Estamos en Chacala, January 25, 2006

It’s our first night here in Chacala.  Absolutely perfect.  We sailed down from San Blas
today.  Great day of sailing.  We went out about five miles under sail before we turned
south, the route today was only about 20 miles, but we made it longer by sailing out and
back in.  We had excellent wind, ten to fifteen knots aft most of the trip.
We got to practice our MOB drill (man overboard) when our dingy painter broke.  
Usually we stow the dingy, we like to sail as quickly as we can, but today was such a short
run from anchorage to anchorage we towed it.  We were doing about seven knots
downwind when SNAP went the painter.  We pushed the MOB button on the GPS and
called all hands.  Katherine kept watch, Maureen had the helm and Justin and I went
forward.  We had the Asymetric Spinnaker out, WITH the pole.  We dropped it ASAP,
secured the pole, secured all lines and turned 180 for our dingy.  Nice and smooth, 15
knots true wind and we were sailing back.  The wind was on our nose, so we started the
engine to close with the dingy.  I cut the engine a couple hundred yards off and we sailed
up under main.  Justin jumped into the Pacific Ocean (five miles off shore) and crawled
into the dingy.  We had too much speed, even with the main let lose, so we continued with
a second pass on our MOB drill.  I had the helm, and since I made a poor beam reach
away, Maureen recommended a circle with gybe to pick up J and the Dingy.  Katherine
had a rescue line with fender, tossed it nicely into the dingy to Justin and we brought
Tenacious to a proper MOB stall (under sail, no propeller spinning near J!).
Ahh back to Chacala.  We finished the last five miles without the Spinnaker and pole, we
just used the Genoa.  At one point the great NE wind died for 5 minutes.  While we were
trying to start the engine (starter solenoid was cranky again) the wind came out of the
south.  Maureen trimmed, told me to quit fussing in the engine room and we sailed the
last leg on in.  We made sure the engine would start before we pulled into the small
anchorage, we dropped our sail and motored on in.  Tiny little anchorage.  There were six
big shrimp boats on the outside, five sailboats and one small trawler on the inside.  Two
laps around, and we decided to anchor close into the beach.  10 feet under the keel at
low tide, so we were in good shape.  Nice sand anchorage, so the rocks only 100 yards
off of our stern are out of range.  What a beautiful bay.  Mountains, green jungle and
orchard covered hills.  The beach is about a mile long lined with palapas and ramadas.  
We are closer to the beach than any anchorage we have visited so we decide to go
without the outboard on the dingy for our beach landings.  A couple nice young men from
another boat row by and chit chat while we sit on our anchor for a little while.  They came
down from San Blas today also, but took an inside route.  They had poor wind and
motored most of the way.  Our outside passage worked this time!  Same trip and we had
excellent wind.  Great guys.  They recommend a restaurant Palapa down the way where
someone told them there was a band.  Great place.  Of course there are a dozen places
to chose for lunch/dinner.  This is a town of at least two hundred people, and as with all
these towns, every 3rd person is running some kind of private industry.  Great meal.  I
go for the pescado empanezado, K and M go for the camarones empanezado.  J is out
for no fish tonight, so he orders the tostadas.  We still haven’t told him that the 3
tostadas were covered with raw fish.  Okay, it was ceviche, but lime cure is not the same
thing as cooked.  K got up first from dinner to cruise the town, on her own.  Lets see 100
yards ala derecha and maybe 200 yards ala izquierda.  The guys from Casper (almost my
age) spot her,  so they chaperone until I show up 20 minutes later.  We chat with them
for awhile, meet some new little puppies hanging out at one of the roadside businesses
(remember, every 3rd person down here seems to own some kind of private
enterprise).   Eventually we get back to J and M who have moved to a new palapa for
another beverage, and a post meal nacho that I had requested.  Wow, this is about the
spiffiest place on the beach.  Roast beef sandwiches, hotel rooms, showers, part of the
palapa is even tiled (not sand beach).  Okay we snarf the nacho’s and then it s time for
the beach departure.
