more from La Cruz

more emails and drama back home, should we stay or should we go? ( a little Clash to start the day) For now we stay…

Which is nice because each day we sink deeper into the lifestyle!

I go for my walk/run in the morning while Lawrence reads blogs. Or works… sometime there is real work to do, the kind that puts a bit of money back in the cruising kitty.

Then I do boat yoga or take out the kayak, and… who am I kidding, most of the time I just make myself another cup of coffee and sit outside…

have some back deck time watching the comings and goings in the marina.. and there is a lot of that! This is a busy place! I actually did pull out the sewing machine to work on a few projects, which ended up keeping me actively and artistically engaged for most of a week. And I like what I made, as does Lawrence, who insists I can’t give it away, it should go into the camper. Right, that means it’s time to start another one!

give a girl a fish, she will cook one meal- give her a sewing machine and she’ll sew forever but forget to cook
tortilla warmer for friend Fiona..everyone should have one!
Our friends have taken us on some great adventures, most of them including beach time and a margarita. Exploring the small towns north and south of us provides an endless amount of entertainment.

My favourite so far has been San Pancho or San Francisco… small, pretty, neat little shops and restaurants, clean… beautiful community centre, a recycling centre that is also a place to use recycled objects for new purposes, mainly art, providing employment and money in sales for the locals.

There is also the cirque de soleil school for the children…open for local kids, kids from neighbouring towns, and kids from other countries living down there with their parents.

community centre
Cirque de Soleil
random street musician
beach brews and margaritas!
March 24… more emails, more phone calls, but we are firmly entrenched in La Cruz and don’t want to leave yet…and so far don’t need to. We have explored a little further afield and have been introduced to Punta Negra, an absolutely stunning long beach with gorgeous white and black sand, big waves, some fascinating beach homes and a few glamorous Private Members Only resorts..and not a lot of people.

what a beautiful beach!
a little beach art
We are thoroughly loving our time here..which is ironic because I usually prefer the quiet solitude of anchoring in a protected bay with long pink totally empty beaches for walking and beach combing, or great rocky reefs out of the way of swells and wind for extended snorkelling explorations. Sitting on a dock with a combination of boaters who arrived here years ago and never left, or sailors who cruise in on the tide and the wind, shop, eat, do laundry, laugh and talk about their adventures, and then disappear early one morning in a haze of diesel fumes and hushed conversations in the darkness… not to mention the daily parade of party boats heading in and out full of tourists covered in oil… (Jimmy Buffet is on the radio again) …that is not my dream boat destination. But it’s fun, and here in La Cruz, as I probably waxed poetic about last year, it’s practically perfect for an extended stay.

Having friends with a car willing and eager to drive us when they aren’t busy with their own lives ( volunteering at the schools, meeting up with other expats from Canada and newer friends from the US) adds to the allure. We have had several more adventures with them, to beaches we would never see otherwise, and out on NRII across the bay to Yelapa, where we fended off the local panga jockeys who were trying to usher us onto their own personal mooring buoy…( 50 foot nordhavn meets panga mooring on windy day.. not a good outcome I would think… unless the anchor below was a Volkswagen or something) so we declined and used our own tackle further out. Didn’t leave the boat, just laid out lunch on the top deck and enjoyed the sun and the view. Best part of the day, though, was on the way back to the marina, spotting two small groups of humpback whales, who put on a delightful show for us when we weren’t really expecting one!

crossing Banderas Bay, passing Puerto Vallarta towards Los Arcos
Los Arcos much more crowded than last time I was here! No gracias!
cap’n T
Pangera wrangler
top deck lunch!
whale show… the mom was showing the youngster how it’s done…I opted to watch rather than get the perfect shot, really enjoyed it!
La Cruz is changing though, more ‘high rises’ are being built ( 5 stories?) which of course impacts the condos behind them. (Say goodbye to your ocean view!!!)

Rental is tight for people who want to come and dig in for an extended period of time, which many do, especially with the winter we all had this year.

