Leaving Mexico, Costa Rica Here We Come! The Challenges of the Pacific Heading Southeast…#34

To say we were excited is an understatement….

It is finally time for our trip south, We planned to be in Costa Rica by late November.


During the month of October Dan and I started our planning. We had to clearly understand our stops/marinas/anchorage and work to make reservations in the marinas we had identified. We also knew we needed some help for our long voyages. Dan and I figured we could go as far as Huatulco or Puerto Chiapas Mexico by ourselves. But the jump to Costa Rica was a big voyage and we needed someone to join us. Dan and I put out an email to our friends asking if anyone was interested. We got a hit from our Yacht Club friends Loren and Stephanie Hamberg. We were excited and started planning the timing & dates to pick them up in Huatulco. This helped us outline the stops and timing for our trip down the coast. We needed to be in Huatulco by 22nd of November.

On 29th of October we left Paradise Village Marina. On our way out we stopped at Marina Vallarta to fuel up and then planned our first destination, a close and fun one.

Destination #1 Banderas Bay, Playa Gemelas, 7nm, 3 hours, @ 8kts from Paradise Village Marina – This location is in front of our friends, Jane and Tony condo. We had taken Angelique to this location a month ago for a day trip, this time we were going to spend the night. It was an easy cruise across the bay. After dropping anchor we swam into shore to visit and spent the day on the beach We also were able to see the completion of their condo remodel. We had a great day, we will miss seeing them.  We stay 1 night in this bay.

Destination # 2 Bahia de Chemala, Perula cove, 93nm, 11 hours, @ 8kts from Banderas Bay – A full day of cruising then anchored in a cove where we had some of our sailing friends Andrea & Ben on SV Bella Vie and Vicky and Mike on SV Bonzer. The bay was only partly protected from the waves/wind and we ended up putting out our stern anchor. This helps keep the boat pointed into the waves and prevents the wind from pushing us sideways, which is very uncomfortable position for the boat. Had a wonderful dinner on shore the last night with all of our friends with great food, margaritas and company. We stayed 2 nights.

Destination #3 Barra de Navidad Marina, 40nm, 5 hours, @ 8kts from Bahia Perula – Just a short cruise to the cute Marina & town. We were in a resort with pools and restaurants. We always enjoy ourselves when the marina is part of a resort and we get to enjoy some of the resort amenities. Took a water taxi over to town multiple times, had some great meals and saw some of the Día de Muertos “Day of the Dead”where they honor their friends and relatives who have passed. We also ran into a Columbia River Yacht club member Tom Nesbit while we were there. Found the hidden pool in the resort which is impossible to find, Don’t tell anyone!  We stayed 5 nights.

Destination #4 Ixtapa Marina, 211 nm, 27 hours @ 8kts from Barra de Navidad – We had a full 1 day run to Ixtapa. Many times we see dolphins at our bow or in the wake behind us, today was no exception. We had to anchor out at Ixtapa Island for a few hours before heading in the marina because they had a working  dredge in the channel. We arrived around noon to this very quiet & calm marina. Not much happening near here, so we took a shuttle bus (14 pesos = .70) ride to Zihuatanejo. We had lunch and met up with our friends from SV Belle Vie again. They were having drinks and chatting with some folks that were staying in a condo up on the hill. We got invited to go swimming at the condo the next day. The view was amazing and we had a blast! We also did a scuba diving adventure at some of the Ixtapa Islands with Dive Zihua which was fun. Dan had to do a repair while we were here, the heat exchanger for the power steering hydraulics was leaking seawater… time for a fix! We stayed 7 nights.

img_3958-rotated.jpgDestination #5 Acapulco Marina, 112nm, 12 hours @ 9.5kts from Ixtapa – Acapulco isn’t the best city to stay in with all the gang violence.  You can read about shootings, gang violence and the struggle the law enforcement is having to keep control. We decided to not venture out much and use this as a resting spot and get provisions. Grocery store across the street was fabulous. Nice fresh veggies and full of all kinds of good food. Dan also had another repair needed to the generator raw water pump. We did do one taxi ride to the cliff divers and dinner at a hotel. What a great treat this was. Their were about 10 or 12 divers, they jump in off one side and swim across the gulch and climb up the rock face on the other side to their jump off spot. They have to time their jump perfectly with the incoming tide. The depth is only 12-19 feet and at the deepest point and they dive from 135 feet at the highest point.  We stayed 5 nights.

These Pictures show.. jump in, Swim across, climb up and dive in.

