Monday, March 29, 2010

A Passage to Puerto Angel

This is my second night of watch, its 3 in the morning, everyone is asleep, It is just me, the radar, the chart plotter and “Auto” our loyal friend the autopilot. We have sailed most of the day, we turned the motor on just a few hours ago after the wind died. It is calm for the most part with an occasional roll that makes “clinks” and “clanks” noises in the galley. I can see the lights of the city from here and a few spots in the radar that indicate that there is something in our surrounding. I see it, it’s another boat about 4 miles away moving faster than us. A hear a few splashes made by the dolphins that come to play, no shooting stars, no bioluminescence.

I am glad that we will be anchoring in the morning; sailing during the day is not that pleasant anymore. It gets so hot and humid. Occasionally we will have a breeze go through, but not enough to make it more comfortable. The girls found the greatest entertainment using our 5 gall buckets. Matt filled them up with ocean water and they sit on them making the water shoot out. They played for a couple of ours and kept themselves cool. I also found that doing laundry was useful for me, not only for the fact that the clothes will be clean, but also it would cool me off!


It took us approximately 17 hours to get here. As we are entering this large Bay our friends from S/V Wanderlust are leaving and S/V Gijima had arrived one hour before us. Acapulco has the reputation of not being a very friendly bay to cruisers. There is a Yacht Club with all the amenities that I wish to have, but it would have cost us US$160 per night.. outrageous! Instead we opted for renting a buoy for less than US$25 a day. Anchoring would have been our choice, but the only spots available were at 60 feet deep. A rule for anchoring is 5 to 7 feet of chain for each foot of depth. We only carry 150 feet.

To get to shore we had to take our dinghy to the dock of a Marina that is under reconstruction and pay 80 pesos for the day with nothing included. Just the security.. (ironically it has been the only place were we felt threatened as I will describe later). On our first day, along with the crew from Gijima, we headed to “El Zocalo” (downtown). We walked through the plaza, covered with foliage. It would have been a pleasant walk except for the stressful debate in my mind of weather to give or not to the people begging every couple of steps. Pass the plaza, we walked in the side street full of taquerias, ladies selling cut up fruits, hot chocolate, aguas frescas, pirated Cds and Dvds, jewelery, etc. We all sat down on a street corner and had the always well desired ice cream. After getting our hands all sticky, a few drops on our clothes and a ring of cream around the children’s mouth, we hopped in a white and blue Volkswagen beetle (the taxi) and headed to La Quebrada, the place were the divers jump off the cliff. For 35 pesos, we could watch the nerved racking show of seeing 6 young men jump. They say a few prayers, then they turn around, stand at the edge of the cliff and… oh my God! They go down. I wonder if during those seconds it takes them to get to the water slamming against the rocks develop any regrets?. The girls were amazed and so were we. I have heard about them, seen pictures and videos, but nothing compares with the adrenaline I felt being there.

Another day in Acapulco

Our friends from Gijima decided to leave, they feel there is not much to do in this town. I felt sad mainly for Trinidad because she almost broke down seeing Sean wave Goodbye. We will see them later. Now we are on our own. Matt got up early and went to town with a local man to get our propane tanks filled. A task that was unsuccessfully. The girls and I did some school and by the time he was back we were ready to go.. somewhere. We took our dinghy to the marina, we were tide up and left to the new part of town in search of and internet place, maybe a beach and a store. We hopped in an air conditioned bus, sat by the window and got a first class tour of Acapulco for only 6 pesos each. (50 cents). I had to be looking at the signs to make sure we got off at an internet place. There!, we passed it, I saw it in big letters “INTERNET” I made everyone stand, made the bus stop and we walked back a block, there it was “INTERJET”.. Matt wanted to hang me, but I am a believer that there are not wrong turns, it all has a purpose so I just laughed. As we are starting our new search, we passed a Hotel were things looked very confusing and we just walked in, sat at the bar by the pool, got the code for the Wi Fi, ordered lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon playing in the water slide. A wonderful day! We made a few purchases at the store and headed down to the boat to barbeque something while we still had daylight. As we are walking back to the dock to get in the dinghy, we were talking about our finances and how some things would certainly put a dent on our budget such as loosing the dinghy, by the way… “I don’t see our dinghy”.. a cold flow of blood runs through my head, our dinghy is gone!!!.

