South to Barra de Navidad, February 2006

After spending four days in Chamela, it was time to head south again, and headed for Bahia de Navidad. Just north of Barra de Navidad is a anchorage off the town of Melaque, it's nick name is rocky Melaque, as the anchorage is known to be very rolly. So we decided to go into the harbor and anchor in the lagoon, the entrance is well marked, and you need to stay in the channel, as it is very shallow on the sides, many boats have run aground there. The lagoon, is murky and shallow, we dropped anchor in approximately 10-15' of water, even though it was shallow, all the boats would put out 150' of chain/rode, as the bottom is muddy and it is very easy to drag anchor there. The small town of Barra de Navidad turned out to be our new favorite. We stayed way too long enjoying easy access to anything a boat could need. There is a man called the French Baker that delivers French pastries and baguettes each morning to the boats in the lagoon. You can place an order the day before, or just hope your favorite chocolate croissants are still available, once he gets to you. The Grand Bay Hotel, at the marina, had three swimming pools all connected by slides. The children could not have been more content.

Emma and Phoebe at the swim up bar at the Grand Bay Hotel in Barra de Navidad. Maria's Tienda had anything that we needed to re-supply the boat, she would also deliver heavy items via a panga. The fuel dock was great as well, we were able to fuel up and wash down the boat, it is such a luxury to have fresh running water at your disposal when cruising!

From Barra we again pointed south to Manzanillo. We anchored just off of the Las Hadas Hotel & Marina. Las Hadas is famous for the movie 10, starring Dudley Moore and Bo Derek. The pool was large and refreshing, twisting around the large deck area, with a bridge over it and iguanas in the palm trees. In the lobby we had the luxury of free internet and air conditioning, taking turns to update the website and connecting with family. The marina at Las Hadas was small and the boats had to Med Moore to the dock, back in. Parking our dinghy in the marina, we noticed a boat with two children aboard. S/V Capaz, with Juli, Tod, Jake and Zach just arrived and came down the coast from Portland, Oregon. Phoebe and Drake enjoyed the company of other children and they were all similar in age. Looking back at photos, they were anchored next to us in Tenatacita and we never saw them! As we had crew on board, Peter and Dave, it was more difficult for us to get to know Tod and Juli at this time. Although it was helpful having crew, it was also difficult, as you constantly had to entertain, everyday would be a party, as they are in vacation mode. This was our new lifestyle, so it was difficult to balance everything. After a couple of days and our crewman Peterdog caught a flight back to Los Angeles, Dave remained on board to head further south.

Leaving early one morning we headed south and anchored in Punta Cabeza Negra, it was unbearably rolly! Leaving early the next day we motored our way to Caleta de Campos. A friend of Dave's, Jose Pintor, lived there and was a great host. Jose spends 1/2 his time in Mexico and the other 1/2 Albuquerque, he opened his home and heart to us and we are forever changed.

Blue Sky anchored off Caleta de Campos, Jose and Dave, and Blue Sky at Las Hadas.

When we would arrive to a small anchorage with a village on shore, we would park the dinghy near a restaurant and immediately go in and order sodas or an appetizer. The owners would then make sure nothing would happen to the dinghy. After we would explore we always went back and ordered more food and beverages.

After a few days we pulled up the anchor and headed south again to Zihuatanejo for the Sailfest week. We arrived in time to sign up for all the fun and activities.

After leaving our routine lives in Redondo Beach, it is no wonder that we have had several emails asking us what a typical day is like. The last ports might be incorrectly presenting the image that this is an endless vacation. The word typical does not really apply because when we are underway, at anchor or tied to a dock are all completely different. Just for definition, at anchor, although not as demanding as at sea, the boat is not tied to a mooring ball or, even better, a dock, so we treat s/v Blue Sky as though we are at sea. There is a great deal to discuss for each of those situations so I'm just going to address being in a safe anchorage, in good weather.

0600: Phoebe and Drake wake up and usually climb out of their bunks and give Emma a few minutes of snuggle. (Jim only gets a snuggle on his birthday!) 0601: There is only room for three so Jim gets up and makes the coffee. Turning on the propane, boiling water in a kettle on the stove and using a coffee press. At anchor, no electricity, unless the generator is on. 0700: Breakfast then clean up. Honey toast made under the broiler, pancakes, or waffles. Phoebe likes to do her art work in the morning and Drake will get some sword/light saber practice and create with his Legos. 0800: HAM radio net check in. Before you can get on the air, you need to be licensed and know the rules to operate legally. US licenses are good for 10 years before renewal and anyone may hold one except a representative of a foreign government. In the US there are three license classes—Technician, General and Extra. 0815: HAM radio weather for the West Coast of North America down to the Southern Boarder of Mexico. 0830: VHF radio net (Local Harbor Net) Emergency, Roll Call, Mail Call that stuff from the boats within VHF range. This is a great source to gain local knowledge and stay up to date with what is going on in the area. The VHF is a critical piece of safety equipment that should be on every boat. The net's are always on leisure channels and never take up the time and air of the emergency channels. 0900: Boat School for the children. This normally entails a few pages in a work book, reading, math and writing in their journals. If there is a boat project, that takes precedent, as our safety is more important. 1130 School is wrapped up or tools are put away and Lunch is prepared and either eaten on the boat or packed for the field trip. 1230-1730: Time to go to shore. Everyone piles into the dingy, our tender, in Mexico, you have to land the dinghy on the beach and navigate getting through the waves, without flipping it and getting everything soaked. We learned to think like a surfer, count the sets a few times, and then go when there is a lull. Once through the waves, we put the wheels down and haul the boat up the beach above the tide line, take anything of value out of it to include the emergency shut off key and fuel hose. If there is a village ashore, we usually park the dinghy in front of it and go in and order a soda, then they will watch the dinghy for us. For a trip to town, we either walk, catch a bus or get a cab. When we are provisioning for cold items we need to bring along the soft insulated coolers as well as the canvas totes. Field trips include, sight seeing, visiting museums, or going to the beach. Beach days include sand castle construction, boogie boarding, surfing, snorkeling, shell capture, hermit crab races or hiking from one end to the other. 1800: Back to s/v Blue Sky for clean up and getting ready for dinner. 1900: Dinner is usually done and clean up is a memory, before dark, so we can enjoy the sunset. After dinner, the batteries need to be recharged and the refrigerator turned on, so we start the generator and watch a movie together, then it's time for a bedtime story. 2000: Bedtime for the Phoebe and Drake. Time for us to discuss what needs to be accomplished the next few days, and make our lists of the next destination, how long will it take to get there, how is the weather. What do we need to provision? What preventive maintenance needs to be performed and when? 3. Where is the spare or do we need to start a new list for whoever is the next person that is due from the US to bring it with them?

I did not include the things we call "mowing the lawn", scrubbing the bottom of the boat. Also getting the sand and salt off the boat. Hauling drinking water or making drinking water for the tanks. Filling the fuel jerry jugs both diesel for s/v Blue Sky and gasoline for the dingy. Cleaning Stainless steel, lubricating or corrosion prevention for almost everything, checking for chafe on lines or sails, laundry, cleaning down below or cleaning really down below in the engine room or bilge. A clean engine room is the only way to detect a potential problem before it really becomes a problem! Just to name a few.

2100: Cruisers midnight, time for bed! We find that we go to bed just after dark and get up with the sunrise. Well that pretty much sums up a typical day, as long as nothing unusual happens.