If you found this blog via a link from a cruising site ~ we did cruise Mexico on our Ocean 49 cat for a season. See the first text box on the right for links to our preparations, trip down Baja, life in Mexico, cruising and trip back up to SoCal. Unfortunately we are back to the grind in the USA...
Our marina puts out a very nice newsletter each month (comes with our giant slip bill...) and this month "Guavi" made the cruising section! Now they are famous... Our marina is a "live-a-board" marina, where every other boat is a liveaboard. Our sailing area, California's Channel Islands is a great area to learn the cruising ropes. A lot of people say "if you can sail the Channel Islands, you can sail anywhere", which means a lot of our neighbors go cruising!
The guys arrived in Barillas Marina Bahia de Jiquilisco, El Salvador on Thursday, April 26th. "Guavi" is on a mooring. They have cell service and internet service at the marina. On Friday they rented a car and drove up into the mountains that are full of coffee bean plantations. The area around the marina is a sugar-cane growing area. They are planning on leaving El Salvador on Sunday afternoon, heading to Costa Rica. They have about 200 miles to go to "head of the Papagayo", where they will hope for good weather to go the remaining 50 miles to Cocos (where I will meet them).
Ok, so Ariel takes my husband away for something like three months - right? Am I going to send Jim empty-handed? Nooooo... so I created the "Mystery Bags"!! (that's actually Michele's name for them)! They are lunch bags with either special dates on them, such as holidays or "open when" dates on them, such as "Haven't Caught a Fish in Days?". Each bag has instructions inside and they HAVE to follow the instructions exactly! The the gift inside is wrapped, so they have to read the instructions first. So far they have had "St. Patrick's Day", with a shotglass and cards, "Stan's Birthday" with cards, his birthday prince hat, horns and a lei, "Easter" which is shown in the posts, "Nothing Funny About Today?" with the coconut top, and a few others. Jim, being my husband, also got his own bag full of cards to open!
Sunday 04-15-07 Left Las Hadas, Manzanillo and overnighted to Ixtapa, just North of Zihuatanejo. Jim said it was the nicest trip between Manzanillo & Zihuatanejo yet! They went into the marina to fuel up, wash the boat and do laundry. I do have one photo of when we were at Ixtapa Marina...
Monday 04-16-07 Ixtapa Marina - did the fueling, washing, etc Tuesday 04-17-07 Zihuatenejo! They got laundry done here and did the provisioning. They also went out to the "rib place" Alan raved about and a nice dinner. After walking around the town, Jim said he realized why I always liked that town - the walking streets, how clean it is, the excellent provisioning etc. There were only a few other boats in the anchorage with one being some people Ariel had met out at the Channel Islands! Jim did have a personal "Mystery Bag" to open here... a box of Imodium. If you want to know why, ask him about the time we left Zihua heading back to Manzanillo and I had to single-hand for 32 hours...
Wednesday 04-18-07 More provisioning in Zihua and left for the two-nighter to Huatulco.
Friday 04-20-07 Huatulco! They went into the marina to do "whatever" and started talking to the guys on the boat behind them and Jim realized it was Ed, who we had met on Kent's Columbia 50 "Magnet" in May of 2000 in San Juanico in the Sea of Cortez AND then a few months later Ed pulled his own boat into the slip next to "Thistle" at Ventura West Marina! Small world!
Saturday 04-21-07 Still Huatulco - fueled up and had beers with the marina manager (remember I'm not there, so I'm not getting a whole lot of details here...)
Sunday 04-22-07 Leaving Huatulco to cross the infamous "Tehuanapec" on their way to El Salvador. For the non-cruisers, "The Tehuanapec", as it is called is the narrow part of Mexico where the winds will howl across the land and out onto the gulf. Seas will build up and cause for a rocky and rolly ride. Some people chose to cross it as fast as possible, by going straight across. Others chose to "keep one foot on the beach" or skirt the gulf close to shore. It adds more miles but then you don't get the big seas. Jim had taken his laptop to a hamburger / internet place where we had a good "skype" connection, so we talked for a half hour or so (I stared into the webcam and Jim & Ariel drank "Montejo Beers"). They left that night around 6 pm with 60 miles to Salina Cruz (the head of the Tehuanapec) and 190 miles to Puerto Madero, which they were planning on bypassing. Then 240 miles to Barillas, El Salvador, their next stop. This will be their longest leg for a total of 500 miles and 4 nights at sea.
Tuesday 04-24-07 My phone rang at 7:30 this am!! They were off of Puerto Madero and amazingly enough had cell reception. The crossing of "The Tehuanapec" was great - no big winds, so they were happy! All was going well and they figured they would be in El Salvador on Thursday. Jim was lucky enough to have a few cards out of the "Mystery Bags" to open - one being when the Tehuanapec was crossed, one passing Guatemala and one when he gets to El Salvador.
And now me! I just made my reservations to fly to Liberia, Costa Rica on Saturday 05-12-07 for a week! Yahoo!
Alan and Ariel left Jim & I alone in the cockpit for the last hour or two. So we played with the camera and started talking about my next visit. All four of us along with my backpack and duffle bag crammed into the dinghy to go into the marina to the dinghy dock. Walked up thru the grounds to the lobby and hailed a cab.
Gave hugs to Alan and Ariel and waved good-bye!!! As the taxi drove Jim & I up the hill, we ran into Danny, Deborah, Terry and Jonesy again!! More goodbyes thru the taxi window and out to the main road. It took us about a half hour or so to get to the airport, then it was the "hurry up and wait thing". My plane was delayed for over an hour, so it gave us more time together. It was very, very hard to say "adios" to Jim, as I really would have rather stayed with him... Oh well, Costa Rica will be here before I know it!
