S/V Exit Strategy

06 March 2013
16 December 2011 | Sausalito, CA
21 July 2011 | San Rafael, CA
13 April 2011 | Oakland, CA
16 March 2011 | Unfortunately not in San Blas where I last wrote about bells
29 January 2011 | San Anselmo near San Francisco
27 June 2010 | Turtle Bay, Baja
14 June 2010 | La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
16 May 2010 | La Cruz anchorage
04 May 2010 | La Cruz anchorage
28 April 2010 | the rolly anchorage known as La Cruz
18 April 2010 | Marina Riviera de Nayarit
11 April 2010 | La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
02 April 2010 | La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
28 March 2010 | the pleasant village of La Cruz
24 March 2010 | La Cruz, Nayarit, Mexico
22 March 2010 | La Cruz

Parents Week

15 February 2010 | La Cruz, Nayarit, Mexico
We dropped off my parents at the Puerto Vallarta airport today, capping off their week visiting with us. They stayed at a gorgeous condo in Punta Mita, owned by our friends Rod and Elisabeth on S/V Proximity. Punta Mita is a special place. We have read about it in Latitude 38 for years and the unit my parents stayed in is in the same building where Latitude 38 publisher Richard Spindler owns a condo. If anyone wants to visit Punta Mita, drop us a line and we'll put you in touch with our friends.

Condo in Punta Mita
Center: Betty and Arnie's beachfront condo

My parents visited us right in the middle of some very strange weather which put a damper on some of our touring plans. They arrived last Monday and we planned Tuesday as a relaxing day in La Cruz which was a nice intro to the area. On Wednesday we had planned a visit to the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens however the weather prognosticators were guessing we might experience 60 knots of wind which meant we needed to stay on the boat. Although we had taken a slip in Marina Riviera Nayarit as a precaution, we were concerned about a neighboring boat tangling his rig with ours. Although our masts were offset from his, we had concern about his boat surging forward in the slip and heeling over, resulting in rig to rig contact. So instead of leisurely exploring pretty gardens we had my parents on the boat with us. The weather never materialized. Many in La Cruz have been on edge lately as the result of a storm that damaged over a dozen boats in the anchorage and some in the marina nearly two weeks ago.

Beautiful sky
While the storm never materialized, it provided some magnificent scenery

On Thursday we took a short drive to Sayulita, another place we have heard people rave about for years. Our impressions were mixed. The village was crowded with gringos and we knew that it might be turning into a boutique when we saw there was a "bistro." Countless shops lined the street and the beach, which is known for great surfing, was crowded with vendors selling arts and crafts. Perhaps the storm a few weeks ago changed the composition of the beach, but it was disappointing to discover it was mostly coarse sand with some shells as opposed to the finer sand that feels just perfect underfoot. Surfers were enjoying the waves, which I suspect were not as choice as normal on account of the weather. Sayulita has a definite charm and I would enjoy another visit sometime. It just turned out to be a bit different than expected.

Friday was the highlight of my parents visit. Around noon we departed the marina for some whale watching and sailing. I don't think we could have planned the day any better. When we got out into the bay conditions were pretty benign so we motored along the coastline between La Cruz and Punta Mita watching for whales. We did not have to wait long. We saw a large school of fish and some birds. We changed course a bit and soon saw our first humpback of the day. We saw a few more whales including a mother and calf. While whale watching we are always respectful of these magnificent creatures and maintain a reasonable distance. Soon the wind started to build so we unrolled the genoa and enjoyed 15-25 knots of breeze, gentle swells, and 80 something degree weather. Conditions like these are the reason that Banderas Bay has a deserved reputation as a first rate sailing venue. Think of San Francisco Bay without being cold most of the time....

Punta Mita Condo
This mother whale and he calf surfaced several times, and we were lucky to catch a couple of pictures before they submerged again.

Betty and Arnie sailing
Betty and Arnie enjoying the sail - before the wind kicked up!

Yesterday we drove to San Blas, where Jean and I spent three and a half weeks previously. I wrote about San Blas in an earlier blog post titled "Reflecting on the past three months." Jean and I greatly enjoyed our time in San Blas and we wanted to show my parents this friendly fishing village. San Blas is the real Mexico, a polar opposite of places like Puerto Vallarta where high rise hotels dominate the skyline, cruise ship passengers stick out like sore thumbs, and on every corner someone is promoting timeshares. In San Blas the locals far outnumber the tourists and there are no condominiums, timeshares, or hotels with more than two stories. People are genuinely warm and friendly. It is easy to slip in to a routine of shopping along side the locals at the Mercado and simply enjoying the slow pace of life along and in the narrow estuary. We took my parents to the town plaza and had a delicious lunch at one of the local eateries we had heard about during our previous visit, but never sampled. After lunch we visited the Contaduria, a fort which was taken from the Spanish by General Jose Maria Mercado, a true hero of Mexican history. The church that inspired Longfellow's final poem, "The Bells of San Blas," was inspired by the adjacent chapel. On the way home we visited the Crocodilario, where crocodiles are bred and raised for release. We stopped for some bird watching a few times, spotting roseate spoonbills, wood storks, a purple gallinule, and others. Jean has assembled an impressive blog post with extensive details of our bird watching exploits in Mexico.

Crocodile smile
This crocodile seemed to be smiling, but in reality they regulate their body temperatures through opening their mouths. Note the lack of a tongue.

Say Cheese
Say "Cheese"!

My parents' flight home was delayed so we spent some time at the airport with them. I met several tourists that were visiting the area for a week or two. Most people only get a few weeks of vacation a year and I am thankful for the opportunities we have to immerse ourselves for weeks at a time in so many places. However, unlike the tourists we met in the airport, Jean and I are not on vacation. My company, Island Planet Sails, requires a fair amount of time to run, especially as we are approaching spring. Fortunately most of the work is done on the computer and I can do my work any time of day or night. Still it has to get done. When we spend a day exploring, the night is spent on the computer. Lately we have had a lot of repeat and referral customers for which I am really thankful. Two customers ordered their fifth sail from us, which makes me feel really good. Our customers are making our lifestyle possible and I cannot express enough appreciation to those sailors who are spread around the world and sticking with us for their sail needs.

Vessel Name: Exit Strategy
Vessel Make/Model: Amel Maramu
Hailing Port: San Francisco
Crew: Dave and Jean

Adventures aboard Exit Strategy

Who: Dave and Jean
Port: San Francisco