful La Ventana information courtesy Ventana View.
To receive Ventana View mail: email@example.com
Phone calls Calls in Mexico
From within Mexico: 01 + city code + local number
From the U.S. or Canada: 011 + 52 + city code + local number
From other countries: international access code + 52 + city code + local number
Calls to a cellphone from outside Mexico: omit the "044" which often prefixes a cellphone number and replace it with a "1", e.g. 011-52-1-(xxx)-xxx-xxxx.
Land line calls to mexican cell phones dial 044-(xxx)-xxx-xxxx
El Sargento bus to La Paz leaves here at 7 am & 4 pm.
It arrives here from La Paz at 3 pm & 8 pm
Driver - 114-0266
The Shuttle From La Paz to Cabo Airport www.shuttletolapaz.com
Costo $325.00 pesos
Leaves La Paz for Los Cabos airport - 7 am & 9 am - arrives 10 am & 12 NOON
Leaves Los Cabos airport for La Paz - 2:30 pm & 5 pm
Harold's taxi service 612-157-6520
Contact me - firstname.lastname@example.org Giles
Moises Hirales Calderon is offering taxi service with a new fully equipped van.
Please contact Moises at (612) 114-0030 or his Cell # is (612) 149-1053. English spoken here. We look forward to serving you!
El Sargento Bus - From Rita:
The bus fare is 40 pesos each way.
Monday to Saturday inclusive, the bus leaves La Ventana for La Paz twice a day: at 7:00 a.m. and at 4:15 p.m. Just flag down the bus as you would a taxi. (These are the departure times from in front of Pablo's store, across from the campground.
The bus takes the main road into La Paz. The driver stops for passengers who flag him down along his route so just add or subtract from the 7:00 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. departure times depending on where you are on the bus route.)
Monday through Saturday, the bus returns from La Paz to La Ventana, leaving La Paz, at 2:00 p.m. However, on Sunday, the bus leaves La Paz an hour earlier, at 1:00 p.m.
For those who wish to return from La Paz later in the day, there is a bus leaving La Paz for La Ventana in the early evening (Though I don't believe there is a 4:15 p.m. or evening bus on Sunday.). It is best to always confirm the return time with the bus driver. Simply ask, in Spanish: A que hora regressa a La Ventana?
If you ask, the driver will let you off at La Soriana shopping center. However, most passengers take the bus to the end of the bus route at the intersection of G. Prieto and Bravo streets. This is 5 blocks up from the Malecon. (If you walk down Bravo street to the Malecon from the bus stop, you'll come out on the Malecon at Applebees Restaurant which is across the street from the Mexican Artisan shop and the tourist Information Centre. You're close to downtown.)
One of the unique features of this bus service is that when the bus arrives at its final destination in La Paz - stopping at G. Prieto and Bravo street - the bus stays parked there until the driver makes the return trip later in the day. As a consequence, if you arrive 20 - 30 minutes early for the return trip, there is a good chance the driver will let you board so you have a comfortable place to wait until the bus departs.
Although the bus driver lets people off at various destinations on the trip into La Paz, the return trip appears to be a non-stop run from the bus departure location at G. Prieto and Bravo streets.
The bus used to go to La Paz via Los Planes. However, on both occasions earlier this week when I took the bus into La Paz - on Monday and on Thursday - the bus went directly to La Paz. (Perhaps our little town of La Ventana now rates its own bus service.)
The bus driver is exceptionally pleasant and a very professional driver. As a bonus, he seems to remember where all of his passengers live (or boarded) and stops his bus close to his passengers' "front door".
Rita (#1, Calle sin Nombre, La Ventana)
Emergency and Useful Phone Numbers
Red Cross 065
Directory assistance 040
Tourist protection and information 01 800 903 9200 or 01 800 987 8224, from the U.S. and Canada 1 800 482 9232 or 1 800 401 3880
From Ventana View: What we all need to know about the Ambulance service in El Sargento/La Ventana
The ambulance is run ENTIRELY BY VOLUNTEERS. The current El Sargento team consists of 11 local people and was newly formed last October after the previous volunteers got burnt out. Team members are gradually being trained in basic first aid by instructors from La Paz (e.g. this week ‘s topic was the rudiments of CPR ) and are doing the best they can in very challenging circumstances. They are unpaid, have no budget, very little equipment (not even splints, or oxygen), and have to fundraise for essentials such as plastic gloves, bandages and even the diesel fuel they need to run the vehicles. They have to pay for their own uniforms, and for their training. They use their personal phones for their emergency calls and sometimes have to chip in for the fuel.
The ambulances were donated by the government 14 years ago but there is no budget for maintenance. The larger one is out of service at the moment until funds can be raised to repair it. El Sargento’s team covers the whole area from Rancho Ancon (halfway to La Paz) down as far as Los Muertos, since Los Planes has no ambulance service at the moment due to lack of trained volunteers. Because of zone boundaries, our local ambulances cannot take patients directly to a hospital in La Paz. They have to wait at the city limits (sometimes for 45 mins or more) for a La Paz ambulance to meet them and take over the patient. If it is not a life-threatening emergency or an obviously broken bone, they have to go first to the clinic and get a note from the doctor authorizing transportation to a hospital.
If you need transportation to emergency medical assistance: under current conditions, your best option is probably to rely on the paramedical knowledge of people close by, and get someone with a reliable vehicle in which you can lie flat to transport you straight to either the private “purple” hospital in Fidepaz (if you have insurance) or to the new public hospital near Soriana (if you don’t have insurance). Take someone with you who speaks Spanish, if possible.
If you choose to use the ambulance: please assist them afterwards with a donation. This is what Mexican families do, but foreigners have generally not done so, probably because they assumed it was a free service. If you have used the local ambulance in the past: could you please consider making a contribution now?
Donations: can be made to the Volunteer Organiser, Lupita Cosio Barrera, who can be reached on 612 103 4377, or email@example.com, or at the Star Market. The finances are managed transparently by a volunteer committee.
The motto of the organisation of ambulance volunteers with which El Sargento’s group is affiliated is “Giving from the heart”. Let us do the same. To avoid the new team burning out, they need all the support they can get.
Further information can be obtained from Heidi Hart on 612 153 4375 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Chris Bradley on 612 136 1609, or email@example.com