A shorter than expected visit to Punta de Mita

This adventure is supposed to be about sailing, right? So when the winds picked up after motoring out of Chacala out came the screecher. Motorsailing along we decided to put out the fishing lines even though the freezer was looking good in the pescado department.

Fish on!

The wind was from a good angle so up came the main sail and off went the engine. Nice. Nice for a few minutes…

As we approached Jaltemba the winds continued to build 13 knots, 15, 16, 18. In came the screecher and out came the jib. The winds kept building 19, 20, 21, gusts to 23 – time to reef the main. So we started the engine, turned into the wind, and started to bring in the reefing lines. Vicki calls out, “Fish on!” Only it wasn’t, in our hast to deal with the main we failed to bring in the lines and managed to wrap it around the port saildrive. Fuck.

Engine off, sails furled and dropped, next was throwing out the safety ring. Then a line for me and a sharp knife. I dove down and started cutting away the fishing line. We were lucky on a couple fronts; first we run 100 pound fishing line that is thick which kept it from getting super jammed up and second, only one piece actually snuck in between the propeller and the saildrive. Less than five minutes and the offending line was removed along with an inspection of the saildrive. We dodged a bullet, nothing was damaged beyond our pride and 30 feet of fishing line.

Birds nest of fishing line, it could have been much, much worse

My nerves frazzled, we motored the rest of the way. In hindsight I should have realized that, like in the Sea of Cortez, the valleys can have localized strong winds. Jaltemba is just one such valley. Shame on me for not recognizing the potential issue. Yet again, rarely does one mistake result in a accident.

Licking our tiny wounds we cruised on and while approaching the bay of Sayulita we noticed whales jumping up out of the water. Cameras out we hoped the show would continue as we got closer to them. Minutes ticked by and soon we were adjusting course to get a look at the still active pod of whales now splashing with their tails and pectoral fins. I’ll admit I was a bit nervous being less than 100 meters from these massive animals. But their show overcame my apprehension,

Wow, what an amazing experience. A prime example of why we are out here exploring the ocean by boat. After the whales left us we soon went around the Punta Mita point and turned into the Punta de Mita anchorage.

The sailing gods were not done teaching me lessons today. After checking out where we wanted to drop anchor I was a bit anxious to get the hook set and relax with a drink. Time and again Vicki would (rhetorically) ask if we were still moving forward when I was pushing the down button on the windlass. Once our chain was out and I started backing down on the anchor it was clear we were dragging. What the heck?!? Up it came and to my surprise the chain had wrapped around the “ear” of the anchor. Shame on me for not listening, but damn I didn’t think that was possible. Lesson learned, the second attempted at anchoring was successful. It was a peaceful evening and a great night’s sleep.

I had been trying to secure a slip at the Paradise Village marina for the last three weeks. Even our friends on Moon Drifter, who stay there every year, were doing what they could to help us. The assistant marina manager Gina said she would see what she can do but to contact her once we were close to Puerto Vallarta. Punta de Mita is only fifteen miles away so it was time to see if were would be lucky and get a slip. I fired off an email to Gina and she sent a quick reply of “Call on channel 16 when you are 15 minutes out…” But we wanted a few more days… Clarification resulted in if we wanted a slip it was best to come today. Not wanting to lose the slip, we changed plans and decided to head to Paradise Village after a quick visit to explore the small town of Punta de Mita.

We noticed there was a building in the distance that look like a museum or theater. It certainly captured our imagination resulting in the need to explore it. Walking up, my initial impression was it was a Muslim mosque. We drifted to the entry and a nice guy came up and introduced himself. He was a member of the Christian church and was clearly very proud of it. As the conversation continued it was clear that he deserved to be extremely proud.

The church was built (and is continuing to be completed) with donations from 65 families. Prior to the building they worshiped in a school, then outdoors, and now in a small completed section of the church. I cannot fathom how a poor community could design, buy materials, and construct such a complicated structure. But here it is. So damn impressive. We were given a tour of the building including on the roof for a view of the city. Our guide pointed out various parts that he worked on and explained the construction process. We provided some monetary support for their continued efforts to complete the main sanctuary before continuing our walk around town.

We worked our way back to the kayak and returned to the boat, ready for some time on the dock.

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