Sunday, May 30, 2010

Searching for Surf (5/8-22/2010)

Passage: Punta de Mita to Chacala to Matenchen to Mazatlan (5/8-22/2010)

Distance Traveled: 192-nm (40-nm, 21-nm, 131-nm)

Total Travel Time: 47.5-hrs (10.75-hr, 6.5-hr, 30.25-hrs)

Engine Hours: 22.9-hrs (4.7-hrs, 1.4-hrs, 16.8-hrs)

At 0710 on Saturday the 8th, Tao, Nanu and Caramelo (“the crew”) set sail for Chacala following reports of an incoming 8 foot swell from an early southern hemisphere winter storm. Chris sailed half of the nearly 11-hr passage, motoring what remained of the 40-nm to Chacala under calm conditions. The crew spent the next 3 days surfing it up, and visiting the little town of Los Varos for fresh fruit, still awaiting the elusive south swell to arrive and pump it up. When Wednesday the 12th dawned with no sign of building swell, the crew headed north again still holding hope that the swell would build.

Around 1430 the crew left Chacala for the 21-nm hop northward to Matenchen Bay, just south of San Blas. After two days exploring the nearby coast for the best wave setup, the reported swell never made it in to Matenchen Bay. Instead of waves, Chris was met by a pod of dophins near the San Blas estuary entrance. This was not unexpected, as most local surfers agreed that surf in the bay was very fickle. To top it off, our dinosaur shipboard computer chose this point to stop working. Now Tao was computerless- no more winlink updates for Chris’ singlehanded passages north.

A decision point was reached; time to move on, where to? Nanu immediately high tailed it back south for more surf at Punta de Mita. The next morning, Sunday the 15th, Tao and Caramelo weighed anchor and headed north to Mazatlan. The approximately 131-nm passage took Tao 30.25-hrs over 2-days and 1-night. Chris motored through the windless night, sailed the final leg into Mazatlan as the daily breezes came up mid-morning, and put the hook down towards the inner portion of Old Harbor at 1410 on Monday the 16th.

Five days were spent recovering in Mazatlan during movies and meals with Caramelo, reprovisioning of water, food, fuel, and phone calls to everyone in the States wondering what the plans were. After many good times with all his “buddy boat” friends, Chris was sad to say goodbye to the last, but certainly not the least, Caramelo, who was headed west to the Baja. Instead of facing the prospect of two crossings, Chris and Tao were continuing north to San Carlos along the mainland.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

More Banderas Bay

After Shawn headed back north, Chris and Tao spent the last two weeks of April anchored in Punta de Mita. Nanu was also still anchored there, Lisa’s visit continued through the 23rd, and both Estrella and Caramelo made it up from La Cruz. Amidst a nice day sail out to Las Marietas with Whiz and Estrella for a day anchor, exploring natural sandstone caves along shore, seeing bluefooted boobies,

and visiting Pisces at the dock in La Cruz (and soon bound for Hawaii), Chris’ days revolved around surfing. Morning, afternoon and evening sessions at favorite surf spots: El Faro, La Bahia, La Llancha, and El Anclote were shared with Whiz, Eric, Rachel, Adam, Ryan and Kristina- whoever wanted to surf and fun was had by all.

And even Pisces (after doing the longest passage ever from La Cruz to Punta de Mita via Isla Soccoro) came into the anchorage for Chris’ 36th birthday celebration on April 30th (Thanks Team Young!).

As May dawned, Chris motivated to head back north toward San Carlos and plans with Shawn. Sunday, May 2nd, Tao weighed anchor and sailed 4.25 hours to La Cruz to re-provision for the northward trek. Four days later Chris sailed half way back to Punta de Mita and anchored off "Burros", a beautiful wave for an evening and morning of amazing surf. Thursday the 6th, after another 3-hrs of sailing, Tao again dropped her anchor in Punta de Mita. After a couple more days of surf and a trip to town to purchase a beautiful wave painting (by traveling painter/limo driver Tim Cowley), on Saturday the 8th, Tao, Nanu and Caramelo set sail for Chacala and forcast head high surf.