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Pacifico's Return Voyage to Mexico
Rounding Cabo Corrientes
Dave
01/01/2011

Here's a late post of the cape and it's lighthouse, if you can see it.

cruising
La Cruz around Cabo Corrientes to Ipala
Dave
01/01/2011

Ipala anchorage: 20° 14.133' N, 105° 34.357'W

Greetings, this is a late post, or post-post I guess. We were joined in La Cruz by So Inclined for our last evening on the town with our friends from Swift Current and Blue Rodeo. We had to get one more evening at Tacos on the Street under our belts and some last items from the abarrote. Marisa has posted a few photos to go along with this story.

We left the marina at La Cruz at 0417 hrs, only 17 minutes behind schedule and not bad considering Marisa was sick, it seems she caught the flu. We had used public transportation, busses and taxis there in the greater Puerto Vallarta area and she was probably exposed to something. Luckily I did not get it, I'll credit my having a flu shot for that. We were on our way, buddy boating with So Inclined with Mike and guests, Bill and Cindy Roush with son Josh, from Oceanside YC. Bill was a pal and brought several spare parts down for me, kudos to both he and Buddy from West Marine. Bill got a green light at the Mexican Customs inspection coming into country so no import duty issues.

There are times when I get the "big boat envy" and then again at times I'm very happy with Pacifico just as she is, this was one of those times. Marisa was pretty well down all day Thursday and half of Friday before she felt well enough to come up for air. Needless to say she didn't get involved with boat handling and watches or food for that matter. I was single handing Pacifico, from casting off to anchoring, which I'm OK with and being the nurse maid to a sickie!

The run to Punta Ipala was only about 48 nm and around Cabo Corrientes, which is similar in effect to Point Conception. We had watched our weather and had a good window so it was an easy ride across Bahia Bandaras at a heading of about 220° to reach the cape. There is a strong opposing current that takes effect as you near the cape. The current coming up the coast from Manzanillo is a counter current in that it runs generally south to north along the coast. I could definitely see the influence of the current on our headway, no so much slowing us, but generally pushing us towards shore. We rounded the cape at about 4 nm off, then down the last 14 nm to Punta Ipala and the little beach community of Tehuamixtle.

It was an odd feeling traveling in company with another boat after almost 1200 nm of going it alone. We had met other boats and made friends, but we did not "buddy boat" in that you travel with and stay in close proximity with that boat. We had rather by coincidence had similar itinerary plans and would meet up at some destinations and that was only after Mazatlan. It was doubly odd in that we were now talking on the radio with Oceanside friends, Mike, Bill and Cindy with whom we boat regularly at home. I was looking at the scenery and charts and wondering if we had ever really left home waters! It was a strange feeling. All that said "buddy boating" has its advantages. While making the crossing of Bahia Bandaras we encountered several inbound cruise ships, the really big ones. Anyway, I was on deck and had been watching intently. It was either the third or fourth one that was well off our starboard bow, with rights, when I got a radio call from So Inclined asking me if I was aware of that ship. I thought I was, but had apparently fallen asleep and it was now much, much closer! I'll give Bill credit for making the call, it was close, how close it would have become thankfully we won't know!
We anchored behind the small point with So Inclined and I stayed aboard Pacifico with Marisa while the crew of So Inclined dinghied to shore to explore. I could see with my binoculars that there were three bar restaurants and a few other buildings. It looked small but more substantial than some of the larger beach palapa bar scenarios we had experienced and appears to be not only a small fishing village, but a small beach resort destination for locals. There was no internet access again, and as a post note to La Cruz we had little or no internet access the last few days there as well. It seems there was a problem with the system at the marina, oh well, the same thing happens at home too.

The anchorage at Ipala was small, hampered with fish pens and was rolly because of the wave effect coming around the point. This place is an OK stop to break up the trip south, but not a great place to stay. We had anchored out farther than necessary and had to put out the flopper stopper to settle the boat down, Marisa was sick enough and the extra motion didn't help. We left with So Inclined at 0600 hrs, Friday 12/31/10, the last day of the year for Bahia Chamela, about 50 nm further south and east down the coast.

