Return to Puerto Vallarta

In an effort to preserve and tend to the needs of a live aboard sailboat, we made the Dublaacquaintance and developed a fast friendship of a man that does exceptional boat work in the Banderas Bay region. To our delight, upon returning to PV, there was our amigo and maintenance guy, Dublas. No sooner were we settled into our slip, Steve and Dublas were analyzing the next project to preserve Flyer.

Farewell dinner with friends Mike and Twila, recapped our travels, their love for Flyer and the confirmation that they’ll soon return for another adventure aboard. Twila has generously committed to investigating unorthodox remedies for Peggy’s seasickness ailment.

Easter-ChurchOur return to PV was timely, allowing us to attend Easter Sunday mass at the Catholic Our Lady of Guadeloupe Cathedral in the downtown district. Following the bilingual service, we enjoyed a Mexican brunch overlooking the church grounds, including the malecon/waterfront – followed by a peaceful day of relaxation and cleaning aboard Flyer.melliniumThe malecon district offers a weekly sculpture walking tour. A few highlights of the tour include the elements of the Millennia sculpture and its extensive meaning. The extensive art history is well worth the two hours to learn more about Mexico, their artists and art itself. The slideshow features a recap of the magnificent bronze sculptures –most of which were generously donated via the artists and their craftsmen.

Men-FlyingWhile learning about the extensive history of the beautiful sculptures, the tour happened upon the infamous Voladores de Papantla, or Flyers of Papantla, one of the Puerto Vallarta malecon’s biggest attractions. Five Voladores climb a 50-foot tall pole in traditional native attire. One plays the flute as he sits on top of the spinning pole, while the four others literally fall head over heels off the top of the pole, dangling by just one of their ankles from a rope. The Voladores gracefully spin and flutter around the pole until they reach the ground. It’s worth mentioning that this talented group only recaptures their expenses via tips.

This spectacle of bravery and talent is worth the few minutes of time their performance requires. This important religious ceremony dates back 1500 years ago. The ritual started in central Mexico in honor of the God of Sun, for the purpose of boosting that year’s harvest and improving fertility. The “flyers” represent fire, earth, water, and air. As they “fall” from the top of the pole, their arms are outstretched and their heads point towards the ground. The flutist on top of the pole begins the ritual by facing east, symbolic of the origin of the world. Each “flyer” spins thirteen times around the pole before reaching the ground. 13 spins x 4 flyers = 52, and 52 years, according to the Mayan calendar, encompasses one solar cycle and 52 weeks makes a year, which symbolizes the birth of a “new sun.” The beadwork on their costumes consumes over 90 days to complete.

Winding down our PV residency, we prepare to sail northbound into the Sea of Cortes.

 

Mexico’s Gold Coast – Cabo Corrientes & Barra de Navidad

Setting sail southbound with veteran sailors and long time friends, we were eager to explore new territory. Twila caught a nice tuna – fantastic dinner. Nice job Twila!

An extraordinary motor sail from Puerto Vallarta to Bahia Tenacatita – offered a perfect anchorage with impressive views. Winding down, enjoying siestas and taking in the beauty, we were visited by a pod of curious dolphins.Dolphindolphins

Off to explore the unique eco tour the local jungle-cruise
pangueros have developed – we all piled into our trusty dinghy. Guidebooks stated there was the reward of a small store, refreshments and a beach at the end of this mangrove meandering. This small boat excursion was woven throughout the mangroves of Estero Las Iguanas with tendrils of aerial roots lining the narrow channel carved out by the locals. Keeping a sharp look out for the notorious 6’ crocodiles and iguanas was the main attraction. Several resident nesting birds including egrets, kingfishers, ibis, heron and anhingas offered good bird watching. Although it was an interesting tour, the overall consensus was ‘once was enough’. Peggy on the other hand, had no fondness for the outing. Convinced we’d be hunted by crocodiles. Although there was no peril during this side trip, in hindsight, Peggy should have been left aboard Flyer.

Continuing southbound to Barra de Navidad, we had a pleasant sail with light breezes which enticed the guys to consider flying the chute. After some discussion, the idea was forfeited instead to enjoy the relaxing afternoon cruise.

ship-wreckAs we entered Bahia Navidad, we saw the infamous freighter that ran aground during the last hurricane. The buckled and twisted 71,665 dwt bulk carrier, Los Llanitos will likely be dismantled where it ran aground near Mexico’s Barra de Navidad on October 23, 2015 during Hurricane Patricia.

Entering the channel of Barra Navidad also marks the border of the state of Colima and Jalisco. Barra’s entrance is welcomed by the Virgin Mary.

Bara-harbor-entrtanceThe Marina Puerto de la Navidad is a mega yacht and sailing vessel haven and exclusive resort; offering luxurious amenities, including panga water taxi transportation to the barasmall town of Barra. Numerous restaurants, bars and shops offer a variety to yachtistas and dirt dweller travelers alike. Barra has an authentic native Mexican community, more so than several other harbor towns we’ve visited so far.

bara-resort

 

 

After two nights in the marina, time dictated it was time to head north. Peggy’s chronic seasickness persuaded Steve to reroute back to Tenacatita Bay to regroup and wait out the northerly winds and choppy seas. The following evening we set sail again, heading northbound to return to PV. Seasick yet again, we pressed on. A round of applause goes out to our guests and Steve for their patience and support during this passage.

