Mexico - Mainland II
Written by Cathy Siegismund
January - March 2001
I had a busy week in Seattle January 11-17. I stayed with a good friend of
mine, Keli Covin, and spent most of my time running errands with not
surprisingly a disproportionate of them to marine stores. I did however, have a
chance to visit with friends; it was really good to catch up. What I had been
told to expect, but didn't really understand until I had returned to
'civilization' was how much I had slowed down while spending 3 months in Mexico.
The conveniences of home were great, but the rushed pace was exhausting. It
didn't take too long for me to jump back into that pace, so all the better I
only spent a week in Seattle, before returning to Zihuat.
My friend Keli, flew back to Zihuat with me where she stayed for a week of
vacation. Keli also helped me bring back all the things we needed or missed and
couldn't find in Mexico. With 12 bags total (only 3 of which were actually
clothes for both Keli and myself), which held books, boat parts, specialty food
items and included a backpack full of cheese. We're not big fans of Mexican
The lower level of our fridge stashed with Tillamook and
Cougar Gold cheese to get us to French Polynesia
Keli stayed on the boat with us, a little cozy on a 31' boat, but we had fun
exploring Zihuat and Ixtapa and she enjoyed slowing down and relaxing in the sun
for a week. I enjoyed showing Keli all the sights of Zihuat, our favorite town
Zihuat walking street with restaurants on once side and the
beach on the other
Pier at Zihuat
Dinghy parking lot on the beach in Zihuat
Looking out to Zihuat Bay -- full of cruising boats
When we returned to Zihuat, Ken and Tam (Rainsong) had nearly completed their
scuba certification class. Keli, Jan (Raven), Jason & Tam (Rainsong) and Ken and
I all went out on their open water checkout dive. The dive was fair, visibility
was only about 35 feet, and it was colder than I expected but it was good to go
diving. We also got to know Ken and Tam's dive instructor Silvino and his wife
Margarita. Tam and Jason, Ken and I hosted a dinner on Rainsong for them, and
they later had us over to their home on Las Gatas. Ken is now certified so when
we get to the South Pacific we can enjoy diving together.
Keli left Zihuat on January 24, and we spent the 2 weeks catching up with
friends and preparing for our departure from Zihuat to head back north to PV.
We found time for some beach relaxation at Las Gatas with Wendy & Garth (Velella)
and Paul and Suzette (Altair). Paul and Suzette are now headed to Panama, where
Paul grew up. They are then going to the Galapagos and then to the Marquesas. We
hope to meet up with them in the South Pacific.
Our favorite palapa restaurant on Las Gatas - Amados
(Clockwise: Garth, Ken, Cath, Paul & Suzette)
Our final two weeks in Zihuat of course also included some time at Rick's
Rick (right) and Memo (left) at Rick's Bar
Friday evenings Rick brings in local musicians.
Friday evening jam session at Rick's Bar
Saturday nights he has a dance group from one of the large hotels in Ixtapa
perform a number of Mexican folk dances.
Mexican folk dancers at Rick's Bar
Mexican folk dance with candles
Old Man folk dance
Elk folk dance
On Thursday February 1 and Friday, February 2, we prepared to head north. We
got fuel, provisioned at Commercial Mexicana and the market, and checked out
with the Port Captain.
Wendy joined me at the market as they're also getting ready to head back
Wendy buying fresh produce at the Zihuat Market
Bright colors of the Zihuat market
The market sells everything from produce to meat to socks to
Until recently the large market was the only place to shop in Zihuat. In the
last year or so, Zihuat has added the large, air-conditioned, and modern
Commercial Mexicana which carries almost anything you could want. We did
however, find that the market often still had fresher produce and better prices.
However, one of the risks of going to the market was stumbling across one of
the very fresh meat counters!
Wendy showing our mutual discomfort at the carving up some
carcass - I guess we're still not quite hard core cruisers!
Our last night in Zihuat we had dinner with Wendy & Garth (Velella) and Tam
and Jason (Rainsong) and Jason's parents who where visiting for two weeks. We
had great tacos in town and dinner for 8 came to $34.00 US!
