Update #7 We’re having a swell time

[Tenacatita Bay – 19°17’49.51″N, 104°49’26.46″W]

Greetings all!

Before I begin: PLEASE NOTE – I do enjoy reading your emails (to: kenw @ seanet.com) BUT, my internet connection is very limited and very expensive. I received at least four copies of my own update back yesterday, each preceded by a one or two sentence comment. The comments were great, but paying for downloading my own update gets old. Text is not a problem. Feel free to be as verbose in writing me as you would like – BUT, DO NOT include pictures, video or audio files. If you are responding to my update, DELETE my update after you hit the reply key and then start typing.

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And, lastly: if you are reading someone else’s copy of my updates, and would like your own: All you need to do is to go to: http://www.kensblog.com/and click on the link for subscribing to my blog.

And with that said….

Our goal yesterday was to make a short passage (only 40 miles) from Chamela Bay to Tenacatita.

I had asked the weather router whether or not it looked good for the passage, and he said it would be calmer if we relaxed for a day or two, but that there was no reason not to go.

We seriously considered just relaxing for a day or two at Chamela, but there were three things arguing for getting moving:

1) The swell at the anchorage in Chamela was no fun. Even with our flopper stoppers out, the boat was rolling non-stop, 24 hours a day. It just wasn’t comfortable.

2) We couldn’t easily get to the beach. I mentioned in my last update that our tender is completely wrong for a beach landing, and Roberta’s parents won’t swim in. Sitting on a boat watching others have lunch on shore grates on you after a while.

3) We have a reservation at Barre Navidad, which is a difficult to get into marina, for this Friday – and, I’m worried that if I show up late I could lose my slip.

Other cruisers were telling me that Tenacatita had much less swell, and a beach I should be able to land on. This, plus 2 knot winds when we woke yesterday, was good enough for me. It was time to move. I knew we would be safe, and figured a little seasickness would be a fair trade.

For the journey I decided to pull our tender. On our prior Nordhavn we pulled the tender all the time, but that was in the Pacific NW and the Med, where swell is not an issue. I wasn’t sure how the tender would do when surfing up and down waves. Also: rather than taking down our flopper stoppers (the giant fishing-pole looking things hanging off the side of the boat which stabilize us at anchor), I wanted to just put the “fish” (the plates hanging at the bottom of the poles) into the cockpit and save a lot of time and trouble.

Thank goodness for the lack of wind, because there was plenty of swell to make up for it! We never experienced over 5 knots of wind throughout our whole trip south. However, the waves (or, should I say “swell” as they weren’t breaking) were large. I do not know how to quantify size, but I’d guess them at easily 10 to 15 feet. I had been told they were on a 16 second interval, but they seemed much closer. We never felt any danger, nor was it particularly exciting, but it was interesting to watch the boat drop into a trough with the surrounding water at eye level, only to be lifted a few seconds later to the crest of a wave. My only fear was for the tender. I have always used two lines when pulling a tender; one to handle the load, and one as a backup. It was hot and sticky yesterday morning, and I hadn’t slept the night before, so I erred, and was too lazy to chase down a second line. Lesson learned. The tender had a much wilder ride than we did, and the entire journey was spent watching it slide around behind the boat. The tender completed the journey just fine, but I wouldn’t do it, in this high a swell, again.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad ride at all! No one felt any discomfort.

Our arrival at Tenacacita was once again made more interesting by the poor and inaccurate charts. As I had on our approach to Banderas Bay I used the radar, the depth sounder, and my own eyes, to figure out where we were. The chart was virtually useless. None of the depths matched up, even after adjusting for my computed location. I was also consulting Charlie’s Charts, and the Rains’ Mexico Boating Guide, but of which have been of tremendous assistance. Looking ahead on our voyage the charts, which are already borderline, become essentially non-existent. I will be depending on the cruising guides. I’m going to speak with Nobeltec today to see if it is possible they have more charts than I’m seeing, and I’ve somehow not installed everything – but, I don’t think so. I think there just isn’t much coverage from here to Costa Rica.

Within Tenacatita, there are at least three different anchorages to pick from. We chose the one that appeared the most popular, and dropped anchor alongside 30 or so other boats (almost all sail boats). To my great disappointment, even though we are anchored in front of a hotel, there doesn’t appear to be a wireless internet connection I can tap into. Argh!

My “project” after arrival was to figure out an issue with our 25kw generator. It has decided that it does not want to give electricity to the air conditioning. After lots of experimenting, and calls/emails to Nordhavn, it appears they may have to send me a part. This isn’t a huge issue in that Friday we will be into a marina and on shore power. In the mean time, I have the 16kw generator which is working fine. We’re really working the generators hard, which is new to me. Ordinarily, when cruising, I only run the generator a few hours a day to charge the batteries, but it is hot and sticky here. Everyone wants air conditioning ALL the time, and my batteries wouldn’t last long powering the air conditioning. This means 24 hour a day generator usage. We could just sweat – but, why have toys and not use them?

After getting a little greasy working in the lazarette I was ready for a swim. We all jumped in, had a nice refreshing swim, followed by an early barbecue and off to bed.

I realize I’m not saying much about Tenacatita itself. To be honest, I don’t know much yet. Everyone on the boat is just waking up, and we’ll soon be off to explore. There is a jungle cruise I’ve heard about, that we’ll tackle. I want to try out my hookah system (for diving). I’d like to drop the jet tender, for long-distance exploring. Lots to do! I’ll try to get some pictures for tomorrow’s update. We’re safely at anchor and life is good!

Thank you,

Ken Williams
Sans Souci, nordhavn68.com

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Credits     |     Video produced by: Rock Steady Media     |     Teletype photo: Arnold Reinhold     |     PDP-11 photo: Trammell Hudson