Puerto Vallarta to Barra de Navidad 2006
Zelda and Steve
Sunset at Ipala
Grand Bay Hotel and Marina
Toward the end of January we returned with Steve's mom Zelda to Puerto Vallarta. We spent a few days enjoying the pool, the beach, and downtown Puerto Vallarta, and then we decided to take a trip up to San Blas.
We took a tour that stopped for a lovely breakfast and then proceeded to the Jungle Tour in San Blas. During the bus ride we received a great deal of information about Mexico and its history from our guide Mario. We enjoyed a boat ride up the river where we saw crocodiles, turtles, birds, and iguanas. About half way through the tour, we stopped at a preserve to view some very large crocodiles in captivity as well as the baby crocodiles that had been bred for release back into the river.
After the river tour we stopped in San Blas for a tour of the fort, the church, and the plaza. When we returned to Puerto Vallarta that evening, we were tired, but we had a great time.
We spent the remainder of Zelda's time with us seeing the local sites and relaxing. We took the boat out and fished for a day and then anchored at La Cruz for two nights. La Cruz is located in the northeastern part of Banderas Bay. La Cruz is a popular anchorage in this area, and it is a friendly town with good restaurants and lost of music. Quite a few Americans have settled there. We then returned to Paradise Village. We were able to spend some time with Phil and Madeline aboard "In the Mood" playing dominoes. We met them in Mazatlan last November. Many of the cruisers that we have met love to play the game.
On February 5, we watched the Super Bowl along with Les and Tammy Bentz, who are also from Albuquerque, and sailed down from San Diego. Les and Steve were at the university at the same time. The next day, Zelda returned to Albuquerque.
Doug and Kathy Guinn, who were staying at Rancho de Banderas for two weeks, asked us to join them for a a couple of days so we enjoyed some time on the beach, and Steve and Doug did some boogie boarding. The second day Doug injured his shoulder while boogie boarding so that ended that activity.
On February 10 we moved the boat to the anchorage at La Cruz. On Valentine's Day, we joined Doug and Kathy for a Valentine's dinner, and we enjoyed a lovely evening that included music and local dancers.
We enjoyed a week at anchor there before we headed to Nuevo Vallarta for a few days. Nuevo Vallarta is in the same estuary as Paradise Village. We returned so that I could take the license exam for the HAM general class, which I passed.
On February 27 we headed south past Cabo Corrientes (a point of land that can be boisterous) to an anchorage named Ipala. On the way down, Steve caught a large female Dorado so we had a lot of tuna to eat so after we pulled into Ipala, we gave some of the tuna to a couple of boats anchored next to us. We spent just one night there before moving on to Chamela.
Chamela is located in a lovely bay with sandy beaches and good snorkeling. We met Dave and Jan aboard "Polar Bear," and the next day we went snorkeling along the reef. One evening, we looked down into the water from our cockpit, and we saw what looked like tiny lights floating below the surface. It was the bioluminescence from the fish in the water. When Steve took a line and threw it into the water, the fish scattered, and it looked as though streaks of lightning were shooting through the water.
We then moved out to anchor behind Isla Passavera, which is still in the same bay. "Polar Bear" joined us, and we all went ashore to hike to the top of the island. There are several species of birds on the island including vultures, pelicans, and boobies. The boobies make nests on the ground, so we were able to see several nests where the boobies were sitting on eggs. We also had a beautiful view from the top. Next we took the dinghy over to Isla Coronado to look at Arch Rock. We then went to the other side of the island and went ashore on a beautiful sandy beach and decided to snorkel around the cove. We had a great day of exploring and snorkeling, and we all decided to travel together down to Barra de Navidad.
Our next stop was Bahia Tenacatita. This is a large bay with two possible anchorages. We went into the northern bay and anchored off close to where the river enters the bay. The next day we took the dinghy to the beach where we survived another exciting dinghy entrance to the river. As we traveled up the river, we saw several species of birds. The mangroves grow all along the shore and provide a habitat for birds and fish. The trip up the river took about 2 hours. At the end of the river we were actually back at the first bay where we pulled the dinghy ashore and then went to have lunch at a restaurant on the beach. On the return trip we stopped at the mouth of the river to swim and have the chocolate chip cookies and cold milk that Steve and I had brought along.
There are two resident dolphins in this bay, and the morning that we were getting ready to leave, they were circling our boat while they were feeding. Then they did about six slow jumps in a circle around our boat. It was just beautiful to watch--they are so graceful.
Our last stop on this trip was Barra de Navidad. This bay is just south of Tenacatita. We entered the breakwaters and pulled into the lagoon to drop our anchor. The lagoon is a large but shallow body of water where quite a few boats can anchor. There is also a marina at the Grand Bay Hotel where we are able to go in and enjoy the beautiful pool and hot tub. The town of Barra de Navidad is an interesting place with plenty of good restaurants and shops.
A potluck was organized that gave us an opportunity to meet quite a few of the cruisers who were in the marina or anchored in the lagoon. There were also plenty of delicious food and desserts to go around. We have met a lot of wonderful cruisers in the past few months, and we are sure that this part of cruising will continue.
Maria has a tienda close by the lagoon, and she sells products that are harder to find here in Mexico. She also delivers purified water in 5 gallon jugs, which is a great service to the cruisers.
The best thing about Barra is the French baker (he really is French) who comes around every morning in a panga selling baguettes, croissants, sweet rolls, and pies (orange, key lime, coconut, etc.). I just realized how much I am writing about food!
Yesterday we had two boats that were rafted together drag on their anchor heading for our boat. Steve and Dave went over and set their second anchor, but they kept dragging. In the end we pulled our anchor and moved over to the other side of the lagoon. We left on Tuesday, March 14, to head back north. We had to wait out a blow that lasted several; however, we were just fine here in this lovely lagoon.