Barra de Navidad to Puerto Vallarta

January - February 2007


Grand Bay golf course in Barra de Navidad

Las Hadas anchorage

Las Hadas Resort swimming pool

View of anchorage from swimming pool

Sailfish sculpture in downtown Manzanillo

Santiago Bay palapa restaurant

Santiago Bay

Carrizol anchorage

Where'd she go?

Steve replacing

Dinghy all fixed and ready to go

The dreaded panga--they go very fast and rarely keep a lookout

Iguana (center of picture) on jungle ride

Alligator in La Manzanilla

Bruce bailing out Ron's dinghy

Nice neighbors

Sunrise behind Liberty Call II

Turtle on the way to Chamela

Boobie on Isla Passaverde

Turkey vulture on Isla Passaverde

Anchored safely in
La Cruz

Tammy and Dakota in Once Upon a Bean

After several enjoyable days in Barra de Navidad and a wonderful trip to Colima and Comala, we decided to head south the spend a few weeks in the Manzanillo area.

On January 22 we pulled up the anchor and left Barra through the always challenging channel and headed south. We wanted to sail; however, the wind was on the nose, so we had to be content to motor. The most amazing thing was that we actually had a little rain on the trip south.

We arrived in Las Hadas, which is an anchorage just north of Manzanillo. The hillside is full of lovely white homes and resorts. It looks just like pictures of the Mediterranean. We anchored just outside the breakwater and settled in for a relaxing few days.

We again hooked up with Charlie and Susan on Pizzazz and enjoyed getting together on our boats. We took a bus into Manzanillo the next day and went to the Centro district. Unfortunately, a cruise ship had just unloaded its passengers, so it was terribly crowded. We enjoyed some lunch and then stopped at Sorianna's market to get provisions. Manzanillo is a nice town and a new place for us to explore. Ron and Anita from Liberty Call II came in two days later. The Las Hadas Resort allowed us to use their dinghy dock and pool facilities for only 100 pesos a day so we enjoyed afternoons sitting by pool.

On January 29 it was time to move north just four miles and anchor in Santiago Bay. This is a large bay with many palapa restaurants and a lot of pangas and jet skiis. We really liked the area, but the boat traffic made it rolly and dangerous to swim. The town of Santiago, though, had a wonderful boat store--one of the best we have found south of Puerto Vallarta, and Juanico's Restaurant has a big-screen TV so we had a great place to watch the Super Bowl with about eight other cruisers.

On February 7 we decided to leave Santiago and head for a small bay named Carizzal. The best thing about this anchorage is that we had it all to ourselves for two days--that is amazing. We just relaxed and went snorkeling and swimming. Then it was time to head back to Barra.

We stayed in Barra just long enough to have the laundry done, pick up more groceries, and use the Internet. So on Monday, February 12, we left for Tenacatita Bay and our adventure began!

The weather forecast was for light and variable winds, and we had just 17 miles to go. We were preparing the boat to leave, and I said, "Don't you think we should put the dinghy on deck?" Steve thought that we would be OK just towing it so off we went.

Well, as luck would have it the winds picked up to about 25 knots and the seas were around 8 feet, and our little dinghy was just bucking along with us. There were whitecaps all around us and some spray coming into the cockpit. We made the turn into Tenacatita Bay and were on the home stretch when I looked back and said, "Where is the dinghy?" It was gone! We pulled in the towing line and all that remained were the D-rings that had been attached to the dinghy. We sat and pondered the situation and decided that if we had to find another dinghy, it would be much easier in Barra. So we turned around which gave us a downwind sail--a much better ride going with the waves--and headed back to Barra. Steve kept looking for the dinghy, but we didn't have much hope of finding it. Even if we did, we didn't know how we would get it aboard the  boat.

We arrived in Barra licking our wounds and making VHF radio calls to friends trying to figure out what to do. Susan on Two Can Play said that she had just spoken with Roger on Kenna (we later learned that they are from Las Cruces, New Mexico) and he had told her that a 70-foot power boat had found a dinghy. We called Roger, he called Tuco, and then he called us back to say that Daryl on Tuco had our dinghy. Actually, he said that he had almost run over it, but he was able to load it onto the stern transom. We couldn't believe it! The next morning we had our dinghy back, and Steve made the repairs to reconnect the D-rings to the dinghy. All it cost us was a bottle of liqueur as Daryl refused a reward.

