La Cruz de Huanacaxtle   



La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Mexico


We've been living in the lap of luxury at anchor in La Cruz.  Well, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but it has been great being back here.  Synchrony has left for further points North and we were very sad to see them go but sure we will see them again back in Berkeley one of these days.  Sonadora is in PV getting herself all seaworthy again.  Then they will start their slog back to California.  Our friends on Pacific Jade are currently here but will be taking off in a day or two for Mazatlan where they will leave Pacific Jade for the summer.  Stardancer is due in here this weekend - either La Cruz or Punta Mita - we'll meet them at one of these two places.  So the past couple of weeks have been a series of last hurrahs and goodbyes.  Hopefully we'll be seeing our friends again.

We've been finishing up the few little projects we have left on Pacifica, but basically she was ready to go when we left Berkeley - so that makes this time in La Cruz a lot less stressful.  So far it seems like there aren't that many boats heading to Hawaii this year.  There is one leaving on April 1st, and another leaving around the 9th of April.  We will be in contact with both of them via email and the radio if possible.  We're still thinking about a departure around mid April, so we'll be close to Cutthroat (the one leaving on the 9th) but they are a 52 ft boat so I'm sure they will be speeding away from us.  The puddle jumpers will also be out there and we'll be able to check into their nets while we can hear them.

Most of the time, I'm excited about the trip and ready, but sometimes I get scared.  Though I also got that feeling about driving on the freeway and I definitely think I'll be safer crossing the ocean than I was on the freeway.  I'll just probably be more tired.

One thing we've been wanting to tell folks at home about are the bus musicians.  You see, usually when getting on the bus (at least longer ones such as the one between La Cruz and PV), the bus driver will let a musician come aboard who will play 3 songs then ask for tips, then get off the bus.  We're not sure if they pay for the trip, I would guess not - but that's not the point of my story.  The point is that these guys are some of the best musicians we've heard here.  So many times Greg has gotten out a few pesos when they come aboard, but ends up dipping in for more when we hear how good they are.  Some of them are more organized and have a sort of band with a singer, guitar, and some percussion.  It really makes the bus ride more enjoyable.  

But the bus entertainment doesn't stop with music, all sort of vendors come aboard to sell their wares - drinks, snacks, books, even DVDs (which you are forced to watch some of).  It's all fun and there is very low pressure in all of it.

   This is the main bus stop we use. This taco stand has yummy tacos, but our favorite is just across the street - Carnitas tacos for 10 pesos each....

   As Herb and Juliett call it...The GOD tree.   It's breathtaking to see this yellow tree in full bloom as you walk down the street.

   A common sight - just the placement of the doggie lumps can change...sometime lying across the road, under a parked car, under a tree, or stretching across the sidewalk.  They will just lay there and let you step over them. Unless Matey is with us - then they want to smell her butt then go back to laying around (after maybe barking).

About a week or so ago I helped out at the spay/neuter clinic in Mezcales.  What an experience!!!!  These dogs, although they were very loved (so they were the luckier ones) were full of fleas, ticks and lice and some had very sad stories.  Like the 11 month old who was hit by a car 4 months ago which resulted in a fractured pelvis and this clinic was the first medical care she received.  The owner of this dog was crying when she dropped her and her 4 siblings off to be fixed because she thought maybe they would be put to sleep.  I know she loved her, but I don't understand the lack of medical care, there are vets everywhere.  It does make me sad to see the state these dogs live in.  Anyway, I was glad to be able to help for a couple of days.  I only stayed 2 days because I started to get afraid of what I might bring home to Matey.  Since our trip to Hawaii is so close, I was afraid to put her at risk.  I know I could prevent a lot by bleaching my shoes before coming on the boat and segregating my clothes to be washed - but it's really hard on a boat .  It might just be me whining, or maybe I just wasn't ready to go back to work again :-)

   The operating table.  There were 4 tables going at once at peak times with one additional table as a prep table.  All tongues were tied to the side which made for humorous "coming outs" in recovery where I was most of the time.

