La Cruz Prep for Leaving for Bahia Chamela

End of December - 2012

We decided to go straight to Bahia de Chamela (Chamela). Unless the weather turns bad on the way around Cabo Corrientes (Cape of Currents) we will not stop at Punta Ipala for a rest. We were thinking of this stop for an over-nighter to rest up but we think it is easier to go straight through to Chamela. It is where we want to be and spend some time, possibly a few weeks at anchor there. The passage is an over-nighter with a 20 hour passage time. The weather window looks good for leaving La Cruz anchorage tonight at 8pm to round the Cape Corrientes at 2 am.

Now this all depends on the auto pilot working well also, let's hope those problems are behind us.

After rounding the Cape we will be heading South East and will be changing yet another time zone. We will be heading towards Florida :) The water will be 80 deg and the days nice and warm. At this time it is 10:00am and the temperature is 73 deg and the water temperature is 75 deg here at the anchorage at La Cruz.

It seems like every other activity in that it takes a few days to get settled in the new anchorage and then start to truly relax all day. We are hoping to now start to expand our anchoring to two or three weeks at a time before moving on. Get more hammock time so to speak:)

There is a boat here in the anchor near us that is running its generator. A nice looking 42-45 footer. Looks well equipped but for solar. None. We have not needed to run our generator.. well never, not ever, not yet. Our 485 watts of solar keeps us clean and full of amps. We use our SSB and watch movies and play the stereo and keep ice cream in our freezer. During the day our batteries are at full charge. After the night on the hook we are usually at 80 percent. That is with the Garmin Chart plotter 740 on and the repeater on all night for an anchor alarm. My See-Pap breathing machine running all night and our incandescent anchor light and more. So the solar has been real nice.

The solar used to heat our hot water but since changing from wet cells to AGM batteries it does not. The wet cells were a total of 440 AMP and the AGM are a total of 520 AMPS. Could be the difference? We will need contact Blue Sky to see why :)

So we are putting out our solar shower today for a try see. We do dishes with heating hot water on the stove. Before we took a shower by washing on the swim step and the rinsing off with the stern shower but we have the dingy secured for a passage and so do not want to mess with the steps.

It is hard to tell if we could have not cut off the 6 or so inches (forgot how much) from the davits. The dingy would sit higher and give us better access to the steps but would more weight up high and give less visibility to stern. Suppose it would be fine though. Guess we will never know and it seems to do great the way the dingy sits now.

We thought we were doing so well at getting weight more forward. Slowly consolidating the gear in like-minded places and more forward. The stern was looking good at the water line. We stopped and got fuel in La Cruz, it changed all that. We have an 80 gal fuel tank and put in 48 gal of diesel fuel. Down went the stern! Like having all the fuel but now the stern sits low again. It so far has not really caused any weather helm but you can notice a slight tip on the bed. Still sleep fine like a rocking baby. Not enough to alter the mattress:.
When we have hot water the shower in the head works great!

Ok it is becoming a morning routine. We have a Shurhold shammy (sp?) mop. We never used it before leaving the US. I saw in Cabo the mop being used a lot by the sport fishing clean-up crews. Our boat is nice but all the projects kept us from keeping the outside decks and hull cleaned up nice. It was not until PV, Mexico that we cleaned the black marks off the hull. Well we are starting to get the boat top-sides cleaned up nice. Each morning there is dew and I get up in time which is not too hard now as we live from sunset to sunrise. I get the shammy mop out and wipe down the decks. I do the cap rail and all the top sides. Then every other day I do the solar panels and bimini and dodger etc. Then I go inside and mop from the head to the cockpit. Then go over the cockpit and cockpit grate. The boat has been looking and feeling real spiffy! Of course it stays a lot cleaner here and especially at anchor. So the shammy mop is another nice tool to have here. While doing this I check the anchor rode and rigging etc.

On that note so are the blow up fenders. They have worked excellent and stow away great. Another nice tool to have!

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La Cruz Anchorage

Late December 2012

We are sitting at anchor in the La Cruz anchorage - waiting for a weather window and getting some R&R. We will round Cape Corientes in a day or two. It will be a night passage and we now have our auto pilot working so great!

There are lots of pelicans, fish and other sea life here at the anchorage. It's fun just watching the goings on.

We set up the Magma Flopper Stopper (not sure the actual name) and it has been working great. We had some 13-14 knot winds last night that brought out a fetch and we just pitched some but no roll….what a big difference. We are still working on the set up but it is working well. Today we are replacing a SS clip with a stronger one and the retrieval line with a longer one. Debbie marked the line in 5 foot intervals. We have at this time 15' deployed in the water to the stopper. The anchorage is about 25' deep. A longer retrieval line and we will go to 20' the recommended depth if possible.

