Saturday, February 18, 2017

Safe and sound @ Marina El Cid, Mazatlan....

Hi all, Just a quick note to let you know that after 48 hrs. (Exactly) we arrived in Marina El Cid... well fed, all fine... and just a tad tired (even the best of watch schedules can still leave you exhausted:-). We are on B dock, one slip away from the one we had with Shannon, and many of our old friends are here. It's nice to reconnect. We're looking forward to showing Sue and John some of our old haunts.... mañana..... after naps, dinner and more sleeps.

Hope all is well with all of you. Ttfn. CJ

PS. That's Ta ta for now. ☺️

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Weather windows.....πŸ”²

.... are not something you look through! They're something we watch for, look at, study hard, contemplate, and then make wild-ass guesses as to Mother Natures mood and intentions. Needless to say, every Capitan must make a decision at some point. My dad used to say the Captains final say (about the wind and sea conditions... and whether to slip or stay put) would usually leave them as the hero or the goat and the goat usually won. Sadly there is nothing constant about our weather patterns and the forecasts are often described as "best guesses". In fact, many subscribe to the notion of "if you don't like the forecast, just keep reading others 'till you find one you like :-).

Today's "best guess" causes us to believe we think we might have, unless things change, a two and a half day window for a crossing to Mazatlan :-). And so, without further ado, we are in the process of preparing for an early morning departure. Just wanted to let you know. SSpirit is ready and raring to go.... and the crew's in pretty good shape too. πŸƒ‍♀️πŸƒ‍♀️πŸƒ‍♀️πŸƒπŸ» Must run now, but assuming we do actually leave tomorrow... we'll be back in touch in a few days... unless of course, we change our mind and decide to do something else. 😎

For now, we wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day (yesterday) ❤️ and best wishes for you every day as your winter turns slowly into spring 🌺🌼🌻🌸

From the crew of Shannon's Spirit ⛵

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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Malecon mornings...

I walked my malecon this morning.... like I do most mornings these days. Up early, at "sparrow fart" (a term I learned years ago from a British colleague). Up even before daylight (which always arrives in a rush and catches the unawares who aren't ready for the brilliant sunshine pouring over the eastern mountain top), and a quick brush of teeth, splash of cold water to the face, and a leap into clothes set out the night before... and off I go. It's usually about 0630 hrs. when I'm leaving the boat.

I'm always surprised at the number of marina fellows, and others hoping for work, I pass as I wend my way up the dock, through the locked gates, past the office (door always open as I think the new manager practically sleeps at his desk, intent on being ready for anything), through the parking lot, past the security guard, and out through the gates. And to each one, or each small group, I offer up a "Buenos Dias" and receive the same in response along with a brilliant smile.

This "malecon" I speak of is the extended and improved sidewalk, running along the shoreline of La Paz. It runs for miles and passes by Marina Palmira on its way out of town to the furthest-most marinas and resorts. At 0630 this morning the world was a soft pink and baby blue... for real. The pavement glowed pink in response to the morning clouds....softly pink against a pale blue sky. The sea, flat like a mirror, was both pink and baby blue in its reflection of both clouds and sky. The scene was magical and made me darn glad to be alive. It also put a spring in my step as I set off along my malecon.

I call it "my" malecon... but really, I share it with many souls. Folks like me... enjoying a quiet time with our thoughts, or time shared with a like-minded walking mate, at the start of a new day. Some folks I pass (or who pass me) are new, but many are regulars and... like old friends (or at least acquaintances) who share an interest in common, we greet each other as we pass. Most of the people I see at my early hour are Mexican; a few are North American... all are pleasant. Some stick in my mind and I watch for them each morning.

There are three dog walkers who stroll my route. One, a large gruff kind of fellow, has two dogs... always off leash... one younger male, and one older female... both of unknown origin. Neither particularly care that I am there.. they go by me like a full bus. But, there are two others I look forward to seeing. One gentleman, older than me, walks two puppies... always on leash, always way more interested in everything around them than in behaving on leash, but soft and gentle in their approach and always interested to see me. I don't stop to speak with them as I don't want to interrupt their rather dubious training session. And then there's my favourite, a gorgeous pair of young afghans, one golden in colour (and a happy-to-see-me boisterous girl) and the other Black and Tan (a very refined and shy young male who hangs back and eyes me timidly... I'm still working on him). Their owner is very nice and he slows and lets me have a short visit... and then we all carry on our way.

