Cruise to Learn – Day 4

Wednesday, November 7th


Today, Mazatlan.  We were docked by the time I got up and showered.  I had arranged to meet with Marcia and Debbie to go to Stone Island today.  I had gotten information off of the Cruise Critic message board. 

I probably should have warned the other ladies that going off on your own with me can be a bit of an adventure.  I had the directions on how to get to the water taxi, so off we went.  We followed the directions I was given – once you go through the marketplace at the pier, go out the exit that the taxi’s use and turn left.  Walk about 2- 3 blocks (actually about 4) to where the road turns to the right.  Then my directions said follow the chain link fence to the ticket booth.


When we got to this intersection we met a couple who said they had gone straight ahead down a dirt road and that was not right, so they were told to go left, but that was not right either.  Since I’d been told to go right, that is what we did.  We asked a guard at the port and he pointed the way were going and down around the corner.  We walked and walked, in the heat and finally arrived at a little building where the men outside said “yes, this is the right place, but the water is too rough here.”  This took awhile as we had very little Spanish and they had very little English.


Eventually one of the young men offered to walk us back to the other place where we would be able catch the water taxi.  We were walking along and I felt a bit bad for the other ladies because of the wild goose chase and the heat.  I was actually enjoying taking in the scenery –we walked past a school, could see some houses up on the hill, and even a bar up a very loooooong set of stairs – you would need a beer when you got up there!


After awhile we saw a couple of, well, you couldn’t call them tour buses, but they were pickups with benches in the back, full of tourists.  Our new guide stopped and talked in Spanish to the female tour guide who translated that he wanted us to know we were safe with him and he was taking us to where we could catch the water taxi to Stone Island.  I hadn’t been worried, but I thought it was very nice that he wanted to reassure us.  It turns out that she is his girlfriend – he was probably very relieved to see her.


We got back to the intersection where we had met the couple.  There was a sign painted on the wall (which was behind us when we turned the corner) pointing to the water taxi down the dirt road they had said they went down.  Now they tell us that they did not feel the boats were safe which is why they didn’t want to go there.  I’m sure the boats would have been the same at the other spot.  They are basically big row boats with motors on the back.  The locals take these taxis and it is a very short crossing to the Stone Island dock, for 15 pesos (or $1.50 for those of us with US dollars).


We crossed with about 6 locals and when we arrived they all walked across a sandy trail.  I had been told that we could be picked up by pickups with benches in the back and taken to the restaurants for $1 per person.  So we waited in the heat.  One passed us by and finally someone stopped – they told us all we had to do was walk across the same way the locals had and we would be there.  But the sign for restaurants pointed the other direction.  Oh, well, we walked across and there was a beautiful, almost deserted beach.  We started along and worked our way to the shore to put our feet in the water.  Ohhhh, that felt so good!




We went a ways down the beach and stopped at Lety’s where the proprietor got us some lounge chairs and an umbrella.  cruise-to-learn-mexico060.jpgWe put our things down and headed into the water for a much needed, cooling off, swim.  Then a little sun and a cold beer, more swimming, more sun – well you get the picture.  After awhile we decided we would get some lunch then head back to the ship kind of early.  We went inside and found a table, ordered some Margaritas (very good Margaritas), and some food.  Now you know, we are in Mexico, so there is a little wait for the food.  We started talking with some of the large group at the table next to us and found out they were crew and entertainers from the ship.  We knew we were at the right place if crew is there!


A couple of hours (and a couple of margaritas) later we headed back to the ship.  cruise-to-learn-mexico064.jpg       Water Taxi Dock on Stone Island

As we sailed off we could see the water taxi dock and even the beach we had spent the day at.  This was the highlight of my port visits and soooo worth the trouble we had finding it.  I probably shouldn’t have shared the secret in such a public place – the next time I go back it will probably be packed.


I almost forgot the resident restaurant dogs.  These are not the mangy, starving Mexican dogs I’ve seen on my previous travels.  Rocky turned down rice and tortillas – he only wanted meat – my dog at home would eat those!    Heck, my cat would probably eat the rice.  The other 2 didn’t show up until our plates were gone.  All three of us are dog owners and it was making us miss our pups.  Rocky - Mexican Restaurant Dog

One of the entertainers we were talking with was Martin who played piano in the Schooner Bar each evening.  Marcia, Debbie and I stopped in to listen for awhile.  He is very entertaining – if you are sailing on the Vision of the Seas, make sure you stop in and say hello!  And make sure you go to his tribute to Elton John – it was on Saturday night on our cruise and he was very good.  Martin - Piano Player


So that was it for another day!  Tomorrow we are in Puerto Vallarta.


Cruise to Learn – Day 3

Tuesday, November 6th


We will be arriving in Cabo San Lucas this morning.  When I wake up I can see land far off.  I don’t have a balcony on this cruise, but I could just sit on my bed for hours and stare out at the seas! I find it to be so soothing and it really renews me.


