Monday, January 30, 2012

Gonna have to say adios to La Cruz

By Aaron

Hard to believe we’ve been here over a month.  And what a month it’s been!  Happy hour at Huanacaxtle Cafe.  Relaxing on the boat.  Relaxing on the beach with a book.  Day trips to Bucerias, Sayulita, Punta de Mita…  Lazy hot afternoons, sleeping in… I’ve said before that cruising isn’t like being on vacation but it sure has felt like vacation during our stay here.  We’ve been hanging out with some really fun people and sometimes we wish this time here with them could just go on forever. 

P1260066There were plenty of toasts to be had – Chope draft is only 10 pesos, about 77 cents US. 

P1260067Some of the regulars at Huanacaxtle Cafe

Alas, the sea calls to us.  And maybe we’re getting a little too comfortable in this awesome little town.  It’s going to be hard, but in a few days we’ll dust off the sails and get underway again for points further south.  But our time here is going to be one that we’ll cherish forever.  La Cruz and our friends there have set the cruising bar pretty damn high.

P1280133We moved Bella Star out to the anchorage a few days ago and are getting ready to hit the road.  The goodbyes are getting harder these days.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Day trip to Sayulita

By Nicole

What’s better than spending the day lounging on the beach, bodyboarding in the waves and shopping in a quaint beachside town with your friends? 

Well, not much.

We took the bus out to the cool surf town of Sayulita today, and had a great time being beach bums with Erlin and Jenn of Ventured (whom I’m sure you know by now).  Although it’s a tourist town at heart, Sayulita had a charming, laid-back vibe that I really liked.

Sun, surf and a cool vibe (no, I didn’t take this picture… it’s from National Geographic, but it captures the feeling better than I did)

The crew heading down to la playa

The water was warm and the sun was out, so we just had to spend hours bodyboarding (and snorting our fair share of salt water).  It would’ve been wrong not to, really.  So. Much. Fun.  I’m buying my own board.  And I just might take surfing lessons.

We girls had no trouble riding waves all the way in

Sandy, salty, beachy

While the boys hung out on the beach, Jenn and I poked around the cute shops and galleries in town, and stopped for some icy beverages at a coffee/juice bar owned by an Englishman with a jaunty accent.  Why haven’t I thought to add a squeeze of coconut cream to my iced coffees before today?!

We also saw this awesome sign:

Because nothing says “this is Mexico” like a huge picture of masked
lucha libre wrestlers hanging on a bright pink wall in a chill surfer town.

After 6+ hours of beach time, we brushed off the sand, rinsed off our flip flops and hopped on a standing-room only bus back home to La Cruz.

Tired, happy campers post-beach

Today was a good day.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The jungle/beach hike and the ghost resort

