Bahía de Banderas – It’s “Paradise”

After a couple of months in the Costalegre region of the mainland, it was time to head north again, what with medical and dental appointments on the docket and all of our summer commitments on the calendar – sheesh! We left Barra de Navidad sans our buddies on Volaré, as they were experiencing some engine issues, and made our way to Bahía de Chamela. Unfortunately, the red tide was thick, thick, thick, so we were unable not only to make water, but to swim. But on the second day in the Isla Pajarera anchorage, the water was a bit clearer, so we went for it. It wasn’t pretty, but we got in some strokes.

The next morning, we were off on our overnight to round Cabo Corrientes, which can be a bugger. The first 40 nm of the journey were blissful, and despite the breeze coming from the direction we were going (of course), the sailing was quite pleasant. Then the notorious winds for which the cape is known started to pipe up right around sunset and we set about clawing our way north. S/Vs Fellowship and Dragonfly departed Chamela some time after us, but were on our tail – motor-sailing to smooth out the seas and make the rounding comfortably. We’re either stubborn or stupid, but we refused to fire up engines until we were well into the morning lull inside Bahía de Banderas at sunrise. And what a reward that was – we were enshrouded in fog AND humpback whales! I woke up Rand (three times because he refused to get up the first time), put the engines in neutral (left them on partly so they would hear us), and we drifted around for a couple of hours just enjoying the sounds of their breathing and the show of their tails. It was truly magical.

We settled in Punta de Mita for a couple of days so Rand could surf a bit and we could wrap our heads around re-entry into the hustle and bustle of Banderas Bay. We stopped by La Cruz so we could drop off the genny to Mike at PV Sailing; he gave it the once-over, repaired stitching on the sunbrella, and replaced a bunch of tell-tales. Then we made our way to Paradise Village Marina, which would serve as our base for the next week or so.

One of the reasons we loitered around the bay for so long was so we could get medical and dental check ups. Since we left the States with only Mexican insurance, we thought it was time to take advantage of the wellness coverage. Holy cow. We had THE most thorough medical/dental checkups we’ve ever had! This wasn’t just “open your mouth and say ahhhhh” – no…it was blood work, urine and stool analysis (that was a fun first for us), chest x-rays, ECGs, abdominal ultrasounds, bone density test and mammogram/ultrasound for me, and a follow-up with an English-speaking doc (who did have us open our mouths and say ahhhh). We received cds with all of the films, original paperwork of all of the results, and letters of interpretation that we can take with us next time we’re in the shop. And we had dental exams, complete with x-rays, photos, and cleanings, too. I also had a mouth guard made because apparently I grind my teeth at night – must be all the stress I’m under. Oh, and Rand saw a dermatologist to be treated for some pre-cancer stuff on his nose, and I visited an ophthalmologist to check pressures in my eyes (I’ve been having eye headaches and glaucoma runs in my family – woohoo!). Guess how much all of this cost. Just guess…under $1100 USD for BOTH of us. Truly astonishing. We were both impressed by the facilities, state of the art equipment, cleanliness, and professional staff – even though most were quite young. So, the moral of the story is that medical care in non-U.S. countries can work! If you’ll recall, one of the reasons I was so anxious about leaving the States and my federal job was because of the fear of having no health insurance. Well?

Along with all of our medical stuff, we enjoyed a visit with Rand’s college buddy, Jim, and his friend, Troy. It was fun wandering around the Puerto Vallarta malecón, being treated to a scrumptious Italian dinner (thanks, Jim!!), and eating the homemade truffles they made in a truffle-making class at the chocolate museum – yeah, it’s a thing. And of course, there were boat projects. We were in the Paradise Village Marina for a little over a week, so we took advantage of having “free” electricity. We re-sanded and re-finished the cork in the galley and saloon, on the fantail, and on the transom steps – it looks like new and feels so good underfoot. Next up is the cockpit, but we’ll save that for Mazatlán. Time in the marina was quite lovely given our proximity to our friends on Volaré, access to the pool and the gym, and a convenient little tienda that had Häagen-Daz bars.

With that, PV was a wrap – it was time to pick up the genny from PV Sailing, get outta dodge, and start working our way north again. See ya’ up there!


  1. Tannika

    Surrounded by whales! Yeah. And glad y’all got all your orifaces checked and that the bill of health is clean❤️

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