Punta de Mita and
The Whale Tale
We provisioned the boat In La Cruz de Huanacaxtle untied the dock lines and set sail for Punta de Mita with hopes of catching a wave. The wind was very light and forced us to do some motoring but the sun was bright and the sky was clear. Punta de Mita is the northern point of Banderas bay and is a popular surfing destination with many hotels and beach side palapas. As we approached the anchorage I was concerned with the size of the ocean swells and that it might be a dangerous anchorage. The closer we got the more boats we saw in the anchorage and the better I felt about anchoring here. Once the hook was set I assessed the landing situation on shore. Let me explain. When your only option is landing your dinghy on the beach, the size of the surf becomes a huge issue. What’s great for surfers is not so good for the dinghy. A beer run was absolutely imperative and I set off to make a beach landing in the large surf. After three failed attempts I considered anchoring the dinghy past the surf line and swimming. I set an anchor and just watched the awesome show of nature with an increasing thirst. I watched another cruiser with a fast dinghy and a surfboard, ride the back of a wave past a makeshift breakwater of rocks, safely make it to shore. I had my opportunity but was still cautious because of our very wimpy dinghy motor. I watched a truly impressive set of waves crash over the entrance and hit full throttle. It was more like I put putted my way in only to be caught on the wrong side of the wave. At that point it was more like surfing and it was towards the anchored pangas. Luckily the rocks broke the power of the wave and I landed with out so much as an extra drop of water in the dinghy. The depositivo was quickly located behind all the pangas and Corona was secured. The trip back was a little more eventful in that I had to power over a couple breakers and got a good bath but stayed upright. Back aboard Sosiego we had a fine dinner and beautiful night.
The next day the surf had gone down quite a bit so we inflated our Bali paddle board and headed for the beach. The beach proved to be more rock than sand and the surf was still breaking. An instructor suggested paddling out past the breakers so Debbie could try her hand at the paddle board. I swam next to her and tried to give her tips. I failed miserably as an instructor and when we headed for shore I neglected to tell her to bail before hitting the shore. She suffered her first surfing injury with a scraped up foot and nasty bruise on her leg. We went back to the boat for hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment, band aids, and tequila. The next morning I made a go at surfing while Debbie went to the spa. A painful story best told by her some other time. I’m not that steady but I was able to catch a dozen or so waves and ride them all the way in. By the time Debbie was done I couldn’t lift my arms above my head. So cool! That evening we had THE best meal so far in Mexico at one of the beach side restaurants named Tino’s. She ordered the Camaron de Diablo and I had Sea Bass on green garlic mashed potatoes. So scrumptious! A truly wonderful evening with a beautiful sun set. The next day we ran into Oso Negro (black bear) who is a surfing instructor who grew up in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. He spoke passionately about his home town and told us the story of the town’s name. Apparently in the town square there is an ancient Huanacaxtle tree. The branches grew and formed the sign of the cross, thus the name La Cruz de Huanacaxtle.
The return trip turned out to be a whale watching trip. The only problem with watching whales is that some times they want to watch you or give you a high five with there tail. We where motoring again due to lack of wind. Without warning a humpback surfaced next to the boat and dove under us. Debbie got to high five his tail as he slipped under the boat. I was down below and all I heard was her exclamation of, “WHALE!” and the sound of the whale song through the hull. I grabbed the camera with the hope of some great footage but alas he dove deep no more to be seen.
The ATM Pirates of Banderas Bay
Our return to the La Cruz anchorage for the Sunday farmers market was met with a bit of bad news. I know everyone has experienced credit card fraud at one time or another but the banditos of Banderas bay have achieved a new level of treachery. We suspect that when we visited one of those independent local ATM’s my card was compromised. After telling our tale to other cruisers they told us to only use ATM’s that are attached to a physical bank. They where sophisticated enough to use a bank ATM to withdraw max cash each day during our stay at Punta de Mita. When they ran out of money they actually transferred money from savings to checking. We put a stop on the card and Travis C.U. made things right but we where told that unless there is blood shed the local authorities don’t care. We now pay with cash only, lesson learned.
