Thursday, January 10, 2013

Familiar Territory

We made the remaining 150-mile trek back here to Banderas Bay over 5 days. A nice leisurely pace, but also necessary lay days due to squally weather, big head winds and uncomfortable lumpy seas!

We first tracked back to Chamela in sunshine and a nice close reach. The clouds were spectacular, the shadows on the hills beautiful, and the weather perfect for drying out all the dampness from 3 days of rain. We did laundry as well as airing the pillows and sheets.

We were really determined and optimistic about catching a fish. The sport fishers and pangueros had been having luck out early in the morning and had reported catching dorado. We know they liked our lures – and we know we had some BIG fish strike, because we lost 3 lures, one line broke just as we were picking up the pole and the next didn’t even slow down, just took all the line off the reel. We have been using 60 lb test line, thinking we couldn’t really handle a 100 lb fish, but we will up the weight of our line next time we replace it. We did catch a nice 15 – 20 lb skipjack tuna and another one the next day – so we are not really complaining -- just hankering for a little more variety – and we hated losing our favorite lures. We are getting pretty casual with photographing the run-of-the-mill tuna catches...

After resting up in Chamela, grilling salmon and visiting the town by kayaks we prepared for an early morning departure by bringing in the flopper-stopper rig before going to bed the second night. Big mistake – it was way too rolly to sleep, so since we were wide awake we took off at 1am, thinking that we might do the 100 miles (about 16 hrs) back to Banderas Bay in one stretch. With dawn the wind came up, on our nose, and with it bumpy chop, making 6-10 foot swells close together. With a double reef in the main we were still getting knocked around. We were about 8 miles off the coast, thinking it would allow us to sail whatever heading was most comfortable. By about 11am we were still 15 miles south Cabo Corrientes, (cape of currents) the big point where the water is supposed to get turbulent! While the boat was performing well it was not a situation in which we’d want to deal with anything breaking. We were beat, so made a slow mid-day trek in to revisit the Ipala anchorage that we had stopped at on the way south. As we neared the small bay, it was already haboring 5 sailboats and 4 large tuna boats. Apparently nobody wanted to be out getting beat around. This anchorage had seemed small with two boats in it last time we were here, but “any port in a storm” we found a spot and 3 more cruisers came in and found safe spots too before nightfall. 
One of the four tuna boats that joined us in port -- though the weather doesn't look too threatening!

Our new favorite bay
The wind stayed up the next day, but we were glad to stay put and have another day to kayak in and walk the town. The town of Tehuamixtle at Punta Ipala turned into one of our new favorites. We had a short hike up over the hill and imagined the possibilities of building a casita overlooking this bay! To us it seemed like the “yet to be discovered” get away. Not easy to find from Puerto Vallarta, but really just around the cape from the south Bay of Banderas. According to signs, the town just got electricity and water/sewage treatment in 2009. We bought homemade “arroz con leche” (rice pudding) from some kids out in front of their house (how’s that for brave). The aborrate mujer did not have anymore fresh tortillas but sold us half of those she had bought that morning for her own family. We had a beer at one of the restaurantes and finished just as the extended family came up from the beach for their mid-day Sunday meal of fresh pawns, tortillas, rice and beans. So glad we found this little spot and “had” to spend an extra day!

The gate to town and a beautiful little roadside chapel.
I found a sweet little kindergarten that looked like a place of real learning...
maybe we WILL move here.

The school yard had a pony, a calf and some goats -- talk about hands on learning.

and they are ripe for some playground improvements...

Monday morning, we left Ipala at 6 am, along with two other boats headed north. The tuna boats had headed out the night before, a good sign that the wind had calmed down around the point. We had a good trip north – about 10 hours to La Cruz. There are about 2-dozen cruising boats outside the marina and probably 4-dozen more inside. The last couple days have been spent on maintenance – fuel filter, lubing, cleaning – the usual – and a dinghy trip in to freshen the provisions. We are making arrangements to have a rigging inspection while here, an insurance requirement (and good idea) for the Hawaii portion of our trip.

As we sit in the cockpit, Lanham is playing guitar and I am getting ready to put together some fish tacos. We are back in our familiar anchorage, almost home away from home, with cell phone reception and pelicans dive-bombing for the sardines that hide in the shadows of the boats. Not the smartest looking birds, and inclined to look near-sighted when they cock their heads, this afternoon one pelican nearly knocked himself out when he crashed into the hull of Solar Wind on one of this mistimed dives. He sat a foot away, bobbing like a dizzy cross-eyed cork. When he finally swam away, he had a stripe of blue bottom paint from our hull on the back of his head and trailing down his neck. Where’s the camera when you want it? Hope he doesn’t start a fashion trend among his buddies.

Sunset time…

1 comment:

  1. Ohhh... 4 GREAT blog entries... with adventure, rescues, and everything else one could want! So FUN to read! ... As I sit in my down coat with fire roaring and heat on trying to get warm in our 29 degree weather. At least we "shared" your sun today! Thanks so much for writing. This is really fantastic!