Monday, April 30, 2012

Until we chat again…

We’re home, or at least close enough to home to ‘call it’ so.  We’ve sailed from Maple Bay, BC to La Paz, Mexico; we’ve visited many, interesting towns and areas along the North American coast; we’ve come to know the coastal/harbour areas of La Paz fairly well; we’ve explored some of the many islands on the Baja side of the Sea of Cortez; we’ve met up with multitudes of marine mammals and birds along the way; we’ve met many interesting and amazing people – most doing exactly the same thing; and we’ve learned tons about ourselves… our strengths, our weaknesses, our challenges and our goals.  We’ve even had the opportunity to drive back from La Paz, paralleling our south-bound route and visiting some of the places we missed.  What a trip!  What an experience!  Sailing will never be quite the same and our horizons have definitely been expanded!  And, hopefully we have grown and developed personally as well.
Some of you will be new to reading this Blog.  If you are, and you’re interested in our journey, please start at the beginning and travel with us as we journeyed south in our Ontario 32 sailboat the SV Shannon.  For those of you who kept up with us along the way, thank you so much.  While we enjoy writing, it is a blessing to have folks who actually enjoy reading what you write… so thank you again from the bottom of our ‘writers hearts’.
To all of you, we bid adieu for now.  We’re home and it’s time for us to concentrate on our domestic life in Maple Bay, BC.  We’re looking forward to spending time with family friends and to doing some of those things that owning a sailboat seem to preclude.  Stuff like camping and golfing and just plain hangin’ out..  And, if we’re lucky, maybe someone will even take us sailing now and then :-) 
So, we won’t be writing any more blog posts for now.  We’ll leave it here.. and take up again in the fall when we will be continuing our adventure in Mexico.  Until then, enjoy your lives, each and every day, and thanks for joining us on our journey. 
Carolyn, Kathy and Princess Sophie.

PS:  For those of us following our return trip, I forgot to mention, we came through the US/Canada border without a problem, dropped off Vicky's stuff,and were in Richmond by the afternoon of Day 16 of our return drive... no sweat.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pickin' up the pace...

DAY 14 Wednesday, April 25: We made good time today... so good that we were at Grant's Pass by mid-day... way too soon to stop. So we kept going and ended up in Springfield, Oregon.  This is great because we were wanting to stop here anyway to do a wee bit of shopping.  So, we've spent a comfortable night at the Comfort Inn (no pun intended); indoor pool and hot tub as well as another very nice suite.  Watched a movie called 'War Horse'... and liked it. It appears we've managed to shave a day off our travels and may actually be into Richmond by Friday afternoon... fingers crossed.
DAY 15 Thursday, April 26:  We're up, Kath's had a swim, a warm breakfast awaits us.  Then we're off to check out a couple of things and hit the road.  Next stop, Bellingham.  We're so close we can taste it!!

You know, we really grew to appreciate, very much, the beauty of the land and sea in Mexico.  I had no idea rocks, red rocks, could look so beautiful...  the striations continue to lure me and my camera lens.  But, the vibrant greens of our own terrain... that which is truly home... are the most beautiful colours in the universe.  And the air smells so good!  We remain truly blessed by the grandeur of our world.

Day 16 should see us through the border, to White Rock to drop off Vicky's stuff, and in to Richmond. Will write again once our mission has been completed...  Hope all of you are doing well.  Have a great day... CJ

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Not much to report... but we're fine.

DAY 12 Monday, April 23rd:  Not much to report... we had a pleasant drive and kept going till it felt like time to stop.  Spent the night in a place called Kettleman City... not much more than a truck stop, but the hotel was clean and we were tired.  Up early and moved on.
DAY 13 Tuesday, April 24th:  Had a very nice drive today with great scenery... rolling green hills, farms and ranches.  Even saw some cowboys on horseback, with herding dogs, moseying along after some cattle along the fence.  Made it as far as Red Bluff (just north of Sacramento) today and have stopped at a very nice Comfort Inn (complete with pool, sauna, hot breakfast... and we have a suite - one of the nicest rooms we've ever stayed in - with a balcony.... and we used a coupon so got the suite for $69/night.  Not bad hey. Off for Chinese food tonight... after a swim of course :-)
That's all for now...  We're heading for Grant's Pass tomorrow.  It'll be a shorter drive but should be quite nice (depending on how hard it rains on us :-(

