Chacala, Nayarit, Mexico

Saturday, March 2, 2013
Nayarit, Mexico

021-9.500 N
105-14.850 W
Marine forecast for this location

Ahoy from the crew of the BlueJacket!

Chacala beachWe departed San Blas with the intention of just going around the corner to an anchorage known as Ensenada de Matanchen, but we were covered from no-see-um bites and the guide book said that they were prolific there, so we kept going 22 miles further S to an anchorage/town named Chacala. This was the first place where we had to anchor facing the open ocean.

Virtually everywhere that we've anchored before, you place a piece of and and/or reef between yourself and the open ocean. Not on the Pacific where many of the anchorages have a point of land which shields you from the majority of the swell coming in, but the waves still refract around the point and you end up with a sizable swell rolling past the boat. When I told Sue that this was where we were anchoring, she looked at me like I had two heads. I carefully picked a location and we dropped the anchor, only to have us swing towards a German boat while the boat settled into its correct position. Of course the German couple was glaring at us from their cockpit, but I explained to them (and Sue) that once the boat drifted back on the anchor chain, that we would be well way from them. And yes, that did occur, but not before some piercing eyes from both boats tried to melt me.

AnchoringThen we had to put out a stern anchor to keep us positioned into the swell. Believe me, it can be a challenge getting an 80+ lb outboard motor lowered onto the dinghy in swelly conditions without damaging it or yourself. We got that accomplished and we rode pretty well into the swell. The next thing to get used to is the sound of surf crashing just behind the boat. It's a bit unnerving to hear that and it changes based upon the tides, so what may have been gentle breaking waves when you went to sleep might end up as loud crashing when you wake up during the middle of the night...

Anyhow, Chalaca is a quintessential beach vacation town. It has a wonderful soft-sand beach and the beach is lined with restaurants, which serve some pretty good food. The waters around here are filled with shrimp boats, so you get some very fresh shrimp. Combine that with Mexican cooking and you get some yummy food!

Ralph, Helen and SueWe had only intended on staying in Chalaca for one day, but some friends that we had met in the Sea of Cortez were going to be passing through, so we decided to stay for another day. Ralph and Helen Marx are a wonderful couple who have been sailing in these waters for years. Ralph is 81 and Helen is younger (women never tell their age :-) ) and are just great people. I can only hope that I'm still out there doing this when I'm their age. They have a wonderful catamaran named Moon Drifter and were just about to head across to the Baja side, so it was great that we were able to meet up with them. They had us over to their boat for dinner and it was sad to say goodbye. We've definitely met some nice people during our travels and they're way up there on that list.

The next day we pulled up the anchor at sunrise, waved to Helen and Ralph as we left and then headed to Punta de Mita in Bandaras bay. The forecasts showed less than 10 kts out of the SW, but we had easterly winds which steadily increased until we were in the 20-25 kts range with gusts to 37 kts! That lasted for about an hour until they suddenly disappeared and were replaced with the forecast winds...OK, that was interesting...Other than that the trip was great with lots of whale, dolphin, sea ray and turtle sightings.

-- Geoff & Sue

P.S. Photos from Chalaca are located here.

For the cruiser:

We anchored in about 22' of water over sand at about 21-09.5N 105-15.85W. Basically you want to get as close to the NE corner as possible to provide as much protection as possible. There's a little cove directly to the N which has a large white building directly behind it. You can beach your dinghy there and the port captain is located in that building. He's supposed to be open from 9-5 on weekdays and "is on the beach" on the weekends, but we never found him and it didn't seem to matter.

Log ID: 2195

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Photos/Video: Photo Album Chalaca, Nayarit, Mexico 

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