S/V INTREPID II - Cape Dory Intrepid 40

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Intrepid II is a Cape Dory Intrepid 40 sailboat, hull #2, designed by Chuck Paine and discovered by the Captain in Blue Hill Maine in 2006. The crew are Kelly (Captain) and Carol (Admiral and Blogger). In 2009 INTREPID II embarked on her West Coast journey from Victoria to San Francisco, the Baja Sur Peninsula and into the Sea of Cortez. In 2010/2011, we sailed ifrom Guaymas, south to Bahia Banderas and back. In 2011/2012 she left Guaymas, headed south to La Paz, spent three weeks at anchor on our northward journey and rested on the hard in San Carlos. Her 4th, 5th and 6th seasons were Boat Projects related. Optimistic that there will be more cruising on the horizon!

February 23, 2011

Day trip into Puerto Vallarta -Tuesday February 22

Mermaid statue along Puerto Vallarta malecon
While there is a small marine chandlery located within Marnia Riviera Nayarit, it  has a limited selection.  Most cruisers find themselves making at least one trip to Ferreteria Zaragoza's, a much larger establishment.  This entails a bus ride into the north end of Puerto Vallarta, near Plaza Neptuno.  As we needed to check on a few items we decided to make a day of it.

By 09:30 we'd caught the bus from La Cruz at the top of Avenida Langosta on the highway and were on our somewhat bumpy, rattling way; nothing out of the ordinary on these buses.  Our plan was to ride all the way into the Zona Centro or Old Town, see some of the malecon (waterfront walkway) with its intriguing statues, sample Puerto Vallarta restaurants, then make our way back to the chandlery.

La Cruz and Bucerias are in the state of Nayarit and Puerto Vallarta is in Jalisco.  We might have been imagining it, but the road seemed to get bumpier as soon as we entered Jalisco, a real shaking for some time.  Then we watched for the airport and the start of the hotel zone and changed buses at Plaza los Glorias.  Along the way we had spotted Zaragoza's out of the bus windows and two huge cruise ships in dock.  Now we were on a blue bus and in the midst of traffic congestion, tourists and much more activity than we'd experienced since leaving La Paz.  Kelly picked a spot to hop off and we were now walking south along the malecon and the bridge over the Rio Cuale. 

Puerto Vallarta is at the east end of Bahia Banderas and offers a wide selection of restaurants, accommodations, shopping, browsing and people watching opportunites as well as several beaches. The tree lined, shady Isla Cuale looked appealing, so we took stairs down from the bridge and enjoyed a walk along artists' stalls, restaurants and the 'usual' vendors of tourist wares. Huge banyan trees shade the stalls.   The small but well presented Museo del Cuale provided an overview of the early cultures in the area with its collection of pottery, grinding stones, clay figurines and other  objects, and many of the texts are in English as well as Spanish.
Replica crown on bell tower
The River Cafe restaurant appealed to us for a late brunch and we were seated at a quiet table overlooking the greenery of the river, while we enjoyed the sounds of a two piece ensemble - guitar and harp - interesting combination.  After recrossing the bridge we spotted the 'crown' of the Church of our Lady of Guadalupe (La Iglesia de Nuestro Senora de Guadalupe) and climbed a few blocks of stairs, unnecessarily it turned out, to end up on a street behind the church dome. This effort provided a great view but necessitating a climb back down to the entrance. "Good exercise" commented the Captain.  The bell tower has a 'crown' which replicates that of Empress Carlotta.  The current one is of fibreglass, the original having been damaged in an earthquake.

We continued to walk the malecon, popping into shops which caught our eye and dodging time share salesmen.  We realized it wasn't a good thing to say you weren't with the cruise ships, because that meant you were available for their special deals....no thank you.  We enjoyed viewing the whimsical statues along the way.
Eventually we hopped a blue bus towards Plazo Neptuno and Marina Vallarta and had a quick look at this much larger gathering of boats. So large an area we couldn't spot the marina office.  After making our purchases at Zaragoza's (laid out much like a West Marine) we attempted to catch our bus home.  The grey bus to Bucerias and La Cruz  apparently no longer stopped outside the chandlery.  They certainly didn't respond to being waved down.  A very thoughtful woman took the time to advise us, in Spanish, that we needed to hop a blue bus going to the airport, where we could then catch the right bus to La Cruz.  We did just that and finally were seated on a very comfortable bus with red curtains billowing in the breeze on the windows to shade us from the sun.  The trip was enhanced by a guitarist who got on and sang songs for our entertainment, including "Last Kiss" in Spanish ('where oh where can my baby be....") then thanked us politely for our interest, our tips and hopped off to catch another bus.

It's a bit of a walk from the highway to the marina, so we were glad to reach home and enjoy a cool drink and put our feet up.  The Captain gathered enough energy to bbq burgers and we reflected on another very full day in Banderas Bay.  (note:  eventually I'll succeed in getting more pics uploaded...very strange gremlins at work...)

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