Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Banderas Bay

We spent two nights at Isla Isabela altogether. The day after Thanksgiving, we went snorkeling in the morning and took the dinghy to the fishermen’s landing beach in the afternoon. Isla Isabela is a rookery for frigate birds and blue-footed boobies, and they were everywhere. It was amazing! Also incredible was the fact that none of us was hit by bird droppings. By the way, one of the crew on Snow Goose is a stringer for Latitude 38, and we made 'Lectronic Latitude, complete with group photo. Check it out.

From the island we sailed to Banderas Bay. This is where Puerto Vallarta is, but we knew in advance that the marina there was full, so we anchored at La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, which everyone calls just La Cruz for short. We didn’t expect a marina here and anchored the first night (Sunday). When we took the dinghy in to look for the dinghy beach, though, we discovered that a new marina was under construction, and there were even some boats in slips. (The photo is of this mostly empty marina.) After talking to some people who were on deck, we decided that we’d take a slip here for a few days. We’ll leave on Friday. John has a weak Internet connection; I have nothing unless I take the laptop into town and the Internet cafĂ©.

One of the reasons to stay here is to provision. The town is very small, but after exploring it this morning, John thinks we can find the few things we really need before we get to Manzanillo, the next city on our itinerary. Getting to the major stores (Wal-Mart and Home Depot are here) and back to the boat with our booty would be challenging. The bus stop is up on the highway maybe a half mile from the dock, and there are only occasional sidewalks through town with a dirt road the rest of the way to the marina. No problem for walking, but our handy collapsible dock cart wouldn’t make it.

We did take the bus into Puerto Vallarta (PV) yesterday for sight-seeing and a little shopping. PV is charming and filled with tourists and timeshares. We had drinks at a beach bar (the peach margaritas were delicious) and walked the whole length of the malecon (esplanade). The timeshare salesmen are cleverly disguised as tequila tasting room hosts here. We bought a bottle of pomegranate-infused tequila, but no timeshare. (In all fairness, the salesmen were charming and only mentioned the timeshares in case we were interested.) I also bought a snorkel and fins since we discovered at Isla Isabela that I only had a mask, not the rest.

Martha is leaving us tomorrow. It’s been fun having her aboard. She’s going to take the bus through Mexico, stopping at interesting places to explore and practice her Spanish. Any time we’ve stopped long enough to bring out the computers, she’s been using the Rosetta Stone CDs to learn more. (Her son and his family live in Barcelona, and his wife’s family doesn’t speak English. Martha is a motivated language learner.) Martha’s Spanish has come in handy on numerous occasions, but it has probably slowed our own learning. I’m sure our Spanish will improve when we’re on our own.

When we leave the dock on Friday, we’ll sail to PV to top off the fuel tanks and then out of Banderas Bay at Cabo Corrientes. The plan is to sail during the day and anchor at night. There are many good anchorages between here and Manzanillo including Playa Blanca, where we spent our honeymoon at a Club Med 21+ years ago. The Club Med is gone now (maybe they went out of business after many of us got food poisoning while we were there), and a private residence has taken its place. I’m looking forward to using my new snorkeling gear, if not at Playa Blanca, then at another anchorage along the way.

I've just added a bunch of photos to the website. (Finally, you say.) Be sure to check it out.


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