Monday, February 25, 2013

San Blas y Chacala

We stayed one night at the San Blas marina from Isla Isabel.  Not much going on at the marina, so the next night we met our fleet again and moved to the Mantachen Bay anchorage, just 3.5 miles or so from the town of San Blas. San Blas was once a major naval port for New Spain in 1768 and was used for ship building due to the location of the interior forests and wood. Matanchen Bay is a beautiful bay with beach access to palapas and a road into town.  It is also known for the no-see-ums/sand gnats; they were brutal. We all (mostly the ladies!) got bit to some extent and looked like we had measles and itched ourselves like crazy though we all starting popping Benadryl to help with the itchies!

While in San Blas, our wonderful fleet got together to enjoy the La Tovara jungle tour - and what fun it was! We saw all kinds of birds, crocodiles, iguanas, etc while zipping through the mangroves in a hired panga. We did apres jungle tour at a local restaurant, and scored freshly baked bread from the 'bread guy' who drove by on his bicycle for $30 pesos (about $2.50 per fresh loaf). We also had fabulously fresh oysters, and good food and drink!

s/v Rhythm, Wanuskewin, Destiny, Valkyrie
on our way to the La Tovara Jungle Tour, Matanchen Bay

Best.Picture.Ever.  -compliments of Dawn on s/v Destiny
Holly & Mike of s/v Wanuskewin
Holly enjoys her coffe while on the outboard?

Our fleet, on our way to the jungle tour
(photo compliments of Dawn on s/v Destiny)

Zipping through the mangroves during the jungle tour

Getting some sun

Bad ass croc photo take by T

Nice teeth

We're gonna need a bigger boat!

These huts were part of a movie set. We're not sure which movie though...

Beautiful. A falcon maybe?

Three little birds, sitting in a tree..

A beautiful heron

Getting some sun, something that Seattle is missing right now! :)

Dawn & Mike of s/v Destiny

T & Mike enjoying a coco loco - coconut water and tequila!

Holly and me enjoying one too!

Our fleet enjoying a frosty beverage behind a wad of coconuts

Apres jungle tour libations

Main square in downtown San Blas

Outside of the San Blas main market

Good restaurant and I couldn't help take a
picture because of it's name!

Very old church off the main square

Holly & Mike at the main marcado

On the street, you can buy fresh fish

Ok so this is a picture of the delicious $2.50 banana bread, we would have
drinks at our favorite watering hole (pictures above) and
to hail the bread man who would drive by on his bicycle!

Sunset at San Blas

Family portrait via Tim's iPhone

Downtown Chacala
After San Blas, we headed to Chacala, 22 nautical miles from Matanchen. Chacala is a darling little town that makes one want to do a downward dog upon hitting the beach; it has a yoga-like feel. It's serene, the people are friendly and there are tons of nice palapas to sit down and enjoy a cold beer at. The swell was good, so some were attempting to surf, while others just played in the water, boogie boarding and splashing around (Mike from s/v Wanuskewin and Tim boogie boarded).  The bay was rolly, so we had to set a stern anchor, but otherwise, we really enjoyed Chacala!

We hit the town and hiked with Holly and Mike of s/v Wanuskewin (and got lost hiking again in true Mexico fashion). We learned from s/v Valkyrie and some locals that there was an old volcano crater on the other side of the ridge, so we set out to explore the area and finally found it. We saw a ton of goats with their goat herder, and the views were quite beautiful of the bay.

The hillside in Chacala from the bay

Palapas on the beach

A view of the bay

T and Olds walking to the beach

A beautiful view of the bay and our fleet in Chacala

Us, hiking, overlooking the bay

The walkway and guard shack to private residences
where the volcano crater is located

The crater that we hiked all over to finally find

A yummy yaka smoothie apres hike,
yaka should get fruit of the year it is so dang good!

Fleet dinner, plus Mike's parents!

