Of all the things to worry about prior to setting sail in October, I was most worried about Christmas. Not the gifts or decorating or any of that stuff. I was worried that something would prevent Austin from spending Christmas with us. All that stress left on December 14th when Austin and his girlfriend Nicki pulled up in the taxi. We tried different options to bring Oakley, but in the end she stayed in Austin’s apartment in Arizona with her friends Jake (human friend) and Kali (furry friend).

We decided to spend their first six days at Paradise Village Marina where we get all the amenities of the resort so they could relax by the pool and beach after the stresses of fall semester. I know, spoiled! One afternoon we wondered around Puerto Vallarta and had an awesome dinner at Barcelona Tapas high on a hill overlooking the bay and city. If you have never done a tapas menu, I highly recommend it. Would definitely go back. Gary and I had the chance to wonder through the residential streets away from the tourist section. The architecture is amazing.

Residential area of Puerto Vallarta

Residential area of Puerto Vallarta

Despite the warnings of crocodiles in the waterways in and around Paradise Village, Austin got out on the paddle board. That shows confidence in your skills! Of course, Gary, Nicki and I were in the dingy not too far off LOL.

On December 20th, we left the resort area and headed over to La Cruz further north in Banderas Bay to spend Christmas. This is a quiet fishing town and while there were no pools, we had two beaches to swim in along with great places to paddle board and use the dingy. Two juvenile dolphins took up residence at the end of our dock so Austin and Nicki got to play with them while on the paddle board.

Off to the beach on the paddle board

Off to the beach on the paddle board

We spent one day out in the bay and were treated to many whale sightings. We were really excited Austin got to experience that from the boat. We anchored off Punta Mita, and since it was too rough to take the dingy to shore, Austin and Nicki swam in for lunch. Once they got near shore they discovered why no one else was swimming. The water and beach were all rocks. Glad Gary and I sat that one out on the boat! We know that Austin likes to haggle so we took them to Bucerias where he ‘negotiated’ the price on a blanket for his apartment.

Bucerias

Bucerias

Beach bar in Bucerias

Beach bar in Bucerias

Austin and Nicki in Bucerias

Austin and Nicki in Bucerias

A trip to the beach town of Sayulita was another fun day. On a previous trip we had discovered a great place for street tacos so of course we had to take Austin there. This was also makeup for the worst tacos ever. We heard that Charlie’s Place in La Cruz had an all you can eat Taco Bar on Tuesdays. It is really hard to screw up tacos but they sure did. Laid out on a card table with gringo hamburger meat and a few condiments. Need I say more!

And all too soon fifteen days passed and Austin was back in chilly Arizona with Oakley.

Oakley wrapped up in the blanket Austin bought

Oakley wrapped up in the blanket Austin bought

We tried to take them out to breakfast on their last day but when we got to the Octopuses Garden they let us know the cooking staff did not show up for work LOL. We sat down to have pastries and coffee and then the electricity went out. I watched them brew the coffee by pouring hot water through the filter of a Mr Coffee maker. It worked. We then headed back to the boat where Gary made us all breakfast.

Gary and I feel lucky to be able to follow this crazy dream and to have a great son who gets it. We are grateful to those of you who choose to follow our adventures. I don’t know yet where this year will take us, but I hope we can keep the blog entertaining.

We wish you all a New Year full of joy and happiness.
Gary and Cindy

Christmas Eve antipasta

Christmas Eve appetizers

Our Christmas picture 2014

Our Christmas picture 2014

Their last night

Their last night