Wednesday, March 28, 2012

That was the week that was....

Ah, well, it is a boat after all.  Cruising is defined by some as "boat maintenance in exotic places."  Last week, on our way to Punta de Mita we noticed great difficulty steering the boat, even though we were under sail.  We did drop anchor and spend a few nights there before returning to La Cruz.  However during our return trip the steering problem became a huge issue -- Roy knew he had a BIG job to do: get in back of the motors and find out what happened to the steering cables.  This is no small feat.  For those who know our boat, the steering cables are essentially under the back steps.  There's a small area he can barely shimmy down through and then duck his head under and in true contortionist form, feel around for the cables.  After two days of abusing his body in this manner, he fixed the cable that had slipped and become disconnected.  As though this wasn't enough, our water heater developed a leak that needed instant attention.  Sooooooo, last Friday and Saturday was major boat work time.   Luckily by Sunday we had a few hours to enjoy the local Farmer's Market where local artisans display and sell their wares, along with food vendors -- a nice place to meet people, grab a snack or lunch, and just plain enjoy being in La Cruz.  Then on Sunday evening the International Travel Associates annual meeting had its opening event right here in the La Cruz marina.  The entertainment was spectacular: aerial dancers, fabulous mariachis, singers and dancers all night long, ending with a 30-minute spectacular fireworks display around midnight.

On Monday we had a chance to attend a soiree at Ensemble, a local tapas and wine bodega, featuring Geo, a musician that excels in violin and guitar.  We had enjoyed his music at the Black Forest Restaurant back in January when he played with Latcho and Andrea and were delighted to have a chance to hear his solo performance.

Then last evening, several of the best musicians in La Cruz performed a benefit concert here in the Marina amphitheater where they also  had a premier showing of a travel documentary filmed by a German travel writing couple that featured La Cruz.  They did much of their filming in January when we were here and Roy is briefly seen in one shot at the Black Forest Restaurant during their filming of Latcho, Andrea and Geo.

So, our departure for Mazatlan is still on hold --- more later.

~~~ Marlene ~~_/) ~~

skype: sfwoman
boat e-mail:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

La Cruz is intoxicating.

Sunday we, along with many other cruisers, went to Los Arroyos Verde, a beautiful botanical garden resort with a swimming pool, restaurant, gorgeous gardens plus free transportation to and from.  Lupe, the owner, is a local who spent years sailing in Mexico and has always enjoyed mixing with us cruisers from up north.  Her resort has several casitas for rent, all beautifully  decorated, cooled by shade trees -- can't say enough about this beautiful spot.

Monday was shopping day at Mega, down the road a bit, and Horacio and his crew finished working on the boat.  That evening we saw a movie upstairs at restaurant The Octopuses Garden: South of the Border, directed by Oliver Stone.  He interviewed Presidents from several countries in Latin America.  It's pretty eye-opening and gives viewers lots of "food for thought."  There is no charge for movies here -- we just bought some beverages; some folks ordered food.

Then yesterday we went with friends to see the new movie "This Means War" at a huge movie complex associated with a new mall.  It cost only 27 pesos each (approx. $2.50 U.S.).  Pretty entertaining.  Then last night at 5 p.m., this being Tuesday, we picked up a large assortment of fresh veggies from the store next to Philo's.  The produce we get there is fresher than any we've ever bought anywhere.  We'll certainly miss it when we head out of Banderas Bay.

As I write this, Roy is getting the boat ready to leave the marina.  We'll spend the night at Punta de Mita at anchor, around 5 or 6 miles from here, at the northwest tip of Banderas Bay.  As of now, the plan is to return to the La Cruz anchorage sometime Friday.

~~~ Marlene ~~_/) ~~

skype: sfwoman
boat e-mail:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Dinghy wheels and Cabo Corientes

The dinghy wheels were picked up on Tuesday and installed Wednesday morning.  Hal and Kathy on Airborne were just as excited as us to try them out, so we made plans to go to shore on Wednesday afternoon and then get together for dinner.  Dinner worked out, but the plan to go to shore was scuttled because of high surf.   We gathered on Damiana for dinner, sharing a wonderful potluck -- a very nice way to spend our last evening in Santiago.

We weighed anchor on Thursday at 6:45 a.m. and headed north.  Weather forecasts for getting all the way around Cabo Corientes looked good so we decided to give it a try.  There were a few places along the way where we could stop if conditions worsened: Tenacatita, Chamela and Ipala.  After 11 hours at sea we neared Chamela in relatively calm seas and wind so we continued on.  Several boats had the same idea, some came all the way from Santiago and a few more joined the fleet in Chamela.  About an hour north (really west) the seas acted up.  The swell wasn't too bad, but the period between them was more like 4 seconds rather than the usual 10-14 seconds, making for a choppy ride for about 4 hours.  The wind remained calm, however, never getting above 12 kts, and that only a few times.  By early morning we were in Banderas Bay and back at the La Cruz marina by noon.  Our rounding of Cabo Corientes was one of our most successful ones --- ever.

Horacio and his crew are cleaning the bottom and the decks today.  The weather here is gorgeous, sunny with a thin marine layer breaking up as I write this, and so far and 78 in the salon at 10 a.m.  Plans for tonight include "Tacos in the Street" with a few other cruisers.

