The heart of Mainland Mexico

As of right now, it is May 6th.I have been trying to upload this blog update for over a month! We are at Marina Chiapas, we have done all the paper work, paid all the right people, we have one final inspection tomorrow afternoon, then we are leaving Mexico. So tonight is out last night in this AMAZING country. It is bitter-sweet, and  I have the feeling that the internet is only going to get harder to find! But fear not, I will do my best to get the blog up to date!  So now.. going back in time………

March 30, 2016

Okay, I have been slacking on the blog, it has been almost 2 months since I have written anything. I guess that means we have been having fun. Alright, thinking back, what have we been up to?

We stayed in Chacala for over a week, visiting with Jess’s friends, which I like to now call our friends as well.  The water was very warm, but not very clear, that however did not stop us for spending hours just hanging out in the water “bobbing” around.

P2180716-1

We joined Oleada for a day sail, which was perfect as we had enough wind to really sail.  Jess let me do the honors of pulling up the anchor with their manual windless, which made me very appreciative of our big electric one. We went out only for a couple of hours then turned back around before the wind really started to pick up. As we set the hook again, we watched and held on as the chop funneled into the little bay, giving us quite the show as PRISM bucked into the chop showing off all of her red bottom. Whoa…..

P2200341-1

While we were in Chacala, it seemed like everyone was getting sick, lasting for about 2 days, first it hit Mark, then Jess, then Asher, then Brianna, Jon, Josh and I were the only ones left who had not gotten it and we were counting our days and blessings till the evil bug got a hold of us as well.  The days went by, everyone got better and we never got sick, some how the 3 of us were able to squeeze by, thank goodness cause it did NOT look like fun.

Next thing we knew a week had gone by and it had come to the time to say good-bye to our new friends, and keep making our way south.  We did a few last-minute purchases  in the little shops and made our way south the 8nm to Jaltimba Bay. We chose to anchor off one of the islands as it offering a little more protection from the wind and swell. As soon as we had the hooks set we hailed Oleada to see if they wanted to go snorkeling as we heard it was good. ( or maybe they hailed us, I can’t really remember) anyways we all wanted to get in the water to see what it had to offer.

Josh wanted to use their inflatable dinghy so we only had to take one over to the reef spot, and that turned into an adventure of its own. Come to find out the dingy floor had unglued its self, so Josh, being the problem solver that he is, turned the dinghy into a self bailing dinghy (like a white water raft). Simply by running a line around the bottom and up and over the tubes, we were all able to get in and made our way over to the dive spot, keeping track that none of our gear made an escape.

The snorkeling did not turn out to be all that it was cracked up to be, or it was just that we were unlucky with the tides and swell. We had almost no visibility unless you dove down 15 feet. There were some cool fish but for the most part it was just murky rocks. After a good long swim we decided that it was not going to get any better and we all got back into the floor-less self bailing dinghy and made our way back to the boats.

Turns out, the anchorage did not offer protection throughout the night, causing a rolly sleepless night. We pulled up the hook first thing the next morning and once again, kept making our way south. This time we were headed to the infamous Banderas Bay, and we had no idea that we were about to get sucked into a “never leave this bay” vortex.

Once we rounded the reef scattered point we set the hook at Punta Mita next to some of our long-lost crushing friends, SV Enchante´.  As mentioned in older blog posts, our run-ins with Enchante´ go back to 2013 up in Neah Bay, and we have been playing “see you in a random anchorage another time” ever since. IT was great to catch up with those guys once again, sharing our love for tequila, music and good company.

Jon and I did not do much in Punta Mita, we only went to shore once during the week we were anchored there. Punta Mita is known for its awesome surfing breaks, which were a little above our skill level, so we didn’t play in the head high breakers along with the sting rays, rocks and urchins.

After a week, Jon and I were ready to see what was next, so we raced against Oleada to La Cruz, and lost. In the light winds those guys left us  in their wake, plus they had a head start. Jon and I anchored PRISM pretty much the farthest away from the marina entrance as humanly possible. Mostly because we had heard stories of people not really setting their anchor (because they get fouled  on the rock littered bottom) and dragging  their hook throughout the anchorage playing pinball with the boats as they went by. Not to mention the heart breaking story of a vessel, that just days before we got there, dragged and went up onto the rock jetty and broke apart.  But because of the cruising community, everyone pitched in and they were able to salvage (I think) 98% of their belongings. But they Vessel was on the beach for the first 2 weeks we were there as a reminder of what can happen to anyone. ( Note: No one was on board when the vessel came loose or when on the rocks)

