Saturday, March 29, 2014


We ran into FUBAR 2013 participant ANTIPODES, Yatchsmith 55 in Chamela.  Randy and Nancy are traveling with their school age son Adam.   Each day they are homeschooling him in the mornings and then the rest of the day is available for fun and “informal” learning.  Their boat was one of many we looked at before buying WORKNOT.  It is a world class circumnavigator and very capable.  Steel hulled and hearty, ANTIPODES can and has gone the distance.

Talked to Randy by radio in Chamela and he mentioned he was without his radar and was moving only in daylight.  This makes the run to La Cruz difficult as the run takes 12 hours and almost 100 miles.  Not really 12 hours of daylight this time of year.  We volunteered to run as his eyes at night and agreed to meet in Punta Ipala just south of Cabo Corrientes.  This small harbor was the one we passed up on coming south from La Cruz as we passed early in the morning.  On the return trip we went there for a short night, leaving before sunup the next morning in order to make Cabo Corrientes before sunup and the wind picks up. 

Our reward was a fairly tight anchorage, rolly but not too bad but a few great sunset pics for the efforts.

ANTIPODES followed us out of the anchorage at 5 AM and we left them in Banderis Bay after the sun came up.   Cabo Corrientes was calm and peaceful.  Getting an early start was worth the rolly night on the hook.


Bara de Navidad continued…..

Bara de Navidad continued…..

We ran into a street fair one evening while searching for an ice cream store in Bara de Navidad.  It was a small traveling show with 10 rides, balloon toss, rings, darts and other side show games.  The entire collection of rides and games was well worn and the carnies as well.  We played a few games, won a pop gun (imagine that being a prize in California) and only Mary was brave enough to ride the rides.  The most aggressive ride was the Himalaya.  Pictures don’t do it  justice but the thing goes around in a tight circle with some ups and downs.  Half in the dark and half in the light.  Mary was the ONLY gringo aboard and had a blast.  This thing really screams along and the operator seemed to enjoy controlling the ride as much as the rider enjoyed the ride.  It goes backwards too!


We gave our winnings to some local kids and found the ice cream store as well.

Sea Fox, N55, our friends from La Cruz joined us for dinner and we managed to get “dressed up” for the occasion.  It still did not require long pants but it was nice to wear something other than a T shirt for a change…

As we left the water taxi we ran across this guy earning a living the hard way.  He was playing a taped political announcement, over and over and over again.  We heard him most of the night.

On a related note, the water delivery trucks and the propane delivery trucks each play a unique tune as they drive around the towns announcing they are available.  The songs are short and play on a loop continuously.   I guess the drivers are immune but it sure is annoying….

Many of the beach towns have some type of infrastructure work going on and we are told it is funded by the central government.  Tourism is a key income opportunity and fishing is critical to many of the town’s survival.  Here they are restoring a beach while opening up the harbor.  WIN WIN.  The operator builds a landing, walks out on it, continues digging the harbor floor and then removes the landing and moves on down the beach.   Twice saw the counterweight splashing in the water as the landing shifted.   This Volvo will make a great trade in.

Our friends on Tropical Blend N43 told us of a “private” pool on the 10th floor of the hotel.  Sure enough, after 2 elevators, a hidden walkway and some dead reckoning we found a very nice pool surrounded by villa type rooms.  We visited half a dozen times and other than the Nordhavn group only had one other couple show up.  The view from up there was impressive as well.

We left Bara and headed back to La Cruz via Tenacatita and Chamela.  Before we left we caught a few more sunsets worthy of a picture.

Note much to report on our trip back to Tenacatita.  We stayed a few days and relaxed before heading back north to Chamela. 

Next POSTING>>>>

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tenacatita to Bara de Navidad (19.12.x 104.41.5 W) 13 miles 2/8/2014

Tenacatita to Bara de Navidad (19.12.x 104.41.5 W) 13 miles  2/8/2014
SALACIA and WORKNOT left for Bara at 10 am in calm seas and 2-3 foot seas well spaced.   We fished from the edge of the anchorage to the harbor entrance.  Caught a few Skipjack tuna and turned them loose.  A little bit of excitement when I ran to get a fish and cut my little toe on a “Keela Keeper”.  These are spring loaded rods placed in our scuppers to keep Keela from being taken overboard by draining water or worse, sticking her head out to take a peek and getting caught by a wave. 

