March 22, 2015-Mixed Feelings
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Wings at the Dock
La Cruz is a popular departure point for the "Puddle Jump", the Pacific Crossing, and there has been a bit of radio chatter lately from boats announcing their departure and from well wishers giving one last wave goodbye over the radio. The community of boats here preparing to cross the Pacific is small and many of the crews have drawn close. Now they must set out alone, or watch their friends do the same.
Other boats are heading north, to La Paz and Mazatlan, and others, a few, are heading south to the Panama Canal. The marina is clearing out. Every day people are waving goodbye.
Some of these partings are sad and all are filled with emotion, as ship's departures always have been; you can hear it in the voices on the radio and see it in the last hugs on the dock.
I would be lying if I said that I am not yearning to join them. There is excitement in joining the others, in setting out across the unknown. For this year's puddle jump crowd it is the culmination of all their dreams and preparations and they have the anticipation and, I am sure, the fears, that come with this undertaking. For those setting out this year I have a warm feeling and I wish them well.
I know this trip will be a major life event for them.
As it was for us in 1998.
But this year Wings sits still in her berth.
My yearning to join them doesn't last long. We had a good crossing back in 1998 and many adventures and breathtaking landfalls in the Pacific that year. We remember them all fondly. But I know the reality of a Pacific passage and a Pacific cruise; it is a long haul and a lot of work. Of course you have to do it once, and it was wonderful when we did it all those years ago, but once is enough and we have no real desire to sail across that ocean again.
We are happy to remain behind, but still... a little sad.
Click here for a few more photos.
Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huanacaxtle
Labels: Marina Riviera Nayarit, Mexico, Wings
March 11, 2015-Regatta Over
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After The Race
Two and a half months of preparation, hard work, training, and competition in minor races were the lead-up to this moment. It was the first rounding of the top mark in the last race of the Bandaras Bay Regatta.
The water was as blue as India ink, the sun as bright as the high desert, the bobbing yellow windward mark was flashing by as the spinnaker was going up. When that sail filled the boat surged ahead and we went flying straight downwind in the fresh breeze. The wind was right, the course was perfect for us, and the crew was hot. The next few minutes made the whole two and a half months of preparation and hard work worth it: In 200 yards we passed one boat and were reeling in the next. The leader, Olas Lindas, looked closer. At the bottom mark we were in second place and closing on first. No we didn't go on to win, we were still minutes behind Olas at the finish, but it was the closest we'd come the whole regatta and it felt good.
It was really nice to have a good day; we'd had some tough sailing in the first two races, hard sailing, and while we were always in the hunt, we finished well down both days. The starts were fine, and each time we came off the line leading, but we never could hold off Olas on the beat. A bad habit of overstanding the windward mark let another boat, Bright Star, by twice. There were some other mistakes and when the courses, with the long reaches which didn't suit us, were thrown into the mix, we struggled.
But this, THIS! Now this was sailing and this is what we came for. When the race was over we were exuberant.
Now we have finished the Bandaras Bay Regatta, the focus of our campaign this year, and the racing in Puerto Vallarta is essentially over for the season. We put a lot into it, hard work, some money, and a lot of wear and tear on the boat and sails. But the effort was worth it in many ways besides a good finish in one last race: We refreshed our racing skills, picked up some local knowledge which we can use next year, and we had some wonderful times with our new crew. And most importantly, we were in the arena, as Teddy Roosevelt said, which is something. And in the end, you get out of something exactly what you put into it, and we put in a lot.
So, we shift gears once again. Spring is here, and Summer is soon to follow. We won't be racing, but, once we take a breath to recover from this season of competition, we have work to do. We have boat projects to do, Mexican immigration to deal with, and a summer's heat to adjust to. Next year, if we do this again, we'll have to refresh the crew, repair the tired old sails, and make the effort all over again.
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Fred & Judy
Click here for Crew Photos
Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
Labels: Bandaras Bay, BBR, Mexico, racing, sailing
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March 1, 2015-Adventures in Paradise-Fish Market
La Cruz Fish Market
Most places we've been have had fish markets where the catches of the local fishermen are sold. Wherever there is ocean there are fishermen, and there are fish, and you find the fish in the markets.
But mostly there aren't many fish. There are lots of fishermen, everywhere, but the seas are fished out pretty much world-wide. In Asia, for instance, so few fish are caught that the fish markets are just a wet table in the public market between the veggies and the fresh chickens. Not much, not big, and not looking too wholesome. The Caribbean is about the same; not much in the way of fish or fish markets.
So we were really surprised at the fish markets in Mexico, and La Cruz in particular.
The La Cruz fish market is big, clean, and filled with fresh fish and low prices. The stall pictured above is one of six. We love it.
Not only can you get whole fish, fillets, steaks and all sorts of shellfish, but it is really cheap.
We like Yellow-fin Tuna or Mahi Mahi, and a couple of big streaks from either variety, about a pound of cleaned fish, costs around $8-$10.
What also surprised us were the huge sizes of fish being landed here. For example check out this tub of Yellow-Fin. The tub is two feet tall and six feet long, so you can see the tuna are about 4-5 feet long, and they are as big around as a basketball. The fisherman said the one underneath (you can just see his tail), was twice as big. He said if I want tuna, just call him.
This isn't the only good fish market we've found; Gizo, in the Solomon Islands is pretty good, and also the market in Kota Kinabalu, in Borneo.
But the fish market at La Cruz is the best we've seen.
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Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz
Labels: La Cruz, Mexico