Sunday, April 25, 2010

Shawn’s Visit (April 6-14)

Yelapa marine iguana

Although any visit would have been too short as a “visit” falls short of living the life, this was a wonderful birthday reunion and celebration based all over Banderas Bay. It was filled with a little bit of almost everything: sailing friends, lee shore anchorages, sailing off of anchor, bioluminescence, downwind sailing across the bay, sailing onto anchor in the dark, motoring in flat calm, surfing, hiking to and swimming in freshwater waterfalls, surfing, HAM radio contacts, weather, sailing, time together alone, beating up wind, cooking underway while sailing upwind, sailing onto anchor at sunset, surfing more, wishing for flopper-stopper, visiting over pineapple boats and tea, project lists, taxes, surfing, bus rides, group meals. It was everything Shawn could have hoped for (since being in two places at once isn’t an option); we managed to pack it in and relax as well. The only bummer was that it came to an end. Rest assured; we’re working on that part!

The nitty gritty of it was as follows: The anchorage at La Cruz was rockin-and-rollin’ when Chris returned from the airport with Shawn; 20-knot afternoon breezes had turned the anchorage into a lee shore. Rocky held well, the winds abated as the sun lowered, and we ventured to shore for a street side dinner with crews from Pisces and Estrella. They all lured Shawn back to Pisces for a surprise birthday cake- two years and running, thank you Julia!!!!

The 7th was Shawn’s birthday proper and half the day was spent just figuring out how we wanted to structure this quick visit. Shawn wanted to sail. First, however, a trip to Mega for more groceries was required, and then more time on Pisces in the marina as they were wed to the dock in the final throes of preparation for their journey across the Pacific to Hawaii. This was bittersweet, as in our original plans we would have been preparing as well… We sailed off anchor around 1730 and tacked upwind for 4.5-hrs to Punta de Mita, where Chris had spent most of his time for the past couple weeks. His sailing abilities have sharpened through singlehanding and together we confidently set anchor at this known anchorage in the dark, what would have previously been nerve-wracking was simple and smooth.

The next morning we reassessed our plans, from our anchored position in Punta de Mita. Of course Shawn wanted to do EVERYTHING in only a few short days. The swell was not up, but the winds were, so we decided to head south across the bay to Quimixto, a tiny jungle town accessible only by boat. Very island-like, as we approached, the bottom profile was drastic, very deep (beyond the depth sounder) and then all of a sudden very shallow (40, 30, 20, ready about!). After sailing around testing for depths, we chose to anchor directly off the surf break on a spit of shallow area, likely created by the river spilling into the sea, and practically had the bay to ourselves in the furthest point south that Tao has visited.

Quimixto is a tourist destination for Mexicans from Puerto Vallarta brought in by motorboat and taken up the drainages on horseback to a beautiful waterfall. We spent the following day hiking up the freshwater river into the jungle, avoiding the crowds by hiking directly up the river and finding our own beautiful swimming hole along the way. We quickly bypassed the built-up waterfall that tourists dined next to and continued to hike another mile or so up the river to the next totally deserted and stunningly beautiful waterfall. We chose the quick route down along the horseback trail and once back at the ocean, Chris got his shortboard out and surfed the "left" that Quimixto is known for, small now but still well formed.

The morning dawned without wind, and Chris paddled out for an early surf. After breakfast, we motored a couple miles west to Yelapa, a quaint pueblito built into the steep, jungle hillside now a teeming Puerto Vallarta tourist destination, known for its tranquility, snorkeling, and parasailing. We anchored once the depths became attainable (which was uncomfortably close to shore), hopped in Eeyore, and rowed to the beach. Just a quick stop, we had a nice lunch and then a walk around the beautiful and flowering town.

Back on Tao, we were off to sail back to Punta de Mita and meet up with Chris’ Canyons family member Lisa, “Whizzy” visiting for surf-safari-number-2. A beautiful upwind sail, we managed to come quite close to Las Islas Marietas, a hoped for snorkel spot over the next few days, and sailed on into the anchorage on nice winds just as the sun set behind the point.

April 11th we finally connected with Whiz, had a Mexican lunch, introduced her to Tao, and then got a small surf session in just off the beach to the port of Tao. We made plans to sail out and snorkel at the islands the next morning, but we awoke to no winds and changed our plans. Instead, we had a fantastic surf session just east of the anchorage at “La Lancha” in which Rachael, Lisa, and Shawn surfed the nice soft shoulders with their bigger boards and the more hardcore Eric and Chris searched for the faster steeper waves on their little potato chips. Shawn’s final full day started by sharing pineapple and tea on Nanu, followed by an epic surf session outside the Punta de Mita point at “the Cove”.

The day was capped off by a bus journey to La Cruz for a very fun TEAM YOUNG group dinner enjoyed by five fun young cruising couples (Pisces, Caramelo, Estrella, Nanu, and Tao). And all of a sudden it was the day Shawn had to fly back to the States, ahhhhh, nooooo! Unfortunately, we spent the morning finishing our taxes and finding a place to print them, but smoothies with Whiz at Debo’s Café made it nearly bearable. And then Chris and Shawn were on a bus back to Puerto Vallarta. Too short, but Shawn was reinvigorated by the visit and is very excited to get back to the boat as soon as possible.

Although overall the quick trip was indeed dreamy, in reality, it was also a difficult transition. Time has moved forward for both of us and we have basically been apart for almost a year. Shawn realized that she was just a visitor into Chris’ current life, which was rough for her. The visit instigated processing. What does our joint future hold? Of course that is unanswerable, but the silver lining is that it allowed us to realize that time apart has been good. It has provided us with perspective on what wasn’t necessarily working with our relationship before. Now that those things are illuminated, we have the opportunity to continue forward with our relationship aware of those pitfalls- simultaneously allowing and forcing us to walk a different, even healthier path. We will get back together in a month, get reacquainted with our lives together, and work toward a much improved relationship.

1 comment:

  1. We LOVED having you down here, even though your visit was TOO SHORT! We are super excited that the crew of Tao will be reuniting soon....
    j & j