Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Alameda to Punta Mita - October 8 / December 9

After a wonderful 10 day stay with Chuck & Cathy during which we had doctor's appointments, we departed from Alameda for Punta Mita on October 8 in our seriously overloaded Blazer looking a bit like the Beverly Hillbillies. Our first stop was Rancho Mirage to spend a couple of days with Jo & Michael which turned out to not be enough time with our very good friends. After more than three months away we were anxious to get back to the boat and condo and that seemed to overwhelm all else. Our next stop was Nogales, AZ where we needed to stay for an extra day to let hurricane Norbert pass through our exact route to the south. Although we saw flooding and various kinds of wind destruction along the way, the highway was in good shape and we were able to make it Punta Mita with only one overnight stop during the 1,100 miles we traveled in Mexico.

We arrived to find both the boat and the condo in excellent condition after the hot and humid summer. No bad smells, no mold, nothing with either one. We had a dehumidifier going in the condo and two fans on the boat, which had been completely emptied of all our stuff before we left. We spoke with others who were not so fortunate and ended dealing with mold and other nasty things. Although we arrived back to Banderas Bay in mid-October the weather was still summer time hot and humid with spectacular displays of lightning and thunder in the late afternoons and nights. As coastal Californians, this kind of weather is something we're not accustomed to seeing so we were wide eyed much of the time. We're told that Puerto Vallarta received over 45 inches of rain while we were gone resulting in lush jungle growing everywhere around us. When we left in late June, the area was brown and scrubby so you can imagine our excitement upon seeing intense greens laced with flowering vines that greeted us on our return to what has now become our home.

It took us while to get both the boat and the condo into livable shape which we wanted to do prior to David & Anneke Dury's arrival in early November as our first guests of the new season. On November 1 we moved the boat from its summertime home in Paradise Village Marina to the much closer new marina in La Cruz which is a short 18 minute drive from Punta Mita. We would have done this last year but the rental rates at that time in La Cruz were way too expensive for retirees on a fixed income. We had a fun time with the Dury's and managed to actually catch a fish during one of our two sails in Banderas Bay. Ceviche and sashimi were the order of the day.

Three days after the Dury's left we departed on a one week shakedown cruise to test our various systems after the boat had been sitting idle for more than four months. Our destination was Chacala, an anchorage we visited twice last season which is 35 miles north of Punta Mita. We had nifty sail from La Cruz to Punta Mita, and after an overnight stay during which we stared at our condo, we motored the rest of the way to Chacala with all systems seeming to work well. We ran into friends from last year who were anchored in Chacala and made new friends with others. After a f ew days there we went six short miles south to Guayabitos where we caught up with our friends Louis and Laura on the Alameda based Cirque. We then had a fun sail down the beautiful Nayarit coast to our slip in La Cruz. Looks like we have to change our lures as we've have had no real luck fishing.

Our next adventure was having 19 people to our condo for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with two turkeys and all the trimmings. We have so much to be thankful for and this was a perfect way for us and our friends to count our blessings.

On December 3 we took off on something called the Banderas Bay Blast which is a three day event sponsored by Latitude 38. It consists of three casual races with overnight stays in La Cruz and Punta Mita and parties each night. What could be more to our liking? The weather and sailing conditions were perfect, and even though our boat was not close to the fastest boats in the fleet, she did very well. Unfortunately, upon returning to La Cruz the transmission would not engage our engine so we ended up having to be towed to our slip. The transmission is now out of our boat for repair and our departure for points south has been delayed. A real bummer but it could have happened in a much worse place than outside of our slip.

We're looking forward to the arrival of Hillary, Scott and family shortly after Christmas. In the meantime we'll let you know how things go with our transmission.

Those of you who have sailed in Mexico know the charts that were created in the 1800's by the English are notoriously inaccurate. We thought it would be fun to show you just how inaccurate.... Check out the following photos...

Double click on the photo, so you can read the captions....

