Cruising  ~ The Cat’s Meow Style ~  January 2009

Heading south along the Costa Dorada



A new year! Yet, another one. Well, we think it is purrrty good to have another great year to look forward to. We anticipate more fun adventures on and off The Cat’s Meow.


TCM at Chamela


The last update ended on New Year’s Eve. And what a New Year’s Eve it was…… NOT exactly as we had planned…. Read on….


Twice before, we had enjoyed New Year’s Eve in Puerto Vallarta, and both times, we had had a really wonderful and fun time. So, this year we decided to find a place to park our 28’ RV in PV, enjoy the day of New Year’s Eve, watch the fireworks, perhaps get in some dancing-in-the-streets, and finally sleep in the RV. We spent a half-day scoping out possible locations to park the RV, then the morning of the NYEve day another half-day driving through the grid-lock into the city. After driving all over, we finally found a great spot for the RV. Not too close to the malecon (which would have noise all night long), but still in an active area, not too far away. We closed her up tight, had some tasty tacos across the street, and then we wandered about the city, taking-in the holiday crowds and the preparations for the night’s festivities. 



      Puerto Vallarta sculptures along the malecon (beachfront)



These guys really know how to put on a fireworks display! They are serious about a seriously big show! So, we were really looking forward to it, and to staying up into the wee hours of the next day.


 Preparations for the BIG New Year’s Eve fireworks display, Pto. Vallarta


We hopped a bus back to the RV for a siesta, in order to be all rested-up. But……..when we got off the bus…..

there was no RV!!!  OMYGAWD. It was shocking. We were in the right place, but the RV was simply not where we had left it. Realizing that it was now about three p.m. on the eve of New Year’s, and that many or all of the agencies we would need to deal with would be closing….a bit of a panic set in. We looked for a policeman. We talked to the people at the taco stand, who had witnessed the spectacle of our RV being loaded onto a very large tow truck. They were able to give us the name of the towing company, and a very nice gentleman offered to assist us in contacting the authorities to find out where our RV was. After a nerve-wracking taxi ride to the agency that handles traffic infractions, another taxi ride to the towing compound, and back & forth a couple more times…and a few of Robin’s tears (it couldn’t hurt!)… and the extra-ordinary help from some folks we had never met and will never see again, we recovered our RV at around 8:30 p.m.!! This was actually an astounding feat. People pulled out all the stops to make it happen for us, so, the original negative impact was lessened, by a lot. However, the payment to the tow company was around $200US, and the combined taxis were about another $50US. The traffic ticket, which was for parking an RV on city streets (who knew??!), was a grand total of about $7.50US. Jeeez. Another one of those “all’s well that ends well” things, we guess….. 


To say the least, we did not stay in PV for the New Year’s festivities. We were just a bit bummed. We ended up driving back to La Cruz, about a thirty minute drive. Driving through the little village, we saw and heard a bunch of “gringos” having a good time at the British pub, with live music and lots of frivolity. After parking the rig back in front of the house where it had been stored for the last few months, we walked back to the Pub for at least a NYEve drink. And what a drink!! WOW, That did the trick! Good music, some friends, dancing under the stars…. All of that helped. We checked on the RV, walked back to the dock where our dinghy was waiting for us, and headed back toward the boat, out at anchor. Just as we cleared the marina, out into the bay, we saw and heard about six different fireworks displays light up the sky!! All the way around the bay, colorful explosions, big ones, loud ones, lit everything up! It was magical, after all – a good way to end one year and to begin another.


 Fireworks in the sky



Early in January, while anchored in Banderas Bay off of the village of La Cruz, a mother whale and her baby (someone guessed it might have been about two months old) came into the anchorage. The baby whale was breeching, over and over, all through the anchorage! Breeching is when the whale lifts most of its body up, out of the water, and falls, usually to one side. Some people think this behavior might be used to knock barnacles or other critters off the whale. Whatever the reason, this is something to see, especially when it is a baby whale! (S)he looked like he had a smile on his face, too, and appeared to be enjoying him/herself all through the anchorage.


Banderas Bay is one of the places humpback whales come to give birth, and to mate. On any given day from about mid-December and into March, whales can be seen tail-splashing, breeching, laying on the surface, and traveling. Purrrty cool! Some of them are really BIG boys, too!


Of course, trying to get photos or even decent video clips of these guys is almost impossible for us. They are usually too far from the boat, or they just don’t cooperate with digital photo-taking. 


Our original “plan” (that word always has to be thought of as only a suggestion) was to cruise south to the Barra de Navidad area for the holidays. Well, obviously that didn’t happen!! Finally, on January 15th, we separated the anchor from the bottom and we headed out of the bay and southward. On the way, we must have startled a sleeping whale, because all at once this big thing spouted, flailed around for a minute, and then started coming toward the boat! It is really cool to see a whale close to the boat, but not when it seems to be charging the boat! We dodged, sped up, and the whale finally decided not to follow us after a few minutes. Whew! The rounding of Cabo Corrientes was OK, some confused seas but not bad….until we were about another hour down the coast. Then, it was rough water with following seas, and very close swells. Not too much fun. We had to pass our next anchorage, then make a quick, strong U-turn and come back at it against the seas. The next day’s cruise down to Chamela was a piece of cake – glassy, calm water and nice warm breezes. Purrrrfect. Along this part of the coastline, we saw many whales, some with babies, and many sea turtles, even some birds standing on the top of floating turtles.


  Bird taking a ride on the back of a turtle  (photo by Irwin of Winsome)


When we arrived in the bay at Chamela, we were surprised and happy to find the small anchorage behind one of the islands empty! We put the hook down, and loved being all by ourselves in this nice little place. It was quite, very little wind, clear water, and only birds on the island as neighbors. Great.



                            TCM way off in the distance, all by herself, Isla Passavera at Chamela Bay                            Frigate birds roosting in a favorite tree, Isla Passavera – our only neighbors




                                                                                                                                                         Martin during a hike on Isla Passavera



While at Chamela, we were able to finally do some water sports. The water was pretty clear and not cold. We did some snorkeling and kayaking, and Martin did a few SCUBA dives as well. However, the area has been over-fished, and there is not much of any fish left at all. Too bad.  We stayed in the Chamela bay area for two weeks; about half of that time behind the island, and about half of that time all by our lonesomes. The other half of the time we were in the other, larger and more popular anchorage. We did some provisioning in the village, got together with our friends Doug & Kathy on Spirit Quest, along with Diane & Bill of Wirewalker, and we met their friends on the trawler Sea Chantey. Good times!


The gang” getting together on Spirit Quest 


Tenacatita, another anchorage along the Costa Dorada of Mexico, has been a stopping place for cruising boats for a number of years. Some boaters have been known to spend the entire season there! Usually, there is a bocci game on the beach and dominoes being played at the one-and-only palapa restaurant. This season, not many boats were at the anchorage at one time, and most were stopping for only a few days before moving south or north. We did enjoy seeing some boating friends again, like Archie & Bev on SeaTacion, and others. Robin did some more kayaking, we spent an afternoon at the palapa, but we did not stay long, either, but we went just a few miles down the coastline to a great little village called Barra de Navidad.  More on that in the next edition of this website.


As usual, we have been enjoying our cruising life, the friends, the beauty, the simplicity. We hope you will return soon to find out what else is happening on and around Cruising ~ The Cat’s Meow Style…….