cruising
C-Monkey in need of rehab!
Dave
12/28/2010, La Cruz

Greetings again from La Cruz. We opted to spend Christmas Day here in the marina and not travel to Nuevo Vallarta to avoid any potential transportation issues. The bus service is quite good here, but from the main highway out to the resort area where the marinas are located in Nuevo Vallarta we were not so sure of the Holiday schedules and were concerned about the return trip at night. We celebrated Christmas morning with breakfast at a local place called "The Organic Café," which is also an art gallery and a little jazz club, not that they were playing any jazz in the morning, but the place is quite nice and had free Wi-Fi. There we were, six middle aged people sitting at a table and five of six were on lap tops! It was really fun to make a call to the grand kids with a video monitor via Skype. If you have not opened a Skype account consider it as an option worth exploring also very cheap. We spent the remainder of the day catching up on phone calls home to family and friends, and to get a little rest after all the last minute Christmas shopping on Friday. We were invited to a real home style Christmas dinner with turkey and all the good stuff aboard Swift Current that afternoon. I volunteered to bring desert, and what could be more fitting than flan? We had it aboard and it turned out to be a real hit, but what to share for an appetizer? I'm thinking: OK, what do I have that I can take to the party? Well of course, tuna. I was going to cut some up in chunks and Bar-b-que them but then decided to 'try' to get fancy. I'm thinking some kind of flaky, tuna encased little bite sized things. Well, long story short they turned out to be biscuits with bits of tuna inside. Pretty funny, way too much bread, but not bad, or at least everyone was polite and said they were "really good." OK, I'll stick to cooking and leave the baking to someone else. Anyway, it was a feast and one of the best tasting turkeys I have ever eaten, so thanks to Lynn and Howard for including us along with their other friends.

OK, now for the dirt. The day after Christmas we traveled down to Nuevo Vallarta to the Paradise Village Marina to meet the crews of Sirocco and So Inclined. We made the trip and figured out how to get from the main highway out to their location. We met up on Sirocco and got to see Bob Ray just before he flew home. After chips, salsa and a beer we made it over to the resort's pool area, where some of us got into the hot tub or pool, and others of us napped in the sun on the pool loungers, (that would be me, so I'm absent in those photos). After a little mall shopping we hopped into dinghies and headed up the channel into the mangroves in search of a place called, Fajita Republic. We found it and what a great choice that was! Lee said the credit goes to John Erhardt for the referral, so thanks John!

We took the boat over to the fuel dock Monday morning to fuel up to get ready for the next leg, then out into the bay for a motor sail to make water, pump out our holding tank and just to throw off the dock lines. It was pretty uneventful ride except we were once again treated with a great whale show and pretty close by too. After that it was back to the dock for more boat work and to start provisioning. Our water consumption has been greater than we can keep up with, with our on board water maker. It is a Katadyn 80E and makes 3.5 gph. We only make water when out in open, clean ocean water and we needed it. Still didn't make enough so ended up buying 10 & 20 liter jugs and lugging them back to the boat. That's the kind of stuff that fills your days, but not today, Tuesday. Today we hired a local boat cleaning and maintenance crew and we took the day off and went by bus to downtown Puerto Vallarta. Marisa had not been there so we went sightseeing and did a little shopping and tequila tasting. It was a long day and we walked for miles before finding the bus connection to head back home to La Cruz. We both agreed La Cruz is the place to be and the boat looked great when we got back! How easy was that?

Tomorrow, Wednesday, So Inclined will be joining us here in La Cruz. Bill and Cindy Rousch, Oceanside friends have joined Mike for a week and they have not been to La Cruz yet, so what better day than for Tacos on the Street!
All in all it's been a good few days with the day time temperatures holding at about 75°, clear and sunny. Speaking of that, we need to get moving south. The weather reports are that it is about 10° warmer overall down in Zihuatanejo, our ultimate destination. The plan is to leave early on the morning of the 30th with So Inclined. We will head southwest to Cabo Corrientes, which is about 27 nm across the large expanse of Bahia Banderas and by passing Yelapa until the return trip north in Spring, then down the coast south and east towards Chamela. Chamela is about 100 nm from La Cruz and we may break it up with an overnight stop at Ipala for the first day's leg which will be about 50 nm. We are leaving what they call Mexico's Coasta del Oro, Gold Coast, and heading down their Coastalegre, Happy Coast. I've also heard of that area as being referred to as the Gold Coast as well but happy or gold that's the way we are going, but that's not for another day yet. Hang on Mike and Julie, we're coming!

cruising
12/30/2010 | Mark
Sounds like a great way to spend Christmas - and your mid-70s temps are much warmer than the 55-60 degrees we've been having in SoCal. The tuna pastries actually sounded good, and now you've got some experience to fine-tune (or fine-tuna) your recipe.

