Bahia de Navidad to La Paz
In this installment we will take you all the way from Bahia de Navidad up around Cabo Corrientes and into Banderas Bay.  Then we
will continue north to Mazatlan, and finally across the Sea of Cortez and back into La Paz.  This is a large chunk of travel so we'll  
try not to bore you by being too wordy.  Instead we'll just hit the highlights and let the pictures say the rest.  You can find
corresponding pictures by clicking on the
Photo Album button above.  Remember, you can always look at our previous ramblings by
clicking on the archived Journal Entries above and the corresponding archived Photo Albums on the
Photo Album page.

We departed Bahia de Navidad and travelled the gruelling 7 nautical miles to Tennacatita.  OK, so it wasn't that gruelling.  But we
had to leave the French Baker behind, and that was tough!  We spent a lovely day playing in the water in Tenacatita.  We met the
crews of the sailing vessels
La Solana from Dana Point, California and Cairimghorum from British Columbia.  La Solana had Mason, 8
years old, and Michael, 12 years old, onboard.  And
Carimghorum had Bowen, 5 years old, Tyler, 12 years old, and Charlene, 13 years
old, onboard.  All the boys converged on
Southern Belle and had a rousing play session with Joshua.  It became so rousing that we
tossed them all into the water and had a contest to see if they could all ride the inflatable alligator at one time (see the pictures).

The next day we all headed north to the lovely Chamela Bay area.  The passage was quite rolly and rough.  It was the first time in
months that Joshua felt a little sea sick.  We were happy to make the anchorage and get out of the rough stuff.  The group (La
Solana, Carimghorum, and Southern Belle) decided to spend an extra day in Chamela Bay to let the weather conditions calm down
before heading north to cross around the dreaded Cabo Corrientes.  The big south swell was still running and it made the shore
landing quite challenging.  We opted to take our kayak ashore so we did not have to worry about overturning the dinghy with the
outboard motor attached.  We almost made it, but at the last second a big wave flipped us over.  Oh Well, wet pesos spend just as
easily as dry pesos.  The crew of
La Solana almost got creamed by a wave, and the crew of Carimghorum did get creamed by a big
wave.  Their dinghy flipped over with the motor still running.  It was quite scary looking.  A little wet but all relatively safe and
sound, we commandeered a table at the palapa restaurant and had beers and lunch while the kids played in the surf and frolicked on
the beach.

We left Chamela Bay at 1600 hours so that our crossing around Cabo Corrientes would take place during the wee hours of the
morning, when it is usually at its calmest.  We were glad we waited the extra day because the conditions had calmed drastically.  A
group of boats that left Chamela the day before us reported that they got pasted by strong head winds and big seas as they rounded
Cabo Corrientes.  We found it to be relatively calm.  What a difference a day can make.  By sunrise we had rounded Cabo Corrientes
and were in Banderas Bay proper.  Since it was very calm we decided to stop into the quaint little village of Yelapa which is on the
southern side of Banderas Bay.  Yelapa is a beautiful little village with marginal holding ground for anchoring.  Melinda and Joshua
took a hike up to a picturesque waterfall and explored the village.  By the afternoon the town is full of tourists that come from
Puerto Vallarta via pangas, and the wind begins to blow right into the anchorage.  We decided to raise our anchor and head across
the bay to La Cruz so we could meet up with our buds, Dave & Kelli aboard
Sweet Lorraine.

