Saturday, December 17, 2016

Aaah, La Paz at last

Hi everyone. We made it. Seas were lumpy (and wet), wind was on the nose. We slipped Isla San Francisco at 0500 and 10 hrs. later we slid into our slip at Marina Palmira... exhausted, salty, and happy. The seas were the kind that let you speed you up to 4 or 5 knots and then knock you back to 2 knots.... It was slow and sloppy going (with more than one wave breaking over our foredeck as SSpirit buried her bow into it) but we were glad we stuck to our route (the shortest possible line which was pretty much down the middle). Others, who hoisted all sails and headed towards the islands to the east got caught up in winds gusting 24 and seas even bigger than we had.

While many chose to take refuge in one of the slightly protected anchorages we continued. We're now safe, tucked into the marina and delighted to be connecting with old friends, some we haven't seen since 2012 when we sailed out of La Paz and headed to Mazatlan. Ooh, I just got called away by the splashing of sea life beside our boat. I'd forgotten how full of life the waters around La Paz are. It's like floating in a huge aquarium. This visit was from a school of fish (about 8-10" long) just jumping and gathering.... marvelous!

Now then, just in case you wonder why we'd hoist anchor and head for civilization (requiring two, very long, days of travel); here is today's weather forecast. The first set of numbers for each day represent the winds expected (in nautical miles per hour). The second set of numbers are the seas and the last number is the seconds between each wave (and remember when it says say 6 for a wave height... That means 12' from trough to top). And PPM is my code for overnight. Also note the winds and waves will be opposing each other quite often. Here goes:

Sat. N 7-10. SSW 2-3. @15
PPM. NNW 9-13. SSW 2-4. @14
Sun. NNW 13-17 SSW 3-6. @14
PPM. NNW 12-16. SSW 3-6. @13
Mon. N 13-17. SSW 3-6. @ 13
Tue. NNW 18-25. NW 6-9 @ 6
Wed. NNW 20-27. NW 7-11. @ 7
Thu. NW 19-26. NW 7-12. @ 7
Fri. NW 15-21. S 6-10. @ 14

Just let your imagination play with the notion of sailing in a giant washing machine, set to 3/4 speed... That'd be about right :-)

Aah. la Paz. So glad to be here..... have a wonderful day.... CJ

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Friday, December 16, 2016

The Best of the Sea... (Dec 13, 2016)

Don't know when you'll get this, or in what order... But I'll date each post so you can read them in chronological order if you wish. They will go out when ever we finally re-establish connectivity (which may not be until we get to La Paz).

We are having a premier experience... the Sea has been very good to us. Yes, we were somewhat stuck in Puerto Escondido while the Northers blew... but then they ended. And these past few days of light winds seem like a gift. We spent a day and an over night at Punta Colorada... (very nice anchorage with a view south to Isla Monserrate and Isla Catalan). Then we were on our way.. into light winds and calm seas, heading south to Agua Verde. We did spend about an hour and a half, motoring slowly in circles off of Bahia Candeleros... Because apparently there is a cell tower somewhere near there and we hoped to be able to connect... but no luck... so we continued on.

At one point, about an hour out, I had a big hit on my rod. Novice that I am, I was trolling mom's favourite.. a #4 Tom Mac. Well sure enough, the big guy liked it. Unfortunately he was so strong my tackle couldn't handle him and the line snapped before I could begin to engage. Rats. we've decided it was probably a Rooster fish...very big and very strong. I did see him jump and it was a pretty good sized splash. Oh well. I'm now using our hand line and saving my rod work for jigging from the dinghy.

We arrived at Aqua Verde by early afternoon and had a lovely afternoon just enjoying the scenery. There were quite a few boats here, including a small Cruise Ship, anchored in the central section of the bay, just off the village. Way too many tourists tromping across the trails, shorelines, and village trails... so we stayed on board and enjoyed the scenes from afar.

