How the Other Half Lives

We left San Blas on Wednesday, Feb 6, for the little town of Chacala. We had a nice sail down, and saw plenty of humpback whales. Chacala is in a beautiful little cove, but it is not very protected from the swell. Unfortunately, Capn Sloth was too lazy to set a stern anchor, so during the night we went beam-to the swell, rolling so much that it was hard to sleep. The one upside was that it was easy to get an early start for Punta Mita the next morning!

Punta Mita is on the northern-most edge of Banderas Bay, a huge resort area that includes Puerto Vallarta. We had another good sail, with even more whales, including one that surfaced about 50 feet from the boat! Further away, we also saw a whale repeatedly doing tail splashes, sending huge plumes of spray into the air.

“I wonder which house is his?” mused Todd. “Whose?” I asked. “Well, duh, Antonio Banderas?” he replied snidely. “Um, Antonio Banderas is Spanish,” I said. As Todd only stared at me blankly, I added, “You know, from Spain?” I searched Todd’s face but saw no sign of comprehension. Finally Todd broke the silence with “He was great in Desperado!”

We were excited to go ashore to look for Todd’s cousin Eric. Last we’d heard, he was working at a restaurant on the beach. We went ashore and asked around for “a bartender named Eric”, and after a couple tries, someone knew him and pointed us to a palapa. A waiter told us that Eric wasn’t there at the moment, but his girlfriend was laying on one of the lounge chairs on the beach. As we approached her, I thought of introducing myself as Eric’s wife, but then when we saw her, she looked so sweet and she was there with a 9 year old girl, so I thought it might be too much.

We waited around a while; Todd and I had beer, and Koiya played in the surf with the girl, Brisa. Eric still didn’t show up, so we went back to the boat. Late that afternoon we heard, “Ahoy, Sugata!”, and there was Eric paddling out to us on a water-logged surf board. It was great to see him; we all realized how much we’d missed him! And, as always, it was fun to hear about his exploits.

There isn’t much for boaters at Punta Mita, so we soon moved on to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, which is a small fishing town that has just put in a big marina. We anchored outside the marina, with over 30 other boats.

Banderas Bay is generally more expensive than other places we’ve visited, but we managed to find some good cheap restaurants in La Cruz. We also met up with some other kid boats, and Todd got to play his harmonica at an Open Mic night at a local bar.

Our friends Matt and Natalie were flying in to Puerto Vallarta on Friday the 15th, so we headed to Marina Vallarta to get diesel, food, and water, do laundry, and clean the boat. It had been over a month since we’d been a marina, so the boat was filthy!

It was great to see Matt and Natalie! And they brought us 44 pounds worth of stuff: a new HAM radio and modem for Todd, a domino game for Koiya, and teas and chocolate for me. It was like Christmas!

We went on what’s called a “jungle canopy tour”, which really should just be called “jungle ziplines”, because you go so fast, the trees are all a blur. It’s a lot of fun though, and thrilling to zip along over the prettly little river gorge. The highest line is more than 500 feet over the gorge!

And after the tour, you can go on a couple of water slides into the river, feed some monkeys, and hold a python and a tarantula. Fun all around!

We wanted to give Matt and Natalie a better feel for our cruising lifestyle, so we sailed with them back to La Cruz. “So do you know which house is hers?” asked Matt. “Whose?” I asked cautiously. “Uh, hello, Penelope Cruz?!” he sneered. I sighed. “You know, she’s from Spain,” I told him. “Dude!” cried Todd, “Did you see Sahara? She is so hot!”

We walked all over town looking for a restaurant that fit all of our criteria: cheap for the crew of Sugata, with vegetarian options for Natalie. We finally settled on a little local place, run out of the front of a house, with tables on the street. I had a crab burger, and Koiya had a shrimp burger. Todd really enjoyed his pork burrito, and was trying to decide whether to order another. “How much does it cost?” he asked the waiter. When the response came “10 pesos” ($1), Todd didn’t miss a beat. “Uno mas!” he cried.

Later, we dropped by the local cruiser’s hangout, Ana Banana’s, and Todd played on a couple songs. Koiya found a friendly little orange tabby kitty and cuddled with him the whole time we were there. When we had to leave him, she burst into tears! She cried all the way back to the boat, and until she fell asleep. She even cried the next morning too! She really misses her kitty, Mango.

The next day, it was off to Paradise Village Marina in Nuevo Vallarta, where Natalie’s aunt Cynthia and her husband Winston captain a 115-ft yacht. They showed us around- it is bigger than our house! With multiple bathrooms, two washer/dryers, a hot tub, two jet skis, etc., it is quite a different boat from Sugata!

Soon, my brother Bob and his family arrived, and checked into the resort at Paradise Village. Everyone’s had a great time playing in the pools, water slides, boogie boards, and tennis courts. And we all look forward to Happy Hour! The other day Cindy and I went to do major grocery shopping at WalMart, and we didn’t get back until well after Happy Hour had ended. As no one was in the hotel room, we wandered out to the pool, where we found a very tipsy Uncle Bob and Capn Tequila, surrounded by a dozen empty glasses and two mostly full ones. “We saved you some drinks!” they blabbered, then congratulated each other on their thoughfulness. Cindy and I would have made some smart-ass remark, but we were too busy gulping down our drinks. Ice melts fast here!

After hanging out with cruisers lately, it is a bit strange to be in a resort. In the hot tub the other day, I overheard a woman complaining that there was nothing to do with kids in Puerto Vallarta, and a man praising the security at the hotel. “You don’t have to worry about who your kids are playing with,” he said, “because only people like us stay here.” I had to chuckle to myself, as I swiped his drink and peed in the tub.

Our plan is to head further south to Tenacatita after the cousins leave, but I’m a little worried that Todd is getting too comfortable here and won’t want to leave! I may have to slip something into his margarita.

One Response to “How the Other Half Lives”

  1. bob detwiler says:

    hey now,
    we were very considerate. ice does melt fast there and we knew you wouldn’t be happy with watery drinks. so, despite being full and pretty happy, we finished any questionable drinks and ordered you new ones while we waited patiently for you to return from your ‘girls shopping trip’. as for thoughtfulness, did you even consider how stressful it was for todd and i not knowing when you’d be back and that the end of happy hour was just minutes away? and don’t get me started on the looks we got for being such unfit gay parents drinking so much while trying to watch our kids in this ‘secure’ environment.