As for fresh fruits and veggies, some cruisers here passed along word of a local market that is held every Thursday and Sunday night. Fresh produce is brought in straight from the farms of Guadalajara. Most of the local restaurants buy their produce here. It was perfect for us, since we need produce that is as fresh as possible and has not been refrigerated.
Amidst all this work, we did find a bit of time to check out some of the local attractions in La Cruz. There were two Sunday markets in town, with lots of great food and crafts for sale, as well as the catch from the local fisherman. La Cruz also has some good and inexpensive taco stands.
When we arrived in La Cruz, we were initially planning for a mid-April departure, knowing that we had to be flexible because of the weather. However, in talking with other cruisers, we discovered that quite a few boats had been waiting a week or more for a good weather window to get to the trade winds. That bit of information made us change our course a bit, and we decided to push hard to get ready for the next weather window. Unfortunately, late last week, Andrew came down with a stomach bug and was out of commission for a few days. Even after he was over the bug, it still took a few days for him to fully regain his strength.
As Andrew was recovering, a weather window did open last Saturday, 4/9/2011, and 11 boats took off for the Marquesas. We were not quite ready, and it felt as if we were being left behind. But, the few items left on our list were important, and Andrew needed a bit more time to get back to 100%. So, begrudgingly, Saviah stayed put, and we kept working hard.
A bit more on weather… we’ve been monitoring the weather forecasts every day, and watching for the right weather window. The NE trade winds that we will ride for part of our passage begin 500-700 miles away, so we’re watching for a forecast with winds to get us from Banderas Bay to the trades. We only carry 70 gallons of fuel (including jerry cans), which is 3-5 days of motoring depending on the conditions. If we were to motor to the trades, we may not have enough fuel to cross the ITCZ or for arrivals in port. The ITCZ (Intertropical Convergence Zone) runs along the equator (the position changes during the year) and is known for light winds (or no winds) and squally conditions. Most cruisers try to cross the ITCZ as quickly as possible to minimize the time spent in the unsettled area.
At this point, most of our “to do” list items have been done, and the forecast is for some more NW winds to fill in here on Thursday and Friday. So, we made the quick jump over to Nuevo Vallarta Tuesday to clear out of Mexico. The whole process was over in a couple of hours, and we left with our Zarpe papers in hand. We'll be in La Cruz one more night, and then, Thursday, 4/14/2011, Saviah sets sail for the South Pacific! Our first landfall will be Atuona on the island of Hiva Oa in the Marquesas. We’re estimating the passage will take us 25-30 days, depending on the winds. We should also mention that we have heard reports that the Spot service is a bit unreliable in some parts of the South Pacific. We’ll be sending Spot messages frequently in hopes that some make it through. Please don’t worry if the Spot stops working.
After five months in Mexico, we are finally ready to depart. We have had a wonderful time here… the people are so friendly, and the laidback atmosphere is contagious. Five months seemed like a long time when we arrived in December, but the time just flew by, and there are still many places in Mexico we would like to visit. Perhaps we’ll spend another season here down the road.