The next day (today) most of the boats have gone and we've enjoyed a very relaxing day. Kathy snorkeled, CJ fished from the dinghy (no luck), and we've just enjoyed 'being' (haven't done that for a while now... pretty

Tomorrow we will head south again, this time to Los Gatos where we hope to meet up with friends on SV Willful Simplicity and SV Free Spirit. For now... we're just enjoying a beautiful full moon and a reasonably calm anchorage.

As always, CJ

Wed. Dec 14th

Hi, me again... Or still. Still no internet. Ran south to Los Gatos today... Lumpy, rolly-polly motor boat ride.. but caught up with friends Willful Simplicity and Free Spirit. Beautiful location with red rocks and cliffs, and very blue, clear water. We're anchored just inside a reef that extends far enough to break up some of the swell coming in. Last night they had 8 boats in here. Tonight it's just us three. Today, Kathy went hiking with the gang and came back with her pockets full of crystals formed by the volcano; rocks called geos that you can break open to reveal their precious cargo. After their hike Steve brought over some of his fruits from the sea and we had a yummy dinner. After dinner we sat in the cockpit and watched a gorgeous, huge, reddish moon creep slowly into the sky from the far horizon. It was a beautiful sight. Pretty hard not to want to stay here forever :-). But we must press slowly on. Tomorrow we will stick with this 'fleet' and sail across to Mangle Solo on Isla San Jose. A one night stop there and then it's into San Evaristo, a small fishing village about 50 miles north of La Paz. Our friends on Willful Simplicity (Steve and Charlotte) have spent years helping the people of San Evaristo and arriving at the same time as them will make it even more special. So that's where we are now. Winds remain less than usual and we are grateful for the break. Hope all is well with each of you. CJ

Thursday Dec. 15th

All plans are made in sand... Just below the high water mark... As they say. And so it goes with us. Woke up this morning and listened to the weather forecast on the SSB Sonrisa net. Gasp... 30 Knots of wind coming in Saturday. Hmm, really only one viable thing to do (given our need to be in La Paz no later than the 21st and the likelihood what ever is starting on Sat will last for several days and possibly into Christmas)... PYou guessed it. Time to run for it :-). We tightened our seat belts, tied everything down, fired up the iron Genny and got out of town. Slipped Los Gatos at 0830 hrs and had hook down in Isla San Francisco by 1545 hrs. Relatively uneventful run down. Friend Graeme (SV Sol Seeker) spoke to Marina Palmira on our behalf and they confirmed our slip (reserved for the 21st) was available for us tomorrow..... So, quiet night (So far) in our favourite spot on the planet (Isla San Francisco) and tomorrow we hope to leave at daybreak to make the 9 hr. run to La Paz. Will be able to send this blog post and other emails once we reach La Paz. Bye bye for now... Must get sleep for early morning tomorrow.

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Saturday, December 10, 2016

A gift from the wind Gods...

If I wasn't living this myself, I never would have believed it! the 'northers' appear (and I say 'appear') to be taking a vacation... for about a week. Now this could be a trick... a devious method of wooing us into leaving our haven of safety... but it's working. :-)

For the first time in a long time, the weather predicting gurus all agree ... Winds will be light for the next several days. Some think they will be NW or NNW and others think they will be SE but they all believe they will be light. That's good enough for us. We're out of here tomorrow morning. Isla Carmen lies just east of Puerto Escondido and has several beautiful anchorages. We're bound for one of them tomorrow (Bahia Salinas) along with SV Willful Simplicity and SV Free Spirit. Should be fun and we're looking forward to sharing some time with these old friends.

Sorry about the weather you guys are having back home. If it helps any, we've just run out of peanuts and Japonnes :-(

Topped up the tanks and filled up the jerry cans this afternoon. Thought I'd discovered something Sir Isaac Newton should have. Thought I'd discovered that water was heavier than diesel.... It wasn't until I'd made several dinghy trips back and forth ferrying Jerry jugs...and figured out how to hoist each one out of our tiny dinghy, up onto the deck... That Kath mentioned how she'd filled each water jug as full as she could (while I had the diesel jugs filled 'not to the top'). So, no Nobel prize for me this year, sigh.