Tell that monkey to get his act together, or you'll have him shipped back to colder latitudes!
Feliz Navidad!
Dave
12/25/2010, La Cruz

20°44.885N 105°22.665W

Merry Christmas from La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Nayarit, Mexico, in Bahia de Bandaras, which is about 10 miles from Puerto Vallarta. We are now in a slip at the Marina Rivera Nayarit here in La Cruz. Nice place, reasonably priced, actually quite reasonable, new and modern facilities. The little town here is pretty cool; it is not a tourist Mecca, almost no hotels and no big ones, or big stores either. All our groceries come from "arraborates" which are little grocery stores located on almost every block. Most people here have little or no refrigeration and shop daily. There are "carnecerías", tortillerías and panaderillas along with other services, barbers, beauty salons and of course restaurants and cantinas disbursed liberally, mostly for us gringos. This little community has a small fishing fleet, but generally seems to be a suburb of the greater P.V. area with a principle source of income from facilitating the marina and cruising community. The streets are beach or river rock stone set in a deliberate pattern. Many of the homes and businesses are kept clean and painted but like in any area without zoning restrictions the neighborhoods can be an eclectic lot. There seems to be quite a few ex-pats here on a full time basis and quite a few local businesses that cater to us cruising tourists are owned by those folks.

We arrived here on Sunday, December 19 after a short 8 nm passage from Punta Mita. We had arrived there from Guyabitos the day before but it was a pretty rolly anchorage so we left the next morning. We anchored out here in the open anchorage with about 30 other boats, including Sirocco and So Inclined. It was good to catch up with them again and because it was Sunday we all took our dinghies ashore and went to "Tacos on the Street" a local restaurant that is only open four evenings a week and serves a limited menu of rib-eye steak tacos, quesadillas and tostados and they do it well. We have included a few photos of the place in our photo album from La Cruz that Marisa has already posted. If you ever get the chance it's really good, cheap and fun. They only serve soft drinks but you are welcome to supply your own beverage of choice. It's so good that the tourists from PV come up and there is a line out front to get in, but since it's an open air kinda place there is no door and they put tables in the street for the over flow. Like everywhere, here the custom is not to rush the patrons out by bringing them their bill, you don't get "la cuenta" unless you ask for it and you can sit and talk after dinner without concern. It is a refreshing custom, but I understand why it can't work that way at home.

We have spent several days working on the boat, getting things cleaned up, laundry and a few repairs and projects as well as exploring La Cruz. The marina here has worked hard to entice the anchored fleet into the marina with discounted rates and services. There is a wonderful bar/restaurant atop their facility that has hosted a happy hour daily. Despite these efforts this marina is only about 2/3 full at the most. On Tuesday, 12/21 we cruised out to the Tres Marietta's Islands that are about 10 miles out into the bay from here to meet So Inclined. On the way we were trolling with a blue green Rapala Magnum lure and hit pay dirt. With some considerable effort we landed a 32" yellow tail that weighed about 25-30 lbs. Once we got it to the boat it wasn't easy to get it aboard or finding deck space to clean it. Pacifico is a small sail boat set up for cruising and with a surf board and now a paddle board on the rail, a kayak tied to the deck and towing a dinghy. Figuring out how to land it, then clean it, took a while, but it was fun! We ended up with several large zip lock bags full of fish! By the time we got to the islands it was almost time to go. We dropped a "lunch hook" paddled over to So Inclined to see Mike, Amanda and Abe for lunch and it was time to leave. No snorkeling that day.

I've spoken about security issues here in Mexico previously. While I'm not naive or think that bad things don't happen down here most of the bad news that is reported at home is pretty specific to areas involved with narcotics trafficking. Generally people here are typically friendly, giving and remarkably generous with what little they have to share. As an example; last year when I was here with Sirocco we went into a little abarrotes and the owner asked if we wanted to share his lunch of ceviche that his wife had sent with him. He gave us crackers and hot sauce off his shelves as well. No charge! Today on the bus the lady next to us was helpful answering as best she could our questions about where to find certain products. She opened a bag of chocolates for her kids and shared them with us. Not only that, but when we got off the bus, she had her daughter take one of the bags Marisa was carrying and carry it for her. Later we went into that same abarrote and yep, that same clerk/owner was there. This time he was sharing a bottle of tequilla that he was taking home for his Christmas party, opened it and poured everyone shots!

With all the rain at home, people keep asking us what's the weather been like here? Typically it has been warm, mid to upper 70s, mostly clear with sometimes a little haze and no rain. We have been having a typical land effected sea breeze with an off shore flow in the early morning and on shore flow in the afternoons, up to 18 knots the day we came back from Tres Mariettas, so pretty nice for sailing. We have not seen any rain since we left Oceanside, November 16! The nights have been typically upper 60s, nice for sleeping. There has been quite a bit of humidity and we have wet decks in the mornings, which is good because when you're anchored out you can take a towel and clean the boat! The night of the lunar eclipse was clear and we had a great view of that event. I set the alarm for midnight and we watched it without getting out of bed, just opened the forward hatch over the V berth and looked up, dozing off and on until it was in full effect at a little after 0200 here. Also, this area adjusts their clocks to Central Time, so we are two hours ahead of the West Coast.

