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Cruising with the crew of CALOU on the Baja Ha-ha and Pacific Puddle Jump
land cruise to Guadalajara
01/09/2009, Guadalajara

Since I last reported we rented a car at P.V. and headed eastward; ultimate destination Guadalajara. Our first day was a pleasant drive into the mountains; we stopped for lunch at a beautiful, out-of-the-way, quaint and little known town of San Sebastian. There was hardly a gringo there, and not much tourist trade either, but the village, homes, and helter-skelter cobblestone streets look like they haven't changed since the 1800s. The road to this town was a side trip off the beaten path, parts of it unpaved and very rough, including fording a stream.

After that we drove through Mascota and then to Talpa de Allende. This town reminded me a bit of Santa Rosalia, with its "old west" and Spanish colonial architecture. We had dinner in the best restaurant in town, which turned out to be an open air talapa on a hill overlooking the town.

The next morning, we drove across about 200 miles of arid mountain landscape; at times the scenery reminded us of California's Sierras, at times of the hot, dry Mendocino National Forest between Maxwell, CA and Lett's Lake (one of our favorite summer destinations), and at times, of the California Great Central Valley. All this, however, with colonial Spanish architecture.

We arrived at Guadalajara (pronounced "wa-da-la-HA-ra") around 2 PM, and toured this city of 8 million people, had lunch at a hotel, and then searched for the perfect hotel for our stay. We took a horse drawn carriage to tour the town and to deposit us in front of the Hotel Morales. This is a 4 star hotel with gorgeous 18th century stone architecture.

Dinner at the hotel this evening was wonderful; just appetizers (smoked salmon platter, and mushrooms cooked with chili peppers and garlic), and two servings of tortilla soup. There was an excellent 3-piece band that plays beautiful Mexican music (accordeon, guitar and bajo sexto).

We'll post photos soon, when we can.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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Heading to Guadalajara

We've rented a car and will be taking an inland trip to Guadalajara; we'll be visiting some historic sites along the way. We'll be meeting up with some friends we met at the El Cid in Mazatlan in 2007.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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Happy New Year from Puerto Vallarta

Happy New year wishes from Puerto Vallarta!

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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Christmas Card
12/25/2008, Puerto Vallarta

Merry Christmas to all and a happy New Year!

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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12/27/2008 | Manuela Corti
I Bruce,
Happy New Year 2009, from Manuela (PASSAGES), to you and your family, please e-mail me
Christmas in Paradise Village
12/23/2008, Puerto Vallarta

We arrived at Puerto Vallarta on December 18; we were lucky and got a slip in the Paradise Village marina, which is a very fancy, and huge resort. The good thing about it is that it is extremely luxurious, but the down side is that you could spend a year here and never know you were in Mexico. It is very Americanized and also isolated from town (a 20 minute bus ride).

That being said, we're enjoying our stay here a great deal.

There are crocodiles in the marina, so "No Swimming -- crocodile zone" and "Don't feed the crocodiles" signs are everywhere.

Some of the crocs here reach 17 feet in length.

Last night we enjoyed Jazz Night at the P.V. Yacht Club - they had a former keyboard player for Carlos Santana there, who was fabulous. along with an electric bass and a fantastic drummer from Cuba.

This evening we had dinner in town with friends Dan and Esther Carrico and David Schwarz. They both have bought hi-rise condos in P.V., which were gorgeous.

Dinner at The Barracuda restaurant was excellent.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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12/24/2008 | John
I can't believe you got into Paradise Village! That's great!! So I guess we know where you guys will be spending the rest of your winter... Don't rush back up here. Its wet, cold, and grey up here. Lots of snow though. Feliz Nvidad!!
12/25/2008 | Bruce Powell
hi John,
yes we were lucky to get a slip in Paradise Village, but I have to say, we much prefer the El Cid. Paradise Village is huge, and something gets lost in the process. We're looking forward to sailing further south in January.
Sunset in Chacala
12/17/2008, Chacala

We departed San Blas this morning and sailed about 20 miles south to the beautiful anchorage of Chacala. This bay is fringed with coconut palms and palapas, like this one where we enjoyed margaritas and guacamole & chips. We could see the sun set behind our boat CALOU as we enjoyed the margaritas and the boys played on the beach.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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12/21/2008 | Sherry in Anchorage
It looks beautiful! ...I wonder how the fishing is there? :o)
12/22/2008 | Bruce Powell
Chacala is renowned for its excellent fishing; we caught a tuna on the way down; it was very good eating!
Crocodiles in the jungle
12/16/2008, location

We got up early to catch a panga to take us upstream to the jungle. The 110 peso (8 dollar) fare was well worth it. In fact, in the U.S., one would easily pay the same fare in pesos... in dollars. The boat trip was magical, leading us through jungle where we had to duck our heads to make way. Exotic birds sang and showed themselves on the banks of the jungle estuary. We also saw turtles, weird land crabs, and, yes, crocodiles (or in Spanish, 'cocodriles'). Some of these monsters were ten feet long.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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Getting Fixed Up In San Blas
12/15/2008, San Blas

It's so weird preparing for Christmas in Mexico with 80 and 90 degree temperatures! Yesterday we bought a 3' Christmas tree for the boat, and decorations, so we're getting in the spirit.

Christmas shopping is difficult, most stores carry products for people who earn five dollars a day.

This morning, I took a taxi at 9 a.m. from San Blas to Tepic, the capital of the state of Nayarit. The road there was beautiful, going first through lush jungle, banana, coffee, and clove plantations, and then to higher altitudes in the volcanic mountains of the regions. Finally at Tepic, we arrived at a machine shop that had every sort of lathe, mill, drill press, etc.

To extract the two bolts whose heads had broken off, they welded nuts onto the bolt shafts, so they could be turned out. For the aluminum stripper piece, they welded on a new base. All this was expertly done. The bill for services: 200 pesos (about 14 dollars).

That being done, I returned by taxi to San Blas (a one hour drive), and upon arriving, set to work reinstalling the windlass and reconnecting the heavy duty wires. This was finally completed around 5:30 p.m.

After this, we went to town to have dinner.

We had dinner in a very fancy colonial era hotel built in 1883, delicious prawns with chipotle cream sauce, for only 140 pesos (about ten dollars).

Tomorrow morning early, we are going to take a guided tour up the estuary, to see the jungle, tropical birds and crocodiles. We've heard from reliable sources it's one of the best guided tours in all of Mexico.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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