So on that note, Jon and I stayed out, yes it made the dinghy trip into the Marina a little longer, but that was fine with us. Plus it gave us a change to try out our new dinghy dogs! During the summer Jon and I bought the inflatable tubes that attach to the hull of our walker bay, and we also brought down our bigger outboard motor we had in storage. So now Falkor is as sturdy as can be! We have a real 2hp engine  ( not our little cruise and carry) and the tubes give us a lot more buoyancy to really load him up with all our stuff! We are stoked. Although with a 2hp we can not go very fast, but we can still get there!

Jess and Josh got a slip while we were there, which we also took advantage of as we used their slip as a dinghy landing. Now looking back at all the time we spent in  La Cruz ( 1 whole month to be exact)  I can not really remember doing much of anything.

There were a few boats in the anchorage that were getting together for a dive trip out the Tes Mertes. which without special permits and guides you can not bring your own boat out there. Well the day before we were going to go, my eyes start acting up. Blood shot red and very sensitive to light. I Could not open my eyes if there was light, and I could not put my contacts in. So with the help of Jess I made an appointment to see an eye doctor to see what was going on, the red irritated eyes had been going on for over 2 weeks but the sensitivity to light was the topper. And like all doctor visits go, when I walked in there, my eyes were not red and I was not having any light sensitivity. So she poked prodded, and died my eyes and could find nothing wrong. She gave me a proscription for fancy eye drops, told me not to wear contacts for 7 days and that was that. But while I was in with the Doctor, Jon was doing some shopping and looked into getting a set of proscription sunglasses made. Boy oh boy was it a good deal.  When we left Jon and I both put in an order! They would be ready in a week!

The  2nd week we brought Prism into a slip, while Jess and I traveled to Mexico City to go wedding dress shopping (for her not me). So Jess and I left the boys and the boats with a long lists of projects that needed to be done. I’m pretty sure Jess and I got the better end of the deal. Mexico City was cool, it reminded me of pretty much any other large city. It was my first time, but Jess had been there a few times and had some friends who lived in the  area. We stayed in  nice part of the very large city called Polanco. You can tell that money flows through this part of town as you see all the new fancy cars, everyone is dressed to the 9’s and everyone has someplace to go. It is not really a tourist destination, and we joked that I was pretty much the only person in the whole area who didn’t speak Spanish. Jess and I spent a week there, and yes we did find her dress! It was a great girls getaway, but it was time to get back to our boats and boys.

While in the slip, Jon along with help from Josh, took off our bow sprit to figure out what was causing the sprit to keep receding further back than it should. I’m not quite sure on what he found or what he did to fix it. Something about glossing in some G10 to the back of the Sampson posts for the sprit to butt up against. I’m sure it is much more technical, but that’s Shannon’s simple explanation.

OH side note, while we were in Chacala, our newest solar panel ( we bought in 2014 in SD) died on us, and we were able to buy 2 NEW 80 watt panels from a local store in Bucerias. So Jon made a mount for those and got them all wired in as well while I was gone.

Once I was back, we took PRISM back out into the anchorage, making pretty much daily trips into the Marina to visit with friends, go eat, use the Internet, get showers, go shopping, you name it we did it. Looking back now,  I can see why we went over budge for the month of March.

The truth is what I think really kept us in the La Cruz area so long, were the people we met. There were other cruisers in the area that were our age! Yes Jon and I were still the youngest, but this time only by 2 years not by 20, 30, or 40 years.  We to got finally meet Megan and Eric and Nikka on SV Resolute, who we had been keeping tabs on via their sailing videos. Here is the link to their YouTube Channel Resolute Sets Sail. But as the crushing life goes, you make good friends then realized that your all sailing to different destinations and sooner or later have to part ways. But then again, you also get to meet cruisers who are going the same route as you and you get to cruise multiple countries with them!

The La Cruz area is mostly filled with people who are getting ready to do the puddle jump, (sail across the pacific),people who are staying in Mexico and only a handful of people like us, who are headed to Central America. We were lucky enough to meet Liz and Chris on SV Espiritu, who were a wealth of knowledge about cruising Central America.  They were so kind and invited us over to talk about some of the things they did and saw. Keep in mind, that while we were over at their boat, there was a strong cold front coming down on the Bay. It was just the start, but we made sure to keep an eye on PRISM as we were showered with rain and strong gusts of wind. We had so much fun hanging with those guys and not to mention that they are great musicians and we got the chance to jam with them as well.

