The sail from Isla Isabel to Banderas Bay was slow. We had light winds, never above 10 knots, so we ended up motoring the last three or so hours of the trip. Even then, we arrived at the Punta Mita anchorage after dark. It became an exercise in anchoring by radar. The bay is surrounded by a glare of lights. Not all the anchored boats have their anchor lights on so they are difficult to impossible to see in the dark. We were tired from a long day of light wind sailing. We finally anchored safely and slept soundly.
The next morning we thought we’d head to shore to see what the town of Punta Mita is like. There isn’t really a good place to land a dinghy. The surf was breaking on the beach with bigger waves than we like to land in. We tried going into the panga basin, where the fishermen tie up, but it was full. On the way out of the narrow entrance, we hit a sequence of four to six foot breaking waves about six seconds apart. No backing out. The dinghy went through breaking surf just fine, but now that we know that, we aren’t anxious to try it again. Back to Gypsy to weigh anchor and head for the La Cruz anchorage. We hit town to load the phone, get some internet, and some fresh vegetables. We stayed for a couple of nights, took the dinghy apart and put it back on the foredeck and then meandered over to Paradise Village.
The marina at Paradise Village is in Nuevo Vallarta and is part of a huge resort complex complete with a mall, a hospital, more hotels and condos than can be easily counted, and live bengal tigers. It’s also the only marina in Banderas Bay that has potable water at the docks.
To get to the port captain’s office from the harbor master’s office you have to take a water taxi. It wasn’t working that morning so we put the dinghy back together. Since it was together, we took it up the estuary to see if we would see any cocodrilos. It was low tide and what we saw instead: lots of herons and iguanas, and a dredge that made us nostalgic for Rose City Yacht Club in Portland.
Paradise Village is nice, but it’s isolated in its own part of the bay. We rented a car one day to hit La Comer and Mega (grocery stores), Home Depot for peat moss for the composting toilet, and Costco. Bill discovered that driving in Mexico is still an adventure, and he had a conversation with a nice motorcycle cop about a signal that had gone red while he was in the intersection. Nina had just remarked that “you ran a red!” when he saw flashing lights. Thankfully, there was no mention of la grua, and he was able to pay his fine and get on our way.