January 23, 2007

Bara de Navidad to Las Hadas

Hi Everyone,

We hope this new year has been good to you.

After several weeks at anchor and having had a fine time in Tenacatita we decided to move on to the next destination.

Barra de Navidad is just 9.3 miles around the corner. We had originally planned to anchor in the lagoon. But we were both ready for Isla Navidad Marina, with all it's amenities. It is a lovely sight, as you round the corner and see the town to the right with it's multi colored buildings, the well kept marina, the interesting salmon colored hotel with all the levels, the terraces with swimming pools, the lush vegetation and the little island just off shore covered with palm trees and flowering plants. The island can be reserved for special times...like a romantic dinner.

We love being at anchor but were ready to be back in a marina and plugged in.

We had a great time wandering around the town of Barra and sampling the restaurants. We are actually eating on board more than we had in the past though. The bus service is very good and we used that to go to the nearby town of Melaque during the day.

Melaque is very different than Barra and interesting to see. One night we heard Latcho and Andrea, the Blond Gypsies playing in Melaque at restaurant Maya. Many of the other cruisers are familiar with their lovely Spanish Guitar and Flamingo music. That evening we can easily say that we knew more than half of the dinners...other cruising friends. This restaurant is lovely with excellent food. It is a little Mexican but more California cuisine. We enjoyed the lively evening. I'm just sorry that I did not bring my castanets.

Our expected five day stay stretched into ten. One of the things we really enjoy is our time at and in the pool. There usually are not very many hotel guests, so we have the run of the place. But the last few days a (very white, soon to be red) contingent of builders and suppliers from Minnesota arrived and filled every room in the hotel. The pools were overwhelmed. Luckily we had heard about some other, out of the way, pools situated throughout the hotel. Ah. Our own pool, large enough to swim laps, was waiting for us among the suites.

This actually turned out to be a busy week for the hotel and marina. A fishing tournament was also being held over the weekend. This brought out the Mariachi bands and tequila and brought in the sailfish (vella pesce), swordfish, dorado (mahi-mahi), and tuna...big tuna. After watching the men clean the fish, I know very well how to fillet our tuna. Now if we can just catch one. At that size, we only need one!

On our way from Barra to Santiago Bay we had four fishing lines in the water without even a nibble. Too bad. Santiago Bay is a new place to us and we anchored in the area by the town of Santiago. It was a little rolly at night with the swells coming in broad side. The next day, the tide was so high that if we went into shore, we would be landing among the tables and chairs of the beach palapas. OK, it is time for a change of plans. We upped anchor and moved around into the next lobe and anchored off the Las Hadas hotel. Some may remember this from the movie Ten.

This is perfect for us. It is a calm anchorage, and we can use the dingy dock and hotel facilities. So this means that we do not need to do a dingy landing on the beach...so civilized. We'll have our more primitive anchorages later in the Sea of Cortez. So for now we can be pampered. Yes, there is another lovely pool with pool service. The water in the anchorage is very clear too with quite a few fish and turtles. Another great thing is that we finally crossed paths with some of our best friends including, Yvette, Carl, Joel and Kyle on Liberty and Karen and Bill on Miela.

Life is good. We are sitting here on the boat, watching the sunset feeling energized and wonderfully at peace at the same time. This over whelming feeling of well being comes over us through out our voyage. Sometimes it has to do with the spectacular sunset, the colorful sunrises, the feeling we have that we are part fish while we are in the water, or how the mountains look in the distance in the changing sunlight. It is not limited to these times though. This has been/is a very special time for the two of us.

Tomorrow we will leave at day break for and overnight sail to Zihuatanejo. Maybe there is tuna waiting for us along the way.

Our best to you all. We look forward to hearing from you.

Warmest regards,
Mary and Bill

January 2, 2007

Happy New Year from Bahia Tenacatita

Happy New Year Everyone!

Gosh, you sure can keep busy when cruising!

