December 14, 2005

La Cruz & Happy Holidays to All??

After arriving in LaCruz, a great little fishing village just up the road/bay from Puerto Vallarta, it was easy to see that we would stay here through the Christmas holiday before heading further south.

The morning after we arrived we took our life into our hands and took the 30 minute bus ride from LaCruz into town (PV) with Dennis & Susan, from “Two Can Play.” It was almost everything we could have imagined… some wild driving, potholes, dirt roads, people getting on and off the bus, hanging in the isles, and a guy playing guitar and singing his heart out for tips! (The way Loren & Don drive, we believe we have found the perfect retirement jobs for them... become a bus driver in Mexico! Hey, come to think of it Loren & Patty could even open a marina and rent out pangas too?! ) The bus system is actually pretty good but you really have to know where you are going as the trip into PV stops in several small towns and you have to know when to get off and change busses – good thing Dennis and Susan knew their way around. Went to Zaragozas, the largest marine store around – then it was onto Walmart to pick up munchies for a get together at Paradise Village Marina and then back on the bus for the trip back to our boats. We missed our stop so when Ken tried to explain to the bus driver (in his best Spanish??) where we were going, he pulled over at the side of the freeway and said “get out.” We had to figure out how to cross the road and where to pick up the next bus…. and it was dark. Not too bad but a memorable experience none the less.

After the bus escapade we went to Philos for ribs and music. (Philo’s is a restraurant/bar that a cruiser opened in LaCruz about 5 years ago - they play music and cater to the many cruisers in this area.) Ken was in rare form and doing his chair dance which was a real crowd pleaser... Purely legendary! A retired High School Principal plays the washboard which was a wild get up... a small washboard with cowbells, symbols, and a tambourine mounted to it ...maybe another retirement job for Ron Peavy?)

When we are at anchor (like we have been for a while now) we take our dinghy around a small breakwater, where all the fishing pangas are, and land on the sand, then pull the dinghy up on shore – pulling it way up on shore to make sure the tide does not come up and float it away (which has happened more than once!) We now know why people like inflatable dingy’s with wheels on them … they are lite and easy to move up and out of the way when you go to shore. The little Boston Whaler we use for a dingy is very heavy (200 lbs + an outboard engine and gear.) It is like trying to move a 300+ pound walrus up a hill through deep sand…. What were we thinkin’??? We get a real workout – much less weird looks! Ken has figured out a way to make it a little easier by using a few small round fenders to move the whaler up and out of the way at the dinghy landings? A little unconventional but what’s new?

Ken has been spending time working on the alternator and several other projects on the boat. We also spend a fair amount of time logging/journaling as well as getting together with others in our anchorage. We had a great dinner with Caston & Lauren from “Southern Cross” who have been friends of Sue McPherson’s for years. On 12-10-05 Ken & I took the bus to PV and toured the Marina Vallarta area, which is right next to downtown PV. Then it was over to Paradise Village and the Yacht clubs chili cook-off. Ended the day at Mango’s Grill, listening to a group of cruisers play music.

Dec 11,12... We spent a few quiet days on the boat with just the two of us!! Made bread, journaled, Ken read, napped, and watched a movie... Ah, the comforts of home! Taking some time just for ourselves to quietly reflect on our trip and new venture in life is something special. We’ve found it is easy to get caught up in always having something to do, somewhere to go, someone to see – whether you are out in the ocean on a boat, or busy at home, with work, activities, etc.- it is very special to take the time to reflect on what really matters in your life, what is really important in your individual life and in your lives together. It is admittedly much easier to do this while bobbing about in the ocean than it is when caught up in the “busyness” of life. However, we really encourage all our friends and family to regularly create the time to do so with your loved ones as often as possible….and if you need a place to get away and do that... come see us!

