Sailing around Banderas Bay with special guests!

Bobby (my sister) and Gregor joined me for Christmas and new years in Banderas Bay, flying all the way from Switzerland. Bobby who flew out a week later than Gregor got stuck in the winter storms that affected thousands of passengers and ended up sleeping at the new terminal in Charles De Gaulle airport (great terminal for sleeping apparently ?!? ) Not only that, Air France lost her bags.. She wasn't a happy bunny when she arrived in Puerto Vallarta two days late and recovering from a bad cold. So we checked Bobby and Gregor into the Westin Resort near the marina to recuperate before we went out sailing..

WestinBobby's feet enjoying la dolce vita at the Westin Vallarta pool..

PC220494Bobby's feet getting some Athlete's foot..  Bizarre, I guess no one get's Athlete's foot fungus in Mexico ?!? We ended up making a pit stop at the huge mall next to the cruise ship pier to buy some clothes for Bobby..

Getting out of Dodge.. Finally leaving Vallarta Marina on christmas eve to go sailing.. Yeh!

We had a great upwind sail from Puerto Vallarta to Punta de Mita with 12-18 knots of breeze. Gregor had never sailed before but picked up helming pretty quickly. Alinghi's new helmsman perhaps??

The whales must have heard that Bobby and Gregor were in town.. they were everywhere and Bobby made sure to take more than 20 videos of them.. This is one of the best.. She is obviously director material.. Bollywood here we come!

Christmas dinner and margaritas at a beach palapa restaurant at Punta de Mita.. (Geez, I need a haircut) The food was a miss, but the next night we had an amazing whole red snapper with Diabla sauce at Roceo's palapa restaurant next door. HIT! We even asked to take some of the sauce with us, which they happily gave for free… Definitely going back for more Diabla a la Roceo!

Enjoying the beach at Punta de Mita.. the snorkeling wasn't that great, so we took the less strenuous option of sunbathing..

At the Four Seasons Punta de Mita. 3 Margaritas and 1 Cappuccino = $100 US.. ouch.. however the Maracuja (passion fruit) margaritas were pretty good.. Getting into the Four seasons was like getting into fort knox. We initially tried to get there by walking around the beach, but some security folks started trailing us. We then hired a taxi, but he had to go through 2 security checkpoints to get in.. I guess they do this to make the Gringos feel safe, but Mexico is pretty safe as long as you are not in the drug trade…

Finally, my christmas present.. alas it was only a corroded old pipe that came up with the anchor :-(..   Next stop the islands of Tres Marietas..

Anchored at Les Tres Marietas in about 40 feet of water, close to the rocks and not great holding. These national park islands are uninhabited and supposedly had good snorkeling.

100_0150Gregor and Bobby doing a tour of the islands in the dinghy.. I showed Gregor "the need for speed" by planing the dinghy.. It can do 12 knots+, Tom Cruise eat your heart out!

IMG_3754Bobby testing out the water, just as I jumped in. The snorkeling was ok, you really had go into the two shallow lagoons to see the fish.. The water visibility in Banderas bay doesn't seem to be all that great. Not like the sea of cortez.

IMG_3756Bobby finding the Penne Arrabiatta I whipped up for lunch a little too spicy.. Lightweight πŸ˜‰

La_cruzApproaching La Cruz. Tres Marietas is not really an overnight anchorage, so we weighed anchor and had a glorious downwind sail with the windvane to La Cruz.

We holed up in the new La Cruz marina for a couple of nights. The marina is great, lovely facilities including a panaromic view of the harbour from the restaurant. The town itself is very quaint and easy going. I can see this place changing dramatically and becoming a lot more touristic as more people keep their boats at the Marina. We bumped into many Baja haha boats including our friends Russ and Kaesten on Liberty and Peter and Heather on Noho 'ana.

IMG_3762 Approaching Yelapa.. we motored all the way from La Cruz.. no wind πŸ™

The beach at Yelapa with Palapa restaurants.. Yelapa is truly magical, one of the best places I have visited so far in Mexico.  The King of Spain gave this land to the indigenous people way back in 1581 and it's owned by the community collectively.. The families that live here have extensive backgrounds that date back centuries, which makes it very unique and special. There are no roads or cars, the only way to get here is by donkey or boat.. Keeps out the riff raff πŸ˜‰ luckily we managed to get in.

  IMG_3782The quaint and colourful small town in Yelapa.

100_0201 Bobby enjoying the company of a Yelapa pet animal..


A man and his dog..  Gregor and Bobby hiked up the forest to one of the waterfalls and this dog followed them the whole way and back. The locals are definitely friendly!

Gregor swimming in the pool next to the waterfall..

P1110506Where is the knob to turn up the hot water? Me showering under another bigger waterfall near Yelapa town..

IMG_3823Finally found the best margaritas in Mexico! Maracuja (passion fruit) margaritas at Vortex cafe for only 40 pesos each.. only 6 times cheaper than the Four Seasons and better.. it was a long night..

Yelapa at Sunset.. Beautiful!


A man and his boat.. We took a mooring on the west side of the bay which are well spaced out. No chance of hitting other boats unlike the moorings on the east side. The panga boy Rafael, who owned it told me it was tied to a concrete block at the bottom so I tested it by going full astern . We spent 4 nights on it in total. I later found out that they make the moorings by filling a fridge with concrete on the beach and then dragging it into the water with a couple of powerful pangas. So we spent four nights tied to a fridge!  Another story for the grandchildren πŸ˜‰


Sailing from Yelapa to Paradise Village Marina on New year's eve..

The dream team in Paradise Village Marina. Ready for the NYE party in Puerto Vallarta!


The new year's party at Puerto Vallarta old town was pretty cool. Great fireworks and a DJ cranking out some good trance and house..  Someone made a video of the celebrations here

What a great start to 2011!  It's definitely going to be a year full of adventures..

BTW, Bobby finally got her luggage a week after she got home to Bern, Switzerland.. and some stuff was missing. Better to travel by boat is what I say, so what if it takes a little longer… πŸ™‚