Ambassadors for all we America was. Apologists for all America is.

Archive for March, 2014

What is buddy boating … ?

You have heard term ‘buddy boating’ in your travels, I am sure.  We had.  But, what does it mean?  Everyone you ask has a different sense of the obligations–if any– it implies.

Seems the term signifies, at least, a relationship between travel companions and a certain care for the other boat.  You, at the very least, expect to (1) stay in contact while traveling, (2) meet up whenever you are in the same locale, (3) share plans and time lines, (4) share resources like trip planning, harbor entry, dealing with port captains, sometimes arranging a slip for the other boat if you are the lead boat that day.

It seems to imply a similar style of sailing and perhaps a recognition that both boats share common speed, sea worthiness, equipage, and a philosophy of sailing vs. motoring vs. efficiency vs. fun or pleasure in a day’s sail vs. a day traveling under engine power.

It is distinguishable from events like the Baja Ha Ha in that there is no organizational overreaching goal or mercantile interest pushing an agenda forward.  In the Ha Ha there are many boats and few buddies.  Or to many, there are a 150 buddy boats.  It depends entirely on your relationship with other boat(s) and their owner/crews.  Unlike the Ha Ha, buddy boating is wrote small rather than sailing as a group wrote large.

At its best, it is a bond a lot (or in some cases identical to) like friendship.  Maybe a better term would be “Friend Ships”.

We have had the pleasure of sailing for the last 4 weeks or so with Senta II.  We knew them from La Paz as friends before we made plans to sail with them .  To a large degree, the got us off our butts to go south again.  We know each other.  We know each other’s history, likes, worries, political ideology,  motives for sailing, for leaving the US behind on this voyage of discovery and escape.  We know each other’s boats.

You get to know the other boat from close interactions as you sail, anchor, sit at a slip, wait on the other boat, pick up parts for the other boat.  Or, as they wait on you.  Hear of your troubles putting back to sea and try to let you catch up.

You learn what the others like to drink. what kind of food, entertainment, places they might like.  You learn what they hope to see as they travel south.  You go places you might not go alone, because it gives them pleasure as well.   You talk, plan, dream, sail, anchor, and always keep thoughts on your life compass .  You know the one; it’s “the compass that does not point north”.

Their voice wakes you in the small hours of the night watch … at a harbor entrance … when there is a problem … and, sometimes, when there is just a need to talk to someone who cares.

Senta II left Barra Navidad three days ago.  We did not.

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We had all planned on traveling to Puerto Chiapas together.  The next jump was Manzanillo and then Zihuateneo , then a bay near Acapulco.  But, we have taken a look at Barra and said to ourselves –and now to them– that this is as far as we want to sail … for now.

This came as much of a surprise to them as it was to us.  We only made the decision after supper on the night before we were all to leave.  We couldn’t tell them till that morning as we were all having breakfast and coffee and waiting for the French Baker to come around with the goodies to the marina.

Nancy seemed less surprised … seems she sensed we were liking Barra Navidad from all our discussions about whether or not we might come back here, if the trip south did not yield the kind of place we were looking for.

To a degree, it is also because we have been sailing for a about a month and we are feeling a little rushed .. beat up … and a place to sleep safely at night might be fun again.  Not necessarily a slip.  Even a safe anchorage would be nice.

And to a degree, it is the result of discussions between Carolyn and myself about what we were looking for in Mexico.  A fear, maybe, that we might pass it by if we were not careful.  We decided to stay a while and see what life here is like.

So, we have said ‘hasta la vista” to Senta II.  Like aloha, it does not mean goodbye, but rather ’till we see you again’. The phrase has a sense of we will meet again … life goes on … but we will meet again… and that between friends there are no real “goodbyes”.  Sailing has thus made a new kind of relationship for us.  This seems to be a state of expectation rather than remorse at a loss.  There is no loss.  And no one is diminished by the parting.

Fair winds … following seas, Senta … Think of us … and occasionally look behind you … we might be back there again.

