There is a lot going on around Banderas Bay. From our marina at Paradise Village, we take a bus trip to nearby Bucerias for the Blessing of The Pangas. Pangas are small boats used by locals for transportation and fishing. Since I did the blessing for the transpac, I wanted to see how they do it down here. Well it was full of surprises. Boats were highly decorated and filled with participants. They came from all over the bay and skillfully (most of the time) ran them up on the beach. Then they unloaded their passengers and went back out for more. All these folks walked up beside the square to the church for a mass (blessing). But this was alot more about the "party". The square was full of people, drinking beer. There were three "banda" bands playing at the same time. Shops were set up everywhere. It was really an important day for this little city. One of the things we enjoyed the most was the competition of dancing horses. The "banda" stood right beside them blowing trumpets and playing drums. The horses and their riders danced to the beat. It was incredible. These are fairly small horses. They were very rhythmic. Copy this URL to see videos of the horses: http://youtu.be/ME7oSyMRAZE and http://youtu.be/HFdQ1Xo7Sv8. It was a great day. We went with the Watsons and met several other boaters from other towns who had come from other anchorages around the bay to see this special event.
We are spending an extended time here in the Paradise Marina in Puerto Vallarta. We are waiting for the new rudder from the Hydovane company in England. Also doing some maintenance, another portlight installation, getting measured for a sun cover before the hotter months, etc. Also were able to get our mail sent from Florida. This marina is beautiful with all the amenities. We went to a jazz concert at the Yacht Club that was great and Saturday there was a free classical guitar/harp/tenor concert at the hotel. It was really top-cabin. You couldn't have found better anywhere. We check the tigers twice a day and enjoy the beach and pool. This marina is very isolated from the town. It takes a couple of buses and about an hour to get anywhere. Yesterday we took three buses to go to the Botanical Gardens. The buses were as much of an adventure as the gardens. You will see that these mintrals that jump on the bus to make money are a common thing. The gardens were wonderful. Very natural with hikes of varying difficulty. We pretty much covered the whole park and had a great lunch. It was a nice day. We are going tomorrow to Bucerias to see the blessing of the fishing boats "Pangas". They bring the boats up on the beach by the church. It is supposed to be quite a sight. I'll try to get some pictures to share. Wednesday we are going to Guadalahara. Several interior cities are a bus ride away from Puerto Vallarta. Currently we are evaluating where to spend the summer/hurricane season. The insurance demands either here in Banderas Bay of above La Paz in the Sea of Cortez. We are listening to everyone we can before making up our minds. Hope you enjoy the pictures. You all know how much I like taking flower/plant photos. I had a wonderful time.
We have arrived in the beautiful Paradise Village Marina in Nuevo Vallarta. After 10 days at anchor this is true luxury. We are trying to figure out how to upload some short videos that we have made on the trip and so far have been unsuccesful. Maybe I'll put them on Facebook or UTube. We got talk with Jacquelyn, Jason and Parker over Skype. Still working on the video portion, but a good start. We looked around this resort and it is amazing. We have access to the pools, beach, restaurants, etc. It is certainly the up-end of cruising to be here. The resort has a special project of raising bengal tigers. They have 6 adults and several babies at this time. They are so fun to watch and you can get very close to them. The beach is perfect with palapas and chairs. We are going to try to do quite a bit of work on the boat while we are here. We will work in the morning and go to the beach or explore in the afternoons. Sounds like a good plan. They had a welcome show last night with lots of mexican dances and fun games. The kind of games you pray they don't choose you to come up on the stage and do. Lots of laughs (at others expense). Cleared with the Capitania del Puerto this AM then off to find a grocery store. Puerto Vallarta is very spread out on la Bahia de Banderas. We must learn their bus lines to get around. May also plan a couple of days in Gaudalahara by bus. We have heard wonderful things about it and would love to see this beautiful old colonial city for ourselves. Realtime continues to be a nice little home for us. We gave her a cleaning (inside and out yesterday). She really needed it! Bob just talked to the bottom cleaner. We had heard there were crocodiles in the marina waters. He confirmed and said, "there was but I killed him and ate him! We are living in a different world. Check out the tigers on the picture gallery.
Last night we went to an all star jazz concert at the Puerto Vallarta Yacht Club. It was really incredible. I also was able to download all the videos onto UTube. I will try to go back into the text and enter the hyperlinks.
01/10/2012, La Cruz, Mexico
Late yesterday afternoon we arrived in the anchorage at La Cruz having rounded Punta de Mita. There were rolling breakers that draw expert surfers off the points. The trip from Chacala was uneventful as we were towing Dodger II. We will go into the Capitano del Puerto in a few minutes and check in. We were able to get Matt on Skype, which was fun. The connection wasn't very good, but it was great to hear from both he and Bob's sister, Mary Beth. Hearing from our family is so important to us. I have downloaded the pictures. I think you will especially enjoy Isla Isabel and the Jungle Tour at Matanchen. We loved Chacala and would have stayed there longer. It's a real paradise.
La Cruz is just a marina and small town set up for cruiers. The marina has only been here for 7 years. There are lots of gringo's big houses and they have established many restaurants and services with the cruiser in mind. We are anchored. There is a small house Casa Maru where she lets people use her shower, internet access, refrigerator, etc. It costs $20/person for a week. We bought one membership and are sharing the 7 showers! We will only be here a day more. Last night we had a wonderful dinner at Frascati's. Best meal since we have been in Mexico. Tonight they have a movie under the stars. What else, but Captain Ron. Doing chores today to ready ourselves to move to Puerto Vallarta. It's a really big city and there should be lots of new things to see. Also, the new rudder for the hydrovane is to arrive. We so hope it will work now. That has been a real challenge. We are getting in the dinghy (and the ocean) now to scrub the sides and bottom of growth.