At 11:30 Saturday, February 3 we sailed out of Zihuat bay. We had planned to
make two stops prior to reaching Bahia de Navidad our next stop with a Port
Captain. However, we had only mild northwest winds (the direction we were going)
so we decided to press on and do a two-night passage to Bahia de Navidad.
As we had light and variable winds we motored with the mainsail to stabilize
us. We arrived at Bahia de Navidad at sunrise, on Monday, February 5 after a
quiet 2 night passage.
Arriving at Bahia de Navidad at sunrise
Bahia de Navidad is a medium-sized bay about 4 miles across, and is located
about 20 miles north of the industrial city of Manzanillo. The town of Melaque
is located at one end of the bay and the town of Barra de Navidad is at the
other. Bahia de Navidad has several options for cruisers. There is an anchorage
off Melaque - known as "Rocky Melaque." Barra has two additional options, a
lagoon at the end of narrow dredged channel, which we heard could be a little
"buggy" and a marina at a 5-star resort called Puerto de Navidad.
Since it was early and we were tired from the passage, we decided the easiest
would be to anchor off Melaque rather an try to navigate the channel to the
We dropped the hook at about 0800. We used our stern anchor for the first
time. Ken dropped the stern anchor, and then we proceeded forward several
hundred feet where I dropped the bow anchor. Then as I left out the chain on the
bow, Ken pulled in the stern rode, until we were taught between the two anchors.
This kept us pointed into the swell and we really didn't find Melaque very
"rocky". We made breakfast and listened to the morning net that covered Melaque,
Barra and Tenacatita. We heard from Raven, who were on their way over to Melaque
from Tenacatita, and we made arrangements to meet later in the day. Ken and I
then crashed until about 1300.
I stayed on the boat the rest of the day, and Ken went exploring with Jan and
Signe. That evening we had a lovely dinner in Raven's spacious cockpit.
The next day we set off to explore Melaque and Barra and check in. Jan and
Signe gave us a ride to shore off Melaque. We tried unsuccessfully to go to the
bank. There is only one bank in Melaque that serves both towns. You pull a
number like at a bakery, Ken pulled #276, they were helping #44. All concerned
thought it was better that we borrow some pesos from Jan and Signe and pay them
back when we found a cambio.
We grabbed a bus and took off for our next stop, the Port Captain's office.
We would never have found this if we hadn't received directions from another
cruiser. You take the bus from Melaque to Barra, get off about 1/2 way between
the two towns in what appears to be the middle of nowhere by some soccer fields.
Then you turn down the side street and walk until you see a giant #16 hand
painted on the side of a house. That is the Port Captain's office -- on the
ground floor of someone's home.
After an hour or so there, we continued to hike into Barra. We explored the
town and then took a panga across the channel to the Puerto de Navidad resort
and marina. We planned to explore and talk our way into using the pool.
View of Puerto de Navidad Resort from the beach at Barra
And it kept getting bigger!
The panga dropped us off at the marina, where there were cruisers as well as
a number of mega yachts, including a 100 foot sailboat, and a 150+ foot power
boat with a helicopter strapped on top. The grounds were lovely, and we explored
some of the shops and then went to the pool. Where Jan had talked and tipped our
way into some nice lounge chairs and towels. We played in the pool and had a few
overpriced beverages. We then returned to Barra in search of Tess's Malt Shop -
famed to be the best burgers and shakes around.
View of Barra from Puerto de Navidad
Bahia de Navidad, looking from Barra across to Melaque
Typical souvenir shop in Barra
A rather unusual biker bar in Barra
We found Tess's and had fabulous hamburgers and fresh fruit shakes for lunch.
The owner is an American from Minneapolis, who spends his winters in Barra. We
returned to Melaque and the boats via a very bumpy buss ride, for a much needed
nap - otherwise known as a food coma!
The next day, February 7, Raven went back up to Tenacatita, 11 miles north of
Bahia de Navidad. We needed fuel, so we motored across the bay and through the
channel in Barra to the brand new and very nice fuel dock behind the marina. By
the time we finished fueling it was after 1300, so we decided to splurge and
stay at the marina for a night.
The Marina is top notch, and staying there gives you (legitimate) access to
the pool, showers, gym, and laundry facilities.