Destination #6 Huatulco, 240nm, 29 hours @ 8.2kts from Acapulco – We anchored out in the bay because the marina in this area was closed. This is a holding spot for us to welcome our friends, Loren & Stephanie and wait for the weather window to cross the Tehuantepec bay. If you haven’t heard about the Tehuantepec winds, it is well known for its offshore winds up to 40+ knots.  This is one of the riskiest locations to cross because the land is only 150 miles wide and the winds shoots across the land from the Caribbean sea to the Pacific Ocean. As you can see in the pictures of windy.com below. We stayed 2 nightsimg_4023


Destination #7 Puerto Chiapas (Puerto Madero) 224nm, 23.5Hours, @ 9.5knots, from Huatulco – The recommended route through the Tehuantepec bay is to keep 1 foot on the shore. Meaning travel close to the shore which prevents the winds from hitting you so hard. We had an awesome no wind couple days. With our friends aboard we pulled anchor and were off within an hour. It might not have been the best for our poor guests after their long flight from USA. They are troopers and did a great job with us on this trip. We had a great cruise across the bay with no issues. Our goal was to take some down time once in the marina to allow Loren and Stephanie to get some sleep, adjust to time and weather.  Chiapas was a cute little marina with a restaurant close by and a fuel dock which we stopped at on our way in. We were boarded twice by the Mexican Federales with a narcotics dog, first time at the fuel dock when we arrived and just prior to our exiting the country. They are serious about checking the boats. This is standard procedures for everyone…. don’t go assuming stuff here. We stayed 2 nights here.

Destination #8 Papagayo Costa Rica 480nm, 64hours, 7.5knt from Puerto Chiapas – Our plan is to skip the 4 Central American Countries (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras & Nicaragua) We are purposefully skipping these 4 countries because of the unrest in these countries. Some boats go to one or more of these stops. We just decided that the entry and exit of each country is difficult along with unknown. We decided we wanted to spend our time in Costa Rica & Panama rather than these countries.

Yes, You must find and arrive at the “Capitania de Puerto” office when checking in and out of areas inside country, in addition Immigration and Customs office when arriving and departing from a country!

Our approach for this long voyage was to set up a watch schedule over a 24 hour period. With four crew members we each had 3 hours “on” and 9 hours “off” in a 12 hour period and repeat in the 24 hour time frame. Example: my shift is 3 to 6, so I have 3am to 6am and 3pm to 6pm. I sleep, eat and help out during the off hours. We try and have some food prepared and/or ready to eat. Crackers/cheese, veggies/hummus, hard boiled eggs, snack bars, peanuts, muffins, chips, sandwiches, pasta, guacamole. I try and make an easy dinner if the weather is good. We only had one bad night with very rough seas and we all skipped dinner and ate snacks. Our trip was mostly calm until we hit the Papagayo winds about 80 miles from our Marina. We were warned about this area and it didn’t disappoint us. It was a rough 5 hours until we got around the point of land and it calmed down. We arrived at approx 5am and slowed down until the first light at around 6:00 to be able to pull in to the marina safety. We stayed 7 nights.

BUT we MADE IT SAFELY to COSTA RICA BABY!!  and we were all extremely exhausted! 

WATCH for our next blog on our adventures in “Costa Rica”… #35


Safe from the Hurricanes, REALLY? A Boat Takes a Hit…. #33

Pic from “Sea of Cortez Cruising Guide”

I imagine having your boat in a hurricane would be the worst thing ever! I never want to learn first hand what it is like. All the horrible pictures & stories make us work hard to stay safe and keep our boat Angelique in safe areas. We intentionally made our way to Bahia Banderas, Puerto Vallarta in August to stay in a safe area from the storms. Our plan was to go back to Paradise Village Marina & Resort in Nuevo Vallarta, a suburb of Puerto Vallarta. We picked this area because the history of hurricanes hitting this area is less likely than any other pacific ports. Banderas bay has a unique shape with mountains that help the storms change directions. ??? This Pictures show the history of hurricanes. We knew we didn’t want to be any place close to the Sea of Cortez.

Summer time in Mexico is insane. The heat, humidity and rainstorms are unbearable & uncomfortable, but were amazing to watch. We had been to Paradise Village Marina in winter before going north into the Sea of Cortez. This time it felt different with the heat and humidity, we didn’t have any other choice if we wanted to be safe, so we made the best of it. We spent time doing events with friends and family and keeping ourselves fended off from the rain and lightning storms that came our way. They were a pretty regular event every 5-8 days we had a storm that hit us with pretty intense rain and thunder & lightning.