Mike-and-TwillaA bittersweet farewell to our guests, Mike and Twila; however we’re confident they’ll return to once again sail the high seas of Mexico. Many thanks to Mike and Twila. Their generous delivery of essential provisions, enthusiasm and patience during our coastal cruise is fondly appreciated. We miss you already and await your return.

Banderas Bay – Puerto Vallarta

PV-PortThe ‘marina district’ is extensive. The vast selection of restaurants, shops, spas, a few small but impressive gallerias, a weekly open air market all offer a lot for yachtistas, tourists and locals. We met some boaters we’ve sailed and raced with in the Northwest as well as reuniting with several BaHaHa boaters that we met along the California coast.

We were warned that the marina waters are notorious for lurking crocodiles. One of the dock workers shared a photo taken the second morning of our stay. At approximately 15 feet long and pretty wide, the croc image intimidated us to stay away from the edge of the docks and certainly out of the water. Yikes!

PV-romantic-dist

We met Steve’s sister and brother-in-law in the Romantic Zone of downtown Puerto Vallarta. After visiting a few art gallerias we settled into a Mexican restaurant – just in time to dodge the lightening, high winds and deluge of rain. Although the food was marginal, the company was fun.Yelapa

The following day we reconnected for an enjoyable coastline cruise to Yelapa. Yelappa A niche beachfront community, apparently only accessible via boat; offered some cool parasailing and scuba diving. We were greeted by enthusiastic panga boats eager to assist us with anchoring our boat and shuttling us into the bay. Meanwhile, panga tour boats would suspend the para sailor, once reaching a desired attitude, the panga driver would release the para sailor, launching them to sail and maneuver
their way back to land with no tether.para-sailor

Naval-MenOur schedule allowed us to return to Old Town Puerto Vallarta to extensively explore the art gallerias and exquisite works. Undoubtedly Mexico’s talented artists won’t disappoint. An afternoon visit to Museo Naval, newly opened in February 2016 was a highlight. No visit to Puerto Vallarta would be complete without spending an hour or more in this impressive and informative museum. Active duty Navy docents and front desk staff are informative and welcoming. We look forward to returning next year to see the progress and contributions further expanding this museum. The image of Steve at the helm displays his exploring the ‘dark side’ of power boating.

PV-SunsetDrifting through the Romantic Zone, south of Isla Cuale, vendors and street musicians’ entertained; while magnificent views of gorgeous condos overlooking the beach offer stunning bay views. Nestled between Americano restaurants and street vendors, the Contra del Mar palapa restaurant (Song of the Sea) is a hidden gem. Offering an authentic fresh Mexican menu, a perfect sunset view alongside the beach, we wound down a fun evening enjoying downtown PV.

Passing through the centro – downtown district we were surprised to be entertained with numerous drum and bugle corp teams performing in the outdoor theater. Most of the teams appeared to be middle school and a few high school age students. Their talent and enthusiasm entertained the overcrowded venue with standing room only fans and standing ovations.

Next up, we’ll be hosting friends from Florida sailing down the Mexican Gold Coast – Cabo Corrientes Gold Coast to Barra de Navidad.

 

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

After a few days anchored at Isla Isabela and an overnight passage returning to the mainland; our approach into Bahia de Banderas harbor greeted us with a wall of humidity and hazy overcast skies.

LaCruz-MarinaIt’s understandable why so many boaters gravitate to La Cruz. Marina Riviera Nayarit/Marina La Cruz has been a fantastic moorage. La Cruz Marina has a full time special events coordinator who organizes an active social event itinerary. A host of seminars, Spanish lessons, yoga, guest speaker presentations, weekly outdoor movie nights (with A list new releases), two impressive on site restaurants, a comfortable and accommodating cruisers lounge, a nearby beach with fantastic sea glass and shells … there’s little room for boredom. Another bonus – the laundry senora that picks up and delivers the laundry is the best I’ve encountered in Mexico yet.

The town of La Cruz is very small, yet offers a lot. The week kicks off at the Sunday Farmer’s Market at the Marina. Various artists from the area offer their artwork (glasswork, metal work, paintings, jewelry, clothing, toys). Plenty of vendors offer an exceptional variety of outstanding food. In comparison to many open air markets, La Cruz delivers exceptional quality and variety.

We wandered into town on Sunday evening to discover the towns people gathered around a boxing ring. The entertainment of the evening… wrestling in costumes. Apparently fight night is the Sunday evening event in La Cruz.

ThursdaVegitablesy afternoon the local market receives a cornucopia of fresh produce. Gringos and residents sift through crates of beautiful, fresh produce sold at a fraction of the price of the supermarkets and local stores.

fish-marketThe Huanacaxtle Fish Market is open all week. This is considered one of the best seafood markets around. It’s understandable, considering most of the fresh catches have only been out of the sea a few hours. Not to mention the cleanliness and reasonable prices.birds-of-paradise

We caught the bus into Bucerias to acquire a few necessary hardware parts and the Banomex to get pesos. Bucerias is more sizeable than La Cruz. Peggy found a beautiful set of hand carved macarana’s. Flyer now has a set of bongo’s, macarana’s and a baritone ukulele. Still bangoson a mission to find the perfect güiro, a bolang gu or a pellet drum, and a few other instruments and Peggy’s ensemble will be well equipped to entertain.

Steve joined a few ‘Old Salts’ to take in the practice trials in preparation for the upcoming annual Banderas Bay Regatta (BBR).

Our next port of call is Marina Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta (PV). Family and friends arrival will allow us to host and entertain while getting on the water and explore the magnificent Banderas Bay, the Cabo Corrientes/Gold coastline, down to Barra de Navidad.