We realized how lucky we were and are now willing to take the time to really prepare the boat even for very short passages. We shared our story with others to keep them from making the same mistake. We knew better, but we just got lazy.

A few days later, we left Barra again and arrived in Tenacatita without incident. It was again a bit rolly, but the winds were light. A praying mantis decided to hitch a ride with us.

Our stay in Tenacatita included the usual trip up the river and volleyball on the beach. A 150-foot luxury yacht came into the anchorage, and we thought about calling them to see if we could get a ride on their helicopter but decided that it probably was not a good idea.

One day we decided to take Ron and Anita and Bruce and Aileen (from Migration) across the bay to La Manzanilla on our boat. We put our dinghy on deck and towed Ron's dinghy across the bay. We anchored off the beach and then experienced a wet dinghy landing, but it wasn't too bad. We enjoyed a walk to see the crocodiles, and then we took a stroll up the main street. La Manzanilla is a small town but still the bus full of tourists were there. We knew that the winds would pick up in the afternoon, so we picked up a few provisions and then ordered lunch. Unfortunately, one woman was doing all the cooking so our lunch took much longer than it should have, but the food was delicious.

By the time we had finished our lunch, the wind was really blowing so we made a dash for the dinghies. Bruce went with Ron and Anita while Aileen went with us. With some help from the beach Ron got off ok. We did, too; however, every time our dinghy bow hit a wave, it sent a wall of water straight up and then straight down. We had 4 inches of water in our dinghy by the time we got back to the boat, and we looked like drowned rats.

We got our engine off and stowed and pulled our dinghy up on deck and tied it down. We then pulled Ron's engine and put it on the back deck. The whole time we were working the bow of the boat was pitching up and down about 4 feet. We decided to just tie Ron's dinghy (after Bruce bailed all the water out) to the side of our boat and head slowly back over to Tenacatita. We dried out a bit on the return trip and reanchored without any problem. We had no injuries so it was a good trip.

We left Tenacatita at six o'clock in the morning on February 23--with our dinghy on deck, of course--headed for Chamela along with Liberty Call II. We discovered a praying mantis who decided to join us. We enjoyed mild conditions on this trip and arrived at noon. We saw no boats anchored at Isla Passavera so we pull in at our favorite spot and dropped our anchor. Liberty Call II decided to go on to the main anchorage in the bay. We spent two whole days all by ourselves in this spot. The island is a bird sanctuary, and it is a great place to bird watch. On Sunday we pulled anchor and headed over to the main anchorage so that we could do some provisioning and enjoy lunch at a palapa on the beach.

We had been watching the weather reports to find a good time to round Cabo Corrientes. This stretch is where we had a very rough passage last year, and I had gotten very seasick. We got all the weather information that we could and decided, along with 11 other boats, to leave on Monday afternoon at 5 p.m. It wasn't too bad for the first couple of hours, but then the seas became very confused, and we started pounding our way north using our engine. At times, we had large amounts of water coming from the bow, running down the side decks, and exiting off the stern. We even took on some water down below, which is very unusual for our boat. We were finally able to get some wind in our sails, and the boat immediately started handling better, and the ride became more stable. We arrived in La Cruz around 12:30 the next afternoon. We then cleaned up the wet items, straightened up the boat, and then just vegged out for the rest of the day.

We had a chance on this visit to see Tammy, Les, and Dakota Bentz. They sailed down when we did in November of 2005 and decided that they liked Puerto Vallarta so much they would start a business. Their coffee shop is called Once Upon a Bean and is located in Marina Vallarta. They have wonderful coffee (hard to find in Mexico) and great pastries, salads, and sandwiches.

We will be anchored in La Cruz, which is in Banderas Bay just north of Puerto Vallarta, until our daughter Drue arrives on March 9. We will then take her north with us to Mazatlan.