We hope to be in Richmond by the afternoon of the 28th, have a short visit with Dad and then get back to the Island on Monday the 30th. We'll be back to see Dad for a better visit, after we've delivered the van and in time for his birthday (May 9th) and a few days thereafter.  That's it for now. Happy Birthday Penny, and Dwight, and Joanne.... and Happy Anniversary P&J.  ttfn  CJ

Sunday, April 22, 2012

San Diego update

DAY 8 (cont'd): Our drive to San Diego was smooth with only a short wait at the border, a pleasant border guard, and a scenic drive into SD and to our motel The Vagabond Inn. We spent the rest of the day walking about and enjoying our return to this great city (at least the boating world so evident in the Shelter Island area). We really like San Diego and we particularly enjoy the boating area within which we visit. Downwind Marine and other marine suppliers are great to deal with and very helpful. Some of the folks have actually become friends as we've stayed in touch during our trip down the coast and into the Sea.

DAY 9 and 10 April 19/20, 2012: We spent our time relaxing, tidying our gear and visiting some of our favorite spots. Lunch at the Southwestern Yacht Club was as great as we remembered. There's nothing like sitting out on a beautiful balcony, overlooking the full docks, watching boats sailing into and out of San Diego and watching the ever-present sea fog (oh how we missed the fog :-) hovering at the entrance to Shelter Island. Oh yeah, and enjoying our Crab Louis and Cobb Salads along with glasses of crisp Chardonnay.

We did a little shopping and lots of walking... and, yes, we succumbed to doing some restaurant 'inspections'. Found a great Sushi place that even has a happy hour with $3 Saki... yahoo !! We've been missing sushi.. the Mexicans sort of understand it, but lose the game when they insist on using cream cheese instead of mayo. It was fun to finally have some sushi the way we like it. As well as wandering about and shopping, two out of three of us managed to secure hair cuts. I'm holding out, waiting till I get home.. for a couple of reasons... First because I like my hair cutter at home, and second cuz my dad always gives me grief when I get my hair cut short... ok, and maybe because I don't want to cut off all the blonde before I can show it off. Yep, there's still a little blonde the moment.

DAY 11/12 Saturday/Sunday, April 21/22: Our friends Susan and George arrived on Saturday morning and treated us to a great lunch. We spent the afternoon visiting and catching up and then had a fun dinner at the local seafood restaurant. Today (Sunday) we're off to have lunch at the San Diego Yacht Club and then visit the USS Midway. It's been great to see our friends and we're so happy they were able to come and join us for a couple of days here. We leave Monday morning, early, and will begin our driving trek up through the US to home. We expect it will take us a comfortable 6 days to reach Richmond, BC and look forward to the scenery and places we'll visit along the way.

Will write again when we can.... hope all is well with all of you. Remember that no news is good news... and there may not be that much to report as we travel north.... time will tell... ttfn CJ

PS: I'm just finishing up an article about the process for prepping the boat for leaving on the hard in La Paz. Look for it in an upcoming issue of Currents, the Bluewater Cruising Association monthly publication.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

every day can’t be a “10”…

DAY 7 (cont’d): Ain’t that the truth! Moments after I posted the last blog I leaned forward over the netbook… zigging when I should have zagged and causing one of my discs to do a wee ‘tweak’. Just a wee one, nothing too serious… but ouchey enough to slow me down a tad. Those of you with ‘tweakable’ backs know what I mean. You also know that the show must go on, particularly when you’re in the middle of an uphill/northbound road trip home after the sailing adventure we’ve had. We are on our way home… and home we must be going. Funny; the closer we get, the faster I want to go; and after more than 2000 nautical miles without even a ‘hitch’ I’m not complaining about my back…ever. However, that was just how the day that wasn’t a 10 began… it got worse :-)

