Sail Gemini

(Updated March 1, 2001)

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Log 3:  La Paz (Baja del Sur) to Puerto Vallarta

Jan 22-Feb 25, 2000

Jan 22

Puerto Ballandra

("Mushroom Rock")

Leaving La Paz wasn't easy...we finally followed Loup de Mer one day after they left, & caught up with them "just around the corner" of the peninsula, snugly tucked into Puerto Ballandra.  (See photos3)  This is where the locally renowned "Mushroom Rock" lies, defying gravity with its thin base and rounded top.  Only two hours from La Paz, it was an easy day, and the perfect setting for getting back "into the saddle".  A flat-lying beach provided the perfect stroll in rippled sand as the tide went out...lots of interesting creatures Marsha & Diane followed while Burk and Les walked ahead...probably talking about boat parts!  We all had dinner on Gemini, including fresh shrimp cocktail from their Candelero voyage...yum!
Jan 23

Bahia de Los Muertos

A decent, but un-spectacular anchorage, this bay required an eight-hour sail--now we're back in the swing of things.  Enjoyed a quiet night on Gemini, and got a good night's sleep.
Jan 24

Los Frailes

A nice ride south--a few whales spouting very close to shore, wind just enough to fill our sails, clear skies and warm sun--then a phenomenal rock formation at the entrance.  Where were Robin & Nick when we needed them?  The name claims that the rocks are friars ("Frailes", in Spanish)...which is as good an explanation as anything we could invent.
Jan 25-26

Isla Isabela

This was an overnight voyage to what could be a scene from "Jurrasic Park"--inhabited only by birds, this island is a favorite anchoring spot for cruisers.  During the night, we saw dolphins criss-crossing our bow wake in water so phosphorescent, it turned them into crystal figures.  One actually stayed for about 20 minutes, mesmerizing us with its beauty.  Experiences like these make night crossings so unique, you actually learn to look forward to them.  (Never thought I'd say that!)  As we approached the island, there was a mystical sunrise  with whales wakening in a glassy lavendar sea.  But the comfortable & safe spots looked taken, and the anchorages looked very rolly, so we decided to wait until our return voyage to visit the island and continued on to San Blas.

Jan 27-Feb 3

San Blas

Now here's a Mexican town--complete with center plaza where the teens walk when courting, bird sounds filling the air, delicious hand-made tortillas, a jungle river cruise, coconut banana bread, and a celebration of their patron saint that lasts four days!  It has been our first "real" Mexican place--no high-rises, very few tourists, tropical atmosphere, warm water, beautiful sunsets...all the things we dreamed of.  They celebrate the birthday of their namesake, St. Blase,  in a big way -- dancing in the square, parades around town, costumes and lots of parties.  We had a candle-lit march to the church one night, followed by mass and then a fireworks show on a tower built out of bamboo with spiral branches sparkling and flying off in every direction--definitely not OSHA approved, but great fun.  We met so many wonderful cruisers there, we gave a picture to Norm and Jan (the cruisers' support team in San Blas) showing the 20 boats anchored in the estuary--a real record!  The "Roy Orbishark" puppet show aboard Gemini was a great laugh, and established this venue as the best boat stage and Les as the "official" sound engineer.  

Feb 4-5


Only 20 miles south of San Blas, this quiet little town had a nice anchorage and fresh lobsters available from the local fishermen.  We got a wonderful surprise shortly after anchoring:  Nanjo pulled up right behind us!  Having come from the south en route to San Blas, they surprised us with a call on the radio "from the boat behind you".  After getting over the weird coincidence of finally meeting up with them, we exchanged stories with Nancy & John about our voyages so far and reminisced about our days at Emery Cove over dinner & wine on Gemini.   Always good to see old friends again.

Feb 6


At last, we were able to turn the engine off & enjoy sailing again!  After a mildly warm day, we arrived at Jaltemba, a huge Mexican resort town with jet skis, banana-boat rides and hotels on the beach.  A shrimp boat anchored nearby started us salivating, but the crew refused to sell us anything "until El Capitain" returned...which never happened!  Had a beer on the beach with Larry & crew mate Jill on Wings, & met a group from Saskatchewan staying at the resort.  Rolly night and northwesterly winds convinced us to high-tail it out of there, but we might return on our way back north.

Feb 7-Feb 13

Punta de Mita

A glorious day of sailing brought us right into the anchorage amidst broaching whales and nice breaks that brought Les' thoughts to a surfboard again. Dinghy landing was a little tricky, but the palapa on the beach was worth the effort, and we got the "local scoop" from Bob, Julie, Marley & Dylan on Natural Mystic.  Used our "Flopper Stopper" for the first time, cleaned the bottom of the boat, and enjoyed the steaks from La Paz.  

One day we went out  in our dinghy to look for whales, and found a dolphin trapped in a coil of old fishing line.  We finally managed to untangle him,  and were elated  to see him swim fast away!  Later, our reward was seeing a mother whale & her "pup".  At one point, they dove down and we lost sight of them.   Diane leaned over her side of the boat and asked Les "What's that big black thing under there?" and Les, leaning over his side, answered "That's the whale!".  The whale was very calm, circled us, then swam off.  What a thrill!  This mom & son routine turned out to be pretty predictable at about 11:30 in the morning, and we enjoyed many days of whale watching, surfing and enjoying several friends who were following similar courses from San Blas.  Even met up again with Larry & Lisa from Duck Soup, whom we had met at Catalina Island and had a San Blas reunion on Sparrow.

Feb 14-Feb 25

Puerto Vallarta

We arrived on Valentine's Day (Happy Birthday, Becky!), and, having spent such a terrific week at Punta de Mita,  felt like we had given each other the world as a gift.  After being at anchor so long, going into the Paradise Village marina was a bit of a culture shock--hotel rooms, pools, even shower facilities with towels, soap & shampoo at the spa!

This stop was scheduled to meet Diane's brother Mark and his family during their stay in Puerto Vallarta, and ended up being a real treat for us as well as them (we hope!)  Although Paradise Village is 30 minutes out of town, it offered an animal "lending" zoo, tropical dinghy rides and a change of atmosphere from their hotel near Marina Vallarta during their 2-day stay on the boat while Mom & Dad went to San Blas.  The night before they left, they treated us to a Mexican Fiesta dinner at "La Iguana", and we all had a fun-packed evening of dancing, Spanish performers, lasso tricks and a pinata.

Feb 25 - ???

Look for future updates as we embark on leg 4:  our journey south of Puerto Vallarta to Manzanillo, then back to PV so we can fly to the States to do our taxes (ugh!) and return to meet good friends in mid-April.

Here are a few highlights from Leg 3.  For more pictures, see photos3).

Mushroom Rock at Puerto Ballandra and "The Friars" climbing the rocks.

Approaching Isla Isabela at sunrise.

"The Fleet" in San Blas


Wildlife in San Blas   .  .  .   and in Punta de Mita (aboard "Sparrow")

Time in Puerto Vallarta with the family...what a treat!

(See photos3 for more pictures on leg 3--La Paz to Puerto Vallarta)

Go to Log 4:  Puerto Vallarta to Mazatlan

Go to Journey Map



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