Monday, March 9, 2015

Yelapa to Chemela. Distance 90 Nautical Miles. Forecast. 10-15 knots WNW

In order to arrive in Chemela we would depart in daylight at 5pm with the aim of arriving sometime after dawn. The winds were light in the bay of Banderas so we motored towards Cabo Corrientes. We spotted our friends, Neil and Jesee on The Red Thread on our AIS system so we hailed them and agreed that we would meet up in Chemela but would keep in touch every few hours.

As we rounded the Cabo the winds picked up to about 10-15 knots and we raised the sails and cut the engine, silence at last. The seas were relatively calm. Given we had TC and Kelly onboard we set up a three hour watch routine which would give us all a good 6 hour sleep between watches. We followed Red Thread down the coast seeing them on the AIS and speaking to them every few hours, we were only about 3 miles behind them when the wind started to pick up to around 25-30 knots behind us with occasional gusts to 35 knots. We reefed the sails and hooked up the preventer to guard against an accidental gybe. The seas built and with it came the usual rolling action of sailing dead downwind so I headed off about 15 degrees which gave us a little more speed and steadied the boat. 

Night came and TC came on for his watch during which he noticed that Red Thread were doing a 360 maneuver so must be having some sort of issue. Later we found out that they had some minor issue with the in boom furling. When I came back on watch I gybed Sarita and started a track towards land. We had plotted a course that would keep us about 6 miles offshore to avoid the “long lines” (fishing lines with over 1,000 hooks set) as these can get wrapped around the keel, rudder or propeller. I reefed the boat further and then the winds shifted to the south for a couple of hours then started to die down and eventually we had to motor the last few miles to Chemela and arrived as dawn broke at 7am.

We dropped the anchor off one of the islands with one other boat there and then we all went to get some sleep after our exciting trip down the coast. When we awoke Neill and Jesse we anchored of the island as well. The winds had picked up again and were blowing at around 25 knots now from the south. The anchorage is a little exposed in southerlies so we went on a search of the bay to try and find some better shelter but failed so we anchored where near where we were originally.

Over the next few days we all went snorkeling around the area with TC and Kelly definitely winning the prize for covering the most distance. They went miles, around islands and across the strait to another island and back again.

We really enjoyed the area, it was the first time since we have been in Mexico were we chilled out and swam off the back of the boat and to the beach and we will look forward to coming back sometime.

Having spent 4 days chilling out it was time to head north again back to La Cruz so that TC and Kelly could catch their flight out on the 4th Feb. we left at 7:30am with the aim of staying overnight at Ipala. We had a great sail up the coast albeit in heavy rain but the winds were on the beam and from the east so the sea was as calm as it could possibly be in 15 knots so we made great progress doing 7.5-8.5 knots most of the way to Ipala. As we approached Ipala the winds shifted from the east to the south which left us exposed and in a uncomfortable anchorage so we decided to up the anchor and take advantage of the southerly winds to push us north around Cabo Corrientes and back to La Cruz or possibly Yelapa again. Well as all sailors know you can never rely on the wind particularly near a coast so about ½ an hour after leaving Ipala the winds died completely and then suddenly changed 180 degrees and were on our nose. I had all the sails set for a down wind run with a preventer so I had to quickly sheet in the sails and close haul our way up the coast. We beat our way up the coast making slow progress in the building seas and 25 knots but we persevered. I hoped that the wind would stay in its current direction once we rounded Cabo Corrientes but of course it did not it swung around to be on the nose on or course for La Cruz so I decided to motor rather than tack all the way back. We arrived in La Cruz anchorage at 4:30 am exhausted after a rather lumpy ride back.

We said our goodbyes to TC and Kelly and hope that we they will join us again on our travels somewhere in the not too distant future.

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