It is 80 deg with a 5 knt breeze. Just nice.....life is good.

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Nuevo to La Cruz then arround Cabo Corrientes - auto pilot passed calibrateion

 Late December 2012
We got our auto pilot working!! Yes on the way out of Nuevo Vallarta (Paradise Village Marina) we tried to calibrate the auto pilot(AP) but it keep failing. We determined the seas were too rough so we set sail for La Cruz, highly disappointed. Once we got to La Cruz about a one and a half hour trip the northern point there shelter the seas enough to try he calibration again. Part of it consist of 15-20 sig sags by the AP and it takes a fair amount of distance. We pulled up by the anchorage and started our tests point south. After the first try we aborted thinking it failed. We gave it one more try before heading into the marina. This time it passed. Ya!

Our next passage is around the point of Cabo Corrientes and the point has two currents colliding and the wind is from yet a different location. Hmmm.

Mazatlan - 2

End of November 2012 we were in Mazatlan
 
 Let’s talk marinas in Mazatlan for a moment. Pros cons or so from my perspective. First at the beginning,  our thoughts of cruising Mexico we had picked El Cid for our “Summer over home port” but then after more research we decided on Paradise Village Marina.
Hurricane hole?

Cons:
 While at El Cid Marina in Mazatlan we or I inspected the slips and they were cement without any finger pier in between the boats. The wood was rotten in many places and the pilings have some big cracks. There is not much protection from the sea.

 There is real strong serge there during the tide change. So much so it makes the boats dance around and quite a bit. There are some slips that are better to have than others for this however.
 We were at A dock and it was the furthest from the showers which are only by the dock masters office. The men’s showers (do not know about the ladies) were in the same room as the urinals and had an odor. They were clean but no shelves for items and one bench for all. Not that well ventilated either.

WiFi was real poor and worked some times.
Noise was a problem as there are two pools and a bar at the one end. The bar does Karioke and it gets loud.

There are weddings across the channel, they get real loud.
For us it did not matter as we were there for just a week.

But for the El Cid movies you can hardly hear etc.

The good:
The staff is real nice and helpful.

The area is nice and lush and well maintained.
They show two movies a week for guests and marina people and they are free. Up on the lawn where they are they supply the reclining lawn chairs and fee popcorn. One night there was popcorn and one there was none.

There are a lot of services such as propane pick up etc.
The pools are fun, lots of fun and big. One pool has a swim up bar and volley ball net.
The other is much bigger and has a hot tu band  a fake pile of rocks you can jump off, it is 9' deep there. The rocks are waste deep once inside and there are caverns to go through. On the other side the pool continues and you can see the begining of the channel. It is a realice pool. Both have food servive and nice rest rooms.


This one has a couple water slides!
 


Transportation easy to get.
Usually a nice breeze but hard to the breeze in the marina.

They also have another property at the beach with a free shuttle to it. It of course has a beach and a pool etc. It is by the “Golden Zone” in Mazatlan which is a gringo place (Starbucks and Mc Donalds etc).

Marina Mazatlan

Pros.
Quiet

No surge
Inexpensive.

There is a boat yard and a small chandlery is near by.

Cons:
The area is not lush or green.

 
 
This is the bleaker side. There are store fronts and some businesses, lots of boarded up or just empty spaces also.

We were here four years ago and they were building it up. We thought this was going to be a vibrant marine environment. We were wrong. It looks like it has been bombed out. It is empty of many store fronts, boarded up. There are a couple coffee shops and a bar I think. That’s it.
 
The hang out.
The lots are empty and full of weeds.

It is hot with no breeze.
No functions like movies.

People tend to leave their boats and fly back home.

 

