Monday, February 15, 2010

La Cruz and Puerto Vallarta

My memory of the last 12 days is a bit of a blur save for the excitement of the big blow we were expecting on Thursday. Another trough similar to the one which brought the high winds in the previous week was building and the weather gurus had us all quaking with fear. Almost all the sailboats in the anchorage, including us, checked into the Marina Riviera Nyarit by Wednesday. We spent that afternoon taking everything out of the cockpit, cleaning the decks, tying up all loose covers securely and generally preparing for 60 plus knots of wind.

Malecon in Puerto vallarta

On Thursday, we monitored our electronic barometer closely, took walks along the breakwater watching the clouds gather on the horizon and chatted nervously with other cruisers. And..... NOTHING HAPPENED! In fact we saw blue skies and sunshine in the late afternoon. It was a big sigh of relief for most but an anticlimax nevertheless.

Sculpture on malecon in Puerto Vallarta

We stayed in the marina for 3 days during which Chris fried our starter battery and a house battery. He was attempting to recharge the battery bank and we knew something was wrong when the propane alarm went off. The starter battery was past the point of resuscitation and shorted out, taking one of the house batteries with it, so now we were down to 3 batteries total. With advice from our friend Rob on Blue Moon, Chris removed the 2 dead batteries and re-wired the remaining 3 and they seem to be holding their charge well.

Pillow heads climbing a surreal ladder

The walk to Bucerias, a small town east of La Cruz, to purchase electric wire and other parts to hook up our battery charger was a memorable one. We walked along the beach from our marina to central Bucerias, passing waterfront condos and restaurants, wading in the surf at the base of one hotel. The souvenir stalls around the main square reminded us that we were now in a tourist resort town. The electronic store was closed so we popped into a little “loncheria” to eat comida. When we returned, the tiny door within the main door was open and it was pitch black inside when Chris poked his head in to ask “ es abierto?” ( “ are you open?”). A low voice answered “ Si” and switched on a few lights, revealing the owner, Tony Fernandez, sitting behind a dusty counter surrounded by an Aladdin's cave of all things electronic. Not only did we manage to buy almost everything on our list but Tony gave us a history lesson on the area in between hunting for them. We found out that the Spaniards built their first Manilla Galleon just south of here in Barra de Navidad, Manilla being a trading centre in the Philippines. These galleons brought back spices and porcelain amongst other things to be sent to Spain. To protect them from English and Dutch pirates, the king of Spain ordered canon heavy naval ships to accompany the fleet. Tony's history lesson was later confirmed during our visit to the naval museum in Puerto Vallarta.

Cathedral tower, Puerto Vallarta

Neptune sand sculpture

For Valentine's Day, we took the 16 peso bus to Puerto Vallarta. The malecon was teeming with tourists and souvenir touts but we enjoyed the statuary and views towards La Cruz across Banderas Bay. I found my first vegetarian restaurant in Mexico, Planeta Vegetariano, and we enjoyed their scrumptious buffet lunch and tasted a new drink ( for us anyway ) - sweet oatmeal, a popular Mexican item.

Native dancers - One plays a pipe and then they all leap off and twirl around the pole until the rope unwinds and they reach the ground. Apparently an ancient tradition adapted, I suspect, for tourists

For entertainment, we were fortunate to hear classic and jazz music provided by secondary school bands from California and Salt Lake City. The jazz bands were joined by a celebrity percussionist, Ruben Alvarez, and he soon had us all cha-cha'ing to the latin rhythm. It was an awesome evening.

Excellent Latin jazz and from Salt Lake city

Glendale High School, California band - note the lack of sheet music!

Latin Jazz Band from Salt Lake City

We plan to leave La Cruz, our very rolly anchorage, tomorrow, to head south towards Manzanillo.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Cute story. Good luck with your batteries and the rest of your adventure.