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Hola from Puerto Vallarta

March 21, 2013

We are tied to the dock at Marina Nuevo Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta (20 41.4N, 105 17.5W) where we have spent the last two weeks readying the boat for our ocean crossing to the Marquises. It’s hot here and the city has changed dramatically since our last visit in 1987 with condos and hotels everywhere. They even have Costco, Walmart, Home Depot, and Sams Club!

We leave La Paz on March 2 when the port opens after several days of closure due to high winds. We have a great downwind sail through the Cerralvo Channel and anchor in Bahia Muertos (23 59.2, 109 49.6) after dark. We leave at sunrise headed across the Sea of Cortez to Isla Isabela. The winds are light and we set the spinnaker.

The crossing is smooth and we see our first whales. Our speed is too slow to make Isabela with one over-niter so we deliberately slow down to make the island in the morning of the third day.  As dawn breaks on the morning of March 5 we see Isabela (21 50.7N, 105 52.7W) dead ahead of us and the faint outline of the penal colony at Islas Marias off to starboard. A whale is silhouetted against an orange morning glow as it sounds marking the start of a perfect day.

The island becomes cloaked in fog by the time we arrive. The primary anchorage is open to a southerly swell and looks uncomfortable so we move over to the east side and anchor by some large rocks that jut out from the sea. The fog lifts and we enjoy whale watching from the cockpit.

We go ashore after lunch and land at the fish camp. We hike to the north side of the island enjoying the company of thousands of nesting frigate birds and their chicks. We are disappointed to find only a few nesting boobies on the north end of the island. At the fish camp we learn that the boobies have relocated to the lighthouse on a steep ridge so that’s where we head.

It’s a rough climb but we are rewarded with hundreds of boobies nesting on the ground, many with chicks. We walk amongst the nests as we are loudly chided by the adult birds. We see a couple of boobies doing their ritual mating dance as they show off their blue feet.

We arrive back at the boat to see that our friends Pat and Lisa on “Always and Forever” have arrived in the anchorage with a 40 pound wahoo. They join us for dinner and we have a wonderful time swapping sea stories.

The next day is spent relaxing on board. After dinner we raise anchor and start sailing toward Puerto Vallarta, but the wind soon drops and we must motor. We arrive at the Marina late the next morning.

We are close to departing for the Marquises and hope to leave this weekend. Our friends Randi and Wayne from “Vagabundo” arrived last night and will be joining us on Persephone for the crossing as far as Tahiti which should take about two-and-a-half months. We may not have Internet access until then so blog updates will be spotty.

Sunrise as we approach Isabela.

Sunrise as we approach Isabela.

Isabela breaking through the fog.

Isabela breaking through the fog.

Rocks by the anchorage.

Rocks by the anchorage.

Whales as we arrive at Isabela.

Whales as we arrive at Isabela.

Whale watching from the cockpit.

Whale watching from the cockpit.

Iguana on Isabela

Iguana on Isabela

Pangas at the fish camp

Pangas at the fish camp

View of the southern anchorage on the hike to the lighthouse.

View of the southern anchorage on the hike to the lighthouse.

Blue-footed boobies in their mating dance.

Blue-footed boobies in their mating dance.

Rookery at the lighthouse.

Rookery at the lighthouse.

Blue-footed booby

Blue-footed booby

Proud parents

Proud parents

Fish camp with the large rocks in the background where we anchored.

Fish camp with the large rocks in the background where we anchored.

Booby

Booby

Boobies on a nest egg.

Boobies on a nest egg.

Frigate chick.

Frigate chick.

North end of Isla Isabela.

North end of Isla Isabela.

Boobies

Boobies

Frigate bird.

Frigate bird.

Male frigate bird.

Male frigate bird.

Fish camp

Fish camp

Crater on Isla Isabela.

Crater on Isla Isabela.

A large jack fish

A large jack fish

Friends Pat & Lisa

Friends Pat & Lisa

Vallarta Yacht Club where cruising seminars were hosted.

Vallarta Yacht Club where cruising seminars were hosted.

Pot luck dinner at Marina Nuevo Vallarta.

Pot luck dinner at Marina Nuevo Vallarta.

Sunset at the marina.

Sunset at the marina.

Cruising seminar on off-shore medicine

Cruising seminar on off-shore medicine

Puerto Vallarta beach front

Puerto Vallarta beach front

42nd wedding anniversary dinner.

42nd wedding anniversary dinner.

From → Travel

4 Comments
  1. Carolyn McDonald permalink

    Beautiful pictures — we’ll miss your blog updates

  2. Barbara & Curtiss permalink

    We are so excited to read your lastest blog post and know that all is well and you are almost ready to head off to the South Pacific. Fair winds and happy travels. Wish we were headed off with you!!

  3. Chuck &Crys West permalink

    Hey you guys! We were JUST talking about you!
    We are sooooo jealous. We love the pictures and your journaling…
    Keep them coming and stay safe!

    Chuck & Crys West
    M/V Red Red Wine
    Alameda, Ca

  4. Happy Anniversary!! Nice bird shots. If you see any pelicans with colored bands, try to get the number (ex. blue “P11”) and email me!

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