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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!