Wednesday, May 23, 2018

SSpirit - a new country... a new life

​So much to tell you... so little time.  We've been dashing about, trying to prepare our home and gardens to be abandoned yet again; all those things you usually do over two months, we're trying to do in 5 days.  I'm happy to report the freighter MV AAL Singapore (the green freighter in the photo) is docking as I write in Nanaimo harbour.  She has a whole lot of sticks poking up off her deck.... one of them is SSpirit.  

It's been a long, complex, frustrating haul... but I can assure you we are very excited to be home and to have the boat arriving in Canada as well.  ​Even Customs has been good to us; clearing us without hesitation thanks, no doubt, to the professional services of our Boat Broker (Simon of King Brothers in Victoria).

We attend to the dock tomorrow and, after boarding the freighter in order to climb to SSpirit's deck and detach her back-stay, we will be shipped around to the 'wet' side to receive her as she is unloaded. All going well (and the engine starts) we'll then head to Nanaimo Yacht Club with fingers crossed they'll have room for us (reciprocal yacht club has it's good points) for a few days of cleaning, unwrapping, and preparing SSpirit for her  journey south to her new home.

Yes, we are excited.  Will share photos and tales with you later.  Hope all is well with each of you. Adios for now. CJ

Photo credits go to Brian & Leslie of SV Ubiquity, a beautiful 34' who will unload one boat ahead of us.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Busy times...

It's been a little busy around here... time for a catch up. As you know we were planning on shipping SSpirit home on a freighter in June; and we've been here in La Paz getting the boat ready for her trip so we could leave her in the care of friends and get ourselves home before the end of May. Well... didn't we get offered space for SSpirit on an earlier freighter... and didn't we say YES!! Getting the boat home in time for a decent summer of cruising in beautiful BC and having the opportunity to get on with our new life (living in one country), and getting to see our family and friends even sooner.... almost too good to be true. You bet we said yes! And so, we picked up the pace, which is why you haven't heard much from us. It's a busy time down here what with physical preparations, Mexican officialdom, and never-ending paperwork. But we're getting through it and will be ready on time. More good news is Kathy has had the opportunity to slip away for a few days on a wee expedition with a group of scientists. She's out there right now observing (and learning) some local scientists who are studying whale sharks, sharks and rays... awesome opportunity! She will tell you all about it later.

So bottom line... we'll be home on the 13th and SSpirit will be around (at least in Victoria) hopefully by the 19th. Pretty awesome, hey. Will write more once we're home and a bit better rested. Hope all is well with each of you. Adios for now. CJ

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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Marina Palmira, Slip 335 ... 1630 hrs.

This is just a short note... to let those of you with vivid imaginations (sometimes egged on by my comments, I admit) know we are safely alongside slip 335 at Marina Palmira. This will be our last 'docking' here in Mexico and we're happy to report we came smoothly alongside without any hysterics whatsoever. Boaters know of what we speak. The rest of you just have to guess :-)

Yes, we have many stories to tell. We did indeed have a magnificent 'last spin' in the Sea of Cortez. We visited old favourites (people and anchorages) and met new ones (of both). We even took a few photos... so, stay tuned.

Will write about our last season when time allows. For now, we are trying to adjust to the massive heat (for us) that is La Paz at this time of year... get the boat ready for her journey north... and take care of other various things on our plates.

We hope all is well with each of you, and apologize for being out of touch for so long.... Coming from our neck of the woods it's hard to imagine how out of contact small villagers are. We have had no, or very little, news and contact via the internet or cell phone for the last several weeks.... and we're glad to be back!! Talk again soon.. CJ

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Southbound again

Hi folks,

Just a short note from our SSB radio email to say that we have pulled up our anchor and left beautiful Agua Verde this morning. We are motoring along in very smooth seas, heading for the village of San Evaristo tonight.

All is well aboard, except for our obstinate/flaky Pactor radio modem which, for some unexplainable reason, has finally decided to cooperate this morning, allowing us to download a bit of weather info and send this email.

Hope all is well with you.

Kathy & CJ.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Sleepless nights...

It's 0012 hrs (that's right, twelve minutes after midnight), Friday the 13th is over, and I'm cuddled up with my favourite fleece blanket in the cockpit. I'm here because we've been riding out a late-season Norther, along with at least twenty other boats, in the mooring bouy field of Puerto Escondido (PE). No worries re: safety; the mooring bouys are fairly new and, apparently, checked every month and I'm all kitted out (ships rules) with my PFD and tether on... flashlight's in one pocket and sailors knife is in the other.