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Sailing to Barra Navidad

This post was just an excuse to put up this new pic of Spiritus.  It is really the first one of her under full sail we have had in almost three years.  Last one was in Yaquina Bay in Newport, Oregon.  It is really hard to get pictures of your own boat under sail … this is what she looks like now.  Also the first one that shows her ‘new’ North Sail sails … now two and a half years old.

DSC_1760Photo Courtesy of Sven and Nancy on Senta II

Sailing Weather … or why do we leave perfectly safe anchorages?

This is a bit of a story about the sail and motor to Barra Navidad from Chemela.  It is a tale of surprises … enjoyable sailing … entering a new harbor … and why you should never say to your wife … “great day, it is only 45 miles or so … should be a walk in the park.”

It was a great day of sailing even in retrospect.  But great sailing does not necessarily mean … easy sailing.  For 7 or so hours, we alternately motored, sailed, played with the sail set up … even sailing with only a mizzen sail and part of the furled foresail for a while.  Great hands on for Carolyn in mild conditions.

We had time to take pictures of our friend’s boat, Senta II and they got some nice shots of Spiritus.  Big smiles all around.

The last hour is another story all together.  We have a small air leak into the fuel system we have been unable to isolate.  But, it is so slow that every three or four days of motor sailing or maybe 30 hours or so, the fuel in the Racor filter drops as air builds up in the filter.  Not a real problem, take a little fuel from the containers on deck and top off the filter and reseal, and we are good for another 30 hours or so. We stopped and did this early on this trip just as a good habit in case later we needed the engines under pressure or at speed.  Just in case!

This last hour also brings up the question of weather forecasting in sailing.  What is its function.  I will start with the premise that it is almost never accurate.  Add swell size and direction and Merlin himself could not produce a report that would come close to the day you individually find on the surface of an ocean or sea.

Last night, we dutifully checked all local weather sources including the new NOAA Mexico and Central America Coastal Report that is currently in beta.  It was relayed by the evening Picante net on the Marine Single Side Band radio we have. Picante net is (I believe) located loosely in Puerto Vallarta.   Forecasts of 6-10 knots of wind from the NW, 4-6 foot swells (direction not available), and clear skies.

Based on this and some weather grib files, we decided to set out no later than 7:30 am for Barra Navidad.  This would in any case put us into the harbor/bay by about 2 pm or so at latest.  Figured even if the wind prognostication was off, we would be nearly there before the winds could build.  “Nearly” turns out to be an important word.

The last hour or so, as we neared the bay, the wind was behind us at about 12 knots, a little higher than I wanted but still very comfortable sailing with just the main and a partial furled head sail.  We were on the engine as we neared the bay and set up to look for the jetty and inlet that marks the Marina entrance on the south end of the long bay.  Swell direction is now from the north west or behind us as we sail to the bay.  Following seas, what feels like 3 foot swell from behind and 12 knots of wind.  Spiritus is in her element in this kind of air.  Carolyn was mostly sailing the boat.

With 12 knots of wind and a full main up, I noticed we were having a small amount of weather helm in the swells as in Spiritus butt was being pushed around by swells passing us.  So, we decided to reef the main while running with the wind, in preparation for turning into the wind to drop both sails.  Reef was a workout but reduced the power of the boat immensely.  Not pretty but workable sail resulted.  Took in the furler most of the way so small head sail as well.  Further reduction in power of boat in wind.

Chop was feeling like it was building.  So I discussed with Carolyn how we would turn across the swells fast and put the nose of the boat in the wind to drop the main.  This was to be done under power since we were close to shore and an entrance to the jetty.

I told her to be prepared to hover in the wind while I went forward and dealt with the main sail.  I truly thought at this point and we discussed, “only using as much engine as necessary to hold us into the wind … probably idle will be sufficient.”

Famous last words.

When we turned her into the wind … boom .. suddenly the waves were breaking on the bowsprit, the point burying itself in each new wave.  The interval was just enough for the boat to nose into each new wave … so maybe 10 seconds or so.  And, the wind seems not at all like 12 knots.  We found out later from Sven on Senta that the wind was at 27 knots when we reversed course.

Hatch over forward berth was open partially (well prepared for a calm days sail) but no time to deal with that.  To hold Spiritus into the waves and wind now took full throttle.  And, we were barely making headway as each wave brought us to a shuddering halt.

