Moving on to the Gold Coast

We have reached a portion of Mexico known as the Gold Coast.  However, gold in the form of sunshine has been a bit hard to find.  Even with some gray days to remind us of home, we’ve really been enjoying this portion of our trip.

Our original plan had been to stay on the mooring buoy in Yelapa early in the morning, before the pangero came by to collect more money for our stay.  But shortly after all being delivered back to our boats, the crews that would soon dub themselves Belvenache but were still hailing each other Bella Star, Panache and Ventured agreed to leave after dinner.  Describing the mooring field in Yelapa as rolly would be like saying a wooly mammoth was merely fuzzy.   An overnight sail was actually preferable to trying to sleep on a boat imitating our swimwear in a wash cycle.

So off we all went, rounding Cabo Corrientes and turning once again south.  And a bit east – as of my last look we are due south or Roswell, New Mexico.  The overnight sail turned into an early morning motor for a short period of time before discoverd the leak in the fuel line detailed a couple posts ago.  Once it was fixed in the morning we continued and slipped on Chemela near dusk, found an open spot to anchor and caught up on some sleep.

Jenn gets in some shore time.

Walking on solid ground after 36 or so hours on the boat.

Empty, but very scenic beach.

Chemala turned out to be an enjoyable stop.  The next morning we all dinghied ashore, making a successful surf landing.  Many of the anchorages along the Pacific coast of Mexcio involve breaking waves along the beach.  Landing a dinghy takes a combination of patience, timing, and general luck.  Failure to reach the proper combination of the three can result in an upside down dinghy and all of your cargo floating in different directions.  Leaving the beach requires the same set of skills, along with remembering to have the kill switch that inserted in the engine so you can start it (don’t ask me how I know this).  You wait for a lull in the surf, or at least a small set of waves, while hovering a ways off the beach.  When you fill the waves are a manageable size, you ride one in to keep deeper water under the outboard prop, which you need to have spinning to keep the boat going forward, and not sideways to the wave.  As the wave washes up the beach you have to kill the engine, swing the outboard up out of the water, hop out of the dinghy, and start pulling it up the beach. Oh, and time it so the wave brings you up on the beach, but doesn’t break over the stern of your dinghy.  This would all be a bit easier with the huge dinghy wheels many people have on their dinghys that actually extend lower than the outboard prop so you can just drive up on the beach and the wheels prevent the prop from hitting the bottom.  But… I don’t have those.  I did, as promised on the blog, install the less expensive and shallower wheels on the dinghy before we left La Cruz, and they help with pulling they dinghy up the beach on hard packed sand.

Even the few businesses on the beach didn't seem to be packing in crowds.

For you today, practically free - of other tourists. Or even locals.

Anyway – we landed successfully.  As we have a bigger dinghy than Bella Star we all went ashore in ours, and having a couple extra people makes the beach landings and departures much easier.  After a swing through what little bit of a villager there is at the head of the bay, we set off on a beach hike.  I kept wondering what we were missing, as we were hiking on a beautiful beach in a scenic bay with almost no one in site.  There were a few hotels and an RV park in the town, and after that it thinned out to almost nothing.  We (the guys) set our sites on a ruined building a mile or two down the beach.  Somewhere along the line someone heard that it had been dynamited twice, but while crooked, it was still standing.  Upon reaching it everyone took photographs, while Zach and I scrambled up and explored a bit.  While nothing spectacular, it was an interesting structure to scramble around on, and the crooked stairwells gave me the feeling of being a a live MC Escher painting.

Aarron works his magic for the camera.

Just the vacation shot you always wanted, in front of a crumbling resort.

Walking on this probably wasn't brilliant, but health care in Mexico is cheap. Just maybe not readily available in this village.

For reference, Zach is standing up straight.

And one more picture from a bit further back.

Back on the beach, we headed back towards our dinghies, pausing to chat with some fellow beach walkers with three schnauzers and a pug in tow.  Eventually the afternoon sorted itself out in a beach day, with attempted kite flying, boogie boarding, bocci ball, and of course a few cold Pacificos.

The boys playing with their umm, Bocci set.

And suddenly, the sky got all dramatic for a moment.

The next morning we made long haul to some islands a couple miles away, and after some probing around anchored in front a small sandy beach, maybe 400 to 500 feet long.  The island appeared to be home to quite a few birds, including some baby pelicans in nests. Again we made use of our day by snorkeling from the dinghy, and collecting up wood on the beach.  Aarron beefed up the existing fire pit, and built up a stack of woods in a ready to ignite form.  As evening approached, Zach set off with his Hawaiian sling, used to spear fish and bagged three fish for ceviche.  The rest of us used ingredients on our boat to make some dishes we all brought to the beach for a potluck dinner.  As we finished our delicious feast and dusk arrived, we lit the fire and celebrated the full moon with a raging bonfire.  It was quite a party, as we had collected enough wood for a few hours of bonfire, and Nicole even produced the ingredients for smores.

I still find it a bit bizarre to see cactus growing right next to the ocean.

Our own private beach, perfect for a day of sun and sand. And a night of bonfire.

The ladies do some floating.

A close of of some of giant cacti growing on the island.

Prepped and ready for sundown.

The hermit crab races worked better in theory than reality.

More floating the day away.

A thrown together potluck dinner takes shape.

This hermit crab was a bit clingy.

The gang, minus Jenn the photographer. And yes, I'm due for a haircut.

Some of the many birds on the island roost for the evening.

And it begins...

Long exposure of the full moon rising.

The bonfire, with Steve standing nearby for scale.

Full moon and fire, a fun combination for our evening.

The whole Chemela experience was quite a highlight of the trip, a very beautiful area  with very little development, no mega resorts on the beach, and a sense of isolation but with access to some little stores that have enough supplies to keep you fed.  However, we are currently traveling with some boats that are participating in the El Salvador Rally and while they aren’t hurrying, there won’t be any more month long stops like La Cruz.  So our time there was limited to a couple days filled with full throttle relaxing.  I’m pretty sure we’ll stop in Chemela on the way back north, both because it is a convenient anchorage, and because it will be a nice spot to feel isolated before the jump back to civilization in Banderas Bay.  However, it will be missing something without Panache and Bella Star there to share in the fun.