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January 2004

photos at bottom of page (text that refers to a photo is followed by O)

The first week of the new year, we were all still recovering from the flu.  We are working on catching up on school, e-mails, paperwork and just life in general. One day, while I was down, Mike and the kids went into Puerto Vallarta to go shopping at Walmart.  This is one of the good places to get groceries here.  They came back with quite the haul.. We have to carry everything to the boat in backpacks, so it is always a challenge trying to fit everything that was in the cart into the backpacks.  Sometimes we have an extra bag or two.  The next couple of days Mike did the cooking while I was stuck in bed.  After a couple of days of this I managed to get up and do 4 loads of laundry.  Luckily the kids like to help with this chore. A couple of days later we all went into Puerto Vallarta to look around and play tourist. O Another outing we went to Nuevo Vallarta to check out the marina there if we need to go in to have any work done.  It is very nice and you get to use the resort facilities, including the pools and waterslides.  There is also a small "zoo" on the property with monkeys O, panthers, tigers, cougars, a raccoon, and lots of gringos.  The kids really want to go stay there! 

We have been going out on dingy rides to whale watch and to get to the beach.  We have a favorite beach O that has two rocky points that have good snorkeling.  Fletcher is getting really good, diving down to look at the fish and under ledges.  Dana is still getting used to it. One day we went out for a sail (good excuse to empty our tanks).  We saw lots of whales this day.  No real close encounters, but lots of activity very near us.  Afterwards we went into town and Mike taught the kids to play pool while I worked on e-mail.  At the end of the week, a storm moved in.  This is very unusual weather for down here at this time of year.  We had great lightening shows with booming thunder and lots and lots of rain.  I wanted to put clothes out to get a good fresh water rinse, but the wind was blowing too hard.  The winds kicked the seas up so there we were stuck on a very rocky-rolly boat for a few days.  It was too bad, we were stuck inside, but it was too rough to look at school work or paperwork.  Darn. 

At the end of the storm we saw a boat approaching that looked familiar.  Sure enough it was the couple that we had dinner with for my birthday.  They came over to the boat for drinks and appetizers before we all went into town for dinner.  It was again fun to see them.  The next day we went back to Puerto Vallarta to go to the boat store for some parts and to do another shopping trip.  I found another large market that I liked better than Walmart...the Mega.  That night there was music at Philo's so we went in with our friends to check it out.  Boy, was it good, and fun.  It was blue grass, country, country rock, fun, good time music.  There was a spoon player there that the kids were blown away by.  There were several other kids there so it was fun for them too.  The next day, the weather was fairly clear and our tanks were full so we went out for a sail, to make water and to dump out tanks.  While we were out, I decided that it was time for haircuts. O  Fletcher's had gotten really long and he now wanted it really short, what a change.  Next was Dana's turn.  We have been growing her bangs out, so I sort of styled it so that the bangs blended in with the rest, it came out really cute, even looks good first thing in the morning.  I then did Mike's and even my own.  We all looked pretty slick as we marched off that night to see another band that was playing in Bucerias, Bubba and the Bottom Feeders.  We went with our friends from the other boat and had a blast.  The spoon player was there from the night before and taught the kids how to play the spoons. O They loved it.  Right as the band was slowing down, there was a great sunset. We then went out around the town as there was a fair happening.  The kids had a blast on the bumper cars O and we had a yummy dinner O at a street side taco stand.  We also heard about another event that night, which was the release of some baby turtles.  We ran over to participate in this activity. O Pretty neat for the kids, and us too!

They were saying that another storm was coming in, so we were laying low and staying prepared.  I decided that since I had not been able to do laundry the week before because of the rain and that if there was another week of rain coming that we had better take the laundry in to be done.  What a luxury!  I took blankets, beach towels, everything.  Boy was it worth it!  The fellow wraps everything in plastic, and it is a good thing that he does.  We were swamped by three waves as we were trying to get back to the boat.  Everything managed to stay pretty dry except us, so we instantly had 4 sets of clothes that needed to be washed and dried... oh well.  The next night there was a presentation at Philo's on the Huichol Indians that we went in for.  So far the weather has been holding and we have not gotten any more rain, but lots of dark clouds and sort of wild wind and seas.  We were almost out of gas for the dingy, so Mike and Fletcher went to fill the tanks.  Dana and I stayed on the boat to do some mending and sewing projects that had been piling up. We went back to Bucerias for another evening at the fair.  The kids went on more rides and Mike won a prize at a dart game.  A huge pack of cookies!  Ah, just what we need, more sugar on board.  The following day was the culmination of the fair and festival. O It was honoring the towns patron saint and there were processions of people and horses.  Then the whole fishing fleet that has been decorated with flowers and balloons comes charging up on the beach. O This was pretty exciting with the good size beach break.  We had great seats up on the sea wall that Mike guarded while the kids and I went exploring to find some food.  We ate tamales and chiliquiles while we waited.  After the boats come in there is a procession to the church for the a blessing.  We followed along and then picked up some more fresh veggies to take back to the boat before stopping at Philos for a hot shower and to check e-mail. O

