Saturday, February 5, 2011

Barra de Navidad

The Honcho sailed from Tenacatita on Thursday, February 3rd, bound for Barra de Navidad, about 14 miles down the coast. For this short hop we didn't hoist any sails. Instead we motored along the coast, looking in on a couple of coves where we might like to anchor in the future. As we approached the entrance to the lagoon at Barra, the wind piped up to about 20 knots and the sea grew lumpy and confused. The lagoon where we planned to anchor is up a narrow channel with shoals on both sides. Using waypoints taken from Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer's "Pacific Mexico, A Cruiser's Guidebook", I programmed the GPS with our route into the anchorage, and we got in around 1400 without mishap. We got the hook down in about 10 feet of murky water and sat back to enjoy the view while the wind whistled in the rigging.

The next day we joined some friends for a bus ride to Melaque, a seaside town on the northern side of Bahia de Navidad. Not a particularly picturesque place, Melaque does boast a bank and the excellent Hawaiian Market. We stocked up on food and beverages at the market, and pesos at the bank, then had lunch in a seaside restaurant before heading back to the boat.

A word on cruising guides. The Honcho left California with copies of "Charlies Charts" by Charles and Margo Wood, and "Mexico Boating Guide" by Pat Rains. In Puerto Vallarta we picked up a copy of the Pacific Mexico Guide. Charlies Charts, originally published in 1982 and periodically updated has been the most widely used guidebook for this area. The Rains guidebook was first published more recently and offers better maps and charts as well as some photographs. The Pacific Mexico book, published in 2010, is illustrated with accurate charts and maps using satellite photos and GPS technology. It is a significant improvement over the other guides in terms of providing accurate navigational information. Since acquiring this book, the others have, for the most part, stayed in the bookshelf. I highly recommend the Pacific Mexico Cruising Guide, as well as Shawn and Heather's other book, Sea of Cortez Cruising Guide.

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