Sunday, November 19, 2017

El Cid Marina, aaaah

Hola amigos y amigas... yes, we have moved. As much as we like Marina Mazatlan, the construction, the dust, the extremely loud restaurant music, the lack of a breeze, and the lack of shore-side 'facilities' as a result of the construction... have forced us to look to El Cid for rescue. And, as you already know, we love El Cid. While the music can be loud, the beautifully landscaped grounds, pools and restaurants, and friendly staff.. make up for it. So, SSpirit rests comfortably between two friends (Cuba Libre and Full and By) on B dock. It s not quite the same without Dolphin Tales being here (they went home last year) but we'll get by :-)

Life in Mazatlan hasn't changed too much. Pedestrians are still mistaken for red cones on a driver training range (to be used as pylons for interpretive driving practise) and traffic control lights...aren't. If I hadn't been told that flies spit when they land on something (thanks Dennis :-) I might have been able to get used to them. But now... well that's what I think of when I see them settling on the rim of my glass. I'm sure I'll get over it... I hope.

And/but, the people are still delightful. It's pretty neat to actually be remembered by folks... and they're still smiling at us and glad to see us. The sun is shining (a lot) the birds are singing and the flowers are in bloom. They say the humidity should calm down soon (I can only hope...).

That's all for today. Know we are well and moored in a good place amongst friends. We hope all is well with each of you... adios for now. CJ


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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wed. Nov. 15th 80 degrees 93% humidity... at 0930

We had a great day today. Up, relatively early, and at the boat by 0803 (just in time for the morning radio net). We worked through the morning... Rafa (our favourite Mazatlan mechanic) arrived at 0930 to service the engine. That went well, even though he discovered the start of a crack in our exhaust hose (which I would have likely missed on my own). The replacement hose is now on order. I really like Rafa. He's not only a good mechanic (studied four years in the US), but he also speaks more English than I speak Spanish, he doesn't mind answering my questions, and he even laughs at my sense of humour. So engine is ready (hose is on order) and we're good to leave the dock on Saturday early o'clock... and move all the way up to Marina El Cid 🙂.

We dragged ourselves through the heat-induced haze of mid-afternoon and then took the 'White' bus (more about that another time) back to the bungalow, where we cooled down and cleaned up. What I want to tell you about is our evening.

After cooling down as much as possible, we dressed (as well as you can having brought very few clothes cuz the majority are still squished into blue bins on the boat, waiting to be unleashed and stowed properly). Then we donned beach-walking sandals and wandered down the beach, into the setting sun, to Tony's restaurant. We have been here each time we've visited Mazatlan and had time to do so. Today was our third visit. There are three Tony's there... but papa Tony (our server) is our favourite and why we keep coming back... well, that and the delicious mango prawns, oh, and the 3/4 price margueritas, and... after a scrumptious meal.. tonight, Tony brought us each a Bailey's and cream -on the house. It was a wonderful meal, made all the more enjoyable by the scene unfolding before us as we watched the sun sink over the nearby island.

The table we chose was right up at the shore-side wall and enjoyed an unobstructed view of the water, horizon and nearby islands. Sue and John, if you're reading this, the location is just south of where we came into Maz after crossing from La Paz. You'll also remember the fish boats... the shrimpers. Well, as we sat watching the sun sink below the horizon, we watched two shrimpers, all lit up, making their way along the shore and into the deeper waters just north of us. I couldn't help remembering the morning we approached Mazatlan, after a 48 hour crossing from the Baja. We were all up for the arrival, particularly given the 'more than 12' shrimpers we had to approach and meander our way through to reach our destination. By day they are typical, rusty-looking, rattle trap fish boats. By night, they became mystical creatures worthy of a spooky Walt Disney film.. lit up with draping film over extending arms... moving slowly, yet erratically, and often crossing our path without warning. We made it through and arrived at Mazatlan safely. Tonight we enjoyed both the view and the memories.

I hope your view and your memories are warming you tonight. Stay well... and live every day.

Adios for now. CJ



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Monday, November 13, 2017

Safely settled in Mazatlan

Hallelujah, we are here! Indeed... It actually feels kind of strange; first time (ever) that we have started our season by flying down. Five hours flight vs. two week drive. There are definitely differences, some good and some less good :-). For instance, we left in 5 degrees and arrived in 32 degrees with 75% humidity. Now that doesn't sound too bad, given all of our previous experiences arriving in early October. BUT without the two weeks of warming our blood up and getting used to warmer temps.... it knocked the stuffing right out of our legs.. or almost.

Suffice to say we are here, have arrived safely, cleared Customs without a hitch (yes, those magical lists of contents managed to assuage the Customs Officer's worst fears and, after a cursory paw-through the first box contents and CJ's running commentary about Canadiense Valero .. all going back to Canada, personal clothing, basic maintenance... etc) he waved the rest of our luggage through and we were officially welcomed to Mexico.

We were well received at the Mar Sol Bungalows, our home for the first week (at least where we will rest our heads at the end of each sufferingly hot day). They are a short, jouncey (that must be a word) 11peso bus ride to the Marina entrance, and they are across the street from the Pueblo Bonito Hotel which has a nice, walkable beach.. in case it cools down enough to actually want to walk along hot sand. For now we must reserve the early, and cooler, hours for getting to the boat and getting some work done before the heat slows us down to a snails pace.