Arrived La Cruz

Late December 2012
 
We have been in the La Cruz marina now a couple days and will stay a total of three. The first day our first thought was this is Cabo all over again. It is a city marina so you hear road traffic and the sound of the propane truck as it winds its way through the streets with its loud speaker playing some tune and yelling propane. It gets all the many dogs barking etc. There are tourist boats in the marina that play loud music and on and on. It is not as bad as Cabo but it was our first thought about noise when we woke up.
 The marina people are nice and the view is nice and open, you can see the mountains and the sea.
The town is nice and it is small and yet provides a good place to walk to for food at restaurants and bars. It looks like some gringo bars are expensive but others are not and there are local stores and bars and restaurants to choose from.
We will be going to the anchorage for a couple days then taking off for rounding the point. The anchorage seems the best deal as it is free and has access to a dingy dock the marina supplies. (We seem to work on too many projects when at the marina so we’re going to the anchorage for some much needed R&R!)  Then it is an easy walk to town. The town also has Wi-Fi at a few coffee shops and lots of live music.
 Also there is good bus service to Mega the grocery store and banks etc.  As usual the marinas Wi-Fi is so but works for email etc. At Mega we think we found a dingy plug. It is a sink plug 1 3/8 inches and tapered. We are hoping we will get lucky with this stopper!
Not a place for us to summer over as there is no real pool or other options for hanging out in the AC.  However it will be a nice place to come for the weekend at anchor and go to town etc. in the summer.   We are told the town rolls up its sidewalks in the summer.
 We drink the water in town and at the marina and it is fine. We will be filling our tanks before going off to the anchorage.
Debbie did a fine job of modifying our dingy cover using the Sailrite sewing machine. While she was doing that I was working on the flopper stopper (by Magma). I think it is now ready to go!
 For the dinghy cover, Debbie sewed the ends where the bungee is and the cut them back to where the davits connect to the dingy. Then she sewed in some chafe and Velcro closures. It now works great to cover the dinghy while on the davits. For instance when we got here we dropped the dingy off the davits and rowed to the Port Captain’s office to check in. Then Debbie rowed to the marina (up wind) office where we took showers, then back to the boat. That was it for the dinghy. We will not use it at anchor as we want to rest not go anywhere. So the next time it might get used is Ipala which is a passage over night to round the point. That means the dinghy will sit on the back of the boat on the davits for today, two more days at anchor and then the passage and then we may or may not use it in Ipala. May just rest and go to the next anchorage. So it could sit for four days easy in the backing sun. No reason for that, now we can cover it. We really want chaps but that is a bigger project.
The marina had a cruisers swap meet at the entrance under some nice shade awnings.  We picked up some shade screen (for the dinghy chaps project), some elastic bungee-type cord and some fuse holders.  We had to hold ourselves back from buying much more due to pricing and storage!  There are lots of activities at each of these marinas we have been at.



Out side of Philo's
 
This is a fairly famous cruising hangout.

 
Up to main street from marina.
 
 Butcher shop on side street, Ok just apicture :).
 
 The town square.

 
The short walls around the square were actually made so people could sit on them. The benches were not and are not all carved up with Graffiti. The benches do not have the anti-sleep things on them so you can actually sit together. There is an ice cream stand near by and of course street tacos! The streets do not come alive till about 4-6 pm.




 
 


Water maker - testing and filter??

 
Beofre we left on the Baha Ha Ha in October 29, 2012 we got the Spectra Ventura 200T installed.
 

First test.
 
 
It's working!
 
Mid December in Nuevo Vallatara Mexico
 
We have sent out emails to the dealer and the Spectra water make people about the size of the pre-filter. We are having trouble with it shredding the top of the filter as if it is too high. It may be possible that the dealer gave us some of the wrong size filters for the pre-filter. The manual has a differnt part number than the ones we have.

Chacala - 2

Early December
 

 Ariving in Chacala.
 
 

 OK we got it set this time!
 
A good piece of gear to consider haveing is enough rode to set a stern anchor. That means possibly 300 ft forward to set the stern anchor in 5 fathoms of water. That would also mean about 250 ft for the stern anchor.

 
By the panga dock.
 
The panga dock. The two nav lights, green and red, only the red does not light :).
 
A noice easy dingy landing.
 
The path to the beach.
 
The beach.
 

The water was worm, the sun just right and the scenery to just love. Debbie and I went in for swim on several occasions and it was fun.


Now who else!
 
It all would not be the same without Debbie!
 
Course it does not hurt that she is the pertiest girl on the beach!
 
Me. The walk to the beach path is behind me from the dingy landing.

 
Ice cream on the beach as our boat is in the background.
 

My foot, yep this is retirement!
 
You can surf or if the waves are small, well sleep.
 
 
 
Other ha ha'ers at the coffe shop also.
 The food was great and if you wanted there was a gringo coffee shop for breakfast et.

Nice fresh mad ice cream at another place and always nice people.
 
 




Projects - Nuevo Vallarta - Beach

Mid December
 

We made some modifications to the original steel out board bar lock so it would fit the space where the outboard sits on the boat. We used the drummel to cut a corner off and then sand the edges and some rust sots. Debbie then cleaned it up and painted it with some Rust-O-leom.
Here is the canel behind our slip here in Paridise Village Marina.
We use the grill to make cofee as the propane locker is out while we finish up the autopilot work.

Putting back in the teak grate after some Teak Wonder treatment.
 
 
Debbie tracing and re-wiring the anchor light at the top of the mast. Has not worked since we put the mast back in :) it was really not a big deal as the pangas look ahead not up but for liability reasons we thought it best to get it working.