Sunset at Chacala

A special thanks to Dawn on s/v Destiny and T, for taking such amazing pictures!

From Chacala, we headed for a quick overnight to Punta de Mita (we hope to spend more time there soon!). From there, we went to La Cruz, in Banderas Bay, north of Puerto Vallarta, where we have been busy busy busy!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Isla Isabel

From Mazatlan, we did an overnight to Isla Isabel with our fleet. Isla Isabel is a beautiful island in the middle of what seems like no where, about 20 miles off the coast. It has been named 'The Galapagos of Mexico'; it is incredible and is if you are cruising! On the island, you'll find frigate birds and blue footed boobie rookeries. Since there are no natural predators on the island, you can walk right up to them and they just stare at you, not phased or scared at all! This is what I called 'nature unleashed' as there are no zoo keepers to clean up after these birds, they are all over the place - new, old, dead, mating, etc.

The small dot next to 'A' is  Isla Isabel
Isla Isabel
T looking out at Isla Isabel
s/v Wanuskewin & Rhythm parked in front of one of the giant
rock formations off of Isla Isabel
Our fleet, photo from the beach: Wanuskewin, Destiny, Valkyrie & us!
Mike & Holly from s/v Wanuskewin
A view from the shore

Lago crater on isla Isabel
We hiked around the island with Holly & Mike of s/v Wanuskewin and ventured to the ‘Lago Crater’, the caldera of this extinct volcano. While hiking, we met a PhD student who was doing her thesis on the study of the blue-footed booby bird. She was there with several other students, for 4 months, studying their habits, their generations (each booby has an ankle bracelet for tracking) and more. We noticed the boobies picking up sticks with their beaks and looking as if to offer it to another booby (or in our case me or Holly, it was so cute!!) The PhD student told us that this is what is called ‘twig courting’.   Oh if real life were so simple….You’ll mostly see boobies in pairs, they stay with their mates for 1/3 of their lives.

Boobies everywhere!

A momma boobie with an egg
Boobies on the beach

Love their blue feet, note the metal cuff link on their legs, for tracking

Coral and boobies on the beach
A large male frigate, puffing his red chest

A baby frigate, as we hike by

T, with tons of frigates flying above and in their nests

Mom and baby frigate

Another mom and baby
A frigate perched on a branch
A male frigate and his harem

A toddler frigate
Geico insurance on the island? :)
A creepy crawler on our hike
The fishing village on the island

Crab/lobster pots used by the local fishermen

Not the best photo, but this is Tim's sailfish!
While on the way to Isla Isabel, I have to post that Tim, who hasn’t fished ONCE since we’ve been gone, in the wee hours of the morning, rigged up  our rod while I was sleeping and I woke up to him yelling ‘K! K!’. I thought he had fallen off the boat! I jumped up and he was reeling in a 5 ft. sailfish! With a a giant beautiful blue/purple sail as a dorsal fin – incredible – and a giant sword on its nose, we weren’t sure what the heck to do with it. In an attempt to string it up on deck to take photos with it (this is the kind of fish you photo and release), with the help of s/v Wanuskewin next to us, we tried and failed a few times. This thing was thrashing around and just wanted to go home. Since we have zero experience with a fish of this size and with a sword, AND we didn’t want to get impaled with the sword, we cut the line, but saved the lure!

We headed out the next day, as the anchorage was a bit rolly, but the fleet decided to stay and enjoy the island, spear fish and snorkel. On our way out we saw tons of sea turtles and humpback whales everywhere!

Leaving Isla Isabel

We arrived to San Blas from Isla Isabel, a great small little gem of a town (minus the no-see-ums aka sandflies! Little bugs that bite and make one itch like HELL!) and then made our way to Chacala…a darling little town that makes you want to do yoga and get out your boogie board to ride the waves, the instant you arrive! I'm putting the pics together now, wait for it :)

The beautiful sunset on our first night in San Blas