February 6, 2008

On the Mexican Riviera

Hi Everyone!

We raised anchor at the Las Hadas anchorage at 930 AM this morning, starting our journey back up to Puerto Vallarta, with planned stops in Tenacatita, Chamela and Ipala.

This was our Southern most destination this year.

On our way South, we stopped at Bahia de Chamela for Christmas. We had a lovely time again with very few cruisers and mostly local families. Only 3 boats were anchored in the bay on Christmas day. Festivities were more subdued than last year as the economy in Mexico, as in the US is in a bit of a slump. No live Mariachi bands this year, just recorded music.

Coming down from PV to Chamela, we were a little concerned as our speed was about 3/4 knot slower than expected. We thought it might be due to an adverse current, which it partially was, but when I (Bill) dove in the boat I saw that the bottom was quite dirty and needed cleaning.

Before we left Puerto Vallarta, we asked Guillermo the Diver clean bottom, but this time, his sons did it - he's breaking them into the business. His kids only cleaned the first 3 feet down! The keel, especially the bottom, looked like a forest!

I started cleaning, free diving. One hour into it, I felt a Jellyfish sting on my arm. Ouch! I knocked off for the day. The next day I continued with my thin 1 MM dive skin on. No more problems. The third day, I continued working on the bottom with SCUBA and got the keel, the bottom of the keep and prop clean, the way we like them!

Interestingly, we just had the bottom done in October, but the water down here is so warm that the sea life grows really fast! Even with new bottom paint.

After a few days in Chamela of work and play, we continued on to Tenacatita Bay.

This is another lovely anchorage that's a favorite of many of the cruisers here in Mexico. Some folks stay for months!

Chris and Heather Stockard of SV Legacy ( http://legacysailing.com ) had just left to head South to Central America with their two Portuguese Water Dogs, Kira and Minnow. Chris and Heather as you may remember, served as "Mayor" and "First Lady" of Tenacatita for the last two years, organizing the daily swim to the beach, Bocci Ball, Dominoes, Volleyball and the weekly dingy raft up/cocktail party. With the loss of leadership, the anchorage was very mellow and quiet.

It wasn't until after we left that things got organized again. We're heading back today to Tenacatita, so we'll report on how it is. At it's peak, a few years ago, some called it "Camp Tenacatita" because of it's activities and organization. Hopefully, it remains mellower than that.

On New Years eve, we pulled into Isla Navidad Marina, where we stayed until Feb 2nd. We had a delightful stay re-exploring one of our favorite areas. A new Italian Restaurant, "Profumo di Sole", opened up run by a delightful couple from Bolonia, Italy. The Pasta is all made in the restaurant and everything is fantastic! The prices are also quite reasonable, especially considering the quality.

They have prosciutto on the menu, but we couldn't have it the first few times we visited since their slicer was broken. Mary, Carl (from SV Liberty) and I spent a couple of hours one afternoon fixing it, so we could enjoy their lovely appetizer with great local melon!.

The start of the month of January seemed to drag slowly by as we didn't get into the rhythm and we didn't have enough friends in town to socialize with. The end of the month flew by however as more and more people arrived. The second week of January was the low with only a dozen boats in the Marina and Lagoon. By the end of the month, there were over 60. I think we'll come down a touch later next year.

Back in Puerto Vallarta in December, Mary took and passed her amateur radio Extra Class License exam and also the test to become a Volunteer Examiner. In January, Dean of Emily B, Mary and I held a ham exam aboard Emily B in the Barra Lagoon. 5 folks showed up and 4 passed their exams. A very successful session. We think this was the first session held afloat in the Barra Lagoon. "The French Baker" catered the continental breakfast we had available for everyone.

On Feb 2nd, we left Barra to visit the Manzanillo area. We spent a night in Santiago Bay, having dinner with our friends Patti and Frosty from SV Angelfish; a night anchored in Ensenada Carrizal and two nights in the Las Hadas anchorage.

In Las Hadas, we visited Stan and MJ formerly of the Valiant 40, Sol Mate, who sold their boat and bought a "fixer upper" near the town of Santiago. Gosh, they've already done a lot, but have a ways to go on their lovely home.

As I type this, we're just off the coast about a mile, about halfway between Manzanillo and Tenacatita...

Later, we dropped anchor this afternoon in Tenacatita at 2:30 PM CST.

That's the news from Raptor Dance!

Warmest Regards,
Bill & Mary

February 5, 2008

Santiago Bay

Just a quick note to let you all know that we're having such a fun time down here that we've fallen a little behind posting our pictures and stories.

We'll try to catch up soon.

In highlight (details later):

We had a great Christmas in Chamela, then moved on to Tenacatita Bay.

On New Years eve, we pulled into the Isla Navidad Marina, next the the Wyndham Grand Bay Hotel (winner of a number of award for "The Best Resort in Mexico").

A month of helping the local school, socializing, dining and just sitting by the pool ensued.

We spent the month of January there and left yesterday Feb 2 to anchor out.

We're now in Santiago Bay near Manzanillo and are planning to move later this morning to anchor in Ensenada Carazal just around the corner.

You can keep an eye on our current location on our website (Last 90D link).

We'll be on this, our winlink address for the next two weeks until we get back to Paradise Village. Just remember, no replies or forwards!

Warmest Wishes to all for a happy and healthy new year!

Bill & Mary