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Our Trip back to the U.S. - End June to End September

The time has flown by since our end June departure from Punta Mita for Colorado Springs in our trusty green Blazer. Since we're now better acquainted the Mexican roads and the sometimes very impatient Mexican drivers (in a big hurry to go who knows where??), our trip north seemed much easier than the drive south last December. Most of the time we could even come up with the correct peso amount at the dozen or so toll booths along the way. We also went through several check points set up by the Mexican military which we presume is part of the country's effort to slow down the flow of illegal drugs. In almost every case when they saw two confused and harmless looking gringos we were waived right through while they carefully searched others. It would save a lot of hassle if our TSA could use the same tactics. After one last $2.70/gal fill up at Pemex we went through the boarder at Agua Verde into Douglas, AZ and headed for Albuquerque, NM where we spent the night. The 2.5 day drive through Mexico went well but it was great to be back on American roads and know that if something bad happens we could find help much more easily than in Mexico.

The next day we arrived in Los Alamos, NM where we spent the night with John's high school friend, Brad Duni and his wife Patti. They have a beautiful home nestled in a forest setting at 7,500 feet with a spectacular view. We also had a chance to visit Taos and Santa Fe both of which are must return places so, Brad & Patti, watch out because we're coming back!!

On July 2 we arrived at Scott & Hillary's home in Colorado Springs and liked it so much that we decided to stay for the whole month of July except for a brief five day visit to Nick & Natalie in Charlotte. We absolutely love being immersed in Scott & Hillary's family life which gives us, among many other things, almost unlimited time with Brynn and Callie and their various activities. Trust us when we say we were on the go from early in the morning until sometime after 8:00 PM when the kids finally settle in for the night. It's a true all-American household with 2 young kids, 2 cats, a dog, a productive vegetable garden and more love than you can imagine. Colorado Springs has a wonderful family environment and we're so happy to see the Dickman family living it to the fullest. Check out Scott and Hill's hike, two weeks ago, to the top of the 14,200' Mt. Yale.

Even though it was way too brief, our stay with Nick & Natalie was super . We had not been to Charlotte since shortly after Nick bought what we think is the cutest house ever with tons of curb appeal. Last time we visited we had to sleep on a blow up mattress on the floor but things have changed and this time we slept on a real bed. While in the area the four of us drove to Asheville, NC to visit our friends Pat & Susie Cunningham who have a lovely summer home in the Smokey Mountains. It was a real treat to catch up with them while we had an opportunity to fish and even do some skeet shooting which was a first for all of us. Unbelievably, Nick the rookie shooter, was the man by hitting his first two clay pigeons.

On August 2 we loaded up the Blazer with way too much stuff purchased for the boat and condo and headed for the Bay Area. We were both blown away by the gorgeous scenery along the way. After being constantly bombarded by the media about how bad things are in America, it's so refreshing to get out on the road witness the magnificent beauty of our great country. Our infrastructure may have some problems but compared to what we see in Mexico, driving down the road here is a breeze. We're sick of America bashing and can't wait to get back on the boat where we have our own set of responsibilities and problems away from the constant haranguing.

Our first stop was Wendover, UT and then through Reno, NV and on into Carson City, NV where we spent the night. Whoa, have those two cities changed!! Neither of us had been there for some time and were amazed by the growth. The next day we arrived at South Lake Tahoe where we spent two nights with sailing friends, Steve & Pam Lannen whom we met in Mexico. They live in a beautiful mountain setting and we got an insider's tour of the area from two long time residents as well as an introduction into “Mexican Train”. We're really looking forward to seeing them again this winter in Mexico.

Our next stop was Lafayette where we spent two nights with Jeff & Adrienne Rogers before heading to the Delta for our 11th consecutive year, this time aboard Mike & Ina's Catalina 42, "Nova". Wow, it was great to once again be on a boat and spending time with many of our good friends from Encinal Yacht Club. Our Baja Ha-Ha crew, Rod & Peggy Kidd, gave Mike & Ina a break by taking us for two nights. After coming back from the Delta George & Maxine were so very generous in allowing us to stay on their power boat "This is It" for three weeks. It was very much like, "Old home week" as their boat is docked very close to where we lived aboard "Destiny" for six years. It's unbelievable how much we did during those three weeks and we really cannot cover all of it here. The list of friends who invited us for dinner or, in some other way made us feel so warm and welcome, was overwhelming. We are truly blessed to have so many wonderful friends which is what we really miss the most by being away in Mexico.