Dancing with the Geckos
After being robbed, our morale was low, our cash was low and so were our food stores on Sosiego. So at the suggestion of friends we headed down the beach to eat at the 3 palapas restaurant. After arriving and looking at the menu we knew we didn’t have quite enough cash, so we had to hang our heads low and leave. We walked further down the beach and didn’t see anything worth while. So off we headed across a littered field next to a run down hotel. Eek! It was almost dark and if you come from the city you know that you don’t want to put yourself in these situations. So we walked with our heads high and at a nice clip. We finally made it full circle and back into town. We got some munchies and still had a little cash left. So it was time to put back some bounce in our step. We stepped out of the blues and into the Gecko Rojo. We had a couple of beers and the band was playing older rock and roll. I had just enough liquid courage on board to ask the band if I could dance on stage and I rocked it with them to Queen’s Crazy little thing Called love. I had a blast and could see a new career in my future. The nxt morning we woke happy with a renewed view of the cruising life. Cruise with caution but still enjoy every moment.
We are now finishing boat projects and preparation for the sail to Hawaii so we moved from the anchorage to a slip in La Cruz when the red tide made its appearance. The water literally turned red from nasty red algae and it stunk to high heavens. It smelled so bad that we went back into the marina to stay. We ended up pulling all the anchor rode out on deck to dry out because it made the boat smell like death. Back in the marina we met up with Ken and Cari on Bula. We had planned a trip to Costco and rented a car for the day. We ended up having a wonderful time shopping, having lunch, and driving around Puerto Vallarta. Costco turned up the ever allusive cans of chicken breast that we have been looking for since we arrived in Mexico. We were also able to get all the non perishables that we needed for the trip. All in all a good day.
Buceria and the Kissing Bridge
Mike from North Sails of La Cruz put on a free seminar on surveying your rig for problems before making the jump across the pacific. We had decided to head for Hawaii for easier access to plane travel and to not rush through Hawaii. My goal has always been an ocean passage and this more than fills the bill. The second slide that Mike posted in his presentation was, I swear, Sosiego with her off center rigging at the chain plates (where the wire that holds up the mast attaches to the boat). Well thanks Mike for giving me another boat project. The good news was that all I needed to fix the issue was a few stainless washers and that’s where the fun began. First can anyone tell me the translation of stainless steel washers in Espanol? Right, well Mike helped me with that and according to him a little shop in Bucerias, just past the bus stop past the church and past the arroyo before the second stop light before the Mega. Right! Of course he couldn’t remember the name of the shop. Bucerias is another small artsy fishing community. The first hardware store we stopped at had heard of the, “Nuts and bolts shop” and pointed us in the right direction. The shop was very small but it had pictures of nuts and bolts on the doors. Score one for the away team. Debbie and I returned later that night for dinner and to find the kissing bridge. The bridge is located among the many small shops that sell arts and crafts, all be it a little too high pressure sell for my likes, but they had some quality items. We ended up at Miguel Angelos for dinner. We split a surf and turf meal that was comprised of huge shrimp, N.Y. steak and spiny lobster. Yeah! The entertainment included a solo guitarist ex cruise ship player and cockatiels. One of the patrons decided to bring the bird over for closer inspection and placed him on my hand. The waiter turned him on his back and he played dead in my hand. Very cool! We headed back to our home on the water to spend the next few days waiting for signs of a weather window to head out.
From Green Beer to Paradise
We found out that our time to head on to Hawaii was coming up so we made reservations in another marina that is close to the Check out Captain in Nuevo Vallarta. The last night in la Cruz was Saint Patrick’s day, so we hung out with Cari and Ken. We started the evening at the Gecko Rojo listening to Irish tunes and drinking green beer and having jello shots. We were all getting hungry so we chose to walk to a little restaurant that serves tacos. Big surprise, tacos in Mexico. Unfortunately it was closed. Our second choice was pizza so onward we went to Falconi’s pizzeria. Damn fine Pizza. We had a wonderful evening and were sad to say Goodbye to our new friends. However, it was time. The following morning Joe inspected the rig and we left La Cruz to our stern.
Paradise Village is another Marina that you could actually stay here and never wander off the property. It has three swimming pools, a yacht club with a restaurant, a commercial shopping center that includes McDonalds, laundry and even a place to get your hair cut. Why would anyone ever leave? Well, they also have a lot of Mosquitos. Joe and I became appetizers the first night we were there. Now we have to bathe in Off or we wont have a spot on our body that doesn’t have a new bite. Well, this is it folks. We will do our final provisioning and our departure date is set for March 24th, 2014. Winds should be fair and we will hopefully make it to the big Island of Hilo sometime in mid April. Sosiego is signing off until we have some more adventures to tell you from the big island of Hawaii. May you all have fair winds and following seas.