Read about Beo in ‘Lectronic Latitude’
Wow! How the time flies. Deidre and I have already reached Mazatlan. We’re currently motoring up to the marina area of this sprawling Mexican city so we can fill our tanks with fuel and water and start the 230 mile crossing of the Sea of Cortez to La Paz.
A week ago, Deidre arrived back in Puerto Vallarta after spending a month up in the cold snowy north. After doing a major restocking of the boat, we hurried out of Paradise Village Marina excited to get out in the open and back on the hook. Not having enough time to make it out to our favorite Banderas Bay anchorage, Punta de Mita, we spent Monday night out in La Cruz anchorage. There we were able to hook up with our dear friends from s/v Convivia. We met Convivia in the Baja Haha, yet never really hung out until, my kids, Georgie and Beo, came down for two weeks in La Paz in November. Convivia has two kids on board, Ruby (7&1/2) and Miles (4), so as you can imagine, we hung out with them as much as possible. Now, we were saying our goodbyes as Convivia and crew were preparing for their journey across the Pacific and beyond. Goodbyes are always hard, but in this new world of cruising, it felt good that we at least got to bid them farewell. Some of the most amazing people ever met, enter and exit our lives as readily as the rising and falling tides.
Ok, with that goodbye dealt with, next stop…Punta de Mita! Deidre and I absolutely love Punta de Mita. It is a nice, breezy, large anchorage with the potential for great surfing directly off the bow of the boat. We had an amazing sail out there from La Cruz, catching and passing another “Haha” boat, s/v Deep Playa, who left La Cruz several hours before us. Later that evening we heard all about how slow, but comfortable Deep Playa is, however that didn’t stop the “ass-kicking” feeling that I get every time Cat2Fold overtakes another vessel.
Arriving in the Punta de Mita anchorage, and dropping anchor under sail, we were a bit disappointed to find Jack and Monica from s/v BellaVia were no longer around. However, that feeling waned quickly when we saw s/v Lightspeed, s/v Red Witch, s/v Kiora, and s/v Wings of the Dawn joining the fleet of other “Haha” boats hogging up the entire anchorage. Apparently, we had just missed a doozy of a party the night before we arrived, but we were quickly informed that tonight was to be a birthday party for kiwi Rob (66) from s/v Red Witch. We all gathered aboard s/v Kiora (a beautiful and sleek, 55’er. With about 20 people on board, we ate, drank, and played music into the wee hours of the night. It became apparent that I had had my fair share of booze when it came time to leave aboard our trusty paddle boards. Let’s just say that I got wet a few times, but finally made it back to the safety of Cat2Fold with everything intact. Luckily falling in 70 degree water doesn’t hurt at all.
The next morning, I think I woke up still drunk, because my hangover never really happened til later that afternoon. That is when 3 out of 4 of the crew from Lightspeed came over to Cat2Fold to go on a spirited day sail. With the winds blowing between 15 and 20 knots, we raised the anchor and scooted across the bay. The sailing was spectacular, and Dave, who owns Lightspeed (a Chris White, Atlantic 42) was very excited about the sailing characteristics of Cat2Fold. We sailed around “racing” any other vessel that happened to be out sailing that afternoon. And we “won” every battle! Unfortunately our friends Winston, Cate, and Indigo from Teton Valley, Idaho did not make it out for the sail. They had just arrived in Punta de Mita, where they just bought a condo. Hopefully next year we will find ourselves back there at the same as them and we can go sailing then.
Shortly after dropping the anchor, it was time for another birthday celebration. This time it was John from s/v Michaela’s 50th birthday. I took it a little easier on the booze this time, but we still stayed up well past “cruisers midnight” (which is anywhere between 7 and 10 pm) playing music once again. John has a collection of ukuleles on board Michaela, and he really does the instrument justice.
As sad as it was to make the decision to leave, the next day we pulled the hook and said goodbye to Banderas Bay for the final time of this trip. We had some good strong winds for the first part of the day, but as the day wore on, the winds lightened and we pulled into an anchorage in Bahia Jaltemba, which was 10 miles short of our planned anchorage. The next day we motor sailed with no winds up to Matachen Bay, just south of San Blas. Just as we were reaching the bay, we caught the perfect sized Sierra Mackerel. Immediately after dinner for two was procured, and filleted, to our surprise we hooked on to another fish. This time it was some sort of Sea Catfish. Since it was not in our fish identification book, and we already had dinner caught, we decided to release this interesting looking fish. Once in Matachen Bay, we were able to pull Cat2Fold into shallow enough water where we could stand on the sea floor and scrub her very dirty hull bottoms very well.
