Cruising ~ The Cat’s Meow Style ~ May & June 2008
Fun with Friends & Family
Although most of the cruising folks in the Manzanillo-to-Tenacatita area were headed north, toward Pto. Vallarta, Mazatlan, across the Sea to La Paz or San Carlos, we on The Cat’s Meow decided to stay a while longer. The water was still not good for swimming or for diving, in fact we continued to see some red tides in the Manzanillo waters. Food and drink were inexpensive, and the weather was nice, not too hot or humid, so we stayed a while longer in the area. In the years past, we sometimes saw really big yachts in these waters, but not often. This season, however, it seemed that a larger number of these big boats, usually crewed and used for charters, were crowding out us “little cruisers”. Some of the cruising captains became quite irate at the anchoring practices of the guys on the bigger boats, and some yelling ensued at times when it appeared that big boats were crowding the smaller ones in the anchorages. Thankfully, the yachts usually only stayed in an anchorage one or two nights before moving on.
Tenacatita anchorage neighbors
We decided to move on, as well, at least as far as going back to the Barra anchorage for some provisioning and to get fuel. One early afternoon, Martin saw a large iguana on the pontoon of our dinghy, which was of course attached to the stern of our boat. He was easily scared off and swam away. However, a while later, Martin again saw a large iguana (the same one or a cousin?) popping his head thru the haus hole on the bow!! When Martin tried to “shoo” him back through the hole, the iguana took off scurrying down the breezeway, and into the lanai room! While Robin “eeked” and ran to get a camera, Martin picked Iggy up by his tail, and returned him to the water. TCM was not close to any land at the time - we had no idea those guys could swim so far!
Friends on the sailboat Harmony were heard on the single side-band radio one evening, heading back into Mexican waters after going all the way down to Ecuador. We had not seen Robert and Virginia since before our big boat accident. We were really glad to see them as they pulled into the anchorage at Barra de Navidad. Stories were swapped and some bread was broken together, before they scurried away, headed to San Carlos. It was good to see them.
Fiinally, we decided it was time to head northward as well. Hurricane season officially begins June 1st and we wanted to be somewhere safe before any big blow started up. In terms of mileage, it is only approximately 150 miles between Barra de Navidad and Puerto Vallarta. The Cat’s Meow cruises along at between 7 and 8 knots/hour, so a 50 mile day is a good one, in good weather. Typically, this trip takes three days, as this one did. We had good weather and good water — we had been watching the virtual buoy reports using the computer, and listening to the weather guesstimates from the weather gurus on the SSB. The only place to really be extra careful on this route is Cabo Corrientes, which was flat calm the morning we made our rounding of it. However, as we were cruising along headed for that point, we saw a Mexican Navy ship headed our way. When it became apparent that they were headed right for us, we slowed, then put TCM in neutral, and waited for their approach. It is not unusual for cruising boats to be boarded in open water by the Mexican Navy, and they are known for being professional and courteous, usually wanting only to check boat papers and they usually do a quick inspection of the boat looking for any obvious drug or arms violations. So, we sat there in the water, both of us at the rail, watching the Navy ship approach us, then go around us…..and around us…..but they had no launch boat for boarding, so we really didn’t know what they wanted. Finally, the captain of that ship called us on the VHF radio, and very nicely asked us if we had a problem!! O…now I get it!! “No”, Robin replied, “we just stopped because we thought you might need something from us!” OK…. He wished us a good trip and made sure we knew that we could call him if we needed anything. Over and out.
Of course, by the time we reached the anchorage in Banderas Bay, off of the village of La Cruz, the wind had picked up to its normal 20+ knot afternoon blow. It is always such a pleasure anchoring in that wind! After about four trials, we finally got the hook in and we could relax. A number of boats were still anchored off of the new marina. We took dinghy rides in to the beach and walked to the bus and did the going-to-town thing a few times. In fact, during one bus ride into PV, another bus passenger asked Robin where she was from, and it turned out that they knew each other from working in special education in Arizona!! Small world and all of that. About a week after arriving back in the Bay, TCM went into the new Marina Riviera Nayarit and got to be attached to running water and electricity! It was time for Martin & Robin to get up to Mazatlan to retrieve the van from where it had been sitting since February at that marina. The kitties were left with plenty of food and water and toys, we hopped a (freeeezing) bus to Mazatlan, and a few hours later we were welcomed by Darrell and Rita of Overheated, who are now living in their new condo at the marina in Mazatlan. Friends Susan & Dennis (Two Can Play) were on their boat there, and we timed it just right for the last cruiser potluck of the season, so we were able to see practically every other cruiser in the area at the same time!
Two days later, we drove the van back to La Cruz and to the boat, and we moved her back out to the anchorage.
Of course, there were boat projects to work on, once back on TCM. Using the hoist on the top deck, we moved both the motorcycle and the large life raft from the outside edge of the top deck — the “eyebrow” — onto the main deck so Robin could complete the painting/non-skid job on that part of the deck. Martin had some mechanical and electrical jobs to keep him occupied. It was so very rolly in the anchorage that we decided to move back into the marina. Robin did not really enjoy trying to work on the eyebrow while rolling and pitching that much! Martin’s two daughters and one grand daughter were to arrive fairly soon. We had a lot to do before their visit, so we got back into the work mode.
June 6th both daughters, Robin and Deb, and Robin’s daughter Brianna, flew into Puerto Vallarta for a week of fun and sun! However…..the weather did not cooperate. They stayed in the Paradise Village Resort, where they had access to three pools, restaurants, a small zoo, beautiful grounds and gardens, and even a small shopping mall. It was cloudy and rainy, and cool for June, and not particularly great vacation-in-the-sun weather, but we hope all three had a good time anyway. One of the highlights of their visit was when Brianna got to swim with the dolphins! She went to Vallarta Adventures, where an entire show was put on for the crowd. Brianna learned a lot about dolphins, petted one, and was taken on a ride around the pool by a dolphin. It looked like fun to us!
We wanted to show “the kids” so many things — it was difficult to try to do many things and to allow them time to relax at the resort. We walked along the malecon (boardwalk) in Puerto Vallarta, had some delicious Mexican food (they especially liked the fish tacos) and drink (beer & margaritas are readily available). We were serenaded by mariachis, we drove up into the nearby mountains to two places, both called Chico’s, we walked through the pueblo of Bucerias and found another good place for fish tacos…and lobster…
Of course we did some shopping and everyone went home with some cool new stuff. A really cute muchacho let his pet parrot sit on Brianna’s shoulder….and wanted to get to know her a little bit better…. Deb. Robin, and Brianna probably thought their dad and Robin were really weird when we took them to a few of our favorite “real” Mexican places to eat “real” local food — like Mauricio’s, or the “flat chicken” place with unusual ambiance….. But they quickly adjusted to the local flavor of those places and enjoyed the very tasty meals.
Martin, daughter Robin, Brianna, and Deb at one of the Chico's Brianna up close & personal with a parrot....
It was really fun for us to have them visit, although we do wish the weather had been better for more of their vacation. Next time!
Next update: land cruising with the kitties in the van. Please do visit and see what happens while we are Cruising ~ The Cat’s Meow Style…….