Passage to Puerto Vallarta
June – October
We spent most of the summer in La Paz enjoying the people, culture and slow pace of life! Carol finally found paddle board/yoga class and salsa lessons, and Craig found Harker Board, a beach front restaurant that served great food and cold IPA’s. As the summer heated up, we sailed to Caleta Partida where we anchored and enjoyed swimming and visiting with friends. In August, we hopped a flight back to the USA to see our kids (in Portland) and helped our boys with a remodeling project on their home.It was great to visit and catch up with our kids! In October we flew back to LaPaz and began preparing Windcutter for the trip to Puerto Vallarta.
November 7, 2013
We set sail at noon on November 7th.
The weather was overcast with rain patches along the way. Winds were only 4 knots and seas were 3-5ft. Wind increased to 8 knots by afternoon and we were able to sail a little. We decided to anchor that first night in Ensenada de Los Muertos and got in just as the sun was setting. We had been here before (when we sailed the Sea of Cortez) and knew it had a good sandy bottom. We watched a beautiful sunset (the clouds had left us) and slept well.
The next day, we set sail for Los Frailes. Craig wanted to get a good night sleep there before diving into our first “solo” overnight passage (towards Matzatlan). We dropped anchor in Bahia Los Frailes mid afternoon. The weather was a beautiful, the winds were 7-10 but the bay was calm. We had a romantic dinner (and toasted to our first overnight passage…just the two of us). We decided to set sail the following day at sunrise. But as the sun dropped, the winds and seas picked up! Soon, our quiet, little anchorage became a roller coaster ride! Our boat was “rockin and rollin” and continued all night. Too late to move now, Craig got little sleep worrying that the anchor might drag and by morning was exhausted!
In the morning, the seas died down, and the NE winds picked up to 18 knots.. perfect for sailing! Sleepy eyed, we set sail towards Mazatlan. We made great time that day(averaging 7 knots without the engine) and kept full sail up the entire way. That night, we shared a 4 hour on/off night shift (actually, I gave the captain a few more since he didn’t sleep the night before) and we gleefully marveled at the perfect sailing conditions! The star lit sky that night ( combined with a warm breeze) was magical! I thanked God for this awesome experience and quietly hoped we’d get to do this for a long, long time!
By morning, the wind was still on our tail! Rested, we were delighted that we hadn’t used our engine and decided we should take advantage of these perfect conditions and keep on sailing (sailers sail, right?) We reset our coarse towards Isla Isabella hoping to make landfall by evening. But as the day went on, the wind shifted and we slowed down..way down! By the time we reached Isla Isabella, it was dark! Having been warned of the rocky anchorage (and excessive fishing nets along the way) we decided it wise to head out to sea and pass this island. We reset our coarse for La Cruz de Huanacaxtle where we planned to meet up with old friends from Ensenada. We shared the 4on/4off shift again during the night and motor sailed the last few hours.
We arrived in La Cruz around 3pm. La Cruz is a quaint little town with wonderful charm. Cobblestone streets, colorful buildings and great music are some of the assets of La Cruz! We met up with old sailing friends and had a wonderful time enjoying the food, markets, and entertainment in La Cruz. While the marina is expensive, it is well organized with fun events for cruisers and close in proximity to the town. We had a wonderful time strolling around town, checking out the awesome entertainment, and finding good restaurants. But on day four, a red tide moved in. Soon, our charming little marina was covered with dead fish and smelled like a junk yard! While the staff was doing their best to clean it up, we decided we would move on to another marina and return to this quaint, creative, little town once the red tide was gone!
We sailed across the bay to Paradise Village Marina located at the five star Paradise Village Resort and Spa. Right away, we were greeted with a engraved banana leaf that boasted our boats name. This marina is amazing. Nestled in a tropical jungle, there are several swimming pools, jacuzzis, beaches, tennis courts, restaurants, shopping and wildlife preserve as well as golf coarse within walking distance. Puerto Vallarta is a short bus or taxi trip away. Within a few days, we spotted several Iquanas and some crocodiles (signs warn you not to feed them)! However, I nicknamed this place, “Bally-world” as it is more like a vacation resort for mega-yachties and arm chair vacationers. . While it has been fun to visit the spa, yacht club, shop at the mall and visit the casino (not to gamble, but to watch football), I think I prefer the small town atmosphere of LaCruz! When in Mexico….be in Mexico (Paradise feels more like Newport Beach, or California to me…we left that, remember)? But that’s just my opinion! For now, we will enjoy all the comforts of “home” as Craig has a few “Boat maintenance” items to address and then we will return to a more eclectic atmosphere elsewhere!
Well, that’s all the news for now…! Please forgive me for being lax on posting! I prefer to write after we’ve sailed somewhere because in my mind this is a “Sailing Blog” not a “Land Blog”. However, I have made a new commitment to update this Blog at least once a month (around the 1st of each month) so those of you who don’t hear from us won’t worry!
Future plans include another trip to the USA to see the family, and to get a few last minute items for our planned “Puddle-Jump” trip (to the French Polynesian Islands) in March. We also hope to do some more sailing around here before we “jump” (possibly return to Isla Isabel and Chacala which we hear is beautiful).
We will keep you posted!
Carolina (my new spanish name….)