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....