Monday, March 1, 2010

Tenacatita Bay

Barra de Navidad

Chamela Bay -challenge of panga from shore to sea

March 1, 2010


It has been an interesting season here in Mainland Mexico. After arriving in Barra de Navidad (one of our all time favorite destinations), we were surprised by gale force winds and torrential rain. We were not prepared for rain and at first thought we would maybe get a sprinkling. However, as the rain poured with a force, we scrambled to get things out of the cockpit and into the safety of the boat. We have always been very relaxed about leaving books, pillows, hats etc in our little yard (cockpit). The dodger and bimini usually give us enough protection from the dampness, but, certainly not in this amount of rain and wind. I have never seen anything like this storm. The worst of it hit our area at about 0100. Terry stayed awake to be on anchor watch (we were anchored in the Lagoon in Barra de Navidad). I did go to sleep earlier in the night but was wide awake for the winds that had the power to heel our boat and looked out to see a boat that was dragging anchor very near our boat. In as much as I was happy to be anchored in a lagoon and not out at sea, the concern at anchor is being near other boats and being at the mercy of their ground tackle and ability to have anchored securely with chain and anchor. It was raining so hard, it was difficult to see the boats next to us. Some boats had mast lights and others had solar lights arranged on different parts of their boats. Besides the rain, we also had a thunder and lightening show! There were some good things about the rain. The boat got a good wash down and I was thrilled to be collecting buckets of fresh water. I set up one bucket on each side of the dodger and was able to fill the buckets in a matter of minutes. The water filled three sun showers and I felt that I had accomplished something. It was such a strange feeling to close up the boat. In all of our time in Mexico, we have never needed to close all ports and hatches. We experienced three episodes of this rain during the month of February.

We did enjoy some sunny, partial cloudy days in Barra de Navidad before we moved on to the anchorage of Tenacatita. It finally felt that we were enjoying Mexico waters the way that we had remembered and loved when we were awoken by a guy in a dinghy yelling “TENACITY, TENACITY”, there is a Tsunami warning. We turned on the Sirius radio to hear of the earthquake in Chile and the warnings for the Pacific Ocean. Channel 22 VHF radio (our way of communicating with local cruisers) was busy with discussion about possible changes in our conditions here at anchor. We decided to waste no time with talk, we quickly prepared to motor out to sea. Certainly the fastest we have pulled our anchor and left an anchorage. So fast, that we later realized we had forgotten to pull the swim ladder. It must have been amusing for any one behind us to see our ladder dangling in the water. Every boat in the anchorage left (about 30 were anchored near us). It was quickly named the Tsunami regatta, and actually turned out to be one of the nicest sailing days we have had while in Mexico. We motored for a while, turned on the water maker and filled the tanks. We then enjoyed a nice sail back a few hours later to the same anchorage. We heard of some changes of tide on shore, however, we noticed nothing as we were out in 400-500 feet of water.

The next “adverse event” was the incident of BEES. It all started while we were aboard the boat “40 Love”. Joel and Terry thought it was a fire on a neighboring catamaran- it turned out to have been a fire extinguisher. The catamaran had been “attacked” with the bees. Chris and I stayed on the boat “40 Love” where we swatted at bees and quickly closed all ports and hatches. Terry and Joel motored the dinghy over to Tenacity to find bees attached to our boom. Literally thousands of bees that formed the size and shape of a football. As they attempted to get them off the boat, the bees flew up to the top of the mast. To make a long story short, there were thousands of bee carcasses to clean the following morning and we were thrilled to find that they were no longer clinging to our mast.

The way I see it is that things happen in threes. So, we are done with adverse conditions and situations- Rain storms, Tsunami warnings and Bee invasions. The sun is shining today and the air and water temperatures are in the 80’s. We are ready to enjoy Mexico the way we have always enjoyed it with kayaking, swimming, snorkeling, dolphin and whale watching.

We are thinking of everyone at home and wish you all a happy day and a great month of March!!

We will start our trip north on Wednesday or Thursday with the usual stops in Chamela and Ipala. We plan to spend a few weeks in La Cruz before heading back to Mazatlan. We have decided to have the boat hauled (boating lingo for taking it out of the water) to have the bottom paint done and a few other projects before we venture into the big seas and sail home to San Francisco.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

boat parade - La Cruz- Banderas Bay

Mazatlan to La Cruz

Today is Tuesday January 26, 2010

We are currently anchored in La Cruz, located in the largest bay on the west coast of Mexico, indenting the coast more than 15 miles and having an opening to the Pacific Ocean over 20 miles wide. We are approximately 8 miles north of Puerto Vallarta.
It was an uneventful trip south from Mazatlan. The first over night trip was a motorsail with quiet seas (a nice start for a cruising season). We motored most of the way, with the help of main sail and at times the head sail. I did my usual 0100 to 0500 shift of duty of the boat. It works out ok for us because I can go to sleep early in the evening and get a good rest before the start of my shift. And, I get the treat of watching the sun come up at sea. This is always such a special time as the water is beautiful and shimmery and not usually a boat or land to be seen!! Terry had a little more activity during his shift before 0100 as there is some sort of “shelf” at about 10 miles offshore- apparently a good fishing spot, because we had to make our way thru the fishing boats and this is a little more complex at night. Of course we rely on our radar, but, the distances seem so different in the dark. Everything seems much closer then it truly is!!

The first night of rest for the two of us was at the small village of Chacala. The surf was huge and the anchorage was rolly, we therefore decided not to go ashore. We had the entire anchorage to ourselves. Enjoyed a beautiful sunset and got a good nights sleep. As we headed south the seas were calm and the wind was coming out of the south-Not so good for sailing. We motored with the use of our mainsail most of the distance. The exception was the entrance to Banderas Bay, the wind picked up, we turned off the motor and enjoyed the peace of sailing! And, a group of whales came near. My delight in hearing the loud noise of their spouting! I am a little more anxious about them getting as close as I heard of a sailboat that was hit by a whale and SANK! The people onboard were rescued!

It as been an adjustment back to the boat life! As I have always said, “when it is good it is SOOO GOOD and when it is bad it is SOOO BAD! An example is the constant rocking- ok when you are getting from A to B, but, gets a little frustrating when you are at anchor and everything in the boat is rocking back and forth. Some cruisers spend a lot of time in marinas and I really do see why. It is nice to step on a dock when leaving the boat. We each take a line and release our dinghy “our car at sea” from the davits on the back of the boat. We then climb down and balance as the waves are crashing onto us. It takes some getting used to always being splashed with salt water . Not one of the more glamorous aspects of cruising.

Anyway, we are enjoying meeting up with friends of last year. Today we had lunch with friends who sailed with us the last two years. They now own a condo in Punta Mita and they have the luxury of having a car (the real thing) after a great lunch, they drove us to the Mega market in Bucerius where we were able to provision with the treat of walking to a car and being driven right back to our dinghy.

We plan to leave here tomorrow morning with destination SOUTH! Probably staying the first night at the small anchorage of Ipala, Chamela , Tenacatita and Barra de Navidad. I am looking forward to the fun in the water. Swimming, kayaking and snorkeling.
Thinking of all of you! Take Care to everyone!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010