The La Cruz Vortex

It’s so hard to leave La Cruz!!

Rail meat on SV Jaded

La Cruz is truly a place that is hard to believe unless you have been there. From the outrageous amount of whales populating the Bay, to the incredible live music scene, dancing, delicious food, highly predictable and ideal conditions for sailing, and, best of all, the amazing friends we’ve met, this once quiet, tiny fishing village has become a very special place to us. There is ALWAYS something to do in La Cruz, which came to make us fully understand our own “mañana time”. We’d have the best intentions to sit down and schedule our week responsibly, and then our arms get twisted with the next live music and dancing, beer can races, margarita mingles, or whatever else the unforeseen week had in store for us. It’s been too easy to say “we’ll do it tomorrow!”

While we were in La Cruz we’d gotten into a bit of a weekly schedule for Echo. One enjoyable part of our schedule is getting our produce locally. At the weekly Wednesday market, we were always astonished to come out with our two massive bags of veggies for around $10.00. We’ve also enjoyed getting our meat at the local butchers and shopping at the smaller tiendas around town, which can be a treat compared to the bigger stores in cities which we were used to. It has been more authentic and we’d been craving this experience. 

Friday nights would find us at the La Cruz Inn for the Rancho de La Cruz dancing horses. These magnificent horses prance the streets, dancing and hopping to the mariachi music. The caballeros have to restrain the horses from dancing when the music starts to play. The atomoshpere is quintessential Mexico and you can’t leave without sore cheeks from so much smiling.

THE Best!

Each week, we excitedly looked forward to returning to La Cruz Inn on Saturdays to listen to the most amazing musician, Matt Storch, play acoustic guitar, jamming out all our favorites, feeling like we were listening to a private playlist just for us. The table on Saturdays kept growing as more and more people gathered to listen to him jam. As we drank some of the best margaritas in town, G-Rock, his amazing wife Gillian, would get up and belt some original songs with him as the whole crowd sang along. Later in the time we had been in La Cruz, it turned into a late night as we’d migrate down to Oso’s bar for the 7:30 show. Leon, a local legend in La Cruz at the age of 88, played his washboard along with the band, rocking classic tunes and getting everyone up on the dancefloor. The live music in this little town is addicting. We came to enjoy eating out way too much, and once full on delicious food, we’d follow our ears to the next venue. Then ordering yet another margarita, sitting in the front, legs kicked up, bare feet swinging, the next tune would get us out of our seats and dancing. It’s been hard to get the exercise we were used to pre-Echo, and being in La Cruz, dancing as much as we can, has been a really fun way to get it in.

Credit- SV Liahona with the drone footage. Thanks Bret!

If you want to see humpback whales, you won’t strike out here. Seriously, whales in sight all day long! During our time in the area we were fully treated to their amazing behavoirs. Listening to them signing through Echo’s hull, seeing them swim and nurse right in the anchorage, teaching their calves to breach and tail slap, the list can go on and on. It was a constant source of entertainment and we felt incredibly gifted by their presence.

Stemming from our Saturday gatherings at La Cruz Inn, we’ve had the total pleasure of meeting some amazing people who migrate down south from Canada each winter to enjoy all the benefits of living here. They’ve turned into our “terra firma” family and it was truly hard saying goodbye to them. On one memorable day, we got the group out on Echo for a day of sailing and whale watching, and what an experience it was! As we enjoyed the scenery and sipped mimosas, Echo full sails, the whales didn’t let us down. We had a male follow us around in curiosity, getting a little too close for the captain’s comfort, but we fired up the engine to let him know where we were and continued puttering around. We located a small pod rhythmically rising and were able to give our friends a chance to see them closer than they ever had previously. Once back to the marina dock, we cranked the tunes, enjoying passing around the DJ duties and listening to everyone’s favorite songs as we enjoyed beverages, belly laughs, and got to know one another even better.

Our Incredible Terra Firma Family

In the cruising communtiy, we’ve also met a ton of amazing people. We had the fortune to meet a fellow cruising couple, Bre and Luke, from Hawaii, who had sailed down the west coast from Seattle. Randomly, while we were getting refueled in La Paz in November, we recognized their boat, Gryphon, since we had been told about them by another friend. We unexpectedly bumped back into each other while in La Cruz, and found a great friendship in them. As they were waiting for a part for their boat, we invited them to join us for an overnight trip to Punta de Mita, a toe-hold anchorage at the northern tip of Banderas Bay. We got super lucky that evening as a mother whale gently nursed her precious calf at the back of the anchorage, and we took the dinghy and paddleboards out for a close encounter. After that we enjoyed Luke’s ukelele skills, feasted on a massive chicken dinner, and played a hilarious board game. The next morning, Luke surfed for a bit, we hauled the anchor and had a stiff breeze carry Echo back to La Cruz. Upon arrival and pulling into the marina, we were given the slip right next door to our friends and were able to enjoy their company until their part arrived. We felt grateful to have met them and share good times, hoping for more in the future!

