Puerto Vallarta - Barra de Navidad
February - March 22. 2000
Sorry it's been so long since my last post but until recently we hadn't really been up to anything. We left Net Result in
Paradise Village Marina in Puerto Vallarta and headed home the end of January for what we hoped was a short time for
me to get two projects done for clients. Two, turned into 3 and then 4, our income taxes for 1999 needed to be done,
and we tried to see as many friends and family as we could in the short time. We had a family reunion in San Francisco
the first week in February so our time home, to say the least, was packed. Towards the end we were definitely feeling
pulled and stretched with wrapping up the last bits and making sure that all the parts we wanted to return to the boat
with were in our hands. We looked like we hadn't been home for months with the number of duffle bags stuffed to the
maximum on our return! Oh, and of course, let's not forget the 7 ft. long 6" round cardboard tube containing a roller
furling system for our staysail. Might as well do a caveat here to the non sailors that are reading this. We think that our
sailing friends would like details of what we're replacing and what we're finding works well and what doesn't. Non
sailors, bear with me ....or skim. :-)
We were anxious to return to P.V. as we'd found a spanish school that seemed promising. Maximum in class is 3. The
second week Joe & I were together. I felt that I could move ahead much quicker because of my French and after that
week we each we assigned our own teachers. So in essence, we had private language lessons! The hard part about this
whole month of intensive spanish was how much time it took out of every day and how we didn't have any time for the
boat work that we still needed to do regularly. We'd leave the marina at 9:30am every day and not get home until
around 4 or 5pm as we tried to run errands while we were in town. During this month we made friends with two of the
workers in the marina. One who varnished and one who did all the polishing and cleaning of the boats. Both helped so
much in giving us practice daily and always had time to sit and visit with us and "practicar". Must admit I couldn't have
taken another week of class as the marina and all it's rich americans with big boats, excessive money and "buddy
boating" clicks were getting to us both.
Goodbye's were said and as usual there were some sad ones. To my spanish teacher, Betty, who was an absolute dear
who encouraged me through the days when I thought I was going to go mad, to the dock workers, Aaron and Juan, that
befriended us and always had time to laugh and chat with us. We found it so important to get to know the local people.
We found that many people in the marina(s) tend to pair up with other boats on somewhat the same itinerary in what's
called buddy boating and they won't move an inch without each other.
Michael came down to visit us with a friend, Keith Miller, from high school for a long weekend that ended up being very
short for us. It was wonderful to see him and he definitely had a GREAT time right down to not remembering how /
when they got home to Paradise Village in the early morning dawn. The boys took advantage of both the night life In
Puerto Vallarta and the luxurious surroundings of the Paridise Marina Hotel. Maybe they took too much advantage,
looking at the very red color of their skin on their departure. Too much time by the pool and on the beach!
Our original plan was to check out of Puerto Vallarta on Friday (March) afternoon after school and leave on Sunday for
points south. We had stopped at grocery stores and Sams Club every afternoon after school all week long so
provisioning wouldn't be overwhelming. That worked out fine; but as Friday approached we realized we wouldn't be able
to check out of the Port Captains on Friday afternoon. Cruisers in Mexico are required to check in and out with the Port
Captain in each location that has one. Once you've checked out, you must leave your location within 24 hours. Instead of
getting ourselves crazy we decided to do the check out process on Monday morning and head out to an anchorage that
would cut 2 hours off our sail the next day. As sunday progressed we realized we wouldn't even make our Monday
departure. We're just moving at a slower pace down here. We laughed at how much we used to be able to get done in a
day when we were in Ventura. Ok, we'd leave early, early, early Tuesday morning and just have 2 hours more of sailing
on our first day out. We made the mistake of accepting the kind offer of our dock mate on the other side of us ("Poco
Loco" Beneteau First 35.5) to come round for farewell margaritas. "Bye, bye" Lisa & Joe indeed! To say the least he
mixed killer margies!