View of the hotel from our slip
Felicity tied up in the marina
We tied up, checked in, grabbed lunch at Tess's, again; and then hit the
pool. We took advantage of the waterslides that connect the 3 pools, and of
course the swim up bar. We also took the opportunity to explore the hotel and
the fabulous views it offered.
Our colorful neighbor in the marina
That evening we worked out in the gym and did some much needed laundry. The
facilities are really excellent. That evening we decided to explore the hotel.
We were a little hungry, but it was almost 2200, didn't feel like cooking on the
boat so we went exploring the hotel looking for a cafe. Not finding a cafe, and
feeling rather underdressed in our usual shorts, t-shirts and flip flops, we
stopped in a bar of what looked like one of the nicest restaurants. The bar and
restaurant were empty, but we sat at the bar and ordered a couple of drinks. Ken
asked to see a menu, and before we knew it we had 5 waiters setting fine china
place settings for us at the bar. The menu looked terrific, so we splurged and
both had lobster bisque, and Ken had a lobster dinner and I a caesar salad. We
felt a little odd being waited on by 5 waiters and eating our palate cleansing
sorbet between courses with our flip flops perched on the edge of a bar stool -
but the food was fantastic. We also exchanged Spanish and English lessons with
our bartender, Miguel Angel, and our head waiter Carlos. As we were sitting at a
tequila bar with at least 100 types, Miguel and Carlos gave us an education on
the different types of tequilas. We did refrain from sampling, as some of the
high end tequilas, aged like Cognac, sold for $54 US per shot.
The next day, Thursday, February 8, we used the plentiful fresh water at the
dock and thoroughly washed Felicity for the first time in months. We made
another quick trip to the gym and pool, checked out, and finally got under way
at about 3pm. In hindsight, this wasn't very clever, as the wind really kicks up
from the northwest in the afternoons. We ended up bashing our way north for over
3 hours to Tenacatita in 20-25 knots of wind. We arrived just before dark and
dropped the hook next to Raven with 5 dinghies tied off her stern. The inner bay
now had over 40 boats in it, quite a different look from when we had stopped on
our way south when there were only about 6!
As soon as we had set the anchor snubber and put on the sail cover, Raven
sent over a one of their guests to pick us up for dinner. Jan and Signe had
befriended a group of BC cruisers in Santa Barbara and San Diego, so we had a
rousing dinner for 12 followed by a game of Mexican Train dominoes.
Raven anchored in the inner bay at Tenacatita
The next morning at 0930 Jan and Signe met us at our boat and we followed
them to shore, where we were going to do the famous Tenacatita jungle ride.
Tenacatita is a large bay with an inner and outer anchorage, separated by a
large point. There is a brackish river that cuts from the inner bay to a lagoon
which is a short walk to the outer bay.
The beginning of the river that leads through the mangroves
It is a 40-minute trip that can only be navigated in a dinghy or panga. The
river winds across the point of land through a mangrove swamp. At times, the
river is less than ten feet wide and the mangroves are knitted together over the
top to form a tunnel. There are rumors of crocodiles and boa constrictors, but
all we saw were a wide variety of tropical birds.
Birds line the river that winds through the mangroves
Following Signe and Jan through the encroaching mangroves
The dense mangroves block out the tropical morning sun
Close up of the mangrove vines. You can see where they have
been cut back with machetes to keep the river navigable
The river opens to a lagoon at the other end of the river.
After our 40-minute ride through the mangroves, the river opens up to a
lagoon. A short walk takes us to the beach on the outer anchorage of Tenacatita.
There is a good snorkeling area called the aquarium.
The aquarium in the Tenacatita outer anchorage
There are also a number of palapa restaurants and a nice beach. We sat on the
beach for a couple of hours with Jan and Signe. We also met an interesting
couple from Europe, rather unusual to date, as most of the cruisers are Canadian
and or Americans from the West Coast. The couple, the wife is from the UK and
the husband is Dutch, are sailing an aluminum boat they built. To date they have
sailed it from the UK, into the Med, across the Atlantic, through the Caribbean,
through the Canal, to Hawaii, to Kodiak, Alaska, down the West Coast and are now
in Mexico. They are out indefinitely and are taking a rather serendipitous route
around the world. They're spending a year Mexico, doing the Sea of Cortez this
summer, and then heading to the South Pacific next spring.
