Sunday, January 31, 2016

Barra de Navidad, Shipwreck, Intermezzo Quarantined

We spent three nice days anchored in the laguna of Barra de Navidad. Barra is a pleasant little town of narrow, pedestrian-friendly streets. It is a clearly a tourist town, but with enough funk and grit to make it interesting and “real”. We enjoyed walking around the town and some good meals out, especially the mocajetes at El Manglito, spicy stews served in blistering hot stone bowls.

I figure Canadians outnumber American tourists in Barra by at least a factor of five and they aren’t shy about displaying their maple leaf flag, including getting it tattooed on their bodies. It’s interesting to me that people from a country that seems so laid back flaunt their nationality so patriotically in Mexico. Perhaps its just a way to identify themselves to make friends with people from home.  Perhaps it is sincere national pride. Maybe both. However, I think the connotations associated with Americans prominently flying flags in Mexico would be quite different and not so well received.

Renee and I walked the 2 1/2 miles along the beach to the town of Melaque at the other end of the bay. On the way we passed a huge crocodile sleeping on the beach. Fortunately saw it before tripped over it. It’s a nice enough beach town, but nothing special. We enjoyed eating a really fresh coconut at a beach restaurant. It’s one of my favorite foods. First, the top of the coconut husk is chopped off and a hole pierced into the nut so that you can enjoy the cold coconut water. Then you send your drained coconut back to be chopped up, the meat extracted and served on a plate. It’s common to season the meat with salt, lime and hot sauce, but I like to eat mine plain or with just a touch of lime and salt. The fresher and colder the coconut, the better.

The Barra laguna is a great place to anchor. The water is smooth all the time and there is plenty of space to keep some distance from your neighbors. Best of all, there is a 24 hour water taxi service to get you from your boat into town and back. You call the taxi on the VHF radio and they arrive within about five minutes and whisk you into town for 15 pesos (85 cents) each way. No wet bottom from riding in on the dinghy and worry about where to park it.

As we approached Barra de Navidad on arrival, we were startled to see a huge cargo ship stranded against the cliff and amongst the rocks of the coast. A little research informed us that the ship, Los Llanitos, wrecked last October during hurricane Patricia. It seems that an environmental disaster was averted by successfully pumping out most of the fuel the ship carried before it spilled into the sea. It also appears that planning for the disposal of the ship has a strong environmental focus. Latest reports state that four alternatives were considered and authorities have decided to dismantle the ship in place rather than try to refloat it or leave it “to be eroded by the sea”. That seems like a good choice to me and we observed what looked to be a well-equipped and professional salvage company in charge of operations. I hope the dismantling goes well and doesn’t do any more damage to this beautiful stretch of coast.

Unfortunately illness has befallen Intermezzo and she has become a floating infirmary. Renee returned from the U.S. with a cold caught on the airplane. She recovered quickly, but passed the cold onto Marc, who has not been so fortunate. I got sick from something I ate in Barra and was walking around like I had a hangover for two days, but feeling better now. Now Marci has come down with some other ailment. I'm thinking about flying the yellow “Q” flag from the mast to indicate to others that we are a quarantined vessel and to stay away.  Hopefully the entire crew is 100% fit for duty soon.

We’re currently anchored in the small isolated cove of Ensenada Carrizal. It’s hard to believe that a beautiful undeveloped cove like this exists only six miles from the big city of Manzanillo. I did a quick snorkeling reconnaissance yesterday afternoon and the coral reef I found is one of the best I have ever seen in Mexico. It is wishful thinking, but it would be nice if this place was declared a preserve, protected from development and mooring balls put in to prevent damage to the coral from anchors. (Intermezzo is anchored in the middle of the cove, beyond all coral.)

