Back to Lusty Land

Posted:  April 23, 2024
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AKA La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

The wind was the first thing to greet us as we sailed into Banderas Bay, putting the swell on our stern and propelling us towards La Cruz. Anticipating the afternoon winds, we had reefed or sails prior to rounding Punta de Mita, and were pleased to see that our predictions were confirmed. Dolphins danced in the waves, serving as our second welcoming committee, while whales breached a few miles off our beam. It wasn’t long before we spotted our friend Reid aboard SV I’mua, anchored just outside the breakwall of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle where Peter, Kendall, Dakota, and Mitzon waved to us. With our hook set in what we nicknamed “hells anchorage” we launched Winglet and made our way to shore where we reunited with Peter and retraced our steps from the season prior leading us to what was once the Green Tomato bar, but is now Lusty on Land. 

Marissa Neely's feet

sailing to La Cruz

You may remember our beloved friends Max and Karen (who are truly more like family). They were once the crew of SV Lusty, but have since sold their boat and laid down some roots in La Cruz, keeping themselves busy with managing the local watering hole. It seemed only fitting that they take the vibe they created aboard Lusty and transfer it to land, thus the name Lusty on Land (LoL) was born. Chris and I had been watching their progress on social media unfold for months, looking forward to the very moment we could walk under the LoL sign, up the stairs and celebrate all that our friends have managed to create.

The bar was buzzing with people enjoying the music, dancing, drinks and food creating an undeniably cool vibe. Even in a crowded room, Karen’s glow was hard to miss. She was hustling around with drinks and taking orders, but when she saw us she stopped what she was doing to come in for a BIG hug. We sent a photo to Max who was hiding at home while feeling under the weather, but moments later he appeared to welcome us back. Finally back together, we drank, danced, sang and marinated in the love that surrounded us… or maybe that was just the feeling of being #Lustied. It was truly the best home coming.

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Beachin’ at Bucerias 

For a year, we’d been dreaming of this moment: sitting down at the best birria place in Banderas Bay, enjoying tacos dorados con queso with Max and Karen, at the very table where, a year ago, we unknowingly became a family. However, instead of Jay and Kenna from Sitka joining us (who were enroute to Chiapas) we had the pleasure of sharing this culinary treasure with Reid, Peter and Kendall. Finally, we could introduce our friends to the mouthwatering delight that originated in the very Mexican state we resided in, after having raved about it and compared it to every other birria joint north of Nayarit. Following their first bites, they fully grasped why we’d been so adamant, and our devotion to exceptional tacos was validated. Afterall, life is too short for bad birria. 

Chris tried his best to beat his personal record of eating 7 birria tacos, but fell short by two. We were still dragging from our homecoming spent dancing the night away at the bar, but with phase one of the lusty-induced-hangover-cure out of the way, we could move onto phase 2: hanging out on the beach. Chris and I were still pinching ourselves with every sandy step to make sure we weren’t dreaming. We watched the waves crash on the shore as we walked to find a suitable palapa to order come carajillo’s from. It took Peter .5 seconds to jump in the water, becoming one with the sea, while the rest of us sat under an umbrella and spectated. 

My favorite guys

Like a Boomerang

Almost as soon as we got to La Cruz I was on a flight back to California to compete in the Cali Pass Banked Slalom at our home mountain China Peak. It was a very long day of travel with a handful of delays, but fortunately my best friend and lovely assistant Kris was able to snag me from the Fresno airport at midnight, and got bonus points for bringing me Raising Cane’s Chicken with a sweet tea – my hero!

It had been SEVEN years since I last competed in any type of snowboard competition, so I was stoked to win a bit of prize money and place behind Olympian Jenise Spiteri and fellow Sierra Nevada College Alumna Nelly Steinhoff. Kris and my brother in law Jon captured some great photos and videos from the event and I am still very proud of how well I did considering I was not as conditioned as the other women, and had just hopped off the plane from Mexico. I am so grateful that I am able to have these experiences that remind me why I work so hard. 

While home I got to check up on Runaground Ranch and our sweet land cat Mikey who ran right to me when I called for him. Kris and I doted on him for hours while working outside on the deck, listening to the frogs and crickets. He left to return home to SLO for his real job and music making while I was left in the custody of my friends Anna and Ashlynn for a girls night at the local watering holes where I made sure to keep up my Lusty-level-tolerance. Challenge accepted. After a night of girl talk and saying goodbye, Jon and Shannon drove me down to our friend Clarkes house the following evening where we hung out until I caught an Uber to the airport for my midnight flight back home. 


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A post shared by SAILING • AVOCET ⛵️ (@svavocet)

May favorite cider of all time

Back In Banderas 

Another grueling two days of travel finally concluded the moment I landed in Puerto Vallarta. The leggings and hoodie that kept me cozy in California quickly became unbearable in the Mexican heat, prompting a swift change into the lighter clothes I’d requested Chris to bring with him to pick me up. Arriving home felt like a minor victory, marked by the joy of reunion and another memorable homecoming with my salty friends at none other than Lusty on Land. 

It’s been a blast cheering on our friends’ successes while indulging in the perks.. Such as dancing up a storm and sampling tantalizing new menu offerings. If you find yourself in Banderas Bay, be sure to pay a visit to Lusty on Land and mention that the Avocet crew sent you!

Sending love,




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