Today, Friday, Christmas Eve day we jumped on the bus towards PV to do some shopping, our first time in real stores in a couple of weeks and we needed some re-provisioning. There is a new Wal-Mart in Nuevo Vallarta that was our first destination, and then on the way back we stopped at Mega, a large Mexican grocery store chain outlet in Bucerais. You have to remember that this is all by bus, carrying everything that you purchase, we're learning to choose wisely. We couldn't find a couple of items, but had to get back to pick up our laundry before they closed for Christmas. Yes, we did a lot of it ourselves, but did take some bulky stuff in for service. Remember, when we wash it on the boat it has to fit on the life lines along the rail for drying, which is difficult with sheets and the like. Anyway after lugging all that back to the boat we jumped on a bus and headed back to Bucerais for one last attempt at finding a few things, just like Christmas shopping at home! All settled in and back at the boat we bumped into a Christmas Eve dock party. The cruising life style, that's where your days go!


cruising
Dave caught a fish!
Marisa
12/23/2010, La Cruz

Here's a picture of the 32" tuna that Dave caught 2 days ago. Dave plans to write a blog later tonight, so stay tuned....

cruising
12/24/2010 | Paul Schmitz
What an adventure. And I hope you guys have a great Christmas. Really enjoy reading your blog. Stay safe. And tell us how the fresh tuna tasted!!
Hola from Guaybitos
Dave
12/19/2010

Hola from Guaybitos
21°01.631N, 105°16.509W
We are at anchor just off the point of Rincon de Guaybitos. Actually the cruising guides refer to this area as Bahia de Jaltemba, but there are three separate communities, Ayala, Rinon de Guaybitos and Jaltemba, and the guides don't do them justice. We arrived early the afternoon of the 16th from Chacala after a leisurely 8 nm run down the coast, motoring slowly in zero wind and flat seas to take longer and allow us to charge batteries and make water. After arriving we have spoken to a few American and Canadian "locals", who are here for the winter months and got the lay of the land from them.
This place reportedly was developed as a resort destination for the Mexican populations from Guadalajara and Mexico City, then discovered by the Americans, later to be forgotten by us and taken over by the Canadians, but again now seems largely abandoned and left to the Mexicans. It is well developed with small hotels and restaurants along the beaches of each community. Our primary cruising guide, "Pacific Mexico" by Breeding and Bansmer give this place a decent review, Rains "Mexico Boating Guide" gives it about one paragraph and "Charlie's" description is OK, but we think none of them individually or collectively really do it justice. Anyway, we found this to be a "delightful" spot. We took the dinghy into Guaybitos yesterday and found the small community quite clean and user friendly. Sadly, this place like everywhere we are stopping is not very busy. I have to assume that their tourism is off down here because of the overall state of the economy and to the negative press the US media is churning out regarding personal security in Mexico. Everyone we have encountered down here says the same thing; that generally Mexico is being unnecessarily beaten up with negative hype. People have been really wonderful thus far and we feel very safe.
It's fun when you wake up in the morning and hear all the beach activities, tourists are the same everywhere. The Mexican music starts early and it's fun, not the rap type "boom-boom" stuff of Cabo. We are anchored about ¼ mile off the beach, maybe a little further, but you can't tell from your GPS because the coast line is not accurately depicted. According to the new Garmin chip I have we are on dry ground and my other one is very vague with little coastal charting detail. You really have to watch your depth sounder when working your way in to anchor. We dropped our hook in 10 feet of water and again here it has been calm, light breezes, perfect temps and no bugs. There are only two other boats here with us and no one at either of the other two area anchorages. Howard and Lynn, our Canadian cruising friends, and another boat that looks like a single hander who has kept to himself are here.
We are close enough to row the dinghy everywhere, for the exercise and this morning Marisa and I paddled the kayak and paddle board around the point to the beach at Ayala. We found it even nicer there than here, it's much smaller, the beach and water seem cleaner. We took a mid day paddle break and shared a "Ballena" at a beach cantina and a skewer of bar-b-que shrimps, just like in the cruising guide photos! We made an appointment with Howard and Lynn to have dinner Friday in town at one of two places recommended by one of the locals we met. It turns out we actually found it, restaurant "El Campanario" and it was fabulous! Clean, great food at a good price (about $35 US for shrimp dinners with wine), and live music too. We are still having problems connecting with Wi Fi to the internet. We can pick up a lot of signals but again we are finding that they are all locked and this time we did not find one on the beach that we could buy a beer and get the code from; I guess we need to buy more beer? It seems that they have learned down here that their Wi-Fi signal is something that they can make a few pesos on and have largely locked them up. Bummer.
A technical note for our readers. Our solar panels seem to be producing about 4- 6 amps with a maximum observed of 7, which is good. We had hoped for more 7 or 8, closer to max, but that's probably hoping for too much. What a great deal, thanks Tim & Michelle for turning us on to them and to Mark and Bill for their assistance in setting them up. We will have to post a couple of photos of the tilting mounting arrangement. Also, a plug for interior solar lighting: We got a tip from Buzz and Deb (Eos) on B-dock at home about the interior lighting they were using. It turns out they got the tip from Mike and Julie (Slacker) who were when last heard from down in Tenacatita. Anyway, the tip is the product Sensibulb, LED light bulbs for your boat. A great product that produces a really good, clean and powerful LED energy efficient light source for replacement in your existing cabin fixture lights. Great tip, wish I had purchased more. Thanks guys!
We have enjoyed this stretch of coast but we will be leaving this anchorage tomorrow, Saturday, and heading the 20 or so miles down the coast to Punta Mita. We are looking forward to getting to Bandaras Bay to hook up with Sirocco and So Inclined and hopefully into the marina at La Cruz for Christmas. Who knows, C-Monkey may even come to see us for the holidays? We kinda miss that little chimp, although our banana consumption has gone way down.
Catch up with you soon!

