Friday, January 14, 2011

Punta Mita to Chamela

After our thorough resupply in La Cruz, we headed out to Punta de Mita, at the northwestern tip of Banderas Bay. The anchorage here has the reputation of being more rolly than La Cruz, but in current conditions that's not the case. At least we can't feel any difference using our new "flopper stopper" (a folding stainless steel door that is hung over the side from our whisker pole and helps reduce roll motion). The attractions of Punta Mita are: less crowding, cleaner water, more undeveloped scenery, and surfing. Many of the boaters anchored here have surfboards, and spend much of the day at the point break a mile or so from the anchorage. I joined them in my surf kayak.

Vicki preferred the calmer waters along the coast in the other direction.

After 4 days here, we headed back to La Cruz. On our way in we passed Pacific Jade sailing out to Punta Mita.

We returned to La Cruz, hoping that a friend of a friend would be bringing a replacement part for us. The part didn't show up, but we had a fun evening watching the Oregon-Auburn game with Adam and Cindi and a group of fellow sailors at the La Cruz Yacht Club. We're not football fans, but when your home team goes to the national championships for the first time (ever?), it's something to see. It was a good game, even if our team lost.

The next evening, we pulled the anchor and headed across the bay toward Cabo Corrientes. This promontory, like all capes, deserves sailors' respect for its ability to funnel winds and churn up current, so we had chosen our weather window carefully. It was a relatively smooth passage, although we did manage to break the aging belt on our autopilot in the confused seas near the point. This meant we had to hand steer for the remaining 10 hours to Chamela. We got a few hours' break when an offshore breeze came up and we could steer using the windvane.

We encountered two pods of whales in the last 15 miles of our passage. The second pod surfaced right in front of us after a deep dive. Whoa! I was too scared to think about taking photos. One friend hit a whale in this area a few years ago, and I can see how it could happen.

Reaching Chamela, we finally felt that we had found what we had been looking for: clear water, warm water, and warm air (all relative terms of course). After a rest day to recuperate from our night passage, we spent all of yesterday enjoying what this area has to offer: a miles-long beach that is perfect for walking, palapa beer stands, and excellent snorkeling off the reef at the tip of the bay. Last year we got some of our best underwater photos here.

Vicki invited Whirlwind and new friends Katie Hill over for dinner. Bob and Janet are accomplished bluegrass musicians and kindly brought their guitar and banjo for some after-dinner music in the warm evening. Just beautiful!

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