Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lazing around on the Mexican Riviera

0700, Thursday, 5 January 2012 At Anchor, Barra de Navidad
J-G is up early today to get ready for his first stint this year as net controller for the “Amigo” Single Side Band (SSB) radio morning net. (Fran is still in bed) We have been active participants for the past 4 years as listeners or with J-G acting as net controller for either the Amigo morning net or the Southbound evening net. These are sources of information for cruisers, providing weather data, the whereabouts of other cruisers and, occasionally indications of significant occurrences such as missing boats, emergency contacts with boaters, tsunami warnings or unusual weather events. The net lasts about 45-60 minutes and requires the controller to be focussed on the task. Fran claims to be the SSB widow during these operations but she sometimes helps with recording boats that check in. Not today. She and Rosie are tucked in for another hour or so.
It has been a nice quiet few days here at anchor. The lagoon is about a mile from the main town of Barra and it takes about 15-20 minutes by dinghy to get to the landing at the Sands Hotel, the cruiser point-of-entry for the town and where many hang out by the pool and bar. Both Optical Illusion and Warren Peace have left for Manzanillo and we will probably not see them again until we arrive in Huatulco in mid-late February. We have adjusted our schedule again. Our next obligation is to meet friends in Zihuatanejo on the Feb 13th and take them to Acapulco so we will remain in this area for another week before we head to Manzanillo for another few weeks and then on to Zihuatanejo. We will be there in time to participate in this year’s Sail Fest, as we did 3 years ago.
The other day, at the Sands, we met a pair of young men, about our son Michael’s age when he was in his wandering stage who were surfing their way down the coast of Mexico. They were sailing from surfing location to location on Hobie cats; essentially, 2 hulls with a trampoline between. These are normally seen on lakes or sheltered bays. Amazingly they had started in Puerto Vallarta with their ultimate destination of Zihuatanejo with all of their surf boards and other possessions strapped between their hulls. One of them had already rolled over twice. Losing a surfboard and radio in the process but their spirits were high as they continued their quest for the ideal wave. Brought J-G back to his teens when his favourite band was the Beach Boys and he dreamed of surfing the big waves and even buying Surfer Magazine. Living in Quebec and Ontario it wasn’t going to happen, but he did finally get a surfboard when we lived in Victoria, many years later and used it every summer when we went camping to Long Beach. It was a long shot from the usual surfing paradises but the cold waters and finicky waves quickly cured him of that obsession.
Apart from the usual boat projects the time spent here is very relaxed. The normal routine is to work at boat things in the morning, relax after lunch and then head to town in the dinghy. The Sands hotel is where we land and, often we don’t get much farther than the bar and pool area. There are always other cruisers there
0800, 10 Jan 2012, At anchor, Tenecatita
The entry above seems so long ago. We left Barra for Cuastecomate last Thursday and spent a beautiful afternoon on the beach with Craig and Kiki (Oya), Jim and Susan (Windward Bound) and the couples from Peppininos and Interlude. We also met a couple of the local Canadian residents. There appears to be a lot of Canadian semi-permanent residents in this particular bay. Our favourite ceviche restaurant wasn’t open but we had a very good alternative at another location on the beach. The locals told us that there is a new owner for the resort there. A Spanish entrepreneur has taken over the resort and is pouring some significant money into it to bring it back to its former glory.
We are now at anchor in Tenecatita, another of our favourite places. We arrived here last Friday in time for the Friday night raft-up where the dinghies from all the boats meet up in a sheltered part of the cove and tie up together. Each brings a snack tray to share, their drinks and books and movies to exchange. The event is organised by “The Mayor of Tenecatita” the boat that has been here the longest. Robert and his partner Virginia (Harmony) played their role to the nines, welcoming everyone, and getting everyone to introduce themselves and explain how they decided on the cruising lifestyle. It was quite interesting to hear the experiences of others.
Tenecatita Bay is an idyllic location with lots of room for boats to anchor, a wonderful beach, a river entrance to a mangrove lake and a beach palapa restaurant. Just up the beach there is the Blue Bay resort with its family oriented buildings and its exclusive adult only, clothing optional location, Punta Serena. Janet and Bill were here a few weeks ago and told us of a special deal at the Blue Bay; a full 5 course dinner with wine and special coffees for 350 pesos a person (about $28). We took advantage of that last night and really enjoyed ourselves. We had good company with Harry and Linda from MV Good Karma. The only worry we had was the beach landing and the departure in the dinghy after dark but the full moon allowed us to see the wave sets and we got back to the boat fairly dry. We had to carry our “dining clothes” in a waterproof bag and change once we arrived at the hotel. Harry and Linda got flipped on the way in but managed to keep their sense of humour intact. Their waterproof bag saved the day and after changing they looked as dry as all the other guest diners. Their little electric motor wasn’t quite strong enough to power through the surf on the way back so J-G gave them a hand to transit the surf zone. This morning Harry was on the net asking where he could get a small outboard motor...
Yesterday we finally had a chance to meet up with our Victoria friends who live in La Manzanilla. Val and David have their own place here and have been seasonal residents for the past 5 years. Last year they decided to stay over the summer. They took advantage of the BC medical regulations where residents are allowed to stay out of the province for 24 months every 5 years.
We’ll be headed back to Barra in a day or so to top up on water, gas and to get the laundry done before we head to Manzanillo.
I will post photos to this blog once we get there. The Telcel signal here is weak and will not permit us to send large files. Barra has much better service.

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