cruising
12/19/2010 | Tim
Hi Guys:
Really enjoying your blog. It's reconnecting my feelings of cruising fulltime. The pictures are great and having the captions are helpful in understanding what's going on. Anything I can do to research the wiring on the solar panels?
Be safe and enjoy.
12/20/2010 | Fred Coleman
Boy, you guys are having too much fun! It's about 55 degrees and raining here. I recently purchased the cruising guide to Mexico, so we're following your trip w/ gerat interest. Have fun!
Fred & Jeanette
12/22/2010 | Thor
Fallbrook has been getting hammered by the rains, trees falling down over roads, rivers overflowing, we have been lucky so far, it is shallow enough to drive through. We had a couple of power outages in Fallbrook and Temecula. I almost ran into a boulder that rolled down a hill, it was a size of a car. It looks like your having good weather. Have you guys run into any bad weather? How did you guys handle it?
Thanks for technical details on the solar stuff, I enjoy that kind of stuff. You are probably not getting max because the panels are not pointing directly at the sun, just a guess.
$35 US for that dinner, it would be twice that here
12/22/2010 | Mark
Any fish (caught) yet?
12/26/2010 | Mike & Julie Hatcher
Still holding a spot for you in Barra lagoon but not for much longer! Big party here at the Sands on the 5th. Try to make it.
Mike
socalsail a geeee mail
Mantanchen Bay to Chacala
Dave
12/15/2010, Mexico

