Ipala, Chamela and Careyes Stops

It’s only been a few days, but the first couple of stops we’ve made after Banderas Bay have been a bit of a blur.  We hadn’t sailed in two months, so I’ve felt a bit rusty getting used to the boat heeling and the rolling swells of the Pacific.

We didn’t want to have to do an overnight sail if we didn’t have to, so we decided we’d make a stop at Punta Ipala (40 miles south) instead of making the trek to Chamela about 90 miles south.

We had a lovely, easy sail into Ipala.  Not a ton of wind, but enough to keep us moving with the jib up.  Ipala is a very small anchorage with ponga moorings and fish pens that make it even smaller.  For the first time in our travels we had a ponga driver come by and request that we donate money to his children’s school.  We felt like we couldn’t say no, but we are also are on a tight budget, so we gave a small donation and we could tell the local wasn’t too impressed with what we gave him.  Maybe it was just all in our heads, but we didn’t get a very welcoming feeling from Ipala and we were eager to take off early the next morning and head to Chamela.

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The town of Ipala with colorful fish pen buoys covering a good majority of the anchorage.

Of course, there was no easy sail for day number two.  The swells were bigger, the wind was much stronger and I was not feeling too hot from the rolling.  We got a large gust while we were talking about taking some sail down and it was too much for our windvane to take and we started to round up very fast.  Dave is quick on the sheets so we were fine, but that ended my watch up top. I went down below to nap and try to keep my breakfast down.  Dave always says he enjoys solo sailing and has a lot of fun messing with the sails and the windvane, so I try not to feel too bad about abandoning the cockpit. 

A few hours later we pulled into Bahia Chamela and anchored outside the town of Perula.  The next morning we lowered the dinghy and made a nice beach landing despite the breaking waves.  We met our neighbor from the only other boat in the anchorage, Jerry from s/v Northern Sky, on the beach and he helped us lug the dinghy up to dry sand as we had forgotten to attach our dinghy wheels.  Oops.

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We walked the beach and part of town for a little while to stretch our legs.  Dave wanted to find a pineapple, so we meandered from tienda to tienda until one of the shopkeepers opened up a box of freshly delivered pinas.  We also grabbed some jicama (my fav!) and some other odds and ends and headed back to the boat to prepare for the next morning’s sail.

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Chamela’s beachside sites.

We set off by 8am the next morning hoping to get to Tenacatita by mid-afternoon.  The wind, unfortunately had other plans.  We motored out of the Chamela anchorage and then immediately started sailing.  The wind was lighter than the morning before so I felt pretty good about hanging out in the cockpit.  But come 11am, we were in gusty winds and bigger swells than I like.  We realized we were right outside of a small anchorage called Bahia Careyes, which we had planned to bypass, but since it was right there and the weather was turning crappy, we decided to hole up there for the rest of the day.

The anchorage was even smaller than Ipala’s, but with more ponga moorings and a very rocky shoreline.  Once we finally got settled between a boat with only rope rode (boooo, they swing too much) and a good-sized power/fishing boat tied up to a mooring ball, I went downstairs to work on my taxes (yay for e-filing!) while Dave pulled out his snorkel gear. 

The first thing you notice about Careyes (besides the waves breaking over all the rocky reefs), are the colorful buildings all along the beach.  Blues, pinks, greens, oranges…so beautiful.  Pretty nice place to hide away in from the weather…

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…more stop recaps to come…