Well, coming to the San Patricio area to check out the crazy, week long celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, hasn’t quite come to fruition like we had hoped for. After a tremendous sail out of Bahia Tenacatita, we caught up to some friends who had left a few hours before us, but decided to not follow them into the Barra de Navidad Lagoon, instead choosing the more exposed anchorage just off San Patricio/Melaque. Maneuvering C2F under full sail within the tight confines of the anchorage’s numerous pangas, rocks, sailboats, fishing pen and nets, is a task made significantly more difficult by the particularly swirly winds encountered up at the head of the anchorage, in the lee of the surrounding mountains. Using the other sailboats as our wind gauge, it was clear that we were in completely different winds than they, as we flew upwind at 7 knots at what appeared to be the same point of sail as the anchored boats who were facing straight up into the wind. Knowing this, we planned our route carefully and anticipated the changing wind direction. After the last tack, 20-30 yards off the beach, we bore off downwind, dropped one sail, then dropped the hook, knowing the moment it decidedly grasped deeply into terra firma by the sudden deceleration and subsequent “one-eighty” felt aboard this nimble craft, as we settle into the regular, bows into the wind anchor position.
Immediately after getting situated, I paddled into Melaque to get some internet and learn more about the schedule of festivities. I discovered that the party started after 9pm more or less every night of the week prior to, and culminating on March 17, but feeling uncertain of where I had left my board, plus with what seemed like hours to spare, I decided to head back to C2F for a bit of pre-party preperation. On the way back I ran into a young couple aboard aboard a boat called Tipsea also heading back out to the anchorage.
Matt, Brittany, and I chatted while hanging outside their boat for quite a while. They in their inflatable dinghy being rowed, I on the paddleboard. They had watched the sporty anchor setting maneuver, and with Matt’s youthful exuberance wanting to check Cat2Fold out, in no time at all we were deep into heavy conversation about C2F, sailing, and life in general. They’re in their mid twenties and plan on sailing across the Pacific to the Marquesas with very little money and somewhat limited experience. A good candidate to come visit “F@ck Yeah-topia” for a bit!😜 After they left, I noticed some good live reggae music from somewhere on shore. I felt tired, but with a deep inhalation, I told myself that if it were before 10pm, I’d head in to shore to find the music. I pushed the button. It was midnight. 😴
The next day, a big storm was supposed to move into the area. So in anticipation, Cat2Fold and I, and Tipsea moved into the much more protected Barra de Navidad Lagoon, where everybody else in the fleet, and their mothers, were already snugly anchored awaiting the weather. I had always laughed when hearing about boats running aground inside the lagoon which seems to be a near daily occurrence here. With the less than two foot draft of Cat2Fold, surely, a grounding was unlikely, but, how quickly one can be reminded of the nearly five foot draft of the rudders when one kicks up in three feet of water…😳😳😳 Earlier in the morning, during the morning net, I was able to locate the much sought after set of guitar strings. I have been going through strings at an alarming rate on the boat, and there was a couple on a boat in the marina not needing their extra set, and willing to part with them for coconuts. As soon as I was anchored firmly in less than six feet of water, I paddleboarded into the marina to procure my strings.
When I returned to Cat2Fold, I decided that with the weather just moving in, but not really there yet, I would paddleboard around the lagoon for a bit then, head back to Melaque with the ambition of coffeeing up, and going out late night, because the following few nights were supposed to be RAINY!!! I swung by s/v Hemisphere Dancer to say hi and share my plans for the evening. Larry and I joked about how embarrassing it would be for me to ground the very shallow drafted vessel. As I motored my way back out of the tricky, damn-near-invisible channel, I yet again found a very skinny section of water with both rudders kicking up simultaneously…a quick glance around along with radio silence assured me that no one, especially Larry noticed the screw up. 😳
The sun was setting as we motored the short two miles over to Melaque. Their were only two other boats with no one aboard in the anchorage. In the time it took for me to make my coffee and get powered up to go out, the wind picked up and changed direction putting us inside of a very dangerous, three sided lee shore. It wasn’t crazy bad where we needed to leave immediately, but all of a sudden, I didn’t feel like going out to party, and leave Cat2Fold alone to fend for herself. So, jacked up on coffee at 9pm, I rocked my new set of strings all night long, astounded at the beautiful change in tone a string change can make. First thing in the morning, we motored back over to our spot within the lagoon, careful to not continue the testing of the kick-up rudders, in anticipation for the huge rain storm working its way towards us.
As I sit here writing this blog entry, I’m sitting inside the very moist tent area where I live most of the time. We’ve had nearly 36 hours of rain. Sometimes coming down in buckets. I’ve played enough guitar in that time period to have already broken my brand new g-string. Of all the strings to break, why oh why do I always lose my g-string first?!? Last night the winds got up into the mid thirties, and when combined with the thunder and lightning surrounding the fleet, everybody slept quite lightly keeping one eye open, on the lookout for dragging vessels coming down on them.
…it’s now 24 hours since I initially started writing this blog. Yesterday evening, the rain stopped. I capitalized on the moment and went paddling around through the anchorage. It felt good to get out of hiding. I visited a few boats in the anchorage, and with a collective sigh of relief, everyone I spoke to was overly ready for this storm to be done! I ended up going aboard s/v Vagrant, another freak boat in the anchorage (a junk rigged steel boat), for some cocktails and dinner. Shane and Tina are preparing for their third trip out deep into the Pacific Ocean, with no set date for return. We talked well into the night about sailing and cruising with kids, boats, and some of their earlier adventures. I paddled back over to Cat2Fold in the dark, incredibly happy to see stars and NO RAIN!!! Upon returning, I opened up the sides of the tent in anticipation for a nice, airy night of sleep. When I awoke, I started planning my day, which mostly revolved around hanging things up to dry, and opening doors, windows and hatches. As soon as I put the coffee on in the port hull, the rain started back up. Light at first, but now, as I sit in my tent watching the same f@cking rain channel on my imaginary TV, it is starting to become comical. Yesterday, knowing that the rain was supposed to go all day, it was easy to spiritually join in with the fleet and start drinking whenever the fancy struck. Today, the rain is SUPPOSED to stop, so I’m doing my best at holding off til later so I can hopefully get something done if/when this onslaught finally passes us by.
With three entirely separate living spaces aboard Cat2Fold, and the acres of awesome outdoor deck space, what makes Cat2Fold the perfect vessel to be aboard during the TYPICAL Mexican dry season, becomes a clear liability when the weather gods decide to throw inches and inches of rain at us. All I can do is wait for what appears to be a bit of a lull in the moisture then sprint as fast as I can to get into the necessary hull whether to cook, change clothes or just brush my teeth. Today is St. Patrick’s day itself. I really hope that this rain does go away so the festivities in San Patricio can go on with the full glory that only homemade fireworks, dangerously set off by drunk locals in a time honored tradition, can provide…where your safety glasses!
!VIVA MEXICO! (…but, f@ck the rain)