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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Activities, activities!

Life at a resort is pretty sweet. We wake up around noon PV time, which is really 11 local time, so we don’t feel quite as bad, go for a swim in the lap pool to exercise all the previous day’s Pina Colada’s off, then ‘move’ to the lounging pool for some sunning, tanning and more floating around. Sometimes we throw in some body surfing at the beach for extra flavor, then it’s happy hour again.

Every day we pass by the Starbucks (yes, they have a Starbucks and a Wallmart and a Costco here) there is a guy who always tries to sell us activities. It’s funny, because we say no every day, so that makes about 14 rejections so far, but he’s relentless. “Amigos, want to go dive? Want to go surf? Zipline? Golf?” Which brings me to the Activities we’ve been doing on our own.

First, it was the dive we did with Erin, Brian, and Brady (Brian’s brother). If you don’t know who Erin and Brian are, you need to catch up on some blog reading :) We all went on Delos to Las Tres Marietas, a national park and one of the best diving sites in Banderas Bay. We had an awesome dive, saw lots of reef fishes and urchins and sea stars, and even a couple of eels. We got there just in time to get one dive in before the big Vallarta Adventures boat landed in the anchorage spilling about a hundred pink tourists into the bay, neon green floaties and snorkels included. So we decided to take a break, have lunch and watch the show. Which was highly entertaining, especially after the mooring ball started drifting to sea with the boat still tied to it. We had a relaxing sail back home after another dive, and we ended the day with a yummy dinner and drinks.

Then, it was the night out in Bucerias with our friends. Fried bananas on the street, cola in a bag, and an awesome brazilo-latino-afro-fusion band playing at the Shamrock, a tiny Irish bar in the middle of a Mexican town. Awesome!

And last but not least, we connected with our friends from Seattle and SYC for a day of surfing and fun in the sun in Punta de Mita where they have this gorgeous villa right on the beach, within a stone’s throw of a pretty good break. Thanks Kim and Pat for a gorgeous day! And thanks Gina and Kit for making sure we got in touch!

Las Tres Marietas:

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Crazy rock formations and caves at the Marietas:

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Brady diving down the anchor chain:

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Colorful reef fish:

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We found Rudolf at the marina!

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Iguana visiting with us at the pool:

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Chillin’ at the resort:

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Surfing in style in Punta de Mita:

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Surfer dudes recovering after a hard day’s work:

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

PV

We have arrived at Paradise Village Marina in Nuevo Vallarta four days ago and have been enjoying the resort with all its pools, hot tubs, restaurants and beautiful beach. We even started exercising again swimming in their lap pool! The resort is huge, with many hotel buildings and private villas and even its own shopping mall!

Yesterday we decided to check out Puerto Vallarta, or PV as the expats call it, and here are some pictures from our trip.

Christmas Tree / Pom de Craciun, tropical style

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Modern art on the Malecon:

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Fun with friends:

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Los Hermanos…

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Jesus and his mighty bottle of Tequilla:

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Local bus in PV. A totally different Jesus…

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

La Cruz, Nayarit

We have arrived in Banderas Bay after a fantastic trip, punctuated by whales, dolphins, a marlin, and catching a tuna. Banderas Bay is Pacific Mexico’s largest protected bay, about 20 miles across, and our first stop is in La Cruz. We’ll be anchored in La Cruz for 2 days, after which we’ll head over to Paradise Village Marina in Nueva Vallarta where we will spend the holydays.

Cheerios!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Time is fluid in Chacala

Days seem to flow into each other in this little corner of paradise. We suddenly realized we’ve been here for 5 days, not that we’re counting… :) This is the first anchorage that looks and feels truly tropical, and it’s pulling us in.

 

Days blend into each other…

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Bella Marina at anchor off the beach:

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We swam or paddled our surf boards to the beach every day for Pina Coladas:

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chacala, Nayarit

We arrived yesterday in Chacala, a charming bay with a beautiful fine sand beach lined with coconut trees, cute colorful houses and palapa restaurants. The anchoring here requires a stern anchor to keep the boat pointed into the swells. That’s a second anchor you drop off the back of the boat so that it stays pointed in a certain direction for all you non-boaters out there:) The rocking from the swell is pretty gentle if you tuck in behind the land point that protects the bay.

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The mainland is lush and tropical:

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Hammock Fest 2009:

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

San Blas, Nayarit

We had a gorgeous sail out of Mazatlan, with perfect conditions, good winds and flat seas. As we progressed south we started seeing squalls on the radar that quickly caught up with us. Finally, a fresh water rinse for the boat that we didn’t have to work for! Fortunately the winds stayed constant through the squalls too so there wasn’t really a lot to do than dodge under the bimini to avoid getting wet… We also caught a tuna that made some very yummy steaks for dinner last night. We were planning to stop by Isla Isabella to check out the wildlife there, mainly birds, but the anchorage looked very rolly and uncomfortable and the maps did not match the actual location, so we played it safe and continued on to San Blas.

We arrived to the anchorage yesterday evening right after sunset, with just enough light to get through the entrance of Mantanchen Bay and find a good anchoring spot right next to Brian and Erin on Delos, who had been here for a day already. Our friends from Capaz were also there. We saw and heard on VHF a lot of boats from La Paz, so I guess the party just keeps on going south.

San Blas is known for its former fame and glory as a military and maritime center for the Spanish rule in Mexico, the silent bells of the old Nuestro Senora del Rosario church that inspired Henry Longfellow’s very last poem “The Bells of San Blas”, and for the pesky ‘jejenes’ or ‘no-see-ums’ biting gnats that come out at sunset. Some even argue the jejenes were the main reason for the fall of the city from its former glory, and after having some encounters with them last evening I tend to agree…

We’re planning to hang out here for a day or two, then continue on down the coast towards PV. Cheerios!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Mazatlan

We had a fast and fun crossing to Mazatlan that culminated with an acrobatics show put up by a team of dolphins playing in our bow wake as we approached the entrance to the marina yesterday morning. We decided to splurge on the El Cid marina, complete with a resort and pools with swim-up bar and a cool grotto you can swim in. After catching up on some rest, we hit the pool and hot tub for a well deserved soak after the overnight passage. Mazatlan is a party town on Saturdays, and we were serenaded by mariachis late into the evening from across the disco water. Disco disco!

We are off to Isla Isabella soon, but in the meantime here are some more pictures:

Sunrise over the mainland:

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Welcome party to Mazatlan:

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Chillin’ by the pool:

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Wheeee!

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El Grotto:

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Off to Mazatlan!

ANd we’re off to the mainland… The wind is taking us to Mazatlan, so I guess that’s where we’ll stop first :)But before we hot the Gold Coast, some more pictures from our last anchorage in Baja.

The sun setting over a good glass of Pinot:IMG_0045

Our baby from underwater. The water was pool clear! You could see schools of fish swarming the waters, and we swam with a school of huge tunas… Unfortunately we didn’t have a spear gun.

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Bella Marina at anchor:

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With Brian and Erin at the Gigglin’ Marlin:

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Still no dingy wheels…

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No comment :D

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Full Moon over Baja

Full moon over Baja

Us sailors are always in tune with the Moon. It controls the tides and the currents. It can transform the black night ocean into a shimmery liquid silver sea. Tonight is a Full Moon – the first Blue Full Moon of the month, a rare occurrence in the celestial calendar.