Monday, December 15, 2008

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle 12.15.08

We left San Blas on Thursday early in the morning to a fantastic sunrise. That’s the only good thing about getting up so early is to see those spectacular colors! We left the anchorage with Lady Hawke and ahead of us by a couple hours were Pacific Jade and Wirewalker. There were small swells and very little wind so we motorsailed most of the way. We were nervous as Don Anderson, the weather guru on the nets had predicted 35 knots of wind for our passage. And sure enough, they came. Pacific Jade alerted us since they were a little way ahead of us. We double reefed the mainsail & prepared for the winds. They came on us suddenly – and strong! There must have been a canyon that the winds were coming out of and they hung with us, pushing us along, for about 30 minutes. We were taking water over the bow and were healed over, rail almost in the water. It was a good ride! Michael got a salt-water bath when a wave hit us on the beam and soaked him…I have to say it was pretty darn funny! Haha… We had only one casualty – our tea kettle was on the stove – and secured in…but went flying across the cabin with one wave, spilling water all over & breaking the porcelain on the inside and out. We’ll be shopping for a new tea kettle now! Oh well, we were lucky – Lady Hawke had a box of milk fall out & explode…I’d much rather have water spilled than milk.

Once we passed this section, the wind & waves flattened back out and it was smooth sailing the rest of the way – even glassy at times. We saw a lot of wildlife – whales & turtles. We’re getting to the area where the turtles are called speed bumps – sometimes just bouncing off the sides of the boat as you go by! There were lots of them all out swimming around. I love turtles… J We arrived in La Cruz around 4:30 and dropped anchor. It was incredibly swelly all evening, we were bouncing around like a rocking horse. I went up to the bow of the boat and was mere inches from the water as we were rocking. There were 30 boats in the anchorage and we saw our friends Blythe Spirit, Grey Max, & Integrity. The batteries were topped off from our motorsail and the fridge & freezer were ran during our trip but the fridge is still taking way too long to cycle, which is running our batteries down. The first night at anchorage is always difficult as you get very little sleep because of the worry of dragging or of others dragging into you. You are on ‘anchor watch’ getting up to do a visual inspection of the other boats around you. Of course, we set an alarm on our GPS which would notify us if we have slipped, but not until we move twice the length of what we have out with the anchor. So visual inspections are required. Michael wakes up very easily and is on the outside of the bed, so he gets the pleasure of checking our position much more than I do.

The next morning, Mike from Lady Hawke came over to the boat and assisted Michael in charging the refrigeration system. We use a refrigerant called “409A” and were given a recharging kit before we left. There is a watchglass on each of the compressors and when the fridge kicks on, there should be bubbles appear in the watchglass, but then disappear after it runs for a while. There were lots of bubbles when it kicked on and they never disappeared, which told us we were low on refrigerant! You’ve heard the song “Tiny Bubbles”….In my wine, makes me happy, makes me feel fine. Well between the two Mikes, they got the fridge all charged up & happy. We went into town for lunch and to get some internet time because the internet at the anchorage is incredibly spotty. We at at a local cruiser’s hangout called “Philo’s”. It’s a happening spot in the evenings and has live bands most nights. We walked all around town, checking out each establishment. At Ana Banana’s we signed the ‘cruiser wall’ where most cruisers put the name of their boat, date, & who’s on the boat. We found a movie rental place and rented ‘Mama Mia’ and just checked out the town. We also checked in and back out with the port captain which was absolutely painless. We had to get back to the boat to run the engine to charge the batteries as we are still having issues with the generator and Michael charged the freezer with refrigerant as well since it was a bit low. We decided to forgo the evening in town as we were dealing with all of the generator issues and found out the next morning we missed one helluv-a-party. Seems everyone went in town & did some heavy partying! Oh well, next time…

Mike & Marylyn on Lady Hawke are having battery issues so they left the anchorage and went into the Marina in La Cruz. We went with them as line handlers and hitchhikers so we didn’t have to drop the dinghy and it’s a good thing we did! The windlass on Mike’s boat was not functioning, hopefully from the low batteries and the boys had to pull the anchor by hand-cranking the windlass, not an easy chore. The Marina in La Cruz is very nice! Everything is brand new, new docks which are almost completely empty! There is only about 3 docks that are in use and they are nearly empty. It’s amazing. We have heard rumors that in the past couple years they have charged up to $10 for the dinghy dock but this year they are not charging any money to leave your dinghy at the dock. Mike & Marylyn needed to go into Puerta Vallarta to meet with the agent to renew their FM3’s so we went in with them. We walked up to the bus stop, stopping to drop off a load of laundry, and took the bus into PV to Marina Vallarta. We walked around Marina Vallarta & had lunch & rode the bus back. It’s quite a change from La Cruz to PV – La Cruz is a small town, dirt & cobblestone streets, Spanish spoken, very small town Mexico. And then into Puerta Vallarta – where it’s very ‘Americanized’ – most speak English, bright & clean streets - landscaping, lots of traffic, mega stores, etc. It was nice being in the big city but we were so glad to be back in La Cruz!

We had a big issue with the generator the other evening and since then, the generator has not been charging at all. Michael called the manufacturer and they suggested the capacitor be tested, but we do not have the equipment to test it properly. Michael changed our the capacitor this morning and when we got back to the boat, we ran the generator and it charged…but it still has the same issues – it bogs out for no reason & we do not know why. If we can’t get it working correctly and can’t get the batteries topped off, we will also have to go into the marina to plug into shore power until we can get it looked at. I hope that’s not the case!

One of the local establishments had a Cuban singer in town so we went in to listen and for a refreshment. The music was wonderful – it was a woman with a fantastic voice who sang Cuban music in Spanish. She was fantastic. We walked around town a while to the different hotspots but it appears everyone was partied out from the night before so we went back to the boat. It was a nice, relaxing evening.

Sunday was a mellow morning. We are finally sleeping well and it was a very mellow night at anchor. Michael started the engine again as the generator is still on the fritz but the fridge & freezer are running like champs since being recharged! So all is not bad. But it looks like we’ll be going into the marina tomorrow morning as we’re having a bugger of a time keeping the batteries at a good level and it’s all consuming Michael, which is not fun. We went into to town, landing our dinghy & visiting with Mike & Marylyn for a while and finally ate breakfast around 2pm at a little place called Sylvia’s for some fantastic omelets & fresh squeezed orange juice. Yumm… We went back to Lady Hawke & visited with them & Joe & Deborah from Pacific Jade, doing some beading & chatting. We dinghied back to the boat in the anchorage after dark and even found it! Haha… Tomorrow – the marina!


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