Chamela (Mar. 15-17)

March 17th, 2006 by: cheyenne

The main Chamela anchorage was okay–bumpy when the wind picks up and landing the dinghy in the surf is an exciting event. The fishermen would strip down to their underwear in preparation of landing the pangas; they float around just beyond the breakers until a swell runs by, then gun the motor and run the boat full tilt onto the beach popping the motor up at the last minute. They get wet when they jump out in the surf and wrestle the boat to higher ground as the waves break. Town is a wee strip of tiendas and such along a paved road with a concrete zocalo off to one side. We went ashore to get some produce and a block of ice. Then we headed out to the islands in the middle of the bay to anchor and observe the wildlife.

Brown Boobies, Chamela, Mexico

Once again, we used up all the camera batteries photographing the boobies. Damn those boobies are photogenic. So cute! This time there were only brown boobies, no blue-footers, and they were at a different stage in the nesting cycle. Babies were generally fully fledged but not mature so they would sit around begging for food from whatever bird (or Cheyenne) came near. I guess I wouldn’t be too picky either if my dinner consisted of regurgitated fish. Also, the mature boobies were pairing up and building nests and that was fun to watch. The male picks up some weeds or whatever stick happens to be about and tries to give it to the female, who looks all around but not at the male (so coy!); sometimes she takes the stick/weed/leaf and that seems to be a pretty big deal.

Nesting Boobies, Chamela, Mexico

Brown Booby, Chamela, Mexico

Back at the boat, we discovered that we had become a trimaran-shaped refuge for huge schools of little bluish fish. Berjillions of the guys milling around and not biting any of our lures for anything. Joshua spied a dorado cruising about amongst the blue hoards and then spent the next couple of hours trying to catch her (the males and females look different). We tried every one of our lures on the dorado with no obvious interest; then Joshua decided that we needed live bait. Since the little schooling blue fish do not go for lures and just dipping a netful of them was not possible (they were thick but quick and not that stupid), Joshua got out the fishing spear. The first fish did not make it to the deck alive, a prong had him right through the middle (we put him on a hook in the water just in case because you never know). The second and third fish got away. Then Joshua speared the boat. Monohulls must not have this problem. We’re not talking a glancing blow, oh oops haha I hit the boat honey; he stuck it so well that neither of us could actually pull it out. Three prongs all embedded deep. Of course it was all below the waterline and in a forward section of the boat where you can’t just observe the hull from the inside.

The little blue fish swarmed on Joshua as he got in the water and prepped the area for an emergency ‘Splash Zone’ repair (underwater epoxy miracle). Using a rope, he yanked the spear free and promptly jammed epoxy into the holes. We don’t seem to be taking on water so hopefully it’s all okay. We’ll have to tend to it next time we haul out. We never did catch that dorado. And that dead fish we chucked over the side to see what might happen? We pulled up an incredibly pissed off moray eel a couple of hours later; he bit through the line and took off with the hook (sorry!), which was just as well because I don’t know what we would do with a writhing biting eel on board.

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Cheyenne Weil, Joshua Coxwell