Sunday, February 28, 2016

La Cruz 2 Mazatlan 2/14/16

After more than 2 week relaxing between Paradise Village and La Cruz we moved north to Mazatlan. 
One of the highlights of the trip to Paradise Village was the chance to dive again with PVSea Dive.  Wayne Elliot was nice enough to pick me up for another round of diving with Sue and her team.
Water temps have cooled down just enough to require a wet-suit. Turtles, ells and rays joined the variety of schooling fish to make it another great dive experience.   So glad I took the certification course in Las Vegas so I can add these experiences to the cruising playbook.  Check out SCUBAFY and its Elvis impersonator instructor/owner. 

Your’s truly at 50’
We left La Cruz anchorage at 9AM in order to meet up with Salcia who was leaving from Paradise Village.  We stopped at La Cruz fuel dock to use us a small refund due from the marina.  Getting cash or a credit card refund in Mexico seems to be near impossible.  I’m told its related to the way transaction taxes are collected.  We took on 150 gallons and the price had fallen to $2.75/gal.  Just 30 days before it was $3.43/gal.  Don’t expect to need fuel until we start the trip North to Ensenada.
Seas were very good for the entire trip.  Several long-line detours as we made our way north.  Salacia was ahead of us for half the trip and kept us informed of long-line locations.  He snagged one but was able to get free without incident.  Our luck was a better this time. 

Big moon most of the trip and it really makes a difference on the night watch. 

The sunsets on the west coast are just spectacular.  Really enjoy MOST of an overnight trip.  Still; from about 2 AM to sun-up can be tough on everyone.

Mazatlan Marina is very well protected and just north of the commercial harbor.  Entrance includes a very aggressive turn and narrow.  Each time I’ve entered the plan was to take pictures but it was just too busy as we arrived.  Lots of fishing boats heading out, a dredge mid channel and morning sun just above the horizon dead ahead. 
Mazatlan is home to the longest malecon (Malecón is a Spanish word that refers to a paved public walkway by a lake or ocean) in the world according to several sources.  Just over 13 miles long.  Some scenes from the land side:
IMG_1173 IMG_1176
Cliff Diving Platform.  Could not get Neil or Diana to try it however…..
                                                                The landing zone for cliff divers

The old town market is big attraction.  Anything you can image to eat is available here.  Crowded with hundreds of vendors it's been elbow to elbow every time we visited.
Kinda gives new meaning to “The Whole Hog”
Good food is big part of why we love traveling in Mexico.  “Shrimp Boat” from one of the oldest resturants in the old town district.  Not only is it more food than any two or three people should eat but its kept warm with a fire built inside the “boat”.  All for $$400 pesos or about $22 US.  Great lunch spot overlooking the Malecon.
Diner at the “Fat Fish” featured ribs. 2 x 1 pricing at $$199 pesos including baked potato, salad and soup.  This is a single serving of ribs.  Don’t miss this one if you find yourself in Mazatlan. 
Keela got another “summer” hair do from a groomer who came to the boat to trim her and Chewy from Salacia. 
BOX SCORE 23 Hours 116 gallons 170 miles

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Turning North

Manzanillo was our most southern point this year.   At 19.05.591 degrees north we are will into the tropics.   Weather has been warm and humidity is creeping up.

Full Definition of tropic. 1 : either of the two parallels of terrestrial latitude at a distance of about 2312 degrees north or south of the equator where the sun is directly overhead when it reaches its most northerly or southerly point in the sky — compare tropic of cancer, tropic of capricorn.

Hard to believe we were at Glacier Bay 58.500 deg N near the artic circle 66.463 deg N  in August of last year.   

Glacier Bay with Antipodes 2015

GlacierBay (695 of 722)

Manzanillo with Salacia 2016


Boat maintenance never sleeps.  One of our projects included replacement of the headliners in the lower cabins.  The craftsman in La Cruz was injured at home and left some trim work to be finished.  Found the perfect trim stock in the Home Depot in Manzinillo.  Several 8’ lengths were needed.  So, how to get them back to the boat since we took a cab to the store?   Use the local taxi cab pickup truck complete with lumber rack of course!


Our next stop was a few days in Tennicatita.  Snokeling with Rob and Shannon, beach landings, kyacking and generally just hanging around.  Very relaxing.  We left Salacia and continued north to La Cruz. 

Rob and Shannon left to fly back to Ensenada and thier boat.  Keela and the rest of the crew miss them already.

A grim reminder that the sea is unforgiving and experience does not exclude you from tragedy.  This sailboat went ashore just outside the breakwater at La Cruz harbor.  We anchor there from time to time also.  The Captain is a world class sailor with vast experience.  Story is the rode (combination of rope and chain) parted while he was ashore.  Afternoon winds pushed him into the breakwater.  The boat was a total loss but fortunately no one was injured. 