We left our wonderful, garden oasis and hit the road again, heading north towards Ensenada. The drive wasn’t bad… much the same as the days before, with narrow lanes, crazy drivers, pot-holes, low or no guard rails, high cliffs and low valleys… and dust, lots of dust. But we weren’t worried, after all we were headed to the lush Valle de Guadalupe and to a dog-friendly hotel with great reviews, a lovely setting, and a reservation. After only two military checks (both were painless) we drove through Ensenada (missed a couple of turns, but found our way out the other side without too much stress) and linked up with the highway that would take us into wine country. The scenery around us began to green up as we continued north and it was really nice to finally see some wooded hills and fertile fields…. Then, not far along the ‘Rue de Vin’… we spotted our destination, the Hotel Fatima, on the right side of the road. Even at first glance, things didn’t look quite right… at least not as nice as the pictures on the internet. Parking on the dirt lot and walking up the weed infested, dusty and uneven stone entrance path, we couldn’t help but notice the rows of rough wooden doors lining each side. I kept expecting one to creak open on a rusty hinge and expose some poor dead cowboy wasting away inside. An old rusty triangle, swinging in the breeze wouldn’t have been out of place. And there was absolutely no sign of anyone, not even a caretaker, until we were actually at the dark, front door… at least it looked kind of like a front door… at least it was in the middle of the wall. Anyway, a young Mexican fellow (name unknown as I couldn’t understand what he said) met us and indicated he was in charge. I asked him about the owners (Doug and Sue Robinson according to the internet) and he agreed they were still around…at least he pointed to their photograph enclosed in a glass counter.. hmmm. Then I did my best to explain to him that we had reservations, that we were a day early, and that I was wondering if he could fit us in (I know that sounds a little funny considering there was absolutely no signs of life in the place except us). Well, it gets worse. He looked quite blank and didn’t understand what I was saying and then I noticed he had the hotel register under his hands… so I pointed to it and we began to communicate with international gringo sign language. It didn’t take long to figure out there was absolutely no one staying at the place, and there was no notation of our reservation at all, not anywhere. At this point he decided to show us a room and did so. It was room #7, the door creaked open just as I’d suspected it would… and the inside was no cleaner than the outside. To make matters worse three earwigs scuttled across the floor as we stepped in and I was afraid to look any further in case there were other, larger creatures lurking about. Suffice to say we made our exit quite quickly… making idle promises about “maybe later…”. As we drove out of the parking lot, senor ‘desk clerk’ could be seen sweeping out room #7. He may still be waiting for us…

Feeling lucky to have escaped this rather unfortunate turn of events, we carried on along the wine route with me casting my tired old eyes left and right looking for signs of a beautiful, dog-friendly, lush by the riverside, with bird-filled gardens and a heated pool… kind of a place.. you know.. the ones with free wine-tasting as well as B&B… Kathy, bless her heart, delved deeply into the tombs of data available via the internet and our pamphlets… seeking furiously anything that might house us for the night. We found a place; right on the highway but up a hill and surrounded by vineyards. It looked quite nice. Turns out, after negotiating a deeply creviced and rutted uphill drive, we discovered both the restaurant and the B&B hotel were closed. At least we were able to turn around and didn’t have to back down the hill :-) We carried on…. or rather we back-tracked to a place we’d passed earlier that was described in the books as “basic but clean”.

The Posada Inn actually has a swimming pool, looks kind of nice, and has a restaurant next door. We pulled in and asked a staff member if they had room for us and if they took dogs. Quick answer: “yes” they had room, “no” dogs not allowed. Turns out neither of us were above begging and with a little friendly chatting we were able to gain permission for PS to join us in our room. The manager did, however, give us the oldest room in the place and even PS wasn’t too impressed with it. The room was ok. It was clean but it was.. well, it was dowdey. Enough said. It had a bed (which wasn’t too hard) a TV (that didn’t work) a door (with a lock that didn’t, really) and neighbours. Turns out the walls were thinner than paper and even tho’ we tried to pass the time by sleeping… the noise of the jake brakes of the semi’s roaring down the highway about 3’ from our pillows and the ‘romancing’ going on next door was enough to curl your toes. By about 0500 we’d had all, of both, we could take… gave up trying to sleep, got up, fed the dog, packed the van…. and abandoned all thoughts of wine country tours. Instead we pointed our noses north and headed off to take on the authorities at the Tecate border crossing. It was time to head for home.

DAY 8 Wednesday, April 18th: We left early (as you heard above) and were at the border crossing by approximately 0800. A short chat with the guard on duty and we were through the border and heading for breakfast. Thank goodness… no unloading of van, no lengthy enquiry as to our trip… just some pleasantries and a few questions, a light ‘stirring’ of the top layer of stuff at the back of the van… and we were on our way. We had a great breakfast at Denny’s (first North American breakfast for months) and then washed the van and headed for our hotel. We’re here now, at the Vagabond Inn, Point Loma. We hadn’t planned on being here for another two days but, you know, sometimes you just have to put on your flexible cape and go with the wind… and the wind drove us north. We’re glad to be here… have a couple of extra days to relax and do laundry and stuff. Susan and George are coming to share some time with us on the 21st and 22nd and then we’ll head north.

