Monday, April 4, 2011

The La Cruz Vortex strikes again…. 1.30.2011

Yep, it’s happened. The La Cruz Vortex has pulled us in and refused to let go! We were planning on leaving La Cruz and heading South for a few weeks before coming back here for our next group of friends coming to visit in February. Scott & Liz, our friends from S/V Ocean Lady, were cruisers for several years and were searching for ‘the perfect wave’ (they’re surfers!) and found it in Nicaragua. They sold Ocean Lady and have been living in Nicaragua for the past 3-4 years and are who we stayed with on our visit to Nicaragua, and who we visited with during our stay in Guadalajara! During the Guadalajara visit we talked about them coming up and sailing with us and they did! They booked a flight arriving on Feb 1st into Puerta Vallarta and leaving from Mazatlan 12 days later. Woohoo!

So we were in La Cruz and are waiting for a good weather window to head South and one of our group picks up a cold. Doh! OK, no problem, we’ll just wait for the next one! So we waited & waited and the cold was passed around. Finally, a good window was opening up around the 18th or so and Michael and I decided to stay put in La Cruz until Scott & Liz arrived. It seemed silly to run around the corner and race through the anchorages, just to have to turn around a week or so later to do it all over again! So we stayed in La Cruz.

Ahea Kali at the La Cruz anchorage

Most of the time we were out in the anchorage though we pulled into the marina about a week before Scott & Liz arrived to have some time to get the boat cleaned up & ready. We parked on Dock 11 in La Cruz marina and parked beside “Alarife”, and got to know the owner – Debbie, and captain of the boat, Sandy. We spend the week getting to know them and had a great time – sunset sails, dinners, drinks, & chatting on the dock.

We were in La Cruz for the annual ‘Blessing of the Fleet’, a celebration where the local fishing vessels decorate their pangas & fishing boats with flowers, balloons, & ribbons and then parade out into the water & throw flowers & leaves overboard as well as a large cross decorated with flowers. It is in memory of those lost at sea and a blessing to keep them safe this year.

The Blessing of the Fleet celebration in La Cruz

Another part of the celebration is that the pangas ‘beach’ themselves, which is a ton of fun to watch. We made it to Bucerias just in time to see the craziness. Both the town and the beach was absolutely packed with people and we wound our way down to the waves.

Lots of people on the beach for the Blessing of the Fleet

The surf was way up, which was bad news for the panga drivers! But they were not deterred. One by one, the pangas timed the waves & followed them into the beach where hundreds of guys on the beach would surround the panga and push it further up on the beach, outside the crazy pounding waves. The occupants would bail out, they would turn the boat around and push it back out into the waves.

There were a couple of pucker moments – when a boat would get sideways, the waves wouldn’t be timed right, and one spectacular time when a panga jumped a wave about 15’ in the air! But everyone made it safe & sound, maybe a few scratches & some wet people. It was crazy to watch!

The town was in complete celebration and there was dancing, incredible food & drinks, horses, dancing, and row after row of carnival booths selling everything you can imagine and then some!

Dancing in the square in Bucerias

Haha… The thing I found interesting was that they had the same carnival booths as we have in the states – ring toss, dart into the balloon, etc. But the big difference is in the prizes – instead of stuffed animals & chochkis that you’d find in the U.S., they were playing for food! Buckets that had cookies, toilet paper, soda, cereal & more! Haha… Michael said he’d rather play for cookies than stuffed animals.

Carnival Booths in Bucerias

There were other funny things – like rats on a string for sale… And I don’t think I have ever seen ‘The Hulk’ in Mexico! :-)

Rats on a string? The gift for the person who has everything

The incredible hulk in Mexico…

More to follow…


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