Monday, March 7, 2011

Las Hadas, Santiago, to Banderas Bay

We left Ixtapa Marina early in the morning on Feb. 19th. We have an over night passage back to Las Hadas bay at Manzanillo as we continue our trip north.

The passage was was mostly uneventful. We did have to dodge a pod of whales as they swam across our bow, too close for comfort for me (which will really take on new meaning in an event that happens later in the blog). We arrive in Las Hadas anchorage at 12:00 pm. ,time enough to go to shore and get some shopping done. Then back to the boat for much needed rest.

Las Hadas is in the North West corner of Manzanillo Bay. You anchor in front of a very picturest Hotel, all in white. There is a marina there where you can also park the dingy. When you pay the fee in also includes use of the pool facilitiesl Many of the cruisers take advantage of that.

We decide to go around the point to Bahia Santiago as we only spent one night there on our trip south. Here it is quieter and you can do an easy beach landing to enjoy the nice beach, or take the short walk to the bus stop. We take the bus to Santiago to explore this small town. It is also where I go with several of the gals to take in the Saturday "flea market". Here there are many booths of: tourist items, clothes, kitchen items, bookleg videos and cd's and fruit and veggies. I buy fruit and veggies.

We spend several nights here, enjoying the company of cruisers, the warm lovely breezes, and the tuba music from shore. It seems that tuba, along with an accordian and drummer are popular roving entertainment for the mexican tourists on the beach. But only the tuba carries out to the boat, and man, he must have a set of lungs as it goes on all day.

I thought you may be interested what we do while we are anchored. Here is what a typical day (this one in Las Hadas, taken from my diary) at anchor on the boat is like:

  • get up 7:30 ish make coffee turn on the VHF radio, drink coffee in the cockpit and look for dolphins or sea birds.

  • listen to the cruiser radio "net" for local weather, boat check in (who's in the area) and check outs (who's leaving), anouncements etc.
  • make breakfast, eggs, sausage, oranges

  • rinse off boat with fresh water (it was very salty from the passage), as we had plenty of water

  • clean windows on the dodger, wipe down the stainless steel (there is a lot of that on the boat), shake out rugs, dust and wipe down the interior of the boat
  • take a rest, and check emails (we are getting good wi-fi here), read a book

  • get into the dingy and visit our neighbor boat, Groovy (met them here before)

  • make lunch, tuna sands, chips and apple

  • go to marina to get rid of a bag of garbage, look for a part in the chadlery

  • return to boat, study spanish, read, research on the internet

  • cocktail hour rum and cokes with chips and salsa

  • cook and eat dinner, soft tacos

  • watch sunset

  • clean up galley

  • watch 2 episodes of X-files on DVD

  • bed at 9:30, write in diary, and read
We stay in Santiago for several days then raise anchor on Sunday the 27th for the short trip Tenacatita. This trip starts out very nice, and I set out the fishing lines. The wind starts to build so we raise our sails. By early afternoon the wind is building to 20-25 knots. We put a reef in the main and jib. The wind contiues to build 25-30 knots. The seas are also building at this time. We do not feel unsafe just want to get to where we are going as it is a bit uncomfortable. Well, I decide that it is too rolly to try and take in the fishing lines, I will do it in the ancorage I tell myself. So along we go, heading for our next stop.

After a while I take a look out the stern of the boat to check the lines and too my horror, I see a bird attached. We are still several miles out and in very lumpy windy conditions. It would be too dangerous to try to reel in the line. There is nothing I can do. On top of that I see that my two lines are getting very tangled together. Again, nothing I can do until we are in protected waters. So along we go. We are about 2 miles from the bay when again I look back at my line ( it is only one line now as the two have become one twisted line) and see a fish on! He his caught on the second lure. Still nothing I can do until we reach the bay, so he is pulled along. At least he will be dead when I reel him in and will save me from having to bonk him on the head.

Finally we reach the bay. We lower the sail and slow down. Now for the work of getting the bird and fish in. Hand over hand I bring in the line as Mel feeds it onto the paddle. First I dislodge the bird and give it a burial at sea. Next I am getting to the fish, which is still on, and as he gets close to the boat I see he is still alive and starts to fight me! But he is tired so it is not hard to bring him up on the swim step. At first I think it is a Yellow fin tuna, but later research tells me it is a Crevalle jack, not good eating if over 1.5 ft. he is 30" long and must weigh 20lbs, but he makes a tasty dinner, with proper marinade.
We have a very nice and relaxing time in Tenakatita. One day we take a cab to the cute oceanside town of La Manzallia. A nice, pretty little town. There is an estuary here where you can see crocs. We walk the beach and have lunch.

One of the habits cruisers get into is leaving your VHF radio on (usually on channel 22a) This is how other folks in the anchorage contact one another throughout the day. It turns into a party line as we all listen in on the conversations. The proper etiquette is to call the boat name you want to talk to and then say your boat name, "Windy, Windy, Windy, this is Mazu". You then wait for them to answer then you change to a different channel as to keep 22a clear. Of course others may change to that channel too to listen in. I admit I am guilty of this, it is human nature I guess. Sometimes if one of the boats signal is not strong or is far away you may only hear one side of a conversation. This is what happend while we were in Tenacatita, which is too bad as it is very dramatic. Here is what happened.

I could hear over the radio the boat next to me asking another boats its position, then I could hear him ask if they needed assistance. Then I heard him ask if they wanted him to call the Navy. Then I heard him say that he was getting into his dingy now and comming out to help. By this time others must have heard because several dingys and one sail boat were on their way. Of course once we saw there was ample help going Mel and I were glued to the radio. As we were listening we gathered that a sail boat just outside the bay were were in had an encounter with a whale. It seems that a whale came up on the side of there boat and was bumping it. Then it went under the boat and they thought it was hitting the boat with its tail. They were of course very frightend, it when on for a while. The boat was taking on water, (not good). The guys who went out to help were able to get the water stopped and the boat was towed in to the bay. Here one of the guys dove on the boat and discovered that the propeler shaft and rudder were damaged. They left early the next morning trying to get to Puerto Vallarta to effect repairs. All this was relayed over the VHF radio. An important safety and communication device for us.
One of the traditions in Tenakatita is Friday cocktail hour raft-up. All the dingys meet in the bay and raft up to each other. We pass snacks around and we enjoy cocktails, snacks, and conversation. The host of the event is the "Mayor" you are elected mayor if you have been in the bay the longest on Friday. You are responsible for making a toast to start the evening.
We leave early Saturday morning for an overnight passage around Cabo Corrientes. You must time your passage around this point during periods of low winds. Most cruisers go around at night or early morning. You then round the point into Baderas Bay, home to Puerto Vallarta and La Cruz.

We have a great sail in light wind with our colorful spinnaker out. I catch another Crevalle, bigger than the first, 36" long and again very heavy...

We lower our spinnaker in the early evening prior to dark. The wind has died so we motor sail with just our main sail up.

We pass around Cabo Corrientes at about midnight. This puts us into Banderas Bay way before daylight. So we slow down and finally at at about 5am we just turn off the motor and drift while we wait for enough light to get into the anchorage.

We are now safe and sound hanging on the hook. We have napped and I am now cooking dinner.
today, March 8th we spend the day exporing La Cruz, a very small village. It seems very remote but it is just a few miles from Puerto Vallarta.
We have breakfast at Anna Bannanas and lunch too..
  • my big fish
  • Mel relaxes in the central "square" in La Cruz
  • A croc in La Manzallia
  • On the beach in La Manzallia

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