Our dinghy is gone

Thoughts were storming through my head. “We are in Mexico no one will respond” “how are we going to move?” “All this people working here did it” “they all know something, but wont tell” “how are we going to manage with just a couple of kayaks to get to shore, to carry our groceries, our laundry, our water, the girls?” “where are we going to get a new dinghy? A new motor?”. A couple of workers from the marina where there and one said to me: “don’t worry senora, we will find it” as he tries to get another boat to start the search. It is getting dark and the chances of finding it diminish. The other worker said: “oh, if it was stolen, its long time gone” tough for us. Another guy who was doing some work in someone’s boat offered to give us a ride to our boat, I was very hesitant to accept, because that would have put us out of the picture, out of sympathy and every one there would have forgotten about us. I prayed that we would find it, I knew we would.. The marina worker found a boat to take Matt around, the girls and I waited at the dock. The girls found entertainment with two little kittens and I beg them not to touch them.. it was so irresistible for them, but I feared that they could have fleas or other worse diseases. I see the boat return, but Matt is not in it.. that could be a good sign or a very bad one, Matt has been a victim of a terrible complot. Then the driver of the motor yells, he is coming with the dinghy. What a relief!, but it was not over. He is coming with two other guys.

The story was the following: Matt spotted the dinghy tide up to a boat in the Yatch Club, when they get there, a man comes out and blocked Matt from getting in, saying that he founded floating away and he rescued it. He wants to be paid. Matt said I will give you 100 pesos.. the guy laughed.. “nooo” he replied. Matt said 200, again the man declined. Matt begged the guy to go with him to the Marina and make them pay him, after all they were responsible. Also, Matts hope was that the guy would see the girls and weaken his position. He accepted and got one of his friends to go along. They negotiated at the dock and the Marina personnel said they would pay him the next day, he did not believe it. At the end, he decided to accept our offer of $200 pesos. We had to take him and his friend to our boat because we had no money with us. They were pretty friendly at this point and told us that we had to tell the Marina that we paid them $400 pesos and that way we would be reimbursed and be able to keep the difference. Ha! Matt explained to him that we were not in this for the money so if the Marina gave him that much he would give them the difference. We never went to the Marina, we just wanted to get out of there and put the incident behind us. No more lies, no more games. We still don’t know how the dinghy floated away, who untied it and if there were more people involved in the scheme.


It has been hard to establish a good homeschooling routine being always on the go makes it challenging. Plus there is some resistance to the “S” word as Samantha puts it. However, she is very sharp and makes the work on the books seemed so easy, that I am not too concern academically. She reads quite well and together we read every night. Trinidad asks to be schooled too, so every day she gets her books out and goes through several pages without having to push her. She is very focused on her work and I am amazed at how quickly she is learning on her own. I have noticed with her that the less I test her the more willingly she works. With both, we take every chance we can to introduce new concepts and experiences. Traveling into new cultures, The Spanish language and life at sea way will supplement very well their education.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


After the anchor has been dropped we usually jump in for a swim, this time more than ever I wanted to do that. We have been slowly steaming ourselves in the hit for several hours now. Even though I new the water wasn’t so clean here I just took a quick dip. I had no idea to what extent the water was polluted, luckily I didn’t develop any weird rashes or other side effects.

What a contrast with our previous anchorage in Tenacatica where we were saluted in the mornings with dolphins and puffer fish begging for scrap foods. Here you were saluted with plastic bags, fish heads, suspicious foam and other organic and inorganic debris.

The anchorage was rolly, but bearable, there are three beaches; the first one is where we were able to park our dinghy safely and drily. From here we could walk to town, visit the fish market and enjoy the large displays of handcrafts. The beach itself was not the brochure beach precisely, but there was a nice walk along the edge that took us to the second beach. These two share the same bay were we were anchored so swimming here was a desperately action. The locals have no problem with it. The third beach is Playa La Ropa, it looks nicer, it is cleaner, but the closest we made it to it was just before the break in our dinghy with the little girls from vessel Ganamyde, who arrived here a few days earlier, and the girls of Endurance. The landing seemed to risky, flipping the dinghy with little crew would have been a disaster. So then we headed back to the dirty beach that we convinced ourselves it was not all that bad. It was nice to spend time with Danielle from Ganamyde. I am so curious to see how they live, enjoy and foresee their experience.

