Following the Moon

23 April 2017 | Somewhere in the Sea of Cortez
12 March 2017 | Punta de Mita
24 February 2017 | La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
16 February 2017 | somewhere between Tenacatita and Puerto Vallarta
03 February 2017 | Banderas Bay
01 January 2017 | Mazatlan, Mexico
09 December 2016 | Marina Mazatlan
27 November 2016 | Marina Mazatlan
22 November 2016
19 November 2016
15 November 2016
14 November 2016 | Still in CDA
09 November 2016

Baja California

23 April 2017 | Somewhere in the Sea of Cortez
Okay, so I lied. We didn't check in when we got back to the big city. There's always just too much going on. Not that that's a bad thing!

We motored from La Cruz to Isla Isabel, stopping in Chacala and San Blas along the way. Met new friends and old in the marina in San Blas and toured the fort perched high on the hill. Chacala is a small beach town, but there was cold beer and delicious food, not to mention a stunning retreat center, Mar de Jade.

Isla Isabel is known as Mexico's Galapagos, a tiny island that has been named a National Heritage site. Scores of frigates and boobies populate the island; you can walk right up to them, though they will squawk at you. We respected their space, and watched from a distance - but not a very far distance! We heard tell of giant iguanas, but the birds didn't want us walking to that part of the island, so we have to believe the reports. From there, it was an overnight trip to Mazatlan. The stars were amazing, with no ambient light to dull them.

We spent a week in Mazatlan, connecting with friends, buying provisions, and planning the next part of the journey. While watching Gonzaga play basketball in the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament, of course! .

Then it was across the Sea of Cortez to Baja California. Friends from Idaho have built a house in a small town north of San Juan de Cabo, so we spent a few days with them, enjoying their peaceful casa.

From their, our paths diverged. Beth flew to Florida to spend a few weeks visiting friends and favorite places, while John continued exploring Baja. He wandered up the coast, stopping in Bahia de los Suenos and Espiritu Santos on his way to La Paz, where he met friends Dylan and Megan, and his brother Chris.

They've been traveling all week out of cell range, but should arrive in Loreto today. Friends head home, and John starts wrapping up his winter in Mexico. Then it's home to Idaho for the season, to enjoy the beauty of Coeur d'Alene in the summer.

Thanks for checking in! We'll do our best to post again before leaving Mexico and heading home.

Heading North

12 March 2017 | Punta de Mita
Greetings from the anchorage off Punta de Mita, just a few miles north of La Cruz. We had a wonderful time in that quaint fishing village, and were sad to leave this morning. Our days were filled with yoga, good food, cold beer, warm sunshine, friendly people, yummy meals, markets brimming with local crafts and delicious food, talented musicians, swimming, stand-up paddle boarding, and long lazy days.

The marina at La Cruz takes good care of their cruisers. John attended workshops on weather, "when big things go bad" on boats, and diesel engines. Beth participated in a writers' workshop. And we enjoyed free concerts, free movies, swap meets, and delicious meals at the Marina Deli. Last night we had a farewell cocktail in the Yacht Club, and wished we had spent more time there.

Beth worked at various spots in the town, where the Internet was free and robust, and one day even ventured into Puerto Vallarta alone to appease her Starbucks jones.

We celebrated Beth's birthday in Bucerias at a dinner show with Brittany Kingery, a musician that we've seen in Seattle and Key West who dips her toes into the Trop Rock world. We stopped at the Drunken Duck first for pre-concert beers, and had a massage on the beach to start the day. The perfect way to celebrate another trip around the sun!

Last night we danced in the town square with the locals to a band playing Mexican favorites - well, except for Tutti Frutti, in Spanish. The only thing missing was the donut man that we used to visit at the square in Melaque.

We fell in love with La Cruz and its residents, and were so sorry to leave. If you're looking for the perfect little Mexican town to spend a few idyllic weeks/months, check it out. Almost no police presence, kind people, cheap food, nice beaches and sunsets, and a laid back atmosphere.

One day we ventured to Sayulita, a surfing mecca filled with young people. We only had a few hours to wander the streets, but wished we could have spent more time checking out the beaches, restaurants, and bars in this great little town. We did find the perfect funky beach bar, and spent a happy hour there.

Now we're heading back to Mazatlan, planning to spend a week on the journey. Not sure of our anchorages or schedule, or if/when we'll have Internet. But we'll check back in once we get to the big city. Wish you were sailing with us!

Just another day in paradise

24 February 2017 | La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
John made the trip back to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle safely, and is once again safely anchored in Banderas Bay.

The aforementioned flooding in North Idaho extended to the lower level of our house, so Beth spent last weekend hauling wet carpet pads, moving fans, and washing towels, trying to return the carpet to its original dry state. Great exercise, but not so much fun.

So she was thrilled to wave goodbye to the Frozen North on Tuesday and return to Mexico. The plane left Spokane in a snowstorm, so 80 degrees and sunshine were a welcome sight at the other end of the voyage.

Now we're spending our days exploring and enjoying La Cruz. John is trying to get on a boat to participate in the Banderas Bay Regatta next weekend. Beth is once again trying to balance work and play, and find the perfect margarita.