I am now wet, and pissed, and a little worried.  The shore is near behind and it is now a lee shore with all the dangers that implies.  My brain is like “What do I do if the engine dies?”  Partial furler and run for the entrance with limited control and little ability to slow or stop.  Hope the still waters of the channel will allow us to slow.  I love furlers for this because the are like accelerators.  But, they are not like reverse power or breaks.  So, there is now an element of danger writ larger.

As the main is dropped, we radio Senta II to be aware that the bay is a little bit of a fist fight once you turn into the wind … and we give them wind conditions and sea state so they will not be surprised.  I didn’t think about the fact they could see our masts dancing in the waves and the large splashed of sea water being hurled skyward with each toss of the bow.

There is a short exchange here on Channel 16 because we don’t have time to change channels.  Senta asked us something and all we could respond (Carolyn) was ” a little busy here”.  The stern of Spiritus was coming up out of the water and the propeller cavitating as it had not water to push … unusual for this boat.

These are not conditions Carolyn has ever had the helm in so … she did not have a big smile for me.  For a 130 lb person, to handle a 1500 lb rudder, to steer a 28,000 lb boat in waves is a workout.  Guess we are not as old as we thought … or as smart.

Anyway, sail down we turn under power to the jetty entrance only to find a rather large power boat coming out.  You have to understand that this jetty and ‘harbor’ entrance is tiny .. I mean photos do not do it justice .. it is a mini marina … small slips … and a narrow channel.  All filled with large power boat … I am committed .. I cannot back up …

He takes on look at the wave state and turns in the channel using thrusters on his own axis and back he goes … “Thank you, baby Jesus!”

We are a little fast 7 knots as we enter the jetty but we need the speed to stay on the swells and have steerage.  Nice calm water …. breathe!

All of the sudden, a panga shoots under our bowsprit … we actually had to reverse engine to keep from overtaking it from the side.  It is full of mom’s and children whose vocabularies is forever enlarged with a nautical color of language.  Another panga is leaving the suddenly here entrance to the marina.  Both are traveling at speeds usually used on the Sea of Cortez for the open sea not the docks and channel. Ok … need to learn new panga customs.

As we are throwing fenders over safety lines … soaking wet … wife scared … boat kind of disorganized … we hear flute music and look up to see tennis balls flying like shuttle cocks on a tennis court next to the channel.  There are children sliding down water slides … people are having margaritas in the water bar at the pool over looking the entrance to the jetty. For some reason, this became a surreal moment in my memory.  I think if we had broached … been swept to the shore … put out a life raft and washed up next to the tennis courts .. neither the music nor the game would have stopped.

Felt like the climbers in the 1920’s movie Shangri La … where all frost bitten and nearly dead … they enter Shangra La through a cave to walk into a radiant … warm …. beautiful climate … while the ice is still in their beards and they are still shivering .. from fear, exhaustion, and surprise.

The conversations on channel 16 had alerted the cruisers at the docks that a boat was having some difficulty entering the jetty so they were (7 or so) on the docks to lend a hand.  Jesus, what a small marina.  I am in a single wide slip … that barely holds Spiritus … the waterway behind us is maybe 55 feet wide … and Spiritus is 47 feet with her pointy bowsprit.  And, while trying to insert her into the slip .. you guessed it … I had three pangas to deal with.  One was ahead of me, one wating just beside me, and one waiting behind me to go out.

Oh, and we still have wind to deal with at the slips.  Spiritus is nose light for some reason and the nose will always blow in the wind (down wind) if she is not moving smartly.  She backs rudely to the right because of prop wash.  If I did not already know all of this I would have had a disaster.  As it was, dancing around all the pangas … we made it into the back of the channel only to find that an open pair of slips was occupied by a dingy (inflatable) and a panga tied cross the back of the slips so both were not useable.  Thankfully my Spanish is not yet sufficient to clearly express frustration … so only the English speakers got an earful.

