In this installment we cover the area between Banderas Bay and Manzanillo.  This section of the coast is touted as being the
best cruising area along the entire Mexican Riviera.  Along this section of the gold coast we visited Chamela Bay, Carayes Bay,
Tenacatita, Bahia de Navidad, and Manzanillo.  We will provide details about each one of these lovely destinations, and you can
find corresponding pictures by clicking on the
Photo Album button above.  Remember, you can always look at our previous entries
by clicking on the archived Journal Entries above and the archived Photo Albums on the
Photo Album page.

Chamela Bay:

We got the weather window we needed and departed La Cruz on ______ in the afternoon.  On advice from Mike and Leah we made
a course that skirted the Marietas, and held that course until we were well offshore before turning southward.  This gave us a
wide berth from Cabo Corrientes, the large point that marks the south entrance to Banderas Bay.  Cabo Corrientes is notorious
for bad currents and wind which make for very sloppy seas.  We
SAILING MEXICO
Banderas Bay to Manzanillo
In this installment we cover the area between Banderas Bay and Manzanillo.  This section of the coast is touted as being the best
cruising area along the entire Mexican Riviera.  Along this section of the gold coast we visited Chamela Bay, Carayes Bay, Tenacatita,
Bahia de Navidad, and Manzanillo.  We will provide details about each one of these lovely destinations, and you can find corresponding
pictures by clicking on the
Photo Album button above.  Remember, you can always look at our previous entries by clicking on the archived
Journal Entries above and the archived Photo Albums on the
Photo Album page.

Chamela Bay:

We got the weather window we needed and departed La Cruz on January 17 in the afternoon.  Our friend Ken Hodge on Peaceful Warrior,
a beautiful Peterson 44, decided to buddy boat south with us for a while.  We knew Ken from the Marina in Long Beach where he used to
live aboard before heading south to Mexico.  On advice from Mike and Leah we made a course that skirted the Marietas, and held that
course until we were well offshore before turning southward.  This gave us a wide berth from Cabo Corrientes, the large point that
marks the south entrance to Banderas Bay.  Cabo Corrientes is notorious for bad currents and wind which make for very sloppy seas.  We
ended up running before 6 to 10 foot seas with 25 to 30 knots of wind on a pitch black night as we passed even with Cabo Corrientes.  So
much for the weather window!  Things eventually evened out and by dawn we were motor-sailing into Chamela Bay.  Total passage time was
approximately 18 hours.

Chamela is a largish bay with a small village tucked up into the northern bight.  There are also several islands that provide decent
anchorage in calm weather conditions.  Joshua was put in charge of choosing where we were to anchor for the night in Chamela Bay.  He
chose Isla Colorado which turned out to be a perfect spot.  Southern Belle and Peaceful Warrior anchored off of the small beach on the
northeast side of the island and we had the anchorage all to ourselves.  The crew of Southern Belle launched the kayaks to explore
around the island while Ken hunkered down for some much needed rest, as he is a solo sailor.  John kayaked around the entire island while
Joshua took care of his school work.  After school, Melinda, Joshua and I boarded the 3 person kayak and followed John around to the
south side of the island to a secluded little cove he had found.  We snorkeled off of the beach and played in the waves.  It was great
fun.  That evening while Mom was preparing a meal, Joshua and I went to the little beach where we were anchored and did Joshua's
favorite thing.  Ninja warrior wrestling!  I know I used to do this kind of thing with Justin and Gabriel 23 years ago, but I don't
remember it hurting so much.

Being on somewhat of a schedule, we departed Chamela Bay the next morning and continued south.  We will definitely stop for an extended
stay on our way back north to the Sea of Cortez.

Careyes:

From Chamela we headed south to Bahia Tenacatita.  Along the way we stopped in to look at the small anchorage of Carayes.  I always
suspected there were rich folks living somewhere in Mexico.  Well, now I know where they hang out.  This anchorage is filled with some
of the most beautiful and elaborate homes I have ever seen.  Take a look at the pictures on the Photo Album page.  The bay is separated
by rocky headlands into three small coves.  The northernmost used to be the location of a Club Med facility.  It is now a private
residence.  Someone bought the entire Club Med facility!  We continued on south, but we may stop in and spend the night here on the way
back north.

Bahia Tenacatita:

We made Bahia Tenacatita in the early afternoon.  This large bay has several places where one can anchor out.  We spent two nights in
Tenacatita.  The first was anchored inside Punta Hermanos, the northern entrance into the bay.  We had a meal at one of the beach front
cantinas and then went snorkeling along the rocky reef that has been dubbed "the aquarium".  Great snorkeling, lots of fish!  George
carried along the spear gun in case there were fish worth shooting for dinner.  Alas, no game fish.  However, Joshua got to shoot the
spear gun a couple of times which was both fun for him, and scary for the rest of us.  Thankfully, no humans or innocent animals were
injured in the shooting of the spear gun.

