04/16/2011, Isla Isabella to Los Muertos
The anchor is up at 6:15 pm - it's only 216 nm to the Baja Peninsula - we are heading to Los Frailes anchorage.
Dan is sleeping, and I am listening to the Howard Stern Show. There are no boats on the hazy horizon and I am feeling OK about this whole nighttime, dark, sailing thing.
4am - Dan is back on watch and Lisa is OUT.
Savannah wakes me at 6:30 am. OMG my eyes are tired. She enjoys a beautiful sunrise with Daddy while I snooze a bit longer. In the galley, I prepare a quick and satisfying fried egg sandwich breakfast and then it's time for school for Miss Savannah.
Neither the time nor the engine stop. There is no wind for sailing. The day passes and before we realize the time, we are hungry for some Dorado on the BBQ. We enjoy natures perfect fish with some beet root salad. It's night-night time for Savannah and Mommy. My little sweetie rubs my back and we fall asleep together while Daddy maintains his watch.
11:15 pm - I awake to different weather. We have 20 plus knots of wind right on the nose and the course is uncomfortable - at 11:30 on 17 April, we change course to Los Muertos and level out the boat with a reef in the main. Dan heads below to get some needed sleep. At 1:30am, 18 April, I enjoy a full moon, flat seas, and a faint breeze. So far, it's a smooth passage.
At 3:30am I head below to wake Dan for his watch - Savannah thinks it's 'wake-up' time and proceeds to make the bed. We pull back the covers, and within a few minutes she is snoozing again and we cuddle till morning. Dan is alert and watching carefully for other boats. We are in thick, pea-soup style fog. The sun burns it off around 9am and Dan can rest his brain. He changes to dry clothes and gets some snooze time on the port settee in the cockpit. He has worked hard in the fog. Spongebob keeps Savannah content while I have a chance to catch up on the log and blog entries. We should arrive to Muertos in 4 hours. The sea is calm, the sun is up, and we are thrilled to have arrived back to the happiest place on earth - the Sea of Cortez.
04/16/2011, Mantachen Bay to Isla Isabella
Raised both anchors and set a course of 296 magnetic to see the nesting frigate birds of Isabella. The charts are off, so navigating is now serious business.
10 am - a huge pod of dolphins.
School begins today at 10:30.
We arrive to Isabella at 2:15 pm - in time to explore the island and frigate nests. The bay is lined with fishing huts and the locals point us in the right direction for some close up viewing of the baby frigates.
Along the way we meet a local family enjoying some R and R on the island. Savannah and the girls are quick to make friends and play. They offer some sweeties and share some giggles.
We must return to Endorfin and prepare for an evening departure.
04/15/2011, Chacala to Mantachen Bay
Breakfast, school, play, tea - the day goes ...
A confused ocean - quite swelly and no wind to sail.
It's low tide, so we cannot enter into San Blas Harbor- we anchor at Mantachan.
04/14/2011, Punta de Mita to Chacala
Adios Banderas Bay
We make our way fro Punta de Mita to Chacala.
It's a quaint village where we enjoy micheladas and fish tacos on the beach.
04/12/2011, La Cruz Anchorage to Punta de Mita
Our Journey Continues
Banderas Bay to La Paz, (Baja California Sur)
April 12 to 21, 2011
La Cruz Anchorage to Punta Mita
Naked Savannah comes up to the cockpit to wave farewell to the boyz on s/v Kenta Anae - Alison, Shandro and Matero shout goodbyes and blow kisses. Dan sets the course and engages the autopilot. The course is set for Punta de Mita, but we only know where we are going when we get there and the anchor settles on the bottom.
I feel a strange energy this morning - a mix of happy, sad, and anxious. I am listening to 'the highway' on our sirius radio, sipping a hot tea, and enjoying the warmth of 'el sol' on my sun kissed cheeks. Savannah is snuggled in our bunk for 30 minutes of 'Octonauts' and Dan fiddles with the radar to adjust our course slightly.
For the first time since Dec 1, we are only 3 on Endorfin.
Along the way, we are joined by 100's of schooling cownose rays. Boobies dive for lunch off the bow as we disturb the surface fish. Savannah is content with scissors and an old magazine.
04/04/2011, Nuevo Vallarta and La Cruz, Mexico
I think that Blog posts are suppose to be short, daily entries, BUT, I've been too busy for the last 4 months doing NOTHING. So, here is the last 4 months into 1 BIG blog entry.
It's 1:15 am - yes, in the morning - can't sleep.....
