Intrepid II is a Cape Dory Intrepid 40 sailboat, hull #2, designed by Chuck Paine and discovered by the Captain in Blue Hill Maine in 2006. The crew are Kelly (Captain) and Carol (Admiral and Blogger). In 2009 INTREPID II embarked on her West Coast journey from Victoria to San Francisco, the Baja Sur Peninsula and into the Sea of Cortez. In 2010/2011, we sailed ifrom Guaymas, south to Bahia Banderas and back. In 2011/2012 she left Guaymas, headed south to La Paz, spent three weeks at anchor on our northward journey and rested on the hard in San Carlos. Her 4th, 5th and 6th seasons were Boat Projects related. Optimistic that there will be more cruising on the horizon!
As we mentioned, the effort put in to row out and drop a stern anchor here in Chacala anchorage was very worthwhile. DO believe the cruising guides when they mention many cruisers do so for a reason. The trick is to determine which way the swell will hit overnight. We were reasonably successful and our second night was definitely more restful. We admired the technique one boat used coming in late on Thursday (although not the fact that they came in closer than we'd like). Their stern anchor was ready, they had one person at the stern dropping it closer in to shore, then motored forward, dropped the bow anchor and then took up some stern slack and they were set. In the morning they made it look easy leaving as well.
We listened to the Sonrisa ham net at 07:30, checked in and advised the net we were continuing on south. Geary's WX forecasts seemed reasonable and we expected winds in the NW 9 - 12 knot range, with hopes of sailing most of the 45 nm to La Cruz in Banderas Bay. The stern anchor complied smoothly. Our Fortress aluminum alloy anchor we bought last year in San Diego has proven its worth and Kelly appreciated the lighter weight when hauling it up. The bow anchor behaved as well. INTREPID II was underway by 8:45 am.
Humpback whale to our starboard side
Good omens! Within minutes as we motored out slowly, checking actual wind direction and speed, we glanced to starboard and spotted a female humpback and possibly yearling calf not more than 40 feet off INTREPID II's beam - what a thrill! Of course cameras were not yet readily at hand so we got only a few photos, but we pleased to start this leg of our journey with such a positive start. The pair slowed down and followed in our wake for a time and then veered off. Safe travels.
Well...there is a whale attached to this tail!
It was 39 nm to Punta de Mita and a further 9 to La Cruz, so we set our target as 6 knots and raised the sail and jib, but had to motor sail. The wind was light and more from the south west (of course). Seas were light swell and sparkling. We were entertained most of our way with the soaring and diving of various sea birds and the banditry of the magnificent frigate birds who harass the others for their catches, as they can't dive into the water.
Brown Booby bird soaring past INTREPID II
We passed by Rincon de Guayabitas, which is not an ideal anchorage, being fairly exposed and Sayulita, known as 'surf city' for the waves which draw the surf crowd, but leave no opportunity for anchoring. The hills rose up into mountains and we noted the similarities to the B.C. coastline with the layers of mist and clouds shadowing the various heights leading up into the mountains.
Overview of Banderas Bay - Punta Mita upper left anchorage, La Cruz around the corner
Along the way we spotted three other sets of whales at greater distances. No dolphins nor turtle visits this time. As Punta de Mita and the Islas Marietas came into view, the seas became mixed with higher 3 - 4 foot swells. The Baja Peninsula does not protect the mainland except from NW swells to some extent. It's all open Pacific Ocean out here. We were heading for a way-point well off the breaking rocks off Punta de Mita to be conservative. Once there, which seemed such a long way south and west, we did almost a 90 degree turn to port. The boom brake worked well as we took the swells now from the north right on the beam.
Captain hooking up boom brake
Boom brake set up to minimize swing when gybing
The Admiral recalled all those outside passages of the previous year and reminded herself that INTREPID II is an excellent offshore capable boat. We will not roll over! We watched as a few sport fishing boats positioned themselves right in the midst of the breaking waves of the offshore rocks; they really must have wanted those fish. The wind started to rise and we turned off the engine; much more peaceful but rolly and a bit more heeling than desirable. One of us still hasn't shaken off all those 'what if' scenarios which rarely occur.
Entering La Cruz marina (Riviera Nayarit)
By now (15:00 hours) we decided we'd sail on into La Cruz and take a spot at Marina Riviera Nayarit if one was available; the marina confirmed there was space. Our friends on SV Rosebud responded to our radio call and said they would stand by to take lines. By 16:00 hours we were securely tied up on Dock 10 and ready to enjoy our stay on the Riviera Nayarit. (except it was 17:00 hours actually)