As for SSpirit? She s doing great so far. Beto had cleaned her off and waxed and polished Hull, decks and stainless steel... saving us a week of labour and it was very nice arriving to a boat all uncovered and cleaned up. Unfortunately the marina's washroom facilities are still under renovation and won t be ready any time soon. Just a little more motivation to tidy things up and move out to Marina El Cid before taking off. We hope to set that up and be ready for Friday.

For now, we slather sunscreen, sweat a lot, drink a lot of water, and carry on. No problemo :-)

We also hope all is well with each of you. Stay warm and cozy... adios for now. CJ

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Thursday, November 9, 2017

It's time...

How does the song go?  "Our bags are packed, we're ready to go..."  Wow. Here it is early o'clock on the day we're leaving (cooling rapidly) BC and heading south to (really hot) Mazalan. Yet another whirlwind has whisked us through our summer months at home. This year we had two months longer than normal which was fantastic. We've had more time to see to home projects, visit with friends and family, and generally relax into a more domestic scene. Heck, we even had time to take in a movie and go for a few hikes. Kathy and our friend Holly actually took on a section of the Juan de Fuca trail and there's talk of doing more next year. For those of you who are wondering, I can assure you almost every spare hour was spent on a little project about the history of women in the VPD. Yes, I'm pleased to report there is an end in sight.

Before I go further, let me take a moment to ask you to pause... and to think about the service our First Responders provide us.  Men and women who, without hesitation, step forward to protect us and to help provide us with a better world to live in.  They go to work every day... every day, knowing they may not come home at the end of their shift.  We all watch TV and we all watch the 'doings' south of our border and in the rest of the world... and, I think, we become somewhat numb to the horrors of the violence our species can unleash. But that doesn't make it right, and it doesn't make it OK.  There is no place for violence in our world and we must never step back from the challenge of defining it and ending it.  Members of the law enforcement family lost a brother this week.  Constable John Davidson of the Abbotsford Police Department was a long serving police officer both here and in the UK.  He was married and raised a family while serving his communities.  He was loved by all who knew him.  He was a good man and he did not deserve to have the rest of his life snatched away from him.  Law enforcement officers in BC and across Canada, are in a state of shock and steeped in grief. This kind of violence is not supposed to happen in Canada and even though we train for it every day... John's death has rocked the policing family to it's very roots.  Our serving members will recover; they always do.  But the scars from this week will not fade, nor will the resolve to continue to serve and to continue to protect you and I from violent and mentally unbalanced human beings who live within our communities.  Please remember John Davidson and his family in your prayers.  And please be safe out there.

We lock the door and walk away from our home this morning, and we head to Sidney where my sister will be putting up with us... er I mean putting us up... for the afternoon and over-night. Then, at sparrow-fart, early o'clock, whatever you want to call it, we'll be up, coffee'd and out the door to a large taxi (yes we have a lot of gear; two suitcases, two carry-ons and two rather large cardboard boxes filled with... stuff for the boat of course).  Our flight leaves at 0630 and takes us all the way to Vancouver where we switch planes and head south directly to Maz.  We'll be bunking in to our favourite bungalows a few blocks from the marina.  We'll be down to the boat on Saturday morning, bright and early (before the temperature soars to 90) to open up SSpirit and see how she's doing.  We'll let you know what we find.

For now, know we are packed and ready; just have to water the plants and disconnect the car battery. Poor Rikki and Lucy sit in the driveway shivering.. wondering why on earth they aren't already in Yuma like previous years. And, yes, I admit it.  We're looking forward to our winter in the Sea.  We have big plans for all the places and people we hope to see. But, as always, we acknowledge our plans are still ... written in sand, below high water mark... we will see what we will see.

We were able to catch up with quite a few folks this summer.  For those of you we missed, please know we were thinking of you.. just ran out of time.  Our thoughts are also with our friends and their friends who were victims of the terrible forest fires this past year.  And, we are also growing more and more concerned about the state of our oceans, particularly our own Georgia Straight and our resident Orca population.  I'll write more about that later.

We hope you are all well, safe and warm.  Take good care.  I'll write again once we're in Mazatlan and settled in.  Adios for now me amigas y amigos.     CJ


Monday, October 9, 2017

Welllll, here we are... October 9th, 2017.  How is it that, as we get older, the years fly by faster?  It'd be fair to say, I've never experienced this kind of time-travel before!  But, none-the-less and n'er the more... here we are.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING everyone.  We truly hope all your dreams are coming true (or at least taking shape), that all your wishes DO come true, and that you are able to keep living each day as the new marvel it is.

We, Kathy and I, have had a wonderful summer... filled with friends, old and new, and time to visit family.  The extra two months have really helped us to better enjoy our new home and the wonderful location we chose to set down our roots.  We are, of course, now in the planning stages for our return to Mexico.  It will be different... this year being our last season in the Sea.  And/but we will do the best we can to enjoy every minute, before returning our little ship home on a freighter... sometime early next summer.

