Thursday, December 31, 2015

In The Blink of an Eye

Reminded yet again how important it is to treasure each day and every one in your life, we woke up to the tragic news that John's old dear friend Jamie Cooper has passed away in his sleep after Thanksgiving.

Jamie wasn't one to let a day go by with nothing to show for it.  He could be counted on to say yes when an opportunity for adventure presented itself.

So over our lives, Jamie and John spent many such occasions together in far away places...

...building fond memories...

Together, Jamie and John could laugh, cry, talk and listen.  It was a friendship we both cherished.

Good bye old friend!

We flew home for Jamie's memorial which gave us the chance to see old friends including our sweet Casey who is about to turn 16...

...and visit Luscomb's point  to throw some pennies in the surf.

It was a fine day for carving up the waves

Back in La Cruz, Mexico, we installed our crow's nest pulpit on the lower spreader.  Deb was the first to head up the new mast steps for a go.

From here, we will be able to spot coral heads in the South Pacific lagoons.

Thaaar she blows!!

Next we sailed off to nearby Punta Mida with several other cruisers participating in the Banderas Bay Blast.

Once anchored, we sat and watched the perfect point break going off.

The beach at Punta Mida has several restaurants, one of which serves as the clubhouse for the Punta Mida Yacht and Surf Club.  

Last year, we became lifetime members of PMYSC, and Deb was Commodore...

This year, as with all years, all memberships were revoked.  Then all ex-members who made a donation for the local children's school were reinstated.  This meant being re-initiated, so it was our turn to get swatted by the new Commodore.

Even the ex-Commodore had to take her turn.  All for a good cause.

Next morning we discovered that John has become such a great fisherman, he can catch fish in his sleep.  This is not a flying fish, but a Sierra that was not ready for solo flight.

Later the fleet sailed off for Puerto Vallarta Yacht Club while we remained anchored in Punta Mida enjoying the beauty.

63 foot custom catamaran Profligate

Soon we were off for Barre de Navidad, about 150 miles south, in company with Janabanana, a 58 Meridian owned by friends David and Jan.

Cabo Corrientes, which can get windy and rough was behaving nicely.

Along the way, we had another freeloader stowaway, who at first seemed startled to be photographed.

But quickly ignored the Moonshadow crew...

Then seemed to ask: "Are you still here"

John finally had to use the rake we fly from the masthead to keep frigates off Moonshadow to scare this uninvited guest off!

After an overnight in Chamela, we spend a couple of nights in Tenacatita which had taken a direct hit from Hurricane Patricia a few months back.  Conspicuous were the many missing palm fronds...

...which were in lush abundance the year before.

But Mexicans seem to take such things in their stride, and with the new palapa top the restaurant on the beach was back to normal.

We took a ride up the lagoon with Jan and David

And happened upon other friends Nick and Jan kayaking for some bird watching.

And there are plenty to be seen along the five miles of lagoon canals.

Next stop was Barre de Navidad where there is a well protected marina adjacent to a five star hotel.

Moonshadow and Janabanana tied to B dock running air conditioners full blast!

One of the treasures of Barre de Navidad is the French Baker who delivers fresh croissants, baguettes,  and other delights from his bakery right to your boat.

The other attraction here is the pool at the hotel, which is actually three pools connected by water slides.  This gets everybody acting like kids...

...which in turn reminds us we're not kids anymore!

But then there's the swim-up-bar, which sets everything right!

So we can leave Barre de Navidad on New Year's Day, ready for a month of exploring mainland Mexico's many beautiful anchorages and coves, grateful for each day.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Forces invade Moonshadow

During the Baja Ha-Ha morning radio nets, we would hear about others catching fish and got a little jealous because even this beautiful pink and white job couldn't catch anything despite a day of trolling.

So when we sailed from Cabo down the almost 300 miles to La Cruz, we decided to experiment.  We'd already towed the pink lure one day with the little plastic protector tube on the tip of the hook so this time we took it off to see what might happen.

