Nikk and I are back on Balance in the Marina Riviera Nayarit, after living in a house here in La Cruz for four months, and taking care of two cats and too many plants in pots. We do miss the air conditioning, here in La Cruz in October the sun is still high in the sky, and the temperatures in the afternoon, when the sun beats down most mercilessly, are in the low nineties but feel like one hundred degrees. I’m writing this in the air conditioned marina lounge, where all the cruisers without air conditioning, like us, hang out in the afternoon to read, work, chat, and sleep. Yesterday at five I tried another way to cool off and met a friend to take a dip in the bay at the little beach right here by the marina. We waded into 95-degree water, with two or three foot swells that lifted us right off the sandy/rocky bottom. The wave action stirred up the sand so much that we couldn’t see our feet on the bottom, but when we swam around with our masks and snorkels we were immersed in swirling gold mica flecks from the sand.
It seems like the monsoonal weather is now over, the last big storm was about two weeks ago. While we walked to dinner the air was sizzling, right before the simultaneous crack and boom of the lightning and thunder, then the skies cut loose with a downpour. The open-air restaurant was soon flooded, luckily the palapa roof of thatch kept the water off our heads, so we ate with our feet propped up away from the inch of water on the floor, and watched the beauty of the storm.
Here are some pictures of the monsoon in September.
Even though La Cruz didn’t get any huge thunderstorms like they had three years ago when it rained 30 inches in five days, all that water picked up a lot of debris; trees, branches, fence posts with barbed wire, and a lot of plastic and styrofoam, which then flowed out into the bay and washed up on the beaches. Some of us here at the marina picked up bags of plastic litter on the beach one morning, to prevent it from going back into the water. The pool at the house would overflow all over the deck from all the rain, and unfortunately, even though the house was only five years old, the ceiling would leak. The worst leak was right over the stove.
One day at the house I kept hearing a strange sound, almost like a tap tap tapping. No, it wasn’t a raven (think Edgar Allen Poe here), finally I found the source, a Yellow Warbler attacking its reflection in the kitchen window. The strange thing was that it was a female, the males have orange streaks on their breasts, and it had no streaks. She persisted for several hours, and a Golden-Cheeked Woodpecker came by to watch her for a while, maybe it was thinking she was pecking at a meal of tasty grubs?
For birdwatching news, besides the Yellow Warbler, we’ve seen a Blue-black Grassquit, immature Grey Hawk, Golden Vireo, and a flock of Black-throated Magpie Jays. Even though we’ve seen these jays many times, it’s hard to believe that they can fly with their two-foot long tails.
Now that the clouds have given way to sunny days, we have taken two sailing trips out to the Tres Mariettas, islands at the mouth of the Bay of Banderas near Punta de Mita. On the first trip we were joined by a fabulous group of Estonian women, one woman, Crystal, lives here, and the others came on vacation. At one spot where we anchored, it’s possible to snorkel over to the rocky shore, watch the wildly-colored fish in the rocks, then swim underneath a rocky opening and into a hidden beach. Nikk took Sophie, who was six years old, in through the opening in our kayak, she laid prone in the kayak, and Nikk pushed her through. She was really brave! The Estonian women were such delightful companions.
Every week for the past five weeks I’ve been meeting with two boys, ages 11 and 8, and their mother, and doing chemistry. They live on a boat and are home-schooled, and are so excited to do chemistry. We’ve done bottle rockets, made indicators and tested acids and bases, dissolved pennies in hydrochloric acid, made hydrogen gas and exploded it, dipped a dollar bill in rubbing alcohol, lit it, and saw it survive, cleaned tarnished silver with a hot solution of baking soda in a pan with aluminum foil, and much more. Alison has been trading Reiki treatments for my back and shoulders, so I’ve been getting tuned up and unloosened.
Now we’re getting the boat ready for another journey. Next week will be time for a trip to Costco and some local stores, storing provisions and water, then celebrating Halloween here at the marina, and two Days of the Dead Nov. 1 and 2, the first day for departed children, the second for departed adults. Many of the restaurants here will have altars for displaying pictures of departed loved ones. One restaurant here, Anna Banana’s, has bags of cremated ashes of the former patrons hanging from the ceiling. A bit of a shock when we were first here and found out what the bags were. We are going to do two or three short trips to locations here in the Bay of Banderas, then head south for a couple of months. We’ll be anchoring at some remote beaches, exploring, and winding up at Barra de Navidad where we’ll be joined by Rob and Stephi on Red Witch II. They have been up in the Sea of Cortez all summer and I am really looking forward to seeing them again. And at the end of December I fly to Portland to spend January helping Deva with the boys and the new baby girl, who is due Dec. 14. For now, we’re enjoying the music and food of La Cruz, and hanging out with our friends here until we again sail away.