Opal mine and La Cruz news
27 February 2019 | Punta Mida and beyond
Scott and Donna Hansen
Scott's report on getting to Punta Mita: We sailed in very heavy wind and seas 275Nm across the sea of Cortez in a very fast 35 hours with a top speed of 13.8 knots and a 7.8 average. We sailed through a narrow passage in the dark using a Google satellite picture because the Mexican charts are so far off! Celeste dropped the hook at 21:30 and half a mile from shore.
Donna's log: We were surprised when we found out we had to advance our watches two hours to be on Mexico City time! That made it real easy to stay up to see the fireworks that exploded all over the bay.
We stayed in the marina for one week once we found out our dinghy outboard wasn't working! We asked about and found a great local mechanic, Mouricio, who got it running great.
The marina is 'convenient' for water, showers and joining in for the 3pm talks, 8am yoga, 9am band exercise or 10am line dancing. However, we moved back out in the anchorage for one week since you can use the showers and dock for $2 a day vs. $48 a day for our 47ft boat. La Cruz has at least 50 cruisers checking in every morning on the daily 8:30am net. We met Totem and Kathleen, both Seattle PSSC boats we knew of but hadn't met before.
We were here in 2011 and it hasn't changed much. Be sure to catch the dancing horses right in the square outside the marina gate on Friday nights and the 2 for 1 Schnitzel at the Black Forest restaurant on Marlin Street on Sunday nights.
We came back in February for another three weeks. We would have left earlier but Celeste and I were asked to speak to 'Women who sail' as a mother and daughter team. It went well, drawing on my 40+ years of sailing and Celeste's growing up on a boat and coming for 3 extra trips as an adult.
Buses are easy to catch so we took a series of them to get to the zoo, a little south of PV, (more on this later) then to Walmart or the Mega, a one bus event. Celeste had her heart set on going to the Crystal Caves but that was way too far inland so instead we went to the Opal Mines in Magdalena. We asked on the net if anyone knew about them or were willing to go with us and Kelly and John off Emerald Lady said that was on their bucket list for the last 6 months, so we put plans in place to drive their SUV to the mines and back. It was a fun experience.
We have some car issues which convinced us to stay overnight but even that added to the fun. The tour guide didn't speak English, so Celeste was our interpreter, doing pretty well. Both her and I forgot to take off rings before we started slamming a pick down on rocks to crack them open looking for our opals to take home, so we both had blood blisters to show for our work! Our safety glasses and helmets didn't help us there! We didn't come away with any raw gems, but we bought some at their store to bring home.
It was $$200 pesos a person for the experience to break open rocks and another $$200 pesos to ride in the back of a truck for at least 20 minutes but I was glad we didn't have to submit John's SUV to the bumpy ride as we wound into a small town and up into the hills.
The hotel we stayed in (hotel real quinta minas magdalena jalisco) was super clean and close to downtown. The beds weren't real comfortable but I highly recommend it.