The short run of 22 miles to from San Blas was covered in just over four hours with no wind to speak of. We dropped the hook in about 25 feet of water in the north east corner of the anchorage to try and escape as much of the swell coming into the anchorage. There were about 5 other boats in the anchorage and most were rolling pretty badly, but we were not sure of this was due to swell or the pangas and speed boats speeding through the anchorage towing people on “bananas” or wake boards.
I went ashore to try and check in but the Port Captain’s office was closed so I would have to come back later. We chilled out on the boat and went for a swim in the relatively clear water. The swell at the moment was not too bad. Our friends on S/V ‘Ohanna came in to the anchorage and we all went into town later to have a meal and a few drinks. The small town seems pretty much totally local tourist orientated, very few Gringos. The beach is lined with palapa restaurants and bars and still being the holidays there were quite a few people about enjoying themselves. Chacala we decided was one of the nicest places we have stopped off at so far: small, plenty of character, average anchorage, swimming, good food at good prices.
We decided to stay a few days and as the swell was picking up we deployed the stern anchor to ensure we kept the bow into the swell. We have a 55lb Stern anchor with 20 feet of chain, probably a bit big for our boat but as most of us know there is no such thing as an anchor that is too big as long as you can raise it once deployed and that is where the test would be when we left.
The following morning the wind shifted to the east from the land whilst our bow was still facing west towards the swell. We decided to leave the stern anchor out as it might just be a land breeze. During the day the wind stayed coming from the east and built to gusts of up to 25 knots. I was pleased that the stern anchor still held especially with the force of wind being partially on the beam. I considered again to let go of the stern anchor and allow the boat to swing around to face into the wind but the wind started to die down and we managed to get some sleep.
With all that force on the stern anchor I found it impossible to raise it by hand so I lead the rode to the bow of the boat and to the winch and it popped out easily.