Stuck in Chamela and having already turned back once due to swell and wind...we would do 9 days total in Chamela waiting on a weather window and a whisper of the right wind.

Prologue:  Tulum had left the safety of Baja for a crossing to Banderas Bay, wandering as far south as Manzanillo (Las Hadas) before deciding to slowly start heading north again.  After an easy southern wind gave us a fast romp from Tenacatita to Chamela, we thought we’d find more easy passage from there past Cabo Corrientes….we didn’t.  Some say Cabo Corrientes is the Cape Horn of Mexico, some say it’s a killer and some say it’s nothing….but all seem to have some respect for it’s ability to kick ass if you’re not paying attention to it’s weather.  We didn’t pay it much attention till we had to sit and wait on weather to get around it.

Arriving on a southern breeze into Chamela, we were thankful to find a well protected anchorage with ample provisioning opportunities and a large bay.  After studying the weather, our boat bubble of three found a good night and headed out for the 96-mile push past Cabo Corrientes into Banderas Bay.  But after slamming into unpredicted swell and wind for four hours and only doing 13-miles, we heard our buddy boat call on the radio and turn around, heading back to Chamela.  The rest of the buddy boats followed, returning to Chamela well after midnight, tired and feeling defeated by unpredicted weather.  We would sit in Chamela waiting on a weather window for another five days.  Contributing greatly to our weather picture with local knowledge was my friend Mr. Mike from PV Sailing, helping to find us a narrow 24-hour weather window in which he thought we could sneak around Cabo Corrientes before it loaded back up again.  So early one morning after waiting and watching weather for five days, we took off one morning to do a long day toward Cabo Corrientes, thinking we’d use Ipala as a bailout point if things became too rough.  I called it “Route Booty Shaker” cause of the all the rough seas we had previously experienced during our attempted night run…but shook my booty for the HelmsMistress just to relieve some stress as we crashed and bashed upwind and swell for this 18-hour pleasure cruise.  Wind was just exactly either right on the bow or just off the forward quarter, exactly where Tulum decides she can’t or won’t really point well, but we gamely put up sail anyways, pushing up engine RPM’s throughout the day as we approached Cabo Corrientes.  Wind continued to come up throughout the day, but we knew this was the usual pattern.  With sails up and Tulum surging against both the wind and the swell….we often seeing forward of 7-knots when she did pick up the right wind, but we were also on the heel pretty hard, making the kids concerned.  Pulling down the RPM’s took care of this (we were motor-sailing) and we made up ground on our friends having to motor most of the time like us.  After nearly 10 hours at sea, we could have ducked into Ipala, but there were already five boats there, so we decided to just go for it and round Cabo Corrientes in the late afternoon (not the best time).  Three hours later, losing the light of the evening, we finally rounded the Cape and were inbound to Banderas Bay.

Approaching Cabo Corrientes (finally) in 12-15 kts of wind….although it looks more benign, huh-There was plenty of swell and wind but it’s really hard to see in pictures.

But we forgot how big the bay is..or how much longer we would have to motor sail to get into the anchorage at La Cruz (five more hours).  Our great concern about going through Banderas Bay at night is the risk of hitting a slumbering Humpback Whale, which would be bad.  Fortune favors the brave, cause we didn’t have that experience and hope to avoid it in the future.  The HelmsMistress slumbered below with the girls on the floor until I needed a break then I slept in the cockpit for a whole hour until she needed me to look at approaching lights and stuff on the radar screens.  Entering the crowding anchoring field at La Cruz at night is an experience, cause not every boat runs anchor lights….as we found out.

Epilogue:  Tulum 5 and our fellow bungy boats safely made it past Cabo Corrientes and into Banderas Bay after spending nearly two months on the Gold Coast of Mexico exploring ports as far south as Manzanillo.  I’m good with that, as we had a lot of cool experiences.

Special Thanks:  A huge special thanks to Mr. Mike at PV Sailing for helping us with our weather when we were stuck in Chamela and uncertain about how to find a suitable weather window to round the cape.  If you’re on the Pacific Coast of Mexico and need local knowledge, weather or any help with North Sails…Mike’s a great info source in Banderas Bay and the local North Sails Rep.


It’s been a bit since I’ve written a post (this was supposed to be the Saturday post) but we don’t have WiFi (at a Marina) and I’ve been working non-stop while we had Quincy in the kennel to clean and repaint all of our non-skid and get new Cetol and hard epoxy clear coat down on the sole of the cockpit and the back swim step, bringing them back up to a decent condition before the puppy dog got back.   She came back yesterday, just as I finished all my work and allowed it to dry….yeah.

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