April 3, 2008
Where to begin...we are in Manzanillo's Las Hadas Marina where we are moored "Med Style"; bow moored (facing the middle of the marina) with our stern backed into the dock secured with spring lines off midships and dock lines off the stern. We board from the swim platform. Frank is uneasy about this marina because the surge is relatively strong, and Destiny seems to be pulling on her lines and rolling about as if she wants to escape her bonds but we will stay here until her windshield is replaced. We had a little mishap a few days ago wherein a scuba tank took a dive into our center windshield shattering it so that it is being held in place with duct tape and plastic. God Bless duct tape! We have ordered a replacement from the IPY factory in Florida, and are in a holding pattern for now. That's alright because we all needed some down time by the time we arrived here on April 1. Las Hadas isn't a bad place to wait. It is a beautiful 4-diamond resort, although we are not staying in the resort we have access to the pool and other amenities. Tom and Mary are at another resort just a few hundred yards away, and no, they didn't run away; this was a planned stop for them although we think they were tripping over themselves to get back on land and checked into the lovely Barcelo Karmina Palace. We had quite the journey here from Puerto Vallarta.
The trip from Bahia Asuncion to Puerto Vallarta will remain in our memories but will not be detailed here because it is nearly a month of recapturing journals that just can't be rebuilt once the experience has faded into new ones. Hopefully our pictures will tell some of the tales. Here is the Reader's Digest version:
Frank and I traveled from Bahia Asuncion to Bahia Santa Maria, where we spent two glorious days of privacy on a beach so covered with Sand Dollars that at times we had to step around them in order not to crush them. We collected several, and have dispensed some to Mary (my sis-in-law), and to Jeri Lyn who took a few home to friends in Denver. I still have a few left to share.
From there we spent two days in Cabo San Lucas where Semana Santa and Spring Break were in full swing, such that we couldn't wait to get the heck out of there. The marina was full so we anchored in the bay. The small bay was filled with water adventure seekers, and at one point three cruise ships. It is a beautiful place but primarily caters to and services large motor yachts and fishing boats. We needed to replace a busted snap shackle for our Gennaker and were told sail boat parts were not stocked there - anywhere.
We bid farewell to Cabo and crossed the Sea of Cortes to Mazatlan. During that journey we encountered a heavy thick fog bank that gave us probably no more than 10 feet of visibility, and during which we caught our first fish - a shark! Go to Picture This to see it. We lost the shark and the lure before we could club it and cut it lose.
We truly enjoyed Mazatlan - the cruisers, the marina and the town. We would have stayed there much longer but had a date to get to Puerto Vallarta to meet Tom and Mary. We hope to get back there some day. Marina Mazatlan was wonderful, as was Elvira at the dock master's office. She and Frank struck up a dear friendship almost instantly.
From Mazatlan, we continued south to San Blas, where we immediately met fellow cruisers from Longmont, CO. They along with a local couple named Norm and Jan gave us the lay of the land. We used Pepe's dinghy dock which also serves as his home, a restaurant and take-out grill. We explored the colorful friendly town, ate fresh lobster, fish and shrimp until we could burst and took a jungle river tour through the mangrove swamps. We enjoyed San Blas for nearly two days and then set out for Chacala which proved to be just adorable with a cove full of boats and a beach so full of colorful umbrellas and palapa's it looked like a veritable rainbow. It was so busy in fact that we could not get to shore to join in the festivities, so we threw out the stern anchor, heated up leftovers and settled in for a rolling night, leaving early the next morning.
We arrived in Puerto Vallarta on the 22nd to find that the marina office was closed and the security guard would not honor our reservation because we did not know our "slip #", which he pronounced "Sleep #". That gave us a chuckle but caused us a lot of grief. Eventually Frank, through the assistance of a wonderful fellow IPY, owner named Paul on Pincoya, won the battle of the wills over the security guards - us claiming Squatter's Rights in a true Mexican Stand-off, and bought us some time until the marina office opened on Monday. We were blessed to meet up with Jeff and Jeri Lyn yet again who happened to be in PV on business (yeah right, ha ha, wink, wink). And we got to spend Easter with these dear friends. On Monday, Tom and Mary arrived and the 6 of us spent a hilariously charged evening and scrumptious dinner at Daiquiri Dick's in down town PV on the water. Tuesday morning we sadly said our good-byes to Jeff and Jeri Lyn, and sent them home with our broken camera, my broken (brand new ) Oakleys, and instructions on picking up a new snap shackle from West Marine. What great friends we have in them!
On Wednesday, Tom and Mary took off with us; our first stop being Punta Ipala which we later renamed Punta Diablo or Nightmare Bay. When we arrived the small bay already had 4 other boats at anchor, pitching and turning. We found a spot and later saw that 3 more boats had crowded in around us. An 8th vessel arrived and after several attempts to find safe anchorage, headed back out to sea. In hindsight we wish we had followed his lead. All about us were buoys marking rocks and underwater debris. We decided to take turns at anchor watch throughout the night to make sure the anchor didn't come loose in the surge and toss us upon the rocks during the night. None of us got much sleep, and in the morning we found that underwater lines had wrapped around the prop and the anchor line. This is the point at which the scuba tank took on a mind of its own and tried to escape through our windshield. Frank donned scuba gear and cut us lose with the aid of a local panga operator, then we high-tailed it out of Nightmare Bay, heading to Chamela Bay hoping for reprieve. Chamela Bay was another adorable anchorage, but the strong surge continued here so we stayed at anchor and remained onboard until morning when we set sail for Bahia Navidad and its little village, Barra Navidad.
Alas, the calm after the storm! We all loved this cruiser-friendly little paradise, where The French Baker makes daily morning deliveries and the seafood arrives fresh several times a day. Tom and Mary dinghyed about and met some of the other Yachties, two of which were also IPY owners, Triple Stars with Rob and Jan and Equinox with Hank and Betsy. We spent two days at anchor in Barra Navidad's lagoon, and then 2 days in the Grand Bay Resort Marina - AKA Heaven! We laid out by the pool and treated ourselves to some great meals, and R&R.
After leaving Barra Navidad - sigh - we continued south once again toward Manzanillo. During the jaunt we were delighted that Tom and Mary had the opportunity to see not only many sea turtles, but lots of other "sea creatures" and as well to experience the playful dolphins racing through our bow wake. At some point I saw something that looked like a mini Stealth Bomber rise up from the water suspended for several seconds and then go back down. It repeated this maneuver again. We think it was a type of Ray. So odd!
Now in Manzanillo, it is Thursday, April 3rd. Tom and Mary arranged a day pass for us at the resort where they are staying and we are about to head out to dinner. This marina, Las Hadas, will be our home until our windshield has been replaced. It is nice that we an use the hotel's amenities. We need a few days of nothingness, and time to lay by the pool.