We had built some great friendships with some of the locals here in Mexico. One of our good friends  is (amigos), Sergio and Briseida, who are the owners of machine shop we used in Opequimar. Briseida and Sergio came over and cooked a homemade dinner on our boat with our friends from SV Belle Vie. Briseida made traditional chili relleno dinner. Andrea and I got lessons on how to make this wonderful dish.  It was Fabuloso!! We also spent time with them on dinners out when we went to the Blue Shrimp restaurant dinner. we had a great time and we treasure our Mexican friendships.

We are also good friends with Jorge Servin of SYS Marine Services and Chandlery shop. We used Jorge for much of our boat repair when our boat was on the hard. We trust his opinion and often would call him for advice about repairs that Dan was working on or where to find parts, even help with stuff in the city and a fishing tour.  He picked the fishing charter we used to go fishing with our friends and family and he came along with us too.  


Our friends Aletha and Terry from Arizona joined us for a week. We enjoyed our time fishing, we didn’t catch anything worth keeping but we all had fun! We also rented a car for the day and went to Punta Mita & Sayulita. We really enjoy Sayulita and recommend it if you are traveling near Puerto Vallarta. It is a easy day trip with lots of fun stuff in town. We enjoyed having our friends on board and able to spend time with them. An interesting point… even our friends from Arizona battled the humidity here in Mexico, It can be really rough.

img_3558Our Son Mitchell came out for a week in late September. We found some fun things to do while he was here. We did a cooking class with @cookinvallarta and would highly recommend this class. It is a 1/2 day event with shopping at the local farmers market and then cooking our meal. The next day we did a walking food tour for dinner. This was all local restaurants in the romantic zone. All the food was excellent. We introduced Mitchell to some of our boating friends in the marina too.


We also spent some time with our friends Jane and Tony who own a condo here in Puerto Vallarta. On one calm day we took Angelique over to the south side of banderas bay and anchored and played in the water and visited their awesome condo facilities and beach. We had a blast. They are doing some remodeling with their condo and it looks amazing. We also did dinners out with them as often as we could. They have been coming for years and had many great spots for us to try. At El Patron de Vallarta restaurant we had an awesome waiter with Rock Bands tattooed all over his body. We enjoyed chatting with him and the food was great, we went twice!

We of course worked on as many boat projects as we could during this time. You can see some of the work in blog Paradise Isn’t Always Wonderful….#31

On the last week in September 2019 a tropical Storm “Narda” hit the state of Jalisco, bring rain that devastated Yelapa and took out a bridge over a local river in Puerto Vallarta. We were hit with only strong winds and rainstorms that lasted a few days. This because we are on the opposite side of the bay from where the storm came in.  We have had many storms over the last few months with severe lightning. AND WHAT about the boat that took a hit?? Our neighboring sailboat was hit by lightning during one of the storms at about 3am. It was an amazingly loud bang. I’m sure inside was even louder. They took a hit to the top of their 80 foot mast. It took out all of the navigational electronics, interior led lighting, the electronic controls for their boats complicated hydraulic system, furling equipment, battery chargers and more…. That was a pretty close hit to home, being that they were right next to us. The pictures below show “Accuweather” of the storm as it progressed passed us. I have a small “X” where we were located. We kept a close eye on all the storm activity as it come close by.

On Tuesday October 29th we finally were ready to leave the safety of Paradise Village and started our long awaited trip south. During our down time we did tons of planning on where to stop and either anchor or a check into a marina. We felt we were ready and we were excited for the trip south. Our next blog will outline the locations we stopped, how many nautical miles, hours and average speed. Of course with an overview of the location we and how well we liked it.

We are always grateful for our experiences, even if we felt like we were sitting and waiting out the storms. We had some great times with many friends and family during our waiting time. We are blessed!

Join us for our next Blog about our southward bound trip…. Leaving Mexico…#34 We are Costa Rica Bound! 

Retire in a House or Cruise in a Yacht, What is the $$ Difference…#32

“How on earth can you afford Cruising from Oregon through the Panama Canal to the East Coast?” 

How much does it cost to cruise with that big boat?”

Answers to these questions….

Everyone has different ideas on what to do with retirement and choices where to spend your money. My husband and I have picked a more unusual way to spend our life and cash then most people. We are spending our retirement on the water in a yacht. (for a few years) It seems like an extravagant choice to make with retirement.

Here is how we make it work….