Guess that’s all for now. We’re well; we’re safe; and we’re in San Diego, USA. Hope all is well with all of you. Later… CJ

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

cracked crab… hmmm hmmm

DAY 6 -  Monday, April 16th.:  This place we’re staying at could be anywhere…  anywhere beautiful that is.  The building is new and small enough to be cozy.  It’s surrounded by lush, green, colourful and fragrant gardens, complete with a myriad of birds (hummingbirds, doves, quail, sparrows and finches) that feed and live within the garden canopy.  There’s even an owl, complete with a very loud ‘hooter’, and a pair of white doves that hang out on the telephone wire across the street. I’ve used the word ‘street’ but really our hotel is on a wide, hard-packed dirt road, one section removed from the highway that slows a bit as it passes through town.  As I sit here listening to the crickets outside our door and the chirps of the birds settling in for the night, we could be anywhere… anywhere beautiful, green and ‘alive’.  Guess you could say we like it here. There’s even an orange grove next to our garden and one of the gardeners gave Kathy 4 mandarin oranges from one of the trees today.  We’ll have them for breakfast tomorrow.

Speaking of food…. did we ever have a nice dinner.  We’d been kind of frustrated earlier in the day when we tried to find a place to have breakfast… it was lunch time by the time we actually came across a place that was open and looked like the food would be safe.  It was and it was good and once done, we headed back to our little oasis to spend the afternoon reading and laying about in the sun. Shortly after we arrived we were told by Nancy, our desk clerk, about Cilieto LIndo’s, reknown for it’s cracked crab, and near enough to the ocean to actually allow a couple of girls and a small dog to reach out and play on the beach.  Soooo, off we went and after a not-too-long drive on a not-too-lumpy road we found the place.  Not only did it serve great crab it was a neat little bar, inhabited by a group of x-pats, one of whom (Clarence) bought us a beer to toast the passing of a dear friend of his. 

DAY 7 – Tuesday, April 17th: We’ve slept in a bit today… our drive will only be about 4 hours.  We’re heading in to the wine country that lies in a valley running between Ensenada and the Tecate border crossing.  We’ve had breakfast in bed with our books.. it consisted of coffee from the desk clerk’s counter (not too bad if you add about half a cup of hot water to it) a can of peaches (no, not out of the can.. we used plastic water cups and our plastic spoons from mixing the Coffee mate into the aforementioned coffee :-); and some breakfast bars (left over from our trek down the coast and still delicious… in a Kellogs, cereal bar kind of way). After showers, and repacking our gear into the trusty van we’ll be on our way into the next leg of our journey. 

It’s interesting how, as we get closer to home, things like calendars and commitments start to creep in.  There are several things we are really looking forward to doing when we get home and one of them is catching up with our friends and families.  Another involves healthy living… can’t say we’ve been able to maintain our svelt figures, so will have some work to do in that regard… good news is we know what to do, just have to do it.  I’m going to sign off now…it’s time to get going.. I’ll tell you how our drive today went..later tonight.  Until then, have a great day… ttfn… CJ

Sunday, April 15, 2012

San Quintin at last...

We missed it on the way down... San Quintin that is. It's famous for its rugged coast line and miles of sand dunes. We missed it because, as you may recall, instead of the usual 'northers' that forced sailors to hide south of the isthmus at San Quintin... the forecast was for 'southers' so we holed up at Isla St. Martin, just off the coast...same location. Never did see the sand dunes. Sooooo, as I was planning our 'return via land' I thought it might be nice to see a bit of those dunes. Little did I realize how far inland they actually have flowed. We'd been driving through them for several hours before we made the entrada to the town of San Quintin. But there you go, I've done it again... rushing forward without filling in the middle... allow me to back track ...

