December 27, 2004

Bahia Tenacatita

We arrived in Bahia Tenacatita yesterday. This is the place that has received the largest number of kudos from our friends who have been here before and we can see why. It's the best spot so far!

A great anchorage with lots to do, great snorkeling, diving, warm clear water, even a Jungle River Trip! We've also caught up with many of our friends who left Puerto Vallarta ahead of us. There either here in Tenacatita or just another 10 miles down the coast in the Marina of Barre de Navidad.

The Jungle River trip was a lot of fun. This morning we left with our friends Bruce and Nora of "Jamboree" in their dingy for the 2 mile run up the Rio Las Iguanas river. The mouth of the river is right at the beach here in the anchorage. We followed a winding channel through the mangroves which was sometimes sunny and sometimes covered by the branches of the tress to create an environment similar to the "Jungle Boat" trip at Disneyland but with different critters - and these were real! With no wisecracking guide..... except for Bill ;-} We saw colorful birds, butterflies and a Coatimundi. All in the lush foliage of mangroves and vines. Tendrils of aerial roots dangled like sausages from the green canopy overhead. touching the mirror clear water.

The end of the river led to a dingy landing on the backside of the Las Escolleras beach further up the bay. A short walk took us to a series of beach palapa restaurants with outstanding fish rolls made with fish and shrimp served with an almond sauce. Quite yummy.

After we returned, we went snorkeling on the point just around the corner from the anchorage. We swam over and hitched a ride back on a friend's dingy. We saw lots of fish of all varieties. From puffers to damsel fish and many more. Great clear water. A very nice time.

Now we're back on the boat relaxing with a cup of tea.

Mary also comments that "why is it a perverse delight to do a little bit of hand laundry and hang it on the lifelines?" (we do chores too!)

We'll probably stay here for at least a week of more, socializing with the lively community of around 15 other cruising boats here in the anchorage.

Warmest wishes to all
Bill and Mary

December 24, 2004

Anchored out in Bahia de Chamela

Happy Holidays everyone!

Our cruise down from Ipala to here was uneventful. Calm winds and flat seas, so we motored the 52 miles in just under 8 hours. Saw a few whales playing a few miles off, none up close. Dolphins were jumping and playing in the bay when we arrived. During the night a few were playing by the boat and their breathing (blowing) woke us up. Noisy critters!

We're anchored out in this beautiful bay: Bahia de Chamela (pronounced "chah-MAH-lah"). This is a large bay, over 4 miles across with villages at either end and some small islands in the middle. We're here with just 4 other boats anchored in the NW corner of the bay by the small village.

Compared to Ipala, this place is huge! Lot's of space to anchor and a much larger village. Probably around 100 families and lot's of family run palapa restaurants on the beach.

We'll probably stay here through the weekend, going to the bay's islands for diving over the next few days.

Last night we went to a very nice one with two friends and had a wonderful seafood platter with fish, shrimp done three different ways, Langostino (crayfish)and octopus done two different ways (it was tender and delicious). The dinner for 4 only cost 280 pesos ($25.50 US).

We got a couple of questions about how to locate us on the map with more precision than the map on the website. There a couple of ways to do that. The easiest is got to your local auto club office and get their Mexico road map. This gives a good overview of Mexico overall (but not a lot of detail). Right now, we're nearest the small town of Chamela, on the west coast Mexico highway 200 south of Puerto Vallarta. Chamela is the town at the other end of this bay from where we are.

A better way is if you have a really good Atlas that covers Mexico. The best maps are the Mexican Topographical maps, available at many libraries.

Look up the area and then zero in to our exact location using the latitude and longitude reported on our website.

Right now we're at 19°35.070'N 105°07.887'W. Isn't GPS is great! That's our position to within 6 feet. Unfortunately, The Nautical charts are mostly obsolete. All our charts show us 2 to 3 miles inland. So we navigate using the "Mark 1 eyeball", radar and depth sounder, interpreting our charts appropriately.

Warmest wishes for a great holidays!

Bill and Mary

December 22, 2004

In Ipala

We arrived in Ipala at 3pm this afternoon after a nice motor down from Puerto Vallarta.

This is a lovely little bay. The village consists of 14 families with 3 (count them!) 3 restaurants! All outdoors.

Mary and I had Langosta con Ajo (Lobster with Garlic) for $11.00 each. They also have wonderful fish and (cooked) oysters!

There are 4 cruising sailboats in the anchorage and we went to check out the place next door and 75% of the visiting sailors were at our table.... 6 people total!

Great time.... We'll probably stay here tomorrow to and leave Thursday.

Warmest Regards,

Bill and Mary

December 10, 2004

Still in Puerto Vallarta

Wow. Time is flying by. Sorry there haven't been as many messages recently.

All is well here and we are fine and having a great time.

We're into our second week of Spanish lessons. We're taking a class for cruisers that meets twice a week on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. The class is geared to phrases we would actually use here.

Last weekend we went to the north of Banderas Bay (which is the Bay we are in) and anchored off a nice little village, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. That was very peaceful. We ran into some folks we had met in San Diego. I expect this will continue to happen, where we crisscross paths with many of the same people.

The feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe is this month. So in Puerto Vallarta, every night, something is going on: ballet, parades, dances, food and drink.

Last night a famous Mariachi band from Guadalajara played at at the amphitheater on the beach. When they played at the Sheraton hotel the day before, it cost $100/each to hear them. The public concert was free. They were fantastic! Rather than deal with the crowd, we noticed that the restaurant right across the street had empty tables 1 story above the amphitheater and was open to and facing the concert, so we went and had some drinks and snacks. No bad, a balcony seat with waitress service for a great free concert

The evening was great. The square, the church and all of down town was crowed with local and tourists. There was a parade with Aztec dancers etc. There were some excellent singers and then the Mariachi band played. We were told that they were the best Mariachi band in Mexico. They certainly sounded great!

Besides all the people out, there were stands set up with food and drinks. So we were trying an wide assortment of foods.

Note, the entire time we've been down here, we've eaten at street stands, festivals, etc. With NO ill effects.

It was very festive. we hope to go into town tomorrow night too.

A few nights ago five of us went to Las Carmelitas, a restaurant high up (1500 feet) on the mountains behind Puerto Vallarta to watch the sunset and have dinner. We had a great time good food, good company and awesome view.

Also yesterday, Mary went to the beach which is only a matter of feet away and got a lesson in buggy boarding from our friends Bruce and Nora. They have been doing this everyday. They have the boards at the beach for the hotel/marina guests to use. The place is quite large. There are four swimming pools that we've found, complete with waiters to bring drinks or food. Is this too decadent? Plus there is a spa, several restaurants, disco (we haven't gone there yet), a zoo with tigers etc, great beach, and then the hotel naturally and a nearby shopping center with a grocery store and Laundromat, other stores and restaurants.

In the past few weeks, we went on a hike to a waterfall, a walk through the jungle, snorkeling at Los Arcos (a nearby popular spot) and lot's more.

We've also got a lot of chores done on the boat but we have a few more to accomplish before we head south down the coast.

We're a little behind at getting our web site updated but will do that with some of our Puerto Vallarta pictures before we head south.

Warmest regards to all for a happy holidays!

Mary and Bill