Punta de Mita and the Whale Tale
By Joe and Deb
We provisioned the boat In La Cruz de Huanacaxtle untied the dock lines and set sail for Punta de Mita with hopes of catching a wave. The wind was very light and forced us to do some motoring but the sun was bright and the sky was clear. Punta de Mita is the northern point of Banderas Bay and is a popular surfing destination with many hotels and beachside palapas. As we approached the anchorage I was concerned with the size of the ocean swells and that it might be a dangerous anchorage. The closer we got the more boats we saw in the anchorage and the better I felt about anchoring here. Once the hook was set I assessed the landing situation on shore. Let me explain. When your only option is landing your dinghy on the beach, the size of the surf becomes a huge issue. What’s great for surfers is not so good for the dinghy. A beer run was absolutely imperative and I set off to make a beach landing in the large surf. After three failed attempts I considered anchoring the dinghy past the surf line and swimming. I set an anchor and just watched the awesome show of nature with an increasing thirst. I watched another cruiser with a fast dinghy and a surfboard, ride the back of a wave past a makeshift breakwater of rocks, safely make it to shore. I had my opportunity but was still cautious because of our very wimpy dinghy motor. I watched a truly impressive set of waves crash over the entrance and hit full throttle. It was more like I put-putted my way in only to be caught on the wrong side of the wave. At that point, it was more like surfing and it was towards the anchored pangas. Luckily the rocks broke the power of the wave and I landed without so much as an extra drop of water in the dinghy. The depositivo was quickly located behind all the pangas and Corona was secured. The trip back was a little more eventful in that I had to power over a couple breakers and got a good bath but stayed upright. Back aboard Sosiego, we had a fine dinner and beautiful night.
The next day the surf had gone down quite a bit so we inflated our Bali paddle board and headed for the beach. The beach proved to be more rock than sand and the surf was still breaking. An instructor suggested paddling out past the breakers so Debbie could try her hand at the paddle board. I swam next to her and tried to give her tips. I failed miserably as an instructor and when we headed for shore I neglected to tell her to bail before hitting the shore. She suffered her first surfing injury with a scraped up foot and a nasty bruise on her leg. We went back to the boat for hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment, band-aids, and tequila. The next morning I made a go at surfing while Debbie went to the spa. A painful story best told by her some other time. I’m not that steady but I was able to catch a dozen or so waves and ride them all the way in. By the time Debbie was done, I couldn’t lift my arms above my head. So cool! That evening we had THE best meal so far in Mexico at one of the beachside restaurants named Tino’s. She ordered the Camaron de Diablo and I had Sea Bass on green garlic mashed potatoes. So scrumptious! A truly wonderful evening with a beautiful sunset. The next day we ran into Oso Negro (black bear) who is a surfing instructor who grew up in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. He spoke passionately about his hometown and told us the story of the town’s name. Apparently, in the town square, there is an ancient Huanacaxtle tree. The branches grew and formed the sign of the cross, thus the name La Cruz de Huanacaxtle.
The return trip turned out to be a whale watching trip. The only problem with watching whales is that sometimes they want to watch you or give you a high five with there tail. We were motoring again due to lack of wind. Without warning, a humpback surfaced next to the boat and dove under us. Debbie got to high five his tail as he slipped under the boat. I was down below and all I heard was her exclamation of, “WHALE!” and the sound of the whale song through the hull. I grabbed the camera with the hope of some great footage but alas he dove deep no more to be seen.