On September 2 we left the Blazer at Jeff & Adrienne's and flew back to Colorado Springs for another stay with the Dickman family. We will fly back to San Francisco on September 27 for some last minute doctor appointments and then take off for Punta Mita. While in the Bay Are we picking up more items for the boat and condo and are not really sure how we will get everything stuffed into the car, but we'll find a way. After three months away from "Destiny" and our condo we're anxious to get back and plan new adventures for the winter.

Sea Turtle visits our beach

Late one evening in June, a couple of weeks before we headed back to the U.S., we were sitting on our deck watching the surf and spotted something crawling out of the ocean. We guessed it was a turtle and ran down to the beach accompanied by our building’s security guard to check it out.

A turtle had crawled up the beach to lay her eggs. Surprisingly, she headed straight for our fence and, with her back to the security lights, started digging her hole. It was amazing to watch her awkwardly dig with her flippers. She worked at it for about 20 minutes then suddenly turned and filled in the hole. We assumed it was because of the bright light.

She wandered off and got stuck in a drainage ditch, our security guard and his friend lifted her out and she made her way back to the water.

It was so sad, the turtles come back to the beach where they originally hatched up to 30 years before to make their nests. With all the development and the security lights dotted along beaches it is disorienting them and likely limiting their nesting locations. It would be great if, during their nesting season, the buildings could turn off the lights.

The Mexicans are very protective of the turtles. The Marines are in charge of collecting the eggs when a nest is found and taking them to a secure location to hatch.

Following are some photos we took.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Double click on the photo to see larger size and captions...

What happened to May?? And - our condo's finished - check out the photos above...

While at Catalina last September we met Barritt & Renee from the San Diego based Peterson 44, Serendipity, who were just ending 8 years of cruising including a lot of time in the Caribbean and a double transit of the Panama Canal. We caught up with them again in San Diego as we were preparing take off for Mexico in late October. They were kind enough to help us out with timely advice on many subjects as well as drive us all over town so that we could provision Destiny. They flew down to Puerto Vallarta in early May and the four of us had more fun that we could really handle. We had a typically great sail on Banderas Bay and three semi-crazy days at the condo in Punta Mita. We really look forward to seeing them again this winter when they bring the new upgraded Serendipity back to Mexico.

After recovering from Barritt and Renee's visit we took off on Destiny and enjoyed a terrific sail from Paradise Village to Punta Mita where we spent the balance of the day and evening staring at our condo from the water. Have to say it looked very inviting. The next morning we left under calm conditions for the 40 odd mile trip north to Chacala, a beautiful anchorage we visited last November on our way south.

Our friends Louis and Laura Kruk of the Alameda based Beneteau 42s7, Cirque, were anchored there having just done the overnight run south from Mazatlan. We had a good time visiting with them for a few days before they left for Puerto Vallarta where Cirque will spend the summer with Destiny. Our stay in Chacala was delightful marred only by our non-working refrigerator, which meant that we had to keep throwing in ice every day to keep our beer and other essentials cold. After 5 days in Chacala we enjoyed a splendid light air sail back to Punta Mita for a night and then on to Puerto Vallarta.

Shortly after this JoAnne & Michael Gilliam (she was Gilly's matron of honor) flew down to celebrate our first and their 20th wedding anniversaries. Hard to imagine that a year has gone by soooo quickly and how much different our lives are than just a year ago. We had a tremendous time with them and they left just before the rainy season made its debut in the Puerto Vallarta area.

We're now concentrating on getting Destiny ready for the summer which includes making sure she can handle a big storm (meaning hurricane) should that happen. We moved her to a much more secure dock and we're not anticipating any big problems, but one never knows what will happen.

At the end of June we'll drive up to Colorado to spend time with Scott & Hillary and grandkids before flying to Charlotte to visit with Nick & Natalie. At the end of July we'll drive from Colorado to Alameda arriving just in time for the EYC cruise to the Delta where fortunately Mike Pernitzke and Ina Tabak have taken pity on the boat-less Foy's and are giving us a ride. Very much looking forward to catching up with our Bay Area friends, as being away from friends and family is the only thing we don't like about Mexico....

