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Dec 8-9: Passage from Isla Isabela to Puerto Vallarta, easy overnight sail and finding a home for Wanderlust for the next month

We left Isla Isabela just before sunset and headed south for the Bay of Banderas, home to Puerto Vallarta! It was the last section of a trip we started two months prior. Hard to believe it has just been sixty-some days since we cast off from Loch Lomond.

With full stomachs and good moods all around, we had one of our most peaceful overnight passages. It was super easy, with gentle seas, light winds, and hullspeeds mostly around 6 knots. I was so in the zone, I accidentally stayed up for half of Sean's watch. Whoops.

Mountains behind PV come into view


Sara relaxes after her watch

Sara had the last watch, sighting the regional mountains at dawn and bringing us into the bay as the sun rose. We were all awake and excited! Finally here!

The tide was flowing out against the wind, and we had a splashy choppy entrance. We were following a ketch in, running without sails, and he powered away from us fast. He must have been moving at 8-9 knots! Crazy.

Will dodging whales


Condos in La Cruz

We spotted a few plumes from whales, and before we could wake Sara from her early-watch-recovery nap, we were treated to the sight of a magnificent whale's tail raised high above the water. It was like a postcard, and although we scoured the horizon for the whales after that, we didn't get a second sighting.

We dropped the hook in La Cruz, just inside Banderas Bay, and had some breakfast and beer to celebrate. Our high-power antenna was picking up a signal, so we surfed and used our cellphones and desperately tried to secure a slip for the boat. We hadn't had any success before arriving, and given our last-minute slip-finding-charm, we just had given up.

I used every weasely fiber in my body, channeling every slimy salesperson tactic, to secure us a slip. We found one for $1000 in PV - at least $300 of that being profit for the person who answered the phone, I'm sure - and kept looking. We finally convinced Juan Estrada at Marina Nuevo Vallarta that he should host us. We immediately hauled up the anchor and set sail.

On the way from La Cruz to Nuevo Vallarta we passed by Bucerias, where we will be married in just nine days! Neither of us had been there before, but we had been looking at so many satellite maps and pictures we could find our beach house from a mile off the beach.

Sara guides us into port


Can't beat a $3 dinner

We stayed tied to the concrete pier that first night, which was exciting, given the amount we were moving back/forth and up/down with the tide! We had to climb up four feet to the dock when we first arrived, and we were level just a few hours later.

We went into town, had dinner and explored. PV is awesome.

That poor abused rental


Sean moves off Wanderlust

The next day we took a bus to the airport and rented a car. It was an experience! Ten rental companies, Avis, Hertz, Eurocar, Alamo, National, etc, were all in little booths in a row. Each one had some reason they couldn't just tell you the price, but it was fun to run up and down the aisle haggling. We got a station wagon for $36/day. Nice!

I love rental cars. They exist to be abused, and renting one is an intricate dance. Agree on the price. Great. Any extra drivers? Oh, that'll cost extra. You want insurance? Hey, trust me, you want insurance. Yeah, that's more. Uh, how about insurance from other drivers? Insurance from uninsured drivers? Insurance from other insurance companies? Oh, plus there's some tax. Car tax. Airport tax. Government tax. It's NEVER the price you initially agree on.

After that we headed back to the marina, where Sean finished packing and moved off the boat. It was sad; he's been with us for more than two months now, and we've been hanging out literally every waking hour of every day. His family is spending Christmas and New Years in PV and they have a place rented downtown for the whole month, so it just made sense for him to split while Sara and I got crazy with wedding stuff.

Well, we made it. We got to PV. We found Wanderlust a home for the rest of December. We didn't miss the meeting with the wedding planner! Only nine more days before the wedding! Woohoo!

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