Puerto Vallarta, Colorado....and Boat Projects!
After arriving to Puerto Vallarta from Chacala, we headed to the La Cruz anchorage in Banderas Bay. Banderas Bay is famous for the migration of humpback whales that come each year to breed and birth. As we were arriving in the early evening on January 31st, whales were breaching and surfacing all around us. One breached about 100 feet from the bow of our boat! Luckily, we were able to avoid each other and we safely dropped our anchor as the sun was setting. The most active time for whales in Banderas Bay is between December-March.
The most incredible thing about anchoring in Banderas Bay is hearing the whales sing. We are below the waterline when inside Karuna so the acoustics are amazing to hear them sing! It's beautiful and haunting.
Weeks prior to arriving to Puerto Vallarta, we successfully secured a slip for a few weeks at Paradise Village Marina. Finding a slip is getting to be more and more difficult with the high numbers of boats around. We needed a slip to safely leave Karuna for a few days as we made a quick trip to the states to visit our families and pick up boat parts. We hadn't seen our families in almost a year and a half.
Checking in with the Port Captain in Puerto Vallarta was very easy, as we had already checked-in at Chacala, when we had crossed over from La Paz. I think we were inside the office for no more than 30 seconds; we got our stamps and we were back in the water taxi heading back to Karuna. The next few days were a whirlwind as we prepared to leave Karuna and ordered as many boat parts as possible for our arrival in the US.
We recently made the decision to continue south through Central America to Panama, instead of going to the South Pacific. We made a pros/cons list of where we should head next and Panama made the top of the list, so we have been gearing up with that in mind. While back in the states we had numerous boat parts delivered, along with Central America navigational charts, courtesy flags, and guides.
We had a very busy and quick trip back to the states. We coordinated with Doug's parents, who were traveling at the time, to met us in Colorado so we could see both my mom and them. It was fun to catch up with our families, share stories, go shopping, and I even got a haircut from my mom. We did find being back to the states a bit overwhelming. The people, the traffic, and the shear convince of so many stores is so different than what we are used to! Oh...and don't forget the cold temperatures, we definitely aren't used to that!
We successfully crammed all of the new boat parts, water hoses, spices, and canned pumpkin into our bags (we actually had to borrow a suitcase from my mom to get everything to fit)...and we made it safely back to Puerto Vallarta. Altogether, we had eight bags and suitcases. If you saw us, you would have thought we were moving onto Karuna for the first time, not just returning from a quick trip!!
When returning back to Mexico, we had all of our boat documentation and custom forms ready, and we were prepared to pay a 16% import on all the things we were bringing into the country...but after being pulled to the side, all our bags went through the x-ray, and one suitcase was rummaged through, the customs agent deemed everything we were bringing in to be "necessary" to the function of our boat and did not charge us an import fee!!! Whoa!! We weren't expecting that! We quickly collected our bags and as nonchalantly as possible, left the customs area before they changed their minds. We had the most random things in our bags: 180 feet of water hose, a spot light, 11 flopper stopper cones, a water faucet, diesel line, an engine oil sump pump, a water filter, bulk spices, triscuit crackers, fenders, rebuild kits, fittings, hose clamps, fuel bladder gaskets, prop parts, grease, a solar shower and solar lights. Wow!!!! It was so much stuff!!
Once getting back to Karuna, it was time to get to work. We replaced all the fresh water supply lines and fittings throughout the whole boat, installed a designated drinking water faucet with a custom filtration system, replaced the oil sump pump on the engine, fixed the fuel bladder leak, installed a cockpit shower, added an anti-siphon loop to the diesel return, and fixed the steering wheel break.
Doing this work while at Paradise Village Marina was perfect as we had access to the entire resort. After working on projects during the day, we could go hangout in any of the 4 pools, enjoy a palapa on the beach as the sunset, go to the restaurants and bars on the property, or grab food and drinks at the Vallarta Yacht Club. We got a lot done in our three week stay, but we also relaxed a bit as well.
As we finished up projects, we made our preliminary itinerary to head south. We did a last grocery run, made a trip to old town Puerto Vallarta and met up with friends on Azure, who are also heading to Panama. We did a last few diesel runs on our bikes and started preparing to leave the dock. Paradise Village does not have a fuel dock, so we load our bike trailers up with Jerry cans and head to the closest Penmex. Each trip takes about an hour round-trip, but it's fun to check out the town by bike and we get a good workout in!
On February 19th, we left Paradise Village and headed to Yelapa for a very rolly night. Next up, we make our way south to Tenacatita!