Friday, January 23, 2015


January 14, 2015

Boca de Tomatlan
Wednesday morning, our tour guide, April, picked our group of seven sailors up at 8:30 for a hike from Boca de Tomatlan to the Quimixto waterfall along the southern shore of Banderas Bay.  It took us a little bit over an hour to drive through Puerto Vallarta during rush hour and then make our way through the fancy houses and hotels in Conchas Chinas and Los Arcos to the tiny town of Boca de Tomatlan where the main highway turns inland.  Boca de Tomatlan is the jumping off place for pangas to Yelapa and other spots along the southern shore that are not accessible (or at least not easily accessible) by road.

Anchorage in Boca de Tomatlan
 April parked the van in the shade in Boca de Tomatlan and we crossed the river and followed a trail that wound between the jungle on one side and the beach on the other to the pretty Playa Colomitos, so named for a sort of philodenron that grows there.  We then continued along the
Playa Colomitos

Las Animas
                                                                                                                                                    trail for several miles, up and down hills, past the resort at La Troza, to the village of Las Animas.  Las Animas of-fered a few restaurants on the beach and a some small hotels.  It was a laid back place to get away from it all.
La Troza
                                                                                                                                                      We ate lunch at a restaurant called Caracol.    For 110 pesos, I got three shrimp quesadillas, rice, beans and a strawberry margarita.  The food was exceptionally good and we were all very surprised at what a great value our lunch had been.  By the time we rolled out of there, we were all stuffed and some of us had been slowed considerably by margaritas.  I had purposely ordered a strawberry one because the fruit ones usually contain less alcohol and I knew we had a few more miles to cover.

Our Guide, April from Wave House
Quimixto Waterfall

From Las Animas, we continued another three miles or so to Quimixto where we paid a short visit to a friend of April’s who was renting a beach house that April and her husband had formerly occupied for five years.  April’s friend was caring for a neighbor’s dog and her one week old puppies.  We played with the babies for a few minutes and then continued up the beach into the very small town of Quimixto before turning inland and following the river uphill to a pretty waterfall.  There was a restaurant and swimming hole at the base of the restaurant.  We stopped there for a cold drink while some of our number tested the chilly water.  By the time we cooled off, it was time to wander back down to Quimixto and catch a panga back to Boca de Tomatlan.  By the time we made it back to La Cruz it was almost dark.  April dropped off the rest of the group at the marina and then she and I shared a couple of glasses of wine and some leftover Chinese food.  It was nice to hang out for a bit.

January 15, 2015

El Rey Bombon
Running seemed inadvisable after my long walk the day before.  I opted for doing 90 sit-ups and 90 squats instead.  I received a Facebook message from one of the other members of our hiking group from the day before, inquiring whether I might be available to take his place helping his friend, Brad, move his boat White Wind to Barra de Navidad.  The three of us got together for lunch to discuss the possibility.  Brad had a taste for ceviche, so we ate at El Rey Bombon, a seafood restaurant next door to Sonja’s laundry that I had been wanting to try.  I had a ceviche tostada.  I had also ordered a couple of shrimp tacos, but it was a good thing they forgot my order because the tacos were so huge that Brad couldn’t eat two of them, so shared one with me. The tacos were excellent, as was the ceviche, and very reasonable.

White Wind at the Fuel Dock
I decided that I would make the trip with Brad, so ran up the hill to get my passport so that we could check out with the port captain.  I went with them to the boat to check it out before committing to sailing anywhere.  Unfortunately, by the time I got the boat tour and we returned to the fuel dock, it was past 14:30 and the port captain’s office had closed.  We wanted to leave about midnight Friday night so as to get around Cabo Corrientes just before dawn when the winds were light.  Brad was planning to go on Aprl’s excursion to the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens on Friday morning, which would have made it impossible for him to check out Friday morning before leaving unless he could work out some kind of arrangement with April.  The port captain was not open over the weekend.  I left my passport with him and he promised to figure out some way to get us checked out, even if he had to bail on the trip. 

The Gecko Rojo
I stopped at the Gecko Rojo for one beer on my way back up to my apartment, just to say hello to the denizens of the bar.  Then I went home to relax and eat dinner before heading back down to the marina amphitheater for movie night.  It was a lovely evening and just cool enough to need a light sweater.  After the movie, I dashed over to the Marisol Market for their Thursday night produce sale.  From 17:00 to 22:00 on Thursday evenings, they bring in a truckload of fresh produce and sell it off their loading dock.  Much of it goes to local restaurants, but they sell to individuals, too.  I was there to buy provisions for White Wind.  Their prices were quite reasonable.  For 55 pesos (under $4), I got a head of lettuce, two big avocados, a bunch of bananas, a couple of onions, and two yellow peppers.

January 16, 2015

I couldn’t tell if it was second day soreness from the hike or maybe just the result of all the squats I had done, but I wasn’t up to running.  Blair, Brad’s friend, hailed me on the radio right after the net.  He wanted to tell me that Brad had decided that the 20 knots of wind predicted for the next day would be too much for his light boat.  I didn’t disagree.  Hunters can get pretty uncomfortable in big wind and seas.  Brad had gone to the botanical garden, so I met Blair at Enrique’s restaurant to collect my passport.  We still hoped I would be able to help Brad deliver the boat, but we would have to work around the weather and my friend Cara’s visit.

Three Foot Brown Iguana
Blair was flying out that afternoon, but we made a trip back to the boat to drop off the provisions I had purchased for Brad.  On the way, we stopped at the plaza where Blair showed me a colony of huge brown (orange striped, actually) iguanas living in the trees there.  They seemed to prefer the leafless trees where they could sun themselves.  I had never noticed the lizards before, but they were everywhere once you started looking for them. 

