We had another delightful trip home to visit family and friends complete with a surprise appearance at a family Christmas gathering. We played golf; we satisfied cravings for food at some favorite restaurants like In-N-Out Burgers, Las Olas Mexican Restaurant in Solana Beach, and Villa Capri in Carmel Valley; we hung out with the grandchildren; and we saw friends in far away places like Sacramento, Palos Verdes, Napa and Oregon.
Returning to Moonshadow after trips home, it takes a day or two to digest all that happened in such a short time-span. We really pack in a lot in the few weeks we're away, and it's all such a sharp contrast from our regular routine.
But here in the Marina at La Cruz, it's anything but our normal Moonshadow routine. First, there's life in a marina. We're use to swinging on an anchor. Along the marina's docks, you never know what you'll see. You might even catch a fish without even trying!
This beauty just jumped right out of the water and landed at our feet as we were getting ready to head out to a restaurant. We didn't want to stop to clean it, so we tossed it back into the bay. Now there's a fish in La Cruz with a story to tell and we doubt he'll ever jump onto the dock again.
Just down the way, we watched the 5-7 year old cruisers kid group strategizing about their next Lego's build. We hear from parents of cruiser kids that they can seek out other cruiser kids within a hour of the anchor hitting the bottom (or in this case, the dock-lines getting secured)!
We were headed out for the evening so never saw what they created, but given the ammo they had, it must have been spectacular!
La Cruz isn't just a Marina somewhere. This is a town that really grows on you. Just about any night, you can happen upon some really talented musicians who've found La Cruz and just like it here so much, they either moved here or put it on their regular tour.
And the town here is really very nice. Check out this park in the town square.
It's clean, comfortable and laid back, even the dogs like to hang out. No fear of being on next week's taco menu. Actually, that Mexican stereotype doesn't apply here. There are two veterinarians here and happy tail-wagging dogs everywhere. Why wouldn't they be happy?!
Finding a cool shady spot around mid day is an idea not just the dogs have figured out.
And another thing we liked; this is the kind of place that's just fine with having a Christmas Manger set up in the public square... and leaving it there till February.
But there's another reason we're here. Moonshadow is due for a major cosmetic make-over. La Cruz Shipyard comes with a good reputation and friends who've had work done here recommended Pedro Vargus of Sea Tek to do the work we have in mind, so this will be Moonshadow's home away from home for a while.
Shepherding good ole Moonshadow from her watery domain to her new temporary home on the hard is a nerve-wracking experience we're glad not to have to do too often.
There's nothing natural about pulling a 29 ton sailboat out of the water and hanging it from some canvas straps on a moving travel lift. It kind of reminds us of passing under the bridges on the Inter-coastal Water Way, where we'd just cringe and wait for a big noise!
With Moonshadow on the hard, we've had to find a home away from home. One of our favorite bar/restaurants is Philo's, which hosts great music and serves good food. Philo's wife, Maria, doubles as a real estate agent and found us this beautiful Casita right on the beach. We realized we were in for a treat as we followed the driveway from the street.
"Casa Por Fin" is a fabulous old Mexican home whose current owner has lived in for 26 years. Since her surgeon husband died a few years ago, Marielza converted some of the living spaces into "casitas" with kitchens and private access.
This was the first place in a list of five that our agent planned to show us, but after seing Casa Por Fin, we stopped Maria asking if we could just return to her office and sign up for this house.
With beach access and just five minutes walking distance from the boatyard, we couldn't believe we'd find anything nicer.
Living here, we almost hope the boatyard doesn't live up to their 45 day estimate of how long it will take to finish the work we've ordered.
Really Pedro, if it takes longer, we'll manage... somehow.
No, really... take as long as you like...
We'll be right here!
Banderas Bay, where La Cruz is situated, is one of the best sailing areas on the Mexican Riviera, so don't worry Moonshadow, we'll have you back in the water looking better than ever real soon!
Some of our friends may have heard about the Mexican Authorities recent inspection of foreign yachts, and subsequent impounding of 338 yachts. This is a nightmare for the owners all of whom are trapped in marinas (and into paying marina rent) while the government figures out what to do. Arriving at several marinas across Mexico with teams of automatic weapon toting Marines, and evidently looking for stolen boats and/or owners attempting to circumvent the Mexican documentation requirements, this team found neither but nevertheless impounded scores of boats for little or no cause. Some owners with all the necessary paperwork simply were unlucky enough to be away from their boats at the moment of the surprise inspections, so they were presumed to be guilty of (something wrong) and impounded.
This all started before we arrived in La Cruz weeks ago so, at least so far, we and Moonshadow are not involved in any of this. We have all of our paperwork and it's all on file at the marina and the shipyard. The rumor mill is that this has caused such a backlash among those in the Mexican tourism and marine industries that it should all be solved soon. The problem is soon is a word that is difficult to find in the Mexican vocabulary.