50 nm from Marina Vallarta to Ipala

We left Puerto Vallarta very early, in near darkness, around 6:00 a.m., on Saturday morning, so that we would be sure to be rounding Cabo Corrientes by noon, before the afternoon winds picked up. We had heard that Corrientes was a lot like Point Conception in California, nothing to be toyed with, and the worst time to round it was in the late afternoon when the winds maxed out. Our goal was to be safely esconced in the little bay behind Punta Ipala by 1:00 p.m.

Inasmuch as we were trying to avoid the winds, it was no suprise that we had to motor out of PV in a nearly dead calm. Once we were out of the putrid harbor, I started the watermaker and, as usual, put a line in the water to see what I might catch. I set up with our "Mexican flag feather" lure, the one with the red and green feathers, and let out a hundred yards of so of line out behind the boat as the sun rose over the mountains of PV.

Within a few minutes we got a massive hit, the line tearing out of the reel very quickly. I reached over to grab it and set the hook, and could tell there was a very big fish on. The pole bent nearly 90 degrees and I was afraid the line would break. Then it went slack in my hands, and when I reeled it in, the lure and leader were gone. Perhaps the leader came untied, or perhaps the line broke, but either way, a big one had gotten away (as well as our favorite lure).

I put a new leader on the line and ran another feather out, this time a bright flourescent purple one. No hit right away this time, so we whiled away the morning chatting and reading about our next destinations. Then about an hour later there was another big hit and I grabbed the pole, set the hook, and found myself in a somewhat prolonged battle with some kind of a big fish. I could tell he was big because it took me nearly 20 minutes to get the 100 yards of line up to the boat. We slowed the boat down during this time so as to not put any further strain on the line. Finally we got the gaff hook out and I brought this large, probably 25 lb, Crevalle Jack aboard.

We didn't really know what to do with him, so I just kept the gaff hook up in the air for like 15 minutes hoping he would just expire and save me the work, but he didn't. So we got our little Tony Gwynn souvenir baseball bat from below, and I gave the fish a couple of whacks on the head with it until he stopped squirming around. After cleaning him, no small task in itself, we ended up with 4 nice two-three lb fillets. And tho the meat wsas dark, when we cooked it, first poached in lemon and ginger, and then later, with bbq sauce, into shish-ka-bobs, it was quite tasty. After two full meals, we still have enough for another two full meals. Ah, ya gotta love it.

When we finally rounded Cabo Corrientes, we could see why everyone was so cautious about it. Although the weather prediction was for 2-3 ft seas and 5-10 knots of wind, at the point there were 6-8 ft seas, very chaotic, and 20-25 knots of wind with gusts to 30. There was a strong current, sometimes setting with us, sometimes against us, that, when it was against the prevailing wind, caused the waves to be very steep, and like I said, chaotic.

We were plenty happy when we pulled into Ipala around 1:00 pm, after 50 nm from PV, to find it, at least by comparison, somewhat calm and smooth. We dropped our anchor in about 30' of water, well off the point, and not in the most protected place, as there were a lot of pangas and fish farms in the very small bay. We didn't bother to get the dinghy off and go to shore as it was apparent there was hardly anything there but a few palapas and maybe a single restaurant. The next morning, Sunday, after a somewhat rolly night in the anchorage, we decided to proceed directly to Chamela, another 50 nm south, which promised to be somewhat more protected.

To Ipala