Hard to believe I caught the edge of the Keela Keeper but it healed in a couple of weeks.  Between my toe and the fish the decks were again awash in blood.  
A future project is to replace these with scupper doors that open outward only.  This will prevent water from entering the scuppers in beam seas but assure water can drain quickly from a breaking wave.  Also serve to keep Keela but she will miss the view from her level when we put the doors on.

The entrance to Bara includes a nice memorial to the lost fisherman. 

The hotel has a private beach and landing for the water taxis used to get to town and restaurants. 

The harbor is very shallow and we saw several sail boats aground during our visit.  We were warned to be very careful around the fuel dock.  Fortunately we don’t plan to buy fuel for several months.  You might be able to see the sand bar in the center of this shot.

We rounded the corner to the marina to find half a dozen 100’+ yachts guarding the fairway.  The one on the right is sport fishing machine that ran almost every day

After we got tied up in the assigned slip next to a new Nordhavn 63 our visit to the harbor office resulted in a quick move to another slip.
We were neighbors with TRUE BLUE N63 just long enough to get tied up and set our shore cord.  Someone with more clout than us (not hard to achieve) returned early and we had to vacate our slip.  Best not have to sleep and wake up next to a new N63 anyway.   Could encourage me to go back to work!!!!!

Our next slip assignment confirmed again the battle of one ups-man-ship in the yacht world is not the game for me.   Here we are hanging with the big boys of Bara.  One of these is S.O.C. and connected to Silver Oak winery from Napa.  The yacht is very understated and tasteful.  We have seen her in Sausalito a few times. 

Isla Navidad hotel sits on a steep hillside across the harbor from Bara de Navidad.  10 stories high, the lobby is on the 9th floor while the main dining room  etc is on the 1st floor.  Opulent does not do it justice, marble and granite dominates the floors and walls along with stunning Mexican tile and concrete work.


Checking in requires a visit to the marina office, 1st floor, trip to the very difficult to find lobby, 9th floor to get internet connection and establish account with hotel for room service, pool towels etc and then a trip to the Port Captain.  He is located not near the harbor but a water taxi ride then about a 1.5 mile hike to the farthest edge of town.  The office is located in residential area and only way I found it was the VHF antenna tower in the back yard.  Wonder who owns the property the Port Captain rents from?

SALACIA N40, TROPICAL BLEND N43, TRUE BLUE N63 and SEA FOX N55 along with WORKNOT gave a good showing of trawlers in the marina.  Sailboats are still more common by a factor of at least 5:1 over power boats and the more remote the location the more sailboats are the norm.  TROPICAL BLEND and her crew, Debbie and Larry,  are headed for the Panama Canal and the Bahamas.  Someday we hope to be on the same trip.   At least 5 boats from the FUBAR are all headed to the canal this year. 

Every harbor tries be unique and Bara is no different.  The “French Baker” appears at dock, fully equipped with fresh French pastries each morning.  He is a true Frenchman, been in Bara for over 10 years and has a shop in town.  The croissants are still warm and the rest of the goods are fresh and delightful.  When you hear the little bell time to head to the swim platform and load up.  Special orders can also be placed by VHF radio if you don’t mind everyone else knowing just how many croissants you consume each day.

Keela needed a haircut and we found a shop in Bara.  We waited for the trimming on a very warm day and this little girl sort of wandered in and sat next to us.  She just came right up to Mary, pushed her way between us and sat there for 10 or 15 minutes.  Her mom was working at a shop next door and came to see where she was.  When she saw she was sitting with us she went back to work.  No English but just a big eyes and a smile.  She was also smart to start with Mary.

We had a number of dinners with friends and a very special Valentine Day dinner with SALACIA & TROPICAL BLEND.   Live band and the chef prepared a special “Surf and Turf”.    About 250 Pesos or $20US.  Yes that is a lobster tail.   

