Sunday, January 16, 2011

Passage to Chamela

After a 334 mile, 57 hour passage from Los Frailes, at the tip of the Baja, traveling through three days and two nights in a more or less straight line (124 degrees magnetic) we arrived in Chamela  on mainland Mexico.  Chamela is a wide open bay approximately 100 miles south of Puerto Vallarta.  We were greeted a few miles out by the breaching of a humpback whale and, later, a sea turtle drifting in the current.  As the turtle passed our boat I looked back at him and he lifted his head to me as if to say “Don’t just stand there, throw me a line.”

A record was set for Odessa and crew as we sailed non-stop for 52 hours and a second record was set sailing on the jib alone for 33 hours.  The novice (like myself until recently) might wonder how two people make a passage of this length.  We each take 3 hour shifts changing at 3, 6, 9 and 12 around the clock.  Whoever is on watch is in charge of the boat making sure the boat stays on course, watching for other vessels and keeping a look at the engine temperature and battery level (if motoring).  The most challenging watch seems to be the midnight to 3:00 a.m. watch.  The crew member not on watch is typically down below trying to get a little sleep and rest and prepare a meal for the crew.  Passages are not my favorite part of cruising.  As one person put it, “It’s something to get through.”

While in Chamela we had lunch at a palapa on the beach where the menu consisted mainly of fish caught by local fishermen.  Following lunch, we walked into the village and were pleasantly surprised by the variety of supplies and food available at several small tiendas (stores) at which we purchased a few items.  When we returned to the beach it was time to experience our first dinghy surf launching.   I sat in the front while Karen and Roger helped Mike push the dinghy out.  As Mike rowed beyond the breaking surf, one of the waves caught us head on and drenched me head to toe and to a lesser extent Mike.  It was a somewhat sobering introduction to the reality of surf launching.  Lesson learned:  Don’t wear anything you don’t want to get wet.

This morning, our third morning at the anchorage, we awoke to dolphins, lazily swimming around our boat as we prepared to depart for Tenancatita, 30 miles further south.

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