Barra de Navidad

Music at a Barra bar, mostly 60-something Canadians in the audience

Barra street scene
Bait fishing in the Barra laguna anchorage

Sunset on the Barra laguna

Crocodile on our beach walk to Melaque
A boy who likes the sand and pelicans in Melaque






The poor ship Los Llanitos with a broken back

Beautiful undeveloped Ensenada Carrizal, just six miles from Manzanillo



Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Manzanilla, Tenacatita Estuary Adventure, Barra de Navidad

The first order of business on Monday morning was to re-provision Intermezzo with fresh food and more beer. Marc and I set out on a high speed dinghy run across Bahia Tenacatita to the small town of Manzanilla.

The swell in the bay was big enough that we had to plan and time our beach landing at Manzanilla through the surf very carefully. We found a promising spot where the breakers were a bit smaller and there was a good spot to leave the dinghy and then hovered just beyond where the waves were breaking to get a sense of their timing. When a lull in the swell occurred, we gassed the engine and ran the dinghy up on the beach, making a landing of quite respectable quality. We left the dinghy under the watchful eyes of the nearby restaurant owner and set off to find the best places to buy our provisions.

Manzanilla is a nice little one street town, with the ubiquitous plaza, church and kiosk. Even though the town and its stores are very small, we found a nice selection of produce, yoghurt, granola, fish, meat and beer to bring back to the boat.

We lugged all our purchases back to the restaurant that watched the dinghy for us and bought breakfast and beers as a way to say “thanks”. As we ate our breakfast, we watched the breakers and figured out their timing so that we could make a surf entry at least as good as our landing. We finished our breakfast, loaded up the dinghy and, at just the right moment, dragged it into the surf, fired up the engine, clambered in and we were off. Another respectable performance for the onlookers on the beach.

With Intermezzo now laden with fresh delicacies and cold beer, we could have fun and relax for the rest of the day.

Dinners have been excellent on Intermezzo recently. We have enjoyed braised chicken with vegetables, garlic shrimp with pasta, marinated steak fajitas, and a fresh fish stew in a Louisiana court boullion. It’s like eating in a fine restaurant while swinging at anchor.

Tuesday morning we set out on a dinghy adventure through a small estuary that leads to a beach with a snorkeling area called The Aquarium, a journey of about three miles.  We timed our trip for favorable tides and started off gently rowing up the estuary with the incoming tide. The channel started off comfortably wide for rowing, but about halfway along, narrowed so much that there wasn’t enough room for the oars between the dinghy and the mangroves on either side. So we fired up the outboard and progressed slowly, avoiding tangles of branches above and below the water.

As we drew nearer to our destination, we heard the noise of chainsaws up ahead. Sure enough, men in two pangas were working hard to clear the channel of logs and branches. It occurred to me that it has been less than three months since the powerful hurricane Sandra made a direct hit on this part of the coast, which was obviously the cause of the channel being so narrow and chocked up. The guys on the pangas were clearing it so that they could start their boat tours again. If they hadn’t been clearing the area where we encountered them, we wouldn’t have been able to proceed any further and would need to turn back. Which, logically but not confirmed, makes us the first dinghy to have made it completely through the estuary and back this season! Tah-dah!

Based on our cruising guides, we expected to find beach restaurants in addition to great snorkeling at the end of the estuary. We found the great snorkeling, but the restaurants were gone.  Apparently, the beachfront landowner cleared all the business off the beach, leaving it a rather funky scene of decrepit buildings, beach day trippers and campers, and a heavily armed policeman.

We were hungry, so after a few conversations with various individuals on the beach, we learned that there might be a restaurant somewhere between a half and two kilometers up the road. We set out under a strong sun and over hot pavement to find out. Sure enough we came across “Chito’s” about two clicks from the beach. We had fantastic fresh seafood meals, including the local special “rollo de mar” which is a fish filet stuffed with shrimp, rolled up in a strip of bacon and served with a light almond cream sauce. Muy, my bueno!

As we were walking to Chito’s, eight new state police pickup trucks drove by us, each with five heavily armed policemen inside. Heavily outnumbered and outgunned, we waved and smile like dumb gringos. The police smile and waved back, a good sign for us. However, we wondered, what could possible justify an army of forty men heading to the beach. We asked a couple of locals and concluded that the landowner had connections to the police and they were making a show of force to keep businesses from reoccupying his beachfront property. It all seemed very strange to us.

