The Year We Lived in Mexico
01 January 2012 | La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Nayarit, Mexico
When our kids are old, and we are even older, I have no doubt we will talk and reminisce about the year we lived in Mexico. I’m certain it will bring smiles to our faces and warmth to our hearts as we think of countless memories and life-changing experiences. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.
Our family sailed into Mexico in late October 2010 aboard our Hans Christian 43 Andiamo III. We were part of giant flotilla of boats participating in the annual rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas called the Baja Ha Ha. Since then, we have enjoyed what is unarguably one of the best years of our lives. We have been to well known places like Cabo, La Paz, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta as well as many lesser known destinations such as Bahias Los Frailes y Los Muertos, Ensenada Grande, Isla Isabella, Chacala, Matanchen Bay, Yelapa, and La Cruz De Huanacaxtle. We’ve enjoyed two wonderful Thanksgiving holidays, well 3, if you count the Canadian Thanksgiving we celebrated this year with our good friends from Albatross. We have also enjoyed two amazing Christmas holidays wearing shorts and flip-flops and opening presents by our piñata and homemade Christmas trees with some of our closest friends. We’ve all celebrated birthdays in Mexico as well as a few very unique national Mexican holidays complete with fireworks and carnivals. We’ve enjoyed some wonderful food and some awesome cultural experiences. We even survived the intense Mexican summer heat and threats from at least 5 Pacific hurricanes.
But of all the destinations we have been, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle in Nayarit, Mexico is the most special and the most memorable. We have lived aboard Andiamo in La Cruz for just over a year now – we sailed in just before Christmas in 2010. And like I said, it has been one of the best years of our lives.
Today is December 31, 2011, the last day of the year, and I suppose appropriately, the last day for Andiamo and her crew to be in La Cruz. It is time to move on. We have other parts of the world to see and other experiences to pursue. Leaving La Cruz is just as hard as leaving Olympia, WA. We have so many wonderful friends and so many fond memories that we would be kidding ourselves if we said leaving was easy.
Since I have been working this past year, I have had the privilege of spending only about 7 months in this great town. Tami and the kids, however, have lived every day here. They’ve done homeschooling, built amazing relationships, learned Spanish, endured the Mexican summer heat, and kept things under complete control while I commuted to and from the US for my job. Some friends of ours referred to Tami as “the anchor that is La Cruz”. I think that is very appropriate. About a year ago, with the help of a few other ladies, Tami started the La Cruz Kids Club. This was a club for kids of our cruising community to spend time together, do activities, and just have something special that belonged to them. Over time, Tami even encouraged several kids from town to join in. At its peak, the club boasted numbers in the high teens with kids from over 14 cruising boats. The club met 3 times a week for the past year. They even made their own burgees! Activities ranged from baking cookies, to going to the beach and zoo, to hosting parties for the orphanage in Bucerias (Manos De Amor), to collecting treasures off the beach and making an amazing framed mirror that hangs in the yacht club office. These kids did some amazing stuff and had a wonderful time doing it. They hosted bake sales, took care of pets, played countless games, supported regattas in the bay, made crafts, hosted a tea party for the moms on mother’s day and a hot wing party for the dads on father’s day, won a chili cookoff, sang Christmas carols, and supported charity. It was an absolutely amazing organization. The club and Tami’s hard work brought more boats to the marina. Families who would normally have anchored out paid for moorage simply to allow their children complete and unrestricted access to kid’s club. It was truly one of the biggest highlights of the year.
Among other things, Tami built some amazing personal relationships with countless people. Interestingly enough, she probably became friends with more local Mexicans than she did with cruisers. Now don’t get me wrong, we made some life-long friendships with some of the hard core La Cruz’ers, but it is Tami’s personality that helped her become close with others in town. She was involved in just about everything. I think she could have probably run for mayor of La Cruz and won. Her social calendar and ability to squeeze it all in blew my mind on a regular basis. From marina activities, to the harbor master and marina staff, to Casa Hogar and Manos de Amor, to local restaurants, to Mario’s Market, to the veterinarian, to the ice cream shop, to Amigos de La Cruz, to the boat yard, to Casa Maru, to the wine bodega, to tacos on the street, to Claudia and her husband who acted as our personal chauffer on many occasions, to Mexican train dominos, to happy hour, to Black Forest, to Huanacaxtle Café, to Philo’s, to Anna Bananas, to Ikuai, and many many more, Tami, without question helped make our year in La Cruz absolutely amazing. And to all those listed here, and many others, we say THANK YOU! You have made our time in this great town extremely special and unforgettable.
To all our friends, each and every one of you, who ate, drank, talked, played, cried, and laughed with us this past year, we say THANK YOU. You all have become some of the most special people in our lives.
So, today, Andiamo III and her crew leave La Cruz for points south. We plan to participate in the Cruiser’s Rally to El Salvador and from there, who knows? But one thing is for certain, of all the places we have been in Mexico, we consider La Cruz our home away from home. The hospitality and kindness we found there are second to none. We look forward to our next visit.