Late March, 2013 – Cabo Corrientes (“Cape of Currents”) is a notorious point, known for dishing out excitement, thrills and sometimes terror to sailors that are voyaging between the Costalegre (Chamela to Manzanillo) to the south and Banderas Bay (Puerto Vallarta) to the north.
However, much like the bad tempered Gulf of Tehuantepec down near Mexico’s border with Guatemala, this cape’s mood swings are predictable. It isn’t hard to find a window of opportunity when the cape will let your boat pass without demanding much of a toll.
We saw a weather window coming up on our favorite weather prediction website. To time it optimally, doing as little night sailing as possible, we needed to leave Bahia Chamela and its pretty islands around midnight to arrive in Banderas Bay 100 miles north the next afternoon.
So we hopped 10 miles from colorful Careyes to Chamela Bay where we anchored for an afternoon and evening, watching the immense waves crashing on the beach.
Wow. What a show!! The surf was so high that none of the cruisers were going ashore in their dinghies. Well, one pair of guys tried. In the end, though, they anchored their dink outside the surf zone and then swam in. That must have been quite a body surfing ride!!
We took note of the locations of all the fishing pens and other cruising boats around us in the anchorage while it was still light.
Then, at the appointed hour, we crept between them all, in total blackness, and snuck out of the anchorage in the dark.
We had an uneventful voyage north, and hours later, at dawn, the infamous Cabo Corrientes treated us to a hazy sunrise. All was calm and serene as we passed the point.
That is, all was tranquil until a huge humpback whale breached right by us.
Holy cow!! All heck broke loose aboard Groovy as we slowed the engine and jumped for the camera.
Photographing breaching whales is a little tricky, though, because they don’t tell you when and where they are going to pop up.
Only after the show ended did I remember to think about important things like the camera’s shutter speed and orientation of the polarizing filter.
Oops!! Oh well, the drama was fantastic.
One thing that intrigued us was that this guy always breached with his left fin up and then fell over on his left side. Another thing that amazed us was that the whale watching boats were always right there — and so close!!
It really seemed to us that the whale was performing for the whale watching boat, because it breached so close to them every time. I’m not sure what kind of performance contracts these whales work out with the tour operators, but both the whale and the boat seemed to know exactly when showtime was over. The boat left, and the whale never appeared again.
We anchored outside of Marina Riviera Nayarit, the pretty new marina at La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, and quickly went ashore.
There is a wonderful fish market next to the marina, and we watched the fishermen unloading their sizable catch from their pangas. Those fish were easily 4 to 5 feet long.
Just as we were arriving, our friends Mel and Elaine were leaving Mexico on their sailboat Mazu to cross the Pacific Ocean to the Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific. Yikes. That’s a three week long journey without ever seeing land, never mind stepping on it.
We tossed them their dock lines and waved them goodbye as they left on their adventure. For us, our eyes were turning towards shore, and we were looking forward to discovering some new things in and around La Cruz de Huanacaxtle.