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Saturday, December 04, 2004

Bahia Chamela and Bahia Careyes

December 4, 2004
Bahia Careyes, Jalisco Coast (19o 24' N 105o 01' W)

We left Bahia Chamela this morning after spending 4 nights in what turned out to be a very nice little place. Bahia Chamela is a mini cruising ground with an anchorage near a town and a couple of islands out in the bay. We stopped at the islands on our way into the bay and liked it so much we dropped the anchor for two nights.

It was a little exposed to wind and sea but the fact that the water was clear with great snorkeling made up for any downside (I could easily see the anchor drop into clean sand through 20 feet of water). Another great feature was a small bay where hotels sometimes brings guests. The beach at the head of the bay is clean white sand and there's a large palapa built above the beach. We spent two wonderful afternoons there snorkeling and laying in the hammock we strung on the rafters of the palapa.

After we had our fill of solitude and quiet we moved over to the town anchorage. Most of the other boats were there and if easy access to beach restaurants and small mercados is your idea of a great anchorage, this place is for you. Of course there wasn't any good snorkeling within swimming distance, the pangas roared off of the beach at 0630 and the smell of burning garbage hung thick in the air every night. But it was nice enough.

Bahia Careyes, according to the guide book, is "one of those picturesque hideaways you dreamed about before you started cruising." There are three small beaches tucked back behind two islands. You anchor off a beach, outside of the hotel's swimming area, and the islands 'protect' the anchorage. Nice in theory, but it's pretty rolly. Also, the hotels at the head of each beach are very high end. An ice cream at the hotel deli was 66 pesos ($6 USD) and if you want a day pass to use the pool, it will cost you 660 pesos ($60 USD) per person. I think we'll pass.

It didn't get any better at the restaurant at the head of another beach, 70 pesos for a coke and a beer (plus tip). The third beach has a Club Med (Playa Blanca) which, thankfully, is closed. So I guess you could say it's very inexpensive. You don't get anything, but you don't have to pay anything either.

On the bright side we caught a 3 ft dorado (mahi-mahi) on the way over. Of course it's too big to fit in the fridge so we gave a lot of it away but it was definitely the biggest fish we've caught to date.

John and Linda

Later that same day...

Well the Club Med turned out to be very interesting indeed. We took the dinghy over and pulled up on the beach (the nicest beach of the three little coves) and wandered around the deserted grounds. Everything was complete, if in a state of disrepair. Rooms, bars, pools, restaurants and the gym all seemed ready to accommodate hordes of singles ready to meet each other. All that was lacking was a big "Se Vende" sign out front. We saw no one, not even the gardener who'd been busy knocking ripe coconuts off the trees and piling them up. I liberated two for drinking later. We did get to see some of the locals: four cotamundi (three babies and a mother) who descended from a coconut tree as we approached. We hung out on the pretty white sand beach and bathed outside the surf (wishing the entire time that the water was turned on so we could use the beach shower to rinse off with fresh water).