After a few hours, we had to head back to the return trip through the river,
before the low tide prevented our return to the inner bay.
On the return trip, we led the way and enjoyed the quiet reflections of the
We just made it out of the river at low tide. Much later and we would have
been dragging the dinghy instead of motoring. We headed to the beach on the
inner bay for lunch at the famed French Restaurant. It is in a building
which was built for a movie called McHale's Navy.
The movie set built for the McHale's Navy
We heard the movie was awful, but the building is now leased by a lovely
French family who run a restaurant there. The food is excellent and they run
book exchanges, happy hours and generally cater to cruisers.
The American movie set, turned French Restaurant on the Mexican West Coast
We joined a number of other cruisers at Paris Tropical for a great lunch of
hamburgers and quiche. We were then off to the boat to prepare an hors d'oeuvre
for the Friday night dinghy pot luck. This seems to be a common occurrence in
bays where there is a large group of cruising boats. At a designated time before
sundown, each week there is a dinghy raft up pot luck. The first dinghy anchors
in a corner of the bay, and all the subsequent dinghies raft up together.
Everyone brings beverages for themselves and an hors d'oeuvre to pass around and
Tenacatita dingy raft-up potluck
The potluck lasts a few hours, and is great way to meet more cruisers. The
conversations are typically where are you from, what boat are you on, where have
you been and what are your cruising plans. It often then turn to worst the
weather you've been in, and who's embarrassed themselves on the VHF radio - the
cruisers party line. The oddest story to come out of Tenacatita was the boat
that was heading south, and when the skipper went to lift a coiled line, he
discovered a six foot snake coiled with it that had crawled up their anchor
chain. I guess this mortified cruising couple beat the thing to death with a
boat hook, and then pitched it over the side. They had announced their traumatic
experience on one of the morning nets as a warning to others. The response to
them was, why did you waste the meat, snakes are tasty and you had already gone
to the trouble of tenderizing it!
We decided to stay another day at Tenacatita before heading north to Chamela.
We had a relaxing day of reading, and then headed back to Paris Tropical for the
cruisers book exchange and happy hour at 1600.
Ken in line for a cerveza
We were enjoying happy hour and meeting some new cruisers, when we noticed
about 15 members of the Mexican State Police roaming the restaurant and grounds.
They were driving around in pickups and ATVs. Some were armed as usual. A number
of the cruisers where starting to look a little nervous, and the French owners
were looking very agitated. Apparently, the family leases the building from a
large resort at the other end of the bay, and the State Police where there to
tell them their lease was up, and they had one day to vacate. Shortly
thereafter, the proprietor of the restaurant, jumped in his car and took off.
Some of the cruisers started to thin out, as it was getting dark and the mood
was a little dampened. However, our group continued to chat, order dinner and
even help behind the bar in the owner's absence.
Two of the Canadian contingent (Bob and Bob) start tabs for
the cruisers still enjoying the happy hour.
Note the abundance of bald heads - apparently head shaving was another happy
hour activity the week before that we fortunately missed.
After a few hours, the owner returned, with beers on the house for those of
us remaining. He had gone to the hotel and renewed his lease - that is typical
For the rest of the evening we enjoyed good beer and conversation, and a very
entertaining rope puzzle.
Two cruisers demonstrating how not to get out of the rope
The next morning Saturday, February 10, we got up at dawn to make the 28-mile
trip north to Chamela before the afternoon northwestern wind and seas kicked up.
About an hour into our peaceful motor, we tried to call Raven, as they had left
the day before, to see where they were. They were spending their second night at
Bahia Careyes. They said the place was great, with a fabulous hotel almost
devoid of guests who welcomed cruisers to use their facilities, which included a
restaurant with was described by Jan as having the best enchiladas he'd ever
eaten. As we were ahead of schedule we decided to stop and head to Chamela the
next day. We arrived after the short 17-mile trip north before noon. Bahia
Careyes consists of a small three-lobed bay. Each of the three lobes of the bay
has its own hotel or condominium development, villas, and residential
structures, some of which are visible from the sea. Newly nicknamed the Mexican
Riviera, huge mansions cling to the rock cliffs.\
Rock cliffs are home to enormous pastel mansions
Entering Bahia Careyes
Raven was in the second lobe of the bay off the Hotel Careyes. That part of
the small bay looked a little crowded, so we decided to try the first lobe of
the bay which only had one boat in it. It was off the very noisy Club Med beach.
