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Isla Isabella to Banderas Bay

From Isla Isabella, we headed to Chacala, our first mainland stop, where we spent several days enjoying this beautiful and un-spoiled (i.e. no mega hotels) beach.  We really loved it here.   The beach is a perfect half-moon facing the setting sun with a small protected cove tucked up into north corner perfect for dingy landing even when large surf is pounding the main beach.   There are a few small Palapa restaurants and a few shops and stores, a couple of small but plush hotels and an RV park, and that is about it.  A really quiet place to unwind.  The nearest town is Los Varas, is a quick 5 mile, 10 peso taxi ride away.  We took a day trip there and the shopping was fun .  It would be a fine place to provision.  The road to Chacala from Los Varas was only paved a year or two ago, so Chacala has yet to really be "discovered", catering mainly to Mexican weekenders and the few boaters and RVer's who are in the know.  Rumor has it the entire beach is for sale for $7 million, so no doubt some developer will swoop down on this beautiful spot soon.

While in Chacala, we met a family from Vancouver Island on an open ended exploration of Mexico and Central America by RV.  The five of them (parents James and Kathy with girls Jasmin, Falen and Ramya ages 13, 10 and 6) are a Marimba band (large wooden Xylophones of African and/or Central American origination which they made themselves and tow in a trailer behind their RV) and they often play for tips and dinner at various restaurants along the way in their travels, introducing locals and tourists alike to this fun music.  They were playing one of the Palapa restaurants in Chacala while we were there and we ran into them again in La Cruz, eventually inviting them out to spend a day at the pool in the marina at Paradise Village Marina.  Neat people, great musicians, even little Ramia!    Click here to see a short video of them playing!

After Chacala, we headed into Banderas Bay, spending a night at Punta De Mita and then La Cruz de Huanancaxtle before finally getting into the extremely nice and posh Paradise Village Marina in Nuevo Vallarta on the 24th, which includes among other wonderful things, shore power, cable TV, weekly propane runs, potable freshwater to wash the salt off the boat and even the use of the several surrounding hotel pools, complete with water slides!

On the way down from Chacala, we had a very close encounter with 6 adult humpback whales (video) who came right at us at considerable speed, diving under the boat at the last moment.  They got so close that we actually screamed to the kids to "hang on"! 

We should be in Banderas Bay for several weeks and besides spending some time here in the marina doing laundry and re-provisioning, plan to get out to the Tres Marietas Islands and perhaps visit some of the other anchorages in the Bay before heading further south next month.

As always, click on the images to see a larger view.


Iguana on Isla Isabella

Iguana party on old foundations near dilapidated research station.

Iguana beach, Isal Isabella. Cool little spot near the main anchorage. Good snorkling nearby.

Blue footed booby keeping watch on the anchored boats below.

Looking south over the anchorage from the cliffs above. Sula (our Sula that is) is anchorred near the center of the photo.

Kelsey on the rim above crater lake, a fresh water pool formed in the old volcano caldera near the center of the island.

Kelsey with her sketch book, drawing the boobies and Frigates near the east anchorage.

Blue footed boobies "dancing" on the beach.

Blue footed mommy with egg.

Mexican Navy vessel shadowing us enroute to Chacala. They were very polite and simply asked a few questions over the radio.

Humpback whales enroute to Chacala.

Humpback whales getting very very close. They dove right under our boat!

Tail flukes.

Humpback periscoping.

Boogie boarding in Chacala with Sula anchorred in the background.

This is how bad the electronic charts are down here. The yelow is land. This shows us sailing more than a mile inland from the beach!

Pelicans feeding off the beach in Chacala.

Have a coke and a smile! Chacala.

Stone street, downtown Chacala.

Trinket shop in Chacala.

Sad looking dog in Chacala.

We don't know why, but from the looks of this statue, the folks in Las Varas appear to worship Captain Picard from the Starship Enterprise!

Wonderful stone street, downtown Los Varas.

Marimba band family from Vancouver Island playing a beach palapa resturant in Chacala.

Kelsey taking a turn.

Kids playing soccer on the beach in Chacala.

On our first night in the PV Marina, we went to a "turtle release". They collect the eggs and let people release the babies once hatched!

Marimba girls playing a gig to a packed house at Philo's bar in La Cruz. This is a total crusiers hangout and word got around they would be there.

Father James with Falen in the background.

Ramya (6 years old) playing the lead on the soprano marimba for the last song.

Trinity, Sula and Marimba kids hanging out playing pool at Philo's.


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