La Cruz Huanacaxtle, or simply La Cruz, is a quaint little town with an easy, laid back pace. The cobblestone streets, shady huanacaxtle trees, and super friendly people all make this a very charming place to visit or make your new home. La Cruz has a large marina that welcomes cruisers from around the world. The marina also welcomes the more budget minded cruisers that are anchored just outside of the marina breakwater. They allow us to bring our dinghy to their docks and leave them in a secure place when visiting town. In the interest of our budget we headed for the La Cruz anchorage. We are learning that the term anchorage is a very loose term in Mexico. In the Pacific Northwest we would not call something an anchorage unless it provided the anchored boats good protection from at least three sides. There would also be some kind of restriction or understanding that boats should be moving slowly in said anchorage. Here in Mexico an anchorage is anyplace that has water shallow enough for you to put down your anchor regardless of protection from waves, ocean swell, or passing boats. Needless to say this anchorage was not the calm place that Ashley and I were expecting. So after a couple of days of rolling back and forth we decided to dip into the savings account and headed to the marina for a few days. Staying at the marina allowed us to get a much better feel for this wonder little town. Ranger and I would go for a run each morning through the town and into the rural areas beyond. Victoria and Alexander spent many hours riding scooters on the boardwalk that surrounds the marina. There were over 20 kid boats there with kids ranging from 4 to 17, some of them have been cruising for a few months and some have been cruising for 12+ years. So needless to say that Victoria and Alexander had many friends to join them as they played on the beach, around the docks, and on other friends boats. There is a woman named Kat who works for the marina and runs the kids club. She organizes daily events for kids. Some of it is learning based. Some of it is purely for fun. She also engages the local schools and even a local orphanage (yes it is still called that here). It is really great seeing Victoria and Alexander playing and interacting so well with other boat kids. It is far, far better seeing them interacting with local children who speak little to no English. And we have had many opportunities to do just that. One of the highlights of our trip has been a mountain bike ride that Alexander, Victoria and I did in the jungle of a town nearby called Sayulita. The kids had their bikes and I rented one. I met the owner who is trying to bring the sport of mountain biking to the town of Sayulita. Sayulita is a super cool surfing town about 25 miles north of Banderas Bay. Wildmex Adventures is the place that we rented the bikes. We also hired a guide to show us the way through the jungle trails. Hugo was our guide and two or three times before we left he told me in is broken English and my even more broken Spanish that the trails will be too hard for my kids. I just smiled and told him we can turn back if it got too hard. (Or at least that is what I thought I was saying). And if any of you have seen Victoria or Alexander on a bike you know that they totally owned the trails. Hugo was amazed and kept smiling as Alexander and Victoria would keep up with him. We had a fantastic time riding bikes in the jungle. If anyone is ever in Puerto Vallarta we highly recommend looking up Wildmex Adventures and taking one of their many tours. Another highlight of our time in La Cruz was our visit to a non-profit turtle rescue organization. This group looks for turtle nests. When they find them with eggs they dig up the eggs and take them to their facility for safer incubation. When the eggs are ready to hatch they return them to a safe place to be release into the wild. These turtles are highly endangered due to over fishing of their primary food source, lack of natural nesting sites and over predation from predators who have lost their primary food source. We were able to visit the facility on the day that 72 eggs hatched. Once the eggs hatch the baby turtles naturally wait until sunset to make their run down the beach and into the ocean. Therefore the rescue group waits until sunset to release them. We were each given a turtle in a small bowl and waited to be told to release them. After we put them on the sand we all stood back and encouraged our baby turtles as they fought their way down the beach, through the pounding surf and into their ocean. It was truly amazing and it felt so great when the little heads would pop out of the water just past the breaking surf. I have a feeling the kids will never look at a turtle swimming in the sea the same again.
La Cruz (part 1)