“People in Puerto Vallarta truly feel they need to help one another, and get involved”
Camelia Balan’s love affair with Banderas Bay
is classic love-at-first- sight material. It was 2000 when she packed her bags back home in Bucharest, Romania, to visit her sister, who had been living here for some time. Like many before her, Camelia fell in love with all things Mexico, from its food and nature to its warm, welcoming people, and never left.
Unfamiliar with Spanish or English, she joined her sister, who was already working for a canvas specialty company, and quickly learned the specialized nautical canvas trade. Together, they launched Full Sail Canvas shortly thereafter. One year after starting the company, Camelia’s sister decided to move to France, leaving her at the helm of the operation. Now in its 12th year, Full Sail Canvas provides the nautical community with a broad variety of products and services, including dodgers and biminis, sun and rain protection, upholstery and steam cleaning for all types of vessels.
“Sometimes jobs are simple, and sometimes they’re not,” she comments when asked about her favorite projects. “We usually have to work fast, as yachts come and go and frequently do not spend a lot of time at any given marina.” An anecdote involving a mega-yacht docked at Paradise Village Marina comes to mind. “We had just completed a series of sun covers for them. About an hour prior to departing, the captain asked for an additional project. Unwilling to say no, we dashed to our shop, created the final cover and literally ran to deliver it while the yacht was already in motion.”
Seamlessly juggling her professional and home life—she’s the mother of a darling five-year-old daughter—can be challenging at times. But thanks to her organizational skills and self-discipline, not to mention two excellent employees, Camelia finds enough time to nurture those around her while keeping her customers happy. “Good word of mouth is essential to our success,” she muses.
Camelia is quick to notice how life has changed for Banderas Bay nautical enthusiasts, for the better. “People here truly feel they want and need to help one another and get involved in all kinds of community-minded projects. Plus, the number and variety of water-related activities in the bay are definitely on the rise.” Much of her spare time is devoted to Bible studies, something that, in her own words, “gives me the love, patience and compassion” to be the best person she can be, at home and at work.