Friday, January 9, 2015

January 9, 2015 - Chacala

Chacala has been an excellent stop which we have thoroughly enjoyed.  But it has had some memorable moments, starting before we even arrived.  A short leg for us, not more than 4 hours transit, with a forecast of good sea conditions that we anticipated to be "smooth sailing."  I know you sail boaters probably do not like to hear that from us motor yachts!  Well, all started well on our voyage to Chacala with winds of less than 5 knots.  But we found that the winds once again hit us off our port side and were in the 20-25 knot range with gusts all the way to 32 knots.  Not in the forecast!  Seems we had a funnel of sorts from the land sweeping right at us, we are sure a local condition usually referred to as a "gap wind".  The stabilizers overheated once again (every time has been with strong winds from the port side) so there was some foul language, several trips to the engine room, and quite a bit of frustration about that.  Good thing is we knew it would end soon with only a few miles to go!  I had started dough and planned to make soft pretzels with the kids so that made it all a bit more difficult.  We often do some baking under way to pass the time whether it be bread or cookies or such.  We made it without issues but the stabilizer cooling system is an item that is on the TO-DO list.  A fellow Hatteras 48 owner that Steve met has emailed a suggestion based on his boats stabilizer installation.  It will require a little welding which we hope to have done in Puerto Vallarta.  Once passing the funnel zone and turning in to this bay, it was beautiful.  There were no other vessels, other than a small local sailboat, in this picturesque bay.  For such a location, well spoken from all the books, we thought it odd.   We did have quite a few whale sightings on the short voyage but none close enough for photos.  Despite the eventful transit to get here, and some less than ideal overnight conditions (more details shortly), we have to say that we LOVE Chacala.  It is a small and quaint little spot with a relaxed feeling.  There are no buses or road noise here and the beach and town are superb.

We spent the first afternoon on the beach and as we came back aboard, things changed.  We had set a stern anchor when we first arrived to point the bow southwest so we could take any swell right on the bow, which would be the smoothest ride.  The waves ended up coming from the west or even a bit northwest overnight, not quite what we had planned for, and not what was forecast.  A sail vessel came in and anchored nearby just before dark.  It was a mostly sleepless night for us even with the stern anchor, which was now holding us in the wrong position for a smooth ride.  We rocked and rolled all night.  The sailboat ended up sideways to the waves and overnight we watched the anchor light on top the mast swing heavily from side to side.  I think we could see their keel in the moonlight at times.  Looking at what they endured, we felt fortunate.  We were awakened by creaking and different sounds and had to tighten several bolts that secure the anchor stabilizers to the mast.  This was the biggest workout that they have had in more than 4 months of cruising.  But, they are fine, just needed to tighten half a dozen bolts.  These nights with weather always seem long and agonizing.  Much more so than an overnight passage because at anchor you spend the time trying to sleep and frustrated when you are awakened all the time.

The next day we did home school in the morning and played at the beach all afternoon.  The surf was still high from the swell that had increased dramatically during the past night.  This made for better boogie boarding.  The second evening was still a bit of the hobby-horsey feeling but we slept better (because we were tired).  The kids always seem to sleep through everything so Steve and I are the ones to try get our energy up to match that of our children.

Yesterday we had a great day, walking around the town a bit and playing in the water once again.  We were able to walk through a tortelleria and purchase some hot off the press/oven tortillas.  We walked around a few of the blocks and headed back to the beach for some play time.  Oh, I have to mention that getting our dinghy to shore today was quite eventful whereas yesterday we looked like pros!  Today we came in and as the kids and I tried to jump off and another wave came in the dinghy almost flipped.  We are just using the walker bay row boat so no worries if it does flip but it does make us want to practice riding the waves onto the beach.  We had items in a waterproof bag so no worries about our towels, cameras, money, or anything else.  We had dinner at Choc Mool right on the beach and then Cindy and I swam while Kevin and Steve rowed the dinghy back to the boat.  Kevin did swim back the day before with Cindy and I.  We made it back last night just as it was getting dark.  The seas are much calmer now too so we are hoping for a good night's sleep.

Sand beach of Chacala on the left, Adagio on the right

Sand Mountain

Steve with the toys. Palapas in background

We are headed to the port captain (in this building) to check in

boogie boarding.  The water is almost 80 degrees.

Cindy, Kevin and Steve.  Kevin does a body surfing style here in the middle

boogie boarding
Kevin and Cindy out until the sun goes down
Chacala and Adagio in background

This fellow made us some bracelets

Kevin, Steve and Cindy swimming.  Panga towing banana ride (popular here)

Sharing a Pina Colada - new favorite drink (w/o alcohol of course)

Steve took this. Cindy fits in with the Mexicans, quite brown!

Steve washing the boat deck.  pretty dirty up there!

Zappa trying to keep cool.  Kevin too, but also trying to take a break from home school

Another Sunset

The main street behind the beach
Tortilla factory.  Hot in there, I actually walked out and thought the
outside was cool after being inside where tortillas are being cooked on a
conveyor belt automated machine.  

Tortilla making machine.  We got them hot off the press here from the lady above!

Chacala, one of the streets away from the main waterfront area
I, Steve, guess they need a sign for this??????   It apparently worked, because I saw
nobody disobeying it  :-)

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