Well we are ringing in the New Year on the mainland of Pacific Mexico. It’s hot, humid, lush and dreamy. Everything we were looking for when we left Baja California!
After a nice brisk overnight sail from Los Muertos on the Baja Peninsula, we stopped in at Isla Isabella. This is an amazing island – the Galapagos of Mexico they call it. As you come close to it, you see a dark cloud of circling birds overhead. The photos don’t do it justice. On shore there are hundreds of iguanas and lizards under food. We snorkeled and relaxed in the cozy but still quite secure anchorage.
While we were snorkeling, one of our friends on another boat had a run-in with a Portuguese Man-o-War jelly fish. It was our first encounter with the seriously poisonous kind (buy a sting suit / aka super sexy full body swim suit if you are going to cruise in MX). It was not pleasant… They ended up administering lots of Benadryl and even epinephrine… It was a good wake up call to me to brush up on my medicine cabinet, make those drug Info cards I had been thinking of making and to organize our meds further.
After that adventure, we headed south hoping to hit Barra de Navidad. But, we opted to pull into Chamela bay as the winds had died and we didn’t want to motor all the way to Barra. We ended up spending a lovely, if very quiet Christmas in Chamela bay. It was by far the sparest Christmas the girls have ever had, and each of them said that it was the best Christmas ever. We opened presents, made our traditional dutch babies for breakfast, the girls played with their new gifts and then naturally, we all went for a swim in the clear warm water just off the boat. We even got to attend the mass at the local Catholic Church where we were undoubtedly the only gringos as it is a small community and not visited by many from the U.S.
After Christmas we decided to keep heading south and pulled into Tenacatita after a perfect little downwind sail. We anchored in the outside anchorage which they call the “Aquarium” and had a good snorkel the next day.
Now. Every morning, if you are near a fairly populated area (populated with cruisers that is), there is a morning net on Channel 22 of the VHF radio. This is an all round way to connect with the cruising community. There are boat check-ins, arrivals and departures, emergency needs, local help etc. It’s a nice way to get information you need, connect with people you know in the area or just get some cheap entertainment. When we checked in to the net that morning from the outside anchorage of Tenacatita, we had decided to continue on to Barra de Navidad the next day at least. After the net we were contacted by a boat called Harmony, owned by Robert and Virginia Gleser. Robert is the “mayor” of the anchorage in Tenacatia and he had his kids and grandkids aboard. He basically told us to come into the inner anchorage for the activities and fun they had planned for the next few days. After a morning of snorkeling we found ourselves doing exactly as we had been told, upping anchor to heading into the inner bay.
Like most places, we planned to be there for only a few nights and keep moving south, but the community there was so welcoming that we ended up staying through the New Year. We had so much in common with Robert’s daughter and son-in-law that it was astounding. Age of kids – almost exact, UC Davis – at the same time, Napa – lived there while we did, Walla Walla – they started a vineyard there (almost creepy right?). To top all of this off, Robert and his wife Virginia lived with Ina May Gaskin, the author of Spiritual Midwifery, on the famous Hippy Commune, “The Farm”. Spiritual Midwifery was a formative book for me while I was preparing to birth the girls and Virginia and I had lots to discuss. We really enjoyed getting to know them to say the least. If you are following us on Facebook you know that we helped to release sea turtles and there was plenty of jumping off the boat into warm water. The cruisers there are well acquainted with each other and unusually well organized with bocci on the beach daily, biathlons, daily swim meets, and more.
We had a fun New Years, attending an all anchorage dingy raft-up complete with potluck dinner, speeches and then later, fireworks from the resort a little ways up the shore.
But! Work calls and there was no good WiFi or internet Cafe in Tenacatita – just a palapa selling tacos and beer – so we headed south to Barra de Navidad, our southern most destination. We decided to splurge a bit and stay in the marina for a few nights which affords us access to a wonderful resort pool with no less than three sections connected by massive slides, easy laundry facilities, WiFi and the feeling that we are on vacation. We have been “on the hook” for the last 7 months and the luxury of stepping off the boat onto a dock is quite lovely.
Banyan is getting some well deserved TLC as well. She got a complete top decks and hull wax yesterday and she is looking very pretty with her new sheen. The girls are in heaven at the pool
when they are not in school – not much of a winter break on Banyan (shhhh, don’t tell them). Don’t worry, they will get some time off when the grandparents come soon.
We wish you all a wonderful New Year and know that there will be many fun adventures in 2016!
The Vawter Family