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Friday, May 13, 2011

Singlar Marina, Mazatlan

On our way to Mazatlan we spent a week in Banderas Bay. In La Cruz we took on fuel, got a propane tank refilled, had laundry done, and walked the town. The secret to anchoring out at La Cruz is to be back on your boat for lunch. The mornings are pleasant but the wind blows extra hard there all afternoon until sunset. We don't really care much for this stop, but we were happy to discover a new restaurant called La Ya Ya. It's a charming place complete with birds, a dog and cat, fast Wi-Fi, a book exchange, good chilaquiles, bottomless coffee cups, and friendly service - all for a very reasonable price, which is unusual for generally over-priced little La Cruz.

From there we motored out to Punta de Mita where we were happy to see Ralph out on his new (old) boat. We were sorry to hear that he and Nikki have split up, but she is still running Mita'z Pizza and bakery. Other than more new condos, expensive homes, and an Oxxo (like a 7-11) not much has changed in the little town itself. The beach in front of the old ramada style restaurants appears to be shrinking rapidly and there's not much room to park a dinghy there anymore.

We had a long and boring overnight motor trip to Mazatlan. We arrived mid-afternoon and pulled into the Stone Island anchorage to catch up on sleep. On May 5 we motored to the marina basin and chose Singlar for its cheaper short term rates. We'll stay here until June 1 when we move to Marina Mazatlan for their five-month summer rate of $.24/foot, which we believe is the best rate to be found in Mexico.

Our primary focus since arriving in Mazatlan has been to clean and stow everything on the boat's exterior in preparation for hurricane season. The first thing we did was wash the Manzanillo grime off of everything - decks, teak, sail covers, running rigging, and halyards. Every piece of rope has gotten a soapy bucket wash and several rinses. All three sails were thoroughly hosed down, dried, folded, and stowed below. The dinghy has been broken down, scrubbed, folded up, and stowed with the floor boards in its bag on the foredeck. To make room for sails and lines we rearranged the quarter berth storage (above and below), and moved some things into the shower. The last of the halyards are drying on the lifelines today, but everything else has been stripped off and put away, even the life raft.

While we've been working harder than we're used to, we've also managed to have enough free time for catching up with our friends, Eric and Sherrell, on Sarana. We've had impromptu happy hours on the dock, and we went out for Thai food to celebrate Eric's birthday. We all took a bus to Old Town one evening for the last day of Art Walk 2011. This annual event is always a lot of fun as it gives you an opportunity to see not only galleries, but also artist's studios, homes, and interesting spaces not normally open to the public. So in addition to looking at art, we "toured" a model penthouse condo with rooftop garden; a small living room with a big screen TV showing (of all things) U.S. football; a gallery in a beautiful and completely remodeled minimalist space which may also double as a home; we walked in on one artist finishing an ice cream cone in his studio/home, spoke with an artist about her interesting monotype process in her older, lovely studio; talked to a wildlife photographer with amazing shots of panthers and jaguars in local jungle areas, and watched an exhibition of tango dancing in a gift shop gallery; and we enjoyed meeting an American woman who paints and is very involved in a local rescue program for cats. Most places offered wine and a small snack but we capped off the evening in Plaza Machado for a last drink and bite to eat before catching a bus back to the marina.

Getting Ziggy used to marina life takes up a lot of our time. The main reason John wanted me to take Ziggy to Seattle with me was to get him out of John's hair while he's trying to work on the boat. But we've decided to forego the expense of Z's ticket and keep him on the boat this summer. And that's the worst part - he refuses to stay on our boat and insists on roaming as far and wide as we'll let him. Currently the routine is roughly this: 0400-0530 Z jumps on our bed and pesters us to let him out. We throw him off the bed. Repeat half a dozen times. 0530-0900 One of us finally gives up, feeds Z, puts him in his harness, and sits outside on the dock (with coffee) to make sure he doesn't wander or get on an unoccupied boat. When the other person gets up around 0700 (sunrise) we take turns keeping an eye on him. Sometimes we put him on his leash and a long tie down to give ourselves a break. 0900-1600 (plus or minus an hour) Z sleeps. 1600-1930 (sunset) He's back out on the dock either tethered on his leash, off-leash but supervised, or let loose to explore the part of the dock opposite us from the ramp to the gate. There are other cat boats at that end who don't mind an occasional visitor. At sunset he comes inside with us for the night. Since he's normally allowed full in and out privileges when we're at anchor this must be the hardest change for him to accept. John's planning to construct a "catio" on the foredeck so that Z can be outside and unsupervised for at least part of the time. We're keeping our fingers crossed that it will satisfy some of his urge to be in the great outdoors.

So far the weather has been hot and sunny during the day with an excellent dry breeze in the afternoon, and cool enough to still need a blanket at night and a sweatshirt before the sun comes up in the morning.