Monday, February 19, 2018

Rocking Horse Alley... out there. Glad we’re not...

Hello all, it's been some time since I've written. Not that I haven't had news to impart; of course not. But mostly, since an hour after we arrived, we've been busy with paperwork, mechanical repairs... and, even an upgrade in the form of stainless steel railings at the cockpit (which, I must admit, look splendiferous).

And then... there's our friends Mother Nature, or the wind Gods, or just plain luck... that we cruisers must negotiate with, beg somewhat and, in the end, find buckets of patience so as to wait for the merest hint of a smile in our direction. Such is our case today.

We are close to ready to proceed (you are never really ready... you just 'go' when it's time). But, as is the case when there's almost too many sources of information, we spend each morning scanning the myriad of weather info available - looking for the ones more closely associated with our intended course. Oh for the days when you just squinted up into the sky, sucked your thumb and stuck it up into the wind, closed one eye, stood on the opposite foot.... and declared it safe to leave. Aargh; life must have been much simpler then. Today, with digital, projected, model-based, etc., etc., weather forecasts.... it's almost impossible to know when it's safe to go. Some say (I may have offered the advice myself) "just keep reading 'till ya find one ya like... and go with that." Today, I'm still reading, waiting for one where the large swells are farther apart than 5 seconds. Been there, done that; not volunteering for more.

But, like I always say, there are much worse places to be stuck than lovely Marina El Cid. We will be ready... and we will leave... when it's the right time to do so. Until then, know we are safe and hoping you are all warm and cosy and staying safe. Heard there's a cold snap in southern BC. Brrr!!

So for now, adios me amigos. Go well and be safe. CJ

PS: If the weather predictions are more than half correct, we may be here for another week. Time will tell.

Sent from my iPad

Monday, February 12, 2018

Mazatlan....

Hola amigos,

After 26 hours of wind and seas on the nose, and surviving the most fishing vessels we've ever seen yet, we are safe and secure in Marina El Cid. It seemed as if every apparatus in Mexico that could float was out fishing the waters the whole way from Matanchen to just north of Isla Isabel. The good news is we only encountered two long lines and were able to slide over them... all the rest were fishing shorter nets held near to their pangas... for those, lonely, fishermen... we'd coast up to their panga, wake the fisherman who was sleeping under a tarp, and accept his advice on how to safely avoid his net. They were pretty happy with us for caring enough to do that. Further north, as the net fishermen diminished, the shrimpers took over in droves; but at least they were large, well lit, and contained their nets around their vessels.

We also enjoyed numerous sightings of whales blowing and a fantastic display of breaching and huge fin slapping. Oh, and of course... there were the stars. My God how they could spill across the heavens...so thick it made finding the usual constellations difficult.

While the trip wasn't the most comfortable we've ever had... it did put us at Mazatlan's doorstep right on time. Exactly 26 hours after we'd left Matanchen (0900), we slid quietly through the entrance to the Mazatlan estuary, home of El Cid Marina, Marina Mazatlan, Fonatur Marina and the Isla Marina. Luckily for us... the dredge hadn't started working yet (which cuts off entrance to the estuary without regard to current or standing waves at the entrance.. (and we'd missed slack tide by about 2 hours), and there were no catamarans (carriers of vast numbers of tourists intent on a day at the beach... with promises of whale sightings and easy to use sanitarios) blocking our way. We made it in after slack tide but before the ebb was too strong. Our friends were waiting for us at the dock and we slid handily into B16 at Marina El Cid.

For now, we will focus on a few repairs that are needed, and on continuing our journey to La Paz once the repairs are completed and the weather Gods open the gate. Fairly high winds are predicted for the next week... so that may work out quite well. Time will tell.

For now we are content... and enjoying the familiar haunts of Mazatlan (couldn't resist a dinner tonight that came with "all the margueritas you can drink" :-) Tomorrow we will refocus and get SSpirit ready for her next several months.

Hope all is well with each of you. Adios for now... CJ

Sent from my iPad.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Matanchen Bay

Just a quick note to say we are well. Have decided to enjoy a couple days in Matanchen Bay while some gusty winds between here and Mazatlan settle down a bit. All is well here. Enjoying the peace and quiet and beautiful sunsets. Hope all is well with each of you. CJ

Sent from my iPad

Monday, February 5, 2018

Finally....

Yup, the day has finally arrived... we are heading on our way. There is so much left to do and see... we are delighted! Visits with friends, new and old in Puerto Vallarta, have been great and we will miss them. But it's time for us to get moving and set some new routes into our chart plotter.

We'll be in touch as and when we can. Know we are safe (always cautious) and living every day. We hope you are too. TTFN (tatafornow). CJ

PS didn't get a chance to send this before we left... but leave we did :-). Officials all arrived; some on time and one not. But, by 1130 hrs. We were on our way. Have pulled in to Punta de Mita to collect ourselves before carrying on. More news later. For now, know we are well and enjoying ourselves. Saw no less than ten whales while crossing Banderas Bay, some quite close to the boat, and several moms and calves.

Sent from my iPad

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Update from Paradise...