More from Bara on the next posting, we really had a great visit and more to tell……


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bahia de Chamela to Bahia Tenacatita (19.1N x 105.51 W) 2/2/2014

Bahia de Chamela to Bahia Tenacatita (19.1N x 105.51 W)
Our trip is about 31 miles and scheduled for 5 hours.  We left on 2/4/14 at 9:55am and arrived at 2 PM.  Seas were calm and the weather was warm with mild breezes from the ESE.  Ideal conditions for an offshore trip and we were in no rush to end it. 
Again we had the pleasure of traveling with Neil and Dianna of SALACIA.  Even on this short trip our speed difference allowed us to leave half an hour later and still arrive just ahead of them. 
Tennacatita is one of the best protected anchorages on the this part of the coast.  Very well protected from Northerly swells and good in all but a strong southerly blow. 

Tenacatita 2

A few of these boats have been on the hook here since the season began in November.  It’s understandable after a few days here we got very comfortable.   There is a sense of community augmented by daily radio net calls and group activities organized by standing members.  Activities included a 2pm swim to the beach, Bache ball, Mexican train dominos and more.   Each Friday the “mayor” of Tenactita has a sunset dinghy meeting at Dog Beach (just off of the main anchorage).   This Friday there were over 30 dinghies sharing snacks, cocktails and stories. 
Swimming in or landing on the beach is rewarded with lunch at the palapa hidden in the palms.  We enjoyed a shrimp empanada with fresh vegetables.  I went for the coconut shrimp and was not disappointed.
I’m always amazed at how good and varied the food is from simple kitchens.

The beach stretches almost a mile before becoming part of the resort Blue Bay Lagoon.  This all inclusive resort was chock full of happy and warm Canadians enjoying the sun and surf.  They were not so happy to have Keela visit;  she and I were  very professionally and gently thrown out while Mary and Dianna continued to enjoy the shops and find a cab.   Rumor has it there is a nude resort just around the corner but no evidence was seen. 

We met up with a Canadian couple (Pete & Marietta) on the beach and went for a dinghy ride to the outer harbor in Tenacatita.  In the small world category, Pete works for a copper mine running Komatsu and Cat 300 ton trucks.  Another couple from the hotel met us about 2 miles from the hotel on their paddle boards.  They came out each morning to get exercise and see the whales.   At 10am the water was flat calm.  Still 2 miles on a paddle board is long way.

We saw a pod of whales about half a mile away and slowly moved in their direction.  We got within about 100 yards and they disappeared. 


We all thought they were gone when we head a splash very close by on the opposite side from where we had seen the whales.  About 20 feet away all 3 surfaced.  By the time we found our cameras and recovered from the surprise we finally got this picture.  The picture does not do the whale justice and boy is the dinghy small when compared.

 Note my hand in the lower left corner on the dinghy throttle.  They were much closer and have bad breath!

Another boat from the FUBAR 2013 joined us (Context) for a dinghy ride up the river into the Mangrove forest.  John and Jan had been there before so we followed them for about a mile.
 It was getting very narrow and the roots are very sharp.  They decided to turn around but we went a few more hundred yards up the river until we were rubbing the roots on both sides.  The river is supposed to open up into a large lagoon very near the open ocean.  Years ago you could carry your dinghy out of the river to the open water and return to the anchorage.  Some kind of land dispute has stopped fishermen from using that part of the river and the Mangrove trees have claimed the passage for now.

Next day John asked for help on the morning net as he had lost a crown.  Mary had stocked the boat well for emergency medical events but a lost crown was not on the list.  After a search of our medical kits and a few other boats attempts no one found a solution.  I gave him some 2 part epoxy used for emergency hull repairs just in case he needed it until he could find a dentist.  Wisely, he held off and was able to find a dentist in nearby La Manzanilla.  As we were having lunch at the palapa a taxi delivered dropped off a passenger.  The palapa is about 2 miles from the hotel which is 6-8 miles off the highway on a private road.  The driver agreed to meet John later for a ride to the dentist and he found relief.  The constant willingness to help cruisers is a big part of what makes Mexico special.  Will add a crown repair kit to the WORKNOT emergency medical kit as soon as we can. 

This has been one of the most peaceful anchorages we have visited.  Lots of boats but spread out nicely, huge beach, no bugs and very few lights from shore at night.  The stars were wonderful.   Again we are moving from a great location in search of an even better one.   The farther south we go the more relaxed things are.  
Next up, Bara de Navidad and Isla Navidad resort.  (19.12 x 104.41.5W)  20 miles south.