Thursday, March 28, 2013

Adios Amigos!! Fair Winds and Good Seas.

The last week has been filled with more goodbyes, and reflections on how this cruising season has reached a significant milestone. It is time for new adventures.  There is movement in the water, as many of the sailors that we’ve met and enjoyed sharing time and friendships are leaving.  Some have headed home (planned or unexpectantly), others are already north in the Sea of Cortez, and several poised to leave for the South Pacific or Panama.  In the last 6 months, new couples relationships have developed, which is encouraging for the single folks!  Boat projects, provisioning for long passages (up to a month), goodbye dinners, have taken priority since the Banderas Bay Regatta.
Rob and I joined in the frenetic pace by renting a car yesterday.  It doesn’t seem monumental for our landlubber friends, but here in MX, we’ve been taking buses, a few taxis and walking to places.  A lot of the bigger stores in Banderas Bay are too far away to carry loads of goodies back to the boat. 

We spent a full day racing around the towns in our little Toyota Yaris.  Stops included Costco, Home Depot, Zaragoza (equiv to West Marine), Mega, the ATM,  the World of Meat, with several pit stops to unload the perishables onto the boat.  We took a brief rest and then invited friends to join us for dinner (via car!) in Bucerias where we shared a nice Mediterranean meal.  The car has since been returned, and the many pallets of items are now stored out of sight, in Shindig.  Our most guilty pleasures?  Locally made bratwursts which we’ll share tonight, and 36 all-turkey franks from Costco.   Can you tell I was hungry when we went shopping? 

Captain Michael with Patanjali hosted a goodbye party
En Route to South Pacific, >1200 miles out
Jim, our old dockmate from Sausalito, leaves on First Tracks for the South Pacific in a few days
Dinghy ride to Final farewell dinner with  John and Sue from Wizard

View of La Cruz Marina this am - lots of activity

In Costco, Rob caresses a large tub of mayonnaise
Crew from Kiapa in a more serious moment...heading to South Pacific next week  

John and Sue from Wizard with crew Mark:
leaving Friday for South Pacific




Monday, March 25, 2013

Banderas Bay Regatta

Shindig raced in the Banderas Bay Regatta this year.  This race is highlighted as the only Cruiser race around, which means many skippers are "sailing their homes".  The event is generously hosted by the Vallarta Yacht Club and many local sponsors.  There were 64 boats in 8 divisions.  We sailed in the "Cruising boats over 47 feet" with 7 others, including several of our friends' sailboats.

The race committee did a great job organizing the regatta and even included a practice day for starts. Everyday was followed by get togethers at the Vallarta Yacht Club, music, drinks and theme based delicious dinners.  A great way to celebrate an afternoon of sailing in this beautiful Banderas Bay.

Our buddy Dan from Sausalito and a new friend Mark, that we met in Punta de Mita, crewed;  the four of us got Shindig around the course in fine style.

Over the three days of racing, we got second in our division (1st, 2nd, 2nd), missing 1st by only 16 seconds in the last race. Our main competition was a Dawn 48 Ketch that was brilliantly sailed by Craig Chamberlain and his crew.  We enjoyed meeting Craig, Julie and their crew at the awards dinner on the sandy beach jetty at Paradise Village resort the last night.

Shindig had been on a diet leading up to the regatta.  Our fuel tank is 1/4 full as is our water tank.
We pulled off non racing gear above deck like the BBQ, paddle board and fishing poles.  She was mean and lean, and despite her onboard keyboard, cases of essential wine and snacks, she performed like a champion.

I'm also happy to report that there were no near misses, nor anything broken. 

A great time was had by all; we are looking forward to next year and another podium finish!

Nancy and Rob - on the way out for the boat parade on day 1

Team RED looking for the starting area

Captain Rob of Shindig and Captain Rigo of Heavy Metal celebrating at the Vallarta Yacht Club.

Ace Crew of Shindig (Nancy, Mark, Dan)
Reaching leg on Day 1
Starting on Day 2

Last leg on Day 2

Last leg on Day 2

Shindig leads around the windward mark on Day 2

Downwind finish on Day 3

Downwind finish on Day 3

Rob and Nancy at the awards ceremony
Shindig crew at the awards dinner after three days of racing - Still Smiling
Starting on day 2

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What's "SUP"?!

We’ve spent the last month learning all about stand-up paddle boards (SUP).  They have taken over the surf breaks, surf shops and general water sports here in Banderas Bay.  Most of the cruising sailboats have one or two aboard and we’ve watched many inflatable kayaks get traded away to make space for SUPs.  Their versatility must drive the popularity; one can take them out in a marina, from an anchorage or into waves.  The learning curve is short, and we’ve found paddling is great exercise for upper body and core strength.  Here in Punta de Mita and La Cruz, there are a half dozen surf breaks, and probably a ratio of 2:1 SUP/surfers.  We happened to be here during the 4th annual Longboard and SUP Classic, hosted in Sayulita last weekend.  What a fun colorful event to watch! 
Here are some photos of our newest sport.  By the time this is posted, we will have purchased a 2nd board.  There are new storage racks installed on the side of Shindig, to house these toys.  And some tired cruisers who are looking forward to the next day of paddling.   

Early morning SUP in La Cruz Marina
Nancy and Rob paddle out to visit Barbara and David on sailboat Zoe

Sue and Marie eyeing the surf potential

Rob on surf break in Mita

Longboard and SUP Classic at Sayulita
Surfer/SUPer Marie
Matching pedicure and board graphics

Ladies SUP morning paddle in Mita anchorage
Buenas Dias! Sunrise at Mita anchorage

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mike and Linda Visit

We had a fun visit with our Bay Area friends, Mike and Linda. The itinerary was mostly the north part of  Banderas Bay, with initial stops in Paradise Village Marina, a couple nights on the anchorage of Punta de Mita, and several nights at La Cruz Marina.  We shared day trips to Bucerias, a slightly more upscale beach town with local color; Sayulita, the colorful funky surf/artsy town like no other; San Sebastian, a look back in time at an old silver mining town up in the hills.  More mundane but still colorful adventures included finding ATMs, riding local buses, and negotiating with beach vendors as we sipped cervezas under palapas.  Our cruising friends were excited to have a new couple to impress with their daily beach get togethers and nightly cockpit shindigs.  Linda and Mike wisely ended their Mexican stay with several quieter nights tucked up in the hills on La Cruz at a charming bed and breakfast. 

Nancy shows Linda how to operate the most important piece of equipment on any boat : The Head.

On the way to the best pizza in Punta de Mita (Mita'z Pizza)

Welcome to Paradise - Si Senor dinner in Mita

Custom margaritas made at the table to taste

Here is the Catch of the Day

Nancy and girlfriends on early morning Paddle boards in Punta de Mita

Just chillin'