Apr 22, 2013

Tenacatita – Massive Swells Prevent us from Visiting

Take only memories, leave only footprints.
Chief Seattle 

Cactus outlines with birds at tips
Another 30 miles of sailing towards the south brings us to Tenacatita; further south yet colder – what’s the deal here?  Water is now down to 66°F – brrrr…  We had a wonderful sail averaging about 5.3 knots.  We hadn’t planned on going this far today but the other anchorages along the way seemed too open to the current swells and winds.  We will hopefully visit them on the way up.

Nikki in puppy heaven on top of towels and cord
On our way into the bay, about 3-4 miles off-shore a bat, in broad day light, tried to land on our boat.  I have no idea why a bat would be out in the middle of the afternoon and so far from land.  Was it a stowaway on one of the cargo ships we crossed a while back?  It is probably tired and disoriented but we do not want to take any chance and chase it away for it may have rabies.  It comes within inches of Mike’s face.  We have never seen such a large bat, about 8-10 inches from wing tip to wing tip and light pinkish-brown in color.  It finally flies away ahead of us towards land.  We are doing 6 knots at that point – it is probably being taken there by the wind.
Red beak seagull - on rocky outcrop
Brown booby on cactus arm
We are finally at a very calm anchorage.  With winds near 20 knots, there are no waves, only swells to rock the boat gently.  This is our quietest anchorage in a long while.  What we are finding out however is that a still anchorage doesn’t necessarily mean quiet beach landings.  The swells that hardly affect the boat at anchor really break hard on the beach sometimes creating crashers up to 4-6 feet tall.  They are so tall that they, at times, create rainbows with the high feathers of water that glide off their tips.  It’s all in the timing and we’ve gotten wet trying already.  We constantly aim to improve our landing kayak techniques and it looks like we have a way to go yet.

The swells get progressively larger and none of the other boaters manage to make it to the beach.  Even the pangas hesitate to navigate them.  It’s time to leave for it is no longer comfortable with nowhere to visit or explore.

On our last kayaking around the bay we notice a mixture of jungle plants (bromeliads, orchids, epiphytes), growing among desert plants (various cacti).  This area seems to be a transition between these two ecosystems.  It’s very interesting to see.  

Epiphyte curls up when too dry -
this one had fallen off the host tree.

We sail out and are aware to look out for various underwater rocks barely below the surface – a danger to boats.  We dutifully follow waypoints to avoid them but at one moment, just below the surface appears what looks like 10 rocks barely a foot below the surface – We both hold our breath as it is too late to stop or backup.  As it turns out, we believe these were a type of rays swimming in formation.  Their brown coloring making them look like rocks.  It wasn’t a close call after all.

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