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

skype: sfwoman
boat e-mail:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Rescued by Airborne

Not us, the dinghy!  During the past several days we've had several successful landings and launchings of the dinghy at a place on the beach pointed out to us by Kathy and Hal on svAirborne.  Saturday we went into town and returned to our parking place on the beach with several bags of groceries.  Our friend Kathy noticed that one of our dinghy wheels was quite flat.  We were really bummed out.  Not only are our wheels too small and we knew we had to replace them with larger ones (being held for us in LaPaz), but now our dinghy was useless!

Well, yesterday we dinghied over to their boat to look at a wheel which they had purchased here in Manzanillo to see if their wheel could fit our dinghy.  After several measurements and lots of conversation we all agreed that we should give it a try.  Hal and Kathy offered to pick us up at 9 a.m. this morning, and that all of us would walk up to the bus, go to the wheel store and buy two wheels, then go the machinist shop where they had their axle made and arrange for axles to be made for us.  And that is what we did.  We never would have found these resources on our own -- we are so grateful to them for spending all day with us, running around town to rescue our dinghy.  Not only today, but we'll repeat our steps tomorrow afternoon to pick up the axles along with the wheels which we left for the machinist to ensure correct measurement.

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


We left Las Hadas anchorage on Friday morning, March 2.  There's limited space there plus lots of jet ski action on most weekends.  Manzanillo celebrated Carvaval over that weekend, so we thought it would be a little quieter over here in Santiago.  We enjoyed a real treat on our short motor boat ride.  There had been reports that a mother and baby whale were in our area.  Well, we saw both mother and baby frolicking in the water, the baby's tail flipping, looking like the baby was doing practice dives.  All too soon we turned the corner and they continued moving slowly southward.

On Saturday we went into town and met Linda and MJ for lunch at Juanito's, visited the Farmer's Market, purchased a cooked chicken and got home by 5 p.m. -- a very pleasant day.

Generator maintenance -- Roy's hobby -- consumed most all day Sunday and yesterday we took a very long walk along the beach, starting early in the cool of the morning.  We landed and launched the dinghy in front of the palapas (restaurants) on the beach and it was the best we've done, so far -- neither us, nor the dinghy, got soaked.

We're now in the "waiting for weather" mode.  It's getting time to head north into the Sea of Cortez, however we must first round Cabo Corientes.  High winds and seas are expected to persist throughout this week.  By week's end, we hope to be at least one anchorage north of here, if not two.

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

skype: sfwoman
boat e-mail:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Las Hadas, Colima

Letting days slip by..... we left Santiago on Monday morning, Feb. 26 and went around the corner to the anchorage at the base of the Las Hadas resort. The movie "10" was filmed here -- the location is spectacularly beautiful. Our first day here John and Linda from Nakia helped orient us to the various shopping locations. John picked us up in their dinghy and the three of us walked along the beach, then through the tennis courts and part of the golf course to the main street. A short distance further was Soriana and the restaurant next door where we met Linda and had a delicious lunch before our shopping expedition. Soriana didn't have all we wanted so we knew we'd shop again on Wednesday to try another store. A quick run back to the boat to put away all the groceries, then we were off to Stan and MJ's house in Santiago for an afternoon get-together. They are cruisers we met back when they were on Solmate and we on Jellybean. They have since sold their boat and are permanent residents of Santiago. Stan produces weather reports for cruisers every day, publishes them on the internet, on his website and also distributes them via SSB radio so boats at sea can receive them. Huge kudos to Stan! Stan and MJ are actively involved in PATA, an animal welfare organization -- they recruit veterinarians to spay animals for no fee -- more kudos!

Tuesday, with seven other cruising friends, we went on tour to Colima, Camala, Suchitlan and up to the base of the currently quiet but active volcano Fuego. This is Mexico's most active volcano; we were lucky to see it at all since it is often shrouded in cloud.

Colima is known for it's archeologically important sites. Recent digs have produced a wide variety of ceramics, the most famous being the Colima Dogs. Dogs were believed to possess mystical curative powers and people often slept with them, hoping to be relieved of their ailments. Aztecs believed that Xoloitzcuintles (Colima ceramic dogs) helped human souls reach their final resting place in the afterworld. We spent a few hours in a museum which had a replica of a typical tomb in which these ceramic dogs are found.

Lunch at a very hard-to-find restaurant in Suchitlan was served outdoors shaded by coffee and other trees. Upon seating all of us, the tour director ordered appetizers for all: blue corn tortillas, guacamole, cheese, refried beans and two different delicious salsas. Lunch followed, everyone very happy.

On the way to the volcano we stopped at a coffee roaster. Some beans were drying on some pavement in back, but since this wasn't harvesting time we didn't get to see the entire operation. We did learn, however, that it is a cooperative, that all the growers in the region bring their beans to the roaster, and we presume are compensated accordingly.

On the way home we asked the tour driver to let us off at Comercial, so at 7pm we started our second shopping expedition, found most of what remained on our list and took a taxi back to Las Hadas.

Yesterday we stayed on board all day, baking and cooking, since we had invited John and Linda over for dinner. Luckily we found some good provisions at the local stores and served Catalan Feast along with salad and Focaccia, brownies for dessert.

Today, I, Marlene, left with John and Linda early to walk to Walmart for my final quest: sponge cloths! Found them and a few other items before walking back to the anchorage, probably got in five miles of walking today. I walked along the jetty, waved at Roy at 11;45, 15 minutes before my expected return time, and a few minutes later he picked me up. Finally found a few minutes to update this blog!

~~~ Marlene ~~_/) ~~