There are too many things to think about as we get ready to move north into the Sea of Cortez for the summer. So, no better time to peck away at the keyboard. Did I mention it is after 1 in the morning?
We've enjoyed almost 4 months in Bahia de las Banderas, where we have mostly just been learning to live 'manana' style.
The days here really just blend together. Today is much like yesterday. And tomorrow will be much like today. It's been quite some time since my last blog posting... there is not much to post about on a regular basis. Well, so I thought ... but, looking back, it's been such a memorable stay in the Vallarta area, I have decided there is lots to ramble on about. Surprise, surprise - Lisa rambling on... who knew !!
So, where to begin ????
How about the day we arrived? Which, seems like an eternity ago - and honestly, I feel like a different person than the one that walked into the Port Captain's office back in december to check into Paradise Marina. As we prepare to make our trip back to the port captains office to check out, many wonderful experiences and memorable moments are fresh in my mind as I contemplate writing this blog.
I'm sure it was our first day on the dock at Paradise when we spotted the 'nappies' (that's diapers for those that don't speak Australian) hanging from the lifelines on S/V Sonrisa. I said to Dan "look, it's a 'kid' boat." We met Nick, Melissa and Benjamin (4 1/2) and Huon (14 months). It didn't take us long to until we were planning play dates and happy hours with the amazing family from Tasmania. We built dozen's of sand castles on the beach together, enjoyed cold cervezas on the bow, swapped toys and story books, released baby turtles to the ocean, and even survived several crazy nights at the infamous Fajita Republic Restaurant.
As we settled into the daily rhythm of life at Paradise Village Marina, we realized just how much of a paradise it really is. Most important, it provided a tranquil place for Dan to do some much needed decompressing -and not the kind that is done after too long of a dive - Dan needed to decompress from LA traffic, customers, and the stress of getting things ready to cut the dock lines.
The decompressing didn't take as long as either of us figured, and now Dan has days when the biggest decision he has to make is whether to have a Corona or a Pacifico. He mostly chooses a Pacifico!
Meeting our dock neighbors was instantaneous ! Big E (that's my Dad, or 'Pa' to Savannah) was celebrating his birthday. So, a surprise party was a perfect way to honor his special day - all the neighbors and their neighbors filled the salon area of the boat for the big 'SURPRISE' - it was only after this, we all introduced ourselves and enjoyed the fiesta on the bow.
Before setting out on this adventure, we had only read about the good nature and super-friendly attitudes of fellow cruisers. After meeting Patty & Steve, Linda & Dennis, Geoff & Omar, Thea & Randy, Jenny & T.G, Dorothee & Rudy, Charlotte & Rod, Melissa & Nick, we can say that we are truly very lucky and fortunate to have made friends with such fun and sincere people.
Settling into a relaxed routine takes only a few days. The afternoons are spent playing at the kids pool where Savannah and Benjamin take to splashing complete strangers. The beach provides hours of entertainment making sand castles and splashing in the waves.
Melissa invites us for New Years Eve - we enjoy fish, veggies, potatoes and wine. The kids do crafts and make beautiful hanging decorations. We are asleep before midnight when the fireworks rouse me from a deep slumber. After all day at the beach and pool, it's easy to return quickly to my 'sweet dreams'.
Happy New Year - Feliz Ano Nuevo - 2011.
Shortly after arriving in Vallarta, it was obvious to everyone that Big E and Janice would return next year for 4- 5 months. He loved Mexico !! But as we all know, to live in Mexico, one should really speak the language. Yo hablo espanol - right?!! A spanish teacher was needed, and Adriana was hired! Savannah and Pa would have spanish lessons every day in the cockpit and then the next morning, Savannah would wake up and quiz her 'Pa' . They have both progressed nicely and are still practicing colors, numbers and phrases.
For Adriana's birthday, we took a trip to her favorite hang out in Puerto Vallarta. We shared beers and margaritas at the 'Cheeky Monkey'. After our thirsts were quenched, we wandered along the malecon with tons of other tourists and families. Before heading back to the marina, we had to taste the fresh made gelato and watch the local entertainers on the waterfront.
Before we knew it, February had arrived and it was time for Savannah's 5th birthday. A wet and wild day at the water park seemed like the perfect place to celebrate. All of us (Adriana, Melissa, Pa, Dan, Lisa, Savannah and Benjamin) piled into Adriana's tiny yellow car (meant for 4) and off we went! Slides, pools, tubes and a lazy river kept us cool and refreshed all day. A smiling mesero served cold cervezas and icy margaritas to the big kids, while the little kids enjoyed juice boxes and birthday treats. Back on the boat, Savannah's Ariel cake was waiting in the ice chest along with cold watermelon for everyone. The party finished with presents and a happy 5 year-old Savannah. OK, Mommy and Daddy were happy too.
