Time… what a concept. So often there’s ‘no time to do anything’ or it’s ‘time to go’ or ‘time to get up’ or… you know… it’s all ‘about time’. Here, in this pleasing time zone called La Cruz, complete clumps of days (all 24 hours of each of them) seem to blend into one big blurr and when finally you surface to see what it is you’re supposed to be doing today… you actually have to check a wrist watch and find your calendar to figure out which day it is and ‘then’ what you’re to be doing. Doesn’t sound like a couple of Capricorns does it? Well, seems once we decided to stop trying to ‘get somewhere’ (many assured us we had plenty of ‘time’ to make it to Barra and back even)… once we decided that what we really wanted to do was to just chill right here, in this very pleasing place, our sense of time just kind of dribbled away. And so,here we are, spending each day not too differently than the one before, enjoying not setting alarm clocks, and just taking our own sweet time – about almost everything
PHOTOS: La Cruz Marina Malecon, La Cruz Marina docks, Naps in paradise??
Now some of you, I suspect, are a tad interested in what it is we ‘do’ each day (the interesting stuff anyway)… and others of you may just follow us here in your own boats… and be wondering about a few more specific things…. so, today’s post is a little bit about both…. hope you enjoy it.
Our days begin quite simply,much like anyone else. We wake when we’re ready and make a trip to the marina washroom and showers. In La Cruz, if you’re interested, there’s a yoga class every morning from 0800 – 0900 in the cruisers lounge (same building). The rest of us, not so flexible folks, just return to our boats, make the coffee, check our emails, walk our dogs, make the days milk (yes, we’ve found that NIDO powdered milk tastes better than all the others and doesn’t require complicated cooling to keep. We just make up what we need for the day and stick it in the cooler).
VHF Channel 22 is the channel that the cruisers use at each anchorage or marina as a hailing channel. It’s like our ‘telephone’. We call each other on 22, then switch to another for chatting. As well, each morning there’s a Cruisers Net which is kind of like ‘reading the newspaper’. The morning net in La Cruz starts at 0830 hrs. with a ‘cruisers check in’ and then leads us through a series of information pieces… like medical or other emergencies, weather, tides, new arrivals, boats leaving, assistance or services required, rides or crew requests, and (my personal favourite) ‘treasures of the bilge’… like a swap meet only by radio, and finally news and announcements about all that’s happening around town – the yoga, Spanish and other classes, seminars and presentations aimed at the puddle jumpers (boats heading off to the South Pacific but open to all of us), the many bands that are playing and where they play (almost every restaurant has live music several nights of the week…. this is really a very musical town) and any special events (like today there’s a full moon paddle followed by a bonfire….Kathy’s going to go in it and Sophie and I will cheer her on….). Anyway, it’s a great way (and about the only way) to stay in touch so most everyone spends that hour ‘at home’ and listening to the radio. We try to have coffee and breakfast at the same time… today, I’m working on this Blog as I listen.. so it all works out. Here’s an example of why we listen. I’ve just heard the weather forecast and am very glad we’re not planning on going anywhere… there’s strong Northerlies building and high winds expected.
Once the net is over, the main part of the day begins… sometimes with a list of chores, sometimes on a planned adventure, and still other times with no plans at all. And so it goes.. one day blends into the next which mixes with the one after that. Even the Ships Log is suffering from lack of specific attention. The good news is… there is no bad news. We’re enjoying each and every day. Our loose plan includes moving to Paradise Village in Nuevo Vallarta on Wednesday.. just to see how the other half are living. It will also give us a chance to visit some old friends in the Old Town. But that’s still a loose plan… and only ‘time’ will tell. :-)
And now, a few specifics for those who follow…
La Cruz Marina (or more correctly Marina Riviera Nayarit) is quite beautiful. Manicured lawns and gardens surround the main building which houses the marina office, the washrooms and showers, the cruisers lounge and a very nice open-air rooftop restaurant. There are over 300 slips set out in an easy to understand dock plan… and they usually have room for boats coming in. A word of warning: Don’t do as we did and abandon your safety habit of preparing both sides of the boat with fenders and lines when approaching. The folks you speak with on the radio… the ones who assure you you’re coming to a port or starboard tie dock…. don’t always get it right. Be prepared for either and then there’ll be no nasty surprises. One other disappointment is the lack of potable water at the dock.. or anywhere other than the big blue bottles you can purchase. Disappointing that a marina of this size and stature hasn’t installed a water purification system yet. Perhaps in ‘time’ :-) Staff at the marina are very friendly and helpful. Most speak fair English.. except for some reason the staff in the tienda (store). The two women there appear to have no interest in helping you with language and as you struggle to explain yourself… they just speak Spanish faster at you… no help at all and a very frustrating experience. As well the supplies in the store are not particularly cruiser friendly or maintained… but no fear, real tiendas are a short walk away and stocked with all you could possibly need. While there is a woman who picks up laundry from the cruisers lounge and delivers it back the same day, we prefer a little place called Yanets (second road to the right after walking out of the marina entrance). She’s good, cheap and open till 8 PM vs. the other who wants to deliver to your boat at about dinner time (requiring you to be there to pay her). We’re very comfortable here.. the docks are good and the neighbours (many boats we already knew, and others we’ve met) are great. And, as I’ve mentioned there’s no end of things to do.. if you want to. for instance:
