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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Chamela to Punta Mita

We had an uneventful motor trip overnight. We left Chamela at 5:45 PM and arrived Punta Mita at 10:30 AM. The seas were a little choppy, making for a bouncy ride, until 11 PM when the breeze completely died and things smoothed out a bit more. The water is a very chilly 71 degrees in the anchorage here (down from 80 in Chamela!), so we may decide to go on to La Cruz soon where (for a fee) we can dinghy into the marina and take showers ashore.

Ziggy is very happy that the noisy engine has finally stopped.


{GMST}20|46.009|N|105|31.039|W|Back in Banderas Bay|Punta Mita{GEND}

Friday, March 16, 2012

Las Hadas to Chamela

This past week we prepared to leave our lovely winter base to take Nakia north for hurricane season. John made two trips by dinghy to the marina docks with our five empty jerry jugs to top our water tanks. We had a load of laundry done and stocked up on perishables to last us to Banderas Bay. I made brownies for the Las Hadas resort guards and, while my Spanish explanation of our impending departure was probably not terribly clear, I think they were happy to receive an unexpected treat. We were invited to a farewell roast beast dinner at Joe and Pam's condo, and we made one final lunch date for the season with Stan and MJ at the new Cabo Grill.

We woke to an alarm clock Wednesday morning, raised the dinghy on deck, and went to start the engine. There was a small hiccup when it coughed and died, but John quickly ascertained that it wasn't primed. Off came the companionway steps, out came the tool box, and he bled the air out and got it running again.

We were underway at 0640 and had an easy day. An otherwise boring trip was punctuated by "wow" moments like a humpback whale jumping straight out of the ocean, and regular sightings of turtles, Tropic birds, and spotted dolphins. I remember during the trip south I could stand in the shade and actually get a chill on a bright sunny day. But things are warming up now and, while it was a relief to get out of the direct sun, we were still hot sitting in the shade. John caught a Jack Crevalle and had a hard time getting the barbed hooks out of its jaw to release it. I thought it was crab food by the time he freed it, but the fish shot down into the depths with one powerful stroke of its tail. John worked on the hook to take the barbs off for the next fish, but he was out of luck. The next strike startled us by breaking the swivel and ripping both ends of the shock tubing to take John's favorite Tahitian lure and the entire length of hand line with it. Bummer!

Conditions were calm and a favorable current pushed us north encouraging us to pass up an overnight stop at Tenacatita. We dropped the hook off of the tiny town of Punta Perula in Bahia Chamela where over a dozen cruising boats had arrived before us. People are taking advantage of a few days of forecasted calm weather to migrate north during the transition from winter to summer. A half dozen boats went on around Cabo Corrientes last night and reported an easy motor trip. We'll leave at sunset with another group to make that trip tonight before the weather window closes this weekend. We expect to be in Punta Mita sometime late Saturday afternoon.

Linda (and John and Ziggy too)

{GMST}19|35.002|N|105|07.918|W|Rest Stop|Chamela{GEND}

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Las Hadas Wrap Up

It's finally time for us to say goodbye to Las Hadas for this season. After years of refusing to check it out even for one overnight, thinking it was an over-priced resort stop, we have come to appreciate the attraction. As we make Manzanillo bay our home base for 2-3 months of our Mexico winters, the Las Hadas anchorage is a much more centrally located place for us to live out of than La Boquita (better known by cruisers as the Santiago anchorage). Yes, there are the drawbacks of late night music from the all-inclusive Barcelo Karmina resort, and those pesky water toys like jet skis, ski boats pulling wake boarders, and banana boats. But water toys invade every desirable anchorage, and we learned to sleep through the music. We were happy to trade a little additional resort activity on the weekends for a dry landing at a secure dinghy dock with friendly and accommodating guard staff whom we came to know by name. Even the staff on restaurant row in the marina greeted us as we passed through their outdoor seating area every evening to take our showers. The bathrooms were rundown but provided a blast of cold, fresh water that I far preferred to our usual (and very public) salt water baths off of Nakia.

We routinely topped our water tanks from dock water jerry jugged out to Nakia by dinghy, and paid one of the friendly restaurant owners to swap out our two jugs of purified drinking water as they emptied. It's an easy walk with a small gas can to a local Pemex (the national fuel stations), and a six peso (about 50 cents) bus ride back to Las Hadas. By the way we would not recommend taking on diesel fuel in the marina as it is not a Pemex fuel dock and sees very little traffic (making for potentially old/dirty fuel).

Although you can walk five minutes up a steep hill to the resort entrance and catch a bus out to the highway, we preferred the very pleasant half hour walk in front of neighboring condos and through the back of Karmina. In the mornings this is mostly shady and when you reach the highway you are directly across the street from a lavanderia; a block from the Salahua jardin (main square); and another 5-10 minutes from major supermarkets. Or you can hop on a six peso bus to Manzanillo or Santiago. We would usually walk out to do our errands and then ride back on a bus with our purchases. Or, for a large shop, a taxi was a very reasonable 40-50 pesos ($4-5). I can't tell you how nice it was to get back to the dinghy with groceries or clean laundry, knowing that we weren't going to have to brave the surf to get back out to Nakia. The dinghy dock also gave John and me the flexibility to come and go separately, without the ordeal of a beach landing. And I loved wearing tennis shoes and socks, which are much easier on my feet than sandals when walking on cobblestone roads.

For whatever reason we did not meet many new cruisers this season. We noticed that first year boats tended to stick together, and most did not approach Nakia to introduce themselves or ask for local assistance. Granted neither did we self-appoint ourselves "mayor" of Las Hadas. We pretty much watched boats come and go while we made play dates with our local land dwelling friends. It really came to feel more like we were "wintering over" in Mexico as opposed to cruising. We just happen to be living on a boat and not in a condo or a house.

It's nice to stay in one place long enough to do non-cruiser types of things. Thanks to a birthday gift certificate from Stan and MJ I attended twice weekly water aerobics classes in a small condominium pool. I hate exercising and grumbled my way there by bus in the mornings, but talk about gym class in paradise. Marlene (www.manzimassagefit.com) motivated our small class (5-10 people at a time) and did a great job making sure we had perfect form. Her "Chins up!" reminders got me gazing at butterflies, palm trees, and even an iguana who watched our class from the peak of the tiled pool palapa roof. I also managed to snag a short dog-sitting job for a snow bird which happened to fall during an unusual period of rainy weather. But keeping up with muddy paw prints on the tile floor and playing fetch in between showers was a nice change from being on the boat. John made a point of inviting many of our local acquaintances out to tour Nakia, most of whom had never been on a sailboat before. They were happy to get a taste of how we live and to sit back with a beer and admire the view. We got to know a few people from the condos overlooking the anchorage, who also enjoyed seeing our view of them for a change.

It's been a cooler winter than we remember, but now the days are getting noticeably longer and we're on a north bound track again. We'll be updating our progress in our new, improved blog and sending occasional project updates over the summer. One of the new features of the blog is that you can sign up to receive our updates by email. I'd like to take this opportunity to let anyone drop off the direct email list who is so inclined. So drop us a line only if you want to REMAIN on the old email loop. Otherwise you can sign up directly through the blog.

Linda (and John and Ziggy too)