Still in Barra
04/11/2012, Barra de Navidad
Yes, I know we were supposed to leave Barra yesterday...but I came down with a nasty cold and we have delayed our departure. Now you're probably thinking "how the hell can the guy get a cold in sunny Mexico?". Well I tell you it's not that warm here, this morning I even had to put on my flannel jammies and a sweat shirt before I could make coffee. It is very disappointing to us that we are barely getting past 75 during the day...and at night we actually have to close our hatches. I'm sure all (both) of my blog faithful are feeling pretty sorry for us right about now....but that's not the worst of it. The freaking water is colder than the air, we thought by now we would be jumping off the boat everyday to go snorkeling, diving, kayaking, boggie boarding or just splashing around. Instead we are constantly arguing about who has to dip their hands into to icy 68 degree water to put the lifting harness on the dinghy every night. If you go to www.passageweather.com and click on the ocean temp page you'll see that there is a VERY small area on the Pacific coast of Mexico where the water is colder than the rest of the area.....that's where we are. I have this funny feeling that within the next month we will be begging for this weather to return.
As we arrived back in Barra last week we had a welcoming committee of hundreds of dolphins....they must be cold water dolphins?
back in Barra
04/09/2012, Barra de Navidad
We made the quick trip back from Manzanillo to Barra on Wednesday. We decided that since the Grand Bay Marina resort in Barra had a Wednesday and Thursday special rate, we would go ahead and get a slip for two nights. It had been 19 days since we were last tied to a marina dock....and Si Bon was in desperate need of a bath. as much as we love getting away from the marinas, we also love getting back to them after being on the hook for awhile. Lets face it, there's definitely a benefit to being able to wash off the boat, take a hot shower, throw away trash, re-provision or to simply just take a walk. All with out having to go through the dinghy routine. The marina also has a Thursday night Managers reception where you can eat and drink as much as you want from 6-7:00 (pic), which of course Sharon and I took full advantage off.
Barra has been quite a bit different than the last time we were here just three weeks ago. It is currently Spring break time here in Mexico. Spring break here means the Mexican families all pile into their cars, trucks, motorcycles and head off to the beach (once again...they ALL GO TOGETHER). The sleepy streets of Barra are flooded with Mexican tourists, the peaceful lagoon now is full of wake boarders, Jet-skis, and of course the all time Mexican favorite....a banana boat full of screaming, giggling kids being towed by a panga. As much fun as we've had here celebrating spring break, it's now time to move on. We are busy provisioning like madmen for our departure tomorrow. We are hopeful that the water will be a little warmer as we make our way back to Banderas Bay, which should take us 1-2 weeks. Depending on the water temperature.
Ya can't love um all
As you probably know, Sharon and I seem to fall in love with most of the places we have visited. I know that all of my blog followers are probably getting sick of hearing how much we love this town or that town. So just to mix things up we decided to stop at Manzanillo. One of our over optimistic cruising guides calls Manzanillo and the Las Hadas resort a "fairy tale setting". I have to admit that upon our arrival the Las Hadas resort and marina did appear to foot the bill (pic)...then we got off the boat. The marina charges 200 pesos (15 USD) per day to use their dinghy dock. The dinghy dock fee includes cold showers that work some of the time, the use of tienda which charges double for everything and unlimited access to the rundown resorts pools, what a deal.
You are pretty much forced to pay the marina the dinghy dock fee, as there is no reliable beach to leave the dink while you go exploring the rest of Manzanillo. Speaking of the rest of Manzanillo, although one of the largest shipping ports on the Pacific coast, the town is rundown, the people are unfriendly and the cold water is badly polluted. It's no wonder that we are about the only gringos seem on the graffiti covered streets of Manzanillo.
Before writing this post I thought long and hard about something positive to write about Manzanillo. There are several large Super Mercados located within an easy and inexpensive bus/taxi ride from the dinghy dock. The location of these beautiful mega stores made it easy to quickly provision for our planned get away tomorrow.
This is as far south as we are going this year and will begin a slow journey north tomorrow, still not 100% sure where we're going....stay tuned.
Getting on the wrong bus
Bahia Manzanillo is a large bay with a plush touristy part on one side and a HUGE commercial shipping center on the other. Centro Manzanillo (the old part of town) is across the bay next to the Shipping center. Yesterday we decided to jump on a bus and go check out centro Manzanillo. We had to transfer buses along the way and ended up in central in pretty short order. After walking around the shopping area and the malacon (boardwalk) we decided to grab a couple of beers before heading back to the plush side of the bay.