The rides at night in this bay are incredible, as we move the oars of the dinghy it looked as if we had a neon string attached to the end. The bioluminescence is the best I have seen so far. I can only imagine what crosses the minds of the girls when they see these organisms. It must be millions of light fairies in there.

The town is beautiful, charged with cultural activities and temptations for an ex shopaholic in recovery like me. This is a good place to experience their food, music and see how the crafts are executed. I understood that every Sunday they have a cultural exhibition on the water front. We were able to presence it. The Plaza by the water was full of food vendors barbequing for Tacos, frying corn turnovers, plantain, preparing “aguas frescas”; Jamaica (Hibiscus Flower), Horchata (Rice milk), Tamarindo, Mango etc. and much more. The smells, the colors, the happiness of the locals and off course, the prices of these dinners were impossible to resist. Us and our friends from vessel Gijima spent a delightful night eating and watching traditional dances of Mexico. Samantha even got a makeover with colorful laces and sparkles on her hair for less than US $3. Trinidad didn’t because she was too busy playing with her friend Sean from Gijima. Those two are quite a pair.

In almost every anchorage there is a bar were cruisers are welcome and they will usually provide some services such us; showers, internet and information. There was one in this town called “Ricks”. We planned to go one day mainly so we could take a nice, warm shower.. our luck, the place was closed.. I was starting to feel a little depressed due to the primitive conditions we have chosen to live in. I missed home! We walked a few blocks and found a shower facility for 15 pesos to refresh not only our bodies, but our feelings and thoughts. A Public shower! The facility was clean, it was a good service, but you just have to manage to shower with a stream the size of a straw. It still felt amazing! I know that in time I will see the humor of all this, but I couldn’t avoid at that moment to get tears of frustration in my eyes.

We have decided to extend our stay and extra day, blame it on the tigers and Lions. The circus is in town!! We really wanted to take the girls. We had a blast. The show was very entertaining and well done. It have always been intrigued by the life of the circus performers and I would like…. Oh what I am saying.. I could never handle it, I don’t want it, this adventure is about my limit..haha.

Coconut Oil

The sun, the salt water and the lack of fresh water have really done a number on my hair, I don’t like it, Its taking a little more of my pride and self esteem away..he. A friend recommended to buy coconut oil and I just found it! I am a little skeptical of the components of this oil. The lack of regulations on labeling products makes me suspicious. It could be just the recycle oil after frying burritos on the street with just a few drops of coconut juice, oh well! Some people puts mayonnaise on their hair so why couldn’t I put a fry burrito extract on mine. I just rubbed it on my hair and it does feel softer.

Birds on deck

I have no problem sharing the boat with a few birds, but tonight is getting ridiculous, the seagulls are walking around as if they belong here and the number of them has increased. I am afraid I will wake up with one by my side. They just seemed too fearless and ruthless, they leave waste behind. I just walked outside and send one away, but as soon as I turned my back she is back. Are seagulls good for any meal? I don’t really mean it my vegan friends. Now I see one staring at me from a hatch with a fish in her mouth, does she sees me as a threat or she is just challenging me?.

Another long passage

We are now in our way to Zihuatanejo, 180 miles to go. It is an overnight passage. I take my Stugeron (sea sickness pill) and I managed to make the trip without any disgusting feelings and without a drop in energy. So good I felt that I try my new recipe for buns and cinnamon rolls given to me by my friend Lisa. They turned out nice in shape, but lacked some flavor. I didn’t realized that I have to put twice the amount of butter and sugar over those rolls.
As we approached the Bay of Zihatanejo we are presented with a large number of rays flapping on the water. It was fun to see, but most of all and as always is the squeals of excitement of the girls that gives us the most pleasure. We also encountered the always welcomed dolphins and a few turtles that swim across in a very lonesome way.

Manzanillo Part II

In our second day here we took a taxi towards the stores. It was a nice ride down the windy cobblestone roads overlooking the bay most of the way. It was a hot, sunny day with a wonderful breeze created by the motion of the car. Getting out of the taxi presented a different panorama. The hot and sunny day remained, but the breeze was gone, paradise was vanished when I closed that door. It was not pleasant being on the street. Matt and Trinidad went to Autozone and then headed back to the boat to accomplished the difficult task of doing laundry. Samantha and I went to Wal Mart to get groceries.

