Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thanksgiving Underway

Thanksgiving is different underway.
First of all, we could not contact our family and share a few minutes together via email, skype or cell phone.  Secondly, no turkey dinner with all the fun side dishes.  Last, no friends around.  We were alone.  Aboard our 42 foot sailboat in the middle of the Sea of Cortez making a 2-3 night passage directly to San Blas.  Hum...This is different but not all bad.

One of the unexpected outcomes of cruising this last year is that we have become much closer as a couple, and not only in proximity!  We have really become content together without needing a big party for every holiday or event.  It feels like we are at peace and can enjoy commemorating special events with little more than a special dinner or toast with some Chilean wine.

While under way I made dinner rolls, Salmon, veggies, potatoes and yams for our special Thanksgiving Dinner.  We ate our meal in fresh air under sail.  Unfortunately no wine since we choose not to drink any alcohol under way.

After two nights and three days we were approaching Mantenchén Bay in San Blas, Nayarit, Mexico.
The sun was setting and we knew we would not make the bay before dark.  Armed with way points in the GPS and the memories of the bay from last year we felt comfortable entering the bay by fog shrouded moon light.
Our only apprehension was the sight of numerous fishing trawlers and the unseen longlines that fill the waters between Isla Isabella and San Blas.  Our original plan was to stay at Isla Isabella overnight so that we could navigate the fishing line filled waters with the benefit of day light, but Isabella was like an over crowded RV park when we arrived earlier in the day (perhaps six or eight boats!), so we decided to make a run for Mantenchén Bay hoping to arrive with some light.

As we approached Mantenchén Bay in the dusk several large fishing trawlers were in a line making unusual turns and basically running-a-muck.  Every time we changed course to go around, another trawler would turn and our course was blocked again.  This with the sun disappearing into a fog obscured sunset and the appearance of lights ashore added some unease to the end of a long trip, but all went fine.  We sighted an engineless panga pulling in his line as we motored into the middle of the bay in the dark.  Luckily he had a flash light and shined it on his hull so we could see him, and we were thankful that we did not get caught up in his line.  We dropped the hook and poured a rum and coke for the well deserving Captain.  Job well done.

Fishermen bringing in their lines on a foggy morning in Mantenchén Bay.

 First surfing trip of the season and I cant wait!

Homes and restaurants line most of the beach in the bay.

Leaving the Bay and going around the corner in search of surf.

S/V Nirvanna's Bob on the board and Sheri at the helm
No surf from mother nature but we will not be denied.  We skurfed instead.

After working up a big appetite on the water we had a wonderful lunch at a beach side 
palapa restaurant.
The owner Ismael and his son we so gracious.  They pulled out all of the fish and taught us the different varieties and how good fresh fish should look.  We ordered two different whole fishes to be prepared by the son who generously demonstrated his method for Sheri and me.

Jeff, Bob, Sheri, Ismael and son

 The open air kitchen, notice the two buckets under the table, they catch all of the gooey, fishy water.

The spice rack

Fresh fish, rice, salad, fresh tortillas, live music and buckets of beers on the beach.  
What more could we ask for?

Besides a nap in a hammock like this little guy.

As the day wore on the coconut husks start to burn.    The smoke helps keep the biting no-see-ums away.  We took this as a symbol from God that it was time to head back to the Buena Vida for the evening and prepare to depart for Chacala the following day.

We spent a few nights anchored in the bay of Chacala with our buddy boat Nirvana.  Nirvana needed to head on to La Cruz but we decided to stop at a charming town called Jaltema.  We did not visit Jaltema last year so it was fun to explore a new place.  We really liked the playful spirit of Jaltema but the anchorage was so rolly.
We planned on anchoring off the town for the day and moving to the protected lee of a big rock island about a mile off shore.  Well, we could not get a good bite with the anchor.  
All rock at 15, 20, 25 feet enough!  We anchored in the best spot we could find, but it was a  bumpy night!

Joyful beach scenes of Jaltema

Notice the toilet seat in the bow of the panga.  I'm sorry but no... that is not going to happen in my life.

Sweet children on a field trip wander through the tourist zone.

Beach access from the lively resort at the end of town.  The magenta and lime seem to work.

We love the real deal where the locals like to eat.  Usually the best food at any price.

We never tire of the charms of daily life south of the boarder.  Mexico is so close to the U.S. but so different.  I feel that I have often underestimated the cultural differences between us.  We have so much in common and share a common history but the values and priorities of the everyday Mexican is so different from the life we are familiar with.  Besides great sailing, beaches, and restaurants, we love learning more about our neighbors to the south.

Now, off to La Cruz.  One of our favorite little towns.

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