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You know you've been anchored a long time when...
01/10/2011, Tenacatita Bay have a reef system happening under your boat. We have barnacles, a puffer fish, a crab and lots of little fish all right underneath of us. No need to go anywhere to snorkel it's all right here! We have a slight problem in our boot stripe (for those non boater types, this is the colour band along the bottom of the hull right where the water line is). This boot stripe is supposed to be above the water line. Well ours is just below it because we are just to darn heavy. So the problems begin when the sea life decides it's a nice smooth surface to take up residence. The part of the boat under the water has what is called bottom paint and it's full of nasty stuff like copper and things that sea life don't like to grow on. But the boot stripe is just regular paint. So ours grows a profusion of barnacles and about every 4 weeks we have to scrape them off and hope they don't come back (but they always do). The other day when we started to clean the stipe, a crab was walking along the stipe probably enjoying his dinner! Anyhow our solution is coming up one of these days. We are going to haul the boat and paint bottom paint on the boot stipe and even a few inches above. We'll paint it black so that from a distance it will still look like a boot stipe but those nasty little barnacles will not like it and they will go grow on someone else's boat or so we hope. In the meantime, we go into the water and scrape along the boat which really isn't so bad as it gives us a work out and some good swim time.

Anchored in Paradise
01/10/2011, Tenacatita Bay

We have finally arrived in the paradise we have been dreaming about for over 15 years. Although everything we have seen so far has been great, this is the best. We are in Tenacatita Bay. It's a destination that Ian and I have been to twice on land based holidays and it had a lot to do with fueling our desire to go cruising in Mexico. We are anchored in sheltered calm water which is warm warm warm. We have a great beach with a palapa restaurant/bar, a river that we can ride up and do a jungle tour, and there is a hotel at the very end of the beach where we can go and use their internet apparently although we haven't tried that yet maybe this afternoon. Within this same bay, there are several options for anchoring. There is what they call the 'Aquarium' right by the town of Tenacatitia, but that is at the moment a less desirable option because the land is in dispute and there are armed guards stoping you from going ashore. There is also a town called La Manzanilla which is a wonderful place built on the hillside at the end of the bay. We will probably go anchor there for a few days at some point. And there is also a small anchorage across from where we are that has a secluded and high class resort with a golf course. So something for everyone. WE LOVE IT!!! We just spent a couple of hours snorkeling this morning and it was pretty good. Lots of variety of fish and no jellies. I thought I saw a moray eel but it turned out to be a puffer backed into a crevice in a rock. There were lots of giant damselfish, butterfly fish, puffers and lots that I can't find in our book. Wonderful. We left La Cruz on Sun morning at 3am in order to round Corrientes in calm conditions. It's about 5 to 6 hours from La Cruz and we got there around 9 am and there was a good chop happening. Once around, the NW swell was running pretty good and there was a good breeze in the same direction. We had only intended on going as far as Ipala but as we were going by we decided the swell would be too big for a comfortable anchorage there and so we kept going with the next stop to be Chamela. We had thought since it is a big bay that we could get into it in the dark but when we got there, good sense prevailed and we decided to keep on going to Tenacatita where we would arrive in the daylight. It was way too dark to even approach the coast at night especially with the big swell that was running. So what was supposed to be an 8 hour trip turned into a 30 hour trip but that's okay cause what we missed coming down, we will see when we head north again. We plan on spending about 10 or 12 days here and then head down to Barra-de-Navidad which is only 14 miles away. We will be there for several weeks as my dad and his partner Kathy are coming down for a couple of weeks. We are going to go to get them in Puerto Vallarta (by bus) and then rent a car and drive back down to Barra. We will have the car for the whole time they are here and we can do day trips to various places around the area. Really looking forward to their visit. Dad will celebrate his 83rd birthday while they are here. Well I'd better wrap this up as there is lunch beckoning me from the palapa on the beach. Later... Posted via Ham radio.

01/11/2011 | Camelia and Bob
Congrats on reaching your paradise. We are so happy for you both. Expecting snow tonight and it is feeling pretty cold right now...are you feeling sorry for us yet???lol Cheers!
01/12/2011 | crew
Tenicatita is our most favorite place in Mexico. Glad to hear it still has its charms. I see Corrientes is still given the benefit of the doubt for an easy(ier) transit. Also looking forward to what you think of Barra de Navidad. Love the blog and the enjoyment you are both getting. Ian , my fish were bigger! :)
01/12/2011 | Ken and Carole
Well, good thing you are there and not here..we had 5-6" of snow overnight..yuk! Sounds like you are having a blast, wish we were there. The boat is closer to being ready after the work we did in December...things are coming along nicely.
01/12/2011 | Marilyn
Great to see you are in a place I am familiar with so I can really picture it! We loved that place and stayed in the hotel there ... ate and had a few margaritas at the palapas at the end of the beach - so good! Glad to see all is well with you both - Happy New Year.
01/14/2011 | jean
WOW! That sounds so perfect! Snorkel for me!!
01/18/2011 | cousins roy and sylvia
a late happy new year. we are following your jerney with great intrest you realy seem to be having a wounderfull adventure.hope to meet you guys one day fond reguards roy and sylvia
Banderas Bay
01/07/2011, La Cruz in Banderas Bay