Previously we had been enjoying the beauty of anchorages in and around Isla Carmen. We had been in PE doing laundry and getting some groceries and, as always, watching the weather forecasts. We knew there was a blow coming but had a couple days before it was due so had gone back out to Bahia Marquer. As the predictions of big wind got larger and larger (one source predicted gusts as high as 50!) we realized we needed to head in sooner than planned in order to have the freedom to select a good mooring ball. Having done so, we settled in for the ride.

Preparation for that 'ride' was sort of like getting ready for a long crossing. We 'ship-shaped' the interior, making sure everything was in its place and nothing was left on tables or shelves that could fall off and break or get under foot. We made sure our fuel tank was topped up and we had enough water, and we got out equipment like pocket-sized flashlights, knives, the big spotlight, etc.

Overnight Thursday was calm and we slept well... until 0600 hrs. Friday morning when, as predicted, the winds arrived with a blast. And so they continued for most of the day. Most boats (and ours is no different) spend their time on a mooring bouy doing 'the dance'. It's not unlike the two-step... you know "slow, slow... quick quick" repeat. Each boat swings differently; the style determined by hull design, wind and wave direction, geographical and environmental factors, and Lady Luck. But dance they do, and Shannon's Spirit is no exception. As well as doing the mooring bouy two-step she also leans a bit, pushed over by the gusts; which can be disconcerting at times... but so far, so good. The main way we cope with all this complexity is doing as much prep as we can think of and then setting up anchor watches.

Any time there's a need for a serious 'anchor watch' Kathy and I take turns. One sits up and 'watches' while the other tries to get some sleep. Today/tonight is such a time. We selected our mooring bouy carefully when we arrived; picked one at the north end of the bay, situated in the lee of a large hill. We knew we'd still get the wind but we're close enough to the head of the bay we figured we'd get a lot less wave action due to the short fetch. After listening to some of the other, further away, boats today... we're pretty sure our 'figuring' has paid off. Don't get me wrong, we've still got plenty of wind... saw gusts in the low 30's today (and that's knots, not MPH or KMs).

Zzzzz hi, I'm back. Tried to sleep. Couldn't. The two of us sat up for a while as the gusts are getting higher (as predicted but no where near 50...yet). Kathy's trying to sleep now and I'm on watch. The time is 0300 hrs. And the gusts are... hang on, I ll go measure.

OK, just clocked one at 25.3 Knts. Seemed bigger but that's what the machine said. So, besides the fact it's dark, seas I can hardly see are rolling by, the boat is sailing on her tether, and the wind is going from 25+ gusts, dropping to almost nothing, and then filling in again with a howl as it hisses through the rigging... well, besides all that, we 're doing great! The stars are brilliant (there's no moon tonight) and it will be dawn in less than 3 hours.... at which time I may retire from, yet, another sleepless night.

G'night y'all. CJ

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Enjoying the Sea...

Hi all. Just a short note to let you know we are well. Unfortunately there is very little connectivity in Puerto Escondido and so very few phone calls or emails. We are outside the harbour now and heading to a nearby anchorage for a couple days. Then back into PE on Thursday as there's a norther coming with winds gusting up into the high 20's at least. It's expected to arrive Friday and blow for at least three days. We'll tuck into the Port again and find a mooring ball with protection from the seas at least. Guess it'll be time to do .laundry and tidy up the boat :-)

Hope all is well with all of you. Will check in again when we can. All is well.

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Saturday, April 7, 2018

Puerto Ballandra

Saturday, April 7th.  And we're anchored in Puerto Ballandra (Isla Carmen).  Yes, we have arrived.  Our goal was to circumnavigate this Island and we're doing it!  

Kathy spent hours in her kayak today and took lots of great photos.  These are two; testament to how clear the water is and how colourful the wildlife.  First, a starfish like we've never seen before and... yup a red and blue crab....  (missin' our Dungeness :-( 

I spent some time in the dinghy trolling various lures back and forth around the rocky point just outside.  After only a few nibbles, and watching the fish in the see-through water, I switched to a good old, white, buzz bomb.  Must have hit the critter on the head when I tossed it in.  He was so shocked he grabbed it and, voila!, it's trigger fish for dinner tonight. 

We head to Puerto Escondido tomorrow... time to clean up and do laundry.  Then we'll be back out and back at it.  Hope all is well with each of you. Best always.  CJ

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