Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day 7: San Cuero Beach

This morning I turned left and then right, and found a new path down the back hill that led to the bypass road. I headed west and several hundred meters past where Ave Revelocion meets the bypass road, there was a dirt road on my right heading in the general direction of the coast. Along the way I met some women who were staying at a yoga retreat further up the road, and one of them said this road would eventually reach the beach.

The road itself is mostly enclosed by trees and only every so often would I pass by high gates to a house. At one point a police car drove by and I never saw hi drive back, which gave me encouragement that this road did not dead end at some person's house.

As the day got hotter the hills got steeper until finally I could hear, and then get glimpses of the surf. I was brought to a dry river and some gates that perhaps once was private property, but now there were a couple of cars there.

I hiked through to the beach and spotted a few surfers whose car was parked on the beach. What a glorious expanse of white sand and rolling ocean. Just me an a few surfers. Walking west along the beach I came to a house on the rocks and below a small archway which I had to crawl through on my hands and knees to the next completely deserted beach. I knew the tide was still going out for a few more hours so I would not get cut off, so I parked myself under a palm tree and read my book for an hour or two, before it was time to head back.

The hike back was exceptionally hot, and I had only brought one bottle of water with me, but much of the road is shaded by a canopy of trees, making for a wonderful hike. Took about 2 hours.

Once I hit the bypass road I headed east, and this time took the left fork direcly into Sayulita, where I headed for Captian Cooks on the beach and a bucket of cerveza and some fish for dinner. Met Michael fro Ottawa again this time with his partner Michael. They told me that Captain Cooks automatically add the tip to the bill and don't tell you so that tourists will then add another tip on top!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Day 6: Marietas Islands

Turned up again at 9 and this time the boat cruise was on and about 20 of us packed into several taxis and headed for the marina on the Bay of Bandaras. The boat called Chica Loca was a trimaran equipped with cushions to lounge on, and plenty of space since it could hold 60.

I met Colen Lee from Wisconsin, a woman about my age, who was traveling along the coast looking for a potential place to rent for the winter. A bunch celebrating turning 30 this year on the boat made for a fun cruise. They brought their own playlist of music which spared us from the Mexican music they started to play when we arrived.

We headed for the Marietas Islands with only one engine working, and about halfway there we started to spot the whales breaching. What an amazing sight. Photographing them is a challenge as they pop up anywhere, and with the boat rocking they were often submerged again before I could focus with the new telephoto lens. However I did manage to get several great shots of tails and breaching.

Once at the islands we snorkeled through a small cave that led to a secluded beach. The island is a bird sanctuary, so we are very restricted where we could go on land. Our guide took us through another cave to scramble up onto a rocky outcrop to look at the Blue Footed Boobies, which apparently this is the only other island they nest on beside the Galapagos.

The water had been churned up by the storm yesterday so unfortunately the visibility for snorkeling was very limited. I plan to take Sue on this cruise when she joins me in a few weeks, and hopefully the visibility will be better then.

Saw more whales on the way back and the 30 year old crowd rocked the boat dancing as the free drinks kept flowing. At one point a cushion blew off the boat, and then the race was on to see who could swim to rescue it first. Back at the marina we loaded into the taxis and back to Sayulita.

A few of us made plans to meet up for dinner later, but I ran a little late and missed them. Ricky at the tour shop said they were looking for me and I left my email address with him in case they came back. The next day I got an email from Colene who was heading out that evening for the next town up the coast. We finally managed to meet up for a bite to eat before she left with Desiree from the gallery on Ave Revelocion.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Day 5: A Stormy Day

Yesterday I had signed up for the boat cruise, and this morning I was packed and downtown with my gear at 9 only to learn they had not signed up enough people to go out today, but they would go tomorrow. This turned out to be a good thing since later the day clouded over, and a small storm blew in the afternoon.

I headed back to my casa and spent a relaxing day reading and creating my new domain (glenlancaster.com)   and website to make a single easy place to find me this year.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Day 3: Learning to Surf

I learned from Patricia yesterday that the best time to learn to surf is at low tide, which today is not until 3pm. So I spent the morning walking around the village and fund the Farmer's Market to the north of the main bridge, which only happens on Fridays.

In the afternoon I headed over to Patricia's Surf Shop and there was only two of us signed up, myself and a 16 year old girl from Vancouver. Patricia went over the basics on the beach of how to get up on a board. From laying on the board you have to jump into a surfers stance. For the older folks who don't jump up as easily I was shown how to get up in stages.

Then we carried our boards to the west end of the bay where the waves are smaller and we are not in the way of the serious surfers. Our instructor was a 16 year old boy who looked like he was born with a surfboard attached to his feet. He was patient and held the board pointed in the right direction and yelled when it was time to paddle. This way catching the wave was easy, but for me standing up was a challenge. Eventually I did manage to stand for a few seconds before falling off.

When he was finished helping us he said we could stay out and practice as long as we wanted. I was pretty exhausted and headed back for some beers and a bite to each on the beach, happy that I had managed to stand on board my first day.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Day 2: Exploring Sayulita

My first day in Sayulita was all about figuring out the lay of the place and where things were. My first order of business was to find the grocery stores and the beer stores. Turns out they are the same. Wandered along the beach and talked to the people in the various surf shops to decide who to go with for lessons. I met Patrica who's a surfer and her shop on the beach has been there for 10 or more years. She has place to store gear and washrooms available.

Spent a couple of hours watching and photographing the surfers to try and understand what to look for in a wave. In addition to the regular surfers there were a couple of guys using a single paddle to guide them in the waves.

Hiked along the beach to another beach by the cemetery called Playa Muertos (The Dead). Great little spot to swim away from the crowds.

Bought some basic groceries and beer and lugged them up the hill.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day 1: Start in Salutita

 Today is the official start of my one year sabbatical from work. I have already been off for a week using up leave, and that time has been busy panning and getting ready to head off to Mexico. But today the adventure begins.

Sue was kind enough to wake up at 3.30am to drive me to the airport for my 6.40am flight to Puerto Vallarta. and she has to work today. The flight was a half hour late, but the made up the time on the way down and arrived a little after 1.30pm. Got off the plane using steps and met the glorious heat after leaving a miserable cold, wet Vancouver  winter behind.

Customs was easy. They have this system where you press a button on the way out and it randomly selects people to search. My button lit up green and I was on my way. Just as the rental agents told me there is bridge across the  road as you exit, and the bus to Sayulita arrived within 20 minutes, and an hour later I was standing in a dustly parking lot on Ave Revelocion.  Hauled my backpack a few hundred meters into town. Having seen where to go on Google Streetview it was easy to find Avalos Realty opposite Choco Banana and the town square, which is all torn up with construction at the moment.

Jorge drove up up the hill to Casa Juanita (more rental info), it is a steep climb and I am going to get my daily exercise  carrying groceries. After unpacking I headed back into town to get a quick look around and pick p a few essentials for tomorrow. Then headed back up to the Casa while it was still light so I could find my way. Made some dinner and crashed early after contacting Sue and others to let them know I had arrived safely.