Saturday, April 25, 2015


We were inspired by our friends Nancy and Rob and Kathryn and Robin to take an inland trip to Tequila.  The four of them went there earlier this year, had great things to say, and came back with some amazing tequila.  Rob is especially talented at describing the tequila making process and how to properly taste sipping tequila. 

We rented a car for a week and boy was it great to have wheels again. Mike picked me up from the airport; I made a quick trip home to get injections in my cervical and lumbar spine  as the pain and numbness were worrisome.  The trip came at a perfect time so I could relax, stretch out and let the injections work.

Tequila is a quaint Mexican town.  Other than the tequila tours it isn't touristy and we really got a chance to practice our Spanish.

The first day was kind of a wash because we didn't leave until late morning.  We were able to walk around an historic walkway and saw quite a bit of the town.

The next day, we got up and had breakfast on Main Street.  The owner of the café didn't speak English so we had an opportunity to use our Español.  I ordered huevos al gusto, but realized I didn't remember how to say "scrambled".  I said "mixto con queso y jamon" and I got what I wanted.  Mike and I both ordered coffee and were immediately sad when two cups of hot water were delivered to the table, followed shortly by a jar of Nescafé.  Instant coffee.  :-(

We left with full tummies and headed for  Amatitan to take a tequila tour at Hacienda Heradura.  This turned out to be an excellent choice as our introduction to the tequila making process and the history of tequila.

The tequila making process begins with the harvesting of Weber Blue Agave (Agave Azul Weber).  It takes 7 years for each agave plant to be ready for harvest.

The harvested agave is called "piña" or pineapple. 

 In order to extract the juice from the piña, they are put in a hot oven for 24-36 hours.

The juice can then be extracted and fermented and distilled.  The byproduct of pulp is returned to the land as compost and the methane created in the fermentation tanks is used to power the process.  I really appreciate the small carbon footprint.  

Twice distilled, the tequila is now ready to drink as a blanco. Tequila aged 2 months is called reposado and aged 2 years is called añejo.  There is also extra añejo that is typically aged more than 2 1/2 years. As in wine, this extra aging process adds color, complexity and notes of the surroundings, as well as influence from the barrel.

We stopped at Trés Mujeres and Miravalle for more tastings and purchasing. 

We arrived back in Tequila in time for dinner and a celebration.  The town was celebrating its 485th birthday in full Mexican fashion, complete with a parade, a ceremony, music, dancing,
 carnival rides and traditional food and drink.

The next day we had a private tour of Fortaleza, a tequila we had discovered through Shindig and Agave Azul.  

The tour happened by chance.  We were walking along the historic/romantica walkway our first night in Tequila and were right next to Fortaleza when a car came out of the gate.  The woman driving the car rolled down her window and asked if she could help us.  We told her we loved the tequila and wanted a chance to tour the grounds and learn the history.  We were given her private card and asked to call her this morning.  Wa-la! Now we found ourselves learning the family story from Cristina Hernandez, the personal assistant of the owner, Mr. Sauza.

The tour ended with a tasting in their caves.  A very nice touch!

Now we are officially tequila savvy.

First Mate Kate

Enjoying La Cruz

For the first time since we bought the boat we have really been able to enjoy the places to which we are sailing.  That has allowed us to really get a sense of the culture, food, music and find our favorite places while honing our Spanish.

La Cruz has been a great example of this.  We spent two weeks in the anchorage and two weeks in the marina. We got to paddle with friends ( including our dolphin friends), Mike took kite surfing lessons and got up the first time he had a water lesson, we enjoyed spending time with our cruiser friends and we found it easy to live there.

Just look at how beautiful the marina is!

Friday, April 3, 2015

San Pancho

The morning began perfectly today. I have been faithful about doing my core, back and hip exercises to keep my body moving as well as possible.  Thus, I was in the cockpit doing bridges when I heard the sound of blowholes blowing.  I looked up and there were three dolphins right next to the boat!  Without hesitation, I launched my paddleboard off the side of the boat and followed the dolphins as they moved through the anchorage.  I was able to paddle with them for about 20 minutes and I was in complete heaven.  I looked up toward Pangaea and there was Mike on his board paddling toward me.  When I left the boat he was still sleeping.  Together we paddled for another hour with the dolphins.  The water was glass-like as we paddled with only a ripple of wake from the boards as we moved across the water. Absolutely a perfect beginning to our day.

Nancy and Rob on Shindig invited us to take a road trip with them to San Pancho today.  Like Sayulita, San Pancho is a little surfing village on the north Pacific.  Unlike Sayulita, it is a quiet, relatively non-touristy Mexican beach town.  It was love at first sight!

Because it was Good Friday, we were privy to a processional of the cross through town with the locals and the beginning of a mass celebration for Easter.  Semana Santa, or Holy Week is full of church services, fairs, parades, family gatherings/camping on the beach and lots of food and fun   When we arrived, locals were just beginning to establish their turf on the beach.

We sat down and enjoyed the sights!

We purchased a small menagerie of animals from local children.

We had lunch in town at a lovely restuarant with delicious food.  Nancy and I enjoyed salads and the boys had, guess what? Tacos.

After a stroll through town we headed back to La Cruz.  What an awesome day!

The day was completed with a gorgeous full moon over the anchorage and grilled octopus at the new rooftop restaurant at the marina. 


First Mate Kate