Janice (MeMe to Savannah) arrived in February after enduring one snowstorm after another. She was happy to put her toes into the warm sand on the beach at Paradise. MeMe arrived with a care package full of 'Canadian' goodies....... cream of wheat, my favorite morning tea, new markers for Savannah, and of course, real Canadian maple syrup for our pancakes! We spent the next 3 weeks enjoying the luxuries of their condo at Grand Marina Villas.
Crocodiles! yes, there are crocs in the marina! And on lazy days, we would take the dingy up the river for a 'jungle tour'. We explored the shallow muddy river, looking for iguanas, birds, and crocodiles. The lower branches of the mangroves provided hiding places for the man-eating reptiles. Well, we didn't actually see any that would be considered 'man-eating' - just a few cute baby crocs. None the less, we saw crocs!
Back in California, Lavonne is busy tracking down all the items in my 'scavenger hunt' list. She manages to find everything before departure day and arrives at Paradise fully loaded. We were all very excited to meet Art, Jenny, Alden and Lavonne as they stepped out of the airport taxi. Soon, we were enjoying a happy hour on Endorfin and catching up on news from home. It took some time to unpack and put away all the 'treasures' that Vonnie and Jenny had packed for us. They found everything on our list, plus a few more fabulous keepsakes. Thank you sweet Artis Family for a great visit ....our 4 days together passed way to fast and was just not long enough. Wishing you and EB were here with us.
Every year in March, monohulls and catamarans of all different lengths arrive to the Vallarta area to participate in the Annual Banderas Bay Regatta. We not only had the pleasure to see some of these fantastic race boats, but we enjoyed a few interesting volunteer opportunities helping out with ticket & t-shirt sales, fund-raisers, and greeting captains & crew at the skippers meeting. Thank you Jenny, for asking us to volunteer. We were able to meet so many interesting people and enjoy the regatta from a different perspective.
Sayulita is only a 30 minute bus ride from La Cruz, but a world away. Surfers and hippies flock to this seaside village for waves, homebaked bread, horseback riding, and a taste of real mexico. We spent a day exploring this quaint village, wishing we could stay a lifetime.
Exploring La Cruz for a couple of weeks was a nice diversion from the 'southern californian' way of life in Vallarta. Thursday nights, you can bring your re-usable grocery sacks and do some shopping at 'the warehouse' for the best fruits and veggies in the state. At the sunday farmers market you can find anything from fresh ground organic peanut butter to locally hand crafted baskets. We enjoyed the organic arugula, sprouted wheat crackers and home baked quiche, and for 10 pesos, Savannah enjoyed time on the 'jumpie' trampoline with other little ones. Dan simply liked to wait on the curb with a cold cerverza from the corner ' mini-super'. In this village, one can find a taco stand on every second corner, but we preferred devouring the yummiest ones served up at 'tacos in the street'. After Dan insisted that the pancakes at Huancaxtle Cafe were the best he had ever tasted, the girls in the kitchen gave me a quick lesson on how to make these scrumptious breakfast treats. In the evenings, you can just smile and greet the locals as you stroll along the cobblestone streets in this sleepy mexican village.
La Cruz Kids Club provided some much needed 'kid time' for Savannah. Tammy led an interesting kids yoga for our first session. Matero and Shandro from 'Kenta Anea' taught her how to play soccer. Barbara from 'Watcha Gonna Do' showed all the kids how to make challah bread. Kara and Pari both had 'razor' scooters and Savannah quickly decided that she HAD to have one. We couldn't just run out to Target, but luck was on our side when Allison and Merle spotted one at a local yard sale.
But it was time to go.... It was time to say 'see ya later'...
It is with mixed feelings that we head out of the anchorage...
We are excited to see Josie, to dive, to see the familiar and very dear to my heart community of La Paz, to enjoy the 'papas rellanas' at Rancho Viejo Taco stand, homemade banana ice cream at La Fuente, the hammerheads at El Bajo, and the many familiar faces of my Baja Expedition diving days (daze!)
Our heart strings are pulled a bit as we circle the boats and wave farewell.
We have met wonderful cruising families and created unique bonds.
We are hopeful to see our new friends again and again - and to eventually call them 'old' friends. Cruising is about the places & the people - the ones that stick to our hearts and make us smile.
(Photos - see albums: Life in Vallarta, Life in La Cruz, Savannah's Birthday, Sayulita Adventure)