We bought four cold beers to give to the guys on the pangas clearing the channel and one of the señoras from Chitos gave us a lift back to the dinghy. It was great timing, as the men had called it a day and were returning in their boats just as we arrived. We were rewarded with four ear-to-ear smiles as we handed them their ice cold Coronas and thanked them for making our trip possible.

We motored back to Intermezzo having felt like we had enjoyed a real adventure, with hostile jungle, suspicious paramilitary operations, just enough uncertainty to make it exciting, and having met friendly local people along the way.

Back at Intermezzo, I worked on configuring the inverter/charger to work with the tiny portable Yamaha gas generator that I bought in Puerto Vallarta. I had to set it to limit the input current it would draw so as not to overload the little engine. I got it figured out and we now have a backup means of making water on cloudy days. With four people on board, this is important.  Even with only two people, if we had more than a few days of clouds, we would have to start conserving water, i.e. no showers, which gets "old" after a few days in the tropics. The little Yamaha chugs along pretty quietly, making 50 gallons of water in a few hours and using less than a quart of gasoline. That's way more efficient and “green” than running one of our diesel engines and burning 1.5 gallons of fuel to do the same job. I think we are going to be very grateful for the little Yamaha when we get further south during rainy season.

This morning we set sail for Barra de Navidad, where Intermezzo is now anchored in the lagoon inland from the town. It will be a fun place to explore with good restaurants and, get this, a French baker that delivers fresh bread and pastries to your boat each morning!

The main street in the little town of Manzanilla, in Bahia Tenacatita

The marine-themed kiosk in the Manzanilla plaza

Close up of kiosk column and wire fish net railing

Fresh tortillas in Manzanilla, still warm when we got back to Intermezzo
The beginning of our estuary dinghy adventure
Intrepid dinghy explorers

Estuary wildlife

Bird in the mangrove roots along the estuary 

The guys who cleared our passage through the chocked up estuary channel

Two guys who enjoy a cold beer after a hot day's work in the jungle 

Beach with "The Aquarium" snorkeling spot among the rocks beyond
Hurricane damage to gates of what was once an estate home

Chito's, source of great food, a ride back to our dinghy and cold beers for our jungle-clearing amigos

Sunday, January 24, 2016


Nice sail to from Paraíso to Tenacatita today, about 25 nm with light winds and gentle swell under a clear blue sky.

I deployed our double head sail rig for the second time, running dead downwind under the Code 0 with the jib wing-on-wing. We ran pretty steady at more than half apparent wind speed. A few pushes on the button of the autopilot is all it takes to keep both sails filled. Interestingly, the Code 0 seems to fly well even 10 degrees in the lee, which gives us a 20 degree band to steer within.

The other catamaran that was anchored with us in Paraíso left after us, but motored all the way. We arrivied in Tenacatita at about the same time and are anchored near to each other again. I like that we hardly burned any diesel and had the peace and quiet to listen to a Dave Mathews live concert recording.

We'll be spending the next few days exploring this place, including taking the dinghy through a jungle estuary to a beach with a snorkeling area known as The Aquarium. But first thing tomorrow morning, Marc and I are making a dinghy run across the bay to the town of Manzanilla to replenish our fresh food supply and, most importantly, restock the beer locker.

Paraíso, Little Gem Anchorage

Paraíso is indeed "a little gem of an anchorgage" and "a beautiful, unexpected delight for the senses" as described in our Breeding-Bansmer cruising guide.  There is only a room for a couple of boats and Intermezzo is one of them, sharing the anchorage with another catamaran.

The anchorage is an narrow cove in blue and turquoise water with a small sandy beach and a small boutique hotel. Surrounding the anchorage are rocky cliffs and islands, with rocky reefs with nice snorkeling spots.  It's a very peaceful spot.

We have been enjoying ourselves swimming, snorkeling and kayaking while periodically looking at friends' photos of the big Northeast blizzard on Facebook. It is a bit surreal, looking at feet of snow accumulation while seeking out shade from the hot tropical sun and thinking about when one will take the next dip in the warm water.

