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The Cruisin’ Life Begins Anew

Profligate, floating in the mystic about half an hour before sunrise at Punta Mita, Banderas Bay. Sunrises and sunsets have been fantastic, and the days have featured cloudless blue skies and warm — but not hot — temperatures. The water temp has been in the high 70s, meaning you can surf for hours without thinking about a wetsuit. The surf has been off and on, but with some good waves. Coming soon, sailing trips to Yelapa, P.V., and La Cruz, as well as next week’s Banderas Bay Blast. What’s the color of the cruising season to date? Serene.

latitude/Nick
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

It’s a bright new cruising season in Mexico. While a bunch of the Ha-Ha fleet sailed up to La Paz and the islands for the festivities and fun, we and several other Ha-Ha boats cruised across to beautiful Banderas Bay. Here’s a little photo story on how life has been around here:

Evenings are wonderful on the Vallarta Coast. No matter if you’re at Chacala, Punta Mita, La Cruz, Nuevo Vallarta, or Puerto Vallarta, strolling around looking for dinner with friends is always a rewarding experience. This little street taco stand in La Cruz is new this year, and doesn’t even have a name. The choices are limited, but the tacos are killer, and cost less than a buck each. Best of all, the vibe is sooooo mellow and friendly. As one cruiser who just returned said, after popping the top on a Corona, “God, I’d forgotten how much I love this place!” As for the number of cruisers worried about their personal safety in La Cruz, the total was minus zero.

latitude/Nick
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC
On Thursday nights cruisers from all up and down the Vallarta Coast come to Philo’s Music Studio and Bar in La Cruz to listen to the former cruiser sing and to dance with other cruisers. Philo’s songs are about Mexico and cruising his Mendocino-based Cal 36 Cherokee across the Pacific — and missing Mexico while he was doing it. Two Thursday nights ago there weren’t too many people at Philo’s, but last Thursday it was packed, what with all the new and returning cruisers in the area. Having been in Mexico for a few years, Philo has his FM3 status, which means he gets medical insurance for $300 — a year!!! He says the quality of IMS hospital health care varies in different parts of the country, but in Vallarta, it’s great. Sample price: EKG, done with first-class equipment and by first-class technicians, $35. Just like you’d pay in the States, right?

latitude/Nick
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC
A ubiquitous and mischievous presence at Philo’s — after he’s finished playing poker — is Leon, the best dang 79-year-old washboard player and sculptor you’re going to come across anytime soon. Leon — we think it was Leon — told us that the first whale and calf have been spotted in the bay. Many more are expected soon.

latitude/Nick
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC
If you were in the Ha-Ha, you probably remember David Bloom of the Long Beach-based Vector 39 Thee Amazing Grace. He’s the one who had a hip come out of its socket. He got it worked back into place at Guerrero Negro in time to make the last two legs of the Ha-Ha. Last Thursday night he was his exuberant self at Philo’s, up on the dance floor trying to shake his hip out of its socket again.

latitude/Nick
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC
Lots of people go to church on Sunday mornings in Mexico, but others, like John Foy of Punta Mita and Alameda, get in the bosun chair and go to the top of their Alameda-based Catalina 42 Destiny’s mast. It’s just, we suppose, another way of getting closer to God — while maybe repairing a masthead light at the same time.

latitude/Nick
©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC
Slipping between the palm trees at the beautiful Nayarit Riviera Marina in La Paz is David Crowe’s M&M cat Humu-Humu, perhaps the biggest outboard-powered vessel we’ve ever seen. If we’re not mistaken, she’ll be doing charters on Banderas Bay this winter — plus all the normal regattas.

latitude/Nick
©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC
The torrential rains of summer are all over for Banderas Bay, but there is still evidence of the time it rained 20+ inches in one 24-hour period. There’s the bridge that fell down on the main road just to the north of the P.V. Airport, as well as what you see here, a 100-ft wide by 30-ft deep section of the Punta de Mita to Sayulita road that was transformed into a river bed. Motorists, as well as the cruisers who do the Sunday morning motorcycle ride from La Cruz to Sayulita and back, had to detour across what is now a small stream. Between the hillsides coming down, riverbeds being created, and the jungle in full glory, the road from Punta Mita to Sayulita is proof of how powerful and beautiful nature can be.

latitude/Nick
©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

If you’d like to share a photo story of someplace great you’ve cruised to, we’d love to share it with our readers. Email Richard.

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