It seems as though every single day of sailing, our plans change as to where we are going and when. We initially had spoke of leaving Matachen the next morning and heading to Isla Isabel some 40 miles away, hanging here for the afternoon, then continuing through the night to Mazatlan, another 93 miles North. I can’t remember why we decided to change our plan again, but we found ourselves raising the anchor at 8pm with the goal of reaching Mazatlan before nightfall the next day. Although we had to motor sail more than I care to, we reached our destination as dusk was settling in. Now we needed to resupply on fuel and water and try to get across the 230 mile passage of the Sea of Cortez while our weather window was looking good.
…stay tuned for more about our crossing!
Sitting in the anchorage just outside of Punta de Mita drinking my coffee, I can’t help but feel like I’ve come home. I sailed here yesterday from the Paradise Village Marina. Not before officially checking out with the “Capitania de Puerto” and paying the hefty bill that comes with leaving a boat in a marina for nearly a month. At nearly $700 USD, you’d think that it must be SO nice to stay in these marinas. Well, for some it is an absolute necessity, for me…not so much. Parking Cat2Fold amongst the multitudes of various boats, some of which cost more to fill with fuel than my boat cost (and for me, Cat2Fold is THE most expensive single item I’ve ever purchased), it becomes quite apparent that needing to be “hooked up to the grid” is more than just a bad habit of land based folks. Granted, at Paradise Village Marina, there are several different pools, hot tubs, beautiful showers and easily accessed shops and a grocery store that come with the privilege of paying for a slip, but it still feels funny to me that I have no way to “plug-in”. All of my power needs are supplied with my solar panels. What little bit of motoring I do with my 9.9 hp outboards doesn’t amount to much electrical generation. Sure, my power needs are minimal. All my lights are LED’s (or non existent) and I rely on headlamps a lot. Most of my power drain comes from the refrigerator which lives in the starboard hull, and over in the port hull, my trusty crew member named Otto (my auto-pilot) uses up his fair share of power while under passage. Not to mention the fact that I prefer to sleep up on top, in the dodger (where the king sized bed is) and I don’t wear much clothing at night. It kind of feels like camping out in a city with neighbors just a few feet away.
This brings me back to Punta De Mita. As I arrived yesterday evening, the breeze had finally picked up and seemed like it was gonna continue to blow. This after hitting speeds of nearly 10 knots just outside the Nuevo Vallarta breakwater (where Paradise Village Marina is), then having the wind basically turn itself off frustrating even the most die hard sailors. After drifting for more than two hours, I decided to fire up one motor so I could get to my desired anchorage before dark. After motor/sailing for about an hour, the winds freshened and I was able to quietly sail once again. As I was wondering if there would be anyone I knew in the anchorage, I was hailed on the radio by John and Tiffany from s/v Michaela whom I hadn’t seen since La Paz back in December. Shortly after that John and Gilly from s/v Destiny also hailed me to say hi. Although John and Gilly sailed their boat in the Baja Haha, they own a condo here in Punta de Mita which overlooks the anchorage and that is where they were calling from. In fact, back in December, while anchored out here, John recognized Cat2Fold and hailed Deidre and I with an invite to come over for Christmas dinner. I honestly didn’t remember who they were but we took them up on the invite and had a wonderful evening! Having a very recognizable boat like Cat2Fold has proven to be quite advantageous. Everyone seems to love her and she is quite the conversation piece.
I love it when I can pull into an anchorage and have it be large enough and windy enough that I can sail Cat2Fold around all the other boats to see who’s who, decide where I want to be, sail to the spot, drop the sails and drop my anchor without ever running my motors. I sailed right by another boat that I recognized. Jack and Monica aboard s/v Bellavia, a cute older hippie couple from Vancouver Island. We met in Bahia Tenacatita, about 100 miles south of here. It was perfect timing. I was really starting to stress out over work (or lack thereof), the boat and how and where to end this trip. Here I was in an absolute paradise and I was stressed out! Well, along comes Jack rowing over in his homemade dinghy. I swear it was as if he were reading my mind, and said exactly what I was needing to hear. He concurred that San Carlos/Guaymas is THE place to leave the boat for the summer and threw out some perfectly worded threads of wisdom about being here now!!! When he rowed away, I was left awestruck and feeling like he had just delivered me a message from God!(and I use that term very loosely).
The sun is now high enough to start to dry off the heavily condensated boat, which is my cue to get on with my day. I have a bunch of visiting to do, surfing to be had (although the swell appears too small currently), boat maintenance to do, and just some general hanging out!
…Ahhh…..the cruising life!