Hi everybody!  Southern Belle and her crew are currently located in Zihuatanejo Bay.  The town of Zihuatanejo (Z-town) is approximately 120
nautical miles north of Acapulco.  From this point on, things get more and more tropical.  We apologize for the long hiatus between journal
entries.  In Puerto Vallarta we had to replace the hard drive on our computer and this set us back a little, technologically speaking.  But
everything seems to be up and running again so we should be able to keep the site more current.  You can find corresponding pictures by
clicking on the
Photo Album button above (we are trying a new slide show format, so feedback would be appreciated).  And 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.

After many boat projects, we finally said goodbye to La Paz on December 17, 2007.  Sailing in the company of Sweet Lorraine (Dave and Kellie),
we made a straight shot for Banderas Bay and the city of Puerto Vallarta.  Our crossing was a nice mixture of sailing and motor-sailing.  We
even had a nice spinnaker run going for a few hours on the second day at sea.  On the 19th we made it into Banderas Bay just before dark and
dropped our hook at Punta de Mita.  The next day we motored around to La Cruz and set our hook in the anchorage just outside the entrance to
the new Marina.  The crew of Southern Belle set about preparing for the much anticipated visit of Joshua's big brother Justin (Biggie).

Justin arrived on the 22nd and stayed with us for a week.  We sailed out to the Islas Marietas one day to do some snorkeling.  Unfortunately
the water was unseasonably cold this year, but that didn't keep Justin and George from getting in for a swim with the fishes.  We also played
at Punta de Mita, visited downtown Puerto Vallarta, played at the Paradise Village pool, and had an all around great Christmas!  The week went
by too fast and we were sad to say goodbye to Biggie.

After Christmas life returned to what we consider normal.  Days filled with home schooling for Joshua and a myriad of boat chores for
Southern Belle.  Everyday after school, Joshua would count the minutes until he could go play with his buddy Merrick who is the son of our
expatriate friends Leah & Mike.  We did get a chance to take an inland trip one day to the town of San Sebastian high up in the mountains
outside of Puerto Vallarta.  San Sebastian is a quaint old mining town in a beautiful mountain setting.  We had lunch, explored the town, and
then headed back down the mountain so we would not have to drive after dark.  We love Mexico, but the people here are truly dangerous
drivers.  Driving at night is tempting death.  The last fun thing we did in Banderas Bay before heading south was to have a birthday party for
Melinda and Kellie (Sweet Lorraine).  They both share the same birthday, so Dave and George planned a nice Fiesta de Cumpleanos at our friend
Jesus' casa.  Jesus, his wife Lety, and their daughter Ivette did all the cooking and decorating.  We even hired a local group of young men to
play music at the fiesta.  The band turned out to be extremely talented.  We also bought a couple of super hero pinatas and taped pictures of
George and David's faces to the Pinata heads.  About 30 of our cruising friends showed up for the party and some of Jesus' family also came.  
A great time was had by all, although Dave and George were a little shocked at how ferociously the girls attacked those pinatas with the boys
faces on them.

On January 15, 2008, Southern Belle and Sweet Lorraine headed south around Cabo Corrientes (the southern end of Banderas Bay) and made
our way to Bahia Tenacatitta.  We spent January 16th through February 6th in Tenacatitta and Barre de Navidad which are only approximately
5 nautical miles apart.  We met other kid boats in this area and Joshua had a great time playing with as many as 8 other boys his own age.  One
boat in particular is also heading south, s/v Ketching Up with Noel and Ashley and their three boys Griffen, Wills, and Cooper onboard.  We
hope to meet up with them again sometime in the near future.  Barre de Navidad is such a great spot that it is hard to leave.  It has a very
well protected lagoon where boats can anchor.  It was so secure that we (Southern Belle and Sweet Lorraine) left our boats at anchor for
three days, rented a car, and drove to Guadalajara for a visit.  Old town Gudalajara is beautiful and filled with historic buildings, museums,
and nice art galleries.  While there, we visited the largest Mercado we have ever seen, took a horse and buggie tour around town, and went to
Mariachi Square which is reported to be the birthplace of Mariachi music.  We had a 10 piece Mariachi band play a song for us.  They were very
talented, plus they have cool pants.  We stayed in old town at two different hotels.  The first one was in an old mansion residence that had
been converted and the second one was a little more modern with bigger rooms.  Both were very nice and reasonably priced.  On the drive back
to Barre de Navidad we were reminded why there are so many crosses along the roads in Mexico.  The local truck drivers think nothing about
passing on blind uphill curves.  Gotta stay on your toes at all times in old Mexico.

Southern Belle and Sweet Lorraine left Barre and headed South to Santiago Bay.  We spent a few days here doing boat chores and
provisioning.  On February 10th we, in the company of Sweet Lorraine and Sailsoon (John and Bridgette) headed south for a straight shot to
Zihuatanejo.  We had a very calm passage to Z-town with a little sailing and a lot of motoring.  We made it to Zihuatanejo just in time to
start celebrating Dave's 49th birthday.  The birthday celebration lasted about a week and has become known as the 49th Annual Dave-Fest!  
Dave-Fest activities included snorkeling at Playa Gato, Bocci Ball on the beach, volleyball at Playa La Ropa, dinners out, music at Rick's Bar,
and attending the Lucha Libre Mexican wrestling exhibition.  The Lucha Libre thing was absolutely hilarious!  Joshua, Dave, and George all
bought wrestling masks and really got into the show.  At one point, before the first bout, George and Dave climbed into the ring and hammed it
up a little before the security guards booted them off the stage.  

Z-town is a gorgeous place to visit and the weather this year has been picture perfect!  However, it is now time for Southern Belle to
continue south.  Our goal is to make Ecuador by the first of June.  This is a sad parting because Sweet Lorraine, our best sailing buddies, are
heading back north toward the Sea of Cortez.  We will definitely miss our buds, but our paths will cross again in the future.  As Dave would
say....  Shake & Bake!

Until our next installment we wish you all a fair breeze and following seas!
Jungle River Tour in Tenacatitta
La Paz to Zihuatanejo