DAY 5: This was supposed to be the day we left San Ignacio early and drove to Catavina. Well we did get up early... and then we enjoyed yet another wonderful meal prepared by Terry and her helpers... and then we hit the road. We headed north (as you would... driving to Canada) and we continued on our way...oblivious as to how many military checks we were actually driving in to... my, my... but those boys are efficient. We got stopped and checked no less than five.. that's 5... times. Thank goodness they accepted our explanation in 'spanglish' of our journey from La Paz to Canada.... and they didn't take exception to Miss Sophie (how could they? she was the epitome of elegance and discretion) and they only shook their heads and muttered things like "oh my god" when faced with the impossible task of actually, physically checking the stuff we'd crammed into every window and opening of the van.... and thank goodness, in each case, they decided to trust that we were not dastardly drug smugglers, and let us pass with a mere 'stirring' of the top layer of each area of the van... phew! If they had truly searched the van it have would taken us hours to repack (a task we are preparing ourselves for as we draw closer to the Mexican/US border... ). Anyway, every stop was not unpleasant.. after all, they were just doing their job and were very polite to us.

We drove on... and on... and on. The highway is under 'improvement' in many places. What this actually means is that some (not all) of the potholes have been filled... a certain percentage have been left so as to catch the unwary and slow them down significantly!! The shoulders remain... oh, shall we say, seriously lower than the road... with a single painted white line which is supposed to (I think) guard you from driving over (and seriously down) off the shoulder. Now when I say 'down' I'm talkin' in some cases a foot or two... in others a metre or two... and in still more areas... a huge, frightening, 'it's not the fall that kills ya' distance. Grand Canyon step aside. The Baja wins.... Add to that the lack of passing lanes, the fact that the driving lane is just a titch (and by that I mean an inch or two) wider than the average vehicle, the huge transport trucks, the crazy local drivers, and the crazier touristas who seem to not know any better.... and you get the picture. We're learning the local vernacular too. Flashing lights mean just the same as home.. "danger ahead"... but a flashing left turn signal means "it's safe to pass me gringo... if you dare". And.. those 'safe to pass' signals usually show up during a definite "no passing" zone... with posted signs and everything. But it's all ok. They have guard rails on the windy, curving, steep-sided sections... they're about 10" high and made of lightweight metal... really useful as you hurtle down and around the curves.... yikes. !!!!

So, getting back to DAY 5... we were planning on driving to Catavina but after most of the numbing drive described above, we got to Catavina and were kind of un-attracted (is that a word?)... and decided to press on to what we had heard was an excellent choice of hotels.. Hotel Jardines in San Quintin. And we made it... all in one piece... not too tired.... and delighted to have saved a day in our trip up the Baja (we'll add it to our time in San Diego... a great city to visit). This hotel is beautiful. It sits in a bit of an oasis.. has lush gardens and an orchard... and PS gets to sleep with us on a 'big' bed... yahoo !! And, there's a well thought of restaurant/bar next door which we will certainly check out. We're here.... into some wine.. and about to go for dinner. The plan has us spending a day exploring those sand dunes we missed on the way down.. so count that as DAY 6.

Hope all is well with all of you... we're doing great!! xoxo CJ

BY THE WAY: For those of you who are still using our sailmail address to e-mail us.. please note we are land-bound now and switching over to our personal e-mail addresses... thanks for switching too.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Yurting in San Ignacio

DAY 3: After another peaceful night at Loretto it was time to hit the road and we were up early and on our way shortly after dawn. Our van is quite full and so as to protect it and its precious cargo we travelled slowly... speed limit or slightly slower. The drive was quite interesting... at times, and particularly if you pretended the forests of cacti were olive trees... the scenery was very much like our drive through central Crete on our way to the southern coast. We really thought (my fault as I set this road trip up) that we were driving all the way to Laguna San Ignacio and were kind of worried about the reports we'd had regarding the road running from the highway out to the coast. But, we soldiered on as Vicky herself (owner of the van) had encouraged us to visit the San Ignacio Springs B&B on the lagoon. Shortly after stopping to eat our (home-made) sandwiches at the side of the road... and while we were watching for the turn-off to Laguna San Ign.... I just happened to spy a sign at the entrance to a driveway that said "San Ignacio Springs B& B". Sure glad I saw the, yes indeed, this was our destination... and here it was ... several hours early. Sure glad we didn't bounce and jounce our way all the way to Laguna San Ignacio and then have to turn around. So, several hours early, we found ourselves moving in to our 16' yurt to begin our stay here. Turns out their 'lagoon' is like a large slough... actually part of the river and there are chairs for resting by it, and kayaks (very old kayaks) for floating on it if you so wish. Anyway, our hosts Terry and Gary are very nice... and they're great cooks too. The yurt is kind of neat.. it's like camping but with the comforts of a real bed and running water. It's a great place for napping and walking and generally resting up.