Volunteers from the sailing community came together the strip the boat and arange to cut it up before more evniromental damage occured.


For the next 2 weeks split our time between La Cruz and Paradise Village.  Each has its charm and we enjoy both harbors. 

At La Cruz, our friend Neil joined us again in front of a picture of Salcia advertising the local shipyard.  He’s also in the ad standing at the bow of the newly painted Salcia.


Just around the corner beautiful chickens roam the streets.


Just 6 miles away by water, Paradise Village (PV) feels more like being in San Diego.

The mall at PV


View from our slip at PV



Plans are to go north soon for some time in Mazatlan.  Weather should be a little cooler as we move toward the Sea of Cortez.

Ready to travel!!


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Barra to Manzanillo 1/22/2016

We finally got our fill of French pastires and pried ourselves out of Barra.  Heading south the Manzanillo, a trip of about 24 miles we left liesurly at 10:30 AM.  Slack water made the exit from Barra easy and we had clear skys and light winds. 

Our friends on Salacia making the anchorage at Santiago. 


We stayed on the hook for a couple of days, swam, ate and relaxed in this well protected anchorage.   There are two natural harbors in this industrial town.  Our first choice (Santiago) has dozens of palapas and a gentle beach.  Perfect for practicing our small dinghy landing skills.   South of the bay is another anchorage and marina Las Hadas. 


The marina is a Med moor style and fairly small.  We were very happy in the sheltered anchorage.  For 200 pesos a day we can land the dinghy at the marina and full use of the pools, ping pong tables and beach.  A great deal and well worth it.

ROB gets schooled…..


The movie “10” was filmed here and put it on the tourist map.  Did not spot Bo but found these two ladies by the pool.






Friends of ours from Ensenada, Rob and Shannon traveled to La Cruz on their friends alumimum racing sailboat.  They took a bus to Manzanillo to meet us and ride back to La Cruz.  They are restoring a 65’ steel hulled sailboat in Ensenada.  Some pics of the work are in this blog from early in 2015. 


The sunsets on the west coast are just great!  Pictures of pictures…….


Lots of variety in food choices.   We enjoyed a great Italian dinner and several local Mexican choices.  The cost is generally less than $10 US for lunch and $15 for dinner will leave you stuffed.


One downside is no dogs are allowed at Las Hadas1


4 HOURS 14 Gallons 25 Miles

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Chamela to Barra de Navidad 1/16/16

The usual stop is Tenecatita, perhaps the best anchorage in this area of Mexico.  We decided to head straight for Barra and the French Baker.
From Wikipedia: The town of Barra de Navidad (Christmas Sandbar) with a population of 7000+ is a small farming and fishing community located on the east end of the Bahía de Navidad, 60 km north of Manzanillo. In recent years, the Jalisco state government has promoted Barra as a tourist attraction of the Costalegre. The beachfront fronting the sandbar arks toward San Patricio, Jalisco 4.5 kilometers to the west.
The history of "modern" Barra de Navidad dates back to the mid-16th century when the Spanish used it for ship building, repairs and a jumping off point to the Philippines. A monument has been erected as a memory to these journeys at the end of the jetty. Ruy López de Villalobos (1500–1544) fleet of six galleon ships, the Santiago, Jorge, San Antonio, San Cristobal, San Martin, and San Juan, left Barra de Navidad, Jalisco, Mexico with 370 to 400 men on November 1, 1542. On the early morning of November 21, 1564, armed with five ships and 500 soldiers, Miguel López de Legazpi and his sail-captain Andrés de Urdaneta sailed from the port of Barra de Navidad, New Spain, in what is now Jalisco state, Mexico.
The large lagoon behind Barra de Navidad is criss-crossed by small fishing boats gathering scallops and transporting visitors and locals from Barra to Isla Navidad and the Grand Bay Hotel, recently voted the Number One hotel/resort in Mexico by the Travel Channel. These boats (panga taxies) also carry passengers to and from the small Colima community of Colimilla where restaurants line the shore.

Barra has a major hotel and an active waterfront seperated by the main channel. 
Grand Isla Navidad Resort
WORKNOT and SALACIA resting in Barra

Each day the famous French baker visits the marina by panga offering a host of fresh baked goods. 

Morning sunrise at Barra overlooking the lagoon


During a late season hurricane this freighter was lost to the rocky shore after losing power.   Its just a mile from the beachs at Barra.   On first blush it appears in good condition but closer inspection shows her back is broken.  The plan is strip it and sink it nearby for an artifical reef.  

The spot on the shore where they landed is against a tall cliff, less than a mile from the city.  Its so steep and rocky the owners of the ship have hired a helicopter to fly out to the ship daily for inspections.

