Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sea snakes and Dengue Fever

Beautiful caves at Los Arcos in Puerto Vallarta

Our friends on s/v LiaHona invited us to sail from La Cruz, across Banderas Bay, to the beautiful Los Arcos snorkel site near Puerto Vallarta.

Another view of beautiful Los Arcos

The water looked inviting at first. We couldn't wait to dive in and start snorkeling!

As we motored closer to the reef, though, we could see that it was dangerously surgy. This sailboat in the photo was not anchored and had no business motoring so close to the rocks in these conditions

Then a gigantic cattle boat arrived, dumping what felt like 
hundreds of hapless tourists into the surgy water

We snorkeled for a few minutes in the low visibility conditions before climbing aboard LiaHona for the sail back to La Cruz. Ah, well. You get what you get on any given day, right?

Bret and Chris trim the sails

Espiritu crew enjoying the sail aboard LiaHona 

Our new cruising BFF's Bret and Marne of LiaHona 

While the boys had fun sailing the rig, Marne and I sat on the deck enjoying the sail. I told her this amusing story:


I swim every afternoon in the La Cruz anchorage, despite the knowledge that there are poisonous sea snakes in Banderas Bay.  I'm unconcerned because they are usually out in deep water. Noone I know has ever been bitten or even seen one in the anchorage, so I don't worry about it. 

2 weeks ago friends of ours from the marina came out to visit us aboard Espiritu and have a nice swim in the bay. They were not in the water more than 2 minutes when I casually said to them:

"You know, Charlie's Charts says there are poisonous snakes in the bay, but I've never seen one. And the rare times someone sees one, they are usually very far out to sea..."

Before I could finish my sentence, in a panic they climbed onto their dinghy and out of the water!

"Wait, guys..." I cried, " only swam for 2 minutes! Forget what I said about the poisonous sea snakes! Seriously, noone has ever seen one or been bitten here! Please! Go back in the water!"

"Oh, no, we're done. It was a great swim," they said, drying themselves off.

I felt terrible. But there was nothing I could say to get them to jump back in. 


Sailing aboard LiaHona, after telling her the story Marne and I had a good laugh thinking about the shortest swim ever by my snake-skittish friends.

Not 30 second later, what should come swimming past our sailboat?

You guessed it. A yellow-bellied sea snake!

Marne and I looked at each other in shock and laughed heartily.

Well! Despite this amazing wildlife sighting, I'm still swimming in the anchorage. We saw this little fellow 5 miles out in the bay, away from the shore, just like Charlie's Charts says. 

But the timing of the snake was pretty amusing, though...

In other news, we bought a used watermaker which Chris has been working very hard installing.

Captain Chris hard at work installing our watermaker

Obiously, not having a watermaker was our one big question mark regarding spending the summer in the ultra-hot, ultra-deserty Sea of Cortez as we plan to do. Now we're out of excuses: Summer in the Sea, here we come!

Other images from the last two weeks:

Swallows rest on Espiritu's flopper stopper line

This kid sat on the dashboard of his dad's bus without a concern as the bus careened down the highway at 60 MPH. File this under "Things you won't see in the USA." 

Quiz: How many regulations would he be violating if he was in the states? 

Answer: Too many to count.

Along with buses there are countless old minivans that are sort of a combination of a bus and a taxi that drive all over Mexico. For 9 pesos you are crammed into the back of the van.

Note: There is no "maximum occupancy" sign in the van. The van is never officially full. No matter how many people are crammed inside, there is always room for one more.

Chris sits crammed up close and personal with a mom and her two kids

If you sold your minivan in 2008 and are wondering where it ended up, I can guarantee you that it's down here in Mexico. 

Mexico: the place American minivans go to die.

It's exciting to know that we could be riding in Chili Palmer's minivan from Get Shorty
        (Don't mock me! I hear you. But listen -- it's POSSIBLE. Maybe not
 probable, but don't rain on my active fantasy life!)

I spied this plaque for sale at the cruiser's swap meet here in La Cruz:

It says: "This is a swell ship for the skipper, but a hell ship for the crew." I considered buying it for Chris for Valentine's Day but reconsidered. (ha) I bought him some fresh strawberries instead.

La Cruz skyline

Chickens and an AA meeting in Bucerias

Oh. By the way -- there's no easy way to say this. About a week ago I finally went to the local doctor after having fevers, gentle malaise and severe muscle and joint pains.

I thought I had Chickungunya, but the doctor disagreed, and diagnosed me with Dengue Fever.

Now, before you panic, it's a mild case. We caught it early, he put me on antivirals and I lost 5 pounds on the de-riguer "Muscle wasting tropical disease diet." The worst is over and I'm already feeling much better. 

Yee-haw! Welcome to Mexico! 

Also, please note it is not contagious. Humans can only get the disease from a mosquito bite.

Bucerias sunset

Speaking of sunsets, settling in aboard Espiritu in the evening after swimming, bathing and cooking dinner is a daily treat. 

Last evening, as we were watching the sunset, I heard the lilting notes of a solo saxaphone on one of the other sailboats around us playing (ironically) "Sounds of Silence" waft across the anchorage. 

A moment later, he moved into "Scarborough Fair." 


Looks like I can cross "Listen to the solo saxaphone versions of Simon and Garfunkel songs" off of my lifetime bucket list. 

See? Every day is a new and exciting surprise. You just need to look -- and listen -- for it.

They always come. 



  1. Congratulations on the watermaker. We bought ours as a kit and the build/install was a really tough job. Hope yours goes in lickity split. It will be worth it's weight and save you from spending long mornings in the Bay of LA hauling water.

    1. Thanks, Kat! We are having a few issues installing the 8 year old mechanism, and Chris may need to repair the main pump. But we've got plenty of time before summer to get her up and running! Miss you, we think of you every day here in La Cruz. XOXO Liz and Chris

  2. Wow! What a wonderful adventure you are on! Love the pictures. Glad you are feeling better.

  3. Thanks, Deb! Yes, I am feeling better and I'm grateful it wasn't worse. Hope all is well with you guys in the OC. Please give our love to Michael, Ashley, and your sweet little weiner dog (I forgot her -- his? -- name)... XOXO Liz and Chris :-)

  4. Hey Guys! Glad to hear you've put the worst of the fever behind you Liz! Congrats on the agua maker. I arrived in La Paz on Thursday. Think I'm going to finally get my radar installed. I'm going to stay here for a couple of weeks getting a few last things done before heading out for some of those beautiful anchorages I've been looking at pictures of for so long. When are you guys heading back up this way or are you?
    Warm regards,

    1. Hey Marty -- Glad you're finally safely in La Paz! YES we are eventually heading north to La Paz, but probably not for several weeks. Do you think you'll stay in the Sea of Cortez with us for the summer? Miss you. Hugs to Marty and Desi from Chris and Liz, s/v Espiritu