The next morning we moved to the anchorage behind Punta Chubasco.  This is the favored anchorage in Bahia Tenacatita and must have had
20+ boats in attendance.  On the ride over to the anchorage we listened in to the daily Tenacatita cruisers net on the VHF.  They are
quite an active group.  That day they were having a group swim to the beach from their boats, followed by Boce Ball on the beach, and
happy hour at the little beach cantina hangout.  We only had one more night before continuing south so we opted to take in the other
activity that this anchorage is famous for.  The Jungle River Dinghy Trip!  You ford the sandbar at the entrance to Rio Iguana estuary
and then follow the small river for approximately 3 miles.  It starts out nice and wide, but as you continue it becomes narrower and the
mangroves form an overhead canopy.  It is very cool and reportedly has crocodiles living in the river.  We saw plenty of birds but no
crocs like we saw in San Blas (check out Journal Entry #5).  At the end of the river there is a small settlement with Palapa Cantinas
where you can get lunch and a drink.  All told, we spent 4 to 5 hours doing the jungle river dinghy trip.

Bahia Navidad:

We had a short motor-sail to Bahia Navidad on Sunday with only one objective in mind - Find a TV that was broadcasting the National
Football League NFC Championship game with the mighty New Orleans Saints going up against the lowly Chicago Bears.  Unfortunately we
all know the outcome of that game.  I just have one thing to say.... Poor Officiating!   Just kidding.  Geaux Saints!  We chose to stay in
the marina at the Grand Bay Hotel.  Talk about a swanky place!  The hotel was absolutely beautiful and the marina was first rate.  Of
course, they had a pricing schedule to go along with all that opulence.  Joshua's favorite part was, of course, the swimming pool.  Swim up
bars seem to be a very popular thing in Mexico because so far, every single pool we have visited has one.  While Melinda and I played with
Joshua at the pool, John took a stroll through the hotel grounds and took pictures.  We visited the small town just across the bay from
the hotel and marina.  They have nice little shops and cantinas lining the beach.  There is a local french baker in the bay who comes by the
marina in his boat every morning selling his goods, and man are they good!  He would bring almond and chocolate croissants, pies, quiches,
fresh french bread and other goodies.  Out of everything in Bahia Navidad we are going to miss the French Baker the most.

Manzanillo:

As we departed Bahia Navidad we were treated to some whale play.  A couple of whales were getting a kick out of slapping their tails on
the surface of the water.  They let us get real close so it was cool to see.  We had a great sail to Manzanillo which was approximately
25 miles to the south-southeast.  The wind came up and we had a nice run into the bay.  Our top speed was 13.5 knots, and Ken topped 12
knots at one point.  There are three places to anchor in and near Manzanillo - Santiago Bay, Las Hadas, and Downtown Manzanillo.  We
chose the latter so we could see the town and be close to the bus station as John was leaving us this day to travel back to
Calou in
Mazatlan.  It turns out the downtown anchorage is not very nice.  We were the only yatistas in attendance which should have been our
first clue.  There was no safe place to leave a dinghy tied up so we did not get to go ashore to see the town.  After dinner we said
goodbye to John and gave him a dinghy ride ashore.  It was great having him aboard to help move the boat, plus he is allot of fun to have
around.  That night the weather turned windy and rainy and the anchorage was rough both from the wind and from the commercial fishing
boats and pilot boats going back and forth.  The next morning Southern Belle and Peaceful Warrior left to find a more hospitable
anchorage.

We chose Las Hadas which turned out to be very nice.  This little bay gets its name from the Las Hadas resort which takes up a good
portion of the bay.  This was where the movie "10" was filmed.  The resort is friendly to cruisers and allows us to use their pool and
other facilities for a small daily fee.  We met two other boats with kids aboard.  
Daring, sailed by Craig and Julie with son Nate who is
the exact same age as Joshua; and Magnum, sailed by
Uwe and Anne with daughter Kara aboard.  Kara is 4 going on 12, and has no problem
keeping up with the boys.  The next day Daring and Magnum took off to head for Zihuatanejo which made Joshua unhappy, but we will meet
up with them again in the next few days.  That day I took Joshua over to the newer, more exclusive and private resort that shares the
cove with Las Hadas.  I wanted to cheer Joshua up so I taught him how to sneak into a 5-star resort.  They had a great pool with a big
water slide so in no time Joshua had made a new buddy and was going to town on the water slide.  Joshua's buddy was Sean and I sat and
talked with Sean's dad, Tom.  I explained to Tom that we were sneaky yatistas and he thought that was so cool he supplied all the food
and drink so we wouldn't get busted.  It is one of those all inclusive resorts so I didn't feel too guilty taking advantage of his
hospitality.

The next day we raised anchor and took off for a 30 hour passage to Zihuatanejo.  And let me tell you, it was quite the passage.  We'll
tell you all about it in the next installment.  Until then we wish you all a nice breeze and following seas!


























George, Melinda, and Joshua
Crew of Southern Belle
ARCHIVED JOURNAL ENTRY #6