Friday, March 11, 2016 La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

Woke up:                  La Paz de Huanacaxtle, Bandares Bay, Nayarit, Mexico

Went to sleep:          La Paz de Huanacaxtle, Bandares Bay, Nayarit, Mexico

In January I was too downtrodden to post to my blog and now I’m too busy! What a difference 100 miles can make.

We have been anchored in the anchorage outside Marina Riviera Nayarit for two weeks and I am lovin’ it.

Most mornings, I jump out of bed at 6:30 am, get dressed, wash my face, brush my teeth, and pack my stuff. At the same time, Peter gets the dinghy (my chariot) ready for me to leave. By 7:30 am I am out the door. Often I pick up my friend, Deanna, from Speakeasy and we motor into the marina together. Yoga starts at 8:00 am.

My Lovely Friend, Dee

My Lovely Friend, Dee

Regular Yoga Practice

Regular Yoga Practice

It has felt so good to have a regular yoga practice again. My bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments thank me.

I’ve been asked to teach the class next Tuesday and Thursday. Suddenly, I have a good reason to review my teacher training and develop a 90 minute sequence.

Somedays, Dee and I let our exercise compulsion get the best of us and we follow up yoga with Zumba.

It’s interesting, the way organized exercise classes have developed over the years. Jane Fonda kicked us off with leg warmers and high impact aerobics. When high impact proved physically damaging, they invented low impact. Soon we branched out with Step, Kick Boxing, Spin Classes, Body Pump® and now Zumba which is very similar to Low Impact with salsa music and fancy dance steps thrown in.

It’s true. The anchorage is a bit rockier than the anchorage in Tenacatita but, for me, the trade- off is worth it.

The Writers’ Group meets each Saturday. Ten to fifteen women, and usually at least one man, meet in the very comfortable VIP lounge to review each other’s writing and have a sometimes lively discussion. What better way to spend two hours on Saturday morning?

Writers' Group

Writers’ Group

I dress in my Sunday best for the Market. I go early and plan to stay all day. Many, many vendors bring their products to share and to sell. Music starts at 11:00 am. Some days, after my feet are killing me, I simply sit on the bench listening to the music and watching the kids play and the people meander.

Sunday Market

Sunday Market

Live Music

Live Music

Children Play

Children Play

Deanna and I have taken the colectivo into Puerto Vallarta for shopping at Sam’s Club, Walmart, the Soriano and Chedarue. We pay 10 pesos to get there and share the cost of a cab, usually 150 pesos, to bring both of us and all of our groceries back.

Movie Night is like going to the drive in. The movie plays at dark. We sit on the concrete steps of the amphitheater and watch a film projected onto an old sail. The concession stand is open for business offering popcorn, pop, beer, sandwiches, and candy bars. The boats of the marina, home in their slips, can be seen resting quietly in the background. Last night was cool and we covered up with a blanket.

Movie Night

Movie Night

Each afternoon, Peter snags little sardines with a treble hook. Using the live bait, he’ll hook a 20 – 30 pound Jack in less than five seconds. He jumps into the dinghy and lets the fish drag him all over the bay. Once the fish tires, Peter pulls it to the dinghy and lets it go. The other people in the anchorage (there are about 35 boats here) think this is pretty good entertainment.

Who's Having More Fun?

Who’s Having More Fun?

Several times each week we have met other cruisers for street tacos. We walk together, four blocks from the marina to town and choose from several family owned operations. Usually the entire family is involved cooking and serving tacos, burritos and casadeas from the kitchen of their home while watching their favorite TV show in the background.

This authentic Mexican fare is delicious and Mexican culture is muy casual; everyone brings their own beer or wine to the table. It’s so tasty we end up saying, “Tres mas, por favor!” Peter and I can eat tacos and casadeas until we’re bursting at the seams, all for under 200 pesos.

Street Tacos

Street Tacos

It’s easy to see I thrive on community and activity. Walking to the local tienda for a sack of potatoes, I stop to visit with no less than 20 people I know. A few errands can take a very long time. Back at the dock, I load our dinghy with my yoga mat, shower bag and whatever crackers, cookies and other provisions I deemed necessary. I fire up the one-pull-Yamaha and glide out of the marina. With the kill chord around my wrist, I bring the little boat up on plane and race through the anchorage to Penelope patiently bobbing in the swell.

My Chariot

My Chariot

Too bad he throws these back

Too bad he throws these back

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Thursday, February 25, 2016 La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

Woke up:                  Chamela, Bahia Chamela, Colima, Mexico

Went to sleep:          La Paz de Huanacaxtle, Bandares Bay, Nayarit, Mexico

We are heading north, rounding Cabo Corrientes and soon we’ll sweep east into Bandares Bay.

Tomorrow at this time, we’ll be firmly anchored in the bay outside Marina Riviera Nayarit. It feels like slipping into a comfortable pair of old shoes to be returning.  It’s coming home to a place I want to be.  We were here five weeks last year; three by myself while Peter was in Oregon.  This is where Robin Smith and Lynda Davis came to visit me.  From here we made our historic sailing voyage across the bay to Yelapa.