We hailed Senta II, now entering the jetty, and begged them to hover … turned Spiritus around in the channel and out into the entrance again.  Full circle … let the pangas (water taxis it turns out) clear out.  And, try again.  Got her in this time … no scratches to anyone .. thanked all for the help at the slip.  Asked them not to leave cause another boat was right behind us.

Told Senta II we were safely in and helped catch her lines …  drink  a freaking beer (might have been two)!

I am of the opinion that all weather forecasts do is (if good) give us an excuse to leave the comforts of a good anchorage for the hope of a days sailing.  If bad, the give us the excuse to go …. hmmm … looks like it will be bad out there .. better stay here another day … where it is safe .. comfortable …  non threatening … etc.

In both cases, the forecast will be wrong at some point, or at all points of the day.  Turns out the weather is just, what it is, where you are, till it is something else.

I am really enjoying the Earth Wind map … if you have not looked at it … you should … the illusion that you can see the winds is amazing … hypnotic … calming …

Later, Carolyn asked me if we were really in danger … my answer was ‘no .. but we would have been if the engines had stopped.’  We would have missed both a great days sailing and a very educational and exciting entrance to a new and unfamiliar harbor if we had stayed in Chemela.  We would have missed an adventure … note the small ‘a’ in adventure …. big ‘A’ Adventures are something all together different.


Chamela … a quiet anchorage!

We sailed from Yelapa at about 10 am in the morning so that we could sail thru the night and arrive at Chamela around sunrise.  Wouldn’t you know it .. great sailing … all day 6 knots.  Way ahead of schedule we arrived off the entrance to the bay at about 4:30 am.  I hate entering new anchorages in the dark, especially with the problems with Garmin maps in Mexico.  We checked Heather and Shawn’s GPS data for the entrance and put it into the chart plotter … at least a good on the spot entrance.

Still could not bring myself to go in.It was a full moon (more or less) but it was behind us so it did not light the way in.  And, it set about an hour before dawn behind us.  So we opted to switch to the engine in the still air before dawn and circle till ‘dawn’s first light.”

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The GPS coordinates were dead on but there were two small islands and some rocks I really needed to see to be safe.  It was cold as well … not Oregon cold but colder than you expect in the tropics.  Hooded sweat shirts and sweat-pants cold.  Wait for dawn, knowing the first rays will revive us.

Turns out on radar in the dark, the hit behind us was Senta arriving just before dawn as well.  She was an hour behind us … or maybe five miles back.  We could pick them out on the screen and looking back see them as a green tri-color above the horizon to our west.

The waters in the anchorage were like molten glass in the first light … beautiful and calm.  Set the anchor and (after all night sailing) get some sleep … no wind …. no waves … gentle boat sleep catches us up.

DSC_1746Photo Courtesy Sven and Nancy on Senta II

11:30 am … boat is rocking!   4 foot swells in the anchorage …. 18 knots or so of wind … hmmm.  Set snubber on anchor chain as it is now slamming the windless after each swell.   Not a good sound!

We had headed south from La Cruz, catching up to Nancy and Sven on Senta II (buddy boat) past Yelapa as they came out, and headed for Chamela based on a strong set of weather reports for NW winds for the next several days.  8-10 kts from NW.

We went to sleep in a harbor that is protected form NW winds.  We woke to 18 kts of wind and 4-6 foot swells from the South South West … in other words from the mouth of the bay.  There was not protection whatever from swell and wind from this direction.  $#&$*….???? !!!!!!

An afternoon and evening and part of the night were spent rolling around in the cabin, watching a drift alarm, and checking the snubber and anchor.  We opted not to head for Barra Navidad til weather and wind changed.

Second day, it did.  Forecast 6-10 NW winds and 4-6 foot swells at 19 seconds.  This was from the new NOAA forecast for the Mexican and Central American waters.  Beta … hmmm.  Ok, great prediction …. let’s go!

DSC_1757Photo Courtesy Sven and Nancy on Senta II

Oh!  Did I mention that the anchor windless failed as we were hauling up the anchor?  Not a problem, it also can be hand powered.

Oh, and we figured out a problem we were having with the VHF radio.  The antenna had fallen off in the violent swells at Yelapa.

Oh, and we decided to make water … and the water maker stopped producing water … not such a good start to the sailing day.

