Nov 26, 2009

Banderas Bay

More delightful cruising in the Bay. Paradise Village is literally only 15 minutes from the airport, and after arriving late afternoon and taking care of a few items, we left the next day for Yelapa. Sammy helped us with a nice mooring right off the beach where we stayed for 4 nights. The town and beach were much more lively than during our last visit in the low season. In addition to good meals at Gloria's and Bahia Cafe, we enjoyed both waterfalls -- the one near town and the "big" one a 1.5 hour hike away.

We then departed to spend a couple of days at the North Shore, including Tres Marietas and Punta de Mita. Good snorkeling at Tres Marietas with the water at a comfortable 90 degrees, but not as clear as our last mid-summer visit. We sighted numerous whales. A great meal ashore in Punta de Mita on our last night and then back to Paradise Village for clean-up and our flight back home.

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Jul 12, 2009

Banderas Bay

Just hanging out for a nice, long week exploring Banderas Bay. Yelapa, Las Tres Marietas and Punta Mita. It was off-season and therefore no crowds. Hot and humid, with cooling rain almost every night including some fabulous thunderstorms accompanied by pyrotechnic lightening.

Yelapa offers a laid-back, rustic Mexican village set against a breathtakingly beautiful anchorage. A separate beach centers around tourist activity, but particularly in the off season, we enjoyed access to it. The locals made the entire experience that much more enjoyable. You don't want to be here, however, if there is any swell or weather from the North as you are completely exposed.

The water in Banderas Bay, at 93 - 94 degrees F, reminded me of the Caribbean. It is supposed to be the beginning of the real tuna season, but we had no luck whatsoever trolling, even though we went out to Corbetena on a glorious sun-filled day. Fishing off the boat in Yelapa was another story, however, with scrad, bonito and boohoo hitting casted lures.

Snorkeling at the middle Tres Marietas island treated us to very clear water and schools of tropical fish. Particularly remarkable were the largest schools of king angel fish then I'd ever seen.

Punta Mita, convieniently located less than 10NM away from the middle Tres Marietas, is a reasonable anchorage as long as there is no southern swell. We've not yet ventured ashore there.

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Apr 13, 2009

Ixtapa to Nuevo Vallarta

Time to head north to escape hurricane season. The forecast called for developing strong winds out of the north and a full-blown storm south in the Gulf of Tuanapec. However, there was a window for the 350-mile passage and we experienced an uneventful, but somewhat rushed cruise. Cabo Corrientes, a notoriously uncomfortable rounding in weather, was calm. We arrived at La Cruz around 11pm and anchored outside the new marina. Slow going pulling into the anchorage as the charts are off and all the lights in the town present a confusing scene at night. The next day we motored to Paradise Village Marina in Nuevo Vallarta, KEWA's new home for the rest of the year. Very man made setting, but wonderful facilities and infrastructure, including Vallarta Yacht Club, which is based right in the marina. A little orientation and then off to Yelapa for a couple of days. The bay there is exposed to the prevailing northerly swells, and the only anchorage is an extremely narrow shelf coming off the beach and, within about 20' or so, turning into an underwater cliff that drops off to about 150'. A panga met us as we headed into the bay and offered a mooring, which we gladly accepted at $20/night. The town is genuine, funky, very primitive and beyond mellow. An easy place to disengage and relax. We could have stayed longer, but needed to head back to Paradise Village and the scramble to get the boat situated for some extended dock time.

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Jan 24, 2009

KEWA Fishing

Trolling for tuna, dorado, wahoo and sailfish adds yet another dimension of enjoyment to cruising.

Every now and then things work out right.

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Jan 4, 2009

La Paz to Ixtapa -- Leg III -- Into Ixtapa

Leg III -- Tentacatita to Ixtapa

225nm to Ixtapa. The weather remained calm -- sailing winds picked up with the sunrise, but would quickly taper off to glass waters and the need to motor. The temperature was perfect and idyllic is the only way to describe the entire experience. On our our way down the Gold Coast, we had our first a major fishing run. Hooked 3 dorados (landed none -- which is another story), and hooked two sailfish, landing a single amazing specimen.

Ixtapa itself is gorgeous. Breathtaking beauty, tropical setting, beaches with the softest sand in the world, and great nearby anchorages. Snorkeling with no wet suit and never getting even the slightest bit cold was greatly appreciated by the entire family.

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Jan 3, 2009

La Pax to Ixtapa -- Leg II -- To Tentacatita

A 30 nm jog into a southerly wind to get to Tentacatita. This is a large bay, but really quite protected. We anchored inside Punta Chubasco to get out of the swell and any wind. Plus, the dingy trip up the "jungle river" seemed like a must do.

Dec 22, 2008

La Paz to Ixtapa -- Leg I -- To Chamela

Leg I -- La Paz to Bahia Chamela
A Southern Crossing to the Pacific Coast was the itinerary -- 425nm miles across the Sea of Cortez to landfall at Bahia Chamela on the Mexican mainland. As much as enjoyed La Paz, we were looking forward to spending some time in a more tropical setting, particularly one that had even warmer water temperatures. We also wanted to explore a part of Mexico we hadn't visited yet -- the Gold Coast -- with its numerous anchorages and, we hoped, excellent fishing. We chose Bahia Chamela, a location known for its large and beautiful bay and numerous anchoring sites.

We caught a weather window before a semi-screaming Norther promised to kick up some highish winds and uncomfortable waves and had an uneventful passage.

Upon arriving at Chamela, we opted to anchor in the lee of Isla Pasavera, which located in the middle of the bay. Beautiful scenery and isolation from some of the very active beach resort activities near Punta Perula in the northern end of the Bay, resulted in a very satisfying anchorage. Punta Perula anchorage, while noisy, is, however, definitely more protected from northerly wind and waves. We dingyed to a nice little beach on Isla Colorada, but avoided swimming in the area due to direct sighting of an extremely large shark. Landing on the mainland beach proved challenging due to the rather large rollers experienced during our stay. Some white knuckles, wide eyes, lots of bailing, but we remained righted.

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Dec 7, 2008

Ispiritu Santo and San Francisco, BCS, Mexico

A little over a week of very laid-back cruising and hanging on the hook at these two serene and picturesque islands.

Most amazing sight was whales feeding on baitfish, and all the other predators getting involved.

Jul 1, 2008

Aqua Verde, BCS, Mexico

Ninety-five miles from La Paz, this bay is a popular cruise stop. Amazing scenery, a local village, good protection, diving and fishing make the days melt away. We over-nighted to get there at a reasonable hour the next day. DO NOT anchor in the south bay. You may well see boats there, but the holding is terrible. We experimented with our three anchors (75lb CQR, 20KG Bruce and Fortress FX-55) with probably 20 attempted sets and were not able to get a good hold. The anchor would set, but eventually give way when backed down on hard. Some boats were anchored there (sail and power), so either there are a few good spots or they simply didn’t back down as hard as I like to do.

Apr 1, 2008

Mazatlan to La Paz, BCS

Back across the Sea of Cortez. We headed out on Friday night into some wind and waves on the nose, but it settled down after a few hours and we ended up doing a lot of motoring. Hoping for a big fish, we were disappointed in that our only strike cleanly severed the monofilament leader on one of the hand lines. The wind picked up during the second night as we approach Baja which resulted in some great night and early morning sailing. We anchored in Evartiso as it was more protected from the prevailing wind forecast and had a delightful time. The Bay was ours for a couple days. Anchored in the north of the bay, we dove extensively. It was a great place for the kids as it was shallow and clear with lots of marine life.