Adventures to Puerto Vallarta

Girlfriend Lou arrived from Portland with a bag of goodies and a nice bottle of bourbon for us. We spent a couple of days in Mazatlan highlighting some of our favorite areas, stocked up the fridge and prepped the boat for a 3 day passage to PV.

We departed at 5:00 p.m for an 85 nm passage to Isla Isabella. The island is less than half a mile wide and about three-quarters of a mile in length. It was made a National Park in the 1980s, and it has been called the “Galapagos” of Mexico. Isla Isabel is a major breeding and nesting area for frigate birds brown boobies and blue-footed boobies, which are all very tame.

It was wonderful to have Lou on watch with me, John was able to get about 5 hours of sleep. When we arrived at the anchorage there were 3 boats and that was a crowd. The entry has 2 large submerged rocks and we couldn’t take any chances especially with large swells driving in crashing waves. We motored back to the east side hoping to day anchor but the only spot had lobster pots planted directly in our desired depth. The waves were large and crashing on the beach, there was no way we could’ve landed the dinghy there either. Disappointed, we departed for Matanchen Bay, 40 nautical miles away, about 5 miles SE of San Blas, Nayarit.
All was well in the cockpit, John went down for a nap, Lou was reading. All of a sudden something very large appeared along my side of the boat. I immediately lunged for the transmission lever yelling “WHALE” pushing us into neutral. Startled Lou jumped up and yelled “What’s wrong?” and I again yelled “It’s a  whale, whale”! It continued to slide out from under the bow, touching the boat and it was damn scary! They come in pairs, they breach, blow lots of water, they could get mad! Only it wasn’t a grey whale, and when you haven’t seen a strange creature before your brain goes to warp speed, trying equate it to something – it’s a sea monster!! About 30′ in length, nearly the length of Konami, white and brown with spots, and had a large head shaped like a square shovel. Lou and I were speechless, imagine that.
Hearing my “whale” shout, sleepy John figured it was too late to see anything, came into the cockpit just as we passed it. We believe it wasn’t injured, as it continued to float on the surface, its  3′ pointed fin tail began to wave back and forth. It didn’t really move very fast. My heart rate and breathing went back to normal and we slowly throttled up and watched for several minutes looking for any other whale sharks in our path.
Whale sharks actually float on the surface skimming the water for plankton according to the ocean mammal book.
We arrived at Matanchen Bay, dropped anchor in calm water, enjoyed a great swim and wonderful dinner in the cockpit with a beautiful sunset.

The next morning we departed for Chacala Bay, again we motored in calm winds. Dropped anchor in 28′ depth, the swells were coming out of the west right into the bay. Konami hobby horsed, rocked and bounced, and I didn’t feel comfortable enough to leave the boat unattended to go ashore. We swam in warm water and enjoyed another beautiful sunset. Since the weather forecast was for lots of wind and steep seas near the Punta Mita point where we were headed, we decided to leave out at 1:00 a.m and run into Banderas Bay, about a 12 hour passage. We didn’t get any sleep as the wind shifted, and Konami went sideways to the large swells. Roll from side to side, pitch up, roll the opposite direction, pivot and pitch down. The half moon helped us out motor out, and of course a motor ride with light winds, confused chop and short seconds in the beginning. Roll this way, roll that way, slap and bang.
By mid afternoon the winds and swell died down, and we caught a perfect size skip jack tuna. Just as we finished cleaning the fish and got settled with the line back in the water, the bow of the boat hooked the line to the a flagged pot about 200′ off to the right. John threw the boat into neutral, ran forward and grabbed the boat pole to unhook it and watched it slip from under the boat just as we realized that our 60′ fishing line was still in the water! Sure enough, our fish hook caught the pot’s line. Another “oh crap”.  We were lucky it wasn’t a heavy line that could’ve wrapped around our prop. One more exciting moment in a mind numbing motor ride.

About 2 hours prior to rounding Punta Mita, the sea built back up 5 knots of wind  and 6′ waves, just enough to make it uncomfortable. We passed between the Marietta island and Point into beautiful sailing conditions. 10 – 15 knots of wind coming from our aft quarter, the waves smoothed out and Konami responded immediately to her sails. We sailed across Banderas Bay bound for the La Cruz marina 10 miles away.
Just as we finished dropping sails a manta ray with a 7′ wing span was gracefully swimming 15′ from the boat. We watched in awe as it swam away. A beautiful ending to a 3 day motoring adventure.

The La Cruz marina is a cruiser’s paradise. It has all the desired amenities, superbly clean, the beaches nearby are fantastic and perfect for sunbathing. The town is quaint with nice cafes serving eclectic food, shops and a great bus service. We had 2 fun days with Lou in La Cruz before she departed. It was wonderful to have a friend visit, a peace of home with us.

2 thoughts on “Adventures to Puerto Vallarta

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