But we have a good weather forecast and only 40 miles or so to go.  “Walk in the park”, I told Carolyn as we sailed using only the mizzen and foresail.


Yelapa … “a serene experience” ?

20*29.524’N

105*26.631’W

Yelapa–Well, what can I say?  Yelapa turned out to be everything we had never hoped it would be . . .

All the cruisers’ guides wax eloquently about it.   And, from cruisers in other ports, we had heard about it being an “undiscovered” jewel. . . which, of course, is in-and-of-itself a complete contradiction.  How can any place be undiscovered when it appears in multiple cruisers’ guides sold to thousands of boaters?

But, ‘serene’ is a questionable use of the word (in our opinion) that does not describe Yelapa.  Perhaps more than 10 years ago before they got telephones, computer  reservations, bungalows for tourists,  and water taxis from the Puerta Vallarta Hotels hauling 20-30 touristas at a time to the beach bars and waiting beach loungers.  Maybe a time before the rhythm of the drums beating out Brittany’s “Do it again!”  across the anchorage at 2 am.

On the north-east side of the small bay are the hotel accommodations, small hut-like thatched roof bungalows, very native looking, and very beautiful.  You can watch the stream of Americans and Canadians wander out at 8 a.m. or so to the small dock serving them exclusively.  A water taxi promptly picks up a full load and takes them across the bay to the ‘village’–I am guessing for breakfast.

This is about the same time that a panga, loaded to the scuppers, heads out from the surf with piles of green garbage bags from yesterday’s tourists headed god-knows-where to get rid of it.

Other water taxis start streaming in from the hotels in Puerto Vallarta.  In the central beach area are numerous beach bar/restaurants with dozens of lounge chairs to sit and soak up suds and sun.  Many are occupied even at 11 am in the morning.  More are not.  The beach is literally swept clean of footprints before each new day’s beginning– obliterating any trace of the past day’s throngs.

And all this “pristine”ness is managed without a road to the village … with only burros, boats, and people walking in and out with the supplies.  A hint here, don’t look too closely at Google Earth or it will spoil your sense of isolation.

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It indeed is as undiscovered as say Knott’s Berry Farm, Calico Ghost Town, Dogpatch USA, and Boot Hill in Dodge City.  It is way past undiscovered.  The small village is one vast (not-so- vast) diorama complete with colorful and accurate indigenous costume.

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Perhaps all those other cruisers had sampled a bit of the local Yelapa moonshine, Raicilla (a 90 percent ((not proof that would be a 180 proof)) alcohol made from maguey cactus) when writing about the place.  This alcohol –though hard to come by–tastes like a very good mescal minus the smoky taste …  a very complex high-octane alcohol that could probably double as paint remover.  And perhaps when sailors visited here 20 years ago, it really was a pristine quaint village only accessible by boat (there are still no roads in or out….not a single car in sight).  A pretty beach, a small very deep bay, and a couple of restaurants?……………Hmmmm……. maybe it was completely different before Carlos Slim and the phone company arrived to bring the world to Yelapa.

Well……….that’s all still here………..plus, anchor balls (because it’s gets so impossibly deep so fast) which you can rent for $20 a day…………..plus, modern hotels (constantly full at peak capacity), at least half-a-dozen bars that do rave music till 3 in the morning, parachute gliding around the bay pulled by a souped-up panga, water taxis from Puerto Vallarta–each carrying 20 to 30 passengers in and out all day long, 300 people (all Americans or Canadians) tanning on beach chairs….

And all the while para-gliders drop into the sand from somewhere high nearby.  And, lest we forget the future of all Mexico’s anchorages … a power boat fires up its engines and begins lifting an adventurous grandma-type tourista in a parachute into the air behind it.

I have to admit, this is the most beautiful small bay I have ever seen.  It evokes feelings of the Pacific, of Mexico, of the islands and shores we dream of.  It assaults the senses with drums (not jungle drums but drums).  But, like many searchers for paradise … we have arrived decades too late.

It must be a blast for anyone craving that type of experience, but we will be moving on……….

