Well, THAT was fun.

Marina Riviera Nayarit,
La Cruz, Mexico

When we left Chamela last Monday morning, we saw the only “hole” in the weather around Cabo Corientes would occur between 6:00 and 10:00 pm, when the winds would theoretically die down to less than 15 knots.  The forecast for the rest of the week was 20-25 knots for days.

We timed our departure accordingly, leaving Chamela just before 8:00 a.m. to travel with a few sailboats toward the Cape. The late morning hours were fine – certainly 5-7 foot swells, and apparent wind from 15-20 knots. I made lunch…then it all went horribly wrong.

The wind picked up substantially, (30 knots on the nose) and since the wind, the current, the tide and the swells were all going a different direction, the resulting harmonic disturbance called”chop” got very very ugly, very very fast. We slogged and pounded for between 5 and 6 hours in the worst sea conditions we’ve seen since we started – a 6-8 foot wind chop on top of the 5-7 foot swells.

This time I wasn’t so much scared as just plain uncomfortable. I said 5 years ago when we were traveling the Yucatan coast that the boat can take way more than we can – and this particular passage proved it once again.

We slowed down to between 5 and 6 knots to avoid bashing in the windows or the docking lights on the bow, and listened helplessly as some of our “buddy” sailboaters complained of making less than 2 knots in that crap, taking green water into their cockpits and places in their boats they’ve never had water before. At least we stayed dry.

But when we rounded the last waypoint at Cabo Coreientes into Banderas Bay at 6 p.m., just as predicted, the wind died back to less than 15, the whitecaps disappeared, and the chop laid down nicely. We pulled into Marina Riviera Nayarit (La Cruz) at just after 11:00 p.m. into a slip that our friends Andy and Daneen on s/v Rose were able to snag for us.

It was a two-shot “arrival dram,” – and a great night’s sleep.

We awoke to discover that March is the month for the Puerto Vallarta Sailing Regatta – a month of races of all sorts of sailboats from little to big. That should have been our clue that traveling this coast in March isn’t such a good idea unless you’re a sailboat racer.

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