Majority of people that choose this type of adventure pick a sailboat, which is a much more economical way than our choice of a MV (Motor Vessel). It was an easy decision for us, we have always have had a motor yacht. We just needed to figure out how to put our plan together to make it happen. You can also read a previous article Just Some Sheer Luck …#2 see why we picked our particular 1980 80′ Hatteras yacht.

Here is what we spend…..

  1. Fuel is the most expensive part, but it is what keeps us moving on this adventure. We have 3 large tanks located in the bow, mid-ship, stern, which hold approximately 1800 gallons of diesel fuel. When head out for a new destination we always stop to top them up. This is a costly endeavor. We burn approx 1 gallon a mile and the price varies from $3 a gallon to over $4. We have traveled approximately 4000 miles so far, which calculates to $12,000 in fuel. We can reduce our consumption rate by running at a more economical speed but do have the capability of pushing it hard if a storm or danger is identified. We prefer to cruise around 7 knots which is the most reasonable speed / fuel consumption. Finding fuel is like finding a marina, you google it, ask friends, read cruising guides, blogs, Marina FB pages and or call ahead to the marina and ask. Once found you pull up to the fuel dock and fill similarly to a car with exception of the length of time it takes to actually fill the tanks.
  2. Marina cost is the next highest expense. We PV marinado have a choice here. We could anchor out in a bay and not pay a thing. Which we did most of the time up in the Sea of Cortez. See that story here – Sea of Cortez Anchorages & Marinas, A Nautical Travel Guide… #29. In Mexico we have enjoyed going into marinas/resorts where we can get into town easily. We go out to dinner, grocery shop, meet and visit with neighboring boats, repairs/maintenance and enjoy the beach/resort etc. We can do this all without having to put down our dinghy/tender. We have been warned many times about leaving our dinghy down when anchored at night. Which means we have to put it up and down every day if we want to get to land. img_3192We also feel safer inside the marina. Over the last 16 months of our adventure we have stayed in Marinas approximately 85% of the time. The marinas cost is on a per-foot basis and the bigger you are the more you are charged. The per-foot cost is $.80 to $2.50 per night. That makes it approximately $64 to $200 a night for our 80 foot yacht. In addition to the slip fee, some marinas charge for water and electricity. Mexico electricity is expensive at $.33 per KWH verses USA at  $.10 per KWH. This can all add up if you are running air conditioning during the summer, like we do. We also have inverter, batteries and a generator for electricity. This costs a bit more more due to fuel and generator wear and tear, but we must use when anchored out, which is our only choice. (Topic for another article). We have not had to run AC much at anchor, so only 4-6 hour of generator per day. The rest is off the batteries and inverter.
  3. Food is the third most expensive item. We go to grocery stores and cook aboard as much as possible. Mexican grocery stores are a bit different than American. You can’t always find what you want, so you adjust, sometimes find something better or just go without. img_3132 Some items are impossible to find, without paying a huge import tax. Example; We love crackers and cheese for snacks/appetizers etc. The cracker selection in Mexico is very limited, Ritz or Saltines. A small box of Wheat Thins is approx $7 usd if you can find them. The cost for both groceries and restaurants are less than US. We spend approximately 400 usd a month on dinners out  and groceries.
  4. Boat Mortgage – We don’t have a boat loan. We purchased an old boat and use proceeds from the sale of our big house when we downsized. We still own a small house which we rent out to reduce our cash flow out.
  5. Boat Maintenance – Maintenance and repairs are an ongoing item and if you are thinking about doing this DON’T forget to save or have $$ for this. It is very important piece to the trip. Also bring spare parts with you aboard the boat, which will save lots of expense with import tax & customs. I can’t really put a cost on this because it depends on how old your boat is and what condition it is in. We’ve spent thousands on this on this over the last year. Motor Yacht again cost more than Sailing Yachts because of the additional engine costs. it could be like paying for remodeling.
  6. Other costs – We fly home and to other locations once in a while to see our parents and adult children, who miss us tons.

Overall, our cost is similar to being at home, we don’t have a house payment but have fuel and rent for marinas which add to about the same. Food in Mexico is cheaper and more interesting. We are retired but still do a small amount of consulting with our business, Ennlovation LLC.

If this is something you are thinking about, reach out to us. We would be happy to answer your questions. Hearing from you helps direct what we talk about. So don’t forget to tell us what you think, ask a question, like, clap, high five us and you are welcome to share with others!

Please Speak up!!   

Gracias Amigos