12-13-05: Surfs up!!!! The swell was big today so Ken and Caston went boogie boarding/surfing for the morning. We tried to take our little dink into shore for the afternoon, but the swells (you know…. the ones that were so cool you could surf on in the morning) were so big that as we approached the shore we could tell we were asking to get swamped and go for a swim, as our dink only has about 6-8” of freeboard! Well, that didn’t look like much fun, cuz we had our computer and other things in the boat that couldn’t get wet... so we retreated back to the boat again for the afternoon and evening.

On 12-14-05 we decided it was time to head out to see the sights in the big city of Puerto Vallarta today. We took the bus (we are actually beginning to figure out the tricks of the trade with the bus system now) and off to “Old Town” and the “Zona Romantica” we went. The contrast between the small town we are anchored in the hustle and bustle of downtown P.V. is dramatic. People at every corner trying to sell you something... in spite of that it was a great place to visit. The dome of our Lady of Guadalupe Cathedral, which was a replica of Queen Carlotta’s crown, was spectacular and they had a mass going on which made it that much more magical and historic. It is the crowning glory of the City and inside the church almost makes you think you were in Rome for a minute! Here comes the small world thing again... we ran into Jim Bollingmo’s dad (& his dads wife, Susan) in the middle of town today. It was nice getting to catch up with them and tell a few Jim stories. Then it was off to Walmart (yes, they actually have a Walmart and Sams club here) to do a little provisioning... Ken hasn’t had any bagels for two days now and he is going thru withdrawals. Took the bus back to LaCruz and had dinner at a great little taco stand in the street. Because of the setting, the good food, and the simple ness of the place, it was a favorite. Picture a home in the middle of town where they simply put tables and chairs out in front of it – in the street – and the family does the cooking on a big grill that is also in the street. They made homemade tortillas on the grill with big pans of beef, pork & chicken cooking along side. While the family was cooking the kids were playing on the sidewalk, cats were sauntering through, and when Ken ordered a cerveza, they ran to the corner store and bought him one to go with his dinner! The best part... 4 tacos, 2 quesadillas, and 2 beers for the whopping price of $54pesos (ie $5.40) To finish the day off we went to Brittanias to listen to some music (2 drinks apiece =$24!) then a quick dinghy ride back to our humble abode!

In order to have good water, we have a water maker on board which converts salt water to fresh water at a rate of about 20 gallons per hour. Red tide has been prevalent in the water in Bandaras Bay (which is where LaCruz/Puerto Vallarta is) for the better part of two weeks now. The problem that creates is that you really want good clear water to make fresh water out of... so we headed out of the Bay and went to the Tres Marietas, which is a group of three small islands just outside of Bandaras Bay for a day. We carry 150 gallons of water that we try to make last for 7 to 10 days…. talk about conservation. (Hey Bill & our DWP buddies, try that out for a conservation campaign back home!) It was about a 3 hour trip each way so that allowed us to make a fair amount of water while we were underway. Speaking of underway... we saw whales all around the islands. At one point we could see about 10++ whales all blowing and surfacing in the same area. They definitely kept their distance but it was verrrrry cooool to see!! Many of our friends from Isla Isabela and LaPaz are beginning to trickle into the anchorage as Christmas approaches.

We plan to spend Christmas in LaCruz and will head south soon after. The cruisers all donate money and items for the children in LaCruz and on Christmas Eve give out presents/stockings to about 350 kids all dressed in their Sunday best at Philo’s. That is followed with a turkey dinner and potluck for the cruisers in the anchorage.

Although we are finding that a cruisers plans change daily, our plans are to head south until April and then back to the Sea of Cortez for the spring. Keri (our youngest, who lives in Sacramento/Lake Tahoe) is graduating from Nursing School in June, and Kim (our oldest, now living in Breckenridge, Co.) is getting married in Big Bear next August... So at this point the only thing we know for sure is that we will be home for a few months this summer and then back out on the ocean.

We feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to pursue some of our dreams this year and we really thank all our family and friends for all the support and encouragement that has helped make our cruising fantasies a reality. We wish our family and friends back home, as well as our new cruiser buddies, a happy and healthy holiday season and encourage you to pursue your dreams... they really are fun!!!

“May your adventures take you to where only your dreams have dared to go”

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