Meanwhile the locals remain unchanged.. streets are still somewhat hazardous, less dirty thanks to the efforts of the local Amigos group who have encouraged garbage collection and pick up…homes are still a mix of styles with open courtyards, wandering chickens, and lazy dogs. Restaurants are mostly chairs and tables on the street, some popping up one or two days a week and disappearing the rest of the time… ribs thrown on big oil drum bbq’s, chicharones deep fried in huge round cauldrons set atop burners out on the street, precariously perched between parking cars and racing trucks… there is nothing big city about any of it.

typical street
love colour
my happy place! Waiting for my fish tacos
Except that you can find food that rivals anything you eat back home, at a fraction the cost.

Eating tacos on the street, or enjoying a meal on a white tablecloth in a “real” restaurant, you are mostly eating something fresh and always delicious. Best bet is to ask around for recommendations .. and if you like music, check out who is playing where… or just wander into a bar and be pleasantly surprised. You never know, it could be the dancing horses’ turn to entertain you!

quiet dinner music
or some old time rock and roll!
la Cruz Inn, good food, great margaritas, and dancing horses on Friday night!
beautiful horses!
not a horse but pretty close!
Shopping for food is fun too… the little grocery stores don’t look much like what you get back home, and a cab ride to Costco or Mega is tempting… but on the right day, the fresh veggies are wonderful, you collect your basket, wander around and pick what you want and need, no more, without everything being packaged up in plastic.. usually there are bags of fresh cheeses in the cooler, and the cashier will cut off however much you want… eggs sit out of the fridge and are marvellously fresh and delightfully mismatched.. corn tortillas sit in a cooler, hot from the tortillaria across the street, and it’s almost impossible for me to buy a batch without eating the first one before I get home. After ripping off a hunk of fresh cheese of course…

The Sunday market is an opportunity to do some one stop shopping, from bagels to baguettes, eggs to eggplants.. and local crafts. Stopping to talk to some of the artisans offers an opportunity to learn more about the people who live here and hone up on your Spanish skills. We have found that locals are happy to help with our Spanish, and discuss the different dialects and pronunciations depending on where they come from.

breakfast Sunday morning, listening to the music from the market
So it’s easy to see why people come to stay. For expats, there is everything from great medical and dental centres, fabulous and affordable food…and alcohol of course…great climate, beautiful beaches, a pickleball community, volunteer groups to work with and help enrich the local’s lives as well as one’s own..not to mention the local strays who hang around here.

the uncatchable cat
our dock cats being fed by our neighbour. The lady who fed the cats last year, I think her name was Jane… passed away, and some of the full time boat dwellers have taken on her role. They also do a spay and neuter clinic every month, I believe, where people can bring in their pets or ferals they have caught in order to have them neutered.
I wonder still how the general local citizens really feel about all of this, but it’s obvious they mostly benefit some way or another from the tourism. Buses bring crowds in for the Sunday markets, and daily boat cruises leave from the marina crowded with tourists from all down Banderas Bay to Puerto Vallarta.

And then summer comes. Right now the expats are preparing to leave their Mexican homes, close up and batten down their boats, the sailors are readying themselves for the puddle jump across the Pacific to the South Seas.. and the weather turns blistering hot. Condos will be empty, as I assume the marina will be , and the locals are left to their own devices, except for the hardy few souls who enjoy the heat.

We are ourselves winding down, awaiting the delivery of the part needed for our hot water heater. I haven’t really missed hot water – it’s so warm here I enjoy cold ( it’s never really cold water…) showers after my walk or run.. and the banyos in the La Cruz club building are great for a more thorough scrubbing!

We did miss our bedroom fan, which burnt itself out and melted right off its pin… ordered a new one and it came in a matter of days, and is now happily and quietly keeping that room cool without having to turn on the air con… although as it gets warmer here, the a/c does get more use in the evening …time to head north!

This time next week we will probably be looking at the weather with an eye to taking off and starting our migration. Depending on how things go we may dawdle a bit, head to Isla Isabela to check out the blue footed boobies … and maybe make the trip to Mazatland for a quick visit before crossing over to La Paz. After that.. who knows!

What’s happening back on the island, what’s happening at the lake, and what’s happening with Northern Ranger I… will have an effect on our future plans.

So we are just sitting at the dock of the bay ( now it’s Otis Redding singing) and watching the tide roll away… cue the whistle… and look at that, it’s time to start organizing dinner. Time flies when you are having fun. Who knows what adventures next week will bring… As John Denver says, I don’t know where I’m going, I’m not sure where I’ve been… our life’s worth the living we don’t need to see the end…