Saturday, 31 December 2011

la cascada

The ever-changing scenery on the way to the falls
First, you leap off the boat and swim to shore. Then you walk down the beach and across the arroyo. Climb the stairs up the cliff side. Turn left at the top. Walk through ranchero lands, staying out of the way of pack mules and rancheros on horseback. After two river crossings, look for the gate on the left with the green arrow. Crawl under the gate and follow the path. Don't take the path that splits to the left. Keep right. Eventually, the path is cluttered with boulders. Follow the sound of whitewater. Walk down the stone steps and voila! One and a half hour later, you have arrived!

A peaceful little scene

River crossing numero uno (If you don`t count the one on the beach)

Don't miss this gate, (other hikers did...) Look closely, there is a
green arrow pointing down on the lower board.

When we first arrived, there was a bit of a crowd, luckily they dispersed soon after our arrival. And then... we played!

Oh, the novelty of swimming in fresh water

Yep, that smile sums it up

The requisite romantic waterfall shot
Models: Jeff and Ali

Rick doing what Ricks do

The quiet walk back to Yelapa

Guess who's on dry bag duty on the way back!
They don't seem to mind...

gone yelaping!

Yelapa's beach
The pueblo 
We swam ashore. And back. For 3 days. The breast stroke was our mode of transportation for the 250 feet separating Nyon from Yelapa. Dry bags were our best friends. 

Yelapa is a unique little town on the south side of Banderas Bay. No roads lead there, electricity and the internet arrived only a few years ago, and the land is owned collectively by the indigenous people of that region. Truly, it is a gem. (You can read more about it here.)

Yay, it's Baba-time!
As we entered the bay, there were pangas zipping about, boats bobbing up and down on moorings, music. The beach was crowded with Mexicans and Gringos lounging in the sun - this town was no sleepy town. The surge rocked us along as we followed "El Buly" to our mooring ball. The anchorage is deep, very deep - so most sailors choose to tie to a mooring ball for a fee.

Photo by Ali

Poor Ali was feeling the swell, it was pretty active upon arrival. We put out a stern anchor and weighed the rode down with a kellet, (pangas do come very close, we'd rather avert that kind of disaster). Thankfully, the motion eased. (Over the duration of our stay, we ended up being quite comfortable. It is very important to monitor the weather, the swell can become very uncomfortable. The beach can also turn into a dangerous lee shore in the wrong conditions.) And once Rick was able to locate and fix the evil squeek-of-no-sleep under the sole, right next to Dana's head, everyone slept well.

Behind the beach palapas

On the first day, we explored Yelapa. I call it explore, because it sounds better than writing "we went on a wild goose chase". First, we ended up in the maze behind the beach palapas, and then realized we had to cross the arroyo (river) and climb the stairs on the cliff to go into the actual village. We were looking for the elusive restaurant called Yolanda's. Up and down paths we went, greeting friendly dogs and taking in the scene. We came across Lupi's bakery and its banana bread. Eventually, we found Yolanda's. It was closed. So we found a make-do spot for snacks and headed back to Nyon to barbecue fish and chill out.

On our quest for Yolanda's
Don't ask
Yelapa was lovely. Our hike out of town to the Falls was fabulous, we enjoyed delicious food at Yolanda's and Brisas, we lounged on the beach and played in the ocean, and then there was Ali's quest for pie! To be continued...

See Nyon on the left, near the beach. On the right is the arroyo.
This photo is taken from the top of the cliff.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

and two more, makes five!

When we told other cruisers we had two more crew coming on Christmas Eve, their eyes grew big... They'd ask with frozen smiles and head shakes, "Oh... Wow. How big is your boat?" True, Nyon isn't a big sailboat, and five is a lot. Are we crazy? Maybe. I think we'd be crazy not to welcome some of our favourite people aboard Nyon. 

Yes, it means two of us camp out in the cockpit to sleep at night, we take turns cooking or bump bodies helping each other out in the galley, we play in the water like kids,enjoy lively conversations and quiet times together. There is sunshine here, Spanish to stumble through, and a culture to explore. They get to see what the voyaging life is like - no, not the idealized version. They even get to see us grumpy once in a while. What do we get out of it? We get some quality time with friends who know us  very well, and love our "sweet" nutty personalities.* We can't ask for much more than that.

Bliss is found in a hammock, in case you're wondering
There was no snow, but there were stockings!

Christmas brought good cheer on Nyon. We celebrated at a leisurely pace, enjoying opening surprise stockings, a delicious brunch and wandering through the market before heading for the beach. An  afternoon spent in the sunshine, where old friends met some of our new cruising friends while enjoying simple pleasures.