The weather is changing and clouds and higher winds are forecast to build into mid week. So we're going to make our way to our next anchorage, Bahia Tenacatita and find a nice protected spot to park Intermezzo for a few days. 

The "little gem" Paraíso anchorage

Marc and Marci enjoying the warm turquoise water

The rocky shores of the anchorage

Heron taking off

Sea caves

Friday, January 22, 2016

Chamela, On, Under the Water and In the Town

We had a nice moonlit sail to Chamela, the wind a bit too good as it moved Intermezzo too fast such that we would arrive before sunrise. So I put a couple of rolls in the jib to slow us down. The wind must have been paying attention, because not long afterwards, it died down to just about the right speed for a well-timed arrival. We only had to motor the last hour when it died down completely. Marc and Marci endured their seasickness well enough to get some sleep during the night.

Bahia Chamela is a much bigger bay than I had envisioned. It has a half dozen small, uninhabited islands that are national parks, a very long sandy beach and a small town along the main street behind the beach.

There are three or four dolphins that weave their way between the boats in the anchorage as they feed in the morning, which we enjoy watching as we drink our coffee.

We have been enjoying swimming, snorkeling among the rocky reefs of one of the islands and practicing landing and launching our dinghy in the surf, which has ranged from minor to somewhat challenging. So far, so good.

We took a trip into town for lunch and to pick up some fresh produce. The quality of the produce was very good, which surprised me in such a small town, and the prices were really low. A heavy bag of fresh produce for less than $6. Nice.

The town and beach are very laid back.  There is a small but noticeable population of gringos wintering here, enjoying small town life. The local people seem to eek out a living serving these seasonal residents and there is a small panga fishing fleet. There doesn't seem to be much else going on economically.

Another beautiful, peaceful place in Mexico.

Tomorrow we leave to head just a little way down the coast to a smaller, more remote anchorage called Paraíso.

Some photos of Chamela:

The Chamela anchorage, Intermezzo in the middle.

Chamela beach business

Nice Chamela backstreet home

One of the small islands in Bahia Chamela.

A secluded beach on a Bahia Chamela island.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Sailing to Chamela

A nice, easy day's sail doesn't make for an interesting blog entry, but here's one written as the sun is starting to set on our sail from La Cruz to Bahia Chamela.

I picked Marc and Marci up from the La Cruz marina in the dinghy and we got the anchor up pretty quickly, on our way before 10 am. Light winds in Banderas Bay meant motoring most of the way to Cabo Corrientes. The wind started building, so by 2 pm we were able to unfurl the Code 0 and start a nice downwind sail in following 6 foot, long period swells. As the wind continued to build, we had to control our speed so that we won't arrive in Chamela before sunrise. So we've furled up the Code 0 and are sailing under jib alone, making a nice 4-5 knots.

Marc and Marci have been enduring mild seasickness very well. It's not a pleasant condition, but they have been steadfast, trooping on through the day. I made a version of Jeanne's Mom's chicken rice for dinner, a nice bland, semi-solid meal for a first day out sailing.

A 3/4 moon is visible up in the sky even though the sun hasn't set yet. Sunset is in about a half hour, then I'll take a nap to rest up to start my 9 pm watch. If all goes as planned, we'll be outside the Chamela anchorage at sunrise.

It's great to be at sea again!!

Monday, January 18, 2016

La Cruz: Intermezzo Gets Moving Again

Renee flew in yesterday and reunited with me and Intermezzo. It is great to have her back.

Renee spent the morning unpacking and stowing all the stuff she carried back. I cleared us out of the marina and the Capitania de Puerto. We slipped our lines just after lunch and left Nuevo Vallarta and headed to the fuel dock in La Cruz to fill up on diesel. We're now anchored off La Cruz until Wednesday morning when we begin a leisurely sail south to Manzanillo.