As well....  having finished 'the fence'.... 'the book' is finally taking shape.  Women in Blue is actually starting to look like something a reader, or lover of history, or supporter of women in policing.. might actually like to read one day.  Stay tuned for more on that front.

For now, know we are thinking of you and all the folks in our life.. and wishing you the very best on this Monday, Oct. 9th, our Canadian Thanksgiving Day.

We will check in again once we're closer to arriving in Mexico.. let you know how the airplane trip (with two duffle bags, two computer bags, and two cardboard boxes :-) went.  SSpirit is apparently well and waiting patiently for our return.

Bye for now.. enjoy your turkey dinner... and stay well.

CJ and Kathy

Monday, July 31, 2017

Half way through the summer already... yikes!!


​Why is it that, even though the tudu list gets shorter... the days don't get any longer, at least with time for play?  ​I guess the alternative (death by boredom) isn't so pleasant. In fact the days are racing by and it's hard to believe tomorrow is August 1st.  Yikes!  

The neat thing for us is that, for the first time since 2011
​,​
we aren't already engaged in planning a September departure to begin our drive south.  Oh yes, we're still going.. but things are different this year. We have made that 'hard' decision to bring SSpirit (SV Shannon's Spirit) home next summer, after one final season in the Sea of Cortez. It's been difficult to figure out exactly when to come home. As Kathy pointed out a few days ago, if we'd done what so many others did... and headed out into the South Pacific after arriving in Mexico... we'd have been home two years ago. Instead, we stalled in the Sea and have enjoyed every opportunity possible to explore her beautiful shoreline
​s​
and people.  But now, realizing there will never be a day we can say "
​O​
k, enough, we've seen it all... time to go home", we have decided it is indeed time to head ourselves back to the sailing grounds of beautiful British Columbia... while they still exist and we're still young enough to enjoy adventures here. What this means is that we'll be flying down this year (carting the gear we think we need with us) directly to Mazatlan and SSpirit; 5 or so hours vs. 14 days....  quite a difference.  And, we won't be leaving until the first week of November.. another huge change.  We have, in fact, two full months longer here at home... and it's been pretty nice to know that; more relaxing having time with family, friends, and home-based adventures... something I confess we had been missing.  Our cruising plans for this final season include sailing south down the mainland coast, as far as we can for Christmas, and then heading back north and across to La Paz.  We'll spend the early spring months up in the Baja, gunkholing amongst the beautifu
​l​
anchorages there and then we'll return to La Paz for preparation to ship SSpirit home. All plans written, of course, below high water and in the sand.

Here at home, our hearts go out to our friends, and their friends, caught up with the BC wild fires; absolutely horrible, desvastating and terrifying. We've been in contact with many and they seem to be coping, although the threats continue and will do so for some time yet.  It's not even August (until tomorrow).  We all have our fingers crossed for their personal safety and their homes.

For those of you who have been wondering how the fence project is going...
​it's finally done and​
we've enclosed a couple photos.  I must say the learning curve was pretty steep and the hours (spread over 2 1/2 months) seemed pretty long, but it's very satisfying to look outside and see the fence upright and lookin' good.  Sure there are a few warts, and I know where they are :-) but over-all we're very content with the results of our labour.

So finally, I just wanted to check in and say howdy... to all of you who follow our (mostly winter months) Blog and thank you for doing so.  As a bit of a writer (yes, I do have a couple projects underway) it's always heart-warming to know your work is enjoyed by readers... so thanks for being there.

We hope you are enjoying this summer... with your friends and family, and that all is well with each of you.  Take good care.  We'll write again when there's something to say.. likely towards the time we're heading south.
​  Adios amigos y amigas.... until we write again.  CJ​


Friday, June 9, 2017

A cruisers holiday...


​Now you may wonder what cruisers do when they're not cruising....  Well, first they get home one way or another.  We have, for six years, been driving.  A delightful, adventuresome, ​sometimes exciting, always challenging... way to travel from Mexico, through the US (aka tr__p (dare I say the word) ville) and back into Canada.


BUT, what do we do when we're not outfitting, refitting and over-fitting, our little boats?  What do we do to fill that time between Nirvana and preparing for Nirvana?  Well....  take a look.  Yup, we're building a fence.  Not just any fence, but a 6', yellow cedar fence... enough fence to keep the deer, the rabbits, the dogs, the kids (well, you know....), and any other creature not properly invited... out.  Oh, and it's replacing the falling down edition that was ready for retirement.

For now; we build.  In a month; we celebrate.  I must say though, building this fence is kind of a zen like experience.  Because of the never-ending slope to the back yard... one must first measure, then cut (chop-saw queen here), then place, make perfectly perpendicular using the level (that's a Capricorn thing), then measure and mark for drilling, then drill, then screw.... then repeat, and repeat, and repeat.  As in the Amazing Race... once we've "completed this task 457 times" we will have a new fence.  

As well..... we are really enjoying being home.  Time with family, time with friends.. and time for other projects...  yup,  we're likin' it :-)

Hope you are having a good early summer too.  And, hope your fences are all standing.  CJ