After 5,326 miles of sailing along, singing a song, we are finally immobile. Though as the boat rocks at anchor on the afternoon swells, and I have to keep watch on my glass to make sure it doesn’t slide across the table, I guess words like dormant or maybe even slothful would be better descriptions. We may have stopped, but Happy Dance never stops dancing!
We arrived in Banderas Bay two weeks ago, and we’ve been slowly moving from anchorage to anchorage. Currently we’re anchored outside La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, a small town that is mostly populated with small businesses catering to the locals, with some restaurants thrown in for the cruiser community. There is a marina here that is very nice as well as a large anchorage where there are currently over 50 boats floating along with us.
We haven’t been overly energetic since getting to the area, and we could use the excuse of having arrived here with a bit of a cold, but mostly I think it was just that we were ready to rest in anchorages that didn’t require an anchor watch! It’s been wonderful to just slow downnnnnnn.
Sometimes I feel a little guilty at our level of inactivity, but then I remind myself not to compare our escapades with the vacationers who are here for a week or two. We live here…for the moment anyway…and we’re retired!
It seems reasonable to linger over our coffee, and let breakfast turn into brunch or maybe even lunch! If we have Internet like we have lately we’ll sometimes spend a few hours in the morning playing on computers; Marty has baseball to be researched and travel plans to make, and I have a new addiction of studying our ancestry. When we get tired of sitting still, we head for the pool and take a few laps around the boat, or simply float in the sun. Then maybe there is some reading in the shade of the cockpit or on the foredeck in the hammock, another swim, maybe with a brush in hand this time, and pretty soon it’s time to make dinner! There are boat projects mixed in occasionally, and of course a few trips to town or paddles in the kayaks. After dinner it’s time for an hour or so of sunset watching with music accompaniment by Norah or Kenny, followed by more reading, research, or chess playing! Then the yawns grow bigger, the eyes water, and the pillow calls, so we go to bed and let Happy Dance rock us to sleep so that we can get up and do it all over again!
Yesterday we went on a mini adventure and let the computers and books have a rest. After a leisurely cup of coffee while sitting in the cockpit watching the world wake up, we got ready to head to town. Hop in the tiny dancer (aka the dinghy) and off we go to the marina, where we tie up the dinghy and walk through town to the highway where there is a “bus stop”. As we walk up we see a well used van with a hand scribbled sign on the window that says Puerto Vallarta. It is about to pull away, so we hail it and ask the driver if he will be stopping at Bucerias, which is about half way between La Cruz and Puerto Vallarta. Si, the driver says, so we hop on and squeeze into the last two seats. These “buses” are small vans with 4 rows of seats behind the drivers seat, as well as flip down seats at the end of each row, so they can hold anywhere between 15 and 18 people. It gets a bit cozy and warm! We were only going 7 miles down the road, so it’s always fun to start an adventure with some friendly bouncing down the rutted road with a few of your closest friends!
We really didn’t have any idea where we were going, other than to say we were going to the little town of Bucerias where we’d heard there was a festival going on. We tried to watch the highway signs, and pretty soon realized we weren’t seeing any more signs to Bucarias! We asked the driver and he motioned to the last stop that we’d just left, and instead of making us wait for the next one he just pulled over and off we hopped. Nice!
We walked back into the town, and found some quaint little streets full of shops and taco vendors. One shop was selling hand woven blankets that were the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. The son of the two main weavers ran the shop and it seemed to be quite the family affair. Their home is in Oaxaca (Wah-hawk-ah), where they shear their own sheep, spin their own yarn, and dye it with vegetable dyes or dyes made from the bugs off the cactus plants. The designs are all woven free hand without use of a pattern and they are so intricate! It took a lot of willpower (and a few looks from Marty) not to buy out his entire shop, not to mention that we have no walls..ha!
As we kept walking we came across some pickup trucks unloading wheelbarrows full of fruit, coconuts, or candies that the vendors would push all over town, even on the soft sandy beaches. It looked like very hard work and we decided they needed to get a four wheeled wheelbarrow! We found one guy on a corner with his “hatmobile not batmobile”, and he was such a great PR guy that we just had to buy a hat! We loved his signs – very clever to help him stand out from all the other hat vendors!
The fiesta seemed to have many parts and we weren’t really sure what was going on, but the tunes from all the different music bands, the smells of the taco meats being cooked on open fires, the sounds of the vendors calling, the kids screaming and laughing, and the never ending Mexican broadcast system – a truck with huge speakers in the back driving up and down the streets with advertising or political speeches blaring, all made for some great entertainment! And in the midst of all this, the town square (where the fiesta was being held) was torn up and under construction. Thankfully we didn’t see anyone fall into any of the large holes!
We watched the horseback riding for a bit – it seemed as though they might be selecting the belle of the ball or something. The young girls were all decked out in similar dresses, and riding on wooden sidesaddles that looked anything but comfortable! From the horse area with it’s own Mexican Navy band, we headed toward the beach where there was a boat parade. The fishing pangas were all decorated and full of people, and I think the idea was that they were to come into shore to let their passengers off on the beach to enjoy the festival. One problem – the surf was so big that even the panga drivers were a bit nervous about coming in. We finally saw one driver come in, by timing the wave, then going full throttle (with a 115 hp outboard) straight at the beach, and not pulling up the outboard until the boat hit sand! It came flying up the beach to land safely, but we didn’t see how he left…ha!
After all this activity we were in need of a cerveza, so we walked down the beach a ways until the crowds thinned a bit, and we found a seat in the shade. Pretty soon we had a bucket of cold cerveza and plates of fresh red snapper and chicken fajitas. The grilled red snapper is my favorite thing. It’s a whole fish that is grilled with spices, crispy on the outside, moist, and tender on the inside, absolutely yummy.
With full tummies we walked through Bucerias back to the bus, through La Cruz to the dinghy, and through the anchorage to Happy Dance. A swim, followed by a shower on the swim step, and it was time for sunset hour!
So my friends there you have it. The Lazy Daze of the Happy Dancers. We’re not sure what February will bring, but we are thinking about maybe going further south, or maybe inland for an excursion, or maybe just spending more days here relaxing on the hook! It’s a little embarrassing not to be regaling you with tales of the open seas and all the big adventures that cruisers are supposed to have, but actually I think our days will be more like these as we move further into this life style. Maybe we’re finally getting the hang of it!