Here is Mary providing some flight tips….

  The chopper is a very nicely restored HUEY from the Vietnam era

The  habor was about 50% full until a weekend fishing tournament fleet came in.  The town was not crowded and very little damage from the hurricane was visible.  Great visit and place to avoid winter…….

Keela snuggled in for her morning nap…..

BOX SCORE 6 hours 26 gallons 44 miles

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

South of Purerto Vallarta to Chamela MX January 2016

Finally we are moving along to Barra de Navidad and Manzanillo.  Along the way plan to stop at Tennicatita perhaps the best anchorage on the Gold Coast.

The last time we purchased fuel was in Dana Point CA on our way south to Ensenada.   September 19th we paid $2.65/gal.  Not as good as our current low cost record of $1.91 earlier last year at Gray's Harbor but better than the price in San Diego.  Since Dana Point, we have run 183 engine hours and approximately 1,400 miles.

The cost of diesel in Mexico still does not float with the world price so we paid $3.43/gal.  Put on 231 gallons just to have plenty of reserve in case we went further south than Manzanillo.   There is fuel in Barra and Manzanillo but we always try to have enough on-board to make it to the next 2 fuel stops. The extra weight helps the boat ride better and we like the option to buy fuel when we want to not need to.

After fueling we moved to the anchorage at La Cruz and joined our friends Neil and Dianna aboard Salacia.  I've gotten into the habit of leaving from an anchorage whenever possible rather than from a marina.  It's much faster to pick up an anchor than storing shore cords, hoses etc that are part of the marina departure.  It's also easier to make a scheduled departure window from the anchorage.  No last minute runs to town etc.  

1/12/16 awake at 5AM and underway at 5:11am.   The goal is clear Cabo Corrientes point in the early mornings to avoid building winds and seas seen in the afternoon.  The point is known to be windy and choppy, much like Point Conception in California.  

We were rewarded with a great sunrise and moderate beam seas at the point.  Conditions improved all the way to our arrival in Chemela at 6:42 PM  

BOX SCORE:  15 hours  60 gallons 114 miles 4 gal/hr

Our anchorage was well protected and there were about a dozen other boats well spaced throughout the anchorage.    The Westport set a stern anchor to avoid the swells and the crew spent over 2 hours retrieving it the next morning.  Their Fortress 57 really dug in.  We carry the same anchor as a backup to our main Rocna bow anchor.

Late one evening 6-8 Dorado swam around the boat chasing bait fish for about 20 minutes.   I hooked up on a 3' long fish using a 16# test rig I keep on the aft deck for fun.  The fish jumped once and broke the line.  For the next 20 minutes threw everything I had in the tackle box to no joy.  Even hit a fish on the head with a spinner but he just kept swimming!   Visibility was about 20 foot so got plenty of good views of Dorado in nature.  Just none in the boat!

Just one of many Dorado chasing bait fish under WORKNOT.  He was less than 6' away.....

 Mary and Keela enjoyed the calm seas and warm waters.

Next stop is Barra de Navidad and the French Baker!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Relaxing along the mainland coast January 2016

Staying at Paradise Village can be captivating.  This upscale resort and marina is geared to tourist and it delivers.  English is spoken in all the restaurants which include Starbucks, Domino's and McDonalds.  We managed to pry ourselves away for the 6 mile journey to La Cruz.  Its also about 20 years back in time.  La Cruz is cobble stone streets, mom and pop stores and a very relaxed cruising community with lots of local music and local color.

Always amazed at how small the cruising world is:  When we docked at La Cruz our friends Neil and Dianna from Portland Oregon (Salacia N40) stopped by.  Two slips from ours was this cruising sailboat.  Neil and Dianna owned it before buying their Nordhavn several years ago.  They last saw the boat in the Seattle area.

Dinner includes some shrimp for the barbecue from the La Cruz seafood market.

The competition for the freshest shrimp is pretty intense during the Sunday farmers market.  Over 75 vendors are present offering everything from fresh food to local art work.  Its a great place to shop for unique local clothes also.

Vehicles get a real workout all over Mexico.  Here is a Nissan compact truck chassis doing yeoman's work as a water delivery truck.  Single wheel rear axle. The math goes a little like this:

18 full water jugs per side at roughly 7.5#/gallon or 18 x 5 x 2 x 7.5= 1,350 # but wait there were 15 more jugs in the bed so add 15 x 5 x 7.5= 563# for a load of 1,913 #.  Add for the truck body, a few tools and lets just round up to 2,500# total payload..........At least the load gets lighter as the truck makes its deliveries.  

The plan is to continue south to Barra de Navidad and likely Manzanillo.  More on our journey next posting.  Keela seems ready to travel and so does the rest of the crew!