Monday, March 7, 2011

Hasta La Bye Bye La Cruz

After nearly 10 perfect days in Marina La Cruz we were ready to have some sea water moving under our hull. As we left the marina, Sarah Jean II toasted us farewell from the dock. Those big smiles on their faces are because they just "splashed down" after a haul out to paint their bottom in preparation for their crossing to the Marquesas mid-March. SJ II is looking good.

As we made our way out of the marina and entered the channel marking the La Cruz anchorage we spotted Rich from Salt Shaker cruising around in his dinghy, we waved good-bye hopeful our paths would cross again. Just about everyone agrees that friendships are as important to the cruising experience as the sailing to distant ports. Living in a foreign country away from family and friends creates a need for most of us to connect with others, and for cruisers, connecting with others "Living The Dream" sets in motion a fast bond. Everyone has different schedules and leaving port often means leaving new friends behind, but distant anchorages open the possibility of reunions with friends not seen for weeks. Either way, stories and experiences, hopes and dreams, as well as ambivalences and disappointments, are shared at cocktail hour and over dinners. Meals are seldom solidary events.

Looking over the breakwater towards La Cruz Anchorage
Off we sailed into the sunset - literally - southbound around the infamous Cabo Corrientes, known as the Point Conception of Mexico. Like Conception, Corrientes is a promintory, but with strong currents that when combined with moderately strong winds makes for a nasty rolly washing machine of a trip. Therefore, timing is of the essence.
We have learned the true meaning of "Patience is a Virture" when preparing for an overnight passage. Waiting for a good weather window takes the edge off for us, helps Spark settle in, and is kinder to El Tiburon. We cruise to have fun, not to get beat up. Our passage around Cabo Corrientes was Fun and Frisky. We rounded the Cape about 10pm under a moonless sky and a treasure trove of brilliant stars. As the currents and seas mellowed a BIG orange grin of a moon crept up over the horizon. The higher the moon rose, orange faded into a pale yellow, and then a creamy white. When viewed through binoculars the surface revealed huge monster craters. I have sailed under a lot of moons, but this quarter moon was spectacularly luminous. A couple of hours later Mr. Sun appeared and cast his warmth upon the Riveria. His arrival was heralded by nearly a half mile trail of spotted gray dolphins crisscrossing El Tib's bow. This opening morning act was followed by the gentlest of giants, humback whales. As these magnificant beasts, measuring up to 50 feet and weighing nearly 79,000 pounds, breach they cast a force of water upward towards the sky as they crash back to the sea. Unfortunately, I have not been able to adequately photograph whales as they breach and splash down and then turn tail as they dive below the surface. In the past 2 years in Mexico we know of two sailboats that have collided with whales and have met with serious diasters, so I am content to view them from a safe distance.

 Mother Nature provided us with a dramatic introduction to Costalegre. Our first destination, Bahia Chamela, was only a few miles south.

There is a price for admission into the Bay, diligence. North of the entrance numerous rocky islets and underwater reefs extend out from Punta Perlua which must be carefully navigated. We threaded our way into the anchorage following precise waypoints entered on our GPS. The good news is that this string of reefs reduce the size of the swell entering the anchorage and helps minimize what could be an uncomfortable roll for boats. Tired after an all night passage we were relieved to set our anchor and delighted to be "parked" next to our friends on aboard Mystic. 

David watches our anchoring technique from the bow of Mystic

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