By Aaron
There is a very nice ex-pat named April who has lived here in La Cruz since 1985.  We heard her on the morning cruiser’s net offering to take people on various guided hikes for very reasonable rates, so we gave her a call and set one up along with the crews of Hello World, Panache, and Ventured.  Our hike would take us over 4 miles through the jungle and beaches along the coast, from Boca de Tomatlan to Quimixto.  These small towns are connected by the trail only, and you can either walk, ride a horse, or ride in a water taxi to get to them. 
DSC_1616The start of our hike from the river at Boca de Tomatlan.
DSC_1617Start of the trail…
DSC_1620The bridges steadily decreased in quality from this point on
DSC_1630One person on the bridge at a time seems like a good rule of thumb
DSC_1642Making our way down to a little cove
DSC_1643Didn’t even have to ask them to smile for this shot – this is just what you look like when it’s 80 degrees in January
DSC_1646Arrival at the cove
DSC_1663We also had to hike along the beach in several spots.  Darn.
DSC_1657Jason had some lifesaving advice for me on crossing the next bridge
DSC_1661The trail went on and on along empty beaches…
DSC_1665Be careful which trees you lean against to take a break.  The term “Montezuma’s revenge” comes from this tree.  It’s poisonous and apparently some native Mexicans tried to kill several Spaniards with it but only succeeded in giving them diarrhea for several weeks.  
DSC_1667Onward we marched
Soon we came upon an unusual place… an abandoned resort.  Our guide told us that the owner was coming ashore in a panga full of guests when the panga got overturned by a wave.  The owner unfortunately broke his back in the accident and swore to never visit the resort again.  And he never has. 
DSC_1671Approaching the ghost resort…
DSC_1686The resort can still boast fantastic views
DSC_1678Zack, taking an imaginary soak in the hot tub.  With a bunch of imaginary hot chicks. 
DSC_1685There’s not much left of the resort, but the headboards and end tables are still holding up well
DSC_1689Nicole checking out the ruins
DSC_1688Sadly, not even the hotel bar has survived the elements
DSC_1687And it’s mostly just coconuts meandering the hotel grounds these days
Our guide says that the property is for sale and she has some contacts – she can get you a really good deal!  Anyway, after some time exploring the ghost resort we moved on down the beach, shooting a few postcard pictures along the way.
We eventually came upon another resort.  We saw a few staff, but no guests enjoying the tropical atmosphere.
DSC_1709The non-abandoned resorts looked much nicer
DSC_1710If we were staying here this is where you would find us
DSC_1712We eventually reached the village of Las Animas and stopped at a palapa for lunch.
DSC_1717After lunch we continued on through the jungle.  The movie Predator was filmed here!
DSC_1726A random bar along the trail, this was the Charly Bar and Grill
DSC_1729The hike was to end at a waterfall.  For 150 pesos you can take a horse up to the falls but we walked.
DSC_1734A few more bridges to cross…
DSC_1732It’s hard to tell from the picture, but that last 1/4 mile was pretty steep – I’ll be taking the horse next time.
DSC_1733Nicole is in pretty good shape though and didn’t mind the incline
DSC_1738The end of our hike…  Fortunately we didn’t have to walk all the way back – we took a water taxi back to Boca de Tomatlan.
Many thanks to April for a great hike and for providing us with such a wealth of information that we wouldn’t have had otherwise!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Still in La Cruz… and loving it

By Aaron
It’s been really nice to stay in one spot for awhile.  Several other boats are doing the same thing, and there has been no end to the various fun activities that fill up our days.  And the weather has been absolutely fantastic!  It’s in the upper 70s every day and frequently over 80.  Last week we had one day set a new Bella Star high temperature record...
IMG_7569At least there was a nice breeze blowing
We recently went on a sail aboard SV Profligate.  This is a huge 60-something foot catamaran owned by the publisher of Latitude 38.  We had a wonderful time, and many thanks to Richard and Donna for inviting everyone out.
IMG_0092Nicole and Rachael making up some appetizers for the sail
IMG_7577Upon rounding the point coming out of the marina we saw a boat (Looks like a Hans Christian 34 or 36?) washed up on the beach.
IMG_7592After several unsuccessful attempts to drag the boat off the beach by the four pangas, a patrol boat took a halyard from the top of the mast and powered up their three 250hp engines – this heeled the sailboat over and the pangas were able to pull it off the beach.  Scary thing to see though… and rocks were on either side of the beach so it could have ended pretty badly.  But if you have to go ashore like that, a Hans Christian is a good boat to do it in.
So after the drama on the beach we got back to work relaxing and sailing on Profligate.  And wow is she a fast boat!  Much more than double our hull speed without even working at it. 
IMG_0314Thanks to Lori on SV Camelot for taking some pictures of us!
IMG_0365That’s Tom from SV Camelot on the left, and our friends Erlin and Jen from Ventured
IMG_0395Here’s Erlin multi-tasking with a Modelo
IMG_7595Nicole considering laying down on the trampoline
IMG_7598Decision made
The next day the crews of SV Panache and Ventured joined us for a walk down the beach to the town of Bucerias – about a 2 mile walk.
IMG_7613Zack, a professional photographer, “doesn’t DO sepia” but here he is in Sepia.
IMG_7608Checking out Bucerias
It was hot and the walk was long so we were forced to drink several ballenas of Pacifico once we arrived.  Then we got hungry and of course we stopped for some tacos.
IMG_7609I’m not sure why, but I really like that soda is served in bottles down here.
IMG_7610After lunch we needed some dessert.
Bellies satiated, we took the bus back to La Cruz and coincidentally arrived just in time for happy hour at the Huancaxtle Café.
IMG_7604Like this picture, the rest of the evening is somewhat of a blur.