Monday, March 17, 2014

True North February 19 – 28: Visitors from Seattle and Back to La Cruz

A couple of adventure seekers made their way from Seattle to Barra de Navidad to spend a week with us along the Costalegre. Being experienced salts, Marcia and Lance came with all the essentials: mask, fins, snorkel and swim suits. We eagerly laid out an itinerary of special places to sail. Their introduction to cruising Mexico was to first sample the soft side of marina life at the beautiful pool.

"Our" resort at Barra de Navidad
They got to relax just long enough to check out the water slides while acquiring new tans; soon after we left the dock behind to begin serious wandering at sea. We sailed 30 nm north from Barra towards Chamela so we could anchor out and swim from the boat in the clear, warm water. It was a little windy from the north so we anchored at the more protected Perula on the first night, then moved over to the clear waters of Isla Pajarera for the second night.
Marcia and Anne on beach excursion near Isla Pajerara
Crystal clear, refreshing water, as promised! We raised the sails whenever we caught a decent minimum breeze of 8 or 9 knts. Marcia fished patiently, bringing in a couple of skipjacks, one of which landed on the grill.
Marcia and her first Skpijack
Not to be outdone, Lance snagged a really big one 'but he got away', breaking the line and taking the lure with it, as usual!
Lance trying to land The Big One
We spent the next two nights at Tenacatita so we could snorkel at the Acquarium one bay over, joined by Unleashed, and then see the crocs in La Manzanilla.
True North's crew at La Manzanilla
All of a sudden our time was up and we were back in Barra for their departure. It was a lot of fun to spend the time together and it made us happy to share the Mexico cruising experience with them.

Back at the docks in Barra, we met up with Sand Dollar. There were a half dozen or more boats waiting for a good weather window to sail north around Cabo Corrientes and back to Banderas Bay, 130 nm away and an overnighter. Some had already positioned themselves at Chamela, 30 nm to the north. The Sand Dollar crew woke up sick on departure day so decided to wait a day. We sailed out of Barra because of a very favorable weather window and continued under sail for seven hours, with a welcome and unusual southeasterly breeze. As the afternoon waned, so did the wind, so we powered up and motored through the night.
Sunset, approaching Cabo Corrientes
The night sky was brilliant with stars though no moon. During the night we caught up with a few boats that had left from Chamela and we kept their lights in view most of the way, rounding Cabo Corrientes around 0600. It was calm, cool, and damp. A few hours later, whales in the distance signaled the entrance to Banderas Bay, and we had a glorious sail in the afternoon breeze for our final ten miles to the marina.

The first night back in La Cruz brought some familiar boats together for the evening. We met at Antipodes for appetizers; then, men's/ladies night out! The women hung out on Antipodes for a long while before stepping out for Italian food which we brought back to the dock to share with Appa. The men, however, hit the tequila bar... and they all kept a very low profile the following morning.

Marina, malecon and anchorage, La Cruz
We were happily reacquainted with two boats that we hadn't seen since La Paz: Roundabout II, a boat from Vancouver that's going to do the Pacific Puddle Jump, and Finisterra, a boat we met in Alamitos Bay while making our way down the California coast. They're cruising Mexico for the second time and had given us a few tips on places to visit in Mexico. In the meantime, Unleashed, Resolution, L'Ange and Sand Dollar arrived.
Marina La Cruz organized a life raft demo in the water. First, they showed a film of a coast guard rescue of a boat that had been in the 2007 Ha-Ha and had sunk after hitting a whale. It sank in just 5 minutes! The all-women crew and instructor sent their May-Day call, had their ditch bag ready with flares, executed a perfect life raft deployment, and all were safely rescued. The in-water exercise demoed how to deploy a raft and get into it from the water without capsizing it, and then boaters could practice doing it, something that isn't as easy as one might think.

Life raft demo, Marina La Cruz
March is busy in Banderas Bay! With many regattas scheduled, boats come and go from all over throughout the month. We had wanted to spend a few days at the Paradise Village Marina for a change but couldn't get a reservation. So, we took the bus over for a day to check it out on foot. We ran into Capricorn Cat, another Ha-Ha boat, and gained easy access to the village grounds. The big attractions at two of the many swimming pools that line the sandy beachfront are the crocodile slides.

Gregg in the cocodrilo slide, Paradise Village
They are quite tall and the landings in the pool are smooth...gleeful fun and not just for kids! We stopped by the Vallarta YC before leaving and tried out their impressive house specialty: mocojete.
Mocojete at Vallarta Yacht Club
The constant sun and heat gave way to another boat project: shade! A huge canvas boom tent had come with the boat but didn't fit right. It needed an adjustment to fit around the backstay and a way to keep it extended at the sides. After walking the docks and looking at all the possibilities, Roundabout seemed to have the best solution. We found canvas man Luis in La Cruz to do the job. What a difference!
True North in La Cruz with her newly fitted boom tent

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