We left La Cruz under cloudy skies; a favourable wind forecast and made our way to Cabo Corrientes. This is the southern point of Banderas Bay and it can be a bit tricky to transit with the wind, waves and currents all coming together. We timed it right and had an easy 122 nautical mile overnight passage to Tenacatita.
Tenacatita is one of those anchorages that some cruisers come to and stay for weeks, there were 33 boats in the bay when we arrived. We only had two days, definitely not long enough, we will be back. One of the fun things to do there is an estuary tour in your dinghy. We joined in on a group of five dinghies with seventeen people between them. The first hurdle is crossing the bar, where the mouth of the estuary meets the bay. Watching the wave pattern and timing the entrance can be a challenge. A wrong move can result in a flipped dinghy and all its occupants dumped into the water. Everyone made it across the bar safely and we meandered the 2 ½ miles through the mangroves. The mangroves are home to lots of different wildlife, we saw pelicans, egrets and herons. We were on the lookout for crocodiles too, a couple of small ones were spotted.
When we reached the lagoon, we pulled all the dinghies up on the beach and Poncho meet us with his van to transport us to his Raicilla operation, our lunch stop. Raicilla is the local version of tequila. Tequila can only be called as such if it is made with 100% Agave Azul (from the blue agave plant). If made with any other Agave plant and it must be named something else. We had a nice lunch and a few tastings and back to the dinghies for our return trip. The tide was now lower, a couple dinghies momentarily touched bottom but were able to maneuver back into deeper water. We all made it safely across the bar again and a fun day was had by all. Back to the boat for a swim, the water temperature was 28 C or 86 F, beautiful!
Twenty miles away was our next stop, Barra de Navidad. We filled up at the fuel dock and Vancouverites you can’t complain about your fuel prices because it was $1.856/ Litre Cdn here. Barra has a very nice marina, but we chose to anchor in the lagoon. Now getting into the main channel is well marked but entering the lagoon can be interesting, try to enter at high tide if possible. There are no channel markers and a number of unmarked shoals. Boats regularly go aground but it’s a soft, muddy bottom so usually no damage is incurred. The Navionics charts and waypoints in the Sean and Heather Cruising Mexico guidebook we all have are good. We anchored in nine feet of water (we draw four) and there is a two-foot tide swing, I think that’s a Stray Cat record for shallowest depth. They have a great 24-hour water taxi service in Barra. You call them on Channel 23 or wave one down if they’re nearby, and a panga will come and pick you up. You pay 40 pesos/person ($2.85) when you get off, they give you a ticket and that’s what you need for your return ride. We explored the town with some old friends and some new friends and really enjoyed our time there. We had the best wood fired pizza at a place called Loco Loco.
The French Baker will come to your boat with his fresh baked treats for sale. You can place your order the night before and he will deliver in the morning. We got a couple of treats for our departure. The baguettes were amazing!
We departed at high tide, after our bakery items were delivered, bound for Manzanillo, 25 nautical miles away. Just a quick night in the bay there as we left for Zihuatanejo at 5 am, dodging a few freighters that were coming into the harbour. Thank goodness for AIS and radar.
190 nautical miles to Zihuatanejo, another overnighter. 32 uneventful hours later we arrived in Zihua. We are in the area for about a month with plans to participate in Sailfest (a fundraising event for local schools and children). More on how that goes later.