It was fun shopping with Samantha, I take it as part of her homeschooling. She had her own list of items she wanted to buy; a can of tuna, cereal, a can of peas and carrots, some chocolate and more. After a couple of hours we were done and proceeded to check out. She had her own purse and money. I paid for my food and she was still counting her coins to pay for hers. The line behind her was getting longer and no one seemed to find the value for what she was doing. I then made the mistake to pay for her things asking her to give me the money. She broke down crying because I had ruined the experience. I felt awful! I had to make it up to her.

The rest of the day we spent by the pool with another family of cruisers on board of S/V Albatross and Matt spent it drying the clothes. He did 2 loads and it cost him 30 dollars! The most expensive washing we have done in this trip. A tip for future cruiser: get your laundry done in town where they charge about 90 cents a kilo and shake the sand off the clothes before putting it on the scale.

Another day in Manzanillo gave us the opportunity to visit the actual town. We hopped in a bus with our friends from Albatross and took a long ride to get to downtown. We passed the port area which was quite impressive. A very large operation, In fact Manzanillo is the largest port in the west coast after Long Beach, CA. At the end of the ride we were guided by a little girl to an Iguanario where the iguanas are balancing on the trees as little lizards. They wore numbers on their side, Matt found Iguana number 89. I couldn’t find out what the highest number was and I didn’t have enough time to see what numbers were missing. I imagine a few have fallen off the trees. They are keeping track of the species as they are in danger of extinction.

We walked for several blocks and the kids survived, I was not very impressed with the town. It is obvious that tourism is not their main source of income, even though it has some interesting elements such us the big sculpture of the Marlin at the Malecon (waterfront). Finding a place to eat was another source of frustration, nothing around at the time we needed it. The moods get very fragile in circumstances like this, but we managed to get to a little corner “luncheria” where we enjoyed some “tortas” (sandwich).

We enjoyed the pool one more time and ended the day at Café Frida were we had dinner and happy hour beverages with friends.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I am preparing the next entries..

We are currently in Zihuatanejo planning to depart towards Acapulco tomorrow March 23rd.
I will be updating the blog soon!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

To Manzanillo

We are now in Mazanillo, in the beautiful anchorage of Las Hadas (the fairies). We arrived midday and after the normal procedures of arrival, we headed to the Hotel Las Hadas. The girls could not believe what they were seeing. The most wonderful pool of all! With islands, a bar in the middle and a bridge!! Trinidad jumped in quickly, fearless of depth, she kept saying “I love this place, I love it, I love it”. It was indeed lovable. Cruisers are welcome to use the pool and dinghy dock. Again I feel as the poor people living in style..hehe.

We got back to the boat, prepared some stakes in the BBQ, vegetables on the stove and we were forced to re-set the anchor. I guess our neighbor didn’t feel comfortable with us so close, he said “ I want you to know you are on my anchor swing” My thoughts and good wishes to him were questionable. I imagine that when he saw us pulling our anchor up and the kids asking for dinner he felt like a.. what’s that word?.. oh! really bad.

Everyone is sleeping here, I am preparing to put this down and shut the hatches to filter the noise coming from the discothèque, even though I would like to join the fun and then I will get in my own anchor position to sleep in rolly anchorages like this one; one knee up and about 80 percent of my body facing down. That will hold me into place.

1,2,3 4 o clock rock.. 5,6… that is a good party out there!!!
Good night!!!


A small town near Barra de Navidad, with lots of carachter and the best Margaritas on the beach so far!! Our decision to stop here was motivated by their St Patrick celebration that starts a week earlier. It was quite an experience of which the girls were not that thrilled. After having drinks on the beach with the crews members of Journey and Albatross we all headed to the Plaza in downtown were the celebration would be taking place. There were rides the kids went on, lots of food vendors where we were able to get the delicious “churros rellenos con cajeta” (manjar or caramel milk) I thought those were Chilean?!. At 10 PM we crossed the plaza to the church and waited for the firing of this figure that I never understood. It was soon fired, oh my goodness!! sparks were flying everywhere. Kids, not older than 10, were running under with cardboard boxes over their heads and others gave up the cardboards altogether. Samantha was terrified not only for the fire, but also for the people that in their efforts to escape would just run anywhere and push anyone. This lasted more than 20 minutes and to top it off, they lit up the figure of a bull that is run by the plaza in between the people to see who is the lucky burned one. I guess it resembles to bull runs in Spain, but in a more compassionate way towards the bulls.