We usually have no trouble setting our anchor, so we were surprised at not being
able to set it after several attempts. We decided this was a mixed blessing, as
the constant announcements of ocean aerobics and beach volley ball from Club Med
would have drove us nuts. We returned to the second bay and easily set the
anchor next to Raven. The anchorage was a little snug, but everyone had out
stern anchors to keep the boat facing the swell and to eliminate the boats from
View from our anchorage of the pastel condos overlooking the
Beautiful homes line the small bay
We quickly changed into swim suits, grabbed our pool stuff and were picked up
by Jan and Signe for a ride into the beach and hotel.
The lovely pool at the Hotel Careyes
If you tire of the comfortable poolside chairs, you can
lounge in the shade on these large cushy sofas
Looking out at Bahia Careyes with little Felicity next to
Raven, the mothership
We relaxed the rest of the day at the hotel, and did have a fantastic
enchilada lunch at the restaurant. We returned to the boat around 1600, and
Signe and Jan had us over for wine and a game of Mexican Train.
The next day, February 11, we only had a short 10-mile trip to Bahia de
Chamela, so we slept in and motored up the coast arriving by midday.
We arrived in Chamela; and finding the bay nearly empty anchored in a great
spot out of most of the swell. Raven was shortly anchored decide us, although we
had left at least an hour before. That's what 60+ feet of waterline and an
engine that motors at 10 knots will get you. We straightened the boat up and
relaxed, having decided we weren't going to blow up the dinghy for a one-day
Enormous flocks of sea birds fish off the beach at Chamela
That evening we again joined Raven and another Canadian boat for dinner and
Mexican Train on Raven. We finished up at about 2130. There was no wind, and we
had a 50 mile leg ahead of us to Bahia Ipala, a small bay just south of Cabo
Corrientes, a cape that causes strong winds and short steep seas, the rounding
of which should be done in the early morning. As the weather was so calm that
evening, and we wanted to avoid the high winds of the afternoon that would be on
our nose, we decided to the dismay of Signe and Raven to pull anchor and do an
overnighter to Ipala. We were underway by 2300 and had a quiet motor up to Ipala,
although we did have to dodge some fishing boats and sailboats along the way.
We arrived in Ipala at sunrise, and anchored in the small bay which is home
to a tiny puebla and fishing boats. As the bay is only 14-miles south of Cabo
Corrientes, many cruising boats spend one night here as a rest stop on their way
north and south around the cape. We were visited by two local boys from the
puebla who were looking for paper and pencils for school. We scrounged some up
and sent them off with t-shirts as well.
We took our usual post-overnight passage nap, and when we got up we had four
other boats, including Raven as company in the small bay. We had thought of
leaving that night to round the cape in the wee morning hours, but as it had
been rumored, just before sundown fisherman strung a fishing net across half of
the bay entrance. As we didn't relish the idea of snagging one of those, we
decided to wait until sunrise to leave.
We left Ipala at 0700 just after sunrise February 14. This put us at the
beginning of the cape at about 0900, which wasn't quite early enough to
completely avoid a bouncy ride beating Northwest into Banderas Bay.
After rounding the cape, the winds and seas eased and we had a nice sail
across Banderas Bay. We had arrived one day early for our reservations at
Paradise Village Marina, so we spent the night at Punta de Mita about 12 miles
Northwest of Paradise Village.
The rolly anchorage at Punta de Mita, woke us up early the next day, so we
pulled anchor and headed for Paradise Village, in Nuevo Vallarta (about 8 miles
Northwest of Puerto Vallarta.) We pulled the marina at about 1000, February 15
and were met on the dock by Dick Markey, the harbormaster. It was only the third
time we'd tied up to a pier during our four months in Mexico. We ended up being
next to a guy we had met on the Ha Ha, Mike Miller on Uhuru, a Pearson Vanguard
32. He is singlehander who is spending the year in Mexico and then possibly
heading to the Caribbean
The Paradise Village Marina and Resort, is a first-class facility. The resort
has several great pools and the best beach on the bay. There is a hospitality
room with full kitchen and showers that cruisers can use. The resort has a great
spa and gym which Ken and I both joined for the six weeks we'll be staying in
PV. There is a small shopping mall, which is a little pricey but has all the
conveniences of North America, even a Dominoes Pizza and McDonalds.
