Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Hanging out near Puerto Vallarta

Whew! Time to slow down and just hang out here in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle in Banderas Bay just north of Puerto Vallerta. We've really moved south this past month - click on the link to "Niki Wiki Captain's Log" to the left to see the timeline of where we've been.

Boarded by the Mexican Navy
Last week we left Mazatlan to cruise on over to Isla Isabella because so many cruisers had told us that it was a real gem. So there we were, motoring along minding our own business when we see a large grey military vessel off our bow. No biggie. We've seen lots of US military vessels in our past adventures and they just ignored us. Hmmm...these were Mexican waters. Crap. The vessel changed course and headed straight towards us. No hailing was heard on the VHF radio, but they did 3 complete circles right next to us as we motored along. Mexican Hat Dance? Nobody on the Mexican Naval vessel Adm.Ortiz even would look at us. We were all totally baffled. Finally, they donned life jackets and automatic rifles and climbed into their smaller boat that they towed. They pulled up next to the Niki Wiki and 3 men boarded our boat. The non-smiling fellow with the automatic rifle went up to the bow and stood watch(?!). After a lot of sign language, mutulated Spanish & English and the use of a dictionary, we signed some papers stating that we were "voluntarily" allowing inspection. Do you think we had a choice. I mean, here we were all alone out in the ocean - and they had guns.

While I chatted with a nice young navy guy, the older man took Brett down below to "inspect" the boat. They were only gone about 5 minutes, then came back up all smiles. No problemo! They called back the little boat (which had found and boarded a cabin cruiser nearby) and off they went. We resumed our travels, shaken and still confused, but mighty glad to be moving again.

Sorry no photos. Didn't think this was a Kodak moment if you know what I mean. We found out later while at Isla Isabella that they had boarded one of our fellow cruisers' boat the next day and spent one and a half hours going thru their galley herbs & spices, touching their underpanties, and researching their medicine cabinet. Eeeew. So I guess we were "lucky"?

Isla Isabela
Above is a pic of Jonesy relaxing on the deck of the Niki Wiki with the island to the left and the pinnacles off the bow. This was a fabulous anchorage as the island is a National Wildlife Preserve of Mexico. The only way to get there is by private boat. Because this is a nesting area for the Frigate Bird, Blue-Footed Booby, and Brown Booby birds, the island has been featured by Jacques Cousteau. The number of birds was AMAZING!! You could see a constant "cloud" of wings hovering above the scrub trees. Plus, the snorkeling was incredible - the water was clear and warm. I saw angel fish, a beautiful yellow speckled moray eel, bright yellow striped fish, and several different kinds of puffer fish. There were also some little, about 2" long BRIGHT blue fish hiding among the coral.

Also, here's the "water clarity foot foto" - it's about 25 feet deep and the dark spots are the rocks on the bottom. We could even see our anchor on the bottom when we snorkeled! Also, here's a pic of me trying to get up the ladder on the back of the boat after a long snorkeling session. Giggling under water sure is tiring!!!

The anchor chain kept dragging against the rocks which was really noisy and more than a little un-nerving so after playing here for a couple of days, we sailed off towards the Mexican mainland again.

After an overnight sail/motoring trek we arrived in the early morning at the small village of Chacala. Oh my! It was like sailing into a little slice of heaven! The jungle comes right down to the edge of the water and coconut palms line the beach. This is a beach resort for the Mexican folks who live inland. Apparently, the week of Easter this place is jumping. But, while we were there it was very quiet. I had never seen a bromeliad growing in a tree before - those beautiful flowering plants that live ON other plants in tropical regions (not parasitic).

Blogger is having problems with pictures today, so I'll post more later from Chacala. These are a photo of the "panga" fishing boats, and the main street of Chacala behind the restaurant "palapas" that line the beachfront.

After a couple of days in Chacala it was time to move on down the Mexican Pacific Coast as we had to put our son, Brett, on a plane back to the states from Puerto Vallarta on Dec. 5th. We did a short sail to Punta Mita at the tip of Banderas Bay - and a one night anchorage with no shore excursions. Then, a 2 hour hop here to La Cruz, where we'll stay for about 5 weeks. The hammock has been rehung, and the knitting continues...

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