Mantanchen Bay to Chacala
15 December 2010 | Mexico
Greetings from Chacala, 21°09,802N/105°13,677W
It is amazing how much there is to do living aboard a cruising boat. I have not started one book yet. Where do the days go? After spending all morning on projects we were ready to head off by 1400. With the anchor up we started out of the bay with the afternoon breeze filling in, more than we had seen in days. Shortly we had 14-16 knots of wind and a wind chop running at us from the WNW. As things go we could not take advantage of it and just sail because we needed to charge and to make water. We were motor sailing once again, but at a good clip making 7 knots at a heading of 168°. It was nice to feel the boat healing and being drawn through the water instead of pushed. It didn't last long and within two hours we were rolling up the jib and motor sailing under main only.
We were basically paralleling the coast at about one to two miles off the beach. You could see that the terrain was changing from the flat swamp lands behind the beach to hills with cliff faces and bluffs breaking up the long beaches. Coconut palm trees and green vegetation grow right down to the beach and no one is around. Pretty soon a few nice looking homes started to appear on the cliffs overlooking the coast; nice views. We were treated to a whale show about half the way to Chacala. I looked behind us and saw white water. We watched a little longer and a whale came blasting up out of the water, just like in the insurance commercial. He came down with a big splash. Then another, then another, it was cool especially since they were a quarter mile away! That went on for several minutes. I don't know why they breach like that. I've read that some speculate that they are playing, others say it's like scratching your back. I don't know but it is cool to see. Sorry, no photos but Marisa saw it too so it's verified.
It is only about 23 nm to Chacala and we arrived before sunset. Love the short hops! Chacala is a small bay, very open to the WSW. There is a hilly point at the northern end with a rocky coast line. As the bay curves around the coast the shoreline broadens into a nice sand beach, with yep, coconut palms and several small beach palapa restaurants and a small hotel. The small village is behind the beach and there are several nice homes along the hills to the point. It is very different here from Mantanchen Bay, much smaller and you can see that the influence of foreign dollars are in effect here. Our cruising guide book calls this place the "quintessential anchorage people dream about." Not completely sure of that but it is really nice. It also says it is a rolly anchorage, and it is. We set a stern anchor to keep us bow out into the swell. Unfortunately I didn't give it enough scope and it drug during the night. We woke up rolling beam to the swells as it seems the anchor reset itself at just the right point to put us beam to the seas. Once that was reset and with more scope we were good to go. I said this bay is open to the ocean, yesterday there was a whale inside the bay cruising around. It is not deep so he didn't stay long, but has been spotted a couple of times working across the entrance.
Cruisers Mark and Anne on Blue Rodeo were here when we arrived and Howard and Lynn on Swift Current arrived the following day. We were anchored very close to the dinghy landing spot on the northern end of the bay and we rowed the dinghy, no need to even put the engine on at these distances, besides, it's good exercise. We rowed to shore and walked the beach to the furthest cantina. Great chips and salsa, cold beer and a nice fish of the day ala Mexicana dinner, catch of the day: Mahi-mahi or Dorado down here. We were invited to Swift Current for a pot-luck along with Mark and Anne that evening. The following day we used the paddle board and kayak and were joined by both the other crews as well. We made a "beach landing" with our mini net book in what turned out to be a not so water tight bag and went into the little hotel palapa bar/restaurant because they advertised "Wi-Fi". As it turned out there was just a drop or two in the bag and no damage. We had not been able to hook up to any free Wi-Fi in days. A cold one and $20 pesos for 30 minutes allowed us to post our last blog and quickly check email. Did I say the weather and water are almost perfect?
That night, Tuesday, 12/14 we were invited to dinner aboard Blue Rodeo along with Howard and Lynn. We had a nice evening and have enjoyed our new cruising friends company. Blue Rodeo is leaving Wednesday for Punta Mita, about 40 nm further and the first anchorage inside Bahia Bandaras. We intend to make the 8 nm hop over to Bahia Jaltembra to spend a few days in that area before going to Punta Mita ourselves. From our discussions it sounds like all three boats will end up at La Cruz before Christmas.
We are up early, listened to the Amigo net on SSB radio for any weather up-dates, work on our blog and photos to get caught up in that department, a few boat projects this morning, then row to shore to go into the village for lunch today and possibly head over to Jalembra after that. We met a Canadian couple at Las Brisas yesterday who as it turns out were just taking a day tour up from Jalembra where they stay every winter for 5 months. They gave us some good inside information on that area and it looks good on the cruising charts as well. There are a couple of small off shore islands close in, in the bay as well as several distinct small communities, all similar to Chacala so a variety of anchorages and beach venues to choose from.
We appreciate your comments and hope that you are enjoying what we are doing too! Take care and we will post from Jaltembra in a couple of days.