Said "adios" to "Cyclades" and "Niki Wiki"... Pulled anchor and headed towards Punta Santiago. Was able to pick out the house owned by Mark and Kathy of "Lisa Marie" (if they still own it - we haven't talked to them since 2000). Cruised around the point so Ariel and Alan could see all the incredible houses! Motored around behind the breakwall at Las Hadas (famous for the filming of the lame movie "10" way back a bazillion years ago) and found a spot to anchor.The view of Las Hadas is actually very nice during the day and beautiful when lit up at night. Unfortunately, the boats anchored end up being the turning pin for the jet skis...
I made tuna sandwiches and got my stuff together as I was flying back home that afternoon. Since we were all sad I was leaving, I felt it was time for a MYSTERY BAG! And I just happened to have the perfect bag! So I asked the guys to make sad faces: Jim opened the bag and pulled out the instructions, which said, "Take off your shirts" (it was amazing how well these guys follow my instructions...) The rest of the instructions said "Try this on and take photos!", so Jim opened the inside "mystery gift" and oh boy, what do we have here???
It was kind of scary watching this - I think they liked it more than they should... the coconuts are now tied to the net hanging in the aft part of the cockpit, should they get some weird desire to wear them again... yikes, I hope not!!
Back to the boats to clean up and relax a bit before getting together for dinner. Jim and Ariel started dinner preparations (which includes opening wine)...
I had brought a bottle of late harvest dessert wine, so Jim & I shared that!
Ariel wouldn't accept any help in the galley, so I relaxed in the cockpit.
Jim enjoyed his LAST Sierra Nevada!
Alan and Danny had the same shirt on - all the way from Key West, Florida!
Ariel made a wonderful paella for dinner! We had coco-locos with fresh coconut milk. Had a beautiful sunset off the bow and the fresh churros for dessert. Then watched a movie in the cockpit (Jim fell asleep...)
Then back to the beach to join the 5,000 people! This kid cracked me up! He was building a sand castle and would run down to the water for "supplies" and then run back up to his castle, never taking off the blue tube!
These kids offered to share their pool with us! It had about 3 inches of sandy, dirty water inside, so we passed...
We loved this! This is one of my pictures for my "Only in Mexico Book". Did someone actually ride the bike here with all these toys already blown up? Or does he ride the bike to the beach, then sit & blow these up for the next three hours? There was an airplane in there somewhere we wanted to buy for Ariel, but he said he was sick of planes...
Found a table under the sea of umbrellas and it was time for some rum drinks, excellent shrimp ceviche and guacamole!
Jim just couldn't say no to this little girl, so we are now the proud owners of this octopus!
Jim sharing his drink with me! Since we would be heading over to Las Hadas in the morning, and wouldn't be seeing "the gang" anymore, we invited them over for dinner. Ariel bought some shrimp from one of the restaurants, some coconuts from another and then fresh churros from these men who were making them on the beach!
Everyone up late as usual (except me who did get up to see the sunrise, which isn't saying much as the sun rises at 7:45 here...).
Watched some pangas come in being followed by 100's of birds - they must have had a good catch!
Danny and Deborah came for a visit (no one can resist these bunny glasses...) and to decide what to do on my last full day! One of the things on my list was to go explore the hotel on the hill again and use their pool. Alan decided to stay on the boat, so Danny, Deborah, Jim, Ariel and I went in. Another exciting lagoon entrance with the current fighting us the whole way!
We walked across the bridge and up to the top pool (the one with the swim up bar of course!) and went for a swim up to the bar! Ariel had given Deborah a "Guavi" hat. She was thrilled about it and was threatening to embroider "Deborah" in bright pink across the back, so Danny wouldn't swipe it from her.
We had a beer (or two) and a little rum and Ariel yakked with the bartender. It felt good to be in some fresh water, even with a little chlorine! There are two lower pools, one being a "lazy river" that encircles the other one. The views from the hotel of the beach and lagoon are beautiful!
Caught the 6 peso bus back to Bahia Santiago and then grabbed a couple of cabs for the mile or so back to the beach. The beach was packed with a few thousand Mexican people playing in the sand, eating, swimming, burying each other and playing with the blow-up plastic beach toys!
We found a table for the eight of us (Danny, Deborah, Jonesy, Terry, Ariel, Alan, Jim & me). Ariel had a coco-loco (crazy to me as there was tequila instead of rum in it), and the rest of us had a couple of beers.
Terry was just finishing up knitting a pair of baby socks. She gave them to Alan as a gift for his new granddaughter, Avery.
Here we all are (except me, as I was taking the picture)!
Danny and Deborah decided to take their coconuts "to go" and make their drinks on the boat. The waiters selected then stripped the coconuts for them.
Ariel and Alan headed into the town of Santiago to get Alan a haircut, have dinner and explore. So Danny, Deborah, Jim & I went to "Cyclades" for some Arrogant Bastard Ale for the guys, vino for me and a pomegranate tequila margarita for Deborah!
We cruised Mexico's West Coast for 3 years on our prior boat, "Thistle" a Columbia 50. Went back to California in 2000 and bought the "new boat" in 2004. We then spent a year and a half cruising in Mexico. We just did the "Baja Bash" ~ sailed up the outside of Baja and returned to SoCal! We are We are now back to work for awhile...
A thought we say to ourselves everyday:
"You'll only regret the things you didn't do".
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." ~ Mark Twain
"Life is either a daring adventure or Nothing." ~ Helen Keller
"A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for." ~ John A. Shedd
"Make it happen." ~ Alan Burg of the sailing vessel Toshal
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the places and moments that take our breath away." ~ Anonymous
“Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.” ~ Rabbi Hyman Schachtel
"Make 'someday' today." ~ From inside a Dove candy wrapper