DAY 4: Our second day at the yurt. Had a great sleep and visited the town square, mission and shops in the morning. Kathy and Sophie went for a long walk up into the hills behind us and I had another nap (seems I'm a little tired) in the afternoon. It's later now and dinner isn't until 1930 hrs. It's seafood linguini tonight. Last night we had a sweet and spicy chicken with red rice and a great salad... and breakfast this morning had the works. Tomorrow we have a long drive to Catavina where we'll stay for just one night before heading up to San Quintin.

So, that's it for now... please know we're well and all is 'rolling' as it should. Hope you're all staying warm and we don't lose our tans before you see them :-) Thanks to you who have kept in touch via e-mail... and left comments on the blog. We love to hear from you. ttfn... CJ

Friday, April 13, 2012

On the road again…

It’s Thursday, April 12th, and I’m sitting here – under a palm frond palapa, in an enclosed flag-stone courtyard… with a small pool to my left and our private Casita (#1) to my right.  Sophie the wonder dog is laying beside my chair… Kath is changing into her sun-tanning suit and Lucy, the most amazing rescued ‘guard’ dog is lazing about somewhere out of sight.  This place, Il Tiburon Casitas in Loretto, is owned by Liz who is (as well as a tile layer – who did all her own tile work in each of the four private casitas) is a veterinarian who has just left to fly to California to operate on a horse…  She’s quite an amazing person and her love and care for the canine breed is most obviously evident in Lucy – the most gentle, tough dog I’ve ever met.  Lucy single-handedly (or single-pawdedly) keeps the entire property safe from intruders of every kind… and she has quite a memory too.  We met her once for a brief visit over a month ago when we dropped by (having sailed as far as Puerto Escondido) and Liz assured us she’d remember us; and she did.  When we arrived yesterday Lucy let us in after only a quick sniff… just walked away as if to say “ok, you’re in… follow me”.  Shortly after we arrived, Liz in her wisdom (and after several warnings from us as to how ferocious PS can be when faced with having to relate to another dog) decided to just let Lucy run free. If I hadn’t witnessed this myself, I’d have had trouble believing it.  PSophie did her usual lip curl and soft hiss (you remember the one…it usually comes just before the ‘tasmanian devil rush’)… anyway, she did that ‘beautiful’ (not) thing with her face and posture… and Lucy just looked slightly away (and said ‘oh, really…”) lifted her one foreleg and held it just off of Sophie’s shoulders.  Her message, “ you don’t really want to make anything of this… now do you”, was clear even to me.  And, after a very short pause… Sophie agreed that would probably be a stupid thing to do. Lucy weighs about 60 pounds, is absolutely solid, and faintly resembles a very well put together large pit bull.  I haven’t asked about her make-up… it doesn’t really matter.  She’s a rescued street dog, has a great life with Dr. LIz , has a job which she takes very seriously, and is the first dog to quietly, yet firmly, assure Sophie there is a ‘right way’ and a ‘wrong way’ to behave…  your choice.  It took Sophie less than 5 minutes to figure out which was the ‘right way’ and she spent the afternoon following Lucy around helping her fend off the dastardly garbage men and basically keep the Il Tiburon estate clear of any varmints or un-wanted’s…. The two of them make quite a pair. So, that’s my dog story for the day. 

We left La Paz yesterday morning after one last peek at the good ship Shannon.  She’s sitting proudly on her stands after being washed, waxed and packed away… and she’s in an area where she’s surrounded by larger but not ‘near-so-pretty’ vessels.  We’ve been assured that, after all our work, she’ll still look like a dust bin when we get  back…all ratty ‘n unloved.  But, that’s something we’ll have to deal with in October.  For now we’re on our way home.  We’re driving an older van (belongs to a friend who needs it delivered to White Rock), packed from floor to ceiling and front to back….  with her stuff and our stuff.  I’m a little nervous about the borders cuz if they decide to check the contents it’ll take us days to repack it…  But, there’s nothing to hide…it’s all about time.

