Sunday, December 6, 2015

What to expect when you're expecting.. (Pacific Mexico)

Sailing the Pacific side of Mexico has proven to be challenging for the Terrapin tribe. Since leaving the Sea of Cortez about 1000 nautical miles ago, we find ourselves thinking, "hmmm, this isn't how I remember sailing".  We've had to make changes and adjust our expectations as this is a new way of sailing for us. Gone are the days of expecting that an 18-hour passage will actually take 18 hours (give or take a couple hours). We've said "adios" to nights full of sweet dreams, waking up refreshed the next day. The Sea of Cortez or as we like to call it, "The Disneyland of sailing" has spoiled us. 

For those who don't know, the Sea of Cortez has almost zero swell and offers one amazing anchorage after another, close in proximity, making passages easy. It would be a shame for anyone to sail Mexico and not sail the Sea of Cortez. Would you go to Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower? 

Decent anchorages are few and far between when you get south of Manzanillo, notice I'm not saying "good anchorages"...lately we've just been searching for decent.  Just about every anchorage is rolly and faces south towards swell. Most of the anchorages that look amazing in the guide book are smaller coves with tremendous swell forming into huge gracias. Then there are the anchorages that look inviting, but the bay is so deep and rocky with a very narrow sand shelf right where the breakers start. Unfortunately, our favorite guidebook is not much help south of Zihuatanejo, as the authors admittedly did not venture this far south. It's been disappointing to say the least. We set out for what was to be an 18-hour passage and about 90 hours later we finally set the hook...we did take a small nap in a bay near Aca-puke-o, but had to keep going. It's not that we can't handle a 90 hours passage, we just weren't prepared. 

When expecting to sail the Pacific side of Mexico, forget everything you know about sailing coming from the Sea of Cortez. Reset expectations. Make enough passage food for days, not hours. Throw homeschool out the window, no one is learning anything. Insist on rotating shifts, while we would take turns throughout the day, Phil would offer to sail us through the night on a 12-18 hour passage as he loved being alone with his Kindle under the stars (and I can use extra beauty sleep)...not anymore! If an 18-hour sail can take up to 90 hours, you have to take shifts to ensure everyone gets enough sleep. 

We knew when we splashed our boat in October, we'd be early in the season. What we weren't expecting is to have only seen 6 boats in the past 2 months. 6 boats...... Where is everyone? Every boat we see is headed North....maybe that's a sign. 

On a positive note we've been anchored in Puerto Angel, a somewhat cute town with clear water and good snorkeling, here are a few pics. Oh and what's the deal? Is Oaxaca the marijuana capital of Mexico? There hasn't been one guy who's spoken to that isn't puffing on a joint.  Everyone keeps asking us if we'd like to buy some weed, to which our response is always, "no thanks dude, we've got a boat full". Just Kidding!

Always making friends

This is what it looks like when someone says, "Comin' in HOT!"


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