Our condo is pretty much furnished and decorated so please check out the photos above to get some idea of what it's like.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

March & April Happenings in Mexico - photos below

Once again we have to start off with an apology for our tardiness in bringing everyone current as to what we’ve been doing. Guess what??? There’s no good excuse so we won’t bother trying to come up with some lame explanation.

Scott, Hillary, along with the very cute and always active Brynn and Callie, were here for nine fun filled days. Nick was also able to make it down from Charlotte for a shorter period. This was the first time we had guests for more than one night in our new condo. Everyone took full advantage of the pool, beach and other amenities that we’re trying to not take for granted. Things started off on down note when, due to his overly stressful retirement lifestyle, John got Hillary’s arrival date mixed up and so nobody was there to greet the little family at the airport. Fortunately we just happened to be close to the airport when Hillary called wondering what in the world had happened. From then on all went well and it was hard to see them leave us.

Next we were off to La Paz aboard Richard Spindler’s 63’ catamaran “Profligate” to participate in the Sea of Cortez Sailing Week. The SOC sailing week is an event started a number of years ago by Richard who is the founder, editor and publisher of Latitude 38, a magazine which has become an icon not only for sailors in the S.F. Bay area, but all over the world. Our sailing friends all know who he is so the introduction is for the benefit of others who’ve likely never heard of him. Richard’s long time girl friend, Donna, was also aboard so it was just the four of us for the next 12 days. We departed Puerto Vallarta on March 28 at 7:30 PM for the 350 mile trip to La Paz and arrived 36 hours later at Balandra which is an anchorage just north of La Paz. We motored the whole way with the big catamaran charging through the relatively light conditions at just over 9 knots and, with four of us on board, watches were only two hours long with six hours off so the whole trip was a breeze. Over the years, the Sea of Cortez Sailing Week died out so Richard and others put quite a bit of effort into reviving the event with an eye toward keeping it intimate with very relaxed racing and that’s exactly what happened. Everything took place relatively close to La Paz with four races between two different island venues in conditions varying from no wind to 25 knots. There were 14 boats with just under 30 people hanging together for six days, so we had the opportunity to make new friends and revive some earlier friendships initially made during the Baja Ha Ha. The biggest thrill for us was sailing “Profligate” in 25 knots of wind flying a huge Santa Cruz 70 spinnaker doing a steady 15 knots (even hit 16) and successfully executing a gybe. The catamaran was extremely stable under these conditions with the only real sense of speed coming from looking at the knot meter or looking back at the rooster tail wakes made by the two hulls. Richard and Donna were wonderfully entertaining hosts and the whole experience was fantastic for us.

Reality set back in when we had to make our way back to Puerto Vallarta. There are only two ways to do this trip via public transportation. One is by air which we deemed to be too expensive so we opted for an overnight ferry ride from La Paz to Mazatlan and then a bus ride to P.V.. We’d heard horror stories from someone who previously rode the ferry saying it was impossible to get a cabin and the food was not edible so we made our way to the downtown ticket office expecting the worst. Fortunately there turned out to be plenty of cabins available and we’ve had worse meals in many places. The ferry is definitely old and needs more than a bit of sprucing up, but the always friendly Mexicans made us overlook whatever shortcomings might have existed. Our cabin was quite small but functional and what the heck, we were only there for one night. Unlike the Dawn Princess, which we took to Alaska last June, we were more than ready to disembark the ferry in Mazatlan. Unfortunately we had to wait all day for the next bus to P.V. and ultimately did not arrive until 1:30 AM.

Our next big project was getting the condo painted. Gilly was determined to do the place in, “real Mexican colors” but agonized for days over which colors to chose. She was buried in color books and paint samples with ever changing ideas about which way to go. John was of course no real help only indicating that he didn’t want the place to look like some kind of Mexican odd-ball circus. We found a great painter who did the whole condo for $500 plus the cost of paint/supplies and we think it turned out super. Others who’ve seen it agree and hopefully they’re not just trying to be nice. The condo is now about 97% furnished and decorated so that’s behind us.