Our return home… by road…:

DAY 1:  Drove from La Paz to Loreto (0900-1530 hrs.).  We stopped for lunch about half way.  The roads were in pretty good shape and the drivers didn’t seem to mind our slow moving vehicle (speed limit) lumbering along… we’re taking it easy so as to not push the van too hard.  We arrived in Loreto early enough to enjoy a drink by the pool and to meet the other ‘residents’ at the Il Tiburon Casitas.. a nice group of folks.  We enjoyed a very nice dinner at a nearby restaurant (in the ‘Gringo’ area of old town) before passing out in our very comfortable beds.  We slept so soundly, both of us awoke with stiff backs… probably as much from ‘decompressing’ as from sleeping soundly.

DAY 2:  We spent the morning doing a little shopping at a store we’d heard about and then returned ‘home’ to enjoy the afternoon in the sunny courtyard by the pool. We’ve purchased a few things we can use to make sandwiches for our lunch tomorrow and we’ll pull over for a little break during our drive to eat it.  Tomorrow’s drive is a little longer so we’ll make an early start.  We’re heading to Laguna San Ignacio and will be spending two nights there, sleeping in a yurt.  Should be very interesting and it’s right on the  Pacific Coast.  Tell you all about it later.

That’s it for now… take good care…  CJ signing off… the pool awaits.

Monday, April 9, 2012

It's the day... the good ship Shannon gets to hibernate

Well it's finally arrived.... This is the day the good ship Shannon gets lifted from her natural (wet) element and placed, carefully, on a bevy of stands with chains and metal plates, in a Mexican boatyard here in La Paz. We've been slaving in 30 degree temps to prepare her... and it's not been the most fun thing we've every done :-) But, suffice to say the deck plastic and nylon hardware has been covered, the lines have been soaked and washed, the sails have been rinsed and packed up, the lockers have been cleared of all food and pressurized cans... anything that might not do too well in 100 degree temps. The halyards have been replaced with messenger lines and washed and packed and the lifeline netting and spray cloths have also been removed, cleaned and packed away. Not sure if we'll find any of this stuff in's all packed away into various nooks and crannies and lockers, but at least it's been dealt with for now. The decks have been scrubbed (for what it's worth as we're told the winds and dust will have coated her by the time we return).

We get lifted out at 1100 hrs., on a huge hydraulic trailor. Once she's settled onto her stands, Shannon will get a good pressure wash after which we'll lube all the thru-hulls and begin the final packing up. We'll finish up tomorrow with the final act of covering her with UV protected shade cloth and then we leave to start our drive home on Wednesday morning.

As I finish the post we'll be disconnecting the boat and 'off line' for a few days. We're stopping for a couple of days here and there as we travel up the Baja and I'm not sure how much 'connectivity' we'll have at each stop. We'll write as/if we can so just remember "no news is good news" if you don't hear from us for a few days.

Hope everyone is well and taking good care of each other. Spring is sprung... so glad to hear folks are planting spring flowers... can't wait to see them.

Bye bye for now... ttfn... CJ & Kathy and Princess Sophie.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Packing up is not much fun...

Well, here we are in sunny (hot) La Paz... 31 degrees by mid-day... packing up our home so we can leave Shannon safely 'on the hard' at the Atalanta Boatyard. We get hauled out on Monday and, by then, need to have a myriad of things cleaned, serviced, sorted and packed or wrapped securely with U V resistant materials. It's not much fun now that the summer heat is arriving. Visions of working in the cooler morning hours and spending the afternoons at poolside have not materialized. So far we've been working from dawn to dusk with one quick dip in the pool late in the day to get our body temperatures down near normal. It's a long list (about 5 pages) of the things we need to do to prevent problems during the storage season... too long for this part of the Blog so I'll post it to the side once we're done. Princess Sophie is doing ok.. she's decided that life in her 'spot' in the cockpit isn't too bad now there's an electric fan pointing right at it. It's the coolest spot on the boat. She's handling the heat well and/but we soak her with the hose a couple of times a day...and she is learning to like that. She's made lots of friends here at the dock and, fortunately, one of them has offered to hang out with her on Monday while the boat's being lifted... which is great.

Anyway, that's all for now. I just wanted to let you know how we're doing.. and we're doing fine.. Friends of ours (Carol and Livia) on SV Estrellita (check out the link to their blog on the right of this page) have just arrived at the Marqueses. We're very proud of them. Other friends (Rick and Karen) on SV Sockdolager (link on the right) are also on route to the Marquese... in their Dana 24 (that's right.. a 24' boat) and their doing well, altho travelling slower.

Well... the dawn is coming and it's time to get back to work... talk later.. CJ