Log Books






Cruising Life

Press Clippings


Cruising Tech


Cruising Plans











December in Puerto Vallarta

Jan & Signe in Puerto Vallarta (22K)Well, it sure beats December in Tacoma or just about any place else I can think of, except maybe the Caribbean. It is a very satisfying feeling to hear rumors of snow back home and blizzards in the Midwest as we sit on the beach with a good book. Not to rub it in, but we’re having a great time here!

We had one small bit of bureaucratic excitement as we tried to leave Mazatlan. We must check in and out with every Capitan de Puerto as we travel, but this time there was another boat named Raven with two people aboard leaving the same marina on the same day. The port captain can be forgiven for being confused about that, but the result is that the other boat got their papers, and we didn’t. We were delayed a day, but in the big scheme of things, it was amusing, not tragic, and hey, we’re mellow! Since we are following the same course as the other boat, we have now become ‘Raven Gig Harbor’ and they are ‘Raven Alameda’.

Fish camp at Isla Isabela (62K)Frigate birds at Isla Isabela (61K)The trip from Mazatlan to Puerto Vallarta is about 200 miles. We motored one long day to get to Isla Isabela, a national wildlife preserve famous for its frigate birds and blue-footed boobies. The frigates were so numerous and tame that they barely noticed as we walked past. Many of the males were in full mating plumage, with enlarged red neck pouches. Well, whatever turns female frigate birds on, I guess. There was also excellent snorkeling and whale watching. Could these be the same humpback whales that we knew in Alaska?

On south to a small harbor called Chacala, which seemed to be a Mexican holiday spot in a jungly cove. After the dry areas of Baja and Mazatlan, it was a real treat to see so many palms and fruit trees growing on the hillsides. We were sorry that we couldn’t stay longer. Perhaps on our trip back north we can spend some time at all these places.

Jan's bonito (62K)At sea we put out the fishing tackle again to see what would happen. As Jan says: ten minutes to rig the rod, ten minutes to catch the fish, ten minutes to bring him in, and an hour to clean the fish and the boat. By this time, Jan has discovered that fish cleaning in the nude minimizes the mess. It also makes him extra attentive with the knife (fortunately, the photos didn’t get past the censors). When we got into PV we invited friends to share our catch, a beautiful 12-lb. bonito, thinking it would be a real treat. I should have suspected something when the recipe book said, “If you have been at sea for a long time and have run out of fresh food, even bonito will taste good.” Well, that’s what we caught, Love these beach parties! (33K)and it was awful! How embarrassing. We all had a good laugh and just increased the level of margaritas and hors d’ouevres.

We arrived in Puerto Vallarta on December 2nd and are staying at the aptly-named Paradise Village Marina. There are people who sailed in two years ago, with ambitions to sail around the world, and have never left. We have access to all the hotel amenities: three Tiger cub in Paradise Village (14K)pools, huge beach, restaurants, shops, a small zoo (with tigers and their cubs), and (tah-dah) a SPA! We are not suffering at all, but are determined not to be among The Ones Who Never Left. We are a half-hour bus or taxi ride from downtown Puerto Vallarta, but it’s an easy trip and keeps us out of the hustle and bustle of the town. Many people have their boats decorated for Christmas with lights, small trees and one boat even has a singing Santa on the bow.

Signe & Patty - post-margaritas (32K)Our good friend Patty Ecklebe stayed with us for a few days and joined in the Mexican fun. Procession and bells in Puerto Vallarta (638K)One night we went in town to watch the procession to the cathedral commemorating the appearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Procession and bells in Puerto Vallarta (638K) Every night from December 1st to the 12th there is a huge candlelight procession of the faithful down the streets of town. There are thousands of participants and thousands of families watching — quite an awe-inspiring sight. Christmas doesn’t seem to be such an extravaganza, but more a time for families to be together. We are seeing lots of gatherings on the beach of grandparents, parents and children all eating, drinking and Patty Ecklebe with Jan & Signe in PV (31K)having a great time. Gifts are given to the children on January 6th, Three Kings Day. The town is full of piñatas, and I was itching to buy one but couldn’t figure a way to get it into the overhead bin.

We are now in Tacoma to spend Christmas with Jan’s Mom, and to see friends, then down to San Francisco to see Paul, Michelle and their new puppy, Cabo. After being away from all the holiday frenzy and stress of life here, we can’t say we’re in a huge rush to get back to it. Back on Raven, it’s mornings doing projects, followed by lunch on the beach, a book and a nap, and drinks and dinner with friends. Not a bad schedule, and we’re going to stick with it until we get bored. Then there is always exploring, fishing, sailing, and maybe even doing some of the many creative projects I brought along and haven’t touched. Life is good. We hope this Christmas season finds you with those you love doing a bit of relaxing in whatever way you do best.

Feliz Navidad y Prospero Anno Nuevo!

With love to all of you,

Signe and Jan

Previous log    Next log


                                                                              Home | Log Books | Photos | Videos | Raven | Crew

                                                                          Cruising Life | Press Clippings | ChartsCruising Tech | FAQ