Jeff and Adrienne Rogers were here for six very enjoyable days. The last time they were in Punta Mita it was a true adventure just to get here and the level of development was nothing like it is today. We think they walked away a bit amazed by what’s happened in this part of the world.

Early next week we’re taking Destiny to Chacala which is an anchorage 40 odd miles north of Punta Mita that we visited last November on our way south. This will probably be our last cruise before putting the boat to bed for the expected hot and muggy summer months. We plan to spend July through mid October visiting various places in the U.S. Be careful, we might show up at your place….

Friday, March 28, 2008

Publishing today's email...

If you've read all these emails, please scroll down to the photos that follow....

The last time you heard from us we were enjoying Tenacatita Bay for the second time before heading back to Puerto Vallarta. During this stay there were large swells coming through the anchorage and crashing onto the beach with an almost deafening roar. Because of this, dinghy landings on the beach were all but impossible so we were sequestered on the boat until the swells eased up a bit which finally happened after 3 days. We were ready to get off the boat for a walk along the beach and a tall cool one at the local palapa restaurant so we bravely took off and landed the dinghy without any problems. Embolded by our success in landing, John thought getting out would be a "piece of cake" since we could see what was coming at us even though Gilly did not show the same degree of optimism. As we stood on the beach getting ready to go we saw another dinghy going out and literally flying over four large and very steep waves. The trick (we're told) is to wait for a calm period as the waves come in sets so that's what we did. We got in the dinghy and took off as fast as we could but all of a sudden a big wave was on us and we got tossed out into the water. John had not fastened on the "Kill switch" to his wrist so the outboard kept going, but fortunately at slow speed and the dinghy came back to John who was able to reach up and stop the engine. He jumped in and made it out through the surf but had to leave Gilly who soon after swam out through the surf and got into the dinghy. With most of the anchorage watching us we provided the afternoon's entertainment, but fortunately no one was hurt and we'll try it again with hopefully better results next time.

We departed Tenacatita with calm seas in the early morning of March 1st headed for Chemela 44 miles to the northwest. Our plan was to stay there for a few days before making it the rest of the way back to Puerto Vallarta. The large swells were once again running and we found out from other cruisers that the anchorage was very rolly and dinghy landings impossble so we decided to continue on to Cabo Corrientes (Cape of Currents), another 50 odd miles further north, which is the entrance to Banderas Bay and Puerto Vallarta. The weather forecast was for little or no wind so we felt confident in continuing on through the night. Unfortunately forecasts are not always accurate and we got slamed with 24 knot+ winds and steep seas. The boat handled it very well and we got some good experience taking only 1 hour watches throughout the night. We arrived off our Punta Mita condo at 6:00 AM dropped the anchor and slept until 10:00.

We've since being doing more work to the condo which has turned out better than we ever anticipated and had a wonderful 9 day visit from Scott, Hillary and the grandkids as well as Nick making it down for a few days.

This weekend we are heading to La Paz with our condo neighbors Richard Spindler and Dona
aboard their 63' catamaran where we'll do something called La Paz Race Week. Should be a lot of fun and we're very much looking forward to it. We'll then take the ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan and then a bus back to Puerto Vallarta.

We'll soon be posting some new photos to our blog later today.

