When we started this adventure we had a vague hope that we would find success in the business of jumping from boat to boat, seamlessly winding our way down to Panama in the shortest time possible. Realistically, however, we were pessimistic about the possibility for a flawless trajectory and we expected to have to modify our vision. As it turns out, though, after three weeks of travel, we have found luck and open doors around every corner we have turned.
Our jump from Cabo to Puerto Vallarta had us motoring on the good ship Ohana for two days and one night, arriving and anchoring actually at Punta Mita on the north side of Banderas Bay (home of P.V.). The waves crashing over the bow on the way across exposed a few less than perfect spots in the old crusty caulking seams so we spent the next day drying out and resealing a couple hatches and some hardware on the foredeck. From Punta Mita, after our daily swim and afternoon cocktail, of course, we motored over to La Cruz to refuel and the next day to Paradise Village, both in the general vicinity of Puerto Vallarta.
Paradise Village is aptly named, a pristine resort setting that feels a bit surreal when compared to the un-airconditioned, inner-city hostels that we had imagined ourselves staying at in between rides. Our days here with our Ohana hosts have been active, relaxing and beautiful. After a delicious and casual breakfast, we do some work around the boat. Ben has been working with Tom and Chris to do a variety of boat maintenance; Emily has found happiness beyond her wildest dream - taking total control of the well-stocked galley while Nicole has been home in the states. After lunch we play: along with Tom and Chris we storm the hotel beach volleyball courts and take on the hodgepodge but skilled set of regulars on the court. The sunset finds us body-surfing in the ocean; we follow this with some time in the hotel pool, which has a giant alligator-shaped slide that shoots us out at ferociously high speeds.
We were eager, however, to see the Puerto Vallarta outside of Paradise Village. Our first day in the big city ellicited some quintessential travel learning experiences. The primary point of confusion was a mix-up between the words "El Centro" - the center of town - and "El Central" - the long-distance bus depot we were trying to find. Needless to say, this is an important distinction, especially when compounded by the limits of our minimal spanish abilities. Before we sorted out the confusion, we had ridden five or six buses around town and spent way more money than had we just caught a cab directly to El Central. Oh well - the adventure was well worth it, and we had the opportunity to see more of the town than intended.
While in La Cruz last week, we took advantage of a quiet morning and stalked down our next ride. We had heard of a couple looking for crew to head straight for Panama so we stopped by for a chat. It took about four seconds to realize that we had come to the right place. Not only were Greg and Debbie heading straight for the Canal, hoping to get to the other side by mid-December, perfectly in line with our goals, but they also own a very comfortable, very nice 52-foot Catana catamaran. And they have kayaks onboard. And they have snorkeling equipment. And they have a boat dog. And Debbie owns and runs a restaurant in North Lake Tahoe. And Greg´s last boat was a Melges 32 (a really fast, really fun racing sailboat). So in short, we´ll be taking cooking and sailing lessons for the next month. For something that just fell into our laps, this is going to be a pretty sweet deal.
We meet them in Zihuatanejo on the 19th, so after a couple more days hanging out with Tom and Nicole (and kids!) and Chris (and wife Lyn!), we´ll hop on the bus and take the fourteen hour ride south through the countryside.
From Zihuatanejo, it´ll be a welcomed return to the ocean and the wind - we can only happily rot in port for so long before we feel the pull to leave.
Like always, we´re thinking of everyone back home and we´re so glad you´re checking in. Please continue to keep us in touch with your thoughts and happenings. (Also, did the Damned Yankees win the World Series again?)