Familia: Rounds Two and Three

Our first round of family flew out just as our second round was flying in, but we had a location change to affect before their arrival—from Marina Vallarta to Paradise Village, a resort a few miles to the north. Fortunately, we had our friend Lisa with us; she just happened to be in town from Alaska for the day, and it was fantastic to hang out with her on our short boat ride. Unfortunately, we did not have a smooth entrance to the marina.

Happier times in Paradise Village, by the pool at night
Happier times in Paradise Village, by the pool at night

We won’t go over the whole thing in painful detail; we’re convinced we were right, the marina feels otherwise. Suffice to say, there was a breakdown in communication. The harbor entrance is narrow, and prone to silting up; it’s constantly being dredged out to keep the water deep enough for boats such as ourselves. We entered the breakwater with some pretty big waves behind us, keeping the dredge to our left as instructed. Clearly, the dredge was not in a position to let another boat through, and we quickly found the edge of the channel and ran aground. It didn’t take long for the waves to push us into five feet of water, which is not helpful when you draw seven feet.

We immediately called the marina to let them know we were aground, and they sent two pangas to tow us off. The dredge moved over, pretending they’d been in that position the whole time and trying to look innocent, if that’s possible for a big old steel boat. Within ten minutes, we were back on our feet, unharmed but shaken. We’ve been nervous about the entrance ever since, and begged off taking people out for the rest of our visit. Our exit strategy involves high tide, clear and unambiguous communication with the marina office, and loud yelling at the dredge if they’re in the channel when we leave.

On to happier things, and a full embrace of the resort experience. Paradise Village is well north of Puerto Vallarta, in the thick of huge complexes from which you need never venture. Three pools, two hot tubs, three water slides (fast, slow, and toddler-level), many restaurants (with surprisingly good food), two spas, and more palapas than the eye can take in—we embraced it all.

Mexican Fiesta night. Like being on a cruise ship that doesn't go anywhere.
Mexican Fiesta night. Like being on a cruise ship that doesn’t go anywhere.
A little public are in downtown Vallarta
A little public art in downtown Vallarta

First up for the resort treatment were my mom and her husband. While we did take one trip into downtown Puerto Vallarta, for the most part we were content to stroll the beaches and test out the pina coladas. There were tacos. There were cold beers. There were breezy lounge chairs set out on the hot sand. There was one very disappointing Vikings game, but we got over it pretty quickly. Things we were lacking: stress about the boat; challenges about logistics; cold, wimpy showers; an overwhelming need to get stuff done.DSC_0063

Frieda and Diego are used to sell all kinds of garbage down here, but I would totally buy this bench.
Frida and Diego are used to sell all kinds of garbage down here, but I would totally buy this bench.
Wedding in the
Wedding in the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Selecting from the candy cart downtown
Selecting from the candy cart downtown
Big kids on the bus with Starbucks
Big kids on the bus with Starbucks

A few days later, my cousin showed up with her partner and kids. This was the moment my own kids had been waiting for. Yes, they were very excited to see grandparents and aunts and uncles, but it’s hard to compare to the pleasure of hanging out with cousins their own age. The Resorting kicked into high gear, as we exhausted the pleasures of ping pong, bocci, shuffleboard, boogie board rental, beach massages and seriously elaborate fruity drinks.

It. Was. Awesome.DSCF3548

Counts for boat schooling art class...
Counts for boat schooling art class…

We are not people who would intentionally book a vacation at an all-inclusive resort like this, so on the one hand, it was hilarious to look around and convince ourselves that yes, we really were here, and could charge pizza and mojitos to a week-long running tab as they were brought out to our beach lounge chairs. On the other hand, it was amazingly convenient. We didn’t have to struggle to meet up, choose third locations where we could all hang out, or buy day passes to a hotel to use the pool.

Beach sushi!
Beach sushi!

Our string of visits has come to an end, and we’re slowly returning to our more-normal(ish) lives. We have a long list of tasks we want to accomplish before heading to anchor in La Cruz on Wednesday—the convenience of stepping out to a pier is something we’ve gotten a little too accustomed to, and it’ll be a bit of a shock to once again be at anchor, dinghying in through the waves with the groceries or the laptop. Overall, though, we’re looking forward to some relative peace—especially among the cruising kids we hope to find a bit to the north.DSC_0083

10 Comments on “Familia: Rounds Two and Three

  1. It was awesome!
    Awesome to see all of you and the fruity beverages and yummy tacos were excellent.

  2. Gorgeous photos but… The last photo is the very bestest. Wolrd class.

  3. Glad to see you still like each other! We had every intention of meeting you somewhere along the way…alas, vacations happen and we filled our quota. You seem so close to home now.

    • We’re really starting to think about the end game now…quite a mental shift!

  4. I thought the Viking game was just fine.LOL 😁
    Do you have any concerns about the keel after grounding? That darn dredge! Do you think a forward sonar would have helped?

    • Hey, guys! We’re not too worried about the keel, but we’re finally hauling next week, so we can check it our then. And we actually have a forward-looking sonar on the boat, but things went bad fast, so it didn’t help. (FYI, we literally had this conversation with the marina: Hey, we know your entrance is kind of shallow, is there anything we should be worried about? No, just keep the dredge to your left…)

      Hope you guys are well!

  5. Great report, Deb. Among entanglements and grounding, I am glad you had a nice rest with a some luxuries. Best of luck and strength in this final trek of your long sailing journey.

  6. I was just bragging about you guys to my friend…I do that a lot (as you know, you are my heroes). It’s fun to see the family photos and you all look great. Miss you tons. We are going to WI again this summer and I always think of you. Take care!

    • Slight chance we’ll be swinging through CO on our way home (ahem, without the boat); we’ll keep you posted!

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