Publishing our February 26th email

Sorry it's been almost 3 weeks since we last brought everyone up to date with our travels. The stress of retired life is such that we don't always get around to the most important things we should be doing each day. In fact, we're not sure what we actually do as the days just fly by, and before we know it another sunset marks the onset of a star filled night making us promise to, "Let people know what we're doing".
Enough for shabby excuses... We departed Tenacatita on February 11 in the company of our new friends on two other boats for the short 12 mile trip further south to Barra de Navidad. Unlike our nice sail from Chemela to Tenacatita there was no wind so it was motoring all the way presenting a good opportunity to charge our always hungry batteries. One year ago we visited Barra de Navidad with David and Anneka Dury aboard Freedom so we had a reasonable idea of what to expect. On that trip we stayed in the upscale marina adjacent to a 5 star resort hotel with full privileges to all the facilities. However, on this trip we were planning to anchor in the nearby lagoon which we understood to be muggy and loaded with bugs ready to suck the blood right out of us. Our plan was to fuel up with diesel, fill our water tanks and stay for maybe 2 days before heading back to Tenacatita. The great thing about cruising is being able to change plans on a whim.
The Barra lagoon reminded us of the California Delta which we've always enjoyed. The water is about the same color (but salt rather than fresh), it's shallow with a mud bottom, nice and warm, the wind comes up every afternoon and there's no rolling in the calm conditions. We looked around and felt so comfortable that we ended up spending 2 weeks rather than 2 days. And, the bugs never really attacked us as advertised. The afternoon wind is sometimes brisk so some unattended boats end up dragging anchor (called the "Barra Shuffle"). A call goes out on the radio and a whole fleet of dinghies quickly descend on the wayward vessel to keep it off the surrounding shoals or other boats. The same thing happens as boats stray from the narrow unmarked channel into the adjacent shoals when entering and departing the lagoon. Great entertainment for all except those receiving the help.
The little town of Barra de Navidad is a low key tourist destination with small hotels and plenty of inexpensive sidewalk restaurants. We ended up going there at least every other day to mostly wander around enjoying the ambiance and resupplying our always dwindling supplies of wine, beer and rum. We have not had any luck catching a Dorado (otherwise know as Mahi-Mahi and Dolphin fish), but there is plenty of VERY fresh Dorado available in Barra for much less than we'd ever pay at home. No need for us to put out our fishing lines for a while.
All good things must come to an end so we departed Barra on February 23 for Tenacatita as we begin our trek back to Puerto Vallarta. We had a nice breeze from the SE and ended up screaming into Tenacatita Bay at more than 8 knots. We'll stay here for several more days and make one more stop before reentering Banderas Bay and readying our condo for Hillary, Nick and family to visit (Yippee!).

Publishing our February 6th email

We departed the small anchorage of Ipala at 0730 on January 26 bound for Chamela 52 miles further south. Not enough wind for sailing so we motored the whole way and were unlucky enough to catch two large Toro's (otherwise known as Jack Crevalle). With the first one we thought we had a real catch until Gilly started to fillet the large fish and found nothing but very dark red (almost purple) meat. We found out they're really bad eating so we ended up tossing it back which we really hated to do. We hooked another one, had real trouble removing the hook but we're finally able to release it.
We found Chamela to be a very pleasant, although a bit rolly, anchorage. There are several palapa restaurants on the beach with $1.00 to $1.20 Pacifico's so this gave us an excuse to further hone our dinghy landing skills through the surf. Fortunately we never crashed and burned getting on the beach, but we did have one case where the dinghy took on lots of water on the way out so we had to go back empty in it out and try again. We're making good progress, but it is a bit nerve racking every time we do it. We ended up spending time with new friends who also have Catalina's which participated with us in the Baha Ha Ha from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas back in November. We explored the little village together with each of us contributing a bit of knowledge to assist the others in finding what they needed. Lots of fun to share this experience.
We departed Chamela on February 1 in the company of our friends on Moody Blues (Catalina 50) and Jammin (Catalina 42) for the 30 mile trip to Tenacatita with an unusual 11-13 knot breeze from the southeast. It was an absolutely fantastic sail as we tacked our way down the coast under warm and pleasant conditions. We had our fishing lines out and ended up catching two more Toro's which after some difficulty we released to be caught by someone else. We're beginning to think these are the only fish in this part of the world as our friends were catching the same thing.
We were fortunate enough to visit Tenacatita one year ago with David and Anneke Dury aboard Freedom, which is our all time favorite boat. We knew then that we wanted to come back and spend much more time in this very special place. The anchorage is large enough to accommodate many boats but right now there are only about 30 with people coming and going each day. Although there is an all inclusive hotel at the very far east end of the beach, there is nothing else except one small palapa on the beach. No provisions of any kind are available here. On Sunday in the company of 5 other dinghys we did what is known as the "Jungle Cruise". There is an estuary on the west end of the beach with just enough water coming out so that under the right tidal conditions it's possible to float through and then proceed about 2 miles up the river into thick vegetation that ultimately becomes a canopy blocking out the sun. Lots of wildlife to see along the way and then it ends in large lagoon where we beached the dinghys. We then walked a short distance to palapa restaurants on a nice beach where we enjoyed lunch with the 9 others who did the trip. All and all a fun trip that exceeded our expectations.
Yesterday, with our friends from Moody Blues and Jammin, we did a totally different kind of dinghy excursion this time going across Tenacatita Bay to the 4 mile distant village of La Manzanilla. We left at 10:00 AM in calm seas with no wind and after a quick ride Gilly did get completely drenched with our less than perfect beaching but we were able to walk away from it. La Manzanilla is one of the typical villages that we love so much, supported by panga fishing and some degree of tourism. While enjoying what was probably the best lunch we've had in Mexico, the sea conditions were building to at least 25+ knots so no way we were going to tackle that in our dinghys, but it gave us more time to explore La Manzanilla and return to the same restaurant for a light dinner while things became a bit more suitable for the trip home. While assisting us in launching our dinghy through the surf, Dave from Jammin stepped on a sting ray and received a very serious wound. We know this is extremely painful and today after proper treatment and antibiotics to hold off any kind of infection he seems to be doing as well as can be expected.
Speaking of medical issues, Gilly's elbow seems to finally be on the road to full recovery. The swelling and pain have much subsided so we're hopeful this marks the end of this episode in our cruising adventure.
As soon as we get to an internet connection, we will be posting photos to our blog.

