We met Dan and Dee on the dock in San Diego before heading South to Mexico. After spending six months in Thailand, they were looking for a new adventure. They inquired about sailing and our story. We exchanged information and had no expectations to see them again. But just four months later they turned up in La Paz, Mexico with a boat of their own, named s/v Rocket Girl.
Our friends on s/v Rocket Girl joined us in Santiago Bay. It wasn’t long before we were downtown exploring both Santiago and Manzanillo.
We even took a day trip inland to the town of Colima, to check out El Volcán de Fuego, the active volcano we’ve seen erupting from the coastline.
After all of the excitement down South it was time to turn North once again stopping in Tenicatita. We met up with Leslie and Peter on s/v Skybird, who invited us to La Manzanilla for some raicilla tasting and to visit Pancho. Instead of sailing and re-anchoring across the bay, we took a 20 min dinghy ride over to the town.
Soon after we were back in Chamela. The wave situation in Chamela had changed drastically from the last time we anchored there. A swell from the South was rolling right into the bay creating the biggest beach waves we had ever seen. Even the experienced panga drivers were taking it easy. There was no going to shore and the sleeping arrangements were rocky.
It was time to leave and start the 12 hour+ passage back to our newly claimed home port of Puerto Vallarta. Maluhia and Rocket Girl pulled anchor at the same time. We sadly said “Hasta Luego Amigos” as we couldn’t bring ourselves to say good bye. We’d always remember Mexico and think, there’s always Vegas.
After 8 hours of bashing ourselves silly into the wind and waves hitting us head on from the North, we looked at the chart and saw we were only 1/4 of the way to our destination! Are you kidding me?! We were motor sailing, and had already consumed 1/4 tank of fuel. At one point we were moving 0 knots. Panic set in. It was dark and we thought we caught a long fishing line in our prop. Thankfully, this was not the case.
Should we turn around? The thought crossed both of our minds. Conditions were miserable, we weren’t going anywhere fast. We were burning up a bunch of fuel for the pleasure of motoring in place. We decided to go for it. We turned Maluhia around and changed our destination back to Chamela. Time to destination, two hours. It was a complete sleigh ride.
Two hours?! Exactly, why were we torturing ourselves for the last 8 hours? What makes the decision to around so hard? We were happy to accept defeat and followed our track right back into Chamela. We anchored in the dark, which was ok because we were familiar with the area. Not ok were the boats we dodged that had no anchor lights. Exactly 12 hours after we left, we had the hook down right back where we started.
Twenty-four hours later the SW swell was still running high into Chamela. Friends on s/v Quest reached out to us and coaxed us back out of the anchorage stating that the ride North was amazing, wind from the South this time, at about 15 knots. Excuse our skepticism, but after yesterdays fiasco, we were thinking – yeah, right. But, we picked up the hook anyway. The anchorage was getting a bit out of hand as the decks of boats anchored in front of us would disappear in the trough of each wave set.
We couldn’t believe the difference 24-hours made on the sea state. With the breeze now from the SW we experienced another sleigh ride, this time in the direction we wanted to sail. With the wind, waves, and swell playing nice, we sailed half way before we finished the rest of the journey motor sailing, arriving in Puerto Vallarta at 6 AM. We were so thankful for s/v Quest reaching out to us because if it wasn’t for them we’d still be stuck in Chamela.