Bye-Bye Mainland, Hello Baja

We can’t believe that it’s only been 4 months since crossing over from Baja. We’ve been to so many cool places and done so many things, it seems much longer. We’ve been chasing the perfect summer for the past 11 months. Heading toward Alaska in May then staying just ahead of the changing season all the way down the coast. We were literally chased from the Sea of Cortez in December by very strong and cold north winds to the balmy mainland coast–further and further south as winter progressed. Beginning in March everything reversed and we all began migrating north, then back to the “Sea” where spring is supposed to be really nice. Unfortunately, come June it starts getting hot, REALLY HOT. They say you don’t want to be here in July-Oct. So we’re planning to store the boat and head north via car for the summer. In the mean time we’re planning to explore the central Sea with what time we have left.
On our way south and again on the way back, we spent lots of time in Banderas Bay, especially La Cruz. It’s such a great place to hang out and easy for visitors to get to. Before heading back to the Sea, we had our lovely niece Ruby Reed come visit for a week. She’s a 20 year old biology major at Colorado State, Fort Collins. One of her minors is Spanish so the trip was educational for her and a lot of fun for us. The last time she traveled extensively on our boat with us on a trip to Barkley Sound 8 years ago. Just yesterday for us, ancient history for her.
When Ruby left, we picked Dave and Mary Utley up in Puerto Vallarta. They previously owned the sister ship to Carmanah so they knew what they were getting into accommodation wise. (Lack of). We didn’t go far–only La Cruz–but it gave them a little taste of cruising in Mexico. They’re checking out potential cruising destinations for their C&C 48—big sister to Carmanah. It was great fun having them along.
The day after the Utley’s left, we sailed the 160 miles up to Mazatlan via San Blas and Isla Isabela. We had stopped at the town of San Blas on our way south and loved it’s authentic small town charm. Not many cruisers stop there because of it’s reputation for jejenes or no-see-ums that can be ferocious. Turns out their presence is dependent on the phase of the moon. No moon on our 1st stop, no bugs. This time, not long after the full moon…..bugs. We stayed only one night but did get a chance to say goodby to our buddy from Bella Coola, Peter, who sadly had to postpone indefinitely his trip to the South Pacific in order to attend to family matters back home. His boat, Fukingvr, will remain in San Blas dry storage hoping for no hurricanes.

Isla Isabela, 20 miles off the coast, is often called “The Galapagos of Mexico”. I hate those kind of comparisons because it’s usually a let-down. But Isabela was spectacular. The geography is very Galapagos like and the isolation results in few natural predators. So the island is home to thousands upon thousands of birds including the blue-footed booby. You can walk right up to them. We were the only boat there. It was very eerie. Poor Lucy had to stay on the boat–no dogs in the World Heritage Site. She would have gone crazy chasing those Blue-footed Boobies around–a white, fluffy ecological disaster. There were tons of fish on the reefs surrounding the island. I was afraid to spear any as it’s a national park as well.

ruby zip line

Ruby on the final zip line leg that ends on the river bank. We ride mules back up to the lodge.

carmanah at isabela

Carmanah all alone off Isla Isabela, the Galapagos of Mexico.

isabela islet

Rock spires off Isla Isabella, the Galapagos of Mexico. Diving around these was great, thousands of fish.


These Blue Footed Boobies were great fun to watch.

ruby and lucy

Lucy doing what she does best with Ruby on a sail across Banderas Bay to Los Arcos for snorkeling.

john and ruby at liz's

Niece Ruby with me in front of Elizabeth Taylor house in Gringo Gulch in old town Puerto Vallarta. We couldn’t talk our way in. Bummer.

ruby foot soak

Ruby’s feet getting cleaned by little fish who suck the dead skin off. No way, I’ll keep my skin, thanks.

the bull

We introduce Dave and Mary to the Bull in La Cruz. Dave loves those street tacos.

sebastian square gazebo

The plaza at San Sebastian, very quaint.

san sebastian church

The church at San Sebastian

san blas church

The Church of our Lady of the Rosary in San Blas dates back to the 1500s.


Friends we met in San Blas later had their anchor drag while they were ashore in La Cruz with disastrous result. So, so sorry Barry and Connie.

peter and fukengivr

Our buddy Peter on Fukengvr is from Bella Coola. Had to cut his trip to the South Pacific short (San Blas) due to family issues back home. As basic as it gets kinda boat but it gets him there.


Night before Easter in the La Cruz plaza was alive. This “likeness” of Judas is filled with fire crackers and they blow him apart later in the evening. Unfortunately the music doesn’t get going until almost 11:00 so we miss most of it.

dave and mary at beach

Dave and Mary roughing it at the beach in La Cruz with hostess Lucy.

cruiser potluck

Cruiser potluck dinghy raftup at Tenecatitia. Never done this before but it works well when there are too many people to all gather on any one boat.


Good Friday in La Cruz carrying out the cross.

toast linda

A Toast to our sister Linda who retired from an incredible career as an executive in the aerospace industry on April 1. Here’s to you sis.


3 thoughts on “Bye-Bye Mainland, Hello Baja

  1. weworkshop

    Thanks always for sharing … what an amazing series of journeys you have had. Happy Spring from New England where a week of 60’s was followed by 2″ of snow and days in the 20’s. Fortunately the hot sun has melted most of it and green shoots are starting to poke up with the promise of soon gardens.


  2. Marcia

    Hey Donna and John,
    Thanks so much for letting Ruby hang out with you. She had SO much fun!!!
    It’s been fun reading your blog – keep it up!
    Love, Marcia



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