We spend a second day in Melaque visiting the town, the internet café and the butcher shop. I had my first 8 pesos tacos in Mexico!! Yeeah!! Les than 80 cents each!!

Off to Melaque

It has been a week or more and our time to be out of Mexico before Hurricane season is getting tight. We left Wednesday morning towards Melaque. Not much wind, but the swell was more than 10 feet and it was what they referred as mixed seas. Luckily it is only a few hours of this until we make it into the anchorage. In the way, we passed another vessel going in the same direction as Endurance, I could not imagine them having a pleasant time on board. It reminded me of my trials in the bath tub with rubber boats. Before we started our trip, in order to reduce my anxiety and while giving the kids a bath, I would disturb the waters to see what the behavior of those boats would be and I would fill them with water to see how much they would take before sinking. I know it was naïve and ignorant on my part, but the though of being drown in the ocean was one of my worse nightmares. I should not be sharing this. Our passage was not so bad because we had the main sail up and that helps to stabilize the boat giving us a smoother ride.

200 ways I could be killed by the small waves.

For the first time I was able to play with the kayak on the waves. I was really terrified, I knew it could be a fun experience and rationally speaking nothing could really kill me in this beach, but at the time of getting in the kayak I kept thinking of the many different ways that those harmless little waves could drown me, suck me out, smash me into the rocks, feed me to the unseen sharks, dissolve me, trapped me inside the kayak or simply just surprise me with new forms of death. I just couldn’t leave the bay without giving it a try. I said my little payer and got on. First try was fantastic, flawless, exciting, addicting. I quickly paddle back to catch another, I was in place, the wave got bigger, and bigger and bigger and oh nooo… I thought this one will tumble me and so I prepared my fall, tighten up my bathing suit and got a good grab on the paddle. I experienced the so feared and ungraceful roll, I didn’t die!!! Yeah! And I like it, but best of all I managed to keep my suit in place.

A boat that inspires.

I feel that I have to mention Ganamyde because they have been and inspiration for me. It is a remainder that we could go further if we really want to. They travel in a 31 feet boat, build in their backyard, the amenities in the boat are minimal; no radar, no autopilot, no water maker, no motor (just a small outboard) no water tank (they store their water in jugs) and so on. They have three small children on board, Antigani (5), Emely (3) and Damarus (almost 2). While in Tenacatita, I saw Danielle (the mom) hanging the laundry in between the palms while the kids were playing by the estuary with their sand bucket. It looked as they belong there, it was a beautiful sight, lots of sparkling white diapers hanging from those lines. I am not pursuing that kind of lifestyle, but I like to know that we can go places with a lot less than what we currently have. Ben (the father) currently writes for Cruising World and I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear about them in other publications or media.

Another trip to the store

As we take our last dinghy trip to the store through the jungle I keep thinking to myself; this sure bits the feeling of driving the freeway to get to the nearest supermarket.

We grabbed our backpacks; loaded the kids in strategic positions so the dinghy could plane through the water and, since we picked the wrong tide to enter the estuary, we ended up giving our dinghy a ride. We threw a line over our shoulders to pull and put our feet in the shuffling motion as we walk to avoid the painful sting of a ray. Soon we reached the appropriate depth, got in and race up the river along with 3 other dinghies. A total of 8 children having a blast and 7 adults with a grin on our faces.

Simple chores like this become adventures. It seems like a regress instead of progress, but the reward is incredible so we are all for it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A day under palm trees

Today was a good day! We started with delicious French Toasts cooked by Matt, juice and coffee. We then jumped in the water and try some snorkeling. Samantha loves it, but Trinidad in spite of her desire to do it, gets turned down by her own fears. Her frustration is enormous, she cries saying that she can’t do anything. It breaks my heart. I explain to her that is reasonable to have fears and that it would be better to say I am scared, I am not ready, than to limit herself on what she could do. It all got better once we visited another boat with children and the girls felt right at home with Sienna and Tristan, ages 4 and 7 as well. We spent the whole morning with them. By 2 o’clock we headed to the beach where a book trading event was taking place. There were several kids and adults from many other boats. The kids swam, built shacks with coconut tree branches, played with coconuts and read books. The adults mingle and played games. I learnt today the rules of Mexican Train. Very engaging!

