Posts Tagged ‘whales’

Spring Season

07/30/2012

It is July and much has transpired. It looks as tho my last entry featured Bandares Bay on the west side of the mainland of Mexico. We cruised over to the far south end of the Bay to stay the night in Yelappa (http://www.yelapa.info/). Such a unique place.  Very small fishing village that looks like a picture you’d see of Switzerland.  We were told by locals that we would be helping to support the small village if we paid to use their moorings instead of using our own anchor.  The bottom was close to 100′ deep very close to the beach.  Unfortunately the moorings were very close together and I spent the night “on watch” due to “fending off” with the boats around us.

Yellapa has an interesting history that is worth checking out. The morning we exited the Bay we got an early start so to get around the point at Cabo Correntes before the afternoon winds picked up and made cruising rough.  As we passed the point we spotted as many as nine different whales heading north.  The seas were a bit bouncy but with Michael at the wheel I was able to wrap my arm around a “stay” and hold the camera as steady as possible. One whale in particular took a large leap out of the water far enough away for me to get the shot of a lifetime.  It was one of the most spectacular events I had ever witnessed and I got a picture of it too.

Wind and seas were perfect for a while.  We actually did some sailing.  But as the afternoon wore on the seas picked up and it got a bit rough. Michael was at the wheel and instructed Mike, the First Mate to go forward and take down the sails.

As he turned into the wind, the direction of the seas were on our nose. The boat was heaving up and down in the tall seas with white water crashing across the bow.  He was working on a sheet that had gotten tangled due to the wind and was focused on freeing it up. Holding on with one arm wrapped around the mast while the other hand worked on the knot. I remember vividly the grin on Mikes face as he returned to the wheel house.  He enjoyed the excitement of the energy of the wind and the seas.

Michael was on the wheel way passed his shift.  Somedays we felt like steering longer than our set schedules.  That day was one of them for Michael.  I went below and took advantage of the free time to catch up on some sleep. Around midnight Mike woke me up and told me to go on deck for look out, we were pulling into an anchorage.  Mike had gone up forward with the new night vision scope scanning the area for boats, rocks and beach and was reporting back to Michael at the wheel.  It was pitch black dark. I kept trying to clear my eyes to see but wasn’t having much luck.  The air was cool and the smell of salt was heavy in the air.

As the boat moved forward I could hear a school of fish swimming to get out-of-the-way.  As they swam a large circle of phosphorus lit up their way giving me a little light to see around the boat.  We could hear the surf but it was difficult to determine just how close it was to the beach.  While Michael watched the depth finder he decided to drop the anchor in 30′ of water.  He gave Mike the “go ahead” to drop the anchor and let out the chain slowly as he backed the engine down in reverse.  A tug on the bow with a swing to right was indicative that the anchor had grabbed.

Michael shut off the engine and once again our ears rang with the sound of silence.  We sat on deck awhile to take in our bearings, making sure the anchor didn’t drag and that it was a safe place to stop for the night. Caelin our labrador got in her bed in the wheel house while we went down below and got in our bunks. Being exhausted, Michael went right to sleep.  As usual I lay there for some time listening and re-assuring myself that we were in a safe place to rest.  Caelin was our alarm should anyone or anything come close to the boat.  Unfortunately dolphins and birds were no exception.

When we awoke the next morning we grabbed a cup of coffee and out onto the deck to take in the unfamiliar surroundings.  We were amazed to see that we had crossed over a long span of nets entering the channel the previous night. Our boat doesn’t have a fin keel so luckily we didn’t disturb the nets….that we know of.

Chamela was were we had landed the night before.  It was another gorgeous beach.  The place where we anchored was in the top part of the picture (north end) on the other side of the last island.

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