For most of the year along the Costalegre Coast, we delight in the clear, warm ocean water found all along the regional beaches. Throughout the fall and winter you can easily see twenty feet down and make out individual ripples in the sand. The water is cool enough to be refreshing, but warm enough that you can swim without a wetsuit while oogling the fish and rock formations. It’s a huge part of the reasons tourists flock to this coast every year.
Alas, all good things come to an end. Every year around the beginning of April the clear water begins to cloud with a slow but steady increase of organic matter, mostly algae, floating around in the near shore waters. By mid-April you don’t really want to swim, or run the watermaker, or touch the water really. It has a strong seaweed scent that triggers a pavlovian desire for sushi and a simultaneous frown because the green water signals the end of another cruising season.
So what’s a cruiser to do? Green un-swimmable water is decidedly not what we signed up for. The solution: point the bow north! While the water is a murky mess by May on the mainland, in the Sea of Cortez it stays blissfully cool and clear most of the year.
Many long time Mexico boaters follow a seasonal cycle that begins in the northern Sea of Cortez around November. They slowly work their way south over the next few months. The typical route takes a boater down the Costalegre Coast to visit the mainland destinations of Puerto Vallarta, Barra De Navidad, and Zihuatanejo for December through February. Then, as increasing air temperatures and decreasing water clarity begin to reduce the appeal of the mainland, boaters point the bow back north to the cooler, clearer waters of the Sea of Cortez for the months of April and May. June’s heat and storms force all but the heartiest souls into a marina or dry storage yard for the summer. We on Half Moon seek protection from the heat and the hurricanes in the man made safety of a marina, where we wait impatiently for the cycle to begin again.
This year life is getting in the way so we won’t make it all the way up to the sea. Instead, we will be settling down for the season at the eastern most point of beautiful Banderas Bay, located about halfway between our southernmost port of call, Zihuatanejo, and the Sea of Cortez up north.
We will be putting the boat into summer mode in the sheltered waters of Paradise Village Marina. In this geographical safe house of a marina, she will be safe and sound as hurricanes bouncing up the coast are deflected by prominent point Cabo Corrientes and the steep mountains surrounding the bay.
Next season though, north! Maybe. We’ll see. It could happen.