We returned to our boat, rinsed off on deck and prepared dinner. I am running low on meat so I had to open the cover with the canned goods and found a Roast Beef with Gravy that I mixed with a Mushroom soup, cut up carrots and potatoes, a pinch of garlic, salt and a dash Worceshare Sauce .. the kids ask for seconds.. Ahh that makes the day of a mother.

Our friends are leaving

I can’t seem to make words come out of my mouth, a knot on my throat blocked the air I needed to talk. I can’t even look at them in the eyes my vision gets extremely blurry. Our friends from Tenacious Grace are leaving in a few minutes, they are heading North and we are heading South. Why we choose to suffer like this, I don know. We could head North just to stick together, but one more time we must face the reality that this journey is a personal experience and friends will come and go. They make you wiser, stronger and maker your life rich. They came to our life with a purpose and I saw it every moment we spent together. Brad Ramer an amazing man, passionate about sailing, strong, determined, his willingness to help makes me think of a saint, always ready to assist. Lisa, my friend, not so passionate about sailing, but passionate about exploring, about people, we shared so much she was like a sister to me (funny thing she was born the same day and year as my sister), a good mom a good wife, smart, knowledgeable and funny. Kat; an adventurer, a risk taker, brave, sweet, very creative, the girls adored her and Zach; the sweetest 10 year old boy I have ever met, smart and good hearted, we will missed you so much. Did I say that they are all good looking too? Love you all!!

The radio comes on with the sweet voice of Zach saying good-bye to the fleet of Tenacatita, Its like hearing the voice of one of my girls saying “bye mommy”, their motor is on and while Kat is at the helm, Brad is hoisting anchor. Lisa is already in Puerto Vallarta, she left a few days ago to meet her sister. I wish she would come back.

I just stood on the deck to see the last few inches of mast disappear in the horizon.. oh what else can I say?.. Good luck my friends!

La Manzanilla

We are taking our boat to La Manzanilla for half of the day. It is maybe an hour sail there and the town is supposed to be charming. We invited Brad and the kids from Tenacious to sail with us. The town is a nice little town that host an arts and craft market on Friday.. perfect timing! We got to see it and spend money. We walked the main street to the end where there was a fence to the mangroves and a few warning signs We peeked through and there they were, lots of them, waiting for compassionate tourist to feed them. The crocodiles! In the way back we stopped at a fish market and I purchased a pound of fish to make ceviche which seemed a little offensive to Matt and Brad that I had lost hope on them bring the fish from their spear fishing attempts. We all enjoyed the dish in the evening.

Is it adventure that we wanted?

We went to the town of Tenacatita this morning with our friends from Tenacious, we had a wonderful day snorkeling at a place called The Aquarium, the largest coral reef in Jalisco. We spend a great part of the day there and in the way back we stopped for a few provisions at the only store. Their selection of items was ok, but their produce was far from desirable. I volunteered to bring back eggs, flour and fruits for another cruiser (s/v Journey) in the bay. I thought I could do some good there, but it just didn’t turn out that way. We got back in the dinghies to return to our boats, follow the path through the estuary as you would normally do and…surprise! The path has been blocked by a fallen tree from the mangroves. We only had a couple of hours to figure out a way to get through, at dusk, the mosquitoes will squeezed you dry and just the idea of navigating the mangroves in the dark does not sound very romantic. We transferred all the kids to one dinghy and the men to the other in the front to clear the way. They broke some branches and with a pocket knife cut some others, finally with the pulling and pushing we made our way. The dinghies were covered in mud as well as the skins of Matt, Brad and Lisa from Tenacious. The eggs suffered a great deal as well! 4 cracked! My delivery of goods to vessel Journey was not very successful, I was short on eggs, produce and to top it off the flour was full of weevils!! Sorry Melanie from Journey!

Tenacatita Bay

Its one of the 5 bays that constitute Costaalegre. It’s a kids friendly bay, not only for what nature offers, but also for the amount of cruisers with children. The girls have swam around the boat, in the lagoon at the entrance of the estuary and the beach where there is a very small break, they have kayaked, water sky with the boogie board and even roasted hot dogs at the beach where we held a small bomb fire. The sand flies and mosquitoes are a problem, one certainly don’t want to be in the beach at dusk, they gobbled up my anckels.