It didn't take long to learn we had discovered one of those secrets real fishermen never give away.

Rather than rush on to the marina at La Cruz, we stopped for some quiet time anchored off of the little vacation town of Punta de Mida.

We couldn't believe how warm the water was so got the pool thermometer out to see what it said:

We stayed two days swimming, reading, napping.  Just what we needed.

In La Cruz, we got Moonshadow cleaned up and rented a car for the invasion.  This time it was our two sons, Ryan and Scott.  They came for a week and boy did we pack in a lot of fun and laughs. 

From the airport, we went straight to dinner at Frascotti's Restaurant in the Marina building's second story palapa.  Then after an overnight rest aboard Moonshadow, we took a trip out to Punta Mida for lunch at Si Senor's where the margaritas and food are excellent.

The next day, we drove down to old Puerto Vallarta for lunch at the Blue Shrimp.  We didn't know it but the restaurant had arranged some entertainment.  

Fully dressed, we couldn't figure out if this gentleman wanted to swim, pee, or just feel the warm Pacific Ocean on his ankles.

Not sure if he found what he was looking for, but when he turned his back on the final wave of the set, we all saw this coming...

Anyone who knows our boys will understand why the whole restaurant had to pause their conversation while mayhem broke out at our table.

Feeling the need for adventure themselves, Deb and the boys began daring each other to take a ride in the parachute towed by a big ski boat.

People say this is safe.  What could go wrong?  OK, don't answer that. 

They went and brought back pictures from aloft...

... where you look way down upon the 10th story swimming pool by the beach.

Thank God they all made it safely back to the ground.

Back on terra firma, we walked around doing some sight seeing of old Puerto Vallarta, stopping at the "Survivor's Tree" for cancer survivors.

There is a really exquisite cathedral here.

But it got hot and the boys wanted to know more about this place.

Of course we had to show them some of our favorite eating places back in La Cruz, like Tacos on the Street where three tacos and a beer are less than five bucks.

Deb and John were ready for bed but the boys decided to visit Gecko Rojo.  Here, Ryan filled in while the band's drummer visited el baƱo.  We did not know Ryan could play drums, and from reports we've gotten, we're still not sure he can.

Later we drove to a beautiful 9 hole golf course which has some really interesting holes.

...and the rough can be pretty wild too!

We were all smiles throughout the day.

But it was a hot day so we stopped to cool off at Sayulita's surf beach.

The next day was up at the crack of dawn to go sportfishing on a 35 footer we chartered.

That was starting to look like a really dumb idea for the first three hours, then there was instant pandemonium as everybody started yelling at the water.  First Ryan started grinding while John helped reel in the other lines.

Then Scott found out how much fight we'd booked for him.

Finally we boarded this Sailfish.

Back aboard Moonshadow we chugged back up the coast to Punta Mida for cocktails, steak and seafood on the barbie and a great sunset.

We spent the next morning relaxing, paddle boarding and surfing...

...then motored in no wind across Banderas Bay to Yelapa.  Along the way, two things happened. One was catching this beautiful Dorado. That pink lure really works now!

Yelapa is a small cove where you pick up a mooring, ride a panga to the beach, have lunch, and then ride up to the waterfall.

The ride takes you across a river...

 ...and through a small town with very narrow streets.

Well worth it!

The other thing that happened when we caught the Dorado was poking a hole in the brand new dinghy with the gaff.  

We read up and watched all the YouTube videos on inflatable tube repairs we could find...

...then rolled up our sleeves and tackled the patch repair.

Good as new.

We celebrated Deb's birthday with pancake breakfast, shopping at the Sunday market, and dinner with the boys and several of our La Cruz friends at
Roberto's Xolocatl, high up on the hill overlooking La Cruz harbor.

Then capped the day with dancing at Ballena Blanca with the Traveling Band.

The week went by so, so fast. After the boys flew home our faces ached for a day from smiling and laughing.

This was the first time the four of us spent together (just the four of us) since these guys lived at home.  

It was truly special.