We made the overnight coastal passage south from Mazatlan to Puerto Vallarta timing our arrival for Sunday, Feb. 21. Long-time friends and fellow sailors Bill and Nina were flying down from Portland, scheduled to arrive later in that same day. We’d been looking forward to their visit for weeks; not only because they were bringing with them some kit we’d requested, but also because they’re two of the most enjoyable people to spend time with that we know. They had booked a room in one of the hotels overlooking Marina Vallarta, so that’s where we put Velic for the duration of our stay here in P.V. Marina Vallarta is also a convenient location from which to begin our voyage to the Marquesas.
We put our visitors to work, of course: Bill and Randy got the engine realigned (a maintenance item: engines shift fractionally on their mounts over time as they run & vibrate). They also completed a static tune-up for the standing rig. Nina and I scoped out Costco, completed some errands, and generally caught up with each other’s lives. The four of us also did some sight-seeing. No visit to central Puerto Vallarta can miss the cathedral or the malecon – the paved pedestrian boulevard on the waterfront.
The Cuale River cuts through older Puerto Vallarta, flowing into Banderas Bay. An island in the center of the river contains several restaurants, street vendor stalls, and, at its upper end, a shady park surrounding a cultural and arts center. Suspension bridges over the Cuale give pedestrian access to the island.
On one of the days Bill and Nina were here, we took Velic out for a day trip across the bay to a village called Yelapa. Yelapa is part of a land-grant made in the sixteenth century by Philip II to a tribe of indigenous people. Although the village has grown a lot recently, it still belongs to the tribe, who own all the land collectively. Located in a small, picturesque cove, it’s become a popular destination for tourist boats out of Puerto Vallarta, who bring dozens of tourists to play on the beach and eat at the restaurants for the day. This provides substantial income to the locals, who are happy to have the tourists come by boat. Remarkably, the community voted recently to reject construction of a road into Yelapa; they wanted to preserve as much of the uniqueness of their village as they could. However, they did accept electricity (2011) and we saw at least one cellular tower. The streets remain narrow and unpaved, however, and water is delivered to the houses via rooftop cisterns. There is a small population of expatriates living in Yelapa as well.
After a much-too-short week, we said goodbye to Nina and Bill. They flew back to Portland, and we went back to Velic and departure preparations.
As of today, we are planning to leave on Saturday, assuming the side curtains we are having made for the boat’s sun awning are finished, and that we can schedule & complete all of the necessary departure clearances with various officials by then. We may end up hiring an agent to help with this, just for expediency’s sake.
NOTE: We have heard that internet connections in the Marquesas can be “iffy.” We’ll try to update this blog after we arrive, but are not sure when after actual arrival that may be possible.