We bid farewell to the azure waters and to Ayala, hauling out for the summer at Opequimar boatyard. It was a whirlwind adventure, filled with mixed feelings, plenty of sun-soaked days, and a couple of tough decisions. And so much sweat.

Opequimar boatyard seems like a really safe choice for hurricane season. The yard was in great condition and the teams were knowledgeable. It was a bit pricier than we’d typically prefer, but it’s our first hurricane season in Mexico, and we wanted Ayala to be totally squared away without having to sail all the way to the tip of Baja to avoid trouble. It’s always a gamble, but we just wanted the best odds we could manage. The yard was happy to talk to us about hurricane prep, but did not even recommend we take off our sails – it’s apparently just so rare. Last-minute, we decided to hire Arturo Ramos & Family to paint Ayala, hull and deck, while we were away. It was scary, with recent memories of terrible yards and contractors, but it was time to get the job done. Our poor cockpit had started absorbing the colors from our clothing if you sweat in one place for too long. We decided to go with cream instead of pure white, I’m really excited for the added softness and hope it looks great!

But before we kissed our boat goodbye, we decided to soak up some of the vibrant culture and breathtaking sights of Puerto Vallarta. Thanks to the welcome LGBT tourism, there’s fantastic fashion everywhere, especially for men. We got some really, really cool shoes for Charles that look like azul tiles. We walked, we talked, we beached, we arted, and we souvenired.

Now, here’s where the real adventure begins. We rolled up our sleeves and went to work packing the boat. We had a clear mission – offload as much as we could and send it off to join the ranks of our shoreside stash. In the end, we shipped over 60 kilos of stuff that we wouldn’t need anytime soon. About half of it was winter clothing, along with some bed sheets, and a few extra pairs of shoes that had overstayed their welcome on the boat. When we left California, we were packed for an arctic winter.

With our boat partially decluttered, we made our way to a hotel close to the airport. I kid you not – it was walking distance! The place, fittingly called “One Puerto Vallarta Aeropuerto,” was spotless, and they had a breakfast buffet that would put other buffets to shame. It was a breakfast lover’s paradise. We knew we were in for a good day every morning and it gave us plenty of energy to work until we sweat so much that we found ourselves accidentally slipping in our own sweat pooled on Ayala’s floor. Sheesh it was hot.

Now, here’s where we faced the toughest choice of all – our bicycles. We’d had some amazing adventures on them, but it was time to part ways. We decided to take them off the boat and leave them with family for the upcoming season. Truth be told, we weren’t using them as much as we’d hoped, especially with all those beach landings. They were like old friends, and it was a bittersweet farewell, but we were also secretly thrilled to regain the space they’d gobbled up. Thankfully, they were easy to get on the plane (packed down into cardboard bike boxes we got from a local bike store) and only cost $30 each to fly with us.

We hopped on the plane and prepared ourselves for a quick turnaround to white water rafting with one of our best friends. Hopefully we get to relax before we’re next setting sail – or maybe hopefully it’s just all adventure on the horizon!