Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Images








video
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy Holidays from La Cruz

We will be spending the holidays in Banderas Bay this year and want to wish all our friends and family a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2013. 

We've been here in La Cruz for about a month now after deciding to simply stay put and relax for a little while.  It's given me a chance to tackle some necessary boat projects and offered Millie and Colin time to adjust to life on the boat again.  Also, we have visitors coming after Christmas and didn't want to sail off and then have to rush back.

For many cruising boats, La Cruz is a popular destination for the holidays and new boats are sailing in each day.  If it weren't for the beaches and 85 degree weather I'd say it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.  The truth is it's hard to feel anything when lathered in sunscreen and dripping in sweat.  Most of the time we have to remind ourselves that the holidays are here.  Although, we did have a little cold spell this week which forced us to sleep under a sheet for the first time....brrrr!  Now it's beginning to feel like Christmas.

So, in an effort to further boost our holiday cheer and emphasize the whole gift-giving tradition we took the bus to Puerto Vallarta and bought a new dinghy.  There are a lot of things you can buy here in Mexico that are substantially cheaper than in the U.S. -- inflatable dinghies are not one of those things.  But, after applying yet another patch to our aging dink, we managed to justify the purchase of a new and ridiculously overpriced hard-bottom inflatable simply by calling it a Christmas gift to ourselves.  We felt we deserved it.  The next day we sold our old one to a guy who lost his while crossing the Sea of Cortez and was desperate for a replacement.  We gave him a great deal -- all in the Christmas spirit.
 
Onions in Mexico are lethal!
And so, next week, on Christmas Day, as our loved ones back in The States are sipping eggnog and feasting on gravy-soaked platters of turkey and ham before dozing off in front of the TV, we will, most likely, be spending the holiday at Philo's here in La Cruz, a popular hangout for sailors and North American ex-pats, sipping Pacifico and feasting on pork tacos.  Actually, Philo's usually serves a traditional Christmas dinner, but there will be cold Pacifico.  We're looking forward to it. 

Then, on the 27th, my brother Denny and his family are flying out to spend a week with us -- first in La Cruz and then a few days in Sayulita where we plan to bring in the new year.  We made a day trip to Sayulita on Monday and, through good fortune or just dumb luck, managed to book a cool little bungalow.  Most of the accommodations there are booked months in advance so we considered it a good omen for the new year.  Sayulita is a trendy little hippy hangout with great surfing.  It should be fun.

After the holidays and things return to normal here (relatively speaking, that is) we plan to sail north to Mazatlan.  There's a mechanic there who comes highly recommended.  I've been communicating with him through email about our engine situation and he seems willing and able to help.  The goal is to finally get this resolved by the end of January.  That's New Year's resolution numero uno.

Colin and his new friend Cora
In the meantime we'll be filling our time here in La Cruz with cruiser potlucks and beach parties, hanging out with new friends and watching Colin grow a little more each day.

Merry Christmas!
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Banderas Bay Blast

Yesterday we got out for some long-overdue recreational sailing.  For the past two months now I've been focused on boat projects here in La Cruz, talking to every mechanic in the area and trying to decide what to do about our oil-burning, overheating engine -- not exactly fun-in-the-sun Mexico cruising.

So, as the annual Banderas Bay Blast kicked off we had the opportunity to join in on some of the activity.  This is a 3-day rally where some of the boats here go out and race around the buoys for bragging rights and raise money for local charities.  It got started yesterday with a leisurely sail down to the Vallarta Yacht Club for brunch followed by racing today.  Anyone on a boat, racing or not, was invited to the brunch with a few of the big cats here in La Cruz offering rides.  So, we decided to relax and let someone else pull the lines for a day.  We managed to hitch a ride on Profligate, the 70-foot catamaran owned by Latitude-38 founder Richard Spindler.  There were more than enough people on the boat to work the sails so we just stayed out of the way and enjoyed the ride.

The nice thing about catamarans, other than the speed, is the comfortable non-heeling motion.  We're accustomed to the tilted deck of a monohull so it was a pleasant surprise to sit in a folding chair with a beer while sailing under an enormous spinnaker, doing 6 knots in about 10 knots of breeze.  And, a 70-foot cat provides a big safe area for Colin to run around in while mom and dad sip cold drinks...nice.

We got back to La Cruz around 4 in the afternoon, grabbed some fish tacos at the marina and went upstairs to the rooftop bar where the party got started with live music, food, and a lot of drinks.  We made a few new friends, enjoyed some free tequila, and remembered what it's like to have fun again.
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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Feliz Cumpleaños

Once again we celebrated Millie's birthday south of the border.  This one is a very special year and I was determined to make it a memorial occasion.  I had to make up for last year when we sailed in to Turtle Bay and it suddenly occurred to me that I'd forgotten her birthday.  Fortunately, this year we weren't on a passage and I had a little more time to plan something.  I had to make the most of it.

  
So, on Tuesday, as an early birthday surprise, we checked in to Villa Bella, a beautiful Mexican B&B on the hill above La Cruz, for two relaxing days away from the boat.  I booked the spacious honeymoon suite with a private patio overlooking the bay.  The owner, Elsa, and her staff were extremely friendly and accommodating, allowing us to check in early and providing roses and wine in the room.  Millie was thrilled.  We spent the rest of the afternoon playing with Colin in the pool and lounging on the patio.


Wednesday, the 28th, was Millie's big day and Colin had us up early.  We enjoyed breakfast by the pool and spent another relaxing afternoon before reservations at Frascati, an Italian restaurant in La Cruz, where our friends Marion and Theo on s/v Marionetto and Pat and Lynn on s/v Cricket joined us for dinner.  Elsa arranged for a very decadent chocolate cake which they brought out for dessert.  After the singing and the presents we strolled back up the hill to our private little retreat. 











Feliz cumpleaños, mamá.

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