Welcome to our mid-life crisis! These are the chronicles of Laura and Patrick, their young son Jack, and their goofball Labrador Retriever named Evinrude (Rudy), as they travelled the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific coast of mainland Mexico in their catamaran. We went cruising in search of a change of pace, a closer knit family, and peace of mind. We found all three and more. The fun all started in October, 2008 and nearly four years later the Mexican adventure came to an end August 3rd, 2012. With our mid-life crisis cured in Mexico, we are excited to start a new adventure - life back in America.

Patrick has since joined the Sales Team of Marine Servicenter as a boat broker. Whether you are looking to make your dream of sailing away come true, or ready to sell your boat he can help. He can be reached at http://marinesc.com/about/crew/patrick-harrigan

Candeleros Chico

Candeleros Chico
Just another beautiful day at anchor on the Baja. 2010

Dolphins at play in the bow wake 2011

Dolphins at play in the bow wake  2011

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Feb 20 - 23 The Gold Coast

The golden morning when we woke up in Ipala was the beginning of a new experience for us. The "Gold Coast" or "Mexican Riviera" is the stretch of coastline between the south lip of Banderas Bay and Manzanillo, 80 miles further south. Everyone raves about it and hundreds of cruisers ply these waters over the winter months. We kept joking to each other about the "Gold Coast." Our three weeks in Banderas Bay were filled with gloomy skies, rain, chilly temperatures, and storms with a couple of nice days thrown in. If this was the "Gold Coast" then the north Sea of Cortez was Platinum for sure.

We spent 3 weeks in Banderas Bay since we were waiting for immigration paperwork there. We finally applied for our FM3's - the visa that allows a foreigner to stay for one year. Everyone entering Mexico is granted 180 days but when that time is up you are supposed to leave the country. You don't even have to be gone long - you can cross the border and turn around and come back in. Over the last 17 months in Mexico, we have made several trips home, but we now know that going home has a high cost, and it's not just the cost of gas. Travel costs, tickets, lunches on the road, eating out, hotels and car rentals are cheap compared to the amount of money you spend when you get to America and start buying all the products and boat parts that you can't find in Mexico. It's better to stay here and not tempt yourself.

So back to the new experience. When we woke in Ipala, it truly was like starting a new trip. We had a lovely sail south with a light breeze on our backs to Chamela. Along the way, we were joined by some Pantropical Spotted dolphins, a mother and baby played in our bow wake for quite a while. It was like she was teaching him the ropes of how to do it. Chamela is a big bay with a couple of islands in it. We went straight to the islands and found a beautiful little spot in 16 feet of water. The water was so crystal clear that we could read the writing on our anchor on the bottom. Beautiful rock reefs surrounded our anchorage, offering lots of interesting snorkeling. And best of all, we only had to share this paradise with one other boat. We stayed for two days and then pulled our hook, heading south to find 3rd Day.

Our next planned stop was the next anchorage in our guide book - Careyes, just 6 miles south. It sounded lovely, but we knew it would be crowded since the bay is home to several high-end resorts including Club Med. When we reached Careyes we were very disappointed. Yes, it was lovely; yes, it was crowded, but no, it was not really an anchorage. It is obvious that the wealthy land owners and high end resorts do not want to have riff raff cruisers fouling up their view! The Careyes Bay is like lace work - three little coves with reefs between them and high cliffs surrounding it. Very pretty, very intimate. Of the three bays available to anchor in, all were filled with moored pangas, and roped off swimming areas. One little cove had five beautiful little pangas all painted the same, completely stripped of any gear - no engines, oars, fishing takcle, just the shell of the boats. Obviously no fisherman used them, they are simply there to fill up the anchorage so no one else can moor there! There is one mooring spot behind a tiny island, but a large power boat was filling the spot, so we toured the anchorage and headed back out to sea to hit the next spot - Tenacatita another 17 miles south.

The wind was 22 knots by now since it was in the afternoon, but it was on our backs and we just flew along. We averaged 8 knots under sail power alone. Very fun, and we reached Tenacatita well before sunset. Tenacatita Bay is ENORMOUS. We knew 3rd Day was anchored in Tenacatita, but when we pulled in that night to the first bay we didn't see any other boats. So we dropped anchor off a beach lined with restaurants and settled in for the night. We found out the following morning that all the cruisers were anchored out of sight around the corner in the next cove. We were enojoying our spot, so we stayed put for a couple days.

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