Sunday, February 23, 2014

Plenty of Excitement in La Cruz

We stayed in Marina Riviera about three weeks, which is a week longer than planned. My first priority was to get all the maintenance and repair items on the boat finished. There was not a lot to do, but here in the land of Manana, simple things can take longer than you expect. For example, I needed a replacement belt for the alternator on the engine, a simple part that should be available anywhere.  But after visiting about a dozen refaccionarias (auto parts stores), it had become more like a treasure hunt. I finally located one with the help of my Bolivian/American buddy Ed, in an Autozone store just outside of Puerto Vallarta. You may be wondering why I didn't bring my own spares with me from the US. Well, I did but it turned out that the belt specified in the engine manual does not fit on my particular engine because the standard alternator was replaced with a high output unit.

Lisa updating her Facebook page in her new Bumfuzzle shirt. For more info go to

La Cruz is a gathering point for boats waiting out winter storms before heading north to the Sea of Cortez or the US. Boats heading south to Central America or the South Pacific also gather here. It is a perfect place to reprovision, repair and upgrade your boat before heading out to more remote destinations so it's a great meeting place for friends, old and new. Of course winter brings lots of Canadians, some by boat but many by plane. Among them are our good friends Judy and Wolf, who we have met in various Mexican ports in the past. They invited us to join them for the Southside Shuffle in Puerto Vallarta. This is a bi-weekly art walk in the heart of the "Zona Romantica". We wandered through the many shops and galleries, sipping free wine and marveling at the surprisingly (to me) high quality art on display.

Map of the Shuffle

A few days later friends from the States, Tom and Mary Ellen flew into town. Veterans of Mexico cruising themselves, they were ready to party and visit old haunts in town. In the evenings we listened to Latin Jazz at Philos and Sax virtuoso Bryan Savage at Oso's or played Mexican Train aboard Finisterra. One day we drove into the town of Bucerias for a horse show. The Mexicans do them with lots of pageantry, LOUD music and Big Sombreros. We wandered around the grounds and watched the pageant that preceded the actual competition. Unfortunately, the event was delayed and we had to leave well before it was over.

Young Girl with proud Poppa. She was one of about a dozen girls in the show. Notice she is wearing a spur on her left boot. This is because she and the rest of the girls in the show rode side-saddle.
The show began with a pageant of sorts, when a dozen or so girls ranging in age from about 6 to 16 rode to the center of the ring and each was called out by name and awarded a big sombrero and a bouquet. Later the men rode out but were not rewarded with any gifts.
Young rider with a brand new sombrero and a bouquet.
Mexican horsemen are called Charros. Notice the young rider on the far left, his hat is almost as big as him. In Mexico, kids learn to ride early in life.
The youngest female rider's horse was led by her mom.

Another day we went out for a sail on a friend's sailboat and got dismasted. A dismasting is always a lot of work but we had a good, experienced crew and quickly secured the broken mast and rigging and got back into the marina in time for cocktails.
A dismasting is always serious, but this time there were no injuries and quick work by the crew prevented more serious damage to the boat.

A couple of days later we took a cruise out to Islas Tres Marietas aboard Finisterra and were treated to lots of up-close sightings of whales. Before we knew it, another week had flown by and it was time to say goodbye to our friends.

A few weeks ago the autofocus on my trusty Olympus C-740 camera stopped working properly. It would only focus on things it wanted to instead of what I wanted. I'm not sure if it's fixable, but it was time for a new camera anyway. I've had the Oly for over ten years and during that time it has traveled over three continents and many thousands of miles with me. Some of the hardest on it were the sea miles, where it occasionally got hit with salt spray or worse. So I ordered a new Olympus Stylus 1 to replace it. The photos you see here were taken with it. As you can see, I'm still on the steep part of the learning curve with it.

A double-ender slipped out of La Cruz at sunset

Yesterday we moved to the anchorage outside of La Cruz. We'll hang out here a few more days before moving out to Punta de Mita.

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