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S/V Si Bon
real Mexico vs tourist Mexico
Steve
02/02/2012, Nuevo Vallarta

If La Cruz is the epicenter of cruising here in Mexico, then Nuevo Vallarta is the epicenter of tourism. Nuevo Vallarta is built on the end of a peninsula and is home to some of the most beautiful resorts I've ever seen....including the Mayan Palace, which is where Sharon's family will be staying. Yes, the stray dogs of real Mexico have been replaced by rooming packs of Timeshare people here in Nuevo Vallarta. Sharon and I have decided that we prefer the stray dogs over the Timeshare guys....for the most part the dogs pretty much leave you alone, and they're a lot cuter. There are a few other difference here in touristville, the other night we found ourselves grumbling about having to pay 28 pasos ($2.00) for a Pacifico...then it dawned on me that I use to brag about finding a happy hour in San Diego that sold Pacifico for $2.50.
The other day we walked over to the Mayan Place and snuck past the security guards so we could get a lay of the land before "the fam" arrives. I'm sure that we fooled security with our cruiser garb on... you know a three day beard, worn backpack, crocs and a t-shirt with more than one grease stain. Anyway, after walking around the lush grounds and around the city block sized pool (right on the beach), we decided that maybe tourist Mexico wasn't all that bad after all. I think we may be spending a little more time at the Mayan Palace over the next week.

02/02/2012 | shaybizzle
you forgot about the part that they take American dollars. I feel bad that I gave Kathy Brooks a hard time about having pesos... how was i supposed to know?
FYI, you dont look THAT bad. Besides a 3 day beard is sexy :))
La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
Steve
01/31/2012, Simply.....La Cruz

I know it is sounding kind of redundant...but once again we're falling in love with one of our stops. La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, or simply "La Cruz", is definitely the cruising epicenter of the Pacific coast of Mexico. As mentioned in my last blog, the anchorage here is HUGE (pic), and even though there are somewhere around 72 boats in the anchorage, there is still room for another 72. There is also Marina La Cruz , which has slips for 340 boats. Add the 1000 or so slips in Puerto Vallarta, which is less than 15 miles away and it's no wonder that boats are attracted from around the world to the protected, pleasant waters of Banderas Bay.
La Cruz is a quaint little town with an easy, laid back pace. The cobblestone streets, shady huanacaxtle trees and friendly people add to the town's charm. La Cruz is a real Mexican town with tourist Mexico dropped in every couple of blocks in the form of a restaurant/bar or a shop selling souvenirs and/or sightseeing tours. La Cruz is a favorite gathering place for the cruising community for several reasons. We are just a hop skip and jump away from Puerto Vallarta making it easy to have friends and family visit, or for us to take a boat break back home. From the La Cruz area we are able to do short sails up and down the coast, and be able to cover an area from Mazatlan to Manzanillo (296 miles), without more than one or two overnight trips. La Cruz even has a hostel like house (no sleeping quarters) where you can have internet, take a shower, store things and make phone calls to the U.S. or Canada for a very low price.
We are now in Nuevo Vallarta where we will be meeting Sharon's Mom and other family members in just a few days. We're excited to see them and to share this little slice of paradise with them.
As we are currently in a slip in Nuevo Vallarta and will discontinue sending out Spot messages after tonight, until further notice.
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers, God Bless!

Banderas Bay
Steve
01/27/2012, La Cruz

We are now inside Bahia Banderas...which is the large bay where Puerto Vallarta is located. We officially entered Banderas Bay on Tuesday after rounding the northern Point known as Punta Mita. All of our cruising guides warn to give the large reef and rock strewn Punta Mita plenty of room while rounding it. As we made our way around Punta Mita we watched large waves break far out to sea all around the point. Another sailboat, that had been trailing us all day, tried to cut the corner...probably didn't have any cruising guides...or maybe just no brains. We watched him pass us inside and close in to the rocky shoreline not aware of the occasional large sets that were coming in. As a set came in homie quickly became aware that on his existing course he would soon become reef meat, and he abruptly changed course towards the open ocean. After rounding the point we made our way around another surf break and anchored off the beach for the night (pic). On Wednesday we left Punta Mita and came further into the bay to La Cruz Hauacaxtle...or simply La Cruz. La Cruz appears to be the epicenter of Mexico cruising, and as we dropped the hook between two other boats Sharon got out her calculator and counted 72 other boats in the anchorage, by far the most we've seen in any one anchorage (actually it maybe more than we've seen in ALL the other anchorage combined)
It's kinda looking like La Cruz is going to be another town that we will soon be falling in love with....stay tuned for more information on La Cruz in the next blog.

