We are in the state of Jalisco, which according to the news reports, should have me cautious or even in retreat from this place of crime–danger. Yet, all we experience are peaceful friendly people living their lives. When I hear reports of the homicides (which is rare, since I’m somewhat tuned out to the news) – I’m perplexed. Jalisco, I read to Michael, is at the center of the drug-gang warfare. Most recently four film students were reported missing, most likely they were kidnapped and slaughtered! Hmmm? I think I’m living in a parallel-universe or something. The place I see is beautiful. The people warm, joyous, open, and helpful beyond belief. Hmmm? I do wonder “why are there so many policía on this desolate beach?” – as we found at the Aquarium/Tenacatita. Is this a hideout for the cartel or is it something else? Are the policía there to protect these people living on the beach, running beach palapas and fishing? Hmmm? not sure. We come in peace and find it here, but we are careful. Politics & crime watch aside – the Costalegre (happy coast) region is a cruisers’ delight.
Barra de Navidad
We arrived in Barra with high expectations as it tops many boaters favorite stops along the pacific coast. It did not disappoint. Granted, we stayed in the marina, not in the lagoon anchorage where many a boat have gone aground or drifted. We were there in April, notoriously the windiest month (who knew?). It did blow hard in the afternoons, but we were tied up to the dock safe and sound. Our friend George (Circadian) served as our excellent tour guide and we quickly settled into the Barra lifestyle with french pastries delivered daily to the boat by the french baker, water taxis to town, beautiful walks in lush landscaping, and delicious food and fun with friends.
Beautiful walks & views around the Marina Puerto de la Navidad
Poolside: You get full use of the pool at the Grand Bay Hotel when staying at the Marina. nice perk.
Michael’s Birthday, April 5: his day began with a sunrise dinghy ride with George of Circadian through the lagoon for bird watching & photo shoot. We had a few friends over for a toast before dinner at the hotel restaurant, Antonios. He even wore long pants for the occasion.
If Barra hails as the favorite town, Tenacatita is the favorite anchorage. Some friends lovingly refer to it as “summer camp for adults.” Depending on your childhood experience, that could be good or bad. We were late getting here (winter months are the busy season), so the camp activities were scarce. We did just fine making up our own with the help of some friends we met at anchor: Dinghy ride thru the mangroves/lagoon; snorkeling at the “aquarium” beach; game night on Nellie Jo until midnight; a day at La Manzanilla and the crocodile preserve; a kayak sail in the bay; and fun on the boat watching the critters and doing boat projects.
We took our dinghy twice for the lagoon ride, once with our friends to the beach notably called the “Aquarium”. We hoped for better snorkeling there, but the visibility and conditions were poor. Oh well, we enjoyed the dinghy ride and a nice lunch after the swim.
The second dinghy tour was all about the critters & photos.
One day we took a panga ride to La Manzanilla and visited the Crocodiles!
Lots to do while at anchor and we made the best of it.
Paraíso is a small, quiet anchorage, a road less traveled. Only one of our friends had ventured here and reported it pristine, though rolly with large swell, bow & stern anchors are recommended. Only 22 miles from Tenacatita, we decided to have a look. We were the only boat there and for four days it was our private oasis. The water was clear & cool for swimming and the pelicans & seagulls our sole companions. We did paddleboard to shore to check out the colorful house, thinking we could enjoy a cerveza and walk the beach. Turns out it is private property and no cervezas were for sale. You can rent the house called La Casa del Abuelo for $400 per night all meals included, including the infinity pool, a private beach and many toys. The proprietor gladly gave us a tour. http://www.paraisocareyes.com/
A popular stop off for boaters waiting for good weather window to round Cabo Corrientes. It’s a friendly spot with Palapas and many families enjoying the beach. We stopped for a bit, but not for long. Hunh,whaat, what did you say? Hunh….Michael’s ear was pounding, his canal opening blocked, hearing muffled, and one morning pus was found on his pillow. Enough! The poor guy has been to three doctors since November for varying ear ailments. In Mazatlan, the clinic rinsed the eardrums & gave antibiotics. In la Cruz in January, the doctor prescribed drops and another antibiotic. Michael has tried his own alcohol and vinegar remedy. He wears earplugs when swimming. The condition switches from one ear to the other, the discomfort fades then returns. This time it was the worse. We tried to find a clinic in the small town of Chamela, but ran out of patience looking for it while walking in the dusty heat and getting puzzled looks from the locals. clinica? No sé’. us either. We reviewed the weather and decided to depart earlier than planned. Back to La Cruz, Nayarit (96 miles) and known medical help. The weather, with winds from the north (on the nose) instead of the predicted south. As we approached the cape we excitedly prepared to sail the last few hours into Banderas Bay. As we turned 50 degrees away from the wind and rounded the point we began to sail towards La Cruz.. 15 minutes later, wind on the nose AGAIN. They call it geographic effect, the wind bending around the mountains that line the bay; I call it annoying. We anchored out in La Cruz by 10 am, Michael went to the clinic first thing the following morning and after a round of antibiotics and steroids, I’m happy to report he can now hear me! — And he feels a whole lot better.
La Cruz—Nuevo Vallarta
We are now back in Marina Riviera Nayarit, in La Cruz figuring out various plans and projects. We will soon check Footloose into Paradise Village in Nuevo Vallarta for the summer hurricane season. Before we launched this cruising plan – we agreed to give it a try for two years and then see how we both feel after the steep portion of the learning curve. As with life anywhere there are good days and bad. Sometimes you feel strong and energetic, others you hurt or feel lethargic. Some days you are grateful and brave, others cranky or fearful. Same goes for the places we visit. As one long-time restauranteur in La Cruz commented- “it’s not paradise here, but it’s close.” Amen to that. The two-year mark is upon us and we both concur- bring on season three! And so the adventure continues. We will surely face new challenges with the Tehuanapec, the Papagayos, bar crossings, and the Panama Canal; we will also share fresh experiences with the new cultures, colorful wildlife, explored miles, and friendship. Today we say yes to all of it and therein lies the true gift.