Well, the pedal has hit the metal. We are reallyinto preparation mode for the Pacific Puddle Jump. We returned here to Banderas Bay. We spent our first week in La Cruz. It's a very social place and we enjoyed being with friends old and new. The market is really something special in this area. Then, on to Paradise Village Marina. This is where the seminars are held for the PJ. They have scheduled lots of folks to help us. We have heard everything from travel-logs to radar and communications, and everything in between. We are also trying to see as much as we can before leaving Mexico. This is a wonderful country with so much to experience. There are many other places I would still like to visit.
Our friends the Gidley's came to visit. We had such a nice time. They fit in perfectly with all our cruiser colleagues. We went on a beautiful hike south of PV to a waterfall. It involved crossing the ridge lines up and down to spectacular beaches. Look in the gallery for the pictures. It was strenuous, but so picturesque. April from Wavehouse was our fearless leader. Later, I also had the opportunity to go see the petroglyphs with her. She is a treasure.
The boat is frequented by repair and service people as each system is checked out for the crossing. Canvas covers for protecting the fuel cans. Servicing of the in-boom furling, small stainless additions for safety, VHF and SSB tweaking with group entries for communication. Today, I ordered a sat phone for emergency and for contact with family. I'm inventorying everything to get the final provision list. Much to think about and plan for.
Unfortunately, I had a broken tooth and needed my first crown. It was harder here than I expected. They also found an infected/impacted wisdom tooth and tomorrow I get that removed. This certainly adds a little spice to my life. Had a mani and pedi to take my mind off my troubles. It almost worked :-)
01/25/2013, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
Wow, we have been busy. We finally got the boat back in the water with new bottom paint. These tropical waters had blistered the paint and they had to sand down to the fiberglass and repair before re-painting. It was lots of work...and yes...lots of money. That seems to be the way of things on a boat. We enjoyed our stay at Bungalows Mar Sol. Such nice people. It was a little home away from home for under $50/night. You can't beat that. Then there was spending time with so many of our wonderful friends before leaving the dock. We really enjoyed everyone. Lots of adventures, meaningful conversations, shared meals...and a world class Mozart Requiem at the Angela Peralta theater. The Wilson's had an adventure with us to the Petroglyphs at Las Labradas. What a place! Check out the pictures in the gallery. Some of them are Phoebe's. This Mexican town/area has everything. We even had a conch blown as we left the marina. Memories of Hawaii. What a delight.
We headed south later than we had planned. There were several days of high northerly winds and seas that kept us tied to the dock and dressed in our woolies. First we jogged down the coast to the town of San Blas. It lies within an estuary in the mangroves. We visited the old Spanish fort and church ruins, which were very interesting. But what I'll remember most are the bug bites that are still trying to heal. They really get me and they are not fun. Take lots of spray with you and use your screens when you visit. Also, watch your fathomoter. Bob had just repaired ours and it was a good thing it was working as we made our way down that shallow channel. So it's not surprising that we were anxious to get to Chacala, an old favorite. After a night dodging shrimp boats, we anchored fore and aft in the swell and enjoyed the beautiful beach and surrounding scenery.
Then it was off to Banderas Bay, where we have stopped for a week at La Cruz for a few days on the way to Paradise Village. This harbor is supposed to have diesel, but have not had a delivery recently and consequently we are still waiting (5 days). In the meantime we have reconnected with old friends and begun seeing some of the sights.The highlight of our first night here was a unique one for us: attendance at a memorial service at a bar, where the ashes were hoisted to the rafters in a Crown Royal Bag! They now reside there with many others. In my career, I thought I had seen everything. Yesterday we walked the beach to Bucerias for the Blessing of the Fleet. Those of you who read the blog will remember what a good time we had there last year. Horses dancing, food everywhere, Mexican families celebrating, banda music, flowers, priests, etc. It was an all-inclusive cultural experience. Today we will be attending our first of the Puddle Jump seminars at the Vallarta Yacht Club in preparation for crossing the Pacific at the end of March. Today the woman who hit a whale in her boat on the 2010 Ha-Ha will be talking about ditch bags and abandoning ship. Really hoping we won't need her information, but very important to know it. I'm organizing and sorting in the boat to take an inventory of what we have and what we need before going to sea for just under a month.
We are looking forward to a visit from our Shoreline Yacht Club friends, the Gidley's, next week. Special to have folks join us down here. We do love Mexico. I for one will hate to leave it. So much more to see here.
Lots has happened since the last blog. We reconnected with friends and saw alot of Mazatlan together. We went to the art walk and out to dinner several times. We strolled the old town and listened to the music in the square. Over the holidays, we went to two concerts in Angela Peralta Theatre, one classical and one seasonal. We saw sunset from the top of a hotel. It is lovely here. We have really enjoyed Mazatlan. I imagine fixing up a house in the old colonial section with a lovely courtyard....The Marina hosted the Salvation Army Childrens Choir. These are orphans from here in Mazatlan. They were so lively and loving. It was really an experience being with them. I attended a breakfast for children with cancer sponsored by local women with a craft sale. There were several hundred attendees. We enjoy Mazatlan more and more.