> Hola amigos. Yes, we're still here. And, yes, we should have left a few days ago. Unfortunately the weather Gods thought otherwise and we have the pleasure of biding our time for, hopefully, just a few more days until we can move on in relative comfort.
>
> Kathy has been home to visit mom and she's now back on board safe and sound. I have been doing what you do when you live on a boat... maintenance and repairs interspersed with bouts of binge reading and morning walks.
>
> I was invited by friends for a day trip adventure to Bucerius to witness the last day of Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrations. This was quite amazing and involved terrific dances performed by the Huichol Indians. Their historical story (over 15,000 years of it) is complex and well covered on Wikipedia if you want to look it up. But I was first attracted by the scented smoke they used and then totally absorbed by their dance routines, energy and stamina. Men, women, and children all in traditional regalia and all moving to the rhythm of the drummer. Foot movements, body twirling and the sounds of their rattles and beads all made for a mezmorizing and enchanting experience. I was particularly attracted by the main movement of the group as they circled the area (which by the way was on the front patio of the beautifully decorated Cathedral). They all wore large ankle coverings made from the dried husks of large nuts which, as their feet hit the ground or moved quickly... sounded so much like something I'd seen and heard before. Kathy's niece has two children. Her son Colton is a grass dancer and her daughter Hannah dances the Jingle Dress Dance with her group in Pukatewagen, Manitoba (part of the Mathias Colomb (Cree) First Nation). I was fascinated and excited to see the similarities between the Jingle Dress Dance and the dance of the Huichol's. Both had the same or similar foot movements and both were accompanied by the rhythm and sounds of the nuts in one case and the rows of metal cones attached to the dresses in the other. I guess the only difference was the history of the two groups; one dating back thousands of years in Mexico and the other being much younger and in northern Canada. It seems this is another example of how our customs have evolved and how much we are all part of each other. This truly is a small world.
>
> Once the dancing was finished we all moved to the beach where we waited and waited. Finally the fleet came in. In this portion of the celebration the fishing fleet is to race to shore and then be blessed by the Priest. This year there was, apparently, a lot less racing and a lot more decoration. The lead panga carried a very large cross and many people. The other pangas were equally decorated and loaded with folks. They arrived as a peaceful group and then took turns taking on the surf and running up onto the sandy beach and unloading their passengers.
>
> And then came the horses; beautiful steeds, their coats gleaming and their riders proudly dressed in historical regalia. There seemed to be dozens and dozens of them and they filled the streets from the beach to the Cathedral. At that point Bucerius was just a sea of people, horses, smoke, dancing, celebration and rejoicing as everyone celebrated the Virgin Mary. We took our leave and headed out to find a cold cervesa.
>
> Where are the pictures?? I hear you cry. I took hundreds on my friends iPad and, with luck, they will arrive and I will share some with you. Sorry for the delay but I wanted to write to you about this amazing celebration before I forgot the sounds, smells and feelings. I will get the photos out as soon as I can but, if you're interested just google "Huichol Indians dancing in San Blas" (which is a small town a little up the coast).
>
> That's all I have for today. We've had some sheet lightening and thunder these last couple of nights. They say that's normal for January. Hmmm. I hope Thor knows there's only two days left in January. Fingers are crossed hoping for that weather window to open up soon. (That tapping sound you hear is my foot... I'm ready to move on :-)
>
> Adios me amigos y amigas... I hope all is well with each of you.... CJ
>
> Sent from my iPad

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Mexican log


Sailing in B.C. can be treacherous. The fall out (or float out) from our rivers, fed by the lumber industry and Mother Nature, creates obstacles which can stop us dead in the water AND leave big holes in our hulls or bends in our prop shafts. Floating logs and deadheads (those that float, standing on end, with just their heads poking up) are a constant hazard to all sailors in the Salish Sea and other coastal areas.

We have hazards to sailors in Mexico too; but heavy duty floating logs aren't on the list.  Unless, of course, you reckon this token offering might count.  Me thinks we're safe, unless the pointy end should strike first.... they're deadly.  🇲🇽 


Sent from my Samsung device

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Wake up call....

Woke up this morning... feeling a little lonely... but only for as long as it took me to get dressed and head out for a morning walk. So many friendly folks; "buenos dias, how are you?" "Bien gracias". Over and over again as I walked. Pretty nice.

I left in a bit of a rush this morning... didn't want to be late for the Tuesday morning Farmer's Market I'd heard about. Turns out I was a couple hours early, but they took my business anyway... and I left with the things I'd hoped for.

When I got back I checked my email...like you would. And there was a message from my sister telling me about the big Tsunami that (didn't) hit Vancouver Island! Shamed... I was ashamed I hadn't known. And, I hadn't known because I hadn't checked our local (that'd be BC) news. As the day has unfolded, I've thought of that situation often; and I've realized something.

Back in 2007, when Kathy and I travelled to Europe, BC news wasn't really available. We had very little internet and BC, well that news just didn't make it to the world stage. In fact, Canada barely earned a mention. Because of that, we started watching and listening to world news and OMG the things we learned. We've been followers ever since; even though the tragedies people are living through and the horrible living conditions so many have come to call 'normal'... and the politics (I can't even pretend to understand, but I can follow along) are so upsetting. It is what our world has become. And, as we live our day to day lives; many of us in, what to others, is the lap of luxury, I recognize we are the lucky ones.

I'm sorry I wasn't up to date on the news at home; and am I ever glad Vancouver Island wasn't swept away in an avalanche of water. But at the same time I cannot forget the folks in other countries who are suffering in ways we can't even imagine.

I think, seeing how other people in other countries manage their day to day lives has been an eye opener. I am so glad we've had these past 6 1/2 years to learn from the folks in Mexico. Their appreciation of what they have in life is wonderful. We could learn so much from just that one fact.

I'll leave you with that... and wish each one of you peace, happiness, and time with your loved ones... where-ever you call home. CJ

Sent from my iPad