Las Tres Amigas

Las Tres Amigas

It’s so easy to be in La Cruz. The dinghy dock is 40 pesos; no more beach landings.  No questioning whether we’ll be able to go to shore on any particular day.  Showers are ten pesos.  I haven’t had a shower except using a hose in the cockpit since before Christmas.  The laundry lady picks up laundry on Monday and Thursday.  There’s a small convenience store near the pool where people gather to visit at the tables in the shade.

Marina Riviera Nayarit

Marina Riviera Nayarit

There is much to do. Yoga every morning at 9:00 am.  Saturday, Writers’ Group.  Sunday, the flea market offers interesting food, music and people we know.  Anna teaches Spanish in the VIP lounge Tuesday and Thursday.  Finally, Friday, the locals block off a road near the square with their trucks and play volley ball in the street.  This is where I learned to pronounce Huanacaxtle.

Volleyball in the street Photo by Lynda Davis

Volleyball in the street
Photo by Lynda Davis

A Very Tall Woman

A Very Tall Woman

I get to enjoy La Cruz for three full weeks before I fly home to see my mom March 17.  I feel happy today.  It’s been a while.

Huanacaxtle

A Huanacaxtle Tree

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Sunday, February 21, 2016 Revised – Living on the Hook

Sunday, February 21, 2016  Revised – Living on the Hook

Woke up:                  Las Hadas, Bahia de Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico

Went to sleep:         Bahia Tenacatita, Colima, Mexico

We’ve have such excellent Wi-Fi in Las Hadas, when I’m not lying by the pool ordering a second lemonade, I’m emailing friends and perusing the internet. I was delighted to discover our Wi-Fi, thanks to the Bad Boy, is, in-fact, powerful enough to update our blog. After several weeks of zero posts, I pounced on the opportunity.

In my haste, I copied and pasted a piece I had written April 2015 – almost a year ago.

Drakes Bay - Many Moons Ago

Drakes Bay – Many Moons Ago

Reviewing my post today, I realize how different things are a year later; how much we have learned; how much we have grown. Before we weigh anchor today and sail north to Tenacatita, I want to revise and clarify yesterday’s blog.

As we approach each new anchorage, my husband struggles to make an anchoring decision amidst the other boats already at rest. I respect the fact Peter takes the time to carefully inspect the anchorage. He studies the depth, the nearby landscape (i.e. rock outcroppings) and the composition of the soil below, to ensure we’ll get good holding. This is important when you are trying to secure a 38,000-pound boat with a 45-pound anchor. I’m proud to say, ours is one of few boats having never dragged anchor. When I go to bed at night, I know I can sleep well. Penelope is not going anywhere. He motors up and down the haphazard rows of boats, slowly circles the bay, traveling in between and round and round until the track on our GPS looks like an Etch-a-Sketch® operated by a youngster. Unlike last year, this year, I use this time to marvel at our new surroundings and see who else is in the anchorage. I used to be embarrassed by this behavior, but now I simply wait, read a magazine, and listen for him to say, “This looks good!”

Once I hear the magic words, I ready the automatic identification system (AIS) to record our latitude and longitude, marking our exact location. As the anchor is deployed I “set” the anchor alarm on the AIS. In the event, Penelope’s anchor moves from within an 80-foot radius an alarm will sound.

I move to the helm to steer the boat while Peter moves to the bow to lower the anchor.

Some couples use walkie-talkies, portable radios or hand signals to communicate with each other while anchoring. Peter and I have anchored this boat together so many, many times we could do it in our sleep. I hear the familiar sound of the windlass emitting chain from the locker in the bow and know we will soon be at rest. I put the rudder in neutral and lock down the helm. Initially, I put her in reverse and back off the anchor to increase the length of chain deployed. We like to use a lot of chain. As Peter says, “The chain doesn’t do any good sitting in the chain locker.” Peter and I prefer to holler at each other. In fact, we seldom need to speak at all. I know what he is going to do and what he wants me to do without a word. Over the roar of the wind through the rigging, the waves splashing against the hull, and the rumbling of the engine. Apparently, we enjoy the added frustration. When Peter, at the bow of the boat, far, far, from the helm, turns his back to me and whispers, “Turn to the right” I feel at liberty to scream obscenities at the top of my lungs. Until, of course, I realize everyone else in the bay has poured a cocktail and made themselves comfortable in their cockpits to watch the Susan and Peter Anchoring Show. It’s better than late night TV. Most people in the bay admire Penelope, how beautiful she is.

Few others have visited over 30 anchorages along the Baja Peninsula and Mainland Mexico, lived on the hook all but a few days and always been safe and secure, never having moved an inch.

We watch the position of the land and trees around us and if nothing changes in relation to our boat we are “home” once again.

Tenacatita - Going Home

Tenacatita – Going Home

 

Peter and I recently discussed the positive attributes of Las Hadas in relation to other anchorages. As an engineer, I have a need to perform an analysis, a type of weighting and rating endeavor. I hope to complete this exercise in the next few days. Stand by for NEW material.

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