We took the dinghy back out to the boat and hung out there for a couple of hours while Blair packed his bags and cleaned up the boat.  Blair was killing time until his flight left.  We brought the dinghy back to the marina and cruised up and down the docks, looking at the boats in the harbor.  Finally, we walked back up the hill and I left Blair at the bus stop.  I went home to grab some lunch and study languages and guitar for the rest of the afternoon until it was time to return to the marina for Mexican Train happy hour.
We had a large turnout for dominos.  Fortunately, I had brought my set of double 15 dominos, so we were able to set up two tables in the courtyard behind the deli.  I knew everyone at our table and we had a great time.  One of the marina security guards was a former bartender and he whipped up pretty decent margaritas.  We played until it got too dark outside to see and the mosquitos started to feast.
I went home and made myself dinner.  I spent a pleasant evening and was just about to go to bed at midnight when I remembered that Katrina had told me I could play Mexican Train online.  I checked it out and, before I knew it, it was two o’clock in the morning.

January 17, 2015

Having gone to bed much too late, I slept until the radio net awakened me at 8:30.  By then, it was too late to run.  I drank coffee and listened to the net.   I was moving slow and barely had time to get my act together by 11:00 when I needed to report to Wings for the third installment of the Vallarta Cup races.  It was a beautiful sunny day and we all enjoyed the hour’s trip to the starting line in Nuevo Vallarta.  The wind was light in the morning and the start was delayed for 15 minutes.  No sooner had the committee boat raised the postponement flag than the wind came up.  It was quite windy for the race.

Sky and Ray After the Race

Our Skipper, Fred

Having thought the wind would be light, the race committee had chosen a relatively short, but complicated, course involving three spinnaker sets.  After an excellent start, we sailed up to a windward mark, popped the kite and sailed down to the sea buoy off Puerto Vallarta.  We did much better than the previous week.  We left Gypsy, the winner of the previous week’s race, in the dust (although they beat us on corrected time) and even managed to keep up with Olas Lindas, the fancy German raceboat that owed us time.  Unfortunately, we followed Olas Lindas and both of us sailed right past the PV sea buoy, although we realized it before they did.  We probably would have beaten Gypsy if not for that error. 

From PV, we sailed back up to the windward mark, raised a second kite, and sailed down to a leeward mark near the starting line.  Rounding that, our performance class then took another lap around the windward mark before charging back down to the finish under spinnaker.  It got fairly exciting at the end as the wind gusted to 20 knots and the block holding the spinnaker guy broke and went flying just before we crossed the finish line.  I had been very actively grinding the spinnaker sheet on the last leg.  When we did an emergency spinnaker douse, no one on the foredeck was expecting it and the kite came in at the cockpit where I had my hands full hauling it out of the water.  I don’t think I had ever before worked up that much of a sweat during a sailboat race. 

The J 80, Sheva, was the clear winner, since they almost managed to keep up with the bigger boats.  Bright Star, which had trailed us the whole race the week before, had stayed in front of us the whole way.  We came in 4th, but were pleased that we had managed to beat Olas Lindas and stay with the pack.  The additional wind clearly favored Wings.  It was a quick race, but we had all worked hard in the hot sun.  We enjoyed cold beers on the commute back to La Cruz.  Getting home early, Rod, Carol and I had time to pay a visit to our crewmate Nick’s boat before they gave me a ride back up to the highway on their way back to Bucerias.  Usually, I am glad for the walk, but I was ready for a shower and a rest after that workout.

After my shower, I munched leftover pork chops and guacamole for dinner.  High season had clearly arrived.  Loud music was blaring from all over town.  At midnight, the gringo bands shut down, but then the Mexican ones cranked up.  I could hear two or three going, including one with very loud trumpets.  They were still at it when I finally fell asleep about 2:30.

January 18, 2015

Even the cannons firing in Bucerias couldn’t get me out of bed early enough to run after the music had kept me up half the night before.  I finally got up about 8:00.  I did 21 push-ups, 95 sit-ups and 95 squats and promised myself I would do better the next day.  I made a nice breakfast of bacon and eggs and enjoyed my coffee while working on my jigsaw puzzle.  The puzzle was one of the sorts where all the pieces are the same shape and fit in the wrong places just as well as the right ones.  It had been slow going, but I finally managed to finish the sky.  I studied languages and played the guitar for an hour.  After lunch, I had intended to go to the store, but ended up taking a nap instead.  The music had continued unabated until about 14:00, but finally quieted down and was silent all afternoon and evening.  I never left the house.  Instead, I made grilled chicken with a mango jicama salad for dinner and spent the rest of the evening catching up on my writing, which I had neglected all week.

January 19, 2015

Monday, there was a beautiful dawn, but I was still too sore to run.  I didn’t think it was the hiking, so must have been all the squats.  I spent a pleasant day, following my usual pursuits and made a trip to the Mega for a few groceries in the afternoon.

January 20, 2014

My friend, Cara, was due to arrive the next day, so I spent the entire morning washing the floor so that we could walk around without our feet turning black from the soot that drifted in through the open windows.  I doubt anyone had scrubbed that floor on hands and knees in years and there was all kinds of dirt that had collected where the walls met the floor.  I still had not finished when it was time to walk down to the Octopus’ Garden to meet Brad for lunch.  Brad had brought White Wind into the marina for a few days to wash the boat and take advantage of La Cruz’s social and culinary opportunities.  The Octopus’ Garden really only served breakfast, so we had chilaquiles for lunch, which suited me fine.

After lunch, I picked up my laundry and headed back up the hill to finish washing the floor.  By the time that task was done, I barely had time to study languages and practice the guitar before the day was over.

1 comment:

  1. Still having a lot of fun adventures, keep going girl, keep going. Jan