Monday, February 8, 2016

Punta de Mita

The time to move on had come.  We left Matanchen Bay at 3am in order to arrive at Punta de Mita, 50 nautical miles farther south, in daylight.  We had a nice breeze from the land and after charging the batteries under power for an hour, we took turns enjoying several hours of blissful, quiet sailing at 5 knots while the other slept.  The seas were a bit confused as we encountered wind against swell, but also had ½ a knot of current sweeping us along.  About an hour after dawn we were flat calm.  As we were off Jaltimba, just as I was making breakfast, Doug spied the dreaded standing pop bottle, indicating a fish line in the water.  We could see far into the distance, both ways, pop bottles every 100 meters connected by ¼ inch, yellow polypropylene line, with no indication of the black flag that is supposed to indicate its end.  We had to run parallel to it for a couple of miles, initially out to sea, but gradually back toward our course.  Frustrating, but the last thing we wanted was to have this line wrapped around our prop and rudder!  Other than an enormous green turtle and a few boobies, we didn’t see much wildlife on this passage, though we had heard there were whales nearby.

This is NOT Ka'sala, but it gives you an idea of what can happen
Just after lunch we approached Punta de Mita and the afternoon wind picked up to about 15 knots.  We had a bit of difficulty anchoring as the sand seemed very hard packed and our 45 pound CQR did a fair bit of bouncing before it caught.  The  forward “up” switch on the windlass had crapped out when we lifted the anchor at Matanchen Bay so we were loathe to pull it up with the cockpit switch to try again.  We finally held in 8 meters with 35 meters of chain, nearby a couple of sailboats and some huge powerboats.  A steady procession of tourist laden pangas zoomed out of a tiny breakwater and the surf rolled and crashed on the beach.  The day was hot and humid, the water was 26 degrees, light blue and crystalline clear.  It didn’t take too long for us to tidy up and jump in!

I wish this photo had better focus, but you get the idea

We had been without wifi and cell phone coverage since leaving Mazatlan so we were delighted to find we had 4G in the anchorage.  I would assume this is because almost the entire area is covered by the Four Seasons Resort, condos, golf courses, etc., not to mention its proximity to Puerto Vallarta. 

Golf courses and the Four Seasons Resort - the anchorage is  the long bay to the right

What was once a tiny little fishing village is now destination resorts and a surfing mecca.  While others surfed the waves outside, we spent the rest of the day catching up on emails and surfing the NET.

Beachfront at Punta de Mita
The next day we were happy to see Al and Lindy entering the anchorage.  We really wanted to visit with them, but were put off by the water conditions.  An enormous surf had brewed up, along with a wind chop, and other than swimming close to the boat, we felt more secure staying aboard.  Earlier in the day we had launched the dinghy to try to go ashore and were more than impressed with the size of the waves rolling into the steep-to beach.  There were even breaking waves in the entrance to the little panga breakwater which was full of pangas trying to come and go with their dozens of passengers.  Our guide book described a dinghy landing that would have rocketed us into the sand and upturned us for sure.  If we wanted to explore Punta de Mita we would have to do it by road.  Lindy later told me that when she tried to use her paddleboard she got “maytagged”.  However, there seemed to be a good number of surfing keeners out there.

Too close for comfort!

A number of boats came and went while we were there – many of them coming for the day or night from Puerto Vallarta.  We met a couple on our aborted dinghy trip aboard St. Leger.  They had just completed their world circumnavigation, having crossed their starting line the previous day.  It only took them 23 years to do it!!  They were accompanied by their friends on another boat who had taken 15 years to complete theirs!

The surf rolls in
We stayed 3 uncomfortable nights in Punta de Mita.  Although the anchorage is gorgeous, we spent most of the time rocking and rolling in the surf.  The motion was especially bad in the night when the wind died and the boat rested sideways to the swell.  On our last night, Doug even employed the lee cloth (which we usually use when we are underway) to keep him from rolling out of bed!  We weren’t too sorry to leave after breakfast on Monday, February 1st and head for the marina at La Cruz.

This map gives you an overview of where we are

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