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The first week of December we were trying to get everything done in La Paz so that we could leave. We still had some work at the boat yard to complete, including installing the new fuel tanks that had been fabricated for us. Huge project! Half of the floor of the salon and the steps down into the boat had to be removed, which made living and doing school on the boat quite an adventure. Everyday was spent running around town looking for the last supplies on our long list of things to do and get in La Paz. We could not wait to get out of there so that we could have a day off! We did spend an afternoon going to the very modern movie theater and saw "Polar Express", we highly recommend it to one and all. After the movie, we stocked up at the market next to the theater so that we could leave the next day. We filled our new fuel tanks and headed out! It felt great to get out of La Paz and to be on our way again. We spent the first night at a small anchorage just inside the point that defines the entrance to La Paz. The next morning we began our passage across the Sea to mainland Mexico. We motored the first part of the way east and south before we ran into the Northerlies that would carry us across and down. We had great winds and a great sail all the way to Banderas Bay and Punta de Mita, our destination. We actually managed to cut a whole day off of the passage time because of the great winds. Nancy is still getting quite seasick on the passages, no matter what she takes. Not sure what to do about this. Because of the winds, there was lots of swell and the anchorage was quite rolly. We all wanted off of the boat, so after school, we spent most of the day on the beach, to surf O and just to get off of the boat! We met some nice folks on the beach that invited us to come visit when we get to the east coast. We also got all of the Christmas decorations, music and gift preparation going. It was very nice. For Nancy's birthday there was a school holiday. We all jumped on the bus and went around the corner from the bay to the little surf town of Sayulita. We all had a surf lesson O. This is a great place for beginner surfers O. We had a very nice day on the beach with a break for fish tacos for lunch and ice cream for dessert. We got back to the boat in time for dinner and a movie. The next day was the real birthday and there was a fancy breakfast, cake baking, visits from boat friends and dinner at a favorite restaurant with other friends from Ventura. We missed the last bus back to Punta de Mita, so after waiting for quite awhile, we hailed a taxi to deliver us back to the boat vicinity. The next day was Our Lady of Guadalupe day. A big holiday in Mexico. After spending the morning at the beach, we went with some other boaters to a small village to see the festivities. It turned out that it did not really begin until about 8pm, so we hung out and walked around this small village a bit. It was a really small village, so this did not take very long. We had dinner at the food booths that were set up for the carnival and then went to the church grounds to watch a reenactment of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It was very, um, how should I say it, quaint. The kids were eager for the rides, so we spent about an hour watching them in the bouncy house and playing the carnival games. We found our taxi and headed home. One of the things that we need to do was go into Puerto Vallarta and go to the American Consulate to get the approved letter of consent for the kids to fly between Mexico and the United States without us. We spent the day in PV, doing errands and taking care of this.
The next morning we left Punta de Mita behind as we headed south to get to the spot that the kids would fly out of. We arrived at Barra de Navidad the next afternoon and were greeted by dingies of a couple of boats that we know. One was a kid boat with one of Fletcher's favorite friends on board. Very exciting and nice to be greeted as you are coming into a new spot. Our friends on Dragonfly were staying in the marina attached to a very exclusive hotel. They invited us the next day to enjoy the pool with them. The kids had a blast. There are several kid boats here with kids the right ages and they were all at the pool that day. Wow, what fun. All of the kids quickly get to know each other and become great friends. All of the boats are trying to finish school up by Friday so that we can officially begin Christmas break on time. One of the moms organized a traditional Mexican last day of school celebration at a waterpark O, complete with a huge pinata O. There was about a dozen kids in our group, and several other Mexican family groups, all with pinatas and lots of food and fun. What a great idea! This was also the day before the kids left for the US, so we had to get back to the boat and get everything packed up and ready for the trip the next day. We arrived at the airport 3 hours early and checked in and hung out. We were sitting in the lounge area with floor to ceiling windows, watching planes land and take off. All of a sudden fire trucks rolled onto the tarmac and lined up across from each other. We did not know what was going on, if there was a plane in trouble about to land or some other type of emergency. We were all on the edge of our seats searching the skies to see what might come in. The plane that the kids were going to fly back out on was landing, oh great, we thought, there is a problem with their plane! As it came around and slowed down, it came right between the fire trucks whose hoses were sending giant rainbow filled arches of water over the plane. It turned out that this was the first flight of the year for this airline and it was a grand entrance. What a relief! The kids were quite calm about boarding the plane without us. They looked so grown up O. We went back to Barra and hung out in town, had a drink on the beach for happy hour and went out to dinner, just the two of us. We had a couple of quiet days to catch up from all of the activity of getting the kids ready to go. On Christmas eve, there was a party at the local cruiser hangout. This is a low key hotel that has a pool and a bar. They let the cruisers keep their dingies tied up to the side of their property along the lagoon, use the pool and the outdoor shower. The bar there likes the cruisers, because they often have a drink there before they go back to their boats. Anyway, while we were at the party, a friend of Nancy's from Santa Barbara appeared. She had just checked into the hotel and was staying for a week! What fun to have someone from home. We spent several days and evenings hanging out with them, and visiting Aztec ruins in the mountains a couple of hours away O. It was very cool, we even saw a ritually interred skeleton that was believed to have been a sacrifice O! Christmas itself was pretty anticlimactic for us without the kids around. We had bought a used dive compressor in La Paz and decided that this would be our present to each other, so Christmas morning was pretty slim pickings. The cruisers had organized a pig roast at a local lagoon-front restaurant, so off we went for our cruiser Christmas dinner. The next week was spent doing all of the projects that we wanted to get done while the kids were gone. There is just never enough time! We did get several things done, but there is of course more on the list. For New Years Eve, we had a quiet dinner on the boat and then went out with some other cruisers for drinks and dancing. We stayed out way too late as we had to pick the kids up the next day.
Please click to enlarge!
Mike and Fletcher working on surfing at Punta de Mita
Nancy's birthday wish, a family surf lesson in Sayulita
Fletcher's improved technique
Dana charging it at Sayulita
Last day of school party in Barra de Navidad at the waterslide park
Waterslide park in Barra with all of the other kid boats
The kids are off on their Christmas adventure
The cruisers Christmas feast
The meal begins
The Christmas couple on their own
Some ruins outside of Colima
We even saw a burial site complete with bones. The pottery dog in front is guarding the grave
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