  De-ticking - this was one area I was careful to avoid, don't like those little bugs at all....

   Waiting.... Notice the little bits of tape on their heads.  Everyone was given a number and they wore it on the tops of their heads.

   My most favorite job was puppy watch.  I had five puppies to watch as they ran around, ate and pooped and pee'd...

  A cat after it's flea bath - it may not look like his lucky day, but he was picked up by one of the volunteers in the morning.  He was lying in the road with a pit bull coming up on him and he didn't even have the energy to move.  Luckily the volunteer was driving down the road at the time and couldn't let the dog get him - so he got swooped up and brought to the clinic.  He wasn't even healthy enough to have surgery.  I suspect he will be one of the ones that find themselves in a rescue organization in the states and will have a comfy rest of his life.

   This is one of the docs sitting with her patient till she was safely awakish.  This picture was taken as the owner of a dog, who was a little testy (as in he tried to bite his owner when he dropped him off), was getting his dog out of a neighboring crate.  The harness this guy had for this dog was similar to a horse saddle with all the straps.

Before Synchrony left, we took a ride with them to Nuevo Vallarta to top off their water tanks and visit the swap meet.  The swap meet was a bit unspectacular (except for the wonderful fresh chocolate chip cookies a couple of cruiser kids decided to sell), and the topping off of the water just got us chased away (after Synchrony got their tanks filled and they washed off the salt grime).  But, ohhhh....the sail home.....

We got to fly Big Red, and mother nature even got us to turn around for more sailing before returning to the anchorage.  Juliett made us a fabulous lunch and we were listening to some good sea shanties - there were some happy people aboard Synchrony that afternoon.

   Herb and BIG RED.....

A few days ago a singlehander in the anchorage put on a puppet show for all who wanted to come.  I guess we've been spoiled because usually it's the larger boats (like catamarans) that invite the whole anchorage over, so we were surprised when the host was in the 28 foot range.  But what fun!!!  The star was a shark dressed as Roy Orbison (Roy Orbishark). They had music, singing, bubbles, and paper balls to throw.  And all of this in great company.  We had a blast. (Remember, cruiser on a budget  - our standard may be lower than yours***).

  Puppet Stars...

   More puppets in action

  The gathering on the back of s/v Ann Marie.

    Snippet from the puppet show

Last night we went with Pacific Jade to see a group we spoke about last time we were here called Tatewari.  It was pretty good - the guy who plays this special percussion box was off doing work in San Francisco, so it was a little lacking.  We are hoping he'll be back in town by the next Thursday night (they play weekly).  They play in a great Huichol art cafe - and Len and Carol, we are planning to let you experience this.

Today I've had a lazy day puttering around the boat while Greg headed into PV to meet with a guy about boning up his celestial navigation skills.  This morning I was just talking to him about being the dinghy driver more often so I can get more comfortable with the whole beach landing thing.  So after breakfast, I was the one who got into the dinghy first, got the engine started and pulled in the stern anchor (we were anchored off the pier).  Fast forward a few hours, after I dropped Greg off at the dock so he could go off to his lessons.  The wind was picking up - which if I'm aboard has me infected with Gopher's disease (I pop my head up frequently to assess my surroundings).  This is not only to check Pacifica's position, but also those around us.  Anyway, I noticed a lone dinghy heading into shore toward the rocky surf.  Now that's not right, so I immediately jumped into "Matey's Ride" (our dinghy) and zoomed over to bring the lone rider to our boat.  Since he had no name, I had to make an announcement on the VHF radio for it's owner to claim him (of course after my adrenaline died down - it was pretty windy and I had to go closer than I would have liked to the surf line, not to mention dinghying upwind in a blow while towing another dinghy all by myself).  It was quickly claimed and returned, but it made for an exciting morning on Pacifica.