Just like in years’ past, Banderas Bay proved itself a magically wonderful place to be living aboard Cat2Fold. From Punta Mita to Paradise Village, we soaked in all the area has to offer and more! From paddle boarding to boogie boarding, dock parties to family time, crocodile slides to day sailing. Speaking of “soaking” in all that is offered here, we even had 5 days of rain to deal with! Cat2Fold can be quite a moist place to hang out with rain in the immediate forecast, so we did the best we could to stay dry and happy. We visited Cate, Winston and Indigo (from Teton Valley) who have a wonderful Condo in Punta Mita. Unfortunately, after being informed that we were being too loud (from the neighbors below), we all packed in their van and headed to Puerto Vallarta to see a movie and walk through the mall. The crowds we found on the roads, in the mall, and at the theater were beyond anything we had anticipated. Clearly, the throngs of tourists visiting Banderas Bay had the same desire to find some sort of dry, inside activity that we did.
At the Christmas Eve dock party, the kids all gathered together and had some serious play time. Allison from s/v Kenta Anae, even brought enough fixings for all 12(?) or so kids to make gingerbread houses!!
Unfortunately, our time in Banderas Bay seemed to pass by all to quickly and the next thing I knew, it was time to fly the kids back home to the cold, snowy north. All in all, the kids sailed nearly 750 miles with me aboard Cat2Fold this year. It was an adventure I won’t be forgetting any time soon, and I’m sure the kids won’t be forgetting it either…
Matachen Bay is a large bay just south of the cute little town of San Blas. One of the more popular tourist attractions of the area is the Tovara Springs Jungle tour. A couple of years ago we had the pleasure to do this tour with the family from s/v Convivia. The whole time we were motoring up the river aboard a traditional Mexican Panga, all I could think about was how much MY kids would enjoy the tour. Well, this year we were lucky enough to not only take the tour with Beo and Georgie, but with kids and families from s/v Heavy Metal and s/v Sand Dollar. We were also accompanied by the crews of s/v Neko, s/v Ayla May, and s/v Destiny.
The tour winds it’s way up through a mangrove cave covered river filled with crocodiles, turtles, and many different species of hawks, herons, and other birds which may very well have migrated here from our homeland up in the Teton Mountains of Idaho and Wyoming.
The tour culminates with a stop at a Crocodile zoo, where you can see some “Muy Grande Cocodrillos”, and then up another branch of the river to an amazing fresh water swim hole. We all spent a couple of hours swimming in the luxuriously fresh water. With a Mexican style (read-dangerously crafted and constructed) trapeze swing in which to hurtle oneself into the water, there were many cannonballs, attempted backflips, and unintentional belly flops abound.
After the tour, the group decided on a venture into the cute town of San Blas just a couple of miles away. After already caving into peer pressure and using an overpriced taxi to go the 1&1/2 miles from the beach to the tour center earlier in the day, my kids and I along with Brian and Dawn from s/v Ayla May, and Zion from s/v Heavy Metal decided to wait on the side of the road for a bus. After waiting for approximately 2 minutes, a jeep stopped offering us a free ride into town. It was the owner of the beach restaurant that we all ate at the night before. We just about beat the rest of the group to town riding in their 350 peso taxi.
Dawn, sweetly helped Georgie pick out a new bathing suit and also bought get a new pair of earrings for her. After I did a bit of shopping for provisions, a few of us decided once again to wait on the roadside for a bus, when a pickup truck picked up the whole lot of us on their way to a family gathering and dropped us off near the beach. The kids and I walked the rest of the way being passed by the taxis carrying the rest of the group just a few feet away from where the dinghies were parked.
Wanting to sail (and not motor) to Punta Mita the next day, Cat2Fold weighed anchor at 5:30 am and quietly drifted out of the beautiful Matachen Bay. I noticed that both s/v Ayla May and s/v Neko were already gone. C2F was sailing along nicely. Everyone else motored most, if not the entire way to Punta Mita. We surely weren’t setting anymore speed records, but we were able to average a speed of 3.9 knots, and arrived in Punta Mita in the dark, aided once again my the mega million candle watt light of s/v Heavy Metal.
Having been there many times previous, and knowing how large the anchorage is, I felt fine dropping the hook under sail power alone. All in all a great time had by all aboard!
After safely delivering the kids back home to their Mom, I was lucky enough to spend one of my two days up north, backcountry skiing in Grand Teton National Park with some GREAT friends. Two runs on Maverick then an afternoon of partying felt like an entire ski season concentrated into one day for me. Luckily, my friends were easy on me, and allowed me to keep up with them on the up track. Hanging out at sea level for months then skinning up a 10,000 foot peak can be a humbling experience. Luckily I was able to get myself up the mountain twice in the fierce storm conditions that prevailed throughout the day. A definite highlight of my quick trip home!
The next thing I knew, I was landing at the Puerto Vallarta International airport. While picking up a fish taco, waiting for the bus to take me back to C2F, I ended up having a conversation with a nice lady named Rae. Two days later, Rae and her husband, Lou, were guests aboard Cat2Fold. We sailed them throughout Banderas Bay looking for whales, eating, drinking, and talking all the while enjoying the smooth ride of Cat2Fold under sail. Rae and Lou were at the very beginning of a 6 week stay in Banderas Bay, and as far as I could tell, their day sail with us may very well end up being their best day of the whole trip!
We hung out in La Cruz for a few more days and once provisioned up, we aimed Cat2Fold out towards Cabo Corrientes and sailed away with Bahia Chamela in our sights, over 100 miles away. The first bit of our sail was slow and smooth, but once we reached out beyond the protection of Punta Mita, things got lively. The wind and the swell picked up enough to where Cat2Fold was sailing at 10 knots with surfs reaching nearly 15. With the wind being as strong as it was, sailing dead downwind, directly to our goal, was our shortest and fastest point of sail. Fast enough, that by morning light, we could see that we had sailed past s/v Pantera, who had left the La Cruz anchorage several hours before us. Bob had undoubtedly sailed a hotter, faster line than us, which added many miles to his sail compared to ours. Also, being a single hander, Bob dropped all sail in the wee hours of the morning in order to get some sleep. This is undoubtedly why Cat2Fold caught up with and past the much more formidable Pantera.
After a quick chat on the radio, Bob and Pantera continued their journey south toward Barre de Navidad, and Cat2Fold ducked into Chamela Bay with the hopes of catching some glorious waves aboard the paddle boards. We dropped our anchor at about 9am and spent most of the day catching up on some much needed sleep.