We departed Paradise on April 1. Considering that our winter in Paradise was mostly about being sick, getting well, and lots of recovery exercise we did manage to have some fun. I do have another Puerto Vallarta blog to post right after I write it! But, meanwhile we are on to new adventures in Mexico.
We departed at a very civilized time on April 1, about 9:30. We didn’t have far to go that day. Our goal was to refuel in La Cruz, anchor out at Punta Mita, run the generator and get the new watermaker membranes ready for service. (They need water flushed through them for about 2 hours before the water is usable.) We planned to just hang on the hook, and relax for the rest of the day.
Our friends Rob and Shannon were anchored just outside La Cruz. They have a beautiful yacht – MV SOLEMATES. Rob jumped into his dinghy and escorted us to the marina. He thought we had a line dragging in the water – horrible thought! It was a string that was hanging off the deck and bouncing at the waterline from a line we used to secure the stern to the dock – nothing serious. The surge was so bad in Paradise that we had chafing gear on our stern/swim platform line. The movement of the boat was literally sawing the line in two. We had to tie the chafing gear separately to the cleat in order to keep it in place.
Thanks Rob! Nice dinghy you got there!
This was our first time in La Cruz. Ever! Pretty sad, since it is THE cruiser hangout in the Puerto Vallarta area. As we often tell ourselves – life occasionally gets in the way of what we want to do. However, we did get to La Cruz for fuel. This is a new marina with a fuel dock and boat yard. We heard good things about it all.
The fuel dock is off to the right down one of the fingers. We pulled alongside the dock and a young woman assisted us in tying up. Bruce ordered fuel that would top off all the tanks. Oops! They didn’t have enough fuel. This isn’t what we wanted – or expected – to hear. We also didn’t want to take the last drop of fuel in their tanks. We did not want to suck up dregs of stuff off the bottom of their tank that would then foul our tanks. He agreed to take enough fuel to fill the two after saddle tanks and the day tank. It left about 100 gallons in their tank and we hoped it was enough not to disturb anything that might be sitting on the bottom of their tank. It seems to have worked out for us. We had no problems with the fuel. Done with the fueling, we headed out to Punta Mita for the rest of the day. Punta Mita is in the northern part of Banderas Bay. It’s a nice area with five star hotels on the beach.
As planned, Bruce started up the generator later in the day. He tested the generator prior to leaving PV. This is part of our regular preparations for getting underway after sitting at the dock for an extended time. All was good. This day, as he started loading up the generator we began getting surges. By this time it was late, getting dark, and the lights surged from dim to bright repeatedly – not good. He tested the combination of items he was using to load the generator – lights, water heater, the watermaker motor, etc. At first he thought the problem was with the watermaker motor, but not. It finally came down to the generator and its voltage regulator. He pronounced the generator out of commission – unless in an emergency, and we agreed to proceed on to Mazatlan without its use.
Fortunately, the saddle tanks are above the day tank and were full. He transferred fuel using the gravity method. The underway time kept our batteries charged up so it was a successful trip.
Our sleep that night, at Punta Mita, was not good. A swell rolled into the bay all night long. I finally got pillows and planted me between them, as I was rolling with the boat. NOT a restful night! But the next day was good. It was an easy run to Isla Isabella.
We had more daylight than our trip in December and arrived in time to relax before dinner. These two sailboats were tucked into the anchorage spot found on the cruising charts. I thought they made a great foreground for Las Monas. The sky is just starting to show signs of sunset. And of course, all the birds were there, as expected. They live there! Sleep at Isla Isabella was great, just like in December. On both occasions we were surprised at how nice it was, considering its location.
There are several strings of traps surrounding the anchorage. Most of the boaters stay outside the traps, but they end up anchoring in deep water, often exposed to the sea and the wind. On both occasions we slipped in between a couple strings and anchored in a hole to the left of the sailboats and off the beach. We anchored in about 30 feet of water. There are rocks between Las Monas and Isla Isabella that breaks up the swell some, and yet the opening allowed DV to keep her nose into the breeze and we slept like babies both nights. There is plenty of room to get between the traps and anchor, just be careful as you go to avoid grabbing a trap line. We had no problems.
We were up and underway early – with enough light to watch for traps in the anchorage. Our second and last day out of Mazatlan was longer and we wanted to arrive in daylight at Marina Mazatlan. The sunrise was breathtaking! Try as I might I could not get the sunrise sun color right. This one came the closest.
The sun was a huge orange ball. In the bottom photo if you made the sun the bright orange color of the sky and the sky pale color of the sun you would have the correct color combination. I tried several different settings, but obviously didn’t get it right. Any ideas?
It was a good day. There was a little more animation on the water than the day before but nothing we couldn’t handle. We did wonder, with our forward tank not being topped off, if that sloshing of the fuel was contributing to some of our motion. However, it was more an observation than a problem.
Turtles were all over in every direction – hundreds of them. Keeping them in the view finder, and getting the zoom enough so you can see them is pretty complicated, especially with the animation we had. In fact I mostly had fuzzy-turtle-bubble photos!
But, I caught this one! It was giving me the adios wave and about to dive, but I got him. I can’t tell you how many attempts I made. I finally gave up and read my book.
Our first clue we had flotillas of sea rays were their “wings” waving at us. There were about three groups in one area. As usual getting the photos on a rolling deck is not that easy. Look close and you can see the swell.
We arrived Marina Mazatlan in time for dinner. Probably the first time ever, but instead of washing the entire boat down, hooking up shore power, etc., we connected with our Japanese cruiser friends – Ken and Sylvia on S/V ANN LUCIA – and went off for dinner and catching up time. The last time we saw them is when we all departed Half Moon Bay. It was a long day, but very satisfactory. We had a safe and successful cruise and had dear friends waiting for us when we arrived.
We spent some fun days with Ken and Sylvia before they departed. We went into the Old Town of Mazatlan one day. Plaza Machado, the center of Old Town, was under construction.
These little sidewalk cafes are often full of tourists. We chose not to eat there due to the construction and the traffic noise and exhaust going past our elbows. Of course Sylvia and I had fun browsing the shops, and in the process of browsing we found a wonderful restaurant a block or so off the plaza, with an inside courtyard.
It was a beautiful setting. I love the colors and décor. It makes me want a courtyard of my own!
The amigos and I ordered mango margaritas! Yum!!
Sylvia chose Tequila on the rocks. She was very happy with her drink.
All our meals were wonderful. I ordered Tequila Shrimp, Bruce ordered a Mexican plate, and Ken and Sylvia ordered the beef fillet.
The steak was cooked perfectly, as ordered, and it is all we think of now. We are going back for the fillet!
SV ANN LUCIA headed south to Panama, for the summer, after a few days of fun with us. We hated to see them go and I was shameless in my pleadings for them to spend the summer in Mexico and go cruising for a few more weeks with us. But, they had a plan and had to get going. Sadly, we miss them, but wish them a most excellent voyage south and a good summer in Panama! Vaya con Dios, mi Amigos! Until we meet again.
Meanwhile we cruised in Mexico, and are doing more Mexico Living in Mazatlan! Hold on to your hat, though. We depart Mazatlan for more Mexico Cruising the first of next week, headed across the Sea of Cortez and more fun – Mexico Cruising in the Sea of Cortez!