We are currently anchored with about 20 other boats in Tenacatita Bay. Tenacatita is about 120 miles south of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and is a popular spot with cruisers. Some folks stay here for weeks, even months, although we are ready to leave, having been here a week. We are awaiting the arrival of our friends on Athanor who are bringing two spare oil filters, which were not in stock when we were in La Cruz. Some time ago we coined the phrase “coulda, woulda , shoulda,”; meaning I could of bought it when I was there and had it in my hand, I would of bought it if I had been thinking ahead, and I really should of bought it because I will never find it again especially when I need it. Having learned that lesson – more than once, we will wait until we have the extra filters in hand before leaving.
But there are worse places to be stuck. Every Friday night the fleet gets together for a floating cocktail party in what’s known as a raft up. Everyone brings snacks to share and their own beverage, and snacks get passed around until they are gone. There is also snorkeling to be had, fishing, swimming, hiking and walking and several excursions one can take.
We shared the cost for a cab with another boat and went to the village of La Manzanilla which lies on the other side of the bay. La Manzanilla has a large expat community, and you are likely to see just as many gringos as Mexicans. We shopped for fresh meat, produce, and tortillas and had fish tacos at one of the many palapa restaurants that line the beach. Seafood is what is on the menu and it is fresh and delicious.
There is a lot of fishing activity all along this coast, and we have learned to be very careful if we see a panga offshore as there are likely nets or floats nearby.
La Manzanilla is also home to a crocodile sanctuary. Saltwater crocodiles are native to this area, and though they are typically relatively shy and prefer the brackish waters of the mangroves, they can sometimes be seen cruising through the marinas, and have been known to take swimming dogs.
There is also an estuary tour you can take with your dinghy, and the mouth of Estero Verde is found in the northwest corner of the anchorage. he waterway winds through several miles of jungle before opening into a large lagoon. We saw several types of herons, snowy egrets, and hundreds of small crabs clinging to the mangrove roots, but alas, no crocodiles.
While it is a nice trip, I still think the myriad channels leading off of the Gilbert River back home have it beat.
When we were done with the dinghy tour, we had a nice lunch (yep, seafood) and a cold beer to steel ourselves for the surf launch of the dinghy.
The difficulty of the landing/launching depends on the height of the surf. You have to time it just right to avoid a wet, embarrassing dunking. When coming in, you hang back beyond the surf line and watch for a calm spot – you then gun the engine a bit then kill it and lift it (so you don’t ruin your prop) then row like hell and hope you can get in, hop out, and drag the dinghy up before the next round of surf gets you. To launch, this is repeated by walking the dinghy out til the water is about knee deep, watching for a calm spot, then jumping in and rowing like hell til you are out of the surf zone and the water is deep enough to put the engine down. This provides entertainment for the fleet who watch with binoculars.
Our next stop will likely be Barra de Navidid where we will spend a few days in a fancy marina enjoying the swimming pool, and other comforts like fresh water and fast wifi.
Hey who can tell me what kind of birds these are? We were tossing out some old tortillas and they practically took them out of Dan’s hand. If you are going cruising, make sure to bring along all the fish/bird/plant identification books for all areas you plan to visit, because you won’t find them here – at least not in English!