We departed the small anchorage of Ipala at 0730 on January 26 bound for Chamela 52 miles further south. Not enough wind for sailing so we motored the whole way and were unlucky enough to catch two large Toro's (otherwise known as Jack Crevalle). With the first one we thought we had a real catch until Gilly started to fillet the large fish and found nothing but very dark red (almost purple) meat. We found out they're really bad eating so we ended up tossing it back which we really hated to do. We hooked another one, had real trouble removing the hook but we're finally able to release it.
We found Chamela to be a very pleasant, although a bit rolly, anchorage. There are several palapa restaurants on the beach with $1.00 to $1.20 Pacifico's so this gave us an excuse to further hone our dinghy landing skills through the surf. Fortunately we never crashed and burned getting on the beach, but we did have one case where the dinghy took on lots of water on the way out so we had to go back empty in it out and try again. We're making good progress, but it is a bit nerve racking every time we do it. We ended up spending time with new friends who also have Catalina's which participated with us in the Baha Ha Ha from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas back in November. We explored the little village together with each of us contributing a bit of knowledge to assist the others in finding what they needed. Lots of fun to share this experience.
We departed Chamela on February 1 in the company of our friends on Moody Blues (Catalina 50) and Jammin (Catalina 42) for the 30 mile trip to Tenacatita with an unusual 11-13 knot breeze from the southeast. It was an absolutely fantastic sail as we tacked our way down the coast under warm and pleasant conditions. We had our fishing lines out and ended up catching two more Toro's which after some difficulty we released to be caught by someone else. We're beginning to think these are the only fish in this part of the world as our friends were catching the same thing.
We were fortunate enough to visit Tenacatita one year ago with David and Anneke Dury aboard Freedom, which is our all time favorite boat. We knew then that we wanted to come back and spend much more time in this very special place. The anchorage is large enough to accommodate many boats but right now there are only about 30 with people coming and going each day. Although there is an all inclusive hotel at the very far east end of the beach, there is nothing else except one small palapa on the beach. No provisions of any kind are available here. On Sunday in the company of 5 other dinghys we did what is known as the "Jungle Cruise". There is an estuary on the west end of the beach with just enough water coming out so that under the right tidal conditions it's possible to float through and then proceed about 2 miles up the river into thick vegetation that ultimately becomes a canopy blocking out the sun. Lots of wildlife to see along the way and then it ends in large lagoon where we beached the dinghys. We then walked a short distance to palapa restaurants on a nice beach where we enjoyed lunch with the 9 others who did the trip. All and all a fun trip that exceeded our expectations.
Yesterday, with our friends from Moody Blues and Jammin, we did a totally different kind of dinghy excursion this time going across Tenacatita Bay to the 4 mile distant village of La Manzanilla. We left at 10:00 AM in calm seas with no wind and after a quick ride Gilly did get completely drenched with our less than perfect beaching but we were able to walk away from it. La Manzanilla is one of the typical villages that we love so much, supported by panga fishing and some degree of tourism. While enjoying what was probably the best lunch we've had in Mexico, the sea conditions were building to at least 25+ knots so no way we were going to tackle that in our dinghys, but it gave us more time to explore La Manzanilla and return to the same restaurant for a light dinner while things became a bit more suitable for the trip home. While assisting us in launching our dinghy through the surf, Dave from Jammin stepped on a sting ray and received a very serious wound. We know this is extremely painful and today after proper treatment and antibiotics to hold off any kind of infection he seems to be doing as well as can be expected.
Speaking of medical issues, Gilly's elbow seems to finally be on the road to full recovery. The swelling and pain have much subsided so we're hopeful this marks the end of this episode in our cruising adventure.
As soon as we get to an internet connection, we will be posting photos to our blog.