Well we have been in paradise for just about two weeks now and it is about time I have updated the blog! Our flight was lovely watching the sunrise and the snow disappear as we travelled south. It was especially spectacular as we flew over the Grand Canyon…..the rising sun reflecting off the tips of the canyon walls. We took the bus from Puerto Vallarta to
Mazatlan as our bags were too heavy for the small plane( I wonder why!) But it went smoothly and by midnight we were tucked in on “Full & By” The next day saw us and the entire country buying groceries, where we serendipitously ran into Ian and Ellen of “Kasasa”. They had just stopped in to get a few groceries and were about to leave town but we talked them into staying another night so we celebrated New Years Eve together….Ellen making delicious enchiladas which we all enjoyed. The next few days we spend getting ready to head south, further provisioning, finishing up our glass port light replacement project, reworking are old sun awning to properly fit so we can finally put it to use and reorganizing the boat. It was great to see everybody, renew old friendships and get reacquainted and reconnected with as many cruising friends.
Once the above was completed we were ready to go but the weather decided not to cooperate and it seemed every time we checked the weather it was yet another week before conditions would be right. Eventually the window came …..our friends decided SUNDAY was the day however I was wavering between leaving Sunday with them and going on our own on the Monday. Although the seas were to be calmer on the Monday the winds were forecast to be the same both days Eventually about an hour before departure I decided we should go with our friends. We were first out of the marina entrance into the swell and as prepared as we thought we were, we were not!! The cupboard with the eggs opened and two eggs fell onto the counter, broke and ran down into the fridge and down the side. With the next big wave everything on the nav table went flying onto the floor including the navigation computer which lost the battery in the process of taking flight! Things that had been left on the settee also landed on the cabin floor and were sliding side to side including all the settee cushions we had forgotten to tie in! In our haste to leave we had also neglected to bungee down our lantern and fruit net both of which swung wildly in the mayhem and it wasn’t long before limes and apples joined the melee on the cabin sole. Anyway eventually we got some sail out and managed to get on course and then the fun began with our auto helm. We have used our autohelm in the past in large following seas but this time it was a no go…..hand steering was the only option. So while one of us steered the boat the other one went below to deal with the mess ……. within the hour all was cleaned up and believe it or not the computer still worked….a good advertisement for a five year old Toshiba! Unfortunately our auto helm continued not to work so we had a long night spelling each other off every two hours. Out friends were experiencing similar issues but seemed to have things under control. They were sailing and so were slower…we on the other had were motorsailing trying to make as much southerly progress as possible knowing we would be worn out from hand steering. Before long we were ten to twelve miles ahead. By midnight the seas started to diminish and we were both well into our passage making rhythm. The stars were spectacular as there was no moon interfering with our night vision and this made it easier for Dick to steer….as for me I find it easier to use the compass. It was about this time that we lost radio contact with one of our friends. It turned out they were having alternator problems…. eventually they were able to make sufficient repairs at sea to carry on under their own power. Our last radio transmission around 1:00AM with our friends said they were heading for Mantenchen Bay. It wasn’t long after that we realized we were too far ahead to hear their transmissions. We initially thought we would head straight for Puerto Vallarta and that was the plan we had last shared however by morning when we calculated out that it would take us another 18 hours to get to PV and that in half that time we could be in Mantenchen Bay swimming, sleeping and having nice quiet meal at anchor, the decision was made…… On to Mantenchen Bay we went. As we were not longer in radio range with our friends we were unable to let them know our new plan.
Day two was a beautiful day with a few morning clouds that cleared away as the sun rose, the seas were calm almost glassy.. By three in the afternoon we dropped the hook into 15 feet of relatively clear water. Within ten minutes we both jumped in the eighty degree water for a refreshing swim followed by a short kayak trip to visit the two other boats anchored nearby in the bay. Showers in the cockpit were followed by dinner on the grille and by early evening we were falling asleep sitting up (we are good at that!) very ready for bed but there was still no sign of our friends. We tried one last time on the radio and then hit the sack.
At sunrise we looked out across the bay and there they were…they had arrived around 9:00PM the night before long after we were tucked in and producing ZZZZZ’s I think they were as surprised to see us as we were them, but it was good to finally be reconnected, all sharing the previous nights tales. We all decided to have a short sail that day, only 20 miles to Chacala a picturesque lovely small bay beach community and have swims and dinner out. We left a little ahead of the others and managed to fly our spinnaker for a couple of hours as the winds were light and in the perfect direction…it was fun to have the sail out of the bag as I think it has been at least two years since it last saw daylight.
A humpback mother and calf surfaced right in front of us as we entered the bay. By 1:00 pm we were anchored and playing in the warm clear blue water. It was beautiful.
Later on after our friends arrived we all went ashore for libations and a fabulous meal…. a perfect day followed by an equally prefect evening…….What a difference a day makes!
Day 3 we were up and on our way by 0800…… auto seemed to be working again and we were treated to many frolicking whales in and round the boat…! The seas were clam with little to no wind so motored dodging our way around long lines of fish hooks connected by plastic coke bottles! In the bight sunshine reflecting off the water they can be difficult to spot. However we all of us were watching and alerting each other, we did mange to avoid being snagged. We rounded the corner into Banderas Bay and had yet another three whales under the boat and then auto quit again….at least at that point we only had two hours to go so we could easily steer the remainder of the trip.
Once back in La Cruz we were greeted another group of cruising friends we hadn’t seen since last season. And even better friends Chris & Gerry on “Misty Michael” arrived in the marina the next day so it was a great reunion. Dick quickly went to work on auto and with the help of another cruising friend Terry on “Harmony Anacortes” they quickly solved the problem and made the repairs.
One of our outings to Bucerias we decided to participate in the blessing of the fleet ....it was a crowded very noisy experience but lots of fun.
The Mexican Banda/mariachi bands compete to see who's the best and they often play at the same time. It was especially nice to see the dressed up riders on their dancing horses which dance to the banda music.
We choose not to stay to see the fireworks! They have special frames that the attach to peoples backs that have thousands of fireworks rigged to go off...we watched them being put together and although it may have been interesting to watch it looked too much like a darwin award in the making!!
After trips to Costco, Mega, Home Depot and Wall Mart we are now ready to leave and once again we have been delayed by weather but finally tomorrow afternoon looks like our day to go.