Monday, January 14, 2019

En Route to Caleta de Campos

Intermezzo is en route to Caleta de Campos, a small remote anchorage about 115 nm down the coast from Manzanillo.

We weighed anchor in Bahia Tenacatita yesterday around noon for the short sail to Barra de Navidad. When we raised the anchor, we found that the chain had wrapped itself around the shank of the anchor. We tried rotating the anchor to untwist it but the chain was wedged too tight by the anchor's weight pulling down on it. We tried relieving some of the weight by attaching an line and hauling up on it, but that didn't work. I looked at the situation for a moment and then asked Roy, who was at the helm, how deep the water was. He reported 50 feet, so I told him to stop the boat. I dropped the anchor to the bottom and then told Roy to drive in a tight counterclockwise circle. Voila, when we raised the anchor, the chain was unwrapped. I hadn't told Roy about the anchor chain wrap when it occurred and later he asked, "Why did you have me do a donut when we left the anchorage? Is that a tradition or something?"

As we approached Barra de Navidad, I noticed that the hull of the tanker that had wrecked on the cliffs in November 2015 was still there. We first observed this wreck on Intermezzo's first visit to Barra in January 2016. Government authorities were trying to decide the what to do about it then. On Intermezzo's second visit to Barra in March 2017, helicopters were flying workers out to the wreck to clean and dismantle it. I wasn't sure then whether the intent was to cut it up and remove it or just take off the dirty and expensive pieces and leave the rest. Apparently, it was the latter. The superstructure of the ship has been removed, along with the deck piping and appurtenances, leaving just the main hull lying against the cliffs until it rusts away in a couple of centuries. The wreck isn't visible from land, but It spoils the view from the sea of the beautiful natural scenery of the bay, but not too terribly and it's certainly a curiosity.

We dropped anchor in the lagoon of Barra de Navidad around 4 p.m. and hailed a water taxi into town. We saw a sign outside a beachside bar advertising jumbo Margaritas for 50 pesos, an offer we couldn't refuse. The crew apparently is quite sensitive to more than a little tequila. I walked and they staggered slightly as we toured the town. We ended our shore leave with a nice dinner, then it was back to the boat for the rest of the night. For the crew's safety.

This morning, we waited for the French bakery boat to come by so we could buy fresh bread, croissants and pastries Then we weighed anchor and set sail for Caleta de Campos.

Along this section of coast, fishermen in pangas lay a long line with baited hooks between their boat and a flagged buoy. These lines can be a half mile long and need to be avoided. That's usually done pretty easily by spotting the panga and the buoy and steering around the outside of one of them. This afternoon, however, the skipper (me) was puzzled by a line that had multiple floats and we (I) managed to snag the fishing line, first with the rudder, then with our own fishing tackle trailing behind, then with the other rudder and then wrapping one of our fishing lines around our propeller. Mind you, this was all done with great care and precision.

Roy immediately offered to dive below the boat to free the fisherman's line from our rudder and our fishing line from the prop. I decided I'd tell him about sharks being attracted to the fish caught on the long baited lines after he had completed his work so that he wouldn't lose focus. He made quick work of the job while accenting the top of his head with beautiful bright blue patches of bottom paint. Pete started to tell Roy about his blue spotted head but I shushed him up so that I could get a picture. Pete thinks that I would never have told Roy, but that's not true. I wouldn't let him spend more than an hour ashore in public looking like that.

We're sailing along gently tonight under the Code 0 after motoring most of the day against light headwinds. We're all looking forward to exploring Caleta de Campos, our last anchorage before we end the journey in Ixtapa.