Saturday, January 26, 2013

Spit Shined and Ship Shape

 We checked into a slip for a few nights back at Marina Riviera Nayarit (La Cruz) on our northward return to Banderas Bay. A few days turned into a week, and allowed us to get a lot done on the boat.

Coming into Marina La Cruz

Your reward if you wake up with the sun -- at 7 AM in the marina

We also uncovered a few more eateries, music venues, convenient corner tiendas and of course got to know a few more locals and cruisers on the docks. 

Thanks for the special dinner, D and L.
We had a fun evening as guests at The Black Forest restaurant, as a thank you from the boaters with the broken rudder outside Tenacatita Bay. Turns out they live in La Cruz, eat at the Black Forest weekly, and were awfully appreciative of our help or potential help. Really nice folks – and from the Northwest.  

In addition to some unusually good German food (with a Mexican flair!), we found a sweet pizza place, an outstanding taco stand, and on our last night we checked out two more cruiser’s hang-outs, including Britannia, where “open mic” turned out some darn good cover bands.

La Cruz has turned into a “home base” for the southern part of our trip. We haven’t counted, but have probably spent have about 5 weeks there in total. It’s a great destination in the Puerto Vallarta area – both from sea and land vantage points. It is full of services including boatyard and chandlery, computer store, and hair salon (that’s right Sandy, you have some competition here as Lanham’s top barber). 

With the only mega-store a 45 minute bus ride away, grocery shopping in La Cruz allows for the fun of buying fresh organic eggs and tequila at one shop, warm tortillas and some produce at another, and shrimp or dorado almost right off the boats at the fish market. Fresh meat is the one thing that we did not find we wanted to stock up on here. The town does have a couple of carneterias (butcher shops) but the observable standards of cleanliness were out of our comfort zone. I’m sure we are just squeamish because the mujeras were lined up to buy hunks of cow, lamb, or chicken daily. We thought a good find was the spit-roasted whole chickens at Sr. Pollo, a road-side stand along the highway, where the meat was well-cooked and came with sides of rice, potatoes, jalapenos, and corn tortillas – $7 and enough for several meals. 

In addition to an ongoing stocking of food provisions, we got well-rested, Melinda got to go to morning yoga class at the marina, and we had our laundry done at our favorite lavanderia called “Jaboncito”  (little soap). Just maybe, that is the best thing about life in Mexico. You pack up your dirty laundry and carry it to the friendly shop where it is weighed. The charge is 12 pesos ($1) a kilo. So for about $6 (quarters not required) we return later the same evening or the following day and pick up our beautifully packaged clean, fresh and folded laundry. It is folded so well that nothing needs ironing and we’ve never even lost a sock.

Also in La Cruz we asked around and found Eduardo and his Computadora Hospital, a shop where we replaced our broken computer printer for a used one at reasonable price. The printer is a bit of an extravagance on the boat, but it has come in handy for copying, printing or scanning some boat paperwork and it has a perfect designated shelf. We had a consultation with a Pieter, a Dutch electrician who has a solar panel shop in La Cruz. We know the panels are not giving us the full voltage they are capable of and we suspect the cables, which are beginning to show the signs of salt-air corrosion. He confirmed and had good recommendations for rewiring… we’ll put it on the list! In the meantime we’ve been motoring plenty to keep our house batteries charged up. While it sometimes feels like entropy is ever increasing – there are still way more systems on the boat that are working perfectly than not. “Mi barco es rota” (my boat is broken) was one of the first Spanish sentences we learned on this trip and have fortunately not had to use much!

The inflatable kayaks however were beginning to look “rota.”  They have continued to be one of our favorite toys, plus a useful mode to get ashore. They were well-used to start with and the fabric is thinning, the seams beginning to tear out. We gave them a big cleaning, drying, deflating and seam mending with the sewing machine. “Pretty” was not a goal, strong was. They are back on deck, with another lease on life, holding air and keeping us drier. We also got the bicycles out. Keeping zippers corrosion free is an ongoing challenge and the biggest recent challenge was getting the bikes out of their zippered bags. We got them oiled up and decided that it was nice to have them off the deck and we couldn’t see a lot of long bike rides in our immediate future. We asked a local sailor if he could find a deserving kid or family in La Cruz that would use one and decided to keep one to see if it came in handy in La Paz.

 Most exciting, we got high marks on a rigging inspection and some pointers for “tightening the rig” which we did. We’re anxious to see if we notice a difference when we set off again. The rigging inspection is a requirement for insurance to sail to Hawaii as well as a good idea. We reconnected with the surveyor and delivery skipper who lives in PV and had sailed with us when we bought Solar Wind down here. It worked out easily for him to meet us in La Cruz. His son is a rigger here and did the inspection aloft. 

We got a good report and got to have lunch with our friend Doug and his wife. They have tons of sailing experience, including double-handing to Hawaii, so it was fun to hear their stories and advice. Lanham did the adjusting, cleaning and tightening of the stays while I did the cleaning and polishing of the stainless on the boat. Together we reversed all the halyards, a recommendation to extend their life by exposing the other end to UV.  Jose (yes, we paid!) polished and waxed the mast while his helper, Guermo, gave the top deck a soapy washing. At $30 more we couldn’t resist having Oskar clean the bottom. What a luxury! Feeling shiny and ship shape!

Some parting shots of La Cruz -- a little sad to say good-bye!

Ready for the next chapter – north to the more rugged Sea of Cortez

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