Greetings from Chacala, 21°09,802N/105°13,677W
It is amazing how much there is to do living aboard a cruising boat. I have not started one book yet. Where do the days go? After spending all morning on projects we were ready to head off by 1400. With the anchor up we started out of the bay with the afternoon breeze filling in, more than we had seen in days. Shortly we had 14-16 knots of wind and a wind chop running at us from the WNW. As things go we could not take advantage of it and just sail because we needed to charge and to make water. We were motor sailing once again, but at a good clip making 7 knots at a heading of 168°. It was nice to feel the boat healing and being drawn through the water instead of pushed. It didn't last long and within two hours we were rolling up the jib and motor sailing under main only.
We were basically paralleling the coast at about one to two miles off the beach. You could see that the terrain was changing from the flat swamp lands behind the beach to hills with cliff faces and bluffs breaking up the long beaches. Coconut palm trees and green vegetation grow right down to the beach and no one is around. Pretty soon a few nice looking homes started to appear on the cliffs overlooking the coast; nice views. We were treated to a whale show about half the way to Chacala. I looked behind us and saw white water. We watched a little longer and a whale came blasting up out of the water, just like in the insurance commercial. He came down with a big splash. Then another, then another, it was cool especially since they were a quarter mile away! That went on for several minutes. I don't know why they breach like that. I've read that some speculate that they are playing, others say it's like scratching your back. I don't know but it is cool to see. Sorry, no photos but Marisa saw it too so it's verified.
It is only about 23 nm to Chacala and we arrived before sunset. Love the short hops! Chacala is a small bay, very open to the WSW. There is a hilly point at the northern end with a rocky coast line. As the bay curves around the coast the shoreline broadens into a nice sand beach, with yep, coconut palms and several small beach palapa restaurants and a small hotel. The small village is behind the beach and there are several nice homes along the hills to the point. It is very different here from Mantanchen Bay, much smaller and you can see that the influence of foreign dollars are in effect here. Our cruising guide book calls this place the "quintessential anchorage people dream about." Not completely sure of that but it is really nice. It also says it is a rolly anchorage, and it is. We set a stern anchor to keep us bow out into the swell. Unfortunately I didn't give it enough scope and it drug during the night. We woke up rolling beam to the swells as it seems the anchor reset itself at just the right point to put us beam to the seas. Once that was reset and with more scope we were good to go. I said this bay is open to the ocean, yesterday there was a whale inside the bay cruising around. It is not deep so he didn't stay long, but has been spotted a couple of times working across the entrance.
Cruisers Mark and Anne on Blue Rodeo were here when we arrived and Howard and Lynn on Swift Current arrived the following day. We were anchored very close to the dinghy landing spot on the northern end of the bay and we rowed the dinghy, no need to even put the engine on at these distances, besides, it's good exercise. We rowed to shore and walked the beach to the furthest cantina. Great chips and salsa, cold beer and a nice fish of the day ala Mexicana dinner, catch of the day: Mahi-mahi or Dorado down here. We were invited to Swift Current for a pot-luck along with Mark and Anne that evening. The following day we used the paddle board and kayak and were joined by both the other crews as well. We made a "beach landing" with our mini net book in what turned out to be a not so water tight bag and went into the little hotel palapa bar/restaurant because they advertised "Wi-Fi". As it turned out there was just a drop or two in the bag and no damage. We had not been able to hook up to any free Wi-Fi in days. A cold one and $20 pesos for 30 minutes allowed us to post our last blog and quickly check email. Did I say the weather and water are almost perfect?
That night, Tuesday, 12/14 we were invited to dinner aboard Blue Rodeo along with Howard and Lynn. We had a nice evening and have enjoyed our new cruising friends company. Blue Rodeo is leaving Wednesday for Punta Mita, about 40 nm further and the first anchorage inside Bahia Bandaras. We intend to make the 8 nm hop over to Bahia Jaltembra to spend a few days in that area before going to Punta Mita ourselves. From our discussions it sounds like all three boats will end up at La Cruz before Christmas.
We are up early, listened to the Amigo net on SSB radio for any weather up-dates, work on our blog and photos to get caught up in that department, a few boat projects this morning, then row to shore to go into the village for lunch today and possibly head over to Jalembra after that. We met a Canadian couple at Las Brisas yesterday who as it turns out were just taking a day tour up from Jalembra where they stay every winter for 5 months. They gave us some good inside information on that area and it looks good on the cruising charts as well. There are a couple of small off shore islands close in, in the bay as well as several distinct small communities, all similar to Chacala so a variety of anchorages and beach venues to choose from.
We appreciate your comments and hope that you are enjoying what we are doing too! Take care and we will post from Jaltembra in a couple of days.

cruising
12/16/2010 | Cindy Roush
You guys should write a book of your experiences. I love the photos! Where on earth did you get the chef's hats? What that a class in salsa making? Loved hearing about the whales.
12/18/2010 | Mike Cobas
u guys r looking good from here! Q: how do u do Xmas in 80 deg......tacos & beer??? hv a grt one!
01/19/2011 | Chic Brammer
Here goes the second time bue to my mistake.

Hi Again,
I just wanted to say HI from home. I had previously tried to find your blog but was told you were on Lee and Cathy's. The rear stairs at the club are about complete and they look great. We are having a raftup at the JR Dock on 1/29/11 and you will be missed. Dave I am glad you are keeping up with your cooking skills over on Sirocco. It looks like the Oceanside Boaters are having a great time and eating well. Keep having fun and be safe.

Chic & Judy
From Mazatlan toward Mantanchen Bay
Dave
12/14/2010

Passage from Mazatlan to Mantanchen Bay and San Blas.

Sorry for the delay in getting this out. We are having difficulty finding wifi connections that can be connected to without pass codes so this one is being posted late.