I walk about three kilometres round trip and during that time pass many I recognize. Some are couples enjoying their walk and chat, others are business colleagues having a walking meeting, and many are individuals walking or jogging in their own little world (as created by pieces of electrical equipment stuffed in their ears). Oh, and there's the fellow on a bicycle with spread-apart handle bars. he rides into town each morning and I can hear him coming long before I see him. He wears a transistor radio tied around his neck with a string and he plays it as loud as possible... and it's always bright and cheerful Mexican music. How could I object? The music makes me want to dance while I walk.

To all these folks I say "Buenos Dias" and they reply in kind. What a great way to start each day... with the natural beauty supplied by Mother Nature and the warm greetings supplied by complete strangers.

I wish you all a good day... and warm greetings from total strangers, where ever you go. Adios. CJ

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Update... enjoying La Paz

Good morning all... Just a quick note to let you know all remains well here in lovely La Paz. Our crew are enjoying exploring the nooks and crannies of this seaside town, SSpirit is happily tucked into Dock 3 at Marina Palmira, and Kathy has left us (yesterday) to head north for a good visit with mom. The winds have calmed down for now and we look forward to them calming again when Kathy returns so we can continue our journey to the mainland. For now we shall putter on the boat, relax with our books, enjoy the social scene, and look forward to Kathy's return on the 13th.

Hope all is well with each of you... and Happy February.... spring is around the corner, isn't it?? 🌼

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Aaah the winds of change...

Change of plans that is :-). Just a quick update to let you know we took advantage of our "one day window" and returned to La Paz. It was a good decision as we are now safely tucked in to our slip at Marina Palmira and the winds are building from the north as I write. Aah, no more anchor watch for a little while. Now we will spend our time relaxing, reading, walking, visiting with friends,and chipping away on the TUDU list.

Hope all is well with all of you and that your winter weather is softening it's hold.... Adios for now. CJ

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Jan. 20, 2017: A little wind... To keep you young :-). Ensenada Grande

It's 2230 hrs (1030PM) and the swells have finally calmed down enough I can hold my old IPad on my lap... What an evening we've had. We woke (at Ensenada Raza) to a beautiful, sunny, calm day. Left right after breakfast so we could to get to our next stop early enough to have some fun exploring a bit. We were heading to Ensenada Grande as it is the closest anchorage to Los Islotes (the small rocky bits, housing a sea lion colony) about 4 nautical miles north of Isla Espiritu Santo. Swimming with sea lions is very cool and Kathy managed two dives with them when we were here last in 2012. Our goal is for the both of us to dive with them this time...

Anyway, first things first... we really enjoyed our afternoon anchorage at Ensenanda Grande. Even though the water was a wee bit cool by Mexican standards, we hardy BC types (well most of us :-) jumped in for a swim after lunch. Then Kathy took the kayak and John, Sue and I fired up Dobby the dinghy to explore our anchorage. This place is beautiful, complete with water as green as our lime green kayak (I kid you not) and beautiful geological formations all along the shore... really amazing architecture created by mother nature and her forces. Back on board it was siesta and book reading time... for a bit, and then it was happy hour which, of course, led into dinner time.

Now we're back to where my story began. When we first arrived we chose our anchoring spot very carefully. After all we'd studied numerous weather forecasts (none of which agreed) and selected a spot that would be, hopefully, fairly protected from whatever might come our way. Well, you guessed it, just as I was firing up the BBQ for the chicken portion of our meal, the wind piped up.... followed closely by an increase of swell size. Oh, I should have mentioned it was dark by then and the direction the wind came in was neither forecast nor pleasant as it put us on a lee shore. Not to be starved to death, we continued with the cooking, at one point using the ships umbrella to divert the wind away from the BBQ so it would stay lit (which it did :-). Unfortunately, by the time the chuck was cooked, the wind and waves were so strong dinner at the table was nigh impossible and folks ate as they could and where they could.