Now Sharon and I have become pretty efficient at the Mexican bus systems and we know that certain buses may go to where you are going...but they may also wonder through strange areas of town to get there. We knew that we needed to get on route 1 and then get off at Sorriana (a large super mercado) and transfer to route 8 to get home. Maybe it was the couple of beers, or maybe it we were anxious to get back to the resort life, but for whatever reason we hopped on the first bus that had "Sorriana" written on the windshield, and away we went. We knew we were doomed when the driver made a right instead of going straight. Up a hill we went winding our way along the bumpy roads and letting people off or picking people up at what seemed to be every 100 feet or so. About half way through our detour we looked at each other and said at the same time...."I have to pee". Well let me tell you that being a Mexican bus that grinds to sudden stops and then quickly accelerates every 100 feet is bad enough...but for some reason Manzanillo has speed bumps that happen to be between all of the bus stops and the driver seemed to take great pleasure in speeding right thru the bumps. We finally rounded the corner at Sorriana and plowed over 4 or 5 unsuspecting Mexicans who were trying to on the bus. I'm sure that our fellow passengers were thinking " crazy gringos, look at them knocking people over just to get into Starbucks". Thank God that the Banos were unlocked and unoccupied.
Mexican beach day
03/28/2012, Bahia Santiago
After leaving Barra we had our sails up immediately and sailed the 20 NM trip down to Ensenada Carrizal. Although there wasn't a lot of wind, we were able to maintain about 4-5 knots for the entire trip. There were several other boats around us, going in both directions, we were the only ones sailing. It still amazes me how few of our fellow cruisers actually sail...just saying.
Although Ensenada Carrizal is only 6 NM from the VERY busy port of Manzanillo, it is a remote, isolated anchorage. We spent two nights in Carrizal before making our way over to Bahia Santiago....a distance of about 5 NM. Bahia Santiago is a large bay surrounded by sand beaches and lined with the colorful umbrella's of dozens of Palapa resturants . I know it may sound ridiculous, but we decided that we were going to have a beach weekend, even though we live on a boat, we don't get to go and actually sit on the beach very often.
Now ya gotta know that the beaches here in Mexico are quite different that the ones in the states. First of all the ENTIRE FAMILY goes to the beach here...and I mean they go together. Yes, there are Grandmas and Grandpas, Moms and Dads, college aged kids, there's teenagers and preteens and toddlers and babies (not sure who all the babies belong to?)...and they all pile into their cars and trucks and head to the beach TOGETHER. They bring coolers full of food and drink, and they bring every kind of imaginable floaty device you can think of. There are a lot of rules on the beaches in Southern California, no drinking, no smoking, no dogs, no fires, no swimming here or there, no playing Frisbee or baseball...it sometimes makes you wonder what you can do at the beach. Well there are absolutely NO rules here, you can swim where ever the hell you want, your dog can come to the beach with the rest of the family, you can throw a football on the beach, you can ride your motorcycle on the beach, you can drink anything you want, (one of the highlights of Mexican beach day) and yes at the end of day you can pile a bunch of wood together and light it on fire.
Yesterday we moved over to the anchorage in Manzanillo, and are currently in a fairy tale like setting at the Los Hadas anchorage. We will begin exploring Manzanillo today and update everyone soon.
De French Baker
03/20/2012, Barra de Navidad
There are many things to love about Barra de Navidad...the narrow streets that become alive with music at night, the many beachside restaurants and bars, the calm waters of the lagoon...the list goes on and on. One of our favorite things about Barra is "the French Baker". Every morning the French Baker makes his rounds in his panga, he visits the boats in both the marina and the boats at anchor in the lagoon. Our favorite sound in the morning is his now familiar bell, ding....ding....ding, des is de French Baker, dus zoo need anyting des morning ? How can we turn down a French Baker in a panga (a Mexican fishing boat), we have pretty much become addicted to his ham and cheese croissants...which due to popularity we now order a day in advance, there are also quiches, baguettes, pies and many other types of delicious croissants to choose from.
Due to the same weather system that wacked Southern California over the weekend we are still "stuck" in Barra with 20-30 knot winds predicted to last through today. It now looks like we should be able to leave Barra on Thursday morning. This morning we put in our order for 4 ham and cheese croissants to be delivered Thursday morning and will leave as soon as the French Baker delivers them. Man des cruising life is difficult.