Saturday, April 16, 2011

Surf and friends early April 2011

Goodbye San Blas and Hello Mexican Riviera; not a lot of wind and nice swells always rolling in at anchor. After finishing the building and installation of the dodger frame, sailing Fatty around the estuary and hiking over the protective dunes to see the ocean, on Tuesday March 29th we finally exited San Blas Estuary. Much less exciting exiting than our entrance had been, we motored out early while the tide was at its highest and after briefly attempting to sail on the nonexistent breeze, continued to motor the 5-nm to Mantenchen Bay. Although happy that there was no swell running to exit the estuary, as we hopped in the surf-mobile for Chris to show Shawn around the bay, the “longest right” in Mexico was sadly not going off.

A quick swim in the clear water later, the breezes came up and we weighed anchor for a beautiful sail southward along the coast on the afternoon sea breezes. As the light winds vanished, around 1700 we decided to exercise Yannie in order to make Chacala by sunset. We reached the anchorage- full of sailboats heading north, and decided to set a bow-n-stern at the pole position just off the little village. Heading back to the outside edge of the anchorage, we prepped the stern anchor (it had been awhile for us to set two anchor) and agreed upon a plan: we motored forward onto anchor, let out 200-ft of chain in 20-ft of water. With the chain locked Rocky set, Tao swung around and we then backed down until we were perpendicular to the swell at which point we chucked out the stern anchor. Pulling in nearly 100-ft of chain on our front anchor we let out rhode for our stern anchor. Happy with our spot, we stayed two nights. While there, we took our surf mobile around the corner and got in the water to surf Chacalas wave (though very small) and also met the circumnavigators on Mantarua, the only other boat that stayed in the anchorage. We gave only a momentary thought to trading our 33-ft NorWest for their 41-ft Cheoy Lee…

Thursday the 31st we sailed out of Chacala on the afternoon sea breeze and again motored the last hour to our planned roadstead anchorage at Sayulita. Renowned for its surf and being a cute jungle town we thought we might stay a few days. However, even with settled conditions and a bow-n-stern anchor set, it was an uncomfortable anchorage. On top of that, the surf waves were tiny and overflowing with hopeful surfers. So, instead, we dinghied into shore, had great street tacos and perused the scene checking all the surf shops for a possible board to buy for Shawn. After motoring around the corner of the bay to check for possible secret surf spots and finding none, we pulled Ruby aboard and weighed our double anchors to motor out in search of the afternoon sea breeze. It finally filled in around 1400 and the sails went up as we checked the shoreline for possible surf breaks and were visited by a few whales. We had a slow but pleasant sail around Punta de Mita into Banderas Bay and set Rocky as the sun dipped behind the peninsula that provides protection from NW weather as well as creates several great surf breaks.

With pre-scheduled appointments in La Cruz April 3rd, we only spent 1 full day at Punta Mita for Chris to get his surf fix before buckling down for the next few days to get some balls rolling on projects that are waiting to get done before our May crossing. We just made our noon appointment (it was only 1000 our time with time zone change and spring forward). Several busy days ensued though we still can’t figure out why people spend so long anchored here. It is quite uncomfortable every afternoon as the breezes suck onto shore with 20-30 knots and wind waves to boot. However we met with and got estimates from two women to sew our dodger cover and started the process of selling our surf mobile on the morning VHF net (yes, it is sad).

On the fun side, we managed to have a couple dinners with Di and Andrew of Saviah who were staying in the marina feverishly finishing tasks before crossing to the Marquesas and we even met a couple more young cruisers also about to jump. In our wanders, we stumbled across a young couple and introduced ourselves to the Lauren’s of Piko at the dock in Marina La Cruz, and admired their new stern arch and solar farm. They mentioned that another fun young couple was anchored out and we should stop an introduce ourselves. Turns out Britannia was right next to us in the anchorage, so on our motor out we stopped by and were easily enticed aboard to share their relaxation from provisioning with Coronitas, amazing margaritas and shared stories. It is refreshing to meet other crusiers that are in the same stage of life and therefore facing the same life questions as we are. It turns out they had gotten two surf boards stolen in Mantenchen Bay the same night Seahor was stolen, small world...

After 3-nights, we hurried out of La Cruz’s uncomfortable anchorage to enjoy some surf and sun at our favorite surf/sail locale thus far- Punta de Mita. Also, for the second year, fellow Canyons river mama Whizzy came to Punta de Mita to unwind from a long hard winter in Idaho working at her yurt by surrendering to the ocean on a surf board, and this year Bruce joined her. At the same time, a dozen or so boats poised to head across the Pacific were waiting for the wind to fill in to pull up their anchors. As the swell bumped up we enjoyed a few surf sessions and Shawn’s birthday with Whiz and Bruce staying at Villa Las Olas on shore and Amanda and Krister on Britannia awaiting the perfect not-Friday weather window to push off for the Marquesas.

Our “herd mentality” clicked in as we watched neighbors weigh anchor and listened on the radio nets to boat after boat departing for the South Pacific and even two for Hawaii. Everyone else is leaving now, what are we doing? Are we too late? No, we just have to be careful during NE Pacific hurricane season which doesn’t officially start until June 1st. Breathe. In a perfect world, we would be ready for a May 1 departure. Unfortunately getting our canvas sewn for the dodger cannot be done until May 15. When it comes down to it, we would rather cross dodger-less without risking a hurricane than having to weather big storms with a dodger. But it sure would be great to have both a completed dodger and no hurricanes. The final decision is yet to be made. What we have decided to do is to completely relax for the rest of Whiz’s visit spending each day with her in the surf, having discussions about life, and eating well.
Every day the Eeyore and Ruby surf-mobile is employed carrying anywhere between one and four surfers and boards multiple times per day. Chris is loving his 5’10” quadfin fish and eagerly awaits more forecast swell for later this week. Shawn is practicing post-falling-evasive-maneuvers in an attempt to avoid any further surfboard-to-face contact (X-rays show no breaks only a deviated septum). And princess Grizzly is annoyed that a hinge broke aboard and therefore her favorite hiding spot is currently out of commission but she is surviving in all of her alternative hiding spots. We’re all immensely enjoying our time in Mexico and expect the preparation pace will pick up quite soon, commonly heard here, maybe maƱana.

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