By now (about 1930 hrs) we were all thanking Kathy heartily for her prowess on the foredeck (she's in charge of discharging the anchor from where it lives, sending it to the bottom of the sea, to a precise location selected by the crew in advance and then amended by wind and current at will), and for her diligent 'setting' of the anchor, a process that requires experience and patience. As we watched two catamarans not far from us, climbing up and down the seas and worrying about their anchors, we patted Kathy on the back for 'sticking the hook' well, at the same time as we discussed the need for an anchor watch until things died down. Just to give you a sense of how it felt... on several occasions I went forward to check the anchor chain and snubber and had to crouch on the foredeck, hanging on to the pulpit with both hands as the nose of the boat..... almost...... buried itself in the each swell... Yup we were doing a pretty good imitation of a rocking horse! It wasn't too unlike parts of our journey down the coast in '11. And so it continued....

It's now 2330 hrs. I drew the first watch (2100-0000) and I'm happy to report the wind and seas have started to calm down. If they stay calm we'll be able to call off the formal anchor watches and all get some sleep. I gotta say though, there's nothing like a little unplanned chaos to draw a crew together. Hurray for good friends and sailors to boot!

Wind's down, seas quieting.... Time for bed. G'night. Zzzzzzzzzzz

Good morning... 0700 and all's well. Wind is gone, swell is comfortable, and everyone had some sleep (some still snoozing :-). Kathy and I have decided that as we both still have the tail end of our colds, and given the unsettled weather conditions, we will forgo our trip with the sea lions and save it for the next time we're by this way. Instead, once everyone's up and ready, we'll press on... either to Isla San Francisco (our personal favourite and place we really want to show Sue and John) or the fishing village (with a safe anchorage in strong winds) of San Evaristo... 9 miles further. The village also has a small restaurant so we can treat ourselves for dinner one night.

For now... We collect ourselves, tidy up the cabin and decks and have breakfast (all very civilized isn't it?). We'll slip when we're ready.....

By the way... Two things. First, I don't know when this post will actually be published as we're not in contact range for the Internet. I may try sending it over the SSB. We shall see.

Second: If any of you are interested, we are posting the ship's position as we travel (via SSB and as we change position and have radio contact) and you can check to see where we are by clicking on the "Where is Shannon's Spirit" link on the front page of the Blog.

So, that's it for now... Hope you enjoyed the story. Mañana ... CJ

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Jan. 18, 2017: SSpirit is on the move.... Ensenada Raza

Yup, we actually slipped the lines and left the big city (of La Paz:-) We've had a terrific visit with friends old and new and re-acquainted ourselves with the best restaurants in the vicinity... even enjoyed some wonderful walks. It took us five years to get back here and it's hard to believe it's time to leave already... But leave we did. At 1030 hrs this morning we headed north, took a peek into Caleta Lobos (sadly closed to cruisers now... for a good cause; protection of the coral beds and mangroves) and carried on to Ensenada Raza (hook down by 1530 hrs.) We had a lovely wee sail, a not-too-long motor sail and then a short motor to our destination. Beautiful scenery, good friends, blue sky and sunshine. What could be better?

It's just after 2200 hrs. and we're not on Internet but I'm writing this for the blog anyway. At some point the stars will align and the post will go out. It's calm so far and tomorrow may be even calmer. Tomorrow we head to Ensenada Grande which is very close to Los Islotes (where we intend to swim with the sea lions early Friday morning. Oh, that reminds me. Kathy finally got her swim with the awhile sharks (I had mine back in 2012). She went out with a small group on a tour arranged by the Whale Museum... and was in the water snorkeling with these huge, calm fish at least five times. She had a blast and came back with a big grin on her face.... another tick for the bucket list.

There's a blow predicted to start on Saturday so we will continue north and position ourselves safely for the incoming weather. This post is short... Just wanted to let you know we are well and enjoying the Sea. Hope all is well with each of you.... TTFN (tatafornow) CJ

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