Tsunami warning for the Pacific coast and Earthquake in Chile

Lisa from Tenacious called us on the radio and gave me the news. An 8.8 earthquake in Chile and by 11 in the morning we could be hit by a tsunami wave. I was not worried about the tsunami so much, the best place to be was exactly were we were… floating, but the earthquake made me really upset. I got the satellite phone and tried everyone in my family and couldn’t get through. I grabbed the Kindle book and luckily I had some connection to the satellite and I was able to read the postings on Facebook of friends and their friends. I found out where the epicenter was and that Santiago, where my family lives, was hit almost as hard. One of my friends called my dad and she informed me that everyone was okay.

It was an impressive sight to see all the boats of Tenacatita Bay floating outside of the bay waiting for the wave that never came, thank goodness!.

Leaving La Cruz

The last night in La Cruz, we spent it in the anchorage. I was not emotionally ready for it and I sort of left “my sea-legs” behind. I felt nauseous quickly after the anchor was dropped. That set my mood for failure and incompetence as a mother and wife. I managed to serve dinner. I get a point for that. I knew there was so much left unseen in the town and its surrounding and it was going to be another overnight passage to Tenacatita, our next stop. I guess there is always the way back to the US, but I am not so sure I want to be part of an upwind experience.

By 7 o’clock we were ready to start our sail down. At the same time another Morgan 38 was leaving and right behind was Tenacious Grace. It was fun to see how a boat just like ours was sailing on our side. We had chance to meet the nice couple on board, they have done this trip earlier in life with their children as little as ours.

We passed Cabo Corrientes and the wind started to pick up. I was hit in the head by the boom, not severely but hard enough to destroy more of the neurons I have left. It made me hate sailing for a few seconds and be mad at my husband for not holding still fot me went I was doing something stupid and then for giving the look “you dummy”. Oh well I forgot all about that experience when the winds reached about 30 knots and we had to reef the sails. I was put at the helm to face the wind while Matt was tying the main sail. It was uncomfortable. While doing this I saw something floating in the water that I couldn’t identify and could not ask Matt to look at it. I decided to call it a Ray, so my friends, I saw a Ray. We found a little refuge in Ipala, a small fishing village and stay there for 2 hours to recover.

The swell got bigger and the wind calmed down, by night it was all good, we entered the Tenacatita area by 7 or 8.

As we are approaching, we get a call from Tenacious Grace, who had already arrived asking what we were going to do about the Tsunami warning…. WHAAAT?

A palapa in Yelapa

What a treat! Tenacious Grace is taking us to Yelapa for the day. It was a very comfortable and fun sail. Yelapa is a beautiful town with limited access. You can get there by horse, walking if you dare and by boat. There are several restaurants along the beach, all above our budget, a river where we presence the most interesting Panga (Mexican fishing boat) operation, interesting business, mainly managed by foreigners and a waterfall at the end of a beautiful hike. The Pangas are parked in the river, but in order to get there when the tide is low they have to turn their motors into high power and fly over to the entrance of the river. Since I didn’t know what their strategy was, I thought the driver was nuts or he simply made a mistake and instead of turning the gas off he lost coordination and turned the handle in opposite direction. That sort of thing happens to me sometimes.. embarrassing to say, but true.

By the time we had to leave the water the break was a little bigger and getting in the dinghy was going to be a wet experience. It was nothing new for us, but new for Karen. Matt, Lisa and I swam to the boat instead; I had use my adrenaline powers to make it all the way. I am not an experienced swimmer.

Grandma Arrives

The kids were very excited to see her, she spent with us 5 days which seemed very short. She put up with the tight spaces, the gipsy life, the messy schedules and the involuntary splashing on the dinghy. We introduced her to the dollar tacos on the street and she treated us to a more sophisticated dining where the dishes were more than 5 dollars each and the service was more than “ here is your taco” Thank you! It has been a while since we were able to splurge ..hehe

Karen, my friend Lisa and I went to the old town of Vallarta where we walked the Malecon, visited an amazing candy store with the typical Mexican candies; mango picoso, tamarindo picoso, candied peanuts with chile, cajeta with tequila and so on. Karen bought the girls a enough candies for them to host a tea party with their friends at the dock. Later we stopped at a Mexican house ware store were she found the cutest tea cups to complete the setting for the party. The night ended with a trip to the grocery store and a long taxi ride back to La Cruz.

After Karen left we spend two more nights at the marina and cought up with some projects, most of them except for updating the blog. The internet at the marina was horrible! For future cruisers I would highly recommend to buy a Tercel card at their first port of entry. It is worth every penny of its cost.

