How We Broke Our Anchor Chain And Lived To Write About It!
08 March 2016 | 20 45.90'N:105 31.03'W, Punta de Mita, Banderas Bay, Mexico
There are just some sea conditions that are no fun to anchor in. The weather that we were experiencing in LaCruz last week was just that. Not that it was super rough. It was just that all day it would blow from the west and then in the evening the wind would switch to the north. That left us with a small 2' sea coming from the west, but the north wind ensured that the waves were exactly on our beam. Catamarans may be more comfortable at anchor than a monohull in most conditions, but in this type of sea we ended up wobbling around at a fast pace as the small waves lifted one hull and then the other. It was getting on our nerves and we were both pretty crabby - me especially!
On a boat, the solution to most problems is to up anchor and move, so that is exactly what we did. There is only one other good anchorage in Banderas Bay for this type of weather and that is Punta de Mita about 10 miles to the west, right at the north entrance to Banderas Bay.
While our friends were rolling back and forth in the busy anchorage of LaCruz we were now settled in the clear waters of Punta de Mita with just a few other boats for company, all good friends of ours. It blew 20 knots in the afternoon in LaCruz, while here we only had a gentle 10 knots with a flat sea. Lovely!
Punta de Mita is also a surfing hot spot.
With the big swell that has been battering the coast, the surfers were out in force. It was quite awesome to watch from the boat. Some were surfers, some were paddleboarders, and all were having a great time in waves that looked like they would scare the pants off of me.
You may be wondering how it was comfortable for us anchoring in a surf spot? We did anchor well offshore so while the swell about about 5-6' high when it passed under the boat, it was feeling the bottom yet and so just lifted and lowered us gently. When it crashed on shore it was pretty spectactular.
After watching these big waves for a couple of days I took out the paddleboard and had a closer look with the idea that I may try a wave or two. It is important to point out that I have no skill in this area.
On the first day I just had a look and went back to the boat, quaking on my board. The second day I went back with Peter from s/v Penelope for moral support. We both inched closer to the area where the waves started breaking and eventually tried our luck. Most of the time, my timing was bad. But once, one very exciting time, I did pick up a wave on my el cheapo inflatable board and had a tremendous long ride! It was extremely exciting and I can see how addicting this sport would be. After that ride the fun was over and I just kept falling and getting knocked over. The waves were about 6-7' at the biggest, but they were very soft. No damage except to my pride as I watched other pick up the waves with what looked like great ease.
That was yesterday. Today, the weather has turned nasty and the surfers are all hanging on shore, presumably looking to seaward longing. We're sitting on the hook in 15-20 knots of wind (double knots to get kilometers per hour) and rolling around on swell and a good sized wind chop. It's not comfortable, but not dangerous either. All of our boater friends have left, although those that are anchored in LaCruz report that it is even windier there. We've already had a good dousing of rain today with more scheduled for tonight. There is even a good chance of lightning.
By tomorrow morning, the front should be passed and we'll just be left with some clouds, but hopefully a more comfortable sea to anchor in.
Maybe I'll even get that paddleboard out again and see if I can catch just one more wave.