We spent a little over a week anchored in La Cruz.  During that time we had dinner with one of the local panga operators (Jesus
and his family), reprovisioned, spent a day swimming at the pools in Paradise Village, and enjoying Easter Day with our friends Mike
and Leah.  The dinner with Jesus and his family was a great experience.  Dave and Kelli were instrumental in setting up this
wonderful evening.  Amazingly, this is the first time in all of our cruising that we have really interacted with the local folks.  We
find ourselves at all times surrounded by US & Canadian citizens and never get a chance to hob-nob with the local Mexicans.  Jesus
and his wife Letty treated us to a wonderful meal of home made Chili Rellenos.  Their son, Jesus Jr., and Joshua hit it off big
time.  They rode bicycles around for hours while we talked with the adults.  Jesus had a little English, and we all had a little
Spanish so we all managed to converse.  Mike, Leah, and their son Merrick had all of us (Southern Belle, Sweet Lorraine, La Solana,
and Carimghorum) over for a nice party on Easter Sunday.  They had decorated a plethora of easter eggs and we had a fantastic
easter egg hunt.  Some of their local friends were also in attendance with their kids so it was a great experience for Joshua.  
After egg hunting, the party turned into a water balloon fight.  The fun went on and on.  On the Tuesday after Easter, Southern
Belle and Sweet Lorraine raised anchor and began the journey north to Mazatlan.

The first night we stayed in Punta de Mita which is still inside Banderas Bay.  The next day we forged ahead and made it all the
way to Mantachen Bay near the town of San Blas.  We tried to enter the estuary but the large south swell had the entrance closed
out by breaking waves.  Mantachen Bay is huge and shallow.  There was only one other boat there besides
Sweet Lorraine and
Southern Belle.  On the way into the bay we spotted a couple of large Whale Sharks feeding on krill along a temperature/salinity
inversion zone where the sea water mixed with the bay water.  These guys were huge!  At least 20 to 30 feet long!  The first one
dove as we came close to it, but the second one just kept feeding and allowed us to come pretty close.  We were able to get some
pretty good pictures of this one.  We had dinner aboard Sweet Lorraine that night.  When we left to paddle our dinghy back to
Southern Belle it was pitch black outside.  We took off on a heading that we thought would take us to Southern Belle.  About 50
feet from Sweet Lorraine we decided it would be prudent to have Dave shine his spotlight.  Good thing, because we were heading
directly away from Southern Belle!

The next day we all took off for the overnight passage to Mazatlan.  The passage was pleasant.  The only hitch was when we picked
up a chunk of polypropylene line on our port propeller.  We made the remainder of the passage with only the starboard engine which
worked out just fine.  We made Mazatlan the next morning and went into Marina Mazatlan.  Our stay in Mazatlan was filled mostly
with boat maintenance chores and provisioning for the trip across the Sea of Cortez to La Paz (what the cruisers refer to as the
Southern Crossing).  We were able to get in a little play time.  Joshua made friends with Charlie, 9 years old, from the S/V Red
Witch.  Charlie and his parents, Brenda and Bo, ultimately headed west to Hawaii.  Our friends aboard Calou came back to Mazatlan
while we were there so Joshua got to play with his pals Antoine and Francois at the ultra-cool Marina El Cid swimming pool.

After a week or so in Mazatlan,
Southern Belle and Sweet Lorraine headed out to make the Southern Crossing to La Paz.  The first
day out was a little sloppy and we just lazed about the boat the entire day.  We ultimately headed further south than we had
planned just to make the ride a little more comfortable.  The next day was much nicer!  Not much wind for sailing, but the seas
were more friendly.  We arrived at Bahia de los Muertos that afternoon along with our friends aboard Sweet Lorraine.  We all
treated ourselves to a nice dinner at the Giggling Marlin Restaurant.  It was delicious!  Muertos was so nice we stayed an extra
day just to relax and take it easy.

We left Muertos early in the AM and headed north through the Cerralvo Channel.  We then made a left and transited the Lorenzo
Channel.  We fished the entire way but only caught one Pacific Bonito which isn't good for much of anything.  We made it to La Paz
by early afternoon and headed to the anchorage area in the downtown bay.  Back in La Paz!  Pretty exciting because we love La Paz,
and it marks the beginning of our exploration into the northern reaches of the Sea of Cortez.  We will be here for a week doing
some boat maintenance and provisioning.  We will also have some fun, because Cinco de Mayo is upon us and the town will be
celebrating.  And let's not forget that Joshua can do some skate boarding and trampolining.

We hope this installment finds you all healthy and happy!  Until next time we wish you all a fresh breeze and following seas!