Rick and SV Wondertime's little Holly - enjoying a peaceful moment after
leaping through waves
*Sweet nuts are delicious honey-coated pecans obtained at the La Cruz Farmer's market... And to quote Jeff: "Who doesn't like sweet nuts?"

bucerias - a photo essay

Exploring the nooks and
A side street somewhere...
I swear, she was a cat in a past life

Street scene
Rowing back to the boat in the dark

Monday, 26 December 2011

and one, makes three

On December 14, we welcomed our close friend Dana aboard Nyon. She cleverly escaped a wintery Victoria for sunny Mexico. Our happy reunion led to her immediate immersion into the cruising lifestyle. This means, she got her hands dirty. Two days later, we escaped the dock: The mast was re-stepped and the rig was tuned, water tanks were full and provisioning was done.

Ah, the bliss of being at anchor once again... Dana took to it like a fish to water. We leapt off the boat, basked in the sun, and enjoyed some well-deserved lazy days. We then tested the rig under sail. A brisk breeze led us to Punta De Mita. Nyon and her crew were thrilled to feel so free once again. Some exploring later, we headed back to the La Cruz anchorage, and did what cruisers do: A few boat jobs, some socializing, and more exploring. The best part? Sharing it all with a kindred spirit from home.

We met the Bella Star crew for drinks, and introduced them to the delicious quesadillas at La Silla Roja. It was an interesting experience to meet Aaron and Nicole, as I'd been following their blog for some time. And you have to wonder, will we like them? Will they like us? Turns out, that yes, they are very likeable, and damn funny too!

After a hectic work schedule, we are rediscovering the fine balance between work and play that is the voyaging life, and yes, it feels good!

Nyon at anchor
Daily tasks

Making handmade stockings for Christmas with recycled fabric

Happy moments

Exploring Punta de Mita

Toto et Lolo

Saturday, 17 December 2011

what comes down, must go up

In the days before we were to re-step Nyon’s mast, we scrambled through the mountain of tasks. The scarphs were done, the mast varnished and painted. There was hardware to mount, standing rigging to clean and re-attach, wires to run, our lovely friend Dana to pick up at the airport (who then hopped into work mode with a grin while making sure we were fed, when we forgot to eat). Can we say bonus points for our newest crew member? Yes, yes we can.

Thursday was the day. Our team of helpers assembled on cue. We moved Nyon back to the same location we’d un-stepped her. We got as far as swinging the engine hoist over the boat. (Once again, we were to use the hoist as a make-do crane – a less than ideal solution, but a solution nonetheless.) And that’s when the hoist shorted out. The two Alejandros deliberated on the side, while puffing their cigarettes. I bit back the tears of disappointment and joined them, (minus the cigarette). The three of us discussed when the hoist could possibly be repaired and ready for use. They weren’t sure, maybe 3 or 4 days. We debated other options. We could hire a crane-truck. It would cost more. Let's talk tomorrow.

Ready to be vertical...
Needless to say, it was anti-climactic… I insisted our would-be helpers come back to the dock and drink a beer with us. Oh no, we couldn’t, oh yes, you could. Let’s make the best of this. Good company always dulls the edge of disappointment.

The next day, we went to see Alejandro at the boatyard office. He made some calls and asked (while on the phone): "When?" 
We said, "When it’s possible." 
"Uh… how about a half an hour?" 
"Muchas Gracias!"

We were almost skipping back to the dock. While Rick adjusted the sling, I radioed the Michaels, asked a few more people on our dock for help – and off we went. The advantage of a proper crane was obvious, it would be much less awkward to step the mast. The sling was now positioned just below the spreaders. Yesterday's mishap ended up being advantageous... Although a little more expensive.

Attempt #2: Can you see how happy he is?

Up she goes!

We had a crowd of helpers and onlookers. As the mast got hoisted and the guys re-stepped it, I held a line and translated. Pesos exchanged hands and we all breathed a sigh of relief.

Helping hands
With that sigh, all the stress and anxiety of the past few days left us. We could barely move. Lethargy set in. We let it overwhelm us. "Mañana, mañana...And now, mañana has arrived: We are energized - ready to tune the rig, pick up some provisions and get off Dock 5. Hasta Luego!

Photos by Chris (MV Beverly J)

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

barbecues, birthdays and parties, oh my!

Dock 5 isn't all work and no play. No, no. We have managed to add some carousing to our evenings, releasing the stress of long work days into the night sky. It's all about finding a balance, we certainly are becoming more adept at that. SV Patricia Belle helped out in the play department. Thanks for your hospitality Pat, Jeannie and gang - There is nothing boring about having you share a dock with us!

Photos by Chris (MV Beverly J)

Rick's forty-second birthday also gave us an excuse for a dock party - the Dock 5 gang and other friends joined in the fun! It was a double-whammy: The mast is nearing completion and we celebrated one great guy!

Mix 'n Match
It was all a bit of a blur

The birthday boy and his famous 25 year old shirt
(Do you recognize it Jacquie?)
Victoria offshoot
SV Wondertime and SV Del Viento - Dinghy party!

We even managed to leave the dock for some rabble-rousing at anchor with SV Wondertime and for a bonfire on land. In spite of some setbacks, life in Mexico is muy bueno!


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