Thursday, February 10, 2022

Enjoying Tentacatita

Bahía Tentacatita

We sailed from Paraíso to Bahía Tenacatita on Tuesday, February 8 and have been enjoying ourselves in this big calm bay for the past few days. There are lots of boats in the anchorage; we counted 27 yesterday. Fortunately, there is plenty of room and people on the other boats are friendly and quiet, so it doesn't feel crowded at all.

We had a really nice stay in Paraíso. The highlight was snorkeling the rock reef along the north shore of the cove in which we were anchored. There was plenty of healthy coral, forest green and purple, and lots of large colorful reef fish. The water was clear and the surge from the ocean swell made snorkeling along the rocks fun. We would hover over fish and be swept in and out by the surge, the fish below us moving in unison. Even the jellyfish tentacle that wrapped around my arm, stung me and left a big welt, was colorful; bright orange papules spaced along a clear string, like a garland.

As we swam from the reef to the sandy beach at the end of the cove, we passed through huge schools of minnows. Thousands and thousands of little fish. It was like flying through living clouds for a solid ten minutes. I've never swam through that many fish for so long before.

Before we set sail on Tuesday morning, we inflated the kayaks and explored the rugged shoreline and rocky islands outside our cove. We ended our time there with a swim from a tiny private beach.  It was hard to leave such a pretty place.

We had a nice downwind sail to Tenacatita under full main and jib. The wind was around 10 knots when we started out and built to almost 20 by the time we turned towards shore to enter the bahía. I'm really happy to have burned so little diesel since leaving La Paz. We dropped anchor in the middle of the gaggle of other boats, about a quarter mile off the beach.

Yesterday we did boat chores and projects in the morning, then kayaked around the anchorage. Robin practiced her kayak surf entries with, shall we say, "varied results". 

Today we paddled the kayaks about a mile and a half up an estuary to "The Aquarium" beach.  Renée, Marc, Marcy and I had explored this estuary with the dinghjy back in January 2016, shortly after Hurricane Patricia. It was a difficult trip, the estuary clogged with blown mangroves and downed trees. This time, it was a much easier passage and we saw lots of birds- egrets, great herons, not-so-great herons and night herons. The night herons were particularly numerous and would scramble into the mangroves to hide as we approached, scolding us with a chuk-chuk-chuk sound. I really enjoyed paddling through the narrow parts of the estuary, the tree canopy above forming a shady tunnel. 

When we arrived at The Aquarium beach, we had a nice lunch of ceviche, papas fritas and beer at a very rustic beach restaurant and did a bit of swimming before paddling back down the estuary and out to the boat. After cleaning up and resting a bit, we headed back to shore for dinner at the nice little palapa restaurant on shore where they serve a local specialty, rollo de mar, a fish filet rolled around shrimp and vegetables, smothered in an almond cream sauce.

Tomorrow morning we need to make a trip into town, La Manzanilla, to replenish our food supply. It's about a two mile dinghy trip across the bay, requiring landing and taking off through the surf. We'll go early when the waves are smaller and, hopefully, I'll time things better and not soak Robin or our groceries.

Tiny beach in Paraíso cove

Birds on Tenacatita rocks with cruiser fleet anchored beyond
Tentacatita rock formation
Estuary between Bahía Tentacatita and "The Aquarium" beach