Lionheart Cruise: Cabo to Tenacatita



We left Cabo on a sunny Saturday morning and cruised about 40 miles up
the coast to an anchorage appropriate for leaving the Baha coast and
crossing the Sea of Cortez to Mazatlan on the mainland of Mexico. This is
the lovely bay of Los Frailles where we had stayed 2 weeks before for 1
night. As the wind came up in the afternoon and we listened to the trusted
weatherman for cruising in this part of the world (a ham radio operator in
Oxnard CA) we realized that we were probably not going to jump off the next
day as planned. We wound up staying for 3 days while we enjoyed winds up
to 50 MPH. Wednesday, Nov. 30, dawned clear and pretty calm, with a
weather forecast that gave us the right weather window to cross the Sea of
Cortez. Instead of heading east to Mazatlan, we headed southeast with a
destination of Puerto Vallarta.

Our course across the Sea of Cortez required a straight shot of 222 miles to
a little island, Isla Isabella, which lies about 30 miles off the coast of the
mainland. It was a crossing of 27 hours. We left at 8:00 AM Wed. and
arrived at the island at 11:15 AM Thursday. The sun set at 5:30 PM of Wed,
launching one of the longest and darkest nights of my life. Not bad, just
long, and with no moon, it was darker than the inside of a cow! The sun rose
at 5:30 AM the next day. We saw only one other ship in the night. Very little
talking on the VHF radio. We took turns at the helm, although Richard finds
it hard to sleep on a night passage. Hopefully our next night passage will be
in the light of the moon.

Isla Isabella is a frigate bird preserve. The small anchorage is really pretty
and the water was wonderful for swimming. It seemed that thousands of
birds were circling the island. We were grateful they did not circle the bay.
The clear water revealed tropical fish. Nick was not impressed with the birds
or the fish. It is said that cruising is "doing boat maintenance in exotic
places." I think cruising for Nick is eating kibble in exotic places. He seems
quite lethargic. I think it is the heat which increases as we go south, not to
mention the humidity which is over 80% at all times. We are soooooo glad
we installed air conditioning.

We left the lovely island on Friday in a tired condition from the overnight and
spent Friday night at anchor in Banderas Bay which is the bay where the city
of Puerto Vallarta is located. The next day we moved into the Paradise
Village Marina in Puerto Vallarta. Most of the boats are US owned and many
of the owners own homes in the Paradise Village development. It's kind of
like Huntington Harbour only more tropical and with big high-rise hotels on
the beach. We spent Saturday at the PVYC with a couple who have just
completed the Great Loop trip in a boat similar to ours. They were great,
giving us info on where to stop along the way. The yacht club had a
computer room and the name of a computer genius who could help us with
our website problems. We had to wait until Wed. for an appointment with him
but we decided we needed to do that if we were to continue with our plans to
stay in touch. Now we've got it.....we think!

A major highlight of our stay was watching the USC-UCLA game in the yacht
club bar. We always enjoy a definitive victory over those Bruins. We also
had several interesting shopping trips. One was to Wal-Mart with a friend on
Sunday. What a crowd! It looked like every local family was at Wal-Mart
buying everything from food to Christmas presents. It was really the first time
I had seen Christmas stuff this year. We spent another interesting afternoon
in a taxi with a non-English speaking driver trying to find a bike tire and filters
for our water maker. We went to 2 villages that were beyond rustic in our
search and had many hilarious sign language talks before finding a bike tire
but never any filters. RVG took the bus to Puerta Vallarta the next day with
the same result. It is amazing to me to see these dusty villages, without
paved streets or a water system so close by the big resorts.

We left PV on Dec. 8, heading south, making between 40 and 80 miles a
day, stopping in bays to anchor for the night. Some nights are better than
others, depending on the wind, current, etc. Last night, Dec. 10, was spent
in Tenacatita which is about 20 miles north of Manzanillo. Today we are only
going 10 miles down the coast to Barra de Navidad. This is another popular
cruiser stop. At this point the captain has trouble with some bad fuel and the
water maker. We hope to get help with the fuel at Barra and to find an
internet hookup to publish this and check e-mail. So far Verizon cell phone
service has been less than expected. Not many areas of service.

The marine life in this area includes many sea turtles. One of the bays we
passed yesterday is a nesting area. December is the month that the baby
turtles hatch. Naturalists conduct tours and protect the nesting areas from
tourists. We have also seen many whales and dolphins. The fishing is great!!


Isla Isabella - A wecome stop after 27 hours crosssing the Sea of Cortez


Punta Ipala - Our first stop after Puerto Vallerta

Chamela - another anchorage on our way south

Jungle Cruise at Tenacatita