Turning Left, Heading South

03 November 2012 | San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico
02 November 2012 | San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico
06 December 2011 | Portland
05 December 2011 | San Carlos, MX
03 December 2011 | San Carlos, MX
28 November 2011 | San Carlos, MX
10 November 2011 | San Carlos, MX
05 November 2011 | San Carlos, MX
04 November 2011 | San Carlos, MX
03 November 2011 | San Carlos, MX
02 November 2011 | San Carlos, MX
13 March 2011 | Chamela
12 March 2011 | Bahia Chamela
08 March 2011 | Mexican Riviera
04 March 2011 | Tennacatita
03 March 2011 | Mexican Riviera
25 February 2011 | Puerto Vallarta
15 February 2011 | At Sea
08 February 2011 | Baja Mexico
27 January 2011 | Baja Mexico

Barra de Navidad

08 March 2011 | Mexican Riviera
Hi Ho!

We left Cuastecomate, also known as the Secret Anchorage this morning around 0800. The seas were calm and the wind a gentle breeze out of the south. We didn't have far to go. I think Barra de Navidad is just 5 miles south. But we needed to run the water maker to fill our tanks. Barra is in a shallow mangrove lagoon with water almost as thick as the mud on the bottom. Running the water maker there would clog our filters. So we traveled on a slow bell, making just a couple of knots. While I was fiddling with the water maker, Janie let out an excited shout. A humpback whale had surfaced just a few dozen FEET from the boat. When I got up on deck his "foot print" was still clearly visible. After the whale strike in Tenacatita Bay just a couple of days ago, we were on high alert. In a few minutes we saw him blow again. This time about a quarter mile further aft. We breathed more easily.

As we made our way to Barra, the radio was alive with reports of boats going aground at the entrance to the lagoon. That's a common occurrence. Channel markers are set from the outer bar to the big marina at the Grand Bay Hotel Complex, but the lagoon is a little further in, the channel is narrow, and there are no markers guiding you the rest of the way to the anchorage. Adding to the challenge, the water is so thick that you have mere inches of visibility. You can't see the sand bars until they are dry. The good news is that there are widely published GPS waypoints, and the bottom is soft - few rocks. So if you do run aground you should do little or no damage as long as you are going slow. So we came in with the engine at idle and we kept ourselves right on the GPS track line. There was lots of room in the anchorage. We found a spot and let the anchor go. Last time we were here, Adagio was equipped with a 45# CQR plow anchor. Which did not perform well in the slippery mud bottom of Barra. We plowed furrows, and did not get the boat stopped until we had let out 185 feet of 3/8" chain. And the lagoon is only 8 feet deep! Every time we left the boat and came back from town, a new arrival was parked on top of our anchor.

This year we have a new Rocna 55# anchor. Its footprint is much larger than the CQR's. We figured that would mean better holding in soft mud. But you never know until you put it to the test. We are happy to report that when we dropped the Rocna and paid out 100' of chain, the boat came to a full stop with the chain leading straight out bar tight. The anchor was dug in and we were not about to budge. So we were feeling pretty confident. We were off in the dink to the sail makers' shop with our sail cover that needed re-stitching, and to the Port Captain's office to check in. Checking in took hardly any time at all and the Port Captain spoke perfect English, making the procedure simple. The sail maker needed a couple of hours to do the re-stitching, so we walked to town for lunch and to reacquaint ourselves with Barra de Navidad.

Around 2PM we had our business in town completed. We went back to the dink and headed out to the anchorage. Which was a good thing, because the other thing Barra is famous for (besides a slippery bottom) is high winds in the afternoon. About the time we ran out of gas, and started rowing the inflatable dink the mile or so back to the boat, white caps started forming. Before setting off from the big boat I had had the foresight to check the fuel tank. What I failed to notice was that the tank does not sit level in the bottom of the dink. The inch or two of fuel that showed on the stick was an inch or two of fuel in the bottom CORNER of a tipped tank - not a quarter full fuel tank. Oooops! But we were lucky. After just a few strokes on the oars a passing panga noticed our plight and gave us a tow.

But wait there's more!

By the time we got aboard Adagio it was blowing in the 20's and things were getting lively. As I was busy trying to keep my balance and to not spill gasoline all over the dink while transferring fuel from the jerry jug to the gas tank, Janie was noticing the boat two boats to windward of us starting to drag anchor. About the time the first boat came into contact with the second boat,and then the two boats were heading our way, Janie was opening the engine's sea-cock and grabbing the keys to our boat. She got the engine started as I hopped off the dink and headed for our anchor. Somehow we managed to not swap paint with anybody and found ourselves a new parking spot. Of course the foredeck was covered with mud from our hasty anchors aweigh. But we were glad to be out of harms way. Eventually the wind died a bit and just before dark the two boats were able to untangle their chains and get both boats re-anchored.

That's the news from Barra de Navidad. We hope this finds you healthy and happy.

Jeff and Janie
Vessel Name: Adagio
Vessel Make/Model: Passport 40
Hailing Port: Portland, Oregon
Crew: Jeff and Jane Woodward

SV Adagio

Who: Jeff and Jane Woodward
Port: Portland, Oregon