Friday, January 8, 2010

BAD Chamela!! 1.8.10

Well, what we thought would be beautiful Chamela….turned bad. This just proves that however wonderful, enjoyable, exciting, etc. that people perceive our lives out here to be, it ain’t all sunshine & blue umbrella drinks! After a good night’s sleep we got up & around, working on our morning chores when an announcement on the radio alerted us that there was high winds and rain about 35 miles away and heading our direction. We had plans for the afternoon but they quickly changed as we had to button up the boat in preparation for the storm cell that was heading our way. Slowly, the wind began to build, turning all of the boats around to point in that direction. Then the swells began to come into the anchorage, testing the set of our anchor. It wasn’t uncomfortable, wasn’t scary, more like fascinating – watching the wind meter to see how high the winds got (between 20-25 knots), watching the swells swim past us & crash on the beach. Luckily (or not, depends on your take!) the rain never came, though folks just 35 miles down the road saw up to 4 inches of rain in a couple hours. Makes for a great fresh-water boat wash! The storm began around noon, which was pleasant as although it ruined our plans for the afternoon, it wasn’t hitting in the middle of the night which is worse. Unfortunately though, around 4pm the wind just up & stopped like a light switch was turned off. And with no wind to point us in the direction of the swells that were still marching in like soldiers…..we were eventually swung beam-to the swells, rocking our boat from side to side. Now this is what I call uncomfortable. Everything makes noise when you’re beam-to the swells and though you may try your hardest to make sure the pans don’t come flying out at you, and the plates have some cushion room between the cupboards, it all makes noise. Then, to make things worse, we started doing the twist. This is the worst of all. Now you’re not going just side to side, the whole boat is doing a twisting motion and it’s time to hold on for dear life! Haha… Just imagine putting your house, or even your car on a tilt-a-whirl ride from the fair or amusement park….you may get a feel for what we endured for not the 3 minutes of the tilt-a-whirl joy ride….but HOURS!! It’s, um, not fun. No, not fun at all. Luckily, nothing went flying and we had no casualties though we did have some fun conversations on the radio with the other boats who were doing the twist with us! Not even a broken egg in the refrigerator! Everything was locked up tight and we made it into the evening with no problems, thankfully! We slept fitfully that evening as the swells were still marching in though much mellower than before.

The next day we jumped in the dinghy and made our first successful dinghy landing since leaving Stone Island – woohoo! It was time for an internet fix and since we can’t get internet in the bay we wandered into town to find the local internet café. The town is about ½ mile from where we beached the dinghy which made for a nice leg-stretching walk – nice since we were stuck on the boat for the past 2 days. We made our way into the center of town and chatted with a local business man about the missing internet café in town. He confirmed what we remembered from last year, there was another internet café about 5 blocks away so we hit the road again. We found the papeleria that had the ciber café inside and chatted with the owner, a woman we also remembered from last year. She has 4 PC stations and this year, wi-fi! I had brought my little laptop and took a seat outside on her patio while Michael took to one of the PC’s inside. We had a bit of catch-up to do, pictures to upload & slogs to post as well as some business stuff. We ended up spending about 2 hours there and walked away $4 lighter. We decided to forgo picking up any fresh veggies as we planned to spend many more days in the anchorage so we walked back to the dinghy landing area via the amazing beach front. The white sand beaches stretch on for miles with very few buildings or structures around. I’ll be able to upload photos in the next week, but believe me, it was spectacular.

The dinghy landing area is right in front of Miguelita’s restaurant palapa and when we walked up, we found about 17 cruisers sitting there, refreshments in hand, soaking up some sunshine & enjoying the conversation going on around the table. It was a ‘great to be alive & just because’ celebration. New friends and old, we all had something to talk about! But alas, the breaking swells on the beach began to get bigger and bigger and it was time to head back to our boats.

Back at the boat we planned for the next day’s events & settled in for a good night’s sleep. Well, it started out good! Haha… But around 11:30 or so that evening we saw lighting in the sky – uh oh. The winds picked up a little while after that and before we knew it, it was again blowing hard and those relentless swells just kept on marching in. And then….the wind stopped. Ugh. Crap! Grumble, grumble, grumble. #^&*%$!! And any other expletive you want to throw in here! It was about 1am. And so we began doing the twist again and I can assure you, Chubby Checker would not have enjoyed it either. We went beam-to, twisted, rocking horse (a comfy position), twisted, beam-to’d all night long. All night long! It was awful. Forget about sleeping! No matter where you were in the boat, you were going to get bounced out. Not to mention it was just downright uncomfortable!

Finally it was daylight, with the swells still kicking our ass. We had a choice to make – get behind the islands and hope it’s protected or get the heck out of there. And we did! And not only us….but most everyone in the anchorage had the same idea. The anchorage was reduced to only 1 boat by about 10:00am and all 10 boats were in a line headed South for a protected spot. From Chamela, it’s only a 6 run for us to where we are now, Tenacatita Bay. The swells were still uncomfortable on our trek as they were short & tight, but it was do-able. The wind piped up to around 15 knots and we were able to do some motorsailing but the swells were too much to sail entirely as they would stop us dead. We pulled into Tenacatita & tucked up just as close as possible to the corner of the bay, dropping anchor in only 10’ of water. The water is so crystal clear you can see your anchor and chain and is a beautiful jade green color. When we arrived there were about 10 boats in the anchorage. That number grew significantly as the day wore on and today there are about 19. Now pray for some good sleep!

Exhausted….going to sleep now…


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