Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Isla Grande

After sailing/motoring for 30 hours from Manzanillo, we were greatly rewarded with a stop at Isla Grande.  Isla Grande is a gorgeous island just off the coast of Ixtapa, about 10 miles north of Zihuatanejo.   The island boasts nothing but crystal clear water, great snorkeling, and a few palapas lining the beach.  We stayed for 4 nights, caught up on our sleep, and had a great time in the water.  I'll let the following pictures speak for themselves...

We are currently in Zihuatanejo, anchored off La Playa Ropa.  I had no idea that Zihuat and the surrounding area would be so large - population 70,000.  We will be here for about 3 weeks awaiting my parents' arrival for the Guitar Fest.  The girls are pretty excited to see Grandpa & Grandma.  We are also busy catching up on school work and going through toys and clothing for donations.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Living it up in Las Hadas

"I don't know girls, it looks like a rough neighborhood... Do you think we should hang out here for a few days?"

"I think we can handle it, Dad."

We have once again found ourselves poolside in Mexico.  We are currently anchored in the bay in front of Las Hadas Resort in Manzanillo.  For $200 pesos ($13 USD) we can park our dinghy at the marina dock and use the resort facilities.  Quite honestly, the fee is not really enforced...

Hannah is enjoying her time with friends from Seahorse and Velvet Sky - also in the anchorage.

Prior to heading to Las Hadas, we stopped in Santiago Bay just around the corner.  We were excited to snorkel at the sight of a shipwreck.  We headed out in the dinghy in the morning when it was nice and calm.  Hannah and I jumped in right away, ready to explore.  Next thing I knew Hannah was yelling, "My tooth! My tooth!"  The mouthpiece on her snorkel had knocked out a loose tooth.  Katelyn jumped into action fearing that we would soon be surrounded by sharks from the blood trailing out of her sister's mouth.  She yelled for Hannah to return to the dinghy immediately and hoisted her back into the safety of the boat.  It was all downhill from there.  I did get close enough to see a few fish near the wreck, the visibility was not that great though.

Katelyn had no intention of getting into the "open" ocean to go snorkeling.  We had to coax her into even getting into her suit and then into the dinghy.  This was part of her school (science & PE) for the day darn it, no choice.  I haven't quite figured out where her recent aversion to swimming in the ocean has come from.  Back in Half Moon Bay, she would spend hours in the water boogie boarding and surfing.  Granted we hadn't told her about the nearby great white shark population...

Jake and I celebrated our 37th birthdays this week.  I must say that in the real world, that feels old.  In the cruising world, we feel very young.  Most cruisers are retirement age and beyond.  We are continually grateful to be able to do this now, at a young age, with our girls. 

Our birthdays weren't spent with lots of gifts and parties.  In fact, we didn't even have cake.  Instead, we spent time as a family.  We played volleyball on the beach and hung out poolside.  We shared a bottle of wine in the cockpit and talked about where we might be next year for our birthdays.  It was perfect.

See, we're not old.  I'm pretty sure we could still make the Olympic volleyball team.

 Las Hadas is such a picturesque area.  The anchorage is surrounded by white concrete condos and resorts.  The white is accented by the stone roads, lush green palms, and bright pink bougainvillea.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

La Cruz to Barra de Navidad

Pulling out of La Cruz was bitter sweet.  On one hand we were excited to continue our journey south.  On the other hand we left behind some great boat friends that we know we won't be seeing again anytime soon, if ever. Along our journey we have met boats that are going in our direction, some that are doing the "jump" across the Pacific, and others that cruise seasonally and will start going back north for the summer in the Sea of Cortez.  The Puerto Vallarta area is where all of these boats converge, then go their separate directions.

So, I did say that we were done with overnight sails for a while,,.  Well, leaving La Cruz involved going around Cabo Corrientes which can be notorious for bad current and wind.  We decided to take this leg at night when it would be at its calmest.  So, we headed off into the sunset with our buddy boat, S/V Fellowship.  It was a great feeling to pull out of the harbor with friends waving us on our way.

The kids had a great time with friends from Sarita, Heavy Metal, Puddle Pirate, and Family Circus.

Cabo Corrientes was benign as we rounded the corner around midnight.  We had a great sail from 6pm to about 9:30 am.  The stars were out in full glory with no moon.  On one of our late night check-ins with Fellowship, Rich pointed out the Southern Cross.  I had a bit of a sentimental moment at 3am as I stared at the constellation and thought of the Crosby, Stills, and Nash song that we have been listening to for years.  Of course, I had to play their song on repeat until my watch was over.  

Our first stop after leaving La Cruz was Bahia Chemela.  We were surprised to find about 30 boats anchored in the picturesque bay, including Seahorse V and Velvet Sky - other kid boats. There is not much to do at Chemela besides relax and swim.  That's my kind of place.

Our next stop was Bahia Tenacatita.  This is another bay with a nice anchorage and great swimming and snorkeling. One morning we spotted a baby sea turtle swimming 2 feet from the boat.  We found ourselves in the jungle again.  They have an estuary tour that was similar to San Blas, but we were able to take our own dinghy this time.  I must say it is a bit of a different perspective being in a croc infested river with our own dinghy versus a guided panga tour.   

Following Rich and Lyn from Fellowship through the estuary.

We played in Tenacatita for 2 nights, then moved on another 13 miles south to Melaque.  We could have spent more time lounging in the bays between Chemalla and Melaque, however, we were low on provisions and pesos.  In the states we were so used to pulling out our debit card to pay for everything.  Now we have to plan in advance and make sure we have enough pesos on hand because most businesses do not take cards, cash only.  And of course, most of the small beachfront communities do not have ATM's.  

Our first morning in Melaque, we woke up to a double rainbow and saw a volcano bellowing smoke in the distance.  

We spent 5 days at anchor in Melaque.  It was a bit rolly at times, but overall a great anchorage.  We were close enough to swim to the beach and landing in the dinghy in the surf was manageable.  Sometimes I do wish that we splurged for dinghy wheels.  We also had a great time running into friends from Aprapos again.   

I might become a vegetarian.  I still can't get used to buying meat like this... Donde esta Safeway? 

Hannah is quite the fish.  Whether in a pool or the ocean, she swims around like a mermaid.  She wanted to try "surfing" and did a great job balancing in the calm seas.  Katelyn is a bit more reserved when it comes to swimming in the ocean.  She saw a few too many sea snakes and crocs on this leg of the journey.

After "roughing it" at anchor for 2 weeks, we pulled into the Grand Isla Resort and Marina.  It always feels nice to give the boat a fresh water rinse and take showers without worrying about conserving water. 

Every morning the French Bakery boat comes into the marina to sell fresh baked goods.  He rings a little bell as he comes by and my mouth starts to salivate.  He has the most amazing almond croissants with an almond paste in the center served with a French accent and everything.

We took the kids on a walk around the resort property and found a large open grassy area.  I swear the kids thought they were at Disneyland.  The ran around shouting "We're free! We're free!"  Only boat kids would understand...