I was mostly ecstatic about leaving the Paradise Village marina. It's a pretty nice place, but I was sooooo ready to move on, get out on the ocean and anchor out instead of being "parked" between other boats.  I did feel a little pang of "goodbye sadness" though; it's funny how after you spend a few weeks in a place, it starts to feel a bit like home. I didn't socialize too much with other boaters but made friends with a few of the local guys who worked or crewed on boats. We would greet each other every day with a cheerful buenos dias and chat in  "Spanglish" to each other for a little while, very friendly and relaxed small talk mostly about our families, work, "life on the dock". I guess it was saying goodbye to these guys that made me feel a just little heavy-hearted as Intermezzo pulled away from her slip, but this feeling was eclipsed by my excitement and happiness to be moving again and resuming our voyage.

We'll take about two weeks to sail to Manzanillo, a distance of only about 160 nautical miles.   Our friends Marc and Marci will be joining us for this leg of the trip. We're planning on stopping at five anchorages along the way and then taking a road trip inland to the area surrounding Colima once we get to Maznanillo. Along the way there will be a lot of good snorkeling spots, a jungle estuary dinghy trek, sea caves and, of course, beautiful beaches. We'll get some "town time" when we stop for a few days in Barra de Navidad.  It should be a great trip and the boat is packed full with good food and wine. We leave Wednesday morning to get around Cabo Corrientes and then sail through the day and night  to reach Bahia Chamela, our only overnight sail on this leg.  All the other passages are short day sails.  The weather is looking good and I think it's going to be a great trip to introduce Marc and Marci to the sailing life. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Nuevo Vallarta: Getting Stuff Done, Getting Ready to Leave

I've been pretty productive here since Hannah, Maddie and Jacqueline left.

I estimated and paid my remaining 2015 taxes. That hurt. A lot.

I polished all the stainless steel on the boat. It needed it and looks great.

I purchased a new main halyard and various replacement parts for the boat online for Renee to "smuggle" into Mexico.

I sent the jib in to a local sail maker to get the sun cover restitched. It will be ready tomorrow.

I got prescriptions filled back home. More smuggling for Renee.

I corresponded with my super helpful eye doctor, Jon Fitzpatrick, and figured out what to do so I can wear my preferred "quadfocal" contacts again. My eyes haven't been happy wearing them recently.

Juanito and his son spent three days polishing Intermezzo's hulls and topsides and did a great job. I referred to Intermezzo as "mi nuevo barco" and they smiled with pride.

With Marc Mendholson's help, I procured a tiny Yamaha portable generator to supplement solar power. It's just a bit bigger than my briefcase and weighs only 26 lbs! We don't have quite enough solar watts to keep the batteries topped up on cloudy days and as we head to more rainy climates, it will be nice to have a little fossil fuel boost available that is far more efficient (fuel and emissions) than running one of our diesels.

I feel extremely satisfied (relieved?) that I finally installed the padeye at the helm to clip our tethers into at night and in rough weather. Looking back in my diary, I see this task on my To Do list since August 3rd. Finally done!

I'm dying to get out of this marina and get moving again! Renee arrives on Sunday. I'll give her a couple of days to ease herself into boat life again and then we're off on the next leg of our trip, sailing to Manzanillo. Marc and Marci will be joining us for this sail. I worked up a cruise plan that has us stopping frequently to enjoy and explore places along this portion of the coast which is referred to as the Mexican Riviera. It will take us a couple of weeks to get to Manzanillo with all the planned stops. When we get there, we'll leave the boat in a marina to take a short trip to Colima and visit the surrounding villages and national parks. Banderas Bay is beautiful and a convenient place for Renee to fly in and out of, but I'm ready, more than ready, to resume our voyage.

Joseph Conrad wrote, "Ports are no good. Ships rot and the men go to the devil". Intermezzo has accumulated marina slime and barnacles, but no rotting. I haven't gone to the devil either...yet. Renee just needs to get here on Sunday...or I'm a goner.

