A Great Night Sail to Bahia Chamela
17 December 2014 | 19 35.10'N:105 7.79'W, Chamela, Mexico
Shortly before sunset last night we left Punta de Mita on the north shore of Banderas Bay for the overnight sail South to Chamela. We've been in the bay near Puerto Vallarta for over a month and I would be lying if I said that I didn't feel some trepidation as we left our familiar territory. The magnetism of a familiar anchorage in familiar surroundings is strong! At the same time, we were looking forward to some new scenery and new experiences.
For a change, there was wind this time! Shortly after raising the anchor, we were sailing downwind in 12-14 knots of wind. After so much motoring these last few months, it felt strange, but great, to really be sailing!
About four hours into our sail, after sunset, we passed Cabo Corrientes. This is another one of those big capes on the Pacific Coast and falls into the same group as Cape Flattery, Cape Mendocino, Cape Conception, and others, where the weather can change significantly as you pass. Because we are so far South in the tropics, the change is not as great. But, it was still very noticeable. As we closed on the cape the seas became very confused with strong currents from multiple directions. Although the sky was clear where we were five miles offshore, on the coast dark clouds were piling up to the North of the cape. Then, just a few miles past the cape, the seas softened into a regular rhythm and the wind became more consistent.
I sailed all through my shift with winds to 18 knots and boat speeds to 8 knots under main and jib. It was generally clear with only a slice of moon, allowing the stars to be very brilliant.. Dee took over at midnight and enjoyed a couple hours of steady wind. She did have to motor for a couple of hours, but before dawn the wind was back and we were sailing again.
Just before 9am we dropped the hook in Bahia Chamela in 25 feet of crystal clear blue water. This was one of the most enjoyable short passages that we have had. Because we could sail, it was so quiet and peaceful on the ocean versus motoring. And, the 96 miles just flew by! Oh, if all the passages were like this oneÉ