We have gone on some nice beach walks and found some more good swimming beaches.  La Cruz is not known for its beaches, but if you just walk 10 minutes one way or the other there are beautiful beaches.  We find lots of shells and interesting tidbits on the beach.  One day we found a dead washed up moray eel for our inspection.  Hopper is always so happy on the beach walk days.  We have also now visited Mismaloya, where "Night of the Iguana" was filmed.  We stayed on the bus to the end of the line, past Mismaloya.  There is a very cute little town called Boca de Tomatlan, O with a river and a little bay.  We hiked up the river a bit on a narrow dirt footpath. O  This turned out to be the main road for the families that lived up that way.  We passed many small stick and thatch homes with horses and chickens, as well as women and children doing laundry in the river, very rural, but interesting.  The way they got to the road was across a swinging cable footbridge. O  As we were walking back, all of the school children were going home and were crossing the bridge.  That really put it into perspective for our kids.  As we were walking back to catch the bus, we heard music approaching.  Around the corner came a procession with a live Mariachi Band dressed in their best. O  There was an older woman at the head of the group, I think it was a birthday party for her.  Very fun to see.  We caught the bus again and went to Mismaloya, but after Tomatlan, it was sort of anticlimactic.  We went back on the bus into the old town of Puerto Vallarta and wandered around for a bit looking at shops.  A woman in a pie shop that I had heard about gave the kids a free cookie.  They could not believe that she just gave it to them.  She was so pleased that I had heard about her and that we took the time to look for her shop, even though we were not going to buy anything that day.  This was our busiest day yet, after that we took the bus to Marina Vallarta to try to find a fellow who was selling some stuff that sounded interesting to us, but we could not find him.  Next stop was the grocery store to stock up for the rest of the week.  We did not get back to the boat until about 9:30pm.  Boy, were we tired at the end of the day! 

Mike and I got our second round of Hepatitis B shots, there is a very nice doctor right in La Cruz that ordered the vaccines for us. We then went to a talk at Philos by the customs officials here.  Learned more about what to do if we need stuff shipped in or out.  Now we are heading up to the Marietas Islands.



La Cruz de Huanacaxtle (and vicinity)

Please click to enlarge!

  The classic Puerto Vallarta shot   

  Nancy touching a monkey at a Nuevo Vallarta resort.  She loved to be petted! (the monkey that is)

  Monkey was a mama with a cute little baby attached

 Our favorite little beach

  More beach

  Dingy on the beach

  Another view of our beach

  It stormed for about 5 days, lots of thunder, lightening and rain.  Very unusual for this time of year.

  The sky is finally clearing, so we went out for a quick sail.  Then, the next day they said another week of rain was on the way, ugh.

  Time for haircuts, Fletcher first, Dana at the helm waiting for her turn

  On deck while out sailing, not a bad salon

  Dana and Fletcher learning how to play the spoons with Hawk           

  Dana helping out

  Dana was always up for a dance

  Sunset over the bay as the band was finishing up

  The fair in Bucerias

  Eating at a sidewalk cafe

  Dana and Fletcher had the ride to themselves.  Watch out for Fletcher, he is a maniac!

  Bumper cars turned out to be the hit of the day

  We got to participate in releasing baby turtles that were hatched at a research facility

  Off go the babies into the sea, good luck babies!

  Sewing lesson.  The girls stayed home to sew and mend, while the boys went to fill the gas tanks for the dingy.

  Kids built a fort on the deck one day while we were hanging out

  This is Philos, our home away from home. 

  The beginning of the blessing of the fishing fleet in Bucerias

  A part of the procession welcoming the boats onto the shore

  Here comes the fleet, all dressed up and with someplace to go

  The boats were all decorated with balloons and flowers.

  After the boats came in, all the kids ran up and took the decorations off.  Fletcher and Dana jumped right in to help.

  We took the bus to the end of the line past Mismaloya.  This was the main road for the families that lived back there.

  We walked up the river and went for a dip

  The kids playing in the river at Tomatlan

  Looking back into the valley that we hiked up. 

  The mouth of the river and small bay

  We caught a birthday procession complete with mariachis.  The birthday girl is in the red outfit.

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