We have spent the last week in La Cruz which is about 15 or so miles from Puerto Vallarta. We pulled in the day before New Years Eve and spent the first few days at the dock which was a treat. We had a great New Years Eve in the company of good friends Fred and Penny from the boat Tapatai and their friend Joe. Good food - drinks - music and people all for a reasonable price too! We returned to the marina just before midnight and went upstairs to the Sky Bar and watched the fireworks all around the bay. At any given time you could see 15 or so different fireworks displays as the big hotels each had their own show.
Since we've been here we have taken the bus to several places on day excursions. We spent a great day in a town called Sayulita which is a surfers paradise. There were lots and lots of people surfing, eating, hanging out, shopping and whatnot. Really busy place and quite fun to experience. Another day Ian and I went to Puerto Vallarta and went to the market to buy blankets for the cockpit. The cushions we have are covered in vinyl and in this heat you stick to them so I wanted to cover them. Puerto Vallarta is not my scene. Too busy and I can't stand the constant pressure from all of the vendors everywhere.
Tomorrow we are leaving to head further south with our next destination being Chamela another little beachside town can't wait to go swimming again. (water is way to dirty in La Cruz)

01/07/2011 | Camelia and Bob
Hi guys. Sounds likes you are doing a lot of exploring and having fun. Love those blankets and I am sure I will do the same when we get there as I hate it when the hair on my legs stick to the cock pitt cushions's like getting your legs waxed! ouch! We have a mexican blanket on our bed now however that is just not the same as being there!lol Take care! Cheers !
01/08/2011 | Dad & Kathy
Hi Ellen & Ian! Happy New Year! It sounds like
you are having a great time. We are so happy
for you. Looking forward to seeing you in Feb.
Love always.
01/09/2011 | Wendy
Happy NY to the both of you, it looks like you're having a good time. All the best to you for 20111 & we hope to run into you as you work your way down to Central America. hugs Wendy
01/10/2011 | Ken & Carole SV NautiMoments
Looks like you had a great Christmas and New Years. I bet it was different than those before; warmer I bet. I will need to get some fishing advice from Ian or Carole and I may starve. I have not fished in years. Chamela sounds great. Let us know how you like it there and we will add it to our places to go. We also like quieter places, but it is nice to experience the busier one once in a while. Sayulita sounds like a nice place, to bat there is no shelter there to anchor. Look forward to reading your next blog. We are off to our Offshore Weather course tonight at BWCA. Cheers! Ken & Carole
01/10/2011 | Sue Mountain
Hey Guys,
Got email from Elaine, happy new year sounds like you are having a good time. Keep the log going I will look forward to your emails. all the best Is retirement not great, Bruce retired Oct. what a blast.
01/12/2011 | pat and les
Lovely blankets! They sure do brighten up Kasasa. Glad you are having such wonderful adventures! It is snowing here like crazy today!

The picture shows us firmly at anchor in Chacala probably on the highway somewhere! This is how off the Mexican charts are from the GPS position. They haven't updated their charts in many many years and they were surveyed in the late 1800's and early 1900's. So when navigating in these waters, you have to be very prudent and not rely on your chartplotter. Thankfully there are lots of Guide books written for cruisers and they often will have the GPS coordinates of some of the more dangerous rocks and reefs.
Chacala is a beautiful place with lots of sand and palm trees. 15 years ago we were there with friends Lynne and Harvey on their boat. Then there were a couple of small palapas on the beach and the town was one or two streets with a couple of small stores to buy basic supplies. There was one hotel at the very end of the beach. Now it is very different with many big palapas on the beach and the street behind the beach is store after store of anything you might need to get you through a day on the beach. There are many small hotels and the shoreline for many miles has beautiful homes built for the gringos mostly as they are very luxurious and the average Mexican would not be able to afford these places. Actually I don't think the average Canadian would be able to either!
The interesting thing about Chacala is that it is a laid back community and really only gets hopping at Christmas and Easter as it is a destination for the Mexican during these holidays. About 30 big busses a day come in the morning full of people from the various inland towns and cities and they spend the day having fun on the beach swimming, eating, playing and enjoying the day. Then around 6pm they all return to the buses and once again the beach becomes quiet. I guess the rest of the year the gringo population must help to keep the economy going somewhat. It's a definate place to visit if your looking for some peace and quiet away from the tourist scene - just not at Christmas or Easter.
We hope to stop in there again on our way north when it is a little quieter. It was fun to see everyone enjoying themselves but the blaring music gets a bit much.