Hola again to everybody. We left Matzatlan on January 2nd and have been having some wonderful experiences. I think you will really enjoy the pictures this time. Bob has been making videos. We sailed from Matzatlan to Isla Isabel. This little island is a World Heritage Site brought to the public's attention by Jacques Cousteau. It is a nesting site for Frigate Birds and the infamous blue-footed boobies. Here are the UTube links:
Also myriad colors and sizes of iguanas. Our first anchorage was too rolly. We moved a bit and anchored next to Dodger II. We are buddy-boating with them down the coast. It has proven very advantageous in many ways. Isla Isabel is incredible. You can walk right up to the nesting birds (the pictures will confirm). We hiked and took pictures. What an experience. There were structures on the island, but not very well kept. Also several fishing shacks. Shrimpers around as well.
The next morning we headed farther South and West to a cove near San Blas called Matanchen. Very picturesque. Also rolly. Sophie was in the anchorage and gave us the low down on the banana bread and the jungle tour. We partook of both. Great experiences. I think you will love the pictures. Great experiences. During our passage Dodger II ran over fishing lines and took them into their motor and around their prop. We ended up towing them to our next (Matanchen) anchorage. There just wasn't enough wind to sail and get here before dark.
We are now on our second day in Chacala. This is like a picture postcard. It reminds me so much of Hawaii. For the first time on the trip it was warm enough to swim. The surf was very light and Bob and I really enjoyed being in the ocean. There are Palapas on the beach where you can wander up for a drink or a quesadilla - or a full meal. I had a woman make a pineapple, filled with fruit for us. It was delicious. They eat it with chili pepper and salt. We didn't! Then we heard a "banda", which included two or three drums, a tuba, two clarinets, a trombone or two and two or three coronets, plus a singer - also a cow bell (think "Lonely Bull" on steroids). We followed the music upstairs at a bar and found some great young musicians playing their hearts out. Bob was like a little kid with all the enthusiastic playing. The tuba was especially notable. There are pictures of this as well. See the URL's:
Today we are taking a hike to the top of the mountain to get the overall view of the area and see the caldera of the local extinct volcano. What a lovely place.
I keep battling an eye infection and will try to find someone to sell me some drops. There always seems to be a little health issue going on between the two of us. New germs and primitive surroundings seem to contribute. Our immunity needs to get increased here. Matt got us on Skype and we would love to communicate with any and all. Haven't connected with anyone yet. Our Skype name is Realtime.Packard1. Please contact us. We especially look forward to being able to see Parker. Well that's all for now. I'll work on the pictures. Karyn and Bob
01/01/2012, Matzatlan, Mexico
Today is the first day of 2012. I wonder what this year will hold for all of us. I never would have anticipated I would be doing this at this time in my life. Such an adventure. We have been in Mazatlan for two weeks. We like it here very much. You can see in the previous gallery how lovely it is, especially the historical center. As the holdays neared I so missed decorations, family and all the traditional trimmings, as did the rest of the cruisers. We put together a dinner for Christmas Eve. But then Matt arrived to spend a week with us. Christmas with family! We still missed everyone else so much, but were so grateful for his presence. We look forward to sharing this cruising experience with all of our children and grandchildren. He stayed a week. You will see what a wonderful time we had in the pictures. He was a great crew member. We cleared out the V-Berth for the first time and he had his own small room. We did so much while he was here: golf, jacuzzi, dinner with other cruisers, a trip to Concordia and Copala, exploring the old town, architectural museum, art museum, climbing El Faro (the highest functioning lighthouse in the world), working on the boat, sharing meals and stories. He even bought beautiful deer skin cowboy boots! What a wonderful time in a wonderful place with wonderful people. Check the URL for the brick-making:
El Cid is a lovely marina with beautiful facilities. We have been spoiled. However, it has been unseasonably cold and most of us are anxious to go farther south to get warmed up and finally to swim. We haven't been in the water yet! Matt surfed here a couple of times, but his hands were purple when he got out. The water temperature here is colder than the Baja side. Bob and I have both been sick with an upper respiratory flu. It has taken a long time to get better. We have used our antibiotics. It is a fairly closed/small space to share illnesses in. I'm better and Bob is still struggling. He is a little better each day. Tomorrow we leave Matzatlan for Isla Isabel. It is 93 miles to the south. This island was researched by Jacque Cousteau. We will see blue footed boobies, iguanas, frigate birds and their nests, etc. We will anchor and go to shore in the dinghy. It has been riding in the V-Berth previous to Matt's visit. Now it will get inflated and readied to be our transportation back and forth from the boat. Today we visited with two other Norsemen owners on their boats. That is always fun. Everyone intends to start down the coast soon. We will have lots of friends to make the trip with. Our buddy boaters, the Watsons in Dodger Too will be leaving with us again. So reassuring to have experienced cruisers going along with you. We have learned alot from them and others. Many questions get answered over the SSB cruisers nets where boats report on their progress. This is a very helpful community. I am humbled by all of their experience. I am such a neophite. Take a look at the gallery to get a feel for holidays down here. Also enjoy some of the mountain towns and their charm. Happy New Year, Feliz Ano Nuevo to everyone. I continually reminded that life is about relationships - we are lucky to be building them all over our beautiful world. Karyn