Publishing our January 25th email...

Sorry it's been so long since we've brought you up to date with our adventures in Mexico. For the last six weeks it's been fairly mundane as we've been living in our Punta Mita condo while working to furnish and take possession of the place. The developer has done a fantastic job and most everything has exceeded our expectations. When we first saw the vacant lot two years ago and put down a deposit we wondered how in the world this strange looking piece of overgrown beach front property could ever be turned into what has become a gorgeous six story structure. Our two bedroom two bath unit is on the third floor with a great view of the pool, palapa and the ocean. Furnishing the place has been a bit of an adventure but gave us a good opportunity to explore Puerto Vallarta while trying to find everything from bar stools to bedroom furniture. With most of this now behind us we're back on Destiny which after six years of living aboard truly seems like our home.
While working away on the condo we kept the boat at Marina Vallarta which is in a super location with shops, restaurants and other amenities located close by but the marina itself is in a sad state of disrepair. Security is non-existent and the marina staff avoids anything that might cause them to do a bit of work. Fortunately we had only a few small problems with the boat while we were away doing other things.
Last Saturday we planned to sail Destiny to Punta Mita and anchor off the condo for a day or two before heading further south in Mexico. Unfortunately Gilly's elbow flared up again and the original doctor who treated her could not see her until late Monday afternoon. After seeing her he declared that she needed to go back on antibiotics and start icing the elbow which she has been religiously doing and it all seems to be working. So Tuesday we took off on a brisk sail to Punta Mita and caught two sierra fish while pounding to weather in 19 knots with gusts to 22. Gilly quickly filleted these great eating fish and it was sashimi for the crew of Destiny that night.
Early Thursday morning we departed Punta Mita for the 40 mile trip to the fishing village of Ipala where we are presently the only boat anchored. The anchorage is only a 1/4 mile wide with a few palapa restaurants on the small beach and neat looking little homes in the village. Sorry that we cannot send along any photos until we are able to get an internet connection which may be some time from now.
At every turn we have found the people of Mexico to be very warm and friendly. We feel honored to be guests in their country and fortunate to have the ability to explore this wonderful land.

4th and last stop. Barra de Navidad. Probably our favorite spot.

La Manzanilla - a wonderful little town on the other side of Tenacatita Bay.

We, with two other couples, dinghy'd the four miles across the bay to visit this little town. We were stuck there for 9 hours as the wind piped up to 25+ knots. This was where our friend, Dave from Jammin, was stung by a stingray.

3rd stop - Tenacatita and the jungle cruise

Our great sail from Chemala to Tenacatita - some super wild life shots compliments of our friend Susea McGearhart....

2nd stop - Chemala - we really enjoyed this anchorage

January 22, 08 - heading south: First stop, Ipala...

December '07/January '08 in Mexico

Early December - Banderas Bay Blast