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  • Anna Welscott

Sailing Back to Mainland Mexico and Finding Paradise in Chacala

When we left La Paz back on January 22nd, we were thinking we would split up the 400 mile passage with some anchorages on the Baja side (Muertos and then Frailes and then across to mainland)….however since we both enjoy night sailing and we like to get into a groove on longer passages, we decided not to stop and head straight across. It took us 74 hours.

One of us is up on watch 24 hours a day while underway, which means alternating sleep is important! We try to give each other as much rest/sleep as possible. Sometimes it's three hour shifts and other times it's five or six hour shifts, it all depends how we are feeling. We try hard for longer shifts as the more consistent sleep, the better for everyone.

Our 74 hour sail was uneventful, for the most part. We had many whale and dolphin sightings, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, smooth seas and rolly seas.

One morning on the passage we were surrounded by millions of tubular organisms. Doug went to work trying to catch some in a bucket so we could take a closer look. After some research we learned that they are called salps. Salps have a complex life cycle, growing to maturity in 48 hours. They are thought to be the fastest growing multi-cellular animal on Earth, increasing their body length by up to 10% per hour. Salps feed by filtering plankton and algae and move using an incredibly efficient jet propulsion system (Credit: Melissa Murray; Australian Museum). They were interesting to watch for hours, while floating by! In the picture below, the snake looking thing is actually a chain of the younger salps. Once they grow larger, they separate.

So...After a few days at sea, we made landfall as the sun was rising. The local whales were very active, breaching and tail slapping all around us as we arrived to Chacala.

Chacala has moved to the top of our list of favorite places. If you are looking for a hidden paradise, Chacala is whispering your name!! With the lush landscape, golden sand, and lapping waves, one would quickly understand why we stayed a week! This is definitely a "sticky" place for us.

Check-in with the port captain was a breeze and there was a perfect place to land the dinghy as we came to land to explore. There is absolutely nothing commercialized about Chacala, it's made up of dirt and cobblestone roads, little tiendas, palapa restaurants, and a sprinkle of small hotels. We enjoyed some quality beach time, surfing, and walking through the small town while admiring the lush tropical landscape, sampling the local cuisine, and listening to the birds sing. If we didn't have a schedule to keep, we would have stayed longer!

It was here in Chacala that we deployed our stern anchor for the first time. The swell coming in from the Pacific makes the anchorage a bit rolly at times. Our stern anchor keeps our bow pointed into the swell, making for a more comfortable anchorage.

All in all, we could not have dreamed of a more perfect place to spend a week after crossing over from the Baja. We hope to find ourselves back in Chacala someday to again appreciate all that there is to offer from the people and town…plus there are some construction projects that we would like to check in on.

Next up we head to Puerto Vallarta. We get Karuna tucked into a slip at Paradise Village for a few days, while we make a quick trip back to Colorado to see family.

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