We had a lovely two day visit at Isla Grande, a small island off the coast of Ixtapa, just a few miles north of Zihuat. The anchorage was a little rolly due to the pangas coming and going to take people to the white sand beaches from their resorts on the mainland. The day trippers would come and go all day, but by about 4pm we had the island mostly to ourselves. We were there with a handful of other boats, as well as SV Family Circus, the family boat we have been buddy boating with. They have 5 kids on board; 21, 13, 12, 7, and 6. I feel like an underachiever with just the three. Not only are they a great family, but the three tweens (and Porter) can hang out for hours, playing in the waves, wrestling or playing board games. The three little girls also have a great time together. We really feel fortunate that we have met them and all the kids have a playmate. We tolerate the parents so it works out (just checking to see if they read our blog, they are fantastic people and when they return to the Bay Area we hope to continue the friendship). While we love family time, and the whole reason to do this trip was to spend quality time with the kids, we are human and it is wonderful to have friends for the kids and not have to play aquatic director all day! We have shared many anchorages with Family Circus and it will be hard to leave them behind next week while we travel south. They will Puddle Jump in March and head towards the South Pacific. One of the downsides of cruising is finding other boats you really like and then going your separate ways. Mike and I still call friends some of the boats we met while cruising 14 years ago, although due to proximity, friendship usually consists of a facebook connection and Christmas card. Many fantastic couples cruised out of our lives leaving us forever with the memory of a short-lived, but fabulous visit shared in some distant anchorage. Cruisers share sailing tips, parts, mechanical expertise, they share local knowledge, commiserate over blocked toilets, clogged filters and electronic failures. During long watches, along coastlines, sometimes the only other voice you may hear is the boat several miles away telling you where the long line fisherman have left their gear or some other relevant tidbit.
Anyway, Isla Grande was nice. The coral beach kept the water clear and all the kids played for hours in the gentle waves. We crossed over to the mainland and tried boogie boarding at a popular surf spot, but the waves were too big to safely enjoy. Wrestling in the water and trying to drown the other kids seems to be the favorite activity and the rest of the afternoon was spent doing just that in the water. At dusk we all climbed in the dinghy and made our way back to our respective boats. Dinghy rides out through the breaking surf are always exciting. We’ve had landings where we got it completely right and had onlookers cheer for us, but we’ve also had landings where the timing was all wrong and we found ourselves bow into the surf and drenched. Generally the hard landings we ace, and when it is easy we get complacent and botch it.
Isla Grande was a great little island, covered in deer and rabbits, and we enjoyed our few days there before heading to the big town (relative term) of Zihuat.