I hadn’t written for awhile so I thought I’d review what we’ve done and give a glimpse of what we think this year is going to hold. We leave within the week, weather permitting, for a long sea voyage up the Gulf of California – if you just want to read about that please go here: Gulf of California: Bottom to Top
The Year in Review
In winter 2019 we finally crossed the border to Mexico, just ahead of the Baja Haha Rally. However a worsening steering issue plagued us down the first part of the Baja so when we finally got that fixed we paused in Turtle Bay where the Rally caught up with us. We then loitered in a beautiful isolated bay (Bahia Santa Maria), only leaving to get beat up for 36 hours by Tropical Storm Raymond. We survived and arrived in Cabo at the tip of the Baja just as the storm was winding down. We crossed directly to Banderas Bay, a three day trip, and arrived exactly three weeks after entering Mexico, November 21, 2019. We stayed in Puerto Vallarta for about 3 weeks, doing another major repair, then moved to quieter La Cruz.
La Cruz de Huanacaxtle (wanna-cox-lee) on the north shore of Banderas Bay is a small fishing village and home to the Riviera Nayarit Marina (usually called the La Cruz Marina) and Anchorage. It is a town known for its music scene – every night of the week you can find 60s, 70s, and 80s covers, some jazz, as well as a bit of original music and the occasional classical treat. It is also home to street tacos, a few elegant restaurants, some pizza and Italian food, lots of bars, and tons of Mexican family restaurants and street carts. A bottle of Mexican beer is $1.00 to $1.50. Dark beer is hard to find. And then there are the lovely, sparsely used beaches. The fish market in the marina has fresh never-frozen seafood 7 days a week, mahi mahi and red snapper, all sizes of shrimp, sushi tuna and oysters occasionally. It is truly a fishing village and the pangas zoom in and out all hours of the day and night. They repair their nets by hand just beyond the market as the kids and dogs run in and out. Sundays there is an artisans’ and farmers’ market with a good selection of ready to eat foods as well. Wednesday’s is the locals market with fresh veggies, plastics, hardware, anything you might need in the home.
We stayed in the anchorage for awhile, went to the marina while Jon replaced the alternator, went back to the anchorage for a few weeks. The anchorage, while very scenic and a great place to view whales, is what they call a “roadstead” – a place along the coast with no real protection – so it gets very rolly and some nights it’s difficult to sleep.
In preparation for my family’s arrival for a week of vacation we returned to the marina on Feb 21st, 2020. And then, mid-March, shortly after my family left, COVID hit. Suddenly everything locked down, restaurants closed, busses became ill-advised death traps, music stopped. Little could we have imagined Eurybia would be in this slip for 13 months and that COVID will still be rampant in Mexico.
In those first few months of COVID the cruising lifestyle really changed, possibly for good. Suddenly visitors were seen as disease vectors and though ocean sailors are really not, traveling so slowly as to have already quarantined when they arrive, we were lumped in with the rest. Most of the south Pacific – a major destination for Mexico sailors – closed, much has not yet re-opened and the openings are grudging and limited. With New Zealand closed there is limited access to safe places to go for the cyclone season, therefore many sailors are still waiting to see what happens.
We stayed in La Cruz. At least until our wimpy northern asses could not take the heat and humidity any longer. July 1 we got in our newly obtained used Honda CRX and headed to Gringo country. We were gone three months including an unexpected hospital stay in Jackson Hole, WY when Marie had a second pulmonary clot episode (first had been 2 years earlier in San Francisco). So blood thinners for life. But we made it home to Eurybia in October.
October in Puerto Vallarta area is still damn hot. We made it for one month and then ventured east into the central highlands where it was blessedly temperate. We have a (very bad) habit of looking at houses for sale wherever we go, it gets us into neighborhoods and helps us imagine what it’s like to live in such a place. It was clearly too soon to buy, we were just going to get a feel for the place. But of course that backfired when we found a house we loved and for a price unseen in the USA. So now we own a lovely house in San Miguel de Allende. We returned to the boat, but were back in San Miguel for closing in mid-December, staying almost six weeks. This will be home for us when we’re not sailing since we no longer have a house in the US. Once COVID is really done, probably next winter/spring, we plan to rent it while we’re sailing and then spend summer and fall there during hurricane season.
After returning from San Miguel we doodle-farted February and March away, managing to nearly fill the boat with water one night. That disaster took a couple of weeks to entirely recover from. Jon did some engine work, changed out dinghies (again), did standard yearly maintenance of several varieties and here we are, leaving for the north much later than planned. As always.
We have a 1000 mile, four to six week trip ahead of us sailing from Banderas Bay on the Pacific Coast of Mexico to the northern-most point of the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California). There is a lot of planning for this, and we will still probably do something completely different from what we plan, depending on what breaks, the weather etc. If you want to read details of this trip please see: Our (Imagined) Trip up the Gulf of California
Looking Ahead to Land Life
Once we get to Puerto Penasco we will haul out there for hurricane season. It is a boatyard with a fabulous reputation where you can do your own work, and it also has the advantage of being 60 miles from the US, so getting parts is exponentially easier and less expensive. Eurybia will be on her own for the hot summer (hurricane season), and the plan is to return in the cooler winter months to start a major and overdue refit. Planned work includes a complete re-rig (replace all the wire and rope rigging on the boat as well as overhaul the two masts and two booms). Also on the list is cleaning, polishing or refinishing all the surfaces that need it: the hull and decks, plus re-apply the non-skid coating on the decks, cabin floors, and some of the ceiling / paneling. We will remove everything in the boat, clean thoroughly, paint and treat with mold deterrent where needed. I will also make new cockpit cushions as they are torn and looking their age. And on and on.
Car trip north
But that’s all for after the new year. After settling the boat in at Puerto Penasco we take off north to Bellingham. We will be there for a month or so I’m guessing while we empty our final storage area. Some things will be packed for the moving company to move to the house in Mexico and we are hoping lots will go to my son and his family in their big new home in southern Washington state. I also have to get my grandkid fix, they are one and two now! And of course the highlight of being in Bellingham is seeing our friends and possibly sailing on Other People’s Boats. And medical visits, routine stuff.
From Bellingham we drive back to San Miguel to settle into our house for the fall and winter. I want to finish my novel as well as re-establish my exercise regime which I know will have suffered in all the traveling. I will also make cockpit cushions for the boat. Jon wants to get into gardening/xeriscaping and bird watching and possibly building a water maker for the boat. Zoë wants to get started with agility. We also are hoping to see family and friends for some visits in our new home.
That’s our plans. Stay tuned for what ACTUALLY happens at Finding Eurybia.