The cold front/storm lasted for about 2 days, and luckily it never built to what was forecasted. Jon and I stayed on Prism and kept a close eye on all the other boats, getting ready to see the first stages of people dragging.  Luckily everyone stayed put all except Falkor. So when Jon and I got back from Espiritu, Jon tired off Falkor and I went down belong to start on lunch. I come back up on deck a few moments later to ask what Jon wanted to eat and noticed Falkor making a run for it. Jon and his knots… It’s something we are working on. Falkor was already halfway to the boat behind us ( a large steel tug called T-SARGE). We did not have the paddle boards inflated, and it was moving to quick for me to jump in and swim after. So I hailed T-Sarge and give them a heads up, and if they could catch our escape-e. Then hailed Resolute and asked if they could go get our miss-behaving dinghy. Next thing we know there are 2 other boats launching their Dinghys to help catch ours. But it was T-Sarge to the rescue, with what I think had to have been a 30 foot boat hook, bringing Falkor in. Then Resolute brought him back to us with is tail in between his legs.  It was a great team effort and we were truly thankful and then embarrassed. We have since then devised a new way to tie Flakor to PRISM.

WE MET SO MANY OTHER BOATS! And everyone has such cool stories!

Once I got back from Mexico City I declared the no drinking during the week rule. Of corse that was a tough one to follow 2 weeks in as there were birthdays, fun get together, St. Patrick’s Day! And so on. Then there was Jonah’s birthday dance party. Jonah and Megan are on SV Orion, and they have a boat that was designed to host party’s. And boy did we party, ending with a late night… Might have even been early morning skinny dipping. I don’t think anyone was up before 10 am the next day.

DSC01033

Every Wednesday there is a beer can race in La Cruz, we never got the chance to race PRISM, but Jon and Josh joined SV Resolute for a very windy race. The came first in their class… I should also mention that there were only 2 boats out there for the race; 1: Wings; a very fast race sailing boat, and 2: Resolute; a cruising boat. The way I look at it.. They took 2nd over all!

We did however go for a day sail on Prism with Megan and Eric from Resolute, and Jonah from Orion. The afternoon thermals that pick up in the La Cruz area, make for fun “just because” sail with friends. And that’s exactly what we did.

Leaving La Cruz was hard. End of story.

As sad as we were to say goodbye to friends and wish them luck on their own journeys, we were looking forward to some crystal clear warm waters.

We left the bay early morning, as we wanted to get out before the afternoon thermals picked up. We had calm waters and light winds as we sailed around Cabo Corrientes by late afternoon and those conditions held through the night. We were slowing making our way around 3 knots. It took us 27 hours to get to our next destination: Chamela. We were not to impressed with the little beach town. The beach was filled, and I mean FILLED with families enjoying the sun and surf for the holiday. ( I can’t remember which holiday it was) Jon and I did a quick beach walk and then made our way back to the boat to head over to the 2 islands that are about a mile off the beach, Isla Pajarera and Isla Cocinas.

At this point an annoying larger SW swell started, which made for a rolly night, but we were determined to get a dive in before we left the area. The next morning, after getting almost no sleep, (well I didn’t sleep, Jon said he slept fine) we got all our dive gear out and ready. We hopped in the dinghy to check out the dive spot around the corner. And wouldn’t you know it… That pesky SW swell has the whole place all turned up and looking nasty and the surge would have been more that annoying. But we were determined! So we went back to the boat, got all our dive gear on and dove in the little bay our boat was anchored in. There was not much to see, but we still had fun and used the left over air from the short dive to scrape off the thousands of barnacles that had made our hull their home from La Cruz. Oh and while we were diving, the GoPro decided to freeze once we dropped down, I think even it was upset about the poor visibility and lack of life.

Once back to the boat, we rinsed the gear and set off to check out the next anchorage only about 5 miles away called Paraiso. However once we got close to it, the large swell was funneling right in, so with just enough to time to make it the additional 20 miles to Tenacatita, we made a run for it, bypassing another little gem called Bahia Careyes along the way.

