Banderas Bay Blue Christmas

Our Christmas present arrived in a taxi this year!  Kyle and Rachael showed up in La Cruz for a fun filled Christmas week, bringing plenty of holiday cheer to Happy Dance and her crew.

Our first outing was a sail to Punta de Mita for an afternoon of swimming and relaxing, a night on the hook, followed by a morning of panga, pelican and frigate watching as all the pangeros returned to Mita to clean their catch, feeding the birds their boxing day feast.  After the show it was time to paddle board to go investigate the incoming swell that was breaking on the point just east of Punta de Mita.  Kyle was soon in surfing heaven, riding the long breakers that would diminish and rebuild as they made their roll into shore while I cheered from the sidelines.

Later in the afternoon we hoisted sails and headed back into the marina to clean up for a visit to Bucerias for some shopping, tequila tasting, and a yummy dinner at Rosa’s Mexicana, a traditional Mexican restaurant with the best molcajete ever!

The next day we had scheduled an all day panga adventure.  We left the dock at 8am as the sun was just making its way over the mountains, and within a few miles we were seeing whale spouts around the bay.  When the sightings slowed for a bit we put out the fishing lines and trolled around in an area where the birds and dolphins were feeding.  No fish were interested in us, but it didn’t take long for some dolphins to come over and join us on the bow for some surfing of their own.

Thar she blows!  We saw a pair of humpback whales breaching in the distance so we pulled in the fishing lines and zoom, we were off to get a closer look.  It’s nice to be able to zip along at 20 knots when you want to!  We idled nearby for a long time watching these two whales that were trying to outdo each other with leaps and pec slaps.  It was SO cool. They would lie next to each other on their backs, with four long white pectoral fins slapping the water and each other.  Then they’d stop that for awhile, dive deep, and whoosh, one would breach, followed immediately by the second whale’s breach.  The sound and power of these huge guys is amazing.  Click HERE for a short clip of the action.

When the whales finally took a breather we pointed the bow toward Yelapa, a popular village on the south side of the bay that can only be reached by boat.  As we pulled into the harbor it was immediately apparent why we have never wanted to take Happy Dance over there.   The bay itself is large and mostly very deep, open to the northwest swell, with a small shallow anchoring area that is mostly filled with panga moorings.  It’s a busy place with pangas zipping all over.  There are a few moorings available for cruising boats, but they are so close together and the surge and waves from all the boats is so confused that it’s easy to see how the boats can hit each other as they swing in different directions.

Noe, (no-ee), our captain took us onto the very steep sandy beach, but the surf was pretty large so we had to time our exit from the panga just right in order not to get dumped into an incoming wave!  It was pretty crazy, NOT graceful, and I couldn’t imagine trying to land our dingy in that big surf.  We were soon onshore in a sea of colorful beach umbrellas, sitting in a beach side restaurant enjoying a cold cerveza and some grilled fresh fish.  Perfect.  When our tummies were full we took the obligatory hike up the steep stairs and trail through town that leads to a waterfall.  There were lots of crazy tilting homes built on the sides of the steep hills surrounded by lush foliage and then the expected crowd of tourists at the waterfall.  We took a look, then headed back to the beach to find our panga!

The plan was to go snorkeling after our visit to Yelapa, but as it turned out the wind had come up a bit making for a rough time at the snorkeling spots.  We jumped in for a quick snorkel and saw a few fish, but we’re sort of spoiled by our incredible snorkeling adventures up in the Sea of Cortez.  We soon piled back into the panga and headed down to see Los Arcos, a beautiful rock formation with, you guessed it, some big arches!  From there we headed toward home, stopping a few times  along the way for more whale watching and snorkeling.  When we were back on Happy Dance in the marina reviewing all our great sightings that day, we saw another of our swimming friends, when a huge turtle came swimming up to the back of the boat to say hello.

Our last day with our Christmas visitors was really only a partial day since the inevitable trip back to the airport was looming, but we did go out in Happy Dance for a few hours.  We had breakfast on the water with the sails full when the sound of a whale hitting the surface caused all heads to turn.  It’s a great sound when you’re sailing along to hear the slap of a few thousand tons smacking the water!  After our breakfast with the whales we put out the fishing line and caught a gorgeous yellow fin tuna that Marty hauled up to the boat just long enough for me to take his picture, before the tuna bit off the hook (argghhh!) and headed back to the deep.

So, it may not have been a white Christmas or a tuna filled Christmas, but it was a beautiful blue one!  Blue sky, blue sea, smiles, laughs and plenty of fun adventures.  Next stop, Tenacatita!

3 thoughts on “Banderas Bay Blue Christmas

  1. Happy new year sue and Marty. So glad you had a good Christmas. We did too. Even a snowy morning. All goes well here but it’s cold. Nice sunshine but a 12 foot tide and huge waves so mighty chilly. Looking forward to another fun year. Love

    Sent from my iPhone


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  2. Hi Sue,

    Although I’ve never met you I feel like I know you pretty good due to your great blog posts! I look forward to meeting you some day. Say hi to Marty for me.

    Gary Schultz

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