DSC_1690aPhoto courtesy Nancy and Sven on Senta II

Our enthusiasm for the Pacific Coast of Mexico is not diminished……but it was certainly an education in how not to read a cruisers’ guide. . .

A final note and cautionary note:  This is an acceptable anchorage if (1) you use the mooring balls, and (2) you are keenly aware of weather, and (3) you are also aware that the balls are in many places too close together for a boat longer than 36-39 feet.  We were there two nights and on night one, we had to move from one set of balls to another in the dark (not fun in the swells).  On night two, a 50 foot or so sailboat and a power yacht attached to the ball next to it (may have been the same one we were on the night before) had a close encounter of the unpleasant kind.  Lots of light suddenly popping on, boats being moved, and a power boat leaving the harbor hastily late at night.

The panga drivers who rent you the ball will take your money, do not expect a refund if it does not work out well for you and your boat.  Also, we were told, and this is evidently common to call on a channel if there was a problem.  We did.  No response.  Ch 16, no response.  Ch 22, no response.  The lesson here is don’t be fooled.  You are far from help in a difficult anchorage.  I would not have stayed had it not been for the mooring balls.  So, there is good and bad.  The good is the panga operator who was out late and saw our difficulty and pitched in to move us to his mooring ball.  He was a god send.  His only request was that we tell the initial panga operator that “we had asked him to move us” so that there would be no bad feelings.

We only moved after holding off a 44 footer with the boat hook from slamming into our solar array on the stern of the boat.  Made for an exciting night of anchor maneuvering.  And, we paid for two anchorages, the one we used and the one we didn’t.  We chalked that second cost up to sailing education on use of mooring balls and night anchoring.


Leaving La Cruz ($ Ka ching) … headed to Yelapa and points further south!

Don’t have much to say about La Cruz.  We have been here only 10 days or so.

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Very nice docks and marina but I would call it a restless marina.  I have never had my fenders untie themselves more frequently.  And, I have actually had anchorages with less bounce-around than these docks.  Still, nice staff and good facilities.  Here, you pay extra for water and electricity; trash and the pump out of your holding tank are free (meaning you already paid for it as part of your fee); the internet sucks unless you go to the common room and sit with everyone else.  No hardline hook up so speed is mediocre at best.  Banda Anchas work fine but TELCEL has been semi-blocking Skype for the last two months in Mexico so that limits a very useful tool for staying in touch with family around the world.  Guess, like all good little capitalists, they figured out that people who were using Skype were getting too good a deal for what they were paying.  Cure= limit access.

The town has great expat clubs if that is your thing.  Great small restaurants.  A long ride on bus-like taxis for 8 pesos to get to Mega, Chedraui, and Puerto Vallarta.  Endless problems with ATM machines.  Not joking here or repeating rumor …. couple of dozen cruisers’ cards were compromised last weekend in La Cruz  Hint:  Only use one attached to a bank … during the bank hours … limit use of credit cards to an absolute minimum.

No local TELCEL offices to recharge the IPad, so Kiosko will substitute but they don’t know anything about IPads so you buy the “minutes” and then call tech support to convert them to 3G data packets for the iPad.  Failure to remember this will mean that your iPad will use all the minutes in a day or so and you are out $400 pesos.

A very different group of sailors.  The affluent on vacation or sabbatical or working from abroad.  The restless headed further south.   And , my favorite … the Puddle Jumpers who bring kids and life to any marina.  There are more kids on boats per square foot here than I have seen in any marina so far.  A breath of life .. literally.

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The Saturday Market on the marina walkway.  See the picture below … several .. to get a sense of scale.  The sheer numbers of expats from US and Canada makes this event huge.  You can buy almost any kind of local produce, foods, hats, t-shirts, sweets (American style), pizza, and watch or participate in the yoga in the circle … a great couple of hours in the early morning sun … runs from 8 am to 5 pm so no hurry.  This was definitely worth doing.

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It is held beside the local fish market … and next to the fishermen docks … great buys on tuna … the steaks of tuna are literally cut off the fish that was just carried up the dock to the tienda.  Fresh tuna is just one of the things that you learn in Mexico that shows you what people used to taste before canned tuna.

