Apr 08

Mexican wanderings

Tag: route,Uncategorizedmattholmes @ 9:52 am

We left La Cruz on March 31st to sail south to Tenacatita, a little over a hundred miles down the coast, for a brief respite from the bustle of La Cruz. Jon had flown out for his spring break vacation from teaching, and was looking for a legitimate cruising experience, and Karen had read about a “jungle river adventure” to be found at Tenacatita, so that sealed the deal.

The wind was very light during the entire passage; the sail south was slow. I recollect sailing half the time, motoring half the time. We try to sail whenever there is sufficient wind to fill the sails, which puts us at a boat speed of about 2 knots. 2 knots is a fairly leisurely walking pace, so you can imagine how long it can take. We were in no rush, though–so 2 knots it was.

The anchorage at Tenacatita was tranquil and relaxing. There was a dolphin that lived in the anchorage, affectionately named “nacho” for a notch missing in his dorsal fin. Nacho was most interested in the boat 300 feet away from us, I think because it had a little dog that would run around the deck following the dolphin. Karen wanted to swim with Nacho–she has a lifelong dream to swim with dolphins–so she jumped in the water and started making various sounds intended to attract the attention (and affections) of Nacho over to our boat. The sounds succeeded . . . in making us laugh! I think Nacho sensed her need, because he stayed just far enough away–sometimes coming within 15 feet but no closer–during our entire stay in the anchorage.

At night, the phosphorescence was spectacular. One night we swam in it. Swimming through liquid light, making light by moving, little dots of light dripping off your hands and arms. Your whole body illuminated like some sort of superhero, like your body itself is radiating the light. It struck me as extra-terrestrial–not something that I knew existed on this earth.

The day after we arrived we serviced the outboard for the dinghy (finally), then packed up the dinghy for a day of travelling up some river through the jungle. It was a cool scene. Not, I must admit, a very impressive jungle–I think that experience is still to come–but it was fun travelling through this dark, narrow corridor of a river, barely wide enough for the dinghy in places, with a ceiling of vines and leaves overhead. At the end of the river we found a lake, which happened to be next to a town on the beach, which happened to be overrun by mexican tourists for the Easter holiday. We sat at a little food place next to the lake and spent the day like that, sitting there.

I have a good story about our first beach landing. There’s a hotel just up the beach from where we were anchored; Jon needed to arrange for some sequence of transportation back to Guadalajara to catch his flight. We took the dinghy in. There were small waves breaking on the beach, and it was fun to run in there surfing on a little wave until it got shallow then quick turn off the engine and raise it up and then jump out and drag the dinghy up on the beach. The waves seemed small and the trip into the beach was easy, so we were goaded into a sense of complacency. Trying to get back out, we were not so lucky. It’s all in the timing, I’m sure, but we did not spend much time trying to wait for a good window. Essentially, we dragged the dinghy into the water and went for it. As a result, we provided wild entertainment for a boat in the anchorage that happened to be watching this scene unfold. We got repeatedly thrashed by waves breaking on us, swamping the dinghy with seawater, and nearly flipping the dinghy end for end. I think we went weathered about 4 waves that had our number. Jon was up in the bow trying to hold it down as these waves lifted us to the vertical–on the last wave he was propelled vertically out of the bow straight into the air and crash landed back into the bottom of the dinghy. Unfortunately, the amusing part of the story would be the video and pictures that we didn’t take. On our way back to the anchorage we were hailed by the boat that watched it all unfold. They said they were sure we weren’t going to make it through the last wave, that we completely disappeared and then came launching vertically out of the white surf like a rocket. It was a hell of a fun time, that’s for sure.

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