The first few days at Paradise Village, we caught up with Jan and Signe on
Raven, and Dave and Linda Allegre on Crusader who we hadn't seen since San
Linda, Dave, Ken, Cath, and Signe having dinner and playing
Mexican Train on Raven
Having only a week until our moms arrived for their visit, we kicked into
project mode. We removed the old radar, started on the varnish and thoroughly
washed the boat.
We also made the requisite visit to the local marine store, Zaragoza and
joined the local Sam's Club - which is like Costco. We were delighted to find a
number of US products we had been missing.
Dave and Linda were soon heading back up to the Sea of Cortez for the summer,
so we hosted a dinner on Felicity for them and of course invited our bachelor
neighbor Mike as well.
Mike from Uhuru
Dave and Linda, Crusader
Dave and Linda will be heading to the South Pacific next year, so we hope to
catch up with them there.
Ken's mom and aunt visited for a week and my mother visited for two weeks.
Paradise Village was a great place for them to stay. They have studio apartments
at the resort where some of the employees live and they reserve 4 rooms for
marina guests at only $42.00/night. The rooms are cleaned daily, and have access
to all of the resort facilities, so it was a great deal for our families.
The moms enjoyed the pools and beach and Ken's mom, Peggy and his aunt, Nancy
went on a few tours and shopped downtown. We enjoyed a number of restaurants
around Paradise Village, and went to Pipi's a great gringo hangout with some of
the best shrimp fajitas and guacamole we've had in Mexico.
One of the highlights of Peggy's trip was a dolphin swim.
My Mom, Dorothy, didn't join the dolphins, but did visit
with the parrots
I completed a number of sewing projects while I had the luxury of spreading
out my sewing machine in my mom's room.
During the fist week in March, Rainsong (Jason and Tam) and Layla (Drew and
Vernita) arrived in Paradise Village. We hadn't seen Jason and Tam since we were
in Zihuat and we hadn't seen Drew and Vernita since San Diego -- it was great to
We also finally collected all the parts, including our new radar, that Drew
was so kind to bring down for us on Layla. We immediately went to work on the
radar. We managed to get the new cable in without pulling the mast which an
enormous relief to us. Over the next few days we managed to get the radar
completely installed, and it worked beautifully.
I continued to work on varnish, and Ken worked on our other projects we
needed to complete before we leave for the South Pacific.
Projects did stop for a few days, while Ken studied for his General Ham test,
which he passed. This really opens up a lot more options for us on the radio. We
have a great deal more bandwidth for email, including the ability to send
attachments. It also allows us to participate in other cruisers Nets and use the
Ham frequencies to receive weather information.
Another nice bonus at being at Paradise Village is that it is where all the
Puddle Jump activities occur. The Puddle Jump is the crossing from Mexico to the
South Pacific. There were a number of Puddle Jump meetings and an organized
Puddle Jump single-sideband radio net, the Odyssey 2001 Net. We will begin
checking in on this net once we leave PV. This is a nice safety feature, allows
us to hear what the weather is like ahead of us, and is a way to keep track of
our friends. Another great perk is the weather information all the puddle
jumpers will receive via email. There is a gentleman in California, Don Anderson
on Summer Passage, who provides great complimentary weather information via
radio for a number of the Mexican cruisers nets and via email for the puddle
The puddle jump activities culminated with a Latitude 38 sponsored party.
Around 50 boats are leaving from PV alone, with other boats leaving from
Acapulco, Zihuat and Cabo.
The Puddle Jump Class of 2001
Between work projects on the boat, we did make a little time for some dinners
with friends. Our friends Wendy and Garth on Velella arrived at Marina Vallarta
in mid-March. They have decided not to go to the Galapagos, as it adds nearly
3000 miles to their trip. We did hear from Paul and Suzette on Altair. They had
left Zihuat for Panama and has arrived in the Galapagos. They will be leaving
the Galapagos on April 12 for the Marquesas.