I didn’t get up for the 8:00 Nia class, but I hear later that it was wonderful.  We had been told we could use the Viking Crown lounge, but Susan did not feel the dance floor there was safe for dancing barefoot, so Alan got them moved to the Some Enchanted Evening lounge with it’s large wooden floor and windows overlooking the bow of the ship.  Everyone really seemed to love looking out at the water while doing their Nia movements.

Cabo is a short port stay.  We arrive at 10:30 and have to be back onboard by 5:30.  Since we have to tender into shore, I’ve decided to just explore on my own.  After a leisurely breakfast and about an hour in the sun, I met Joan at noon to head off the ship.  I’d been told that we could hire a water taxi to give us a tour out to Los Arcos and Lover’s Beach.  Once off the tender we saw how easy that was.  There were plenty of vendors offering water taxi’s, glass bottom boat rides, fishing excursions – pretty much anything you wanted to do that involved boats.  We were offered a 45 minute tour in a glass bottom boat for $10 each – we thought that was a fair deal so did not even bargain.  Our boat owner took us down to the dock to get on the boat (I can’t remember the name of it now).  There was another couple getting on with us.  Our boat captain was Gilberto. 


We headed out of the marina (after filling up with gas) and cruised along the coastline.  The rock formations are amazing.  I will let them speak for themselves.  (I’m having some problems with the size of my pics, so will add more later.)

Gilberto was pointing out the Dinosaur getting a Drink; the Pig; Scooby Do (he didn’t get it when our fellow boater said “Where are you, Scooby Do?”  He kept pointing it out again.  J  ), and other formations.

drinking-dinosaur.jpg     pig-rock-formation.jpg

He stopped the boat at one spot where the fish wait for the boats, gave us some bread to feed them.  They were pretty amazing.  If you threw a piece around 8 feet from the boat they would actually jump out of the water to grab it. 

We passed the beautiful Lover’s Beach.  He pointed out a cave and told us that “2 go in and 3 come out”.  The water was starting to get a bit rough by this time.  I was trying to get some pictures of the water coming over the rocks and splashing high up, it almost looked like a waterfall.  I really had to just hold the camera up and hope for the best.  I ended up with some pictures of the inside of the boat – I won’t share those here. 

Gilberto tried to get us close to shore to see the sea lions when a big wave hit us.  It was a bit scary, but I figure we got a free roller coaster ride along with the price of the boat ride.  We moved out a bit from shore and went around the point.  When we came back it had calmed down a bit and we were able to get close enough for these pics.  We couldn’t figure out how the big guy got on top of that rock – there was another sea lion at the bottom who didn’t seem to be able to figure it out either.

sea-lion.jpg      sea-lion-king-of-the-rock.jpg

I also enjoyed seeing the pelicans.  I don’t know what it is about them – maybe just the fact I don’t see them here in Seattle, but I find them fascinating. 

When we came back in we had Gilberto drop us at a different spot so we were closer to the shops and restaurants.  We walked around town a bit and checked out a few shops.  It was getting pretty hot so we decided to head back towards the ship and stop for a drink.  Of course, I don’t remember the name of the place we stopped at.  It was on a corner and there were a couple of guys with Iguanas letting people take pictures.  Someone probably knows the name.  Usually when I travel I keep very good notes, I don’t know what I was thinking this time.  I really needed this to be a vacation as well as business, so I guess I turned my brain off when I was off the ship.  It did have a very nice view across the marina.

I’m not much for having Iguana’s sitting on my head, but Joan was up for it.  I want to post the pics, but am still having trouble with the sizing – I will try to add them later.

Joan with Iguanas 

We got back on board just in time.  As I mentioned the water was pretty rough this afternoon and some of the later tenders had to back away from the ship and wait for the water to calm down.  Eventually everyone was back on board and we enjoyed the sunset as we sailed away.

I think the show tonight for late dining was at 7:00.  I don’t really like this, I really prefer going to dinner and then the show, but since this was one of the big production shows I went.  It was Boogie Wonderland.  I’m always impressed with the level of talent on these ships, as well as how they can dance with the movement of the ship.  This was a very fun and upbeat show.

 (I forgot to mention that I went to the comedy show the night before.  The headliner was Troy Thirdgill who was very funny, and clean at that.  I had met him in the Schooner Bar the night before and he was a very nice person as well.  I saw him leaving in Cabo – off to join a ship with a stop in Aruba, his job is almost as tough as mine – and he stopped to say goodbye. It is very refreshing to see someone that talented who is also that nice.) 

Our dinner table was a lot of fun every night.  Our waiter Anthony, and assistant waiter Luke took great care of us.   It was great getting to know my table mates.  And I really liked that everyone came to dinner every night (with only 2 exceptions throughout the week and they had very good reasons).  It was fun sharing what each person had done that day.  A couple of the people at our table had gone to Cabo Wabo and Sammy Hagar was there and performed – that would have been great to see!

I think I retired shortly after dinner this night.  I usually keep a journal when I travel – I keep track of what was for dinner, what I had, and what I did throughout the day.  I wish I had this time – I feel like I’m missing important details.  Maybe my fellow cruisers will come along and fill in for me.