Before heading across the Pacific, Bob thought we should have the bottom painted. Since we had to be off the boat anyway, we decided to go to the states for Christmas and see our friends and families for a week. We may be a long way off next year at this time. We enjoyed everyone. When we arrived back, predictably the boat wasn't ready. We are staying at some bungalows that other cruisers have used in similar situations. It is fine. We have all we need, and it has a kitchen. We will wait here until we can put her back in the water in a few days. We spent New Years Eve in the home of a Mexican family, Augustin and his mom Alicia. They were so gracious to us.
We had to pay for a month in the marina up front, so we won't head south for a couple more weeks until we use our days up. At the airport, we met a couple from a small coastal town between Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta called Teacapan. We will try to go there on our way south to Paradise Village. We are always up for new adventures. In the meantime, Bob works on the boat in the daytime and I do the computer/paper work and practice my Spanish. It has been very rainy and cool here until today. We have been wearing long pants and jackets. Surprise! Feliz Ano Nuevo to all of you.
12/03/2012, El Cid Marina
We are back in El Cid. It was a lovely crossing. We were able to sail most of the way. The seas were lumpy and the wind was on our aft quarter, however, we moved right along. In fact, we got their too early and needed to anchor at Isla Pajaro until the Marina office opened. This is a lovely marina and we are very comfortable here. We remember having Matt here at Christmas last year. We have reconnected with Leif and Jackie on Dodger Two. They just got their boat back into the water after having extensive work done at the yard. Bob is busy troubleshooting the watermaker and hooking up the solar panels. Jackie and I went for a girls day and did a little "retail therapy". It was fun. Lots of nice visits with people we haven't seen in quite a while. That's a really nice part of cruising. You just keep collecting lovely friends.
12/02/2012, Marina Palmira
After a couple of weeks on the Sea, it is time to wrap it up in La Paz. We have really enjoyed this little pueblo. People are great. We have had nice times with our friends Jeff and Julie on Buena Vida (gone further south) and Melody and Jeff on Double Diamond (gone home for Thanksgiving and Christmas). Meals and stories shared make the cruising life very special. We had an unique Thanksgiving, in that we went to the movies. The theatre has black leather recliners, moveable tray tables and a full time waiter for your enjoyment. Add to that we were the only folks in the theatre for the latest James Bond flick. We brought home some take-out ribs and the day was good. This is a special time for the mexicans, during which they celebrate their revolution. A parade of school children was a sight to see. The red, green, and white colors were reproduced by each scrubbed face group. Much less disciplined than in the states, but with so much pride and heart. Bob made my birthday special with a breakfast out, shopping in the middle and a beautiful dinner at Palermo. This is a real find. Sorry we didn't find it before out last day. We had a great time. During our time here, we rented a car and drove to Costco in Cab to stock up on good meat, etc. Long trip, but ultimately worth it. You just can't beat their meat.
The boat chores included lots of cleaning and polishing. Adding stainless steel rails and two new solar panels, repairing the bracket on the alternator that broke in half, putting new tell tales on the sales, polishing the stainless and cleaning the life lines and power chord. We really sparkle now. We shove off and are stopped by the Navy for inspection. They were great fellows and they left satisfied we had all we need. It is a full moon and bodes a lovely passage to our old friend Mazatlan.
It is time to turn back towards La Paz. We left Santa Rosalia after a lovely visit to this old town with the French flavor, and sailed south past Mulege into Bahia Concepcion. It was more shallow than we expected as we crossed into Playa el Burro. We were shocked to see 6' on the fathometer in the middle of a channel. It was surprising that there were lots of vacation homes in this area. People in RV's and cabins lined the beach. We didn't actually go to shore and very early in the morning for San Juanico. We practiced with the pole and sailed wing & wing for most of the day. Bob really enjoyed the sailing and the picture in the gallery bespeaks this. Here in the Sea of Cortez, we seem to motor about 90% of the time and sail 10% of the time. We discover that San Juancio is a lovely bay, with white sand beaches and a cruisers shrine. We took the dinghy exploring and ran into Trisha from Interabang. She told us their stories of spending the whole summer in the Sea. They are tough cookies to brave the heat and the bugs. They, however, had a great time and made lots of friends. We are humbled as we escaped to the states and Canada instead. We used an old Shoreline burgee to make our hanging contribution to the shrine. You can also see it in the gallery. We left the next morning, hoping to spend part of the day in Loreto. It's a favorite city of ours. However, we got the dinghy in the water and realized it really was too rough to leave the boat. Back went the outboard on the rail and the dingy behind. We stopped in Puerto Escondido to get fuel and continued on. Sadly, we checked out Candeleros and it was too rough as well. That's how it goes. You can't get your heart set on a place. It's the weather that decides for you. We looked at Agua Verde, Ensenada La Ballena, Bahia Santa Marte. It had been foggy when we passed them on the last trip and we wanted to check them out as well.
As we headed towards Puerto los Gatos, Lo and behold, there was Double Diamond with Jeff and Melody aboard, as well as their family and friends. After snorkeling, we got together for a lobster dinner and lots of laughter. What a coincidence! An early morning start and we were off for points south, Marina Palmira in La Paz via an overnight stop at San Evaristo. In the morning of our last day, the wind waves were big and we got covered in salt as we were heading into the wind. Bob wisely chose to hug Espiritu Santo and improved the ride. Now it is time to do some work on the boat before crossing to Mazatlan in a couple of weeks.