Gryphon back underway. Bon voyage amigos!
Breakfast perched above the river

Shortly after that, we celebrated Lauren’s birthday with a surprise trip into the Zona Romantica, an historic area in downtown Puerto Vallarta. We excitedly cleaned up Echo, got packed, and left the marina. We stayed 2 nights at a very small and beautiful boutique bed and breakfast. It made us feel so luxurious, getting spoiled with a couples massage, enjoying some amazing dinners on the beach, and watching the sun go down over Banderas Bay with a completely new view. In the end, we made it back to The Inn and Matt’s Saturday show for Lauren’s official birthday, which was a total blast!  

Rando! Mateo! Rando! Mateo!

After all of the entertaining festivities La Cruz has offered, some tears were shed as we decided it was time to go. We knew it would come, but with another goal marked on the calendar, we need to make way north as we’ve set a date, getting married in late April. Due to strong northerly winds in the Sea, the weather hasn’t presented us with a good window to cross back to the Baja yet, so we decided to inch our way up the mainland coast. We filled the fuel tank and sailed out the short 10 miles to Punta de Mita for a night. From there we sailed 55 nautical miles north, spotting numerous whales and turtles during the trip to Ensenada Mantanchen, just around the corner from San Blas, and waited two nights for a calm passage to Mazatlan, another 140Nm north. To get to Mazatlan, we navigated along the coastline, and our old friends, the humpbacks, were never too far from our minds. During the day we watched for signs of life, avoiding eight long lines set by local fishermen, but seeing no whales. Then, just as the sun went below the horizon, we happened upon a whole pod of them, waving and slapping pectoral and tail fins. This made the moonless night a little more stressful as darkness fell, but we relaxed into the passage, gaining a little comfort by the occasional close passes with fishing pangas. The incredible Mexican people never cease to amaze with their hard work ethic and inviting nature, and as we passed we’d shout, “Buenas noches!” back and forth, wish them luck with a “Suerte amigos!” and they’d give us a jovial “Muchas gracias!” in return, surely with smiling faces. Matt’s own song entitled The Incredible Mexican People rings in our hearts at these times. At our shift change at 1 o’clock in the morning, we were greeted by a handful of dolphins who happily surfed in Echo’s bow wake, glowing in the bioluminescence. Their playful show reassured us through the rest of the night, and as the sun came up, with Mazatlan coming into view, we spotted yet another pair of humpbacks and greeted the day with gratitude. 

We’re going to be here in Mazatlan for a few days waiting on the weather. Already, we’ve had more amazing, fresh seafood, and met inspirational people who’ve traveled the seas with their own families aboard similar sailboats, reassuring us of our path. We have learned a lot during this time that we’ve ventured down the mainland, our longest time spent out cruising aboard Echo since initially moving aboard. We’ve gathered so many ideas for the adventure ahead, and neither of us can wait to see what tomorrow will bring. The small space can be a pressure cooker, testing personal boundaries in comfort, and creating strains in our relationships with each other and those we hold close, but we’re solidly focusing on overcoming them as we get to know ourselves on a deeper level. We’re truly grateful to those of you that follow along with our adventure and can’t wait to share the future together. Stay tuned to the tracker as we watch for the window to cross back to the Baja, potentially by this coming weekend.

6 thoughts on “The La Cruz Vortex

  1. Happy belated birthday Laurenay! I absolutely love reading your stories and adventures each time they arrive in my inbox. Really wish I could make it to the wedding, I know it’ll be a day to remember. Love you.


    1. Thanks lady! I miss you and think about you all the time! At some point I’d love to check out your homestead, I saw it on instagram and like I could have only imagined, it’s absolutely precious! So happy for you!! Love ya, thanks for reading and commenting and please stay in touch!


  2. Hi guys great blog again. So glad to hear all is well . I just yelled out the window for good winds, so Sunday will
    be perfect. All our love Shirley& Barrie❤👍💕😊💖


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