Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bahia de Tenacatita 1.10.09

We left Barra lagoon on Monday morning, the 5th, and motored North a few miles (about 14 miles away) to Tenacatita Bay. We missed this stop on our way South as we were trying to get to Barra by Christmas so we figured we'd go back for a while! Tenacatita is a very popular anchorage and many cruisers will spend several months between Barra, Tenacatita, & Santiago Bay which is nicknamed the 'Gold Coast' as it is spectacular and each spot offers something just a bit different. Pacific Jade had left
Barra the day before and we made it into the bay after a beautiful motor sail up the coast. Lady Hawke joined us all a few hours later. We tossed a line in the water hoping to catch some fish and thought we were getting we had two bites but they both managed to escape before Michael could reel them in completely. Bummer! The bay is spectacular and we were welcomed into the entrance by two whales playing just around the boat. We also had help anchoring by several local dolphins who
welcomed us into the anchorage by surfacing all around us. The dolphins are notorious here and everyone looks forward to seeing them. One is nicknamed 'chip' as there is a piece missing from his fin. They also rub up against your anchor chain, scratching their back. You hear this crazy sound of chain jingling and run up and see some just under the bow of the boat. There were 13 other boats in the anchorage when we arrived.

We spent 6 days in Tenacatita and it was fabulous. The bay has spectacular clear blue water and we went swimming at least once every day. We also spent the days doing projects, snorkeling, kayaking, walking the beach, reading, relaxing & meeting new people. The beach is one long stretch of a white sand beach. There is a resort at the far end of the beach, called the Blue Bay Lagoon Resort, that is an all-inclusive resort. It is reported that last-minute stays are as inexpensive as $70/person
but cruisers are not welcome. The beach is backed by palm trees and at the other end is a small palapa that serves beers & food and a small campground. This is also the site of the movie set 'McHale's Navy' and one of the buildings still stand. There are two anchorages in Bahia Tenacatita, one near the 'aquarium' and the other on the other side of Punta Chubasco. We chose the calmer anchorage on the North of Punta Chubasco and stayed there the entire 6 days. There is a river estuary called Rio
Iguana that you can take the dinghy into that is filled with mangroves, birds, flowering vines that canopy over parts of the channel, butterflies, colorful crabs, fish, and it is rumored to have crocodiles though we haven't seen any. The trip starts out at the entrance to the estuary where you have to either time your entrance to be sure there is enough water under you, or get out & push or drag the dinghy through the entrance. We beached our dinghy as we had trash to get rid of on the way in but
raised our dinghy engine and paddled and pushed until we were in the free flowing water on the way back out. We began somewhere around 10am and made our way through the jungle river trip to the end which takes you to a lagoon and the main town called Playa Escolleras where there are several restaurants, a small tienda for groceries, & lots & lots of beach. We made the trek with Pacific Jade while Mike on Lady Hawke took the shorter ride around the point and met us later. Mike met up with Ryan
on Buddhaventura, an RV'er that we know from Mazatlan and who helped bring us a frequency meter just after Christmas and joined us for lunch. We visited for a while & had a wonderful lunch and then headed back to the boats. The entire trip was about 6 hours.

We did maintenance on the boat, as always - this time Michael scraped the bottom. You see, the boat sits in the water at all times & things begin growing on it that makes it much less efficient, as well as possibly doing damage to the bottom paint which is designed to repel the critters who attach themselves. He hooked up his 75' hose directly to the dive tank and began cleaning the bottom. There was sea grass, critters, & barnacles growing and he used a scraper & a fibrous scrub sponge to remove
all of the crud. While he was scrubbing the bottom, I was giving all of our stainless steel a freshwater scrub to remove any of the salt that was on it to slow down rust. I found a couple missing screws and Michael found a big missing one! One of the heads of a bold holding on the chainplate at the bow of the boat was missing and the chainplate was beginning to pull up. If you will remember, he had a similar failure on his way up the coast from Panama and did not want to deal with it again.
So he enlisted the help of Pacific Jade, Lady Hawke, & Endeavor and they replaced the bolt, under the waterline, while in the water - a somewhat risky job.

