Much of this trip has been motoring so far, but we broke out the code zero (our red-colored, light-air genoa) on this leg to Agua Verde. At the right angle and with merely 3 kts of wind, the lighter material allows us to sail 2kts an hour; not fast, but who cares, we’re moving. It was so pleasant that I went below and made black bean/corn/tomato salsa with tortilla chips for lunch while sailing flat as a pancake.
Our first two days there were cool, overcast and spitting. Switchy winds occurred all day and night, quickly increasing enough to cause small chop for an hour, then die to nothing. We spoke to one boat that claimed to see 33 Kts while he was headed into the anchorage from the bay. Then another boat in the far east cove alleged he saw 30 kts whipping down into the cove from off the mountain. We were a mere ¼ mile away in the center and never had over 15-20. We were almost afraid to go out in the yak for fear the wind would pick up like crazy and leave us stuck on the beach.
So instead we made water. I used the extra fresh water to clean the caked salt off our Eisenglass dodger windows and all the solar panels. The second day, about 4pm the wind died down and we finally got the yak out and headed to shore for the first time in two days. We had fish tacos at this shack on the beach…just a palapa roof with a sand floor. Our 2 excellent large fish tacos, plus 2 cokes, was 96 pesos, or $6.50. A steal, given that the fish was caught that morning by the local village fisherman.
Those first couple nights the wind died down toward evening and we slept to a comfy, gentle bob. Oh you know that means we’re in for it the next few nights.
What Green Water?
Everyone always says Agua Verde is their favorite spot. I haven’t seen any of this famous “green water” everyone raves about. We are in 11 ft and STILL can’t see bottom.
The forecast called for more high NE winds so we decided to stay put for 2 more days. Fortunately, Agua Verde redeemed its namesake and blue skies over crystal clear waters materialized overnight.
Agua Verde is a pretty large anchorage, about a mile wide, essentially shaped like a cloverleaf with a large flat clove in the center (where we anchored). We discovered the beautiful green water (the “verde” part) by kayaking over to both the east and west coves. Finally green water!
In the east cove we walked the shoreline: witnessed a red-beaked bird pulling a meal out of the rocks, Brian got attacked by a dead carcass of manta ray that look like a face-hugger from the movie Aliens (see photo), walked through thousands of broken conch shells (looked like an area where people gutted them). Nice sandy shore, secluded cove, no road access, green water!
The west cove was picture perfect. Rocks lined the beach but filled in with fine sand just above the shoreline. A long spit of land extends out to the far north perfect for hiking up and over the tall rocky hillside to view the expanse and grandeur of the bay. We then picked our way along the shallow reef around a vertical-sided almost-island made of that same concrete-like rock encased with big shells and smaller rocks. Best hike so far.
The bounce began on the third night. Despite the boat pitching fore and aft, we successfully BBQ’d 2 bratwursts outside on the ‘veranda’ without them falling into the drink. Winds died. Still rolly. Beam on to waves for awhile, not fun. But we eventually turned back around and again pointed into them head on for most of the night. Up-down (pitch) is always better than side-to-side (yaw) motion in my opinion. It was a rolly night but we still slept well.
Day 4: We still couldn’t leave. The weather forecast was for stronger winds and although as benign as it felt in the anchorage, when we looked out to the sea we could see waves marching down the pass and did not wish to go out in them…Disappointing as we both wanted to leave. It was still rolly.
All the other boats that were here in the anchorage near us have left. The boats that HAVE come in have chosen to go to the greener west or east coves. 3 in the west and 2 in the east. They are the smart ones, I muse. We are in the center and are WIDE open to the lovely incoming swell. Each morning we half-contemplate upping anchor and moving over to, literally, greener pastures. But ultimately Brian refuses to pull up the anchor and go into those coves, no matter how much flatter and comfortable their potential. Why?
Because our anchor is in like Flynn. It’s not going anywhere, we have been here for the last 3 days and can tell by our anchorwatch that we are not slipping. That is the best reason.
Because all the powerboats immediately head towards those little coves when they come in and they all swing different and we are now have an irrational fear of all powerboats dragging down on us. Besides, it is always nicer anchored out by ourselves and not crowded in together worrying about playing bumper boats.
The pasture always looks greener on the other side, but those spots have potential hazards as well. We have so much open space here in the middle that if we were to drag in the middle of the night, we have lots of room to fix it. There’s no one else around to worry about hitting here. Those coves are shallower and if they aren’t as protected as they look from far away, they may end up being more dangerous due to the thinner (less deep) water that can pile up and create bigger swell. No reef to worry about dragging into. No wind whipping down the mountain pass at 30 kts. Etc, etc.
I reluctantly tend to agree with him. But that doesn’t mean I can’t blame him just the same for the result. It’s what women do.
So I keep peering over at the boats sitting in the other 2 anchorages, craving their potential tranquility. It’s gotta be at least half as bouncy as what I’m getting right now… Oh look, another boat just went in there…it’s filling up once again. Pretty soon it’ll be too late… there won’t be room… DO they know something we don’t?
So we sit here bouncing uncomfortably like a child’s beach ball in the surf. Bouncing, bouncing, bouncing. It’s not dangerous, no one is even close to being seasick, it’s not even that windy - not even 15 kts, it’s just annoying. Up.. down.. up.. down.. Brian says this is good practice. We have to get used to these minor rollies so we’ll be prepared when we get to the mainland and have to anchor off the coast where there are swells and surfing waves. Arrgh. Looking out into the cockpit from my vantage below decks: the mountains loom in and out of view, rising and falling away. A bottle tips over, the sink gurgles, the hull creaks. And those other boats are tucked nicely away, or so I imagine…. While we bounce.
Despite the bounciness I made chili: pouch of chilorio (basically canned shredded beef in a plastic pouch), can of fire roasted tomatos, garlic, ½ jalapeno, can corn, ½ can tomato paste, my only can of kidney beans. Bam! Later during dinner (bouncing, I might add), Brian looks over at the east cove and says “Nah, they’re rolling just as much as us.” Wishful thinking. Get out the binocs. I say, “Huh, another boat arrived. They went into the east anchorage too. Wonder why they didn’t come over here?” The water/pasture is always greener on the other side.
At 10pm, the wind dies completely. We are now beam onto the waves. NOT FUN. We roll 15 degrees side to side, holding ourselves onto the setee with stomach muscles. If I left my laptop on the seat it would slide off; laptops don’t have stomach muscles. I am getting a workout typing. More things clang and bang and fall.
I sigh exasperatedly. Especially when we get that wave that flip-flops us exaggeratedly and clanks everything all at once. Damn we should have moved. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. Too late, it’s pitch black out; I mean it, zero lights. Brian insists the wind will pick up from the south, as it always has, and put us in a better position to the waves. I know he is right, but it sure is taking way too long. This is the closest I have gotten to seasickness on the entire trip.
Suffice it to say, no one got much sleep. But as always, the swell did abate, and the wind picked up aligning us at a better angle. But not before making us (OK, me) extremely grouchy and tired the following morning. Despite the rolly nights, Brian thinks this place is super cool. I had high hopes for it, but it just didn’t seem to live up to my overly high expectations. The first two days of overcast and not being able to explore and the second two days of rolly nights sort of negated the beautiful green waters I finally found. I could never really relax there and enjoy it. But I did get some good photos of the boat from our awesome hike up the ridge and that was definitely worth the literal ups and downs.
Next stop: civilization.