Tuesday, March 27, 2012

La Cruz (March 2012)

La Cruz March 2012

We are still here because (besides the fact that we simply like La Cruz) we watched all the preparations for a huge welcoming party for a tourist convention that  took place in a big dirt lot next to the marina (where a hotel will eventually be built.) and we wanted to  see the finished product.

Tianguis Turistico was a HUGE deal. Most of it taking place in PV, but the welcoming party was right here at the marina. About 6500 people from the tourist industry attended. It’s amazing how the whole area from PV to Sayulita was transformed. The medians between La Cruz and PV were all planted with palm trees, flowers and grass (formerly all dirt). The overpasses were all painted. Everything was really cleaned up.

When we left La Cruz Feb. 2nd they had just begun renovations of the town square and the surrounding streets. Everything was torn up.  Upon our return  on March 16 the town square and street were complete and looking great and they had begun replacing the sidewalks on the main street coming into town.
The La Cruz town square all fixed up.

First they went through with a jackhammer and did all the sidewalks
 on Calle Langosta.
So far they've replaced about half of the jackhammered sidewalks.

The corners actually have wheelchair ramps!

Our favorite corner tienda.
Cafe Huanacaxtle - one of our favorites.
 Preparations for the Welcome Party were underway when we arrived on March 16th and by the 25th the dirt parking lot was totally transformed - all for a 4 hour event!
Loomba-Loomba at the marina in La Cruz.

The token pool to impress the tourism visitors. It did not exist a month ago.

Set up - Day 2.
Where's Chrissy?
We actually were able to attend the event because the marina was behind
the entrance gate and we could walk right in. It was quite spectacular. 
Apparently it was invitation only!

A spectacular fireworks show at midnight.

The next morning.
Taking everything down.

We are planning on leaving La Cruz tomorrow (March 28) and heading toward Mazatlan and/or La Paz before we get up into the Sea of Cortez. While here we polished the hull and stainless, got fuel and water, reprovisioned, went to the dermatologist and dentist, visited our favorite restaurants, and re-connected with friends we haven't seen for awhile.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Links To Other Cruising Blogs

I just added some links to some of our friends blogs.
(look on the sidebar after blog archives).
They are either doing the "Puddle Jump" to the Marquesas or
heading south through Central America.

Back in La Cruz

March 16, 2012
Back in La Cruz

Awwwwww………. Unlimited hot water with great water pressure in a large, clean, tiled shower stall. The first REAL shower since we left La Cruz on Feb 2nd!

When we aren’t in a marina we hang the sun shower bag off of the stern of the boat, jump in the water, soap up with some soap that works well in salt water, and then rinse off with the shower bag. If the water is below 72 we just do the full shower in the cockpit with the sun shower.

Some other things we like about being in a marina:
1.     We don’t have to wear quick-dry clothing every time we go someplace because we can just walk down the dock – no pounding through the chop in the dinghy and getting sprayed with salt water, no surf landings where you run the risk of breaking waves flooding the dinghy both coming and going from the beach.
2.     We don’t have to have everything in a dry bag and/or zip lock bags “just in case”.
3.     We can have hot water on the boat without running the engine. 
4.     We can “plug in” so we can charge the computers, cameras, etc. without worrying about the state of the boat batteries.
5.     We can use a hose and fresh water to wash off the boat.
6.     We can walk to a restaurant at night and not worry that the wind will pick up and we’ll have a wet dinghy ride back to the boat in the dark.
7.     It’s usually very still and quiet.
8.     We can ride our bikes.

We both actually prefer being anchored out, but it’s nice to spend a week at a dock once in awhile for the above reasons, and also to get boat maintenance done.

What we like about anchoring out:
1.     The night sky.  There are always a lot of lights in a marina.
2.     The quiet. 
3.     The privacy.
4.     The gentle movement of the boat. (Sometimes it’s not so gentle and it can be uncomfortable).
5.     The wildlife: schools of fish enjoying the shade under the boat , pelicans and boobie birds diving out of the sky for those fish,  dolphins and whales swimming through the anchorage.
6.     Swimming off of the boat.
7.     Snorkeling.
8.     We live mostly in bathing suits.
9.     The remote beaches we are able to enjoy.
1.      Impromptu cruiser gatherings on a beach.

It’s nice to be back in La Cruz. After we left Barra de Navidad we spent another wonderful week in Tenacatita (with 79 degree water and air temp in the 80’s), a couple of days in Chemala waiting for a calm window to get around Cabo Corrientes, and then an overnight passage back to Banderas Bay.   We will be here for a while re-grouping and then we will start heading north again.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Barra de Navidad

We arrived in Barra de Navidad (25 miles north of Bahia Santiago) on February 25th and we’re still here! Barra was one of our favorites last year and we are not disappointed this year. It is a unique place situated between a beautiful ocean beach and a huge lagoon.  The anchorage is in the lagoon. We anchor in 8’ of water. Most of the time the lagoon is like a mill pond except for a regular afternoon breeze which usually dies down about sunset.  It’s been nice to have flat calm quiet nights with NO movement – like anchoring up in the PNW! 

Sunrise in Barra de Navidad (Lagoon)
There are a lot of good restaurants (some with fast wifi) and shops in Barra, but it’s not as “touristy” as most of the bigger towns and the prices are very reasonable. There are quite a few tiendas to stock up on fresh food, several lavenderias, a great beauty salon where we both got really good haircuts for 45 pesos each (3.50), a good mercury outboard mechanic, a great butcher shop and a great fish market.

Every morning the French Baker comes by in his panga delivering baquettes, quiche, pies, croissants, and other pastries. You can call ahead on the VHF and place an order or you can just see what he has when he comes to your boat.
The usual: 2 almond croissants and a baguette
There is also a 24 hour water taxi service.  A panga will arrive at your boat about 10 or 15 minutes after you call them on the radio and will take you into the town for 25 pesos round trip (around 2.00). If we are going to get back to the boat after dark we usually take the water taxi.
The water taxi dock in Barra.
Ramon, one of the water taxi drivers.
 When we take the dinghy in we tie up at the Sands Hotel where they are “cruiser friendly”. They have a pool and showers that the boats in the anchorage can use as long as they patronize the restaurant and/or bar. It’s also OK to leave the dinghy there if you’re spending the day in town.

We happened to be in Barra when the town was celebrating Mardi Gras.
The stage in the central plaza all painted for "Carnaval"
One of the truck drivers for one of the floats.

We bought tamales for breakfast the next day.

Mocajate dinner for Jim and Todd.
This little girl was peeling potatoes at her parents food stand.

After Mardi Gras they were taking down the rides.
These animals were piled up on the street.
Would you want to ride on these scary animals?

Barra was hit pretty hard by a hurricane last fall.  One section of the waterfront was hit pretty hard, but apparently most of the damage was from rain, water, and mud which has all been cleaned up and it’s “business as usual”.

The town of Colimilla is across the lagoon from Barra. There are several restaurants there on the water and that’s where our favorite fish market is.
This little old panga is out in the lagoon
 fishing in the mornings and evenings.

Do you think they've been to Ivar's in Seattle?

Colimilla fishmonger.

Two girls on their way home from school in Colimilla.

The Colimilla beach.

We’re not sure how much longer we will be in Barra – it’s one of those places that gets more comfortable and harder to leave the longer you stay – but when the winds change to southerlies we will start to head north again.