We departed Maz at 8:30 AM and arrived at Punta Mita, the anchorage on the outer end of Banderas Bay, at 10:30 AM the following day after a very quick ride down the coast. We had a .5 kt current pushing us with gentle seas from behind and we arrived nearly a day before we planed. The boat performed perfectly, as usual, with the only problem being the Si-Tex AIS unit continually losing it's USB connection to the PC. We've talked with Si-Tex about this and they said we need to return the unit to them for a software upgrade. It pisses us off when companies think nothing of requiring you to send the product back to them so they can fix a problem that should have not been there in the first place. For most people in the States, daily FedEx deliveries happen all the time, just try that from Mex and have it get lost in Custom's black hole, on both sides of the border. So the AIS fix will be another summer project. Enough of that rant...
There are a lot of large fishing boats along the coast that you need to watch out for but that gives you something to do on night watch. They are lit up like a Christmas tree and are slow moving or stationary and have a strong radar image so they are easy to see and avoid. They look like they are fishing for shrimp with large baskets hanging from outrigger poles.
The anchorage in Punta Mita is spacious with good holding but rolly from swells wrapping around from the point. It was windy when we arrived, 10 to 20 kts, which was higher than any winds we saw on the outside. It seems Mother Nature does not like anchorages and makes them windier than any area around them.
The next morning we pulled anchor and went into Marina Vallarta, an older marina located close to downtown PV. The marina is ringed by an older development of condos and timeshare apartments with many shops and restaurants around the parameter of the marina. We were here 3 years ago and enjoyed the older feel of the place. We had read that the place was starting to run down and people are advised not to go there but that just made it more attractive to us. We called the marina and they said to pick any open slip on H dock, there are many open slips so just pick one. When we arrived and pulled into a slip we were told by the security guard that there was no power in the empty slips and to go to N dock. So we pulled out and went to N only to find it was in worse condition with missing finger piers and no power either. In frustration we tied up at an empty slip and went to the office where they assured us they would send out an electrician and get the power working at our slip. 3 hours latter the electrician showed up and fixed our power so we decided to stay and settled in. The marina is the kind of place that people describe as 'having charm' and despite the run down state there are a lot of mega yachts here and we kind of like the place. We may never return here in the future but we're here now so we'll make the best of it.
We had a good week here, eating out a lot and just walking around. PV is a fun place. One thing we found out in talking to other boaters is that Marina Vallarta might be the most expensive marina in the bay. Paradise Village Marina, a resort marina will all the extras, is renting for $0.50 a foot per day and the La Cruz Marina is similar. We're paying $42 per day for our 46' boat in Marina Vallarta which comes out to around $.75 per foot plus tax.
One thing that Marina Vallarta has that we’ve never seen before is a Donut Lady. Everyday she walks the docks with a tray of fresh donuts for 10 pesos each, less than a US dollar. You gotta love Mexico.
We’re heading south this week to spend some time on anchor, out of the marinas.