We left Ipala on December 24th and proceeded down to Bahia de Chamela (Chamela Bay). Chamela was as nice as we remembered it. Lot's of Palapas (Beach Restaurants) and a small town with a few Tiendas (small grocery stores). Unlike two years ago, when we were the only cruisers in the bay, there were 5 boats in the anchorage. There were many Mexican families there for the holiday week, but not as many as two years ago. Apparently tourism is down a bit in Mexico so it wasn't quite as crowded.

Miguelito's Palapa had among the best food. A Polish ex-patriot, Yonish is partnered with Miguel and serves as manager and sometimes cook. He will arrange for special dinners with advance notice. Unfortunately, he couldn't get the ingredients together to cook Perogi for us before we left. We did have a great shrimp dish, however. He calls it Camarones (Shrimp) 4 x 4: 4 large shrimp cooked each of 4 different ways. It was great!

We stayed at Chamela until the 27th enjoying the anchorage. The dingy landings were a little challenging as there was a little surf - 2 feet or so, but we were cautious and landed between sets and didn't dump going in or out.

We then continued on to Tenacatita, one of our favorite anchorages on this section of coast. Tenacatita is a huge well protected bay and we're anchored here with a few dozen other cruisers. On Saturday Dec 30, we took our dingy on the jungle passage to the other lobe of the bay where there are many Palapas and two Tiendas. Things are a bit more developed than they were two years ago and the brand new Tienda was fairly well stocked.

Every year in Tenacatita one of the cruisers "volunteers" to be mayor. This year it's Chris and Heather on Legacy, http://www.legacysailing.com/

Unfortunately, they've been delayed in Mazatlan and won't arrive until tomorrow, January 3rd. So Bill was asked to set up the New Years activities.

We did a dingy raft up for New Years Eve. Basically we anchored our dingy (we have a little 6 pound Fortress anchor) off a side beach and 10 other cruisers tied their dingys to ours. We then passed appetizers around, introduced ourselves and waited for midnight. We then toasted the new year and continued chatting until the bugs came out - we anchored a bit too close to the beach and the bugs came out at sundown... Oh, did I mention that we celebrated at midnight Greenwich Mean Time? That's 6 PM local time. That way everyone is awake! At local midnight the hotel across the bay shot off fireworks so we got to celebrate twice.

On New Years Day, we arrange for a BBQed Rib lunch at 2 PM at the Palapa on the beach. We had 30 cruisers attend. After that we played a few rounds of Mexican Train Dominoes until sunset, when the bugs started to come out again. We then went back to our boats and had a relaxing evening.

Bugs in Tenacatita will only bother you on the mountain hike, jungle trip or on the beach at dusk. They don't come far enough off shore to get to the anchored boats, except those who are anchored very close to the beach.

The next day, we went hiking in the hills with Dave on Deja 2 who showed us the trail to the other side of the bay. It's an alternative to the dingy trip through the jungle. It's about a 5 KM hike. I don't think we'll be doing this one with groceries.

Today, we're taking it easy. Bill is doing various chores and Mary is working on jewelry projects.

We did turn on the cell phone and discovered that Telmex finished their tower project and we now have cell phone coverage! A few days ago, we only had our satellite phone. We're surprised at how much further the cell phone coverage has expanded in the last two years. There are very few places we've been that are not now covered.

We also have intermittant WiFi Internet coverage. Not enough for web surfing or updating our pictures, but enough to do occasional emails - please continue to contact us on our winlink.org address as coverage isn't good enough to reliably pick up our raptordance.com emails.

We love hearing from you but remember to send us a NEW message, don't reply and send this message back to us. Our winlink email is extremely slow! We haven't heard from some of you in a while, so drop us a note and let us know how you are doing!

You can see where we've been and where we are via our position reporter link at:
Be sure to click the "Satellite" link and zoom in on one of the balloons to get a fantastic view of where we are.

Warmest Regards,
Bill and Mary