We left Isla Colorado at 4:15AM after a very rolly few hours as the result of a wind shift leaving us broadside to a large swell. Rounding Punta Hermanos we caught our first view of the anchorage at Playa Tenacatita and a great snorkeling/diving area called “The Aquarium”. There was only one boat anchored and we could see it was rocking in the SW swell rolling right into the anchorage. We decided to skip this destination for now, and motored several more miles to the main anchorage just past Punta Chubasco. When we rounded the point, we could see dozens of boats at anchor, in very calm water. This looked great after last night.
We decided to anchor at the edge of all the boats, rather than being right in the middle of all the action. It proved to be a good location well away from the dangers of other boats anchored in close proximity. There is a unique phenomenon that many boaters are not aware of. Powerboats and sailboats can behave differently when at anchor. A sailboat has a deep keel, and not a lot of surface area above the water. This makes a sailboat much more controlled by the currents when the winds are light. A powerboat on the other hand has a lot of area above the water, with much less below the water compared to a sailboat. This makes a powerboat react more to wind than current. The result is that in light winds, with a moderate current, sailboats and powerboats can and will move in different directions. It is not uncommon in those situations to see all of the powerboats pointed one direction (lining up with the wind) and the sailboats pointed a different direction (lining up with the current). With the large swinging radius of a boat on anchor, it is possible for a powerboat and a sailboat to have overlapping swing radiuses and it is possible for the two types of boats to collide. All of the boats in this anchorage are sailboats (except us) and they are all pretty tightly grouped. So, to avoid the above scenario we often anchor outside a grouping of sailboats. We don’t want to bump into somebody, and I know they don’t want us swinging their direction. We are anchored away from the sailboats and have no worries at all.
After anchoring we did some boat chores, some homeschool, and had lunch. After that we headed to shore to do some boogie boarding and check out the beach scene. Kevin did not boogie board as he is in the middle of a cold right now and feels like he doesn’t have what it takes to be physical right now. He’s laying low and taking it easy. The surf was pretty decent and there were even two cruisers out with their surfboards riding the best swell location.
On the beach, while chatting with a cruising couple from Lopez Island (small world again) we saw sv Flying Squirrel arrive and drop the anchor with the rest of the sailboats. It wasn't long before Dave was in his dinghy headed to shore to say HI to us.
All of the experienced cruisers dinghies here have folding wheels on their transoms. It’s almost a necessity to have dinghy wheels in Mexico unless you have a very lightweight dinghy that you can lift and carry up the beach. We do not have a lightweight dinghy, and we do not have wheels. That makes beach access for us very hard if there is any breaking surf. We can’t get the boat out of the water to dry land fast enough without wheels. A wave will usually crash over the stern flooding the dinghy with water before we can slowly drag it up the beach. We have had several bad experiences with beach landings now.
I have a set of dinghy wheels that I have always felt were too wimpy (and with wheels that were too narrow for riding on top of the sand) for our large dinghy. But after seeing Flying Squirrels wheels in action I decided to go ahead and install them on the large dinghy. I was going to put them on our small dinghy but it was going to be a tough job, needing to make thick shims, and fiddling around quite a bit. After a few hours I had the wheels temporarily installed on the big dinghy and they were ready to test on the beach. The first experience was great. We were able to easily get the boat up the beach with much less effort and much more quickly than we ever could without the wheels. Getting the boat back in the water was much easier and a completely different experience. We can now start the motor while standing next to the dinghy, moving out into deeper and deeper water until there is a lull in the surf. Everyone can already be in the boat ready to go, except for me. I simply move the boat around to ride out waves, and position it for the right time. Then I just hop in, put it in gear, and go. Before we would all hang on to the dinghy while standing in the water. We would have to take it out to much deeper water which is also where the waves break. Then we would hop in, I would lower the motor, try to get it started, and then motor out. By the time we did all of that the waves would be breaking again over the bow threatening to swamp or tip us over. With the wheels down, it raises the stern of the boat up high enough that the motor can be lowered and started in much shallower water. Hopping into a boat with the motor already down and running shaves at least 30 seconds off the time to get away. And we can get ready to go in shallower water where the waves are not breaking. A much safer experience.
|Cindy riding a wave into the beach.|
|Kevin, after a wild ride to the beach :-)|
|Cindy, Morgan, and Matthew transform Kevin into a mermaid.|
|kids having fun in the 85 degree winter, with almost 80 degre|
|Kevin needs a shower, or at least a salt water bath|
We had the crew of sv Flying Squirrel for dinner one evening. What a nice evening to chat with Dave and Amy and the kids got to play and just have some more fun time.
There is an estuary here that you can go up approximately two miles. We took this trip and had a wonderful time with the sv Flying Squirrel crew, who came along in their dinghy. This made for some nice pictures for us all also. The kids switched dinghies half way through at the lagoon at the end to make it half way and even. The mangrove was beautiful, quiet, and very interesting to navigate.
|Super calm water. Interesting plant life in a mangrove.|
|There were many birds in the trees and bushes.|
|Cindy and Morgan hanging out on the bow of our dinghy.|
|Dave, Amy, Kevin, and Matthew onboard the "Flying Squirrel" dinghy.|
|Flying Squirrel taking the lead. It was plenty deep, at about 8-10 feet.|
It gets narrower and narrower the further up the estuary you travel.
|Egrit? Very pretty.|
|Not much room to maneuver now.|
|Cindy and Morgan checking out some branches they snapped off some bushes.|
|Crab galore on the trees in the mangrove here|
|Passing a half sunken panga in the way! Our dinghy barely made it through here.|
|Kevin, Steve, Mathew and Kathy in our dinghy.|
We sped up on our way back as the depth except at the entrance was around 8-10feet. 20+ mph in the narrow channels. Fun!
A fast dinghy ride back through the mangrove.
One morning we were having breakfast and I look out and there are 4 dolphins right around the stern of our boat. They were doing a circle or two out there, probably for fish. We had a line to our bow anchor (which was actually behind us this morning) with a float at the surface. Well, it starts going down several feet and moving, then pops to the surface. This happened quite a few times. After a few minutes we saw the dolphin swimming away. One of them was playing with the line down below although we could not see him as the water was about 30 feet deep. Also, we did as well as some other vessels have some large fish swimming under our boats which we believe to have been tuna.
Our last afternoon we had light winds and decided to knee board and try the surf board towing behind the dinghy. The kids had a great afternoon, Steve spent about 4-5 hours towing one after the other. They could have kept doing it. Not sure we need the knee board anymore, the surf board seems to be the way to go, they are having fun with it.
|Kevin and Steve|
|Cindy on the kneeboard|
|Kevin getting ready for first try on the surf board (he's mostly dry here)|
|Several tries and Kevin has it mastered. He's surfing!|
|Kevin on the surfboard|
|Cindy has now mastered the surf board|
|Steve and Dave hanging around in the dinghy|