From Chacala to La Cruz

It was with some sadness that we got up on Monday morning and prepared to depart Chacala. The departure went as smoothly as the arrival as we backed down 125' to pick up the stern anchor then moved forward and retrieved our bow anchor. By 6:30 am we were on our way. It is only 45 miles or so from Chacala to La Cruz, which, at 6 knots, would take us about 8 hours, but we wanted to arrive in the early afternoon, so we left very early in the morning.

I had taken the time and utilized the opportunity of the high-speed wi-fi connection in Chacala to plot our course using Google Earth. On the chart plotter, the course showed us going over land, but in reality we stayed a good 3 to 5 miles off shore over the whole leg. As soon as we were clear of Chacala Bay, we put a line in the water, as per our usual regimen, in hopes of catching some dinner.

About 5 miles later, we got a strike, and the reel played out in a quick burst and then fell silent. I grabbed the rod and ascertained that whatever had hit it had not taken the hook and so started to reel the lure in to make sure that it was still ok. So, as I'm reeling the line in fast, when it was about 50 yards behind the boat, I notice this triangular fin following the lure. Sure enough, there was a small shark that was interested in the lure and as I got the lure even closer, about 20 yards away, I could clearly make out the shark as he darted to and fro interested in, but not taking the lure.

So I let go the drag and tried to have the lure "play dead" for a bit, letting out maybe 25' feet of line, and the shark took a quick bite at the lure. I tried to set the hook, but it must have jumped out of his mouth, because the line went slack. He must have gotten an idea that it wasn't real food at that time, and quickly became disinterested. In a few seconds, he swam away and disappeared. Of course, now I was very interested in the game and wanted to catch him. So, foolishly perhaps, I turned the boat around and went about a mile back and forth trying to find him again, but to no avail. After about 15 minutes, we turned the boat around and continued on our course.

As we continued motoring south during the day, we were seeing large schools of bonito, 100 or more fish, breaking the water going after bait fish, signaled by flocks of frigate birds and terns diving into the sea. After a time we happened to cross one of these schools. Then, sure enough, we got a strong hit on the line and reeled in a nice 8lb bonito. We'd not caught a bonito before, and although they are dark meat, the fish book says they are nutritious and so we kept him.

Since I don't like to clean a single fish (hardly seems worth the trouble), I suggested that we double back (again) and try to hook a second one. So we chased a couple of the schools of bonito and got our second one about 15 minutes later. We then resumed our course, had lunch, after which I cleaned the fish.

Around 1:00 pm, the wind started to pick up slightly and we made the turn around Punta Mita, let out the jib, and sailed a very nice beam reach for about 2 hours, between the point and the Tres Mariettas islands, until La Cruz came into view and we had to put the sails away. The total distance we travelled was about 55 nm, about 15 miles of it sailing, in just over 8 hours total. We weren't sure if we were going to stay in the Marina or out at the anchorage, but when we got on the VHF and contacted Christian, the marina manager, and he said there was room, we opted to go into Marina Riviera Nayarit for our stay.