01/27/2012 | Amber
Sounds amazing and looks beautiful!
01/27/2012 | Dan
I pays to prepared. That guy's lucky! BTW, how do you count boats in an anchorage with a calculator? Do you point the calculator at each boat as you count em off? :-)
01/31/2012 | Phil anderson
Hey Steve.....I'm sure you'll soon try the restaurants in Punta Mita that are on "fingers" of the water breaks there.....If someone suggests that you check out Sayulita (and I'm sure someone will) continue on to the next town north...San Pancho....es muy tranquilo..similar de Chacala, posible' mas !!
Chacala
Steve
01/23/2012, Chacala, Nayarit Mexico

The 22 NM trip from Matanchen Bay was pretty uneventful. We motored down the coast about 2-3 miles offshore, other than a couple of fishing boats and a few whales in the distance, not much happened. Upon arriving in the small cove of Chacala we were able to practice deploying our stern anchor....something most sailors tell you you'll never need. The other boats in the anchorage all (accept one) had bow and stern anchors set. Keeping with the unwritten rule of anchoring the same as the other boats already in the anchorage....we, for the first time, deployed our stern anchor. Things didn't go exactly as planned, but after one failed attempt we were all set up bow and stern, thereby keeping Si Bow's bow into the waves and reducing the rocking motion of the gentle waves.
Chacala is the picture perfect anchorage that you've probably seen on travel brochures, or maybe a Jimmy Buffett Album cover....or maybe a Corona commercial. The beautiful white sand beach is framed by a rocky point on each side and surrounded by Palm trees blowing in the breeze. Add a few palapa restaurants and bars along the beach and there you have it...paradise.
We have spent the last couple of days lounging on the beach, swimming in the almost warm waters and wondering.....why are we leaving here????

01/23/2012 | Dan Berkey
Didn't you mean Si Bow's bon? :-) I'm envious dude! Have a great time.
01/25/2012 | kathy
You're leaving that wonderful paradise to go see your equally wonderful friends from Vermont and NJ at PV!! What could be better than that! See you soon.
01/27/2012 | Steve Cook
yes Kathy that was definitely the reason we hightailed it outa there, and we are now in the equally cool town of La Cruz. see ya in a few days. Dan...all ya gotta do is untie the doc lines and come on down bro.
01/27/2012 | Dan
Tempting dude, very tempting, but not to be for awhile. We're hauling out next week for some bottom paint and though-hull work. I'd like to pick your brain on the through-hulls. Let me know if you can get on Skype. Email me. Thanks!
San Blas
Steve
01/19/2012, San Blas, Nayarit, Mexico

San Blas is a traditional, non-tourist Mexican fishing town. The sleepy little town was once a burgeoning naval port for New Spain. San Blas was more or less founded in 1530 and became New Spain's Pacific naval port in 1768. San Blas went into a decline shortly after the Spanish-Mexican war, as most of the commerce and shipbuilding was moved to either Mazatlan or Acapulco. Today San Blas has a population of about 6,000, including a fair amount of ex-pats who have settled into the carefree lifestyle of this charming, although very poor town.
Since we arrived in Bahia Matanchen during the night, we were pleasantly surprised on Sunday morning when we looked outside to see a lush green shoreline, complete with a banana plantation and coconut groves. The climate is now much more tropical than the dry Sea of Cortez. Sharon and I have enjoyed strolling the streets of San Blas where the bicycle is one of the major modes of transportation by both young and old locals. During our short stay we have done a jungle river trip, visited the fort which was built in 1770, seen several churches and of course visited several of the local hora feliz's. Our current plan is to leave San Blas tomorrow morning and continue south....that is if I can pry Sharon out of this little place she has fallen in love with.

01/19/2012 | Pat K'ski
Fascinating trip back in time! The town sure is well worn; I can only imagine what it looked like those many years ago. Great that you were able to get a real sense of the area and those who call that town home. Safe travel on the next leg of your journey.
Jungle river trip
Steve
01/17/2012, San Blas, Nayarit, Mexico

One of the must things to do in San Blas is the jungle river trip. This morning several of us from the small marina boarded a Panga and headed into the estuary. It was something right out of Disneyland....only the large crocodiles were real. This was our first real trip into an estuary and the three or four amazing eco systems that we past through were all beautiful in their own way. Along with all the Crocs, we also saw many different birds, butterflies, fish and plants. As we ate lunch next to a clear spring in the jungle, several pangas came in loaded with college kids from Mexico City.....who turned out to be some of the wildest of all of the animals we saw today.

01/18/2012 | Pat K'ski
... and he smiled for your photo! Cool!

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