16 March 2006
Wow, what a great sail from Tenacatita to Bahia Chamela! We got underway at o-dark-thirty as planned and we had Nakia gliding under main and jib 15 minutes after raising the anchor. In less than an hour we cleared the rocks at the main entrance to the bay and had the spinnaker set in plenty of time for John to run the Amigo net. I drove the whole time he was transmitting since the radio sends the autopilot into fits. We were on a course to take us off the coast in preparation for the freak southerly we were having to clock around as usual from the north in the afternoon. This gave me lots of room so all I had to do was steer and try not to hit any other boats (and there were about four or five out there with us). It was a blast!
The wind never stopped coming from the south so we had a brief debate about continuing north to Banderas Bay, but there's no reason for us to be there this early so we jibed the spinnaker and sailed back in towards Chamela. It really hurt not to take advantage of the prime weather window, since you never know if you're going to get another one as perfect again (especially when you know at least half a dozen other boats who are charging ahead)!
We finally doused the spinnaker after hitting seven knots pretty consistently and went in to the islands for shelter. We'd heard reports from the anchorage off town that the wind chop was getting a little high since it's wide open to the south. Island Girl followed us in and we ate lunch and hung out for a few hours until the wind died down enough for us to continue on to the main bay. It was a little rolly at first but had calmed down quite a bit by bedtime.
We went into town for fresh provisions yesterday morning and I had a brief swim around the boat in the afternoon. The water is very murky (I hate it when I can't see the bottom) but there are lots of birds, fish, and yesterday a pair of dolphins hung out around the anchorage all day, scratching themselves on Island Girl's rope anchor rode in the morning and leaping clear out of the water before sunset. Just like Flipper, except without all the annoying chatter. I was a little apprehensive about swimming with all the dolphin activity nearby, not to mention that it was only 73 degrees and we'd seen a big long worm swimming by the boat the evening we arrived. So I did a fast 10 laps around Nakia and lived to tell about it.
On our last two passages we've seen dolphins, a ray, a big bill fish leaping out of the water, and a shark swimming on the surface within a boat length of Nakia. The shark was about 3-4 feet from its dorsal to its tail fin, but we don't know what kind it was. The dolphins stayed with Nakia for longer than usual as we were sailing into Tenacatita Bay. I told John that was because the adults told the youngsters that here was a nice slow boat on which they could practice bow riding. John hasn't been fishing at all in ages, so no fish report.
There's a Polish man here named Janusz who runs a beach palapa called La Manuelita (which has a nice professional sign out front complete with a picture of a ketch). He and his Mexican wife both speak excellent English, serve delicious food, and he's begun to offer his services (medical assistance, gasoline, propane) to cruisers on VHF 22. Island Girl tried it yesterday by ordering three blocks of ice which were then delivered by panga fisherman on their way out fishing last night at 10 PM. The price was right, and Janusz could prove to be a great resource for the cruising community.
We'll probably be in Chamela for a few days hoping for another magical southerly to take us sailing again.
Linda and John