Chacala has been our best spot yet. Wikipedia says the population is 300 and during holidays it can surge to nearly 1000 when vacationing city-folk come out to enjoy the beach. We were in Chacala during a short holiday weekend and witnessed the tents that line the beach and the hundreds of ninos playing in the surf. We anchored off the beach in about 25 feet, sand bottom. The first night we didn’t set a stern hook and it got pretty rolly, especially in the morning. After setting it we spent nearly a week here enjoying the area. The little town includes a couple small markets and restaurants and has only a few small cobblestone streets occupied by a friendly fishing population.

The point that protects the anchorage to the North was unfortunately sold-out to an American developer where a huge gate restricts any access and luxurious homes hold the seldom present gringos. There is a Port Captain here, who was not only the most friendly we have met, rather he was actually friendly – the others have yet to crack a smile – and he explained to me it is my right (and everyone’s right) to enjoy the beautiful sandy cove on the privatized land if I arrived by boat. All beaches in Mexico (the same as California) are public property so I was welcome to go there and if they told me to leave, I was to tell them that I was allowed! He was very adamant.

A little collage of some sights

We were fortunate to meet an experienced crew that was anchored off the beach and they gave us tons of info on the place, including how to get to a trail that lead up the mountain side, through the jungle, to a volcano crater with views of the cove below. After getting lost, we made it up there and it was awesome… (it’s the bottom right hand corner of the photo collage above).

The anchorage at dusk

We were fortunate to have a couple of my parents friends come up and visit us who were staying in Sayulita and we were treated to lunch and best of all a ride into the nearby town for groceries and petrol!

Looking up a quaint street to town

Pangas at the cement pier and Arcturus in the background

We spotted the fishing nets, notorious for wrapping props, on our short passage to Chacala. When I saw the  orange painted coke bottle it was only a second before we saw the yellow line that thankfully was just deep enough to go under the keel. Mainland Mexico fishermen, unlike Baja, all use long lines and nets that can stretch for miles across the sea surface to bring in their catch. One morning while we were anchored at the surf I watched them for about an hour and half picking up one of their nets, raking in a fish about every 30 seconds of hauling.

Fishermen pulling in their morning catch (look close – there is a fish in the net!)

Andrew shut the engine down on the way to the surf one morning in the dark after getting a rope wrapped in the outboard prop (a fishing set-up). Luckily he was able to de-tangle and restart no problem and then resorted to going right up to the boats and asking the guys which way to go. There were lots of nets and lines close to shore in the morning around Chacala.

Looking out from cool trail along the hillside to the main beach

More Chacala

We spent a few afternoons in the shade at Chicos – the cheapest palapa spot on the beach – while keeping an eye on Arcie and enjoying a cold beer…

We have made the passage South to Punta Mita – about 30 miles and are anchored off the tiny village of Punta Mita (that I didn’t even know was a village – very cool for groceries, fuel, ATMs etc.). On our passage down a humpback came up right next to us – so slow motion – and did one of those picture perfect tail descents where the droplets fall from tip to tip in a perfect waterfall.

Approaching the point for the first time we were a little concerned about these elusive off-shore rocks every source suggested are somewhere different… we thought this could be tricky since our depth sounder has recently become in need of repair and the charts suck. However, it was a clear sunny day it was a piece of cake. We just made sure to swing wide around the point and it turned out the hazard was marked with two buoys and that day – a nice breaking swell.

We’ve had some engine situations… including running hot, not being able to make RPMS, weird RPM ups and downs, and another engine die moment. We spent a lot of time trying to make improvements in Chacala. The RPM situation seemed to resolve after changing both fuel filters… but who knows. The running hot also seemed to resolve a little after not running all-out at 3000 and also shortening the raw water hose path. Spending all this time on the engine?! Yes, there is no wind here. It blows moderately from about 11am to 4pm where even though it’s the windiest of the day sailing boats are still motoring around.

We motor-sailed most of the way down to Punta Mita to ensure we didn’t arrive at night and then the engine died. So we sailed at about 2.5 knots trying to get the most out of the sails. I spent this time admiring the engine-less cruisers who do this normally. Andrew switched out the fuel filter and had her singing again in no time. We shut her down though when the wind picked up a little at the point and we sailed her close hauled into the anchorage making 6 knots – AWESOME. Dropped the hook off the schannzy condo-lined beach and beautiful green golf course… nice to be at anchor again so soon!

Watercolor from Chacala anchorage

8 Responses to “Chacala”
  1. Jenny Shade says:

    Fabulous Jules! The reply feature of this site has been down, so we’ll see if it works this week. Lots of folks here wishing you well. Scott says he may have work for the both of you (who knows). I’m really enjoying reading about your adventures. Stay safe!

  2. Kelli Childers says:

    Love keepin up with all your adventures!

  3. Gramma Jackie says:

    Dear Julie and Andrew, I have read every word of your blog and looked at all your pictures and I feel like I’m there with you. Wowwee Zowwee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Trip of a lifetime. Keep sending your wonderful reports. Wishing you lots of sunny blue skies and smoooooth sailing. Love You, Gramma and Bill

  4. ha, I love how every new spot is “the best spot we have been yet”!

    It will only get better and better my friends!

  5. Chris says:

    Punta Mita status updates si vous plait!

  6. John Senner says:

    Hola Jules and Andrew, how goes it for the adventurous sailors? Enjoyed reading your blog. Hoping you have enough fuel filters on board. I understand you both might be working now. Nothing better than when the no-plan plan comes together. Bon Voyage, Juan

    • followthearc says:

      Hola Juan! Adventures continue… our last passage was mostly sailing and it was beautiful! Engine is running great and we have lots of fuel filters on board – I think we brought 10, but wish we brought more. We may be able to find more down here if we are lucky. It was so nice of you and Paco to come visit us… what a treat! I have had a few design jobs come my way and Andrew is still working so we are very thankful for the internet and the ability to work remotely. While bobbing around in the ocean I never thought it would be possible. Hi to Susie! Jules

  7. Lela Childers says:

    Hi Jules,..I am loving all your posts and pictures. The pictures are amazingly beautiful. What a great adventure you are having. Even with the occassional “boat problems”, it sounds like you are having the time of your life..Please continue to keep us posted
    Wishing you calm seas & safe travels..Lela

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