January 21st we broke free from the comfortable trap that is life in the marina. It felt great when we hoisted the sails and fell off, with the jib polled out to port, the main to starboard and we glided downwind, wing on wing all day, all night and into the next morning. The sun set, phosphorescence lit the night and stars then later, the moon. Dolphins visited us as we passed Isla Isabella in the dark. The dawn broke as a fog rolled in, the wind died and we ghosted along, motorsailing south. A fishing panga came alongside about 10am, lost in the fog and asked where was San Blas? Having no compass or navigation equipment they were 10 miles offshore with no idea of which way to go to get home. We pointed them in the right direction and they zoomed off. Slowly, we followed and by 3pm we’d passed the river entrance to the town of San Blas and anchored in Matenchen Bay, a large, shallow beach ringed bay fronted by palapa restaurants, palm trees and hammocks.
January 23-27 Anchored alongside Bamboleiro in Matenchen bay was Le Bateu A Voile, a boat we’d met in Los Muertos and who’d accompanied us on the crossing of the Sea of Cortez. Kelvin, the “Captain” or “Cappie” came alongside and hailed us in his dingy, inviting us to go to shore with him to expore San Blas. On the ride in we met his new crew, Delfin from Spain and Alegria from Venezuela. We caught a taxi at one of the palapas for the 6 mile ride to San Blas where we were introduced for the first time to the local Indian art, the colorful Huichol string painting.
We stayed four days in Matenchen where we swam, speared small fish from the cockpit and tried out the new bug screens we made in Mazatlan. Here around sunset small biting gnats, noseeums, or jejenes come out in clouds when the wind is light and leave small red itchy bumps. The good news though is the screens work, and Kelvin gave us some Avon Skin so soft hydrating spray which keeps them away too, and smells a lot nicer than our DEET Deepwoodsman spray we brought from back home.
Just inland from Matenchen there is a mangrove swamp with a Jungle Tour panga operation. For about $11US a person we hopped in a panga and were driven deep into the jungle where freshwater crocodiles lazed in the sun, strange and exotic birds fished from the trees and the red mangroves overhung the channel at times forming a tunnel. Cristina’s video above shows it all!
January 28 & 29 Chacala Bay
We found the prevailing NW wind today! Light 8-10 knots from the stern quarter. We hoisted the asymmetrical spinnaker and had a great, sunny downwind run for 38 miles to Chacala Bay. Here the steep tropical hills hid luxurious mansions and resorts. We anchored off the sleepy beach town where despite loosing my pole spear in murky (5ft visibility) water, we had a nice time body surfing on the beach and walking around the rustic town.
The jungle tour of San Blas Tovara
Beautiful sunset at Matenchen Bay. Lots of noseeums though.
In San Blas is always drinking time!
After a few coronas people go to the beach and try to do "el pino" (handstand)
Winter in the Mexico Riviero: weather is tough!
Chacala beach with Bamboleiro at anchor
This is what people call a "palapa": open air beach restaurant with a palm front roof.