We took a day off from projects and went on a horseback riding trip up into
the Sierra Madres with Tam and her sister. We were picked up at the hotel by
bus, and drove about 30 minutes up into the foothills. There we had breakfast at
the ranch, and then got on our little Mexican caballos. We rode through winding
trails up into the hills for about 1 1/2 hours. They then tethered the ponies,
and we walked another 15 minutes up a narrow path and over swinging suspension
bridges to a small cool lake fed by a waterfall. They had cold drinks and Ken
and I went for a very brief swim in the chilly mountain water. We then returned
to the horses, rode back to the ranch and had a great lunch. It was
$45.00/person, but was really a fun all-day event.
Since we are ending up staying in PV through the end of March, we were here
for the Banderas Bay Regatta, March 23 - 25. Ken crewed on Raven for the
three-day race. I went out on day 2 only.
The race is supposed to be a cruisers race, but some of the more serious
boats were leaving a lot of their cruising gear on the dock each day. There was
a Hobie division, a large multi-hull division and a number of mono-hull
divisions. Raven's appropriate t-shirt slogan was "Rail Meat for the Furniture
Below are pictures from the 2001 Banderas Bay Regatta.
The crew of Raven, Ken working the main sheet
Raven's impressive Battle Flag
Day one was extremely light air, with only boats in the fleet finishing.
Pantera leaving Paradise Village Marina, a screaming fast
carbon fiber cat that was of the few finishers on day one.
Committee Boat for the Regatta
Banderas Bay Regatta has a beautiful setting with the Sierra
Madres Mountains in the background.
Roxanne, a very fast custom Wylie 61
Not quite as fast, but we all thought a beautiful Little
Raven reaching the mark in the very light wind of day 1
Regatta boats off to the first mark
Raven's rail meat for the furniture fleet
Day two started better, with winds holding 12 - 18 knots most of the day.
Hobies off to a fast start
Raven making good time over the start line, looks back at
most of the fleet
Raven's flying her spinnaker on heading toward the finish
Raven finished in the middle of her division, but everyone had a great time
with a relaxed skipper and a fun crew.
A highlight of my stay in PV was a chance to swim with the dolphins. Dolphin
Adventure is an enclosed facility with trained dolphin; I have no doubt that
swimming with wild dolphin would be more thrilling, but it was a chance I
couldn't turn down.
More Pictures in the Dolphin
Adventure Photo Gallery
We are now down to about our last week in PV before our first major ocean
passage. If we would circumnavigate this leg from Mexico to the Marquesas would
likely be our longest passage. Our project list is getting smaller, and we feel
the most prepared for this passage as any we've done to date.
The radar replacement was our most critical project. However, we have also
been working on boat maintenance adding cruising gear we've discovered we need
after being out here for 6 months. I added seven maintenance coats to all of our
varnish, we've had jerry jug covers made, I sewed a new dinghy cover and cockpit
table cover, we've inspected our sails, added some chafe tape and baggywrinkle
to help avoid further chafe on our full-batten main on the long downwind sail
ahead of us. Ken has worked on the engine and will be installing our towing
generator, as we will largely need to rely on alternative energy sources (towing
and solar) to charge our batteries on the 30-day passage. We do have the fuel
capacity to totally rely on our engine to keep up with our power additions. We
had some of the local guys polish and wax the boat. Felicity is looking more
like she's going to a boat show than an ocean crossing!
Provisioning has taken up a good deal of my time. Not only will we be at sea
for about a month, but provisions can be scarce to non-existent in certain areas
of the South Pacific as well. Our first stop is the Marquesas Islands.
Apparently you can get fuel and fresh tropical fruit if you befriend a local
landowner and trade with them, but not a lot else. The next stop for us will be
the Tuamotus, a group of nearly 100 low lying atolls which are home to black
pearls and coconuts and little else. We will not see a proper grocery store
until we reach Tahiti sometime in July. Think about grocery shopping for 3
months, the next time you go to the store!
Our last minute projects include our fresh produce provisioning which I'll do
at the Sunday farmers' market a couple of days before we leave, final stowing
and securing of the boat for a passage, and have a diver scrub the bottom and
change our zincs after sitting in a marina for six weeks.
Our last few days in PV we also hope to find time to relax, visit the spa and
maybe actually go out to one of the great restaurants in old town.