Loading Map

Friday, November 11, 2011

San Blas to Chacala

We ran out of our good streak of sailing wind yesterday and mostly motored the 24 nautical miles to Chacala. Motor trips are usually pretty tedious but this time we were rewarded with our first sea turtle and whale sightings of the season. One lazy sea turtle didn't even move until the auto pilot had taken us right alongside him and he didn't scoot away until we had him amidships. Vertical whale spouts were clearly visible along the coastline and we patiently watched one slowly coming closer to the boat. Finally we had two good looks at the top of its back as it came up for a few breaths about a quarter of a mile away from us. Spouts are a common sight and don't always result in an animal sighting, so they're interesting but often disappointing as they disappear on the horizon. But it's still always a thrill to get a clear look at any part of these magnificent creatures as they make their way through the ocean around us.

We were also passed by a few fishing boats, most of which were out of Mazatlan. One came up so close behind us that I got the camera out as a gentle warning that I was recording the encounter. To my surprise as they passed us I could see that they were taking our picture and flashing the peace sign and waving for my camera. I always feel guilty for letting tales of fishing boats ramming sailboats outweigh the far more prevalent accounts of aid and brotherhood among boats of all nations. It never occurred to me that they would find us picturesque enough to divert to, especially when we weren't even properly sailing!

Five hours after leaving San Blas we tucked into the north corner of the beach and set both a bow and a stern anchor to keep our bow pointed into the swell. [Note to 2012 Puddle Jumpers: This is a good place to practice your stern anchoring technique for your stay in Taiohae, Nuku Hiva.] Chacala is a quiet little vacation spot with brightly painted, lovely homes and a small sandy beach lined with thatched palapa restaurants. We fondly remember our previous short stay years ago when we were anchored much farther out from the protection of the northern point. Since we will not be likely to get such a perfect anchoring spot later in the season when there will be many more boats here, we have decided to stay an extra night so that we can go ashore for a visit today.