We have returned to where we started our Mexico-sailing adventures two years ago—preparing to head south out of Ensenada and trace the Pacific coast of Baja California. We plan to spend the majority of this next cruising season in the Sea of Cortés, as we did our first year in Mexico. After that, we will get back on track toward the Panama Canal again and, maybe, just maybe, make it out of Mexico waters by 2024! All of that means that we are doing the past two years over in our new boat. We did not pass go, and we did not collect $200. But we did collect a lot of experiences while cruising Mapache, and with those come knowledge. Knowledge will help us to do some things better and to find some places that we missed in round one.
We Hate Goodbyes
Speaking of the original Mapache, she has new caretakers, who plan to live on her half of every year, while exploring Mexican anchorages and beyond. Mapache is a child and a teacher to us. We made her our own and constantly cared for her, while she taught us how to live this salty life. She took us to places we would never have seen without her, and she taught us to face our fears and to overcome frustrations. Our goodbye is hesitant, but we know it’s time for her to inspire her new family.
Even though we are starting our route over, it will be different. Mapache 2.0 is a completely different style of boat. She is a 1996 Hunter 376. Some call her class of boat “plastic fantastic,” meaning that she is a factory-built boat, made out of fiberglass with very little of that classic teak and wood that adorned much of the original Mapache. Mapache 2.0 is much lighter than the original Mapache with more living space (but less storage). This time around, we will be doing some racier sailing, we will be anchoring in new places, and we will have a little more room to spread out in our cockpit!
It was a sweaty summer, waiting out hurricane season with the original Mapache in the sleepy village of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle (it’s less sleepy now that the less-humid, less hurricane-y, winter season has started). But we have no complaints about our summer spot, because it’s where we found new solid friends. And it’s where, with those friends, we enjoyed hikes, runs, pool happy hours, secret beaches, pool volleyball, beach cleanups, and so many movie nights.
Still, we are ready to retorno to the sea. It’s time to be surrounded by dolphins, spot whales breaching, cheer for jumping mantas, paddle and snorkel quiet bays, picnic on island beaches, watch pelicans fish, and get lost on goat trails ashore. Vamanos!
We experienced little effects of the passing hurricanes this summer in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. The only hurricane that got close was Roslyn, but we came out with only a few downed trees, manageable flooding, and a tussled sea wall.
Hurricane Rosyln created a powerful surge that lifted boulders off the La Cruz marina’s sea wall onto the malecon.
Rob walking the quiet streets of our summer home, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle.
Sunset on the beach, just outside of our marina in La Cruz.
We participated in weekly beach clean-ups throughout the summer.
Sarah gained a running buddy.
This is Sarah’s favorite stop on her runs — a fresh-coconut-water stand.
We helped represent the La Cruz marina in the “Run for Your Life” 8K through some crocodile habitat to raise money for the local crocodile and wildlife rescue.
We ran a half-marathon with friends along part of the Banderas Bay coast, and Rob received a giant trophy for placing third in his age class in the 10K (out of three..hehe).
We played pool volleyball every Saturday at La Cruz marina’s pool.
We went on breathtaking hikes in Banderas Bay.
View from Monkey Mountain toward Banderas Bay.
Friends showed us the way to secret beaches near La Cruz.
We took a trip into Puerto Vallarta to witness the world’s largest Catrina in honor of Día de Muertos.
We helped build an ofrenda at La Cruz marina for Día de Muertos.
Our summer neighbors became good friends, including Gilligan the Fat Boat Cat.
The locals were always dropping by the apartment we rented for a couple months in La Cruz.
We became regulars at our favorite restaurants and coffee shops in La Cruz. (Ask us for recommendations if you plan to visit.)
We returned to the start — Ensenada.
Before leaving Ensenada, we got to experience some of the Baja 1000.
Here we go again! We will be heading out of Ensenada soon, this time in this cockpit of Mapache 2.0.
A quick tour of Mapache 2.0’s insides. We are still finding places for everything, so excuse the mess.