Sailing Nakamal

Pail Hop

One morning a couple weeks ago I awoke to the sounds of a sailboat engine running and dock lines being tossed to the first mate aboard our slip neighbors’ boat. As the skipper moved the boat into reverse to leave the slip, voices from the dock called out:

“Have fun in Hawaii!” and “See you in the Marquesas!”

It’s time for the annual migration of boats from the West Coasts of the U.S. and Mexico – the beginning days of the Pacific Puddle Jump”. This is a semi-organized event, but not a mass movement like the Baja Ha-Ha (read about the puddle jump here). The goal is arriving in French Polynesia, and doesn’t that sound like fun?

I admit I was a little jealous. French Polynesia….sigh. Clear blue waters, swaying palms, fresh fish dinners, exotic drinks sipped from coconuts, croissants…..wait. That IS my life. Well, tortillas – croissants, same difference, right?


One boat’s record of the PPJ path taken. Sailing is not meant for those who like straight lines!

And then there’s the matter of getting there. There are about 2700 – 3000 miles of ocean to traverse in order to obtain that particular paradise. That would be 21-28 days in a sailboat, longer if something goes wrong – say, for example, El Nino sucks all the wind out of that area and into California or you get blown off-course or have to divert from your course to avoid a storm.

Our neighbors are among the early birds because every day the docks resonate with the sounds of boat jobs of those still preparing – hoses being pulled out for washing, dinghy bottoms being scraped, sandpaper on teak, hammers pounding. Recently I walked past a man pushing a dock cart loaded with Costco purchases (you can spot a Costco run from 20 paces), including five large jars of sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil. Not far behind him his wife and another couple were loading a second cart with cases of wine to join the cases of beer and Red Bull. A third dock cart awaited its load of whatever other bulk-purchase treasures were still hidden in the car.


Besides, we can get croissants right here at the Mercado de Huanacaxtle every Sunday!

Yeah, a month of canned food and hoping you don’t run out of toilet paper? My jealousy for the French Polynesia was short-lived. Instead, I started thinking about our own impending plans. John is back from his AZ trip, and as soon as he recovers from this respiratory ailment he caught we’ll start preparing for our next boating adventure – exploring the Gulf of California (aka the Sea of Cortez). Our time here in La Cruz has been marvelous, we’ve made new friends that we may or may not ever see again after we leave here, but there is more of Mexico waiting for Nakamal to carry us to. And we are planning to be back here in La Cruz around July for the summer season.


Gulf of California photo courtesy of the crew from Jade Dragon.


Another shot from the crew of Jade Dragon.

Hard to believe that after nearly four months here, we’ll be slipping out into the open waters again in just a week or so. And the Gulf is a “mere” 550 miles that we will break up into several hops. If the Pacific is the Puddle Jump, then I guess this would be the Pail Hop if we make it all the way north to San Carlos. I’m told that the waters in the Gulf are every bit as beautiful as the Caribbean, and some who have been to both and prefer the Gulf.

Here in La Cruz, some boats will be left here for the summer, their owners heading to homes up north for the other six months. A small group of liveaboards haven’t left La Cruz in years – and their boats haven’t left the dock either. A larger number of the boats are starting to plan the trip up into the Gulf.

Look out La Paz, Guaymas and San Carlos! The swarm from La Cruz and the south is headed your way soon!



Sunrise over the Marina La Cruz



This entry was published on March 20, 2016 at 7:25 pm and is filed under Mexico. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “Pail Hop

  1. Just saying hello


  2. and enjoying reading about you travels!


  3. Back at ya’


  4. We sure enjoyed seeing John last Wed for dinner. Sorry you couldn’t be with him.
    Felt bad for him as he wasn’t feeling well. Hope he is better now! Love, Juanita


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