We made the passage from Mazatlan to Mantanchen Bay the night of Wednesday, 12/8 in 22 hours, arriving at about noon on the 9th. This passage was uneventful, with light winds and calm seas. We had a brief spinnaker run before the wind clocked aft behind us. We kept coming up to try to keep an angle to sail but before long we were headed to the Marquesas, not Mantanchen so we gave that up and turned on the "iron gennaker." The passage was quiet, only a few cruise ships passing in the distance heading to Puerto Vallarta and Cabo. We were visited by a large bird, not a frigate, but possibly a "boobie" trying to land on our mast head. This sounds innocent enough but they can damage the wind instruments sited at the top of the mast, not good. We were able to defend our territory with a high power flash light. The first time he came in to land when the beam hit him he bombed us, it was a narrow miss landing in the water along side. By the end of his second or third pass he was out of ammo but still made 10-15 passes before giving it up. Other than that it was a beautiful starry night. We motor sailed most of the way to make good time and meet our friends from Oceanside aboard Sirocco and So Inclined. They were waiting for us at the other end and we were looking forward to seeing everyone in a new place. That part of the coast, from Mazatlan down to Mantanchen Bay, appears to be flat, swampy marshland with long, fine unmolested beaches, heading south then south east for miles before taking a more easterly tack at Piedras Blancas. We continued on, passing the entrance to the estuary at San Blas just before noon. San Blas is historically significant as the prominent West Coast port for "New Spain" in the late 1700's. There are still the remnants of the old Spanish fort above the entrance. Mantanchen is a big beautiful bay, albeit surrounded by swamps, from Punta Camaron just below San Blas. It is from that 'point' as I understand it, is the record for the longest ridden surf wave, or so the hype goes. I can believe that in the right conditions it would be a long wave. The surfers have to have cars parked down the beach to get a ride back to the point. It's that long. Of course while we were there the waves must have been six inches, but you could see what it could have been with the right swell coming in. OK, so we get into the bay, anchor and take a nap. Our friends stop by on their way back from the beach and we are invited to a pot luck spaghetti dinner aboard Sirocco that evening. Jumping into that event it was great to see and to catch up with our friends from Oceanside. It is decided that with their departures in the morning, we will all catch up again in Puerta Vallarta where we all intend to spend the Holidays. Marisa and I spent three days at anchor, taking the dinghy around the bay and to the beach for dinner at Ismeal's pallapa cantina, fantastic food! We met fellow cruisers, Mark and Anne aboard "Blue Rodeo" and were invited to join them on the La Tovara jungle river cruise the following morning. For that we set an alarm for 0530 hrs to meet on the beach at 0645 hrs. What a surprise when we woke up to fog. Heavy fog had come in and we couldn't see shore. I had taken a bearing to the point the night before in case we had to get out quickly and used that bearing to guestimate a course to the beach, and in the event we didn't find the beach a reciprocal course back to the boat! All that said it worked well and we landed not far from Ismael's, where we had decided to meet. Ismael is cruiser friendly and watches the dinghies because petty theft is a problem in that area.

We were met by Mark and Anne and also cruisers Howard and Lynn on "Swift Current" out of British Columbia. Together we walked the short distance to the entrance of the Tovara River cruise and boarded our panga operated by Jose, a young local with English skills but quite the master with his panga in the narrow mangrove channels. We were treated by a number of local bird sitings and two crocodiles in the wild on the way up to Tovara Springs. We then took a break for a cold one before heading to Camalota Springs where a "cocodrilario" or crocodile refuge where we saw a number of the beasts as well as several other species of native critters! After all that, we caught the bus to San Blas where we had lunch and walked the town and all the way down to the marina on the estuary. Mexico's Fonatur has built a marina at San Blas. It's located on the dredged estuary but is surrounded by mangroves, so not some place we would want to stay.

We or I should say Marisa decided that we had seen enough of Mantanchen Bay and that we would leave the next day. The "no seeums" or locally "jejenes"were eating her alive. We found that one must be off the beach by 1630 hrs. (4:30pm) when these critters and a few mosquitoes as well become active. Anchored as far out as we were, the jejenes were not so bad but the mosquitoes could get to us. All Marisa's' handy work making bug screens was coming in quite useful. She could stay below where it was relatively bug free but warm. Welcome to the tropics! Actually, this part of the coast is noted for this because it is so swampy, which is why there has been no real tourist development, such as big hotels, etc. coming into this area of the coast.

cruising
Land tourists in Mazatlan
Dave
12/08/2010, Mazatlan, Mx

Here we are enjoying beautiful weather, mid to upper 70s daytime with little humidity and perfect sleeping weather. So perfect in-fact that I have been sleeping in, regularly, and so much so that I have missed almost all of the morning local VHF and SSB/HF radio nets! We have gotten some 'must do' projects done on the boat so that we can safely leave on our next leg of this trip, which begins tomorrow (if I can get up for it) when we will head south the 130 nm to Mantanchen Bay, down by San Blas, which is one of those surf spots I used to dream of going to when I was a kid. But, boats being boats there is always something to fix, replace or add so no wanting for tasks to stay busy here. I mean as an example, how can two bilge pumps go out at one time? We had a situation where water maker by-pass brine water discharged into our bilge and when we went to pump it out the pump failed. We used the manual pump and it wouldn't work. OK, got the auto pump swapped out with a temporary until we get a new one and found that somehow the manual pump hose had a tear in it which allowed air in, breaking the suction, so of course it wouldn't work. All that is fixed now, but that's where our days go.

