Bucerias is a town on Bahia Banderas about an hour by local bus north of Puerto Vallarta and about 15 minutes (on the return bus) east of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. It is a great location for good restaurant dining (Karen's Place, Encore and Sandrina's are only a few of our favorites) and a good place to shop for quality tourist clothing and tchatchke. There are some nice little hotels in town and it looks like a great place to spend a couple of low key months in the winter if you want to enjoy the bay without the bustle of Puerto Vallarta.
On January 24 every year there is a gathering in Bucerias for either the "blessing of the fleet" or "blessing of the fish", depending on who you talk to. Whatever they are blessing, it's a tradition for the local small boat fishing fleet and a fun day that should not be missed if you are in the area on January 24.
We did not see anyone blessing anything, actually. Somewhere in the crowd on the beach we assume there was a priest - but we never saw him. What we saw looked more like "crazed panga drivers with balloons".
Our viewing stand was a table at a shore-side restaurant which, fortunately for us, our friends John and Gilly Foy (S/v Destiny) had grabbed earlier in the day. As we were wandering through the gathering crowd looking for a place to watch the festivities they called out to us and invited us to join them. Lunch was well prepared standard beach fare (fish, shrimp, limonadas, etc.) and the company was great fun.
|Gilly and Jon Heading To See the Chaos|
As we were finishing our meal we saw the fleet approaching the shore from La Cruz.
|Like An Approaching Nautical Circus|
The pangas were brightly decorated with balloons and streamers and palm fronds -- and chocked full of fishermen's families.
|Parade Floats On The Sea|
|The Blessed (Unless Of Course It Was The Fish . . . )|
The pangas approached shore and began jockeying for position. On occasion one of them would receive some kind of "go now" signal and would rev up and rush to shore at ramming speed.
|Ramming Speed, Caaptan!|
Apparently there was a cleared zone for the boats to run up onto the beach because as they disappeared in the crowd, there was some scattering - but no wailing or ambulance sirens or other evidence of disaster.
It was a wild show, a great day at the beach and we think notwithstanding who the blessing is for -- we were the ones that were "blessed" to see the whole event!