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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

San Blas to Chacala

When we finally tore ourselves away from Isla Isabela last Tuesday it was with a good breeze to sail the 40 nm to Mantanchen Bay near San Blas. We even had the spinnaker flying for awhile. The next morning we backtracked five miles north to the San Blas estuary and crossed the river bar at a comfortable high tide. We spent four nights anchored in the estuary, going into town each day (it's still a 50 peso dinghy dock fee at the Fonatur marina and they now meter the dock water, but it's a reasonable cost to fill your tanks). In spite of having our no-see-um screens in we acquired more bugs with each passing night. It's a tiresome way to live on a boat with every opening closed up and the tight knit screens blocking any incoming breeze (of which there isn't much back in the estuary to begin with). One of the joys of this life is sitting out in the cockpit as the sun rises and sets, but in bug country we have to hunker down below, and everyone starts to get a little crabby. Bug spray helps, but add that to sunscreen and sweat and - ugh.

To our minds San Blas is a dusty, sleepy, poor town with not much to offer in exchange for being eaten by bugs. There are basic shopping and other services, including a good internet place. We did find a carnitas taco stand with succulent pork and perfect toppings. It's on the corner of the main road out of town and the road which passes between the plaza and the Social Club. It was only open during the day and we didn't find anything to equal it on the square at night. We gave the Social Club a try for internet and burgers but it was full of down-on-their-luck-looking Norte Americanos who were all smoking up a storm. We enjoyed drinks one night at Billy Bob's which was much nicer. But we found nothing to equal La Ya Ya in La Cruz which has to be our favorite hangout in Mexico so far.

After getting our fill of groceries, internet, tacos, and churros on the square, we left Sunday on an early high tide for Mantanchen Bay to spend the night and head to Chacala on Monday. We motor-sailed the whole way (and saw our first humpback whale of the season!) because there was another boat behind us and we were anxious to beat him to our favorite spot here. We were happy to arrive and find only one other sailboat anchored (we heard there were 12 just a few days ago), but were disappointed that a few private mooring buoys have been installed since last year. A large U.S. flagged power boat is on one buoy which looks very new and even has a Catalina Island style flag for picking up the mooring. The boats on moorings do not put out stern anchors as we do to keep us pointed bow into the swell.

We've already had our first swim to and walk on the beach; spotted a one-inch colorful nudibranch near the surface right on the stern (maybe a Spanish Dancer from the way it was swimming); and are looking forward to taking the dinghy in today for more adventures.

{GMST}21|09.815|N|105|13.628|W|San Blas to Chacala|Chacala{GEND}