Cruising the “Gold Coast” of Mexico
Here’s a brief itinerary of our travels since we returned from the Holidays in South America. We departed Puerto Vallarta in late January and made a fairly quick trip south to Zihuatanejo, stopping at the beautiful bays of Ipala, Chamela, Careyitos (Playa Blanca), Tenacatita (the set for the new McHale’s Navy movie), Navidad and Manzanillo (Las Hadas). After three weeks in Zihuatanejo, we scraped the barnacles off Moonshadow’s bottom and headed north again, spending more time in our favorite spots. After returning to what feels like our home port of Puerto Vallarta for a couple of weeks, we headed north again, stopping at Punta de Mita, Isla Isabela and Mazatlan. We then headed west across the Sea of Cortez to La Paz for Race Week and to leave Moonshadow for our trip to New Orleans Jazz Festival and San Francisco.
St. Patrick’s week at Barra de Navidad and the huge party at Phil’s Place (Los Pelicanos), the greatest cruiser hangout on the coast. Hanging out on “Super Bowl Sunday” at Club Med Playa Blanca in Careyitos. Killer windsurfing in Zihuat Bay. Valentines dinner, dancing and skinny dipping at a posh resort called Porto Mio in Zihuatanejo. Dropping into Casa Elvira in Zihuat for one (or more) of Carlos’ excellent scratch margaritas and listening to the mariachi band play, “When the Saints Go Marching In”. Keeping Zihuat awake with our all night dance party on Moonshadow. Catching a 7′ sailfish on the way into Las Hadas. Side trips to the ruins at Teotihuacan, the colonial “Silver City” of Taxco, and Cuernavaca, the “City of Eternal Spring”. Diving for lobster (yum-yum) while dodging huge moray eels in the caves at Isla Isabela and the one that “got away” from George and “hid” in his dive vest. Mountain biking in the jungle above Puerto Vallarta. Dinner at the “Quinta Laura” (a 15,000 sq. ft villa in P. V.) with our good friends and “buddy boaters” Ruth and Buddy. Golfing at Isla Navidad on a course that rivals Pebble Beach. Driving the dinghy full throttle through a narrow passage in the mangrove jungle at Tenacatita. The many, many cocktail parties on board the many, many yachts of the many, many cruising friends we’ve made in Mexico. Sitting in the Barba Negra bar, drinking margaritas and watching reruns of the Baja 1000 race, with John, a 15 time winner and fellow cruiser, narrating.
“Beating” up the coast from Zihuat to P. V. in 20 knot winds and 10 foot seas. George being incapacitated in P. V. for 48 hours with food poisoning, and having his wallet swiped in a Mexico City subway. The key to the rental car breaking while camping at a remote lake in the Argentine Andes, and all the food and wine being locked in the trunk. Ingrid’s running shoes being swiped of the deck of the boat in Barra de Navidad and the replacement pair being swiped out of Miriam’s bag at the airport! Being endlessly harassed by the vendadores (street vendors) while eating out. Forty-plus knot winds one night while anchored in Caleta Partida.
Things We’ve Learned
The reason there are fewer crooks in Mexico is that the government doesn’t like the competition. The best wine with Mexican food is beer. There is an affliction contracted by people who spend too much time sailing in the tropical sun called “Cruiseheimer’s Disease”. Stainless steel isn’t. Waterproof things aren’t. Water makers usually don’t. Manana doesn’t mean tomorrow in Spanish, it means not now! IBM stands for Irreparable Bad Memory. Murphy was a sailor, because he sure spends a lot of time on boats. Cruising is defined as extensive repair and maintenance in exotic places. Don’t carry your wallet onto a Mexico City subway. There is no drinkable Mexican wine. The first class buses in Mexico are clean, fast, cheap, air-conditioned, luxurious with “in-flight” movies, toilets, stewardesses and sometimes even on time. The largest sail flown by many cruisers in Mexico is an awniker. The predominant negative weather phenomenon that cruisers experience in Mexico is the Rum Front.
Every year, hundreds of people break away from the boredom and drudgery of cruising to participate in week of fun, racing and festivities called “Race WeekÓ. Although there’s not enough space (or brain cells) to recall all the fun and craziness, there is no doubt that the Moo Crew left an indelible mark on the La Paz Race Week. The setting was Caleta Partida, a beautiful moonscaped bay formed where Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida almost touch, about 25 miles from La Paz. Race Week attendees have dubbed it Partidaville. After a round of pre-parties in La Paz (at one Jeff won two bottles of rum, which set the tone for the week), the fleet raced to Partidaville. We ran out of wind 4 miles from the finish and had to motor in. After the second day, the weather became windy and was marked by repeated Rum fronts. There was a lot of creative cooking aboard Moonshadow, and we took first places in the hors d’oeuvre contest and chili cookoffs. Our results in the chili cookoff were helped by Jeff and George helping the judges “cleanse their palletsÓ with rum offered directly from the udders of their cow costumes! Winds were fresh for the second and third races, as well as for windsurfing on the clear aqua waters between the islands. While motor sailing back to La Paz we came upon a pod of eight sperm whales, sleeping on the surface of the bay, and were able to hang out within 50 feet of them for quite some time. The last few nights in La Paz were marked by numerous “MoooooÓ greetings from other Race Week participants!
Couldn’t Be Further From the Truth
Overheard on the docks at Puerto Vallarta: Two women looking out at the boats and one says “I don’t think I could live on a boat–nothing to do.”
After Jazz Fest, we will arrive in San Francisco on May 5th. Ingrid will attempt a re-entry into the real world returning to her career at IBM in June, and perhaps doing some future legs on Moonshadow. George will rejoin MaiTai in La Paz in early June and spend the summer cruising the Sea of Cortez. Crew positions are available! In November, Moonshadow will begin the southerly migration, stopping at all the favorite spots along the Mexican coast, and then on to Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, the Galapagos Islands and in March, the passage to the Marquesas.