Back to Paradise
12 April 2012
We know it's been a long time since our last blog but we have been busy!!
Our furthest destination south this year was a mere 4 hours away from Bahia Santiago. The short trip to Las Hadas anchorage wasn't much of an adventure, but the new scenery was definitely worth hoisting the anchor for.
Las Hadas anchorage is tucked up in the Northern part of Bahia de Manzanillo and the scenery is spectacular. Even before we rounded the Southern tip of Bahia Santiago we were impressed by the myriad of colorful vacation homes set into the lush tropical hillside. As soon as we rounded the point we were nearly blinded by the stark white Moorish-style architecture of the Las Hadas resort, which would be our backdrop for the next few days. We opted to anchor in the bay rather than tie up at the Marina due to reports of sea surge at the dock. Las Hadas Marina charges a nominal fee to tie up at the dinghy dock which provides cruisers at anchor with access to the resort pools and amenities. We spent a lazy day at the pool and under the shady umbrellas on the beach, we explored the resort, and stretched out our legs on long walks into Manzanillo where we went to the movies (Spanish subtitles) and stocked up on supplies.
Sailor's plans are 'written in sand' and are subject to change, and so it was fitting that our original plans to go as far south as Zihuatanejo changed, and Manzanillo became the furthest point south for us this year. Cruising guidebooks and earlier tales from other cruisers gave us high expectations for 'Zihuat'. But as we continued to sail south in March, we found that we were in the minority. All of our fellow cruisers were already on their way back up the coast, concerned about the weather getting unbearably hot and humid as far south as Zihuat. And unfortunately, we'd heard recent reports about dinghies and engines being stolen in the area. It seemed that there were a number of reasons to forego the overnight sail to Zihuat - and we wondered how it could be any better than what we'd already seen in Santiago, Barra de Navidad, Melaque, Tenacatita, La Cruz, and Nuevo Vallarta. Besides... now that we've delayed our voyage to the Marqueses until next year, we could visit Zihuat next spring!
So we headed north making a long 6 mile journey to Carrizal to have a second go at the great coral reefs on both sides of the bay. After a couple of hours of snorkelling we spent 'happy hour' with our neighbours in the bay from 'Barefoot', which is a 40 ft aluminum sloop headed to the Galapigos.
Next morning we were off to Tenacatita where we spent a day just lazing on the boat before moving on to Chamela. On the way to Chamela we dropped anchor for a couple of hours at picturesque 'Paraiso', had lunch and enjoyed the scenery before bucking a northerly swell and wind for the rest of the trip up to Chamela.
After a slightly challenging anchoring exercise in 20+ knots of wind we settled in for a couple of days to wait out the unfavorable northwest winds before heading around Cabo Corrientes, and on to Banderas Bay. Fortunately, the wind gods were on our side during our overnight passage, and our trip around the notorious cape was calm and uneventful. For the first time in quite a while the winds were not on our nose and we were able to get some sailing in.
The wind gods may have been good to us but the boat gods certainly were not! One hour out of Nuevo Vallarta - our final destination, we noticed the saline sensor on the water maker had failed. More importantly, the clutch unit on the autopilot quit working... one gets spoiled with technology and hand steering under power gets tiresome quickly. On the bright side we were only one hour from our destination. Next, as we called the Marina to get our slip assignment the VHF radio failed! (This continues to be an intermittent problem Tom needs to address). As if that wasn't enough, our depth sounder stopped registering - which was a little disconcerting as the channel into the Marina is very shallow)! But when all seemed lost, the depth sounder corrected itself, our backup hand held VHF radio worked well, and we hand steered successfully into Paradise Village Marina (with only a small amount of wandering off course) for our planned 10am (high tide) arrival.
Guess what we have been doing since?!!
(new photos from this blog in gallery)