Under the shadow of the Huanacaxtle

This is a well overdue post about our nearly 2-month stay at La Cruz de Huanacaxtle in the beginning of this year.

Yes, it’s well past already. But it was such an important stop for us that I just couldn’t not register it here. Besides, we really loved La Cruz.

We arrived there after an intense sailing passage from San Carlos, 500 miles northward in the Sea of Cortez. It was quite a contrast – in San Carlos we’d had long periods of introspection, whereas La Cruz was marked by intense and meaningful socialization right from the start. I’ll tell the rest of the story with pictures.

We got there right on time for Christmas, which we celebrated at the dock, under a scandalously bright full moon, and amongst old and new friends:

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Most folks cruising Mexico’s Pacific coast make La Cruz one of their recurring stops. There’s a large community of experienced sailors there, and a wealth of knowledge right on the docks. Here, still during Christmas eve’s celebrations, Frans (s/v Sangvind) helps me troubleshoot the mysterious overheating problem with our engine:

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Some days later, this sportfisher arrived with a huge catch. Word spread on the docks that they were giving it away. Raquel rushed to check and came back with a large slab. We celebrated New Year’s having the freshest Marlin Sashimi ever!

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There were socialization events happening almost on a daily basis:Pesto-08Jan16-007

This large beach rendezvous extended into the night and ended up on a great bonfire, crowned with the launching of a few lanterns – the kids fascinated to seeing them float softly and disappear on the waters of Banderas Bay:

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We ended up meeting great cruising folks, some of whom became close friends. The kids, in particular, formed a tight group and played together all the time – from the moment homeschool was over until we called them back home to sleep:

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But if the play was hard, the work was even harder. We had an extensive list of projects to accomplish in preparation for the Puddle Jump, and were busy all the time. Here, Raquel helps me store hardly-used stuff inside our deeper bilges:

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Some times work and play mixed up, like when one ship from the Sea Shepherd‘s organization made it into the marina and opened for visitation:

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It was an opportunity for the kids (and I) to learn a bit about this organization and also Volunteer Work (most crew onboard are young boys and girls that volunteer for one or more seasons of work):

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The hard prep work culminated with Pesto’s haul out. We moved to a quaint little guesthouse during that time:

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And where there’s change, there’s also opportunity. Living on land for a while enabled us to get a better taste of La Cruz – a small town which managed to remain authentic despite all the tourism that flocks to the vicinity. Each of the town’s streets are named after fish – how cute is it:

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And what is it with the name, by the way? Huanacaxtle happens to be a typical tree in the region. And the city received this name because of a large cross made of Huanacaxtle wood which stands right at it’s entrance.

But to us at least, one of La Cruz’s main attractions was it’s cuisine – simple, fresh and inexpensive. Here, Paulo and Raquel experiment with the local street food:

These bacon-wrapped hotdogs were delicious. And at 12 pesos a piece, a bargain as well ! I can’ t remember how many times Paulo asked me to take him there again.

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Another great attraction is the Farmers’ Market – we looked forward to each Sunday, when we would browse this enchanting street fair for handicraft and fresh food. Here, the kids taste the organic ice cream (their Avocado Ice Cream, by the way, is to to be missed!):

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And in between social activities, kids sleepovers, boat projects and sunday fairs, our days in La Cruz went by, one after the other, and soon we found ourselves readying Pesto to leave. We departed La Cruz on a moonlit evening, headed south for a one-week cruise. Our plan was to come back to La Cruz and make it our base for the Puddle Jump, but we weren’t to return.

Pesto-05Jan16-011But that’s the subject of a different story.

2 Replies to “Under the shadow of the Huanacaxtle”

  1. Incredible photos Alex. Especially the paper lantern! Your prose cuts through the day to day routine, and illuminates the heart of the cruising lifestyle. Inspirational!

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