I have to tell you how cool these cruisers are. Michael noticed the missing bold and shared this info with Pacific Jade and Lady Hawke via the radio. Now the benefit of using a radio is it's much easier than yelling (haha) and it's just like a phone, quick & easy to use - but the sometimes bad side is something called 'lurking'…which is when others listen to your conversations. Everyone does it and I'm just as guilty as the next guy - I get curious and will follow another conversation when they
switch to other channels. Anyway, Michael was sharing his issue (he was looking for the correct size bolt) with Pacific Jade & Lady Hawke when we were called by others in the anchorage, and at the RV park, offering us the bolts they had. How cool, huh?! Michael pulled out all of the items he needed for the repair but decided to work on the project the next morning as he was reading a book that he couldn't put down. The next morning came around and he was called on the radio - first by Pacific
Jade offering his assistance, then by Lady Hawke, then by Endeavor. He was fielding the calls and went back to reading his book. Finally I looked at him and said "You better get to it…these guys need a project to do!"…hahaha… And a little while later all 3 of them were at the boat and with great precision, the old bolt was removed and a teak plug in place to prevent water from flowing inside the bold while Michael got the new bolt ready, gooped up, passed up and Joe placed it in the hold and twisted
it in place from the outside while Michael did the same from the inside. The whole thing took less than an hour and another crisis averted! On closer inspection though, the bold looks like it has some electrolysis and even though the metal was tested to be 'protected' we will have to watch it closely to make sure it does not happen again. We're very thankful to everyone who helped - Joe, Mike, Kim, & Ryan for their help. What a cool community..

The rest of the week was spent just having a relaxing time. I put the inflatable kayak in the water and checked out the spectacular clear water and visited a few boats one morning while Michael worked on projects. We went to the beach one afternoon and met up with Kim & Linda on Endeavor, and other couples from boats who were new to us joined us for a walk down the beach and afterward a beer at the palapa restaurant by the campground. If you didn't watch it, you could keep yourself very busy in
Tenacatita - there were bocce ball games, domino games, card games, walks, book trades, etc. that were scheduled almost every afternoon! It's a great place to really get to know your boat neighbors and the beach is perfect for walking, bocce ball, & shell hunting as it's a nice flat white sand beach.

On Friday evening at 5pm there was a dinghy raft-up scheduled where everyone in the anchorage was invited and we met at a corner of the bay. One of the dinghies set out an anchor and everyone else joined them in a semi-circle and tied themselves to their neighbor. We ended up with 12 boats represented - out of the 13 in the anchorage! Some of the boats there were: A Capella (the organizer), Batu, Lady Hawke, Synchrony, Di's Dream, Finale, Pacific Jade, Rediscovery II (from Kansas!), Hobo, Maradon,
Sailfish, and us. It was great! Everyone brought an appetizer to share and there was some great dishes being passed around! We brought something out of a cruiser cookbook called 'potato nachos' that turned out pretty yummy. Just sliced potatoes, broiled for 10 minutes, then topped (I used Rotel tomatoes) and some cheese and broiled for 10 additional minutes. I had two books to give away as did someone else so they were passed around until someone took them. We had a great time chatting with
everyone and getting to know them and stayed until dark. Marylyn on Lady Hawke has been sick since New Year's day and a few days ago Mike on Lady Hawke ended up with a head cold so we haven't seen much of them this trip. Hopefully they get better soon so we can hang out with them again.

The next morning Pacific Jade moved their boat from the anchorage to the Aquarium anchorage and after they were settled, we dinghied over to the anchorage for some snorkeling! The water was spectacularly clear and we know how they got the nickname the 'aquarium'. The fish were amazing, so many different colors & varieties. The water was a bit chilly as it was a bit overcast but it was spectacular anyway. There was a large coral field with white, black & green coral that looked like a cauliflower
head everywhere and pillars of rock jutting out of the water that were inhabited by pelicans. They seemed to be watching us with interest and I joked with the fishes swimming just below them that they were tempting fate being this close to the pelicans! There were needlefish, beautiful large blue angelfishes, butterfly fishes, and simply ones I can't identify in my book but there were blowfishes, blue fishes with white polka dots, bright red fishes, schools of itty bitty extremely colorful fishes,
clownfish, & little teeny guys with yellow stripes. It was spectacular. I took more underwater photos but am not having much luck finding a photo processor yet. I may have to go into the town of Melaque tomorrow to look for one. I hope they turn out OK!

After snorkeling, I was absolutely freezing (I should have brought my rash guard and am just lucky that I had a one piece swim suit on to help with the cold) so we got back in the dinghy and warmed up a bit. Ryan on Buddhaventura ( was parked right on the sand by the aquarium and he had made a special beer trip into town for our visit. We beached our dinghies on an incredibly awesome coral beach right in front of his RV and spent a few hours visiting with him before walking
into town for lunch. After lunch we walked back to the dinghies and zoomed back to the boat - just before sunset. It was an incredible day. I have a good friend who always used to tell me she needed to 'get wet' every couple days to really feel good…now I understand. I have developed a severe need for 'water therapy!' Now I have to get back out on the surfboard more!

After several days in Tenacatita, we headed back to Barra de Navidad where we will reprovision, check e-mails (we're anxiously awaiting e-mails from all of the applications we submitted for jobs in Alaska), update the blog, and get fuel & stuff. We plan on spending a couple days in Barra and then head further South to Santiago. That's the plan!

So I apologize for not writing more, we've just been enjoying and haven't spent much time on the computer. I'll write more later!


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