It’s dark now.  The surf is breaking, but not too badly.  We watched a couple of other
dingys depart earlier, and we know how wet it can be.  Duke is secured in the front of
the dingy.  We watch the waves for a minute while captain Dave (me) gives out last
minute instructions for the departure.  NOW ….  All four of us run out into the water
past the froth, K jumps in the bow.  J jumps into the seat and grabs the oars.  M jumps
in the back and into J’s lap.  I continue to push as J starts to pull.  WE GOT IT MADE !!!  
J pulls, I jump in, K stands up as a small breaker spashes on the bow.  No spin, we are
past the breakers, all crew is secure and dryer than we expected.  Duke hardly knows
what happened (he’s gotten used to wet landings and launches).  As Justin rows for
Tenacious we congratulate ourselves on our excellent departure.
So dang, why’d I start writing tonight … well, Maureen was up on the bow taking a break,
the kids were below.  It’s pitch black in the sky with just the lights of the small town on
the water.  I was standing up on the deck.  Sometimes we ask ourselves if this was the
right boat, the right time, the right voyage … well tonight it is.  Beautiful anchorage,
some music from a Palapa that is still open, a little smoke from a beach fire, stars stars
everywhere, the feel of real teak under my feet as I stand on the bow.  We don’t really
know why we went cruising, well the kids think it was to torture them, but tonight is one
of those perfect nights.  
Time to go hang with the family (and do some editing where I can see the keyboard),  
they’re wondering where I went for the past hour.  Thanks for reading our stories and
keeping in touch.  We’re halfway through this adventure, well not Mexico, but the leaving
Boulder behind and living on a boat side of things.  We’re keeping ourselves entertained,
maybe some of you.  Who knows, maybe next year we can read your adventure web page
while we are sitting at the office.
D, M, J, K, D aboard Tenacious, Chacala, Nayrit, Mexico.  N21 09.8 W105 13.6
Back to TimeLine
Below  ;)
Ahh the continuing adventures of Chacala
The bay at Chacala was everyone's idea of paradise, until the next morning when we
all commiserated that the rolling of the boat had prevented all of us from a good
nights sleep.  Time to try that stern anchor thing and see if it helps.  Sure enough,
the addition of the stern anchor kept us pretty much roll-free for the next few
nights.  We had decided not to put the motor on the dinghy as the beach was a major
swimming area.  We were so close to the beach this was no problem, but on
occasions the swells produced enough  surf that departing the beach sans engine
could be a little dicey.  One day Duke was so fed up with the lurching of the dinghy in
the breakers that he abandoned ship and swam back to the beach!
  David splurged for our day on the beach, and Willie became a new member of the
crew.  He has provided us with hours of entertainment, and at long last fulfilled our
visions of swimming with whales.
K & Willie make a fine
landing (these are the
same breakers we try
to launch the dinghy in)
These landings are
Duke's worst
As avid readers of our on-line journal, you may recall some earlier stories mentioning  our
favorite sailing instructor, Bruce Powell, from OCSC in Berkeley.  While Justin was under
Bruce's tutelage, he took careful notes of all the sailing wisdom that a sailor with 4
decades experience could shower upon him.  In particular, Justin recalls his training  
(REGARDLESS of circumstances) to always show utmost respect, concern and interest in
the native populations of foreign lands that we are going to visit.
In the following series of photo's we see a fine example of Justin's maturation process
regarding his dealings with the locals.  Even Katherine was in awe !
-  you really should double click on these shots.
The Willie Movies:
M bites the dust  3.7 MB
K gold medal ride  3.5 MB
M for the silver in the Grand
Prix Event  4.4MB
A few locals drop by to
check out the American
Architect's sand fortress.
More locals gather to
gaze upon the fortress
(and comment on J's
Beautiful eyes)
Justin consents
to a friendly
group photo
J poses for a final shot with
his new aquaintances.
(eat your heart out Bruce!)