Friday, January 8, 2016



The three "girls", Hannah, Maddie, Jacqueline, and I sailed to the south end of Banderas Bay on Wednesday to visit the small village of Yelapa. There is no road into Yelapa, so most people arrive by boat, a few by horseback or quadrunner.  I was looking forward to getting out of developed Nuevo Vallarta and back to a more remote, rural environment and exploring somewhere new with my young and enthusiastic crew.

We picked up a mooring in the Yelapa cove around noon with assistance from the Domingos restaurant pangueros. The bottom drops off very steeply from the shore, so anchoring would have been difficult. The cove is open to the prevailing winter northwesterly swell, which makes the anchorage quite challenging at times, causing boats to roll and pitch a bit and with swells that break on the steep sandy beach.

We got a ride on the Domingos panga to the beach with a run-the-boat-up-the-beach amphibious landing, like D-day on Normandy but with much better weather and no shooting. We decided to explore Yelapa's small town and hike to a waterfall a bit further beyond.

The Yelapa pueblo is really interesting and beautiful. Narrow cobble-in-concrete paths wind up and around a lush jungle hillside between small, colorful houses. The homes and lives of the local people are predominant, with some rustic tourist places blending into the background. It's a very friendly, pleasant village.

The village street gives way to a nicely maintained path through the jungle that leads to a beautiful waterfall that cascades vertically down a cliff of dark polished boulders. The cool falling water creates a nice cool breeze on the banks of the small pond at the base of the falls, nestled among lush jungle plants and trees.

We met a pretty little girl, Cassandra, at the falls. Hannah spoke with her in Spanish and learned that she was visiting the town on vacation. It was nice to see such a young girl out safely and comfortably on her own to take a dip at the falls, a whole village around to look out for her. She walked back with us into town, introducing the older girls to friendly dogs along the way.

Yelapa is also known for its pies and we were lucky enough to find a store that still had some to sell in the late afternoon, baked by the store's owner that day.  We picked up a slice each of banana and chocolate and two slices of coconut. They were all delicious, first as desert after dinner and then for breakfast.

Embarking on the panga for the ride back to Intermezzo was a bit more challenging than the landing as the swell had really built up during the afternoon. The four of us jumped-climbed-rolled onto the bouncing bow of the boat, suffering a few minor scrapes, nicks and bruises, enough to give something to talk about, but no serious damage. I poured medicinal tequila shots for all upon our safe arrival on Intermezzo. It was a significant moment for me, pouring a shot of liquor for my daughter for the first time, but it clearly wasn't the first one she's ever had, yet I took some comfort that she and her two friends clearly haven't developed a taste for the stuff.  Me, on the other hand, I sipped two shots. Because I'm the captain. And I was cooking dinner on a pitching, rolling boat.  The dinner turned out great- fresh jumbo shrimp in a garlic-butter sauce on saffron rice with pan-roasted cauliflower, followed by our Yelapa pie slices. The four of us had a nice evening of talking, laughing, kidding around.

The swell made for a dynamic night's sleep, but everyone was ready to go back to shore in the morning to hike to another waterfall, directly up from the beach along a small river that flows down from the surrounding mountains into the cove. The swell had continued into the morning which made our panga landing more dramatic than the day before, with Hannah taking a fall off the bow of the boat, but expertly fending off the panga and getting up out of the water in seconds, without even getting the contents of the backpack she was carrying wet.

We had a nice hike up the river through the jungle and heard the falls, but never found a trail that led to where we could actually see them. The jungle landscape, birds and beautiful weather provide more than enough consolation.

We were hungry when we returned to the beach from our hike, so we had a big lunch under the thatched roof of Domingos restaurant. The food was really good, especially the stuffed fish fillet with a cream sauce. It's amazing how good the cooking is at some of these beach restaurants.

The swell was still pounding the beach, but by now we were experts in panga bow boarding. We orchestrated a perfect sequential boarding pattern, with style and aplomb.  When we got to Intermezzo, we took a quick swim and then it was time to say goodbye to Yelapa and start heading back to the marina.