We awoke at 5:30am feeling very tired and very, very, very hung over. We needed to leave out of the marina at 6am
to arrive comfortably at the first anchorage south. We thought there'd be enough light to head out as there were lots of
lights at the marina. ...but what we didn't realize was that the narrow harbor entrance was clearly indicated on the
inside end of the entrance and not on the outside and the entrance itself was shallow in parts. We picked our way out,
hung over and feeling awful. Just as we approached the outer entrance Joe said "go forward and see what that white
thing is in the water". I dashed (as quickly as I could in my state) forward to see a panga with someone fishing in it! I
think his eyes must have looked like a stunned deer as he looked up from his fishing and saw our bow coming at him.
Doug on board "Poco Loco" had mentioned that his partner was coming in on Tuesday and asked if it would it be OK if
he joined us in a couple of the anchorages as we headed south. After he made a promise not to mix up any more of
those deadly margies we said we'd love to have him join us. As we were heading into our second anchorage a place
called Chamela -- who's roaring up behind us but Doug in "Poco Loco". Chamela was a beautiful anchorage in a large
bay with very little swell. There are a number of smaller islands within the bay that were supposed to make good
snorkeling and beaches for the day. After drinks on board "Poco Loco" everyone headed into bed early as Doug and
Jerry (his friend) had been sailing all night to catch us and we had had a rolly night in Ipala the previous night and didn't
get much sleep either.
The next day we decided we'd dink around to one of the islands that's supposed to have one of the nicest sand beaches
around. As it was such a long way - over 2 1/2 miles - we decided we'd take the boats and anchor in a cove between
two islands. If it was nice we'd anchor for the night here. Turned out that the swells were just all wrong and it was like
a washing machine in the cove as the day progressed with the swells wrapping around each side of the island and
meeting at the anchorage. We anchored there just for the afternoon and we took Doug's dink into the white sand beach
that NORMALLY had a smooth landing. Doug took the challenge admirably (no pun intended) and careened us onto the
Next stop was Careyes. What a place! It's a small rolly anchorage but it's all worth it. Rains (author of a couple of guide
books on Mexico) says there's room for "6 very cooperative boats" and he means it! Of the three little coves only one is
really decent for anchoring. All around the anchorage are colorful (bright magenta, blue, yellow, green) spanish style
houses built into the rock. Spectacular site! We went ashore to the Hotel Careyes (formerly Hotel Bel Air) and had
drinks lounging in these massive cushions overlooking the anchorage with our boats and the setting sun. Sipping
margaritas and munching on killer camarones ceviche cocktail. Indescribably delicious! Doug & Joe went back to the
boats to get more decent clothing for dinner there. Yummy food and after changing back into our bathing suits for our
beach departure from the hotel to our boats (wisely so) the "4 drunks in a dinghy" made it safely home to their boats.
Soaking wet, but never mind.
We spent the next day at Club Med in Careyes. Sad goodbyes to Doug & Jerry as it was time for them to return to P.V.
so Jerry could catch his flight back to the work-world. We both really enjoyed their company. Jerry, Doug's partner, had
never taken a vacation before OR been on a boat. He taught us a lot during his learning process. That a lazarette was
really a "bench" and that the settee was really a "couch" and much more. Once again goodbyes to great people that you
never know when you'll see them again. I'm sure that reunions are wonderful with all the people that we've had to say
goodbye to and move on.
Next for us was Tenacatita. It's a small bay with a river that dumps into it. You can take your dinghy up the river (about
3 1/2 miles) and it's filled with birds and beautiful vegetation. Very peaceful spot, that is after you've mastered beach
landings. We only went through 2 shear pins on our prop before we got it down and boy, were some of them
spectacular! Our little hard dink with it's pointed bow just cuts through the waves even when they sneak up on you. Even
got air-bound on one and everyone was open-jawed on the shore as they watched. Wished we could have sold tickets on
that one! We spent the last day cleaning the bottom of our boat. Didn't realize how quickly the stuff accumulates on the
bottom. It had slowed us down by a 1 1/2 kts! After that we've tried to keep up with it better as it's pretty miserable to
do it all in one day when it's like that!
It was getting to be that time to head home again for me to do my work, so we pulled into the Barra de Navidad Marina
to fly home from Manzanillo. This time it was going to be short.