Have been thru (and are going thru) the Puerto Capitan process again for first time in a year and a half.  Lots of paperwork.  Certain order things have to happen in and a sense that you need to get it right.  Very helpful staff in the Captain’s office make it less confusing.

Marina La Cruz was one of the marinas hard hit in the TIP sweeps by AGACE.  So, paperwork is inspected to make sure it is flawless.  No one wants to have a repeat of the ‘seized boats’ event made so famous in Latitude 38.  The ‘Free Profligate’ writings of the magazine helped in some ways and did not help in others.  Self interest is a wonderful thing in print.  Emphasis now seems to be shifting back to making sure everyone signs up for next (this) year’s Baja Ha Ha 2014 … and away from Mexico is not a good place to take your boat.  For those of us already in Mexico (for the most part) it was a non-event.  Though, if  the writings in Latitude 38 and the South_bound Group in Yahoo Groups had any good effect, it was to make everyone go thru their paperwork (or get some) and double check everything.  Made some aware that, indeed, they were in a foreign country and had to follow the laws.  So, maybe this was all a good thing.  Some boats still remain in limbo after many have been released.  Haven’t seen Latitude 38 say much about what the remaining problems are that some boats have … their interest as a journal of sailing seems to be waning now that their boat, ‘Profligate’ has been cleared.

We are waiting on engine parts due Saturday (tomorrow) afternoon after we leave so we may be returning on Monday am to get them from Yelapa.  It is only 18 miles or so.  We should be spending the night there, then following Sven and Nancy on Senta II south.

Truth to tell, La Cruz was not our kind of place.

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Puerto Vallarta has already been discovered by tens of thousands … La Cruz is in the midst of that now … as the marina fills up with high priced day-fishing boats and large yachts, tour boats for college kids, and power boats that are lavish in details … the need to serve cruisers will dwindle cause we don’t spend as much per day as the fishing types.  Welcome to another Cabo San Lucas in 10 years, maybe less.  You can already hear the music at night as you try to drift off …

Many will like it but (IMHO) it already seems too developed.  We have events, an entertainment director, movies in the outside theatre at the marina, lectures, workshops,  Yoga … has the feel of some kind of hotel where you sail your room up to the docks and talk to the concierge.  All your needs are provided for.  As always, cost is no object.  A bit upscale from Marina La Paz.  Very comparable to Marina Palmira in La Paz … upscale, new, further from everything but modern.  Marina La Cruz suffers from the same limitations and shares the same successes.  It is new!

And is has one very tangible good thing …. it has an anchorage … an anchor out.  You can get showers, water, pump outs (all at a cost) and still anchor out for a few dollars a day.

We are still intrigued that slips in marinas cost two to three times what we paid in Oregon, USA.  That should be budgeted if you are coming south.  Anchorages are good, and though not everywhere, can save you a fair amount of money transiting.  Still, every so often , you need to get power, water, clean the boat, spend a night not worried about drift alarms, shop for food, and generally take a few says off from sailing.  Just be prepared to pay a premium for the rest.

Bandaras Bay seems to have great local sailing.  Two afternoons ago we watched 8 boats leave the anchorage under sail … about 15 minutes apart … great line of sails … beautiful in the morning sun.  Great afternoon winds here are predictable.

One of the things I have started to notice here is a phenomenon related to charts and exchanging, selling, or throwing away charts.  We decided to get rid of all of our charts of the Pacific West Coast of the US because , frankly, we are not going back there.  We noticed that this is common in sailors.  Here, you hear cruisers headed north getting rid of their southern Mexico and Central America charts, sailors headed south are getting rid of their Sea of Cortez charts ( we kept the three we had from there on the remote change we might revisit La Paz).  Puddle jumpers just wanted Central America and then the South Pacific Charts … people who had returned from the South Pacific in the last few years were letting go of their charts if they thought they would never go back.   And some who were letting go of charts for both North and South …. not sure what that means.

DSC_1662Photo Courtesy Nancy and Sven on Senta II

Interesting little microcosm about sailors going somewhere and those going nowhere!

With our engine now dependable, we are looking forward to the trip south.  Goodbye, La Cruz!