Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cruising the Gold Coast, Costa Legre

0515, 18 Jan 2011
Morning watch, on route to Barra de Navidad
It’s another lovely night with a full moon and calm seas. We have just passed Cabo Corrientes, noted for creating its own weather systems. Tonight it is being kind, in fact, all week conditions are expected to be ideal for passing by this infamous point of land that forms the southern extreme of Banderas Bay.
We departed San Blas yesterday morning with Tanque de Tiburon (TDT) and Aeolus, an Australian boat. Don Anderson, the SSB the weather man in Oxnard California, had predicted the entire area to be calm and dominated only by land and sea breezes for the next week. We bid our farewells to our new friends and motored out of the estuary into a flat and windless sea. By late morning the wind picked up a bit so we decided to take advantage of the situation and get some new photos of Gosling under a number of sail configurations. The quartering wind was ideal for deployment of the mizzen staysail and the spinnaker. TDT took a lot of photos but it will be some time before we get to see them as they are headed for La Cruz where they will leave the boat while they travel back home for a few weeks.
We managed to power-sail for a few hours during the night but the land breeze has let up. Hopefully the morning will bring enough wind to let us sail some more. If we continued under power, at this speed we would arrive off Barra in darkness but entering the lagoon must be done in daylight, so we have another night at sea and time in hand.
While we were sailing yesterday we came upon 2 pods of whales. One group of fin whales came quite close to us while the other, humpbacks, could be seen cavorting closer to shore. It was a wonderful sight after seeing very few last year. At sunset we were treated to another spectacular Green Flash, the best we have seen to date.
0545, 19 Jan 2011
Approaches to Barra de Navidad
Another cold night but, thankfully, the humidity is much less than we have experienced to date. The wind is light and the sea is calm. It is absolutely clear with a bright full moon setting in the west, a very bright Mars rising in the east and the Southern Cross visible on the southern horizon. I can’t understand why Fran doesn’t like the morning watch but it suits me fine. In a few hours dawn will break, the sun will rise over the Sierra Madres and a new day will be upon us.
We are getting close to our destination. We sailed most of yesterday in 10-12 kts of wind. By evening it died but we kept the sails up and ghosted down the coast passing Chemela just before midnight. At present we are motor-sailing in 8 kts of wind. Ahead of us is a mess of lights. The navigation aids are difficult to discern from the background lights of Barra, another reason to wait till daylight. We are ready for another few days of warmth. These night passages have been quite cool. Soon we will be complaining of the heat.
We’ll listen in to the morning net to find out who is here. We expect a few of our old acquaintances. On arrival in the bay we will go to the fuel dock and replenish before going to the anchorage. It will be nice to wash the decks and get rid of the dust that accumulated in San Blas. The dirt is so much more obvious on our white decks. Note to self: Grey decks would have been more forgiving....
Fran has been chomping at the bit to arrive here. This is where her favourite hairdresser/pedicurist is. It is also a location for inexpensive laundry and fresh produce.
Still no fish! Have we been cursed?? Last year by this time we were sick of fish.
22 Jan 2011, on route to Manzanillo
We are powering into a light easterly breeze still dragging a lure and still no hits. We have just passed through waters that, in the past, have always produced a hit from a sailfish or marlin but they weren’t interested this time. It has been a quick visit to Barra this time and our shortest but we will return on our way back north.
We weren’t able to realise our plans to fuel and wash the boat. Approached the dock we were waved off and we noticed a float blocking access. It seems a powerboat lost control and smashed into the diesel dock a few days before. There is no estimate of repair time at the moment. Thank goodness we still have lots of fuel left to get us to Manzanillo.
Arriving in Barra is like coming home. We have been here so many times that we enter a nice comfort zone as we anchor in this silty, muddy lagoon. There are 26 other boats here, many we have seen before and lots of new boats sporting the 2010 Ha Ha flags, signifying that they traveled with an organised group from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. Apparently this year there were 170 participants.
One of those boats is Lunautica, with Mike and Judy aboard. Mike is Steve’s brother of Full Quiver and both were part of Full Quiver’s racing crew for the regatta last year. It was nice to spend some quality time with them and Rosie was particularly happy to meet Gunner, their 6 yr old Jack Russell. Their boat is a beautiful Moody 46.
We also had a good time enjoying Barra’s hospitality. We did our laundry, pedicures (yes, even J-G had one), market day (Thursday in Barra), a wonderful taco stand and breakfast at the Golf Course with Mike and Judy and another couple, from SV Barramundi, Steve and Pam.
We have heard from Bill and Janet (Optical Illusion) that the marina at Las Haddas is charging an exorbitant fee for landing a dinghy there. This might curtain our activities there and cause us to move to Santiago bay earlier than we had hoped. More on that in the next blog.

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