Debbie on the beach here in Bandears Bay!

A shameles plug for lov!
 
My famous foot picture, this time at Banderas Bay! To the center is the point we will need to round going south. Seems it has it's own weather.

The free beach stuff to use, ya! You can even charge the stuff to your boat, waiters come by for food and drink orders.
 
 This Marina (Paradise Village Marina) is in the top 100 marinas in the world.
 Also it is the only "clean" marina in Mexico. 

New tool - wet vac

Mid December 2012
 Just had to get one, we gave our old one away but this is missed a lt. Vacme out the refer fter a defrost, the bilge any time, the propane locker if water is in it from seas etc.

Got a new wet vac 2.5 gal at Home Depot here in Puerto Vallarta.

We summer over here in Nuevo Vallarta, Paridise Village Marina.

Mid December 2012
The decision has been made; we summer over here in Nuevo Vallarta marina versus La Cruz or PV Marinas.

 It is or they cannot beat this place for us. NV offers just too much for us. It is gringo-vil though. There are major hotels and condos and time shares etc full of gringos. No Mexican fishing village here. However there are all the marine services you could want and 5 miles away is PV with the rest, boat  yard etc.
Mall with plenty of tables and chairs and benches. Some with 110 power outlets.
 
Here there is a two story mall and free WiFi throughout the mall and AC.
Pool early morning.
 
Pool early morning, water slides etc.
 
Pool early morning, you can see Banderas Bay and the beach papalas with tables and chairs for free.
 
 There is the huge Paradise Village hotels with 4 pools some with water slides and jacuzzi’s and beach papilla’s where you can spend all day then watch the sunset, free.  Also, the hotel lobbies have living room type settings all with free WiFi and of course AC. We as marina tenants get to use it all for free. There are many many other things also. Lots of comfy air conditioned places to hang out for free and that is important in the summer months. There are also plenty of days sailing places to go. For instance we can day sail to La Cruz and anchor out for free and visit the town over night during the summer months if we want. There are movie theaters near here that have English-speaking movies, in fact most everyone here in gringo- vil speaks English.

In the mall there is ice cream by the cone or a super market where we can buy it and simply walk a short way back to the boat. There is a laundry facility in the mall, we can do laundry in AC and have free WiFi to boot and clean bath rooms throughout! We can sit around and play board games and there is other orgs here also like a yacht club. Not to say the other places are not nice. We do have four pools here, the other places offer none. This is a five star resort after all. So for our first hurricane season this will be the place. Then we can simply jump off again and continue cruising the Mexican Rivera from here. Possibly the next hurricane season we will go to the Sea of Cortez but that is too far away to know.

 As for now we are finishing up our Autopilot repair project and some other items to be taken care of.

Yesterday we took a bus to Home Depot and the big marine store in PV. It is kind of a cross between Marine Exchange and West Marine in San Diego with WM prices. They do offer most things for the common projects. Here in NV marina there are two small marine stores that offer items for boats, not sail boats specific like rigging stuff but zincs and cleaning items, through hulls etc.

In other words there are plenty of places to hang out for free with AC and WiFi and creature comforts on the long hot, humid summer days without having to stay on the boat in the AC. They are a short walk from the boat and with easy access.

Possibly a movie tonight.

 

Some projects in Nuevo Vallarta

Mid December 2012
 While here the last couple days we have re-coated the teak cockpit grate with Teak Wonder. Cleaning the great out on the dock then applying the product.

 We have been trouble shooting the Air Breeze wind generator with a multimeter as we have the dock to work with for bring the tower down.
 We have made good progress on the very important Garmin Drive A auto pilot. We had to remove the propane locker and clean out both lazeretts. We or Debbie climbed down in and checked it all out. She took measurements of the Drive ram while I turned the wheel.
 
We found a loose nut and a blown fuse. The fuse was not blown before Chacala so we are not sure about that. Any way we got the info and WiFi so we have been talking to Garmin. We actually got the dock side wizard to run successfully. We think now with the tighten of the nut we will ready for the sea side wizard and it will be off and running again!

 We have been working with Bob on Nirvana with our SSB radi so we can get the Amigo and Southbound nets amoung others. We have been off on times and some operator dialing in issues. We have been listing to the local net from Nuevo Vallarta and La Cruz are also.

Also worked on a slew of small projects.
 
We cut the stern anchor chain down to 8’ from 20’ using the drummel on the dock. We also washed down the road using the unlimited fresh water :).
Also we have gotten our temp TIP and are about ready to apply for our FM3 not called that now but anyway we have been busy.
We have been evaluating the area and think this is the lace for us to Summer over at.
We are having a real hard time uploading videos. The WiFi is just not broad enough most of the time no matter where we are now.