All that said we have taken time to get off the boat and walk. Yesterday we walked to the hotel district then down the beach all the way past the hotel district to the traffic circle where the road takes off to Mega and La Brochetta Restaurant, you know the one? Well it's a long way, trust me on that one. And, did you know that both the US and Canadian governments have consulates in the hotel district? I didn't. The US compound is on the inland side across the street from the Canadian one, which is beach front property next to the Ramada Inn; I'll bet they're best friends! Pretty cool duty! Today we took the bus to Centro, which is the central part of the city where the stores and typically the Mercado or 'central market' is located. No exception here and a pretty nice one too. We got some great pics of the guys cutting up a leg of beef, well cutting it from the torso, but it was all clean and sterile, post butchering stuff. Check out Marisa's photo album "Centro de Mazatlan."

My Brothers will know of this, but most of you will not. Our parents, our Dad especially, were Mexico aficionados. Anyway Mom and Dad were in Mazatlan in 1971 on one of their road trips south. I have this photo of them in front of a fish scale with two marlins that they caught that day. I'm not sure where this photo was taken, but it says Faro Lighthouse Fleet, Mazatlan Mexico, 1971. After walking down there today and having a beer at the La Mar Mariscos restaurant down by the old harbor I recognized the area in the photo as the old harbor. Pretty cool.

After that we walked back to Old Mazatlan and out along the Malecon along the beach to the traffic circle that took us to Mega! One last shopping to top off before heading south in the morning and then a $9 peso bus ride back home. My feet were killing me!

Oh, and for those of you wondering about C Monkey, we learned today that the little primate is doing well as a stow-a-way on So Inclined. Seems he heard they were heading to Isla Isabela to see the "boobies" and got the wrong idea. Check out the blog from So Inclined for full details!



cruising
12/08/2010 | buzndeb
Glad you two are having such a great time...sans the boat work! Yes, it is never ending huh. Enjoying your updates very much. Hope you have a great Christmas season in that warm balmy paradise!!
12/09/2010 | Mike & Julie Hatcher
Hurry up! We are holding a spot for you in Tenacitita.
12/13/2010 | Mark Robinson
Haven't seen any updates for a while. This whole "living the adventure vicariously" thing is getting a little difficult! Hope you're continuing to have a great time.
Monkey goes missing
Dave
12/04/2010, Mazatlan

After Mark left Friday afternoon the Sea Monkey went missing. Despite the fact that Sea (C-short for OYC) Monkey wasn't ready to leave the cruising life style he was upset that Mark did not buy him a ticket home. That's just like those monkeys! We went to "Gus Gus" restaurant Friday night here in the marina with the crews from Sirocco and So Inclined for a last dinner before they head south in the morning. We thought C Monkey went to find some Chiquitas to hang out with and console himself, but he could not be found aboard Pacifico this morning (Saturday 12/4) when we awoke and has still has not returned as of this evening. Despite the fact that we went to a party this evening we are getting a bit worried for his safety. We plan to stay here for several more days and hope he shows up before we sail.

Today, Saturday, we stayed at the boat and re-organized ourselves from a crew of three to two, took stock on provisions and did some general clean up along with just lazing around. I called Buddy at West Marine in Oceanside and ordered a couple of parts. He wanted to know if he should deliver them to the marina. I don't know Buddy, ask Ruth?

Late this afternoon we could hear music; it seemed like a party was going on so being curious we went to investigate. As it turned out there was a "customer appreciation" pot-luck get-together up on the roof top deck of the marina office that was sponsored by Rick from Marine Services of Mazatlan. Without any to-do we were invited to join in on the festivities; all you can eat fresh BBQ tuna and tuna balls (like crab cakes) and FREE Pacificos! How could we say no? They also had a musician playing oldies and Spanish classics. We enjoyed the evening and probably saved $200 pesos on dinner! Tomorrow it's more chores, the whale gusher manual pump needs to be rebuilt and it's time to clean out the bilge, a nasty job but nothing major.

We would like to get into town and see more of old Mazatlan before we leave and have started our route planning for the next leg down to PV. We hope to leave Wednesday or Thursday, more on that later. Where is that darn monkey?

cruising
12/05/2010 | Ted Langs
Wish we could be there to enjoy the group, appreciate the coast and the festivities. We continue to live vicariously through you all. Continued safe journeys and fun experiences. We miss all our friends south of the border.

Ted & Lois
12/06/2010 | Mark Robinson
BTW, I was able to determine that the very bright object in the pre-dawn sky the past couple of weeks was, in fact, Venus. It had just passed between the sun & Earth, so it was exceptionally bright. Still ought to be able to see it for a little while longer.
12/07/2010 | mike cobas
appears u hv this crus fig out. fix stuff, eat fish & drink beer!..don't mis the mercado & cath in old Maz

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