What a great sail that was, we had wind the whole way! While were in La Cruz people kept telling us about “the aquarium” in Tenacatita and how great the diving and snorkeling was! You can only guess how disappointed we were to sail into this bay which is renowned to be blue and beautiful and it was brown muck. Little did we know that this time of year ( late March) there is pretty much always an algae bloom. No one told us about that. We didn’t even want to get in the water!  So we made our way to the main anchorage in Tanacatita, we were excited to see some of our old friends Scott and Connie from Guaymas on Sv Traveler. They are seasoned veterans of this bay, and they gave us the lay of the land.

Oh fun side note, when we sailed into the anchorage there were 29 boats. Along with us, another Hans Christian 38 ” Wahkuna” came into the anchorage that night. The next morning, there were 11 boats by the time Jon and I poked our heads out of the companionway. “Wahkuna” and us joked that the other boats left because they could not stand  being anchored next to not only one, but TWO beautiful boats. Hehe… We had met the crew on ” Wahkuna”  Robert, Dolphin and their dog  in Guaymas last December .

Scott and Connie told us we had to do the estuary tour, and first thing in the morning was best. Well if you have read any of my other posts, you will know that I do not do early morning. I hear those words along with “at sunrise” and my eyes want to roll into the back of my head and hide. So we coordinated with Wahkuna, and decided that 8:30am was the earliest any of us wanted to go. So we timed the tides and the sets and made it in pass the surf with no problems!

We motored through the estuary looking at the damage hurricane Patricia did to the once thriving mangroves. In pictures we had seen before, the tour was mostly in the shade and the mangroves wear thick and infested with bugs. Our tour was mostly sunny, and a lot of bare branches where the mangroves used to have lush green leaves.We did however see lots of birds, 2 baby crocodiles and yes we still had some bugs to keep us company along the way. The end of the tour spits you out on the inner side of the bay where the legendary “aquarium” is. But unlucky for us, the water was just as brown murky as it was the day before. So we did not partake in the water activities in this bay.We spent a few days anchored in the main anchorage, spending time with new and old friends. We even learned a new dice game called farkle. Which now by the way takes up mine and Jons free time. He kicks my ass every time.

We left Tenacatita along with Wahkuna, and raced all the way over to the next bay, which was only about 13nm away. We got great shots of their boat, as they did of ours! And I am glad to say, we smoked em! Oh boy did we smoke them, pulled away and rounded the reef covered point with them chasing behind. Once we got into Bahia Navidad, the wind picked up, we looked at the entrance into the Marina/ lagoon and said ” no thanks”. So we tucked up and hid behind the point in Melaque. Once again we were ready to see clear blue water with chippy the dolphin scratching his back on our chain… But noooo brown ugly muck once again. We must have rounded the corner just in time. We watched Wahkuna get hit with some stronger wind, and round-up to take down their sails and tackle the entrance into the lagoon. About 30 minutes later Wahkuna hailed us on the radio to let us know they made it in without going aground but has a swift breeze to make anchoring in the shallow lagoon difficult. They said they clocked 37knts! Whoa! Jon and I were glad we didn’t go in, and we decided we would enter the next morning before the wind picks up.

We also made it into the lagoon with out going aground, which happens to I would say 40% of boats. Which is never a good feeling, luckily it is soft mud for those who do. The winds, like La Cruz would pick up during the afternoon. These how ever were very localized and to call then stiff would be almost an understatement. Blowing an average of 25knt with gusts up to 30, we had to make sure we left in the dinghy before the winds picked up. There is a water taxi service which we did use one evening to have dinner with Sv Orion and their crew visiting from Canada.

If you have ever been to Barra, then you know all about the French Baker, and if you haven’t been… Well let me tell you about the French Baker!!! He o your boat every morning with fresh-baked goods! Stuff you can not find anywhere else in Mexico. His baguette are so moist and the chocolate croissant and the almond croissant are to die for!

We indulged a little too much in the French goods, but it was worth it. However, we learned that while we were there a friend had one of the Key Lime mini pies, and paid the price… She was sick for 2 days with food poising!

The further we go south the more boats we meet that are heading to Central America as well. As of right now we have 4 other boats kinda on the same route as us. We are getting to know them as we share the anchorages along the way.  We met a power boat “Argo” that went through the canal last season, and they invited all of us over to give us some of the insights and lessons learned. They were very helpful, and even had printed handouts with info for along the way! Thanks a bunch Argo!!!!!

We spent a week anchored in the lagoon, making trips into the little town to up load videos. I was lucky and found my bride’s maid dress in one of the shops there too! All in all the stop in Barra was worth it, even if we didn’t get in the water.

Until the next update…. CHEERS!

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s