Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Anchor Down... for a Month

We began 2016 with a New Year's Day sail to Tenacatita, not far north of Barra de Navidad.  We have been here now five times over the last three years, and this time we remained almost a month.  That kinda says it all about a place, when you have the option to pick up and move on, but you don't.   
This is a place that greets you each morning with a compelling reason to stay.

Sure, you could find someplace where there's Yoga on the Beach, like the hotel at Barra de Navidad...

...but it turns out they have Yoga here in Tenacatita too!

And here, you can explore the crystal clear water from your paddle board.

Or climb up the mast for a view of the bay....

...and neighbors.

Here, we still have contact with the outside world so we can chat with friends and family.

And, like the hotel at the marina we left behind, here we have a pool...

...and this one has steps leading right up to our home.

Yes, that hotel pool had a swim up bar, but it turns out there's one here too!

Sometimes we play games.  The pelicans like to engage in staring contests...

... and they always win.  It's not fair, really.  They can even look at you with their backs turned.

Tenacatita is not one of those isolated anchorages you have all to yourself.  In season, you'll share the anchorage with two or three dozen boats.  It's big enough to take a hundred or more.

Everyone finds their own way to enjoy themselves.

It's a large community of cruisers.  In fact, Tenacatita has a Mayor. 

 Robert Gleser and his wife Virginia have been coming to this bay aboard their ketch HARMONY so long (at least 14 years) he's the undisputed man in charge.

Every Friday, the Mayor holds a pot-luck dinghy raft-up.  
Dinghies and kayaks start to appear at 5:00 PM.

Everybody ties up to other boats wherever they can...

...and soon delicious food appears and is passed all round.

Each week the Mayor directs boats to introduce themselves and share something according to that week's theme.  

There are daily bocci ball games on the beach, and these guys are good.

Then there's the palapa where you can cool down with a beer and catch up on how to fix that broken thingamabob, learn about far away cruising destinations others have visited, and make friends that could last a lifetime.

If you need a break, you can take a trip to the nearby town of La Manzanilla.  We were invited to join friends Mark and Deanna aboard their beautiful catamaran Speakeasy for a hike to a fresh water pool in a box canyon.

After coffee and sticky buns at the bakery/restaurant in the town square, we started up a dry river bed which gradually got more dense and rocky and the canyon walls started closing in on us...

...then we found the water...

...which we crossed to get to the final pool...

...not there yet...


Though the path was well worn, we had the canyon to ourselves... nobody knew this was here.

We were rewarded by a deep pool of crystal clear fresh water that was at first very cool, but so refreshing.

Back at the beach at la Manzanilla they serve margaritas!

Last year in Tenacatita a pair of porpoise paid a visit.

And this year we saw two porpoise again, first from up on the mast

They seemed to like hanging around Moonshadow...

... right under our bow.

It didn't seem like they were after the abundant food here.  Rather they were just playing.

Eventually John took his camera underwater to find these two had discovered our anchor chain...

...and were using it as their personal massage parlor...

...and seemed to enjoy rubbing their chins...

...and dorsal fins.

After coming to the surface for a breath...

...they both cruised by for a look at John...

...just beyond arm's reach!

On the morning radio net, several cruisers arranged to help with clearing the jungle route to Tenacatita Beach.  The jungle route is an inland passage through thick mangroves that winds about two nautical miles to a lagoon behind the beach to the west of our anchorage.  Three years ago it looked like this:

But earlier this year, Hurricane Patricia took a heavy toll rendering the western half of the passage completely impassible.

So ten cruisers and a three Mexicans went at the mess in two pangas with chain saws and machetes.

The process was simple really:  Cut everything that didn't connect to a human body; pile it up into the panga until nobody could move...

...dispose of the cuttings along the canal where we could.


This work makes it now possible for cruisers to dinghy or kayak all the way to the other end where Mexicans are re-opening beach palapa restaurants, and for panga operators to provide tours through the jungle passage.  Win win!

With our work done, there was nothing to do but return to Moonshadow to enjoy the scenery.

And the view of our back yard.

Eventually the full moon rose over old Mexico to remind us we'd been in this spot for nearly a month.

So it was time to pull up our anchor and return to La Cruz where we'll reunite with cruiser friends, and welcome friends from home for a visit, then prepare for our upcoming voyage to the South Pacific.