Life is slow in this tiny fishing village, which is fine with us. We're hoping to get out and do some day sailing, as soon as we have a day that's not filled with workshops, yoga, festivals, markets, and the myriad of events that keep the cruisers busy in La Cruz.

No clue when we'll head north again. Still hoping to get over to Baja, but we're only looking as far as our next beer and sunny day right now.

We have great cell coverage and Internet, so call, text, or write! It's always nice to hear from friends at home.

Leaving you with a picture of the anchorage at Paraiso Cove, one of John's stops on the way back from Barra de Navidad.

There and back again

16 February 2017 | somewhere between Tenacatita and Puerto Vallarta
John, Mike and Dean sailed from Banderas Bay to Barra de Navidad last week, stopping along the way to visit Chamela, Tenacatita, and La Manzanilla. Delicious meals, cold beer, fishing, lounging, swimming, laughing, and exploring filled their days, along with handling the wide variety of tasks associated with sailboat life.

In Tenacatita, they took a dinghy ride through the mangroves to a lagoon, then walked to a beach where a woman has set up a business delivering food and beer from a nearby town. They've explored islands, strolled along beaches, watched whales and dolphins frolicking...and somewhere in there found time to sail.

Dean's wife Linda met them in La Manz and they spent the day on the beach at Pedro's, which is something Dean, Linda, Beth and John have done in years past, pre-Mangata. In Barra, they bought baked goodies from the boat the local French bakery sends out to service the cruisers.

Now Mike and Dean have returned home, and John is heading north. If the weather gods are kind, he'll be back in Banderas Bay by Saturday or Sunday. Beth will be meeting him there, and is looking forward to returning to the warm breezes and sunshine and beaches.

Today there are flood warnings in North Idaho, as 1.5" of rain fell overnight and is still falling, helping hurry along the snowmelt. Driving isn't too bad, but walking is treacherous, trying to avoid puddles, slush, potholes, and frozen berms. But spring is just around the corner...

Thanks for stopping by! We'll continue to post as the Internet permits.

Enjoying Banderas Bay

03 February 2017 | Banderas Bay
Humble apologies for the time between posts. Sketchy internet in the marina in Mazatlan meant not much time spent online, and the time we were online was usually accompanied by colorful words as we tried to work around the myriad of challenges.

The first two weeks of January were spent in much the same way as the weeks before had been, working on boat projects in Mazatlan, making new friends, enjoying the gorgeous weather, swimming and beach walking, eating delicious food, and watching the Seahawks and the Gonzaga Bulldogs, when we could find a strong wifi signal or a local bar that was showing the game.

Mid-January, Beth flew back to North Idaho for a few weeks while John sailed south to Banderas Bay. He's anchored just off the village of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle and has been enjoying an abundance of live music, good food, cold beer, and nice people. Not to mention stunning sunrises and sunsets, the song of whales in the bay, warm breezes, and moonlit nights.

Today, they're predicting 4-8" of snow in North Idaho, so Beth's inside where it's warm, counting the days until she flies to Puerto Vallarta. John's brother Mike from Tennessee and friend Dean from Coeur d'Alene (though he's spending the winter in Mexico with his wife Linda) have joined him on the Mangata, and they'll be sailing south toward Barra de Navidad over the coming days. Rumor has it that much storytelling, fishing, and laughter will ensue.

Not sure of our plans beyond that; John will return to Banderas Bay, Beth is looking forward to exploring La Cruz, and the snow will most likely continue to fall in North Idaho...

Happy New Year!

01 January 2017 | Mazatlan, Mexico
Can't believe it's been almost a month since we posted. Apologies for the long absence, but there really isn't much that's changed. The boat projects are closer to being done. The weather is still stellar. We had a short shower and cloudy skies yesterday, but otherwise most days are sunny and breezy.

We spent the holidays quietly with new friends. Turkey dinner with friends on their boat for Christmas; Indian feast with other friends last night in the historic district of Mazatlan. Santa brought us goodies, even without a chimney. We sang carols up and down the docks with other cruisers to raise money for a local charity, and even caught a couple of movies (White Christmas and Miracle of 34th Street) to get us in holiday mode.

We celebrated the start of 2017 last night with thousands of our closest friends in the Plaza Machado in the historic section of Mazatlan. Lights, live music, dancing, folks dressed in their finest - it was quite a sight, very festive and energetic.

We've been able to watch most of the Seahawks and Zags games, albeit with a lot of effort in terms of struggling with continuing Internet issues. Since the Broncos will be golfing this post-season, we'll be rooting for the Si Hawks (as a local T-shirt reads).

Tentative plans are to head south in a week or so, depending on weather and readiness on our part. Until then, we'll be buying provisions, finishing projects, and practicing sailing skills that we haven't perfected.

Hoping that your holiday season was a happy one spent with family and friends, and that the coming year brings you a bounty of joy and love. Happy 2017!!
Vessel Name: Mangata
Vessel Make/Model: 1988 Hunter
Hailing Port: Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico
Crew: John and Beth
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Mangata's Photos -