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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A palapa in Yelapa

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We’ve been looking forward to visiting Yelapa ever since our dear friend from Seattle, Katarina, cut out a travel magazine article and brought it over during one of the colder spells of last year’s winter.

So here we are, taking the trip across Banderas Bay to check the place out. We stopped by Punta Mita, which has become one of our favorite places in the Bay to pick Kim and Pat up and we were on our way, with promises of spinnaker runs across the calm waters of the bay. Alas, the winds in Banderas Bay are more fickle than even in Seattle, and the wind changed first from NW to SE, then it died completely. We motor-sailed most of the way, but on the plus side we saw lots of whales, a couple breaching completely out of the water, dolphins, and a jumping school of tunas.

The southern shore is impressive, with majestic, deep green, jungle covered mountains lining the Bay and the Sierra Madres outlined in the distance. Yelapa is on a small bay tucked into the steep hills that run all the way to the water. When the cruising guides say that the bay is really deep and the anchoring shelf is really narrow and close to the beach, they weren’t kidding. Our sonar didn’t even register a depth until really close to the beach, and the boats anchored there were not more that one or two boat lengths away from the breaking surf. We opted for the safer option of picking up a mooring ball and got a ride into ‘town’ in a panga boat that was obviously more fit to deal with the breaking waves than our small dingy :)

We had a lovely lunch of fresh seafood and strolled on the beach checking out the palapas and the local ‘taxis’ – saddled up horses ready to take you to the little houses scattered up the hill or to the deep jungle and waterfalls behind. There are no cars in Yelapa, and the only access is by boat or horse to the next town inland.

The wind finally filled in and we ended the day with the sail back to La Cruz and a yummy dinner.

Bella Marina rolling at anchor in Yelapa. Yes, it was super rolly.

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Pangas landing in the surf

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The locals welcomed us :)

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The rugged shore

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More palapas in Yelapa

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Money rules, even in this South Seas piece of paradise

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