The wind was favorable for sailing back to Nuevo Vallarta, light at first but building to a nice 15+ knots as the sun was setting. Shortly after departing the Yelapa cove, I saw what I first thought to be a big dolphin. Then I realized it was a whale, then identified it as an orca ("killer whale"), heading on a course that would intercept Intermezzo's. I called out to the girls who made it to the side of the boat just as the orca was drawing alongside, parallel to and almost touching the boat and only a couple of feet below the surface.  It was the closest I have ever been to a whale and the black and white orca was magnificent. The girls seemed a bit unsure about having a killer whale so close to the boat, but it seemed like a curious and courteous orca to me and no threat. I was sorry when he/she decided to peel off and go back to eating with a friend behind us.  The excitement from the whale was capped off with a beautiful sunset as we sailed back to the marina, arriving in our slip after dark.

I really enjoyed having Hannah, Maddie and Jacqueline on the boat. They are clearly the best of friends and are each, in their own ways, intelligent, polite, funny, eager, enjoying life and beautiful. They embraced life on board Intermezzo and were great crew and companions. I was sorry to see them off to the airport this morning but will have great memories of their time here in Banderas Bay and hope that they will join Intermezzo again, somewhere along our voyage.

Yelapa anchorage and beach
The river that empties into the Yelapa cove

Hannah walking on a Yelapa pueblo street

Yelapa pueblo church

Walking though the Yelapa pueblo

Jacqueline, Hannah and Maddie on the way to the waterfall beyond the Yelapa pueblo

The Yelapa waterfall we were able to see

Yelapa Yoda dog

Mouth of Yelapa's river

Good friends, good times on Intermezzo 
Hiking to the waterfall we didn't see 
The orca that paid Intermezzo a brief visit to make our trip even better

Best friends on Intermezzo on Banderas Bay

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

La Cruz, A Full Boat

Intermezzo has been teaming with people enjoying the warm weather and water.

My "ex-", Carol arrived on December 30. I don't like that term because it is usually has such negative connotations but I can't think of an alternative. Carol and I managed to never descend too deeply into the abyss when we separated and have gradually grown a friendship over the years from the remains of our old relationship. It's been nice spending some mellow time together and chatting about all sorts of stuff.

We enjoyed spending New Years Eve with Marc and Marci, first a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant and then a bonfire on the beach in front of their condo. A sea turtle decided that she needed to lay her eggs where we were partying, so we cordoned off an area to leave her in peace and then helped her back into the ocean when she was finished. A good omen perhaps?

My daughter Hannah and her NYU apartment-mates, Maddie and Jaqueline arrived the evening of January 3rd. They are all beautiful, intelligent, polite and fun young women and clearly the best of friends. We headed out of the marina first thing the next morning to catch the Sunday farmers market in La Cruz. We stocked up on nice fresh produce, vegetables and yoghurt and enjoyed home-cooked tamales for brunch. We spent the rest of the day swimming and sunbathing, then we had a nice boat-cooked dinner of seared tuna on organic greens and pasta with Carol's pesto sauce flown in from Sonoma.

Yesterday we sailed to the Tres Marietas islands to go snorkeling. Another sailboat let us share their mooring ball until the left, which was really nice. We enjoyed snorkeling, lunch and then a really nice sail back to La Cruz in 15-20 knots winds. Intermezzo kicked up her heels and showed off, turning a nice speed on a beam reach.  More swimming off the boat, sunset, dinner and music in La Cruz.

Carol left Intermezzo today to spend a few days touring Mexico City before returning home.

Tomorrow morning "the girls" and I are off sailing to Yelapa, an anchorage in a small cove off a beach and adjoining land owned by an indigenous people's cooperative.

It's nice having a boat full of good company!

Marc enjoying his New Year's Eve

Our New Year's turtle, laying her eggs in the sand

Maddie, Jaqueline and Hannah enjoying their "umbrella drinks" on Intermezzo's bow

Sunset panorama anchored off La Cruz

Our seared tuna salad

Snorkeling spot off one of the Tres Marietas islands

Intermezzo suffering from a cluttered sidedeck