The restaurants: I know, I know… always with the stomach. But hey! How can you not.. the price of beer is still 1/5th of that at home.. and the meals.. well they too are delicious and cheap. Some of our favourite places include: Restaurant El Coleguita (affectionately known as Cafe 109… which should now be Cafe 119) where every entre costs only 119 pesos, includes soup and dessert, and is initiated with a few shots of free Tequila and concluded with a Baileys ‘on the house’ (a good place for a small group meal… lots of fun); Cocina Economica (a quiet door on a quiet street, with but a few tables) family run, simple fare, well prepared; Glorietta’s, another quiet front, just uphill from the tour place, which is one block up from Ya Ya’s… great chef = great food…we had the coconut shrimp with mango sauce… very yummy; Ya Ya’s – a cruisers hangout with a free book exchange, good breakfasts… and lunch and dinner too; Philo’s – another cruisers hangout with good marguerita’s and live music every evening; Frascoti’s – the local Italian restaurant (managed by a Swiss fellow), great food and very nice ambiance; Masala’s – rated #1 in La Cruz, great food, service, ambiance and entertainment; Street Tacos – country/traditional, someone’s house and front yard turned in to a thriving taco business… great food, prices and beer. That’s just a sampling of the many good restaurants in La Cruz.. these are the ones we’ve experienced and would recommend to anyone. Days and hours of business vary.. and often change… so check before you hike… and enjoy
PHOTOS: Bucerias lunch with friends Linda & Bev , Now that’s a Snapper! , Still more for the fish market…
The activities: Wow,… where to start. Music – almost every night… at many of the restaurants… great bands playing everything from Rock ‘N Roll to Jazz; Trip to Bucerias: for a whole 16p you can take a Collectivo (that’s a small air-conditioned van with bench seats that runs from community to community. They’ll stop when you wave at them and charge you what they feel is right… and it’s usually a very fair price.) from La Cruz to Bucerias.. 20 minutes up the road. In Bucerias you’ll find more good restaurants, a Saturday market, and Javier Vicente (a master weaver of Oaxacan rugs) and his shop (Arte Oaxaca) with displays of various sizes and vibrant colours of beautiful rugs for all uses. La Cruz Sunday morning Farmers Market – a fabulous collection of local vendors selling everything from home made honeys, curries, baked goods, clothing, jewellery, high quality souveniers and food of all kinds – combined with the ever-present fish market and entertainers that transform the malecon into a wondrous event not to be missed. Tours of the adventurous types… a local woman named Alice leads cruisers on numerous adventures including hikes up to waterfalls and volcanoes, and road trips inland to several different villages each with their own special history and unique sites, and Enrique, the fellow who runs the local ‘tours’ store, sells tours of a huge variety. We took advantage of his Canopy River Zip Line tour and enjoyed a day zipping through the mountains and down a river on the longest zip line in Mexico – complete with a mule ride at the end, a nice restaurant with cold beer, and a great Tequila tasting room.. mmm, the chocolate/coffee tequila was fantastic and a small bottle may have found it’s way into Shannon’s larder to be saved for a cold day…or at least manana.
PHOTOS: Fishing pangas at the market, Farmers Market veggies… , … all need to be soaked first…
Marine Hardware and services… always of interest. You can often find what you’re looking for just by asking for it on the morning net. Failing that, there is a small marine hardware store just down the malecon from the marina. The larger store is called Zaragoza Marine and is in Puerto Vallarta (a bus ride away). It is expensive but does have quite a bit of stock. Bottom line… it’s still better to carry what you can with you. There are other services available throughout the bay… and there will always be someone who knows who you need to speak to.. just ask. We’ve been pleased with a service called PV Marine Group and Jack Tinsley. Fuel: Marina La Cruz has a fuel dock; Paradise Village does not; Nuevo Vallarta marina is supposed to have. There is a magazine called VALLARTA nautica, published every year, and containing tons of specific information regarding each of the ports in Banderas Bay as well as their services and service providers. You can pick it up at the marina offices.
PHOTOS: Shannon’s new Oaxacan rug, Senorita Sophie at the beach… very cool
Well… I think that’s probably enough information for even the most curious of you…. have to rest up to cheer on Kathy (and I think Sophie now wants to go with her) this afternoon as they join in the Full Moon Paddle fest… a splashing event where paddlers will paddle around the marina, picking up balloons with surprises attached…. followed by a Full Moon Bonfire, music, and (wait for it…..) beer…. :-) later.
Best wishes to all of you from all of us… hope all is well at your end of the planet…. bye bye for now.. CJ