Livin’ La Vida Velella

Hola! Happy belated Valentine’s Day! Hope it was a merry one. It’s been a long time since we blogged anything of substance, hopefully the pictures I posted were enough to get you by until now. The goodship Velella velella and her crew are currently on anchor in Punta Mita, less than 10 miles away from La Cruz, on the northern tip of Banderas Bay. This Bay sure has us hooked! We really thought this season we’d go farther south but there is so much we love about being right here! La Cruz is our home base, Punta Mita is our quiet getaway and Puerto Vallarta our big city experience. Pretty much meets and exceeds all our expectations. Here, let me try to capture a typical day in the life of VV in Banderas Bay:

~ The beautiful Mexican sol rises around 7 am and we awake briefly to appreciate the colors lighting up our open hatch above our bed. We then fall back to sleep because we are lazy bums.

~ Between 8:06 and 8:29 am Rob crawls out of bed and turns on the VHF radio, turning the dial to channel 22. At 8:30 am exactly the Banderas Bay Cruisers Net begins. A net controller leads it, asking for emergency traffic, check-ins (where everybody shouts their boat names), arrivals and departures and then a whole slew of things that matter to cruisers like weather reports, services needed, items lost and found and treasures of the bilge.  After about a half an hour, it wraps up and people switch to channel 23 for a quick Social Net. That’s mostly announcements of live music and cruiser seminars organized by local restaurants and marinas. All in all it’s a very cool form of community communication, especially the trading, bartering and sharing of resources. It’s like craigslist, your local newspaper and freecycle, all rolled into one morning radio show. It’s very interactive because you can call in with questions or answers – and people do! Which often leads to bizarre tangents that the net controller has to rein in. The Net is great entertainment.

~ After the Net we dine: eggs and potatoes and frijoles and tortillas if we’re motivated, cereal with platanos if we’re not. I’m trying to include raw fruits and veggies in every meal to counteract the carne asada and fried fish tacos we consume when we eat onshore. Overall we’re making far more meals onboard this year, or having boat potlucks on other friends’ boats, so that is awesome. Our new fridge system keeps our veggies so fresh and cool! Total luxury.

~ Post-breakfast if it’s a day With A Plan, we put the outboard on the dinghy and head into shore, maybe picking up friends in the anchorage along the way. If it’s a day Without A Plan, we read, relax, swim, play guitar and then hail friends on the radio and invite them over to eat chips and guac and talk about our boats, weird things people said on the Net, what we want to do later that day, what we want to do with our lives, etc. If it’s a Boat Project Day, we get out tools and try to fix stuff or organize things or dive the bottom to scrape off the growth and barnacles. Those days of course are super important but not quite as popular. Finally, if it’s a Marina Day, as in we’ve run out of fresh water and need shore access to fill up the tanks, then we sail or motor to the closest, cheapest marina for a night. We’ve only done that twice this season but we’re due for another visit soon. Maybe next week? At a marina we can also get fuel if we need it and give the boat a thorough freshwater scrub. And I can plug into shore power and vacuum to my heart’s content. A clean boat is a happy home! For all of 5 minutes, then it magically gets dirty again.

~ More about the days With A Plan: We have reunited with fun friends we met last year and made some new buddies too so planning and enjoying group outings has kept us pretty dang busy this past month and a half. Festive birthday parties celebrated on boats and onshore, long beach walks to Bucerias ending at the dessert shop Pie in the Sky, free outdoor movies at the marina, outdoor and indoor yoga classes, panga rides to snorkel at Los Arcos, walks on the malecon in Puerto Vallarta, buying homemade chipotle hummus and fresh bread at the Sunday Market and most recently, having little beach bonfires here in Punta Mita. And whale watching! The  humpback mamas and babies are everywhere, it’s magical.

I guess today would technically qualify as a day Without A Plan but after Rob played guitar for awhile he donned his 3/2 wetsuit and scraped barnacles off the prop, rudder and hull so it’s a quasi Boat Project Day too. Now he’s surfing as a reward! I love coming to Punta Mita because there are less boats anchored here than in La Cruz, the water is cleaner, it’s quieter and the beaches are nicer. Rob likes coming here because this is where the surf is! He can scope out three different surf spots with the binocs without leaving our cockpit.

We had a rollicking sail here last Tuesday with Tim and Jane from Midnight Blue and Jane’s sister Nancy, who also happens to be a good friend from PT. The wind picked up to 35 knots, and we were close hauled and heeled way over on each tack. It was a more strenuous expedition than expected of a short little day sail (I put up the lee cloths but still) however once we put a reef in the main and brought the jib partly in we found our groove. The last time we sailed the other direction, from Punta Mita back to La Cruz, all lovely and downwind, we flew the spinnaker and the mizzen staysail. That time we had Anna and Bo (Aquarelle) and Wes (Tumbleweed) onboard and they helped us hook up the spinnaker sock, which we’d never used before. Jane calls the mizzen staysail the Baby Buddha because it looks like a little Buddah belly! And ours is blue, so it is our Baby Blue Buddha Belly sail, from here on out.

That about wraps it up. The only other news is I found an amazing yoga teacher training program in March in Puerto Vallarta and I enrolled in it! I’ve been looking for just the right yoga school with a teacher training schedule that would fit with our crazy, constantly moving lifestyle. And this one does as it fulfills the 200+ hour requirement in only 3 weeks. Intense! I’m so excited.

Well, we’re going to go head to shore now to go online as job hunting season is upon us. We’re trying to line up six months of work again like last year. Wish us luck!

Love, Kai and Rob