It is small world

Matt had some clients in Tubac who live part time in Montrose, CO (the town were he grew up), part time in Vallarta and own a boat the stays in the marina in La Cruz, John and Jean Godbe. They happened to be in the area when we called them. We share some drinks together and they offer to drive us to the airport to pick up Grandma Karen who was coming that day, they drove us to the store and to top it off they took us out to dinner to dinner. Thank you John and Jean for your generosity and for showing us good times!!

La Cruz de Huanacaxle

We made our arrival in the afternoon and anchor in the busy bay, it feels that all the sudden everyone decided to go live the life like us. I cooked one of my known Mexican dishes “chilaquiles” and shared it for dinner with our friends from Tenacious.

The next morning we moved into the Marina Riviera Nayarit to enjoy one more time the luxury of unlimited supply of water, power, extended hot showers and the easy in and out of the docks. We would use the dinghy just to make fast trips to the yacht club and to go play in the beach.

The Marina is beautiful, just one block from the plaza and for only 0.56 cents a foot it is an unbeatable deal!. It is going through a mayor development, preparing for a boat show and the visit of President Calderon in a few weeks. The only complain I have is the unreliable Wi Fi service. I was able to use it once in the whole time we were there.

At the same dock we were there were three other boats with children, Samantha and Trinidad were at their best running up and down the dock and in and out of boats. Trinidad confessed to me today that a 5 year old boy, Casey, liked her and she thought he wanted to go on a date.. plop! I guess my little baby girl is growing faster than we think.

The town is charmed by its simplicity, live music, , we enjoyed the walks to the ice cream shop, the bakery, the laundry, the markets, the church and to the bus that would take us to the towns of Bucerias and Puerto Vallarta. We particularly enjoyed the Tacos for 10 pesos made by Claudia, who would prepare fresh tortillas and your choice of Carne Asada, Carnitas, birria or Shrimp. It was here that I was introduced to the Noni fruit, highly nutritious and horrible taste by itself. Claudia assured me that mixed in juices would surprise me.


I am expecting a modest fishing village, a few palapas on the beach and a thick jungle with lianas to swing on, that is what I was told. It was far from reality. The place is small, well stocked with elegant homes and the jungle is now a condominium, we realized that after a long walk searching for a trail and with no success. One of our friends picked up a tick who managed to climb up his leg, but was removed quickly. Luckily it didn’t happen to the kids, removing a tick does not look like a pleasant experience. Now we know what else we must worry about in our adventure while on land.

This was the first time we had to use stern and bow anchors to avoid the rolling with the swell. It was particularly high that day, so much that we would almost loose sight of our friend’s boat.

The night was quite and comfortable and we left the next morning with rain that followed us all the way to La Cruz. We had put our foul weather gear away, rain was not in the plans.

Reencounter with friends

As we are about to leave the anchorage we get a call on the radio from Tenacious Grace, they are an hour away from San Blas wondering if they should come in. We suggested they sail with us South and visit San Blas in the way back, hoping that they would say yes, but feeling extremely guilty for not encouraging them to stay, San Blas is worth seeing. We were filled with joy when they agreed to accept the suggestion, which meant that we were going to explore together the next anchorages.

The Jungle Tour

We took a Panga from San Blas for $400 pesos and I had no buyers remorse. I believed it was worth every cent, even though I met people who did the same for less. We had planned to do it ourselves with the dinghy, but the crocs are easily missed if you don’t know where they are. Samantha could not reach far enough with her camera to get a little closer. They both had a blast, we ate berries along the way, went under bridges and the mangroves. The feeling is magnificent. We had two stops, the first; at the crocodile farm and the second; Tavora, where the girls swam and we had a plate of ceviche and tostadas.

The dark sights of our adventures in San Blas
I felt that my soul was robed when both of my cameras decide to fail. I had nothing to help me perpetuate the moments. Matt’s camera had failed earlier in the trip and we were down to only Samantha’s one, but she was having too much fun with it so I had to wait and beg her for a turn. Thanks to a Google search I was able to find answers to my issues with the Nikon and I had Matt perform surgery on it. HE FIXED IT!! Now I have my fun back, at least part of it. My video camera is still acting up.

The few days we stayed in San Blas were enough to feed a colony of mosquitoes. As we say in Chile: “nos hicieron chupete” Trini and I were the most affected by them. Up until this day I am dialing with the bites.