01/02/2011 | Pamela Carey
Happy New Year, Bro and Sis! That is a mighty fish, Ian - hope 2011 brings you smooth sailing and lots more yummy food on the end of that line! You both looked very fine in your hats. Much love, the P's Down Under xx
01/03/2011 | dick towson

Enjoy the weather and we will be down there soon when we get back in mid Jan. Save the warmth for us.

Best of the New Year to both of you.

Anne and Dick
"Full & By"
01/04/2011 | Carol & Kelly
Happy New Year - you are leaving us far behind in your wake as we still work on projects at the dock...but soon we hope we'll cast off and head south. We are inspired by your descriptions of your stops and by the great fishing experiences...enjoy and perhaps we'll see you on your way back north.
01/06/2011 | Lyle and Lark Balmer - Aleydabeth
Looks like a great fish you caught! Got your comments on our blog...good to hear from you. Staying in La Paz area until our daughter's visit at the end of the month. The islands are spectacular. Hope to see you again soon!
It's o-fish-al
12/27/2010, Chacala

Just a quick blog here as I'm in an internet cafe at 20 pesos for 10 minutes! Just wanted you to know Ian has not lost his touch after all. He caught this dorado about 5 miles before Chacala. YUMMY!

12/27/2010 | Linda
12/29/2010 | Bob
Now thats a fish!!!!!!!!!!!
12/30/2010 | pat and les
WOW....nice one. Les is jealous that we missed both the warm weather AND the fish! Happy New Year!
01/01/2011 | Al&Jude
Hola Amigo,Amiga, looks like you have broken away from the clutches of the El Cid , very good., now depending on how long the mighty Banderas Bahia holds you we should see you down in la Manzz around mid to late feb..
I am on vhf ch 9
Al & Jude SV Marova
01/02/2011 | Poul Hansen ( NWLTP)
Happy New Year to you -I am now retired - looks like you enjoy your self - keep the sail tight mate -
A Christmas Tradition
12/26/2010, San Blas

For the last 20+ years, Ian and I have spent Christmas with a wonderful group of people in Vancouver. We have for all of these years maintained certain Christmas traditions that brought much hiliarity and fun to Christmas day. One of these traditions is making a Christmas hat. This is usually done with the bits and pieces left over after everyone has wripped into their presents. So in the spirit of it all, Ian and I decided to carry on this tradition here in Mexico. You can see the results for yourself in the photo. Although we couldn't be with our friends this year, we were there in spirit and we did send them the photo.
It was a very different Christmas for us being here with out our family and friends. On Christmas Eve, we decided to go into town and see how the Mexicans were celebrating. The streets were full of people but that's not unusual as they often are, but there were lots of family gatherings going on and parties. As we got to the town square, there were lots of people there, the stalls were open for last minute gifts and people were just out and enjoying the evening. We walked down to a restaurant that had live music going on. We were the only gringos in the place it was full of Mexican families enjoying a nice Christmas eve dinner and entertainment. The music was beautiful Mexican folks songs that the audience seemed to be very familiar with as many of them broke into song.
As we left the restaurant, we heard the church bells ringing. It was 10pm and there was a service about to begin. We were looking into the church and listening to the beautiful singing as the priest came by and invited us in. We sat at the back of the church for about a half hour of the service and it was quite nice.
Christmas day was very quiet there were no fisherman going up and down the esturary, the town was very quiet as well. We spent a nice morning reading and making our hats, and then we cooked a chicken curry to take to the pot luck over at the marina. We met some very nice people at the pot luck and will no doubt run into some of them again along the way.
All in all is was a pleasant experience and now we have New Years festivities to look forward to.

12/26/2010 | camelia and Bob
Love the hats and great tradition to carry on. Bob says Ellen's hat matches your dress quite good. Ian that sun beam on your tummy, makes you look quite round ??? lol Can't wait to see what the New Year brings you both. Cheers!
12/26/2010 | Linda
Hmm... The Sultan of Fishing (Ian) is now performing well so that the High Style Parisian Wife (Ellen) can halve what they spend in the fish market. It has been a very good year to watch Kasasa and the the magic persists. Love xxoo
12/27/2010 | Ron Howell
Merry Christmas Ian & Ellen, although a little late, looks like your having lots of fun, play safe and have a great new year, hope to see you somewhere, out on the sea...

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