North from Barra and boarded by the Mexican Navy
10 March 2011 | Nuevo Vallarta
20° 44.858’N, 105° 22.373’W
Greetings from Nuevo Vallarta, but more on that later. I’m way late on posting anything and this one will be on the trip up from Barra to PV. We had very little wifi in La Cruz and the Sail Blog system crashed for a few days, all of which put me way out of sinc on reporting in!
On this leg, we, primarily Mike on So Inclined and I, poured over daily weather forecasts for the 150 NM run up from Barra to and around Cabo Corrientes into Bandaras Bay for several days. We had some pretty dire weather predictions and were waiting for our best opportunity to make it north to participate in the Bandaras Bay Race week with Sirocco. Mike is single handing and we were going to “buddy boat” with him and wanted to make it in three short legs rather than one or two long ones.
We picked the morning of Thursday, 2/24 to make the 40 NM hop up to Chamela. We left at about 0700 hrs and were safely tucked up behind the point and anchored by 1450 hrs. A pretty easy run and we were off the open water before we saw anymore than 15 knots apparent wind speed. It was an easy night with dinner together on Pacifico and no shore trips this time in a quiet anchorage. We were off again before dawn following our electronic track back out to be sure to avoid any issues in the darkness and headed up the coast to Ipala about 50 NM distant. The wind started in a little earlier and before we were in we were seeing steady 20-25 knots apparent along with confused seas. The swell was running from the SW with the wind from the NW and a counter current running up the coast in a NNW direction. It got a bit bouncy and we had some decent sized swells that we pounded into the last couple of hours. Practice for the Baja Bash! I took some video of Mike that he has posted on his March 1 Blog. If you’d like to see it go to Mike’s Sail Blog at http://www.sailblogs.com/member/soinclined/ or click on the link at the bottom of our blog page and click on the You Tube video Mike posted for that date.
We arrived at Ipala and were anchored by 1600 hrs in the hook behind the point. This anchorage is small and there were already several boats there seeking shelter when we got in. It took some time to get a spot that I was comfortable with squeeze in between our neighbors, the fish pens and submerged rocks. It’s pretty rolly in here too, but we put up with it for the evening and settled in. I went over to So Inclined since it was my turn to put the dinghy down and we checked weather together one last time before the final leg up to Cabo Corrientes the next day.
While I was aboard So Inclined we heard a steady heavy diesel engine approaching and looked out to find a Mexican Navy patrol boat dropping anchor nearby. I borrowed Mike’s camera and got a few photos of their boat. In short order they were launching their large RIB (ridged inflatable boat) and started making the rounds among the boats at anchor. I scooted back to Pacifico and got ready for our turn.
In short order we were hailed and advised that we were going to be boarded and inspected. Two young officers and two well armed sailors came aboard while their RIB stood off. We were asked a series of standard questions by the officer who completed his form while one sailor took a position on the bow and the second remained in the cockpit with us. At the conclusion of the questions I was asked to come below with the officer while he checked a few lockers and looked at our ships papers. Finding everything in order they departed after assuring us that in an emergency we could call upon the Mexican Navy for assistance. They were very polite and business like and asked if we were in anyway offended by their conduct, which we were not. That was it, but I thought it prudent not to take any more pictures!
The next morning we got another early start and headed up to Cabo Corrientes. It was a pretty pleasant sail up and the rounding was easy. We stayed inside, about a mile off the beach all the way to the point and slipped into Bandaras Bay where we got a nice shift and pretty soon we were sailing on a direct line to the anchorage at La Cruz. By the time we got in we were broad reaching, seeing 20-25 knots again and it was rolly in the anchorage, but we are always happy to be back at La Cruz, one of our favorite places!
It’s a strange feeling knowing that we are retracing our route and headed eventually towards home in Oceanside. We have been out almost four months now and have had a great time down south. Who knows; maybe someday we will see it again?