Saturday, January 3, 2015
Todays Destination....Nuevo Vallarta
We Left Mazatlan on Saturday, December 27th at 15:00 after filling the fuel tank. Since we had successfully installed a CPT autopilot on Christmas day, this short 18 hour tour had promise of a whole new type of underway adventure for us.
The Autopilot worked just as it should for the first nine hours or so. I had the 2-5 am shift. The CPT quit doing it's job. My guess was that the belt was loose and we would figure it out in the day light. I am old hat at hand steering under motor…..so, no biggie. Scott came up for the 5-8 shift and found me a little disappointed that our new crew member had dropped the ball. He confirmed the belt was loose, did some adjustments, and took over for his shift with the CPT fully operational (lucky him).
We had a course set for a stop at Isla Isabela. It is home to hundreds, including frigate birds, blue and yellow footed boobies, turns and gulls. There are literally huge flocks of birds constantly circling this island. We pulled in to the south anchorage around 09:00 on the 28th. We get ready to drop anchor and all we see is a rocky and foul bottom ocean floor. Scott spies a bit of a sandy spot and we drop the hook only to find that the actor drug far enough to get caught in the boulder area. We made 3 attempts to anchor. The third time the anchor got lodged and a fellow boater used his dinghy to pull it out backward. Our anchor was saved from the anchor graveyard at Isabela. We opted to skip the island and continue southbound to San Blas and Mantanchen Bay. Around 8 hours later (17:30) we dropped anchor in 13 feet depth with sand bottom, had dinner of hamburgers and fresh oranges, killed mosquitos and no see-ums, sealed the door from further invasion of the pests and nestled in for the evening. I am sure the three of us were sound asleep by 7:30 (definitely NOT uncommon).
Up with the sun, fresh perked coffee, breakfast of potatoes, eggs,sausage, and o.j., then in the dinghy and off to shore we go! We landed Fresh on the beach in front of a palapa that called themselves, "Calamar," Edjardo is the manager of this palapa and is quite pleased to watch our dinghy for the day and serve us lunch upon our return (for a few pesos, of course). And so we begin our walk through town on the dusty streets of San Blas Mexico. We encounter several palapas selling banana bread (pan de plantano) and cold coconut water (frio coco aqua). We partake and thoroughly enjoy both. We meander our way to the sight of the pangas that depart for a 2 hour "lagoon jungle trip." We are guaranteed to see crocodiles, turtles, a variety of plants and birds, jaguar, wild boar and coati. 150 pesos each (the 4 year old is free) and we are on a panga going down the river spotting croc, turtles, plants, and birds. Part of the tour included a drop off at a small zoo where we saw the other animals. It was a pleasant day trip and we were back at palapa Calamar by 16:00. Just in time for a delightful lunch that included coconut shrimp, lobster, ceviche, fresh limeade, and cold cerveza. We made it back to the boat in time to close ourselves and lock out the biting bugs that come out at sun set. I braved the bugs to capture a photo of a post card perfect sunset.
We stayed another day here in San Blas in order to explore the historical town. This is where the Spaniards built the vessels used for exploring the west coast of North America.
On New Years Eve (day) at 09:00 we pulled up anchor and set course for Chacala. This was an easy 5 hour tour. A beautiful and peaceful little anchorage with a nice beach where palapas lined the shore front. Minutes after dropping the hook both of the boys were in the water. Bucket making laps around the boat while Scott scraped barnacles and coral worms from the bottom (this indicates that we will be hauling out soon for new bottom paint). There were fire works, all amateur, but a lot of them starting at dusk going on through midnight and shortly after. Again, we were in bed and asleep by 20:00 (8 pm). We could hear the grand fire work show at midnight and the music of celebration well past 02:00. We went onto shore the next day around 14:00, had an appetizer and was back at the boat by 17:00. We are party animals!
Today we got underway at 07:00 and will arrive in Nuevo Vallarta around 15:00. I anticipate being in Paradise Village Marina for at least 10 days. We may get the boat hauled out here.