Barra de Navidad is another destination anchorage in Mexico. The entrance is between a pair of breakwaters in the SE corner of Bahia de Navidad. Thereafter follows a well buoyed channel to the marina, which unfortunately charges US$2.50/foot/night. Too rich for us, so we proceeded into the lagoon.
The lagoon is mostly quite shallow, with an area of 4m depth in the middle. In order to get to the anchorage you have travel down an unmarked channel. Start at the end of the rock breakwater of the marina and aim just north of the point of the island to the SE. Better yet, the waypoints, curtesy of Kavenga , for the channel are:
- Channel Narrows: 19º11.630N 104º40.725W
- Channel End/Turn: 19º11.439N 104º40.529W
- Anchorage: 19º11.38N 104º40.406W
Cruisers should also check out Legacy's local assistance information.
We didn't have the waypoints and in our defense, the directions we had involved an anchored shrimp trawler which had moved the previous night for the first time in weeks, or so we are told. In any case, shortly after the channel markers ran out we ran aground in the mud. Panic did not ensue, though we were not happy. We failed to back out. We called for and received the assistance of the local cruisers. Darusha took our portable depth sounder in the dinghy and found deep water. The locals took a line to our bow and pulled us out of the shallows and then guided us into the anchorage. Luckily there appears to be no damage. That night we invited our rescuers over for beer.
Barra is a healthy tourist town, full of hotels and restaurants. A bus ride north along the beach is Melaqué, a town with most anything. Also there is water taxi service to shore (first since Turtle Bay?). A french baker visits boats at anchor around 9am most mornings with fresh baked pastries.
The locals claim that that the holding is poor and that the lagoon magnifies the afternoon sea breeze up to Gale force on days that are relatively calm nearby. We saw nothing to confirm these stories. We did set 12:1 scope as there was plenty of room. The lagoon anchorage is completely free of swell, which makes it very comfortable.