Anyway, we've enjoyed our stay here. Friendly staff, catching up with friends, and some time to putter.. doesn't get much better than that. A couple issues we're dealing with... Kathy has managed to establish that our Pactor Modem might be repairable and is in the process of finding a ride for it from here to San Rafael, CA. We've also confirmed that our (new last year) battery charger is not strong enough to properly charge our batteries. Luckily our friends in La Paz have the right size and we'll change up when we get there. In the mean time we will conserve where we can...and seem to be getting by OK in that mode :-). It's all good.

Must say SSpirit's looking pretty good, in a cruising boat kind of a way. Thanks for coming along for the ride with us. Will talk again soon. Adios amigos..... CJ

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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Puerto Escondido

G'morning all.... After an all-too-short visit to Isla Coronados (what a beautiful location... scenery, turquoise water, kayaking, snorkeling, did I mention beautiful? All in one afternoon :-) we slipped quietly and headed south to Puerto Escondido. There is a bit of a blow forecast (NW up into the high 20's) so we figured a little protection might be a good idea.

The marina at Puerto Escondido is under new management (not sure if new owners or just the management of same) and they're great. The mooring balls have been well serviced and cost only $10 / night. We're tucked up as close as we can get to a hill shielding us from the worst of the wind...and we ll be here until the worst is over (may take a few days to die down). It's a good place to hang out and has laundry and shower facilities. It's also near Loreto so a trip to town may be in the offing.

For now we're content to rest and putter and wait to see what mother nature has in store for us.

Hope all is well with each of you... And your winter weather isn't too cold or wet. I know the folks at home are having an early taste of winter... So hang in there.. It won't last forever (I think :-)

PS it's now 1530 hrs (this post didn't get sent this morning so here I am back to share more with you :-). You gotta see this to appreciate it, but I'll try. it's the cruising life you see... I just got back from hastily launching the dinghy (from the dinghy Davits) to race over (well putter actually as we have a rather small outboard) to, maybe, rescue a guy I saw swimming along chasing his run away kayak. He got the kayak before I got to him, but we had a nice chat and returned to our respective boats. We're safe in Puerto Escondido as described above, however the promised winds have arrived. Boats are bobbing and weaving (like a barnyard dance of the nautical variety) and we humans just kind of roll along with the motion. You get used to it and then you kind of don't notice it... unless you look up which I did, just in time to see our mooring bouy sink below the surface of an extra large wave... but it popped up again. :-) so I continued on with my chore. I'm dismantling our very old grungy dorade vents. They're disintegrating and we found out from a fellow Catalina 34 owner, lovely stainless steel vents hide below the UV vulnerable plastic covers. So, I'm helping mother nature out and peeling back the ugly covering to reveal the beauty below (well beautiful after a major polishing job, I'm sure). Aside: Wow, that was a big gust. Boat heeled over and swung half way around... Sure glad they checked our mooring last night.

Anyway, must go now and finish my chores... Never a dull moment (ha! That was a stainless steel joke :-)

As always. CJ

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

San Juanico

Good morning everyone. It's 0530 hrs., still dark, stars brilliantly lit but slowly fading as pre-dawn creeps slowly into reality. We have had a short but lovely visit to Bahia San Juanico. We've enjoyed beautiful scenery, met really nice folks (sailors and RVer's), walked across the point to La Ramada a small, gorgeous bay just north of here, and collected a pocket full of Apache tears ("smooth, glossy stones of natural volcanic glass known as obsidian" per Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer).

Shawn and Heather relate the legend of these stones as follows. "The legend of the Apache Tears began back in the 1870's when the United States Calvary fought against the Apache in Arizona. With defeat imminent, the Apache warriors refused to be held captive and leapt to their death from atop the face of a cliff. The families of the warriors wept greatly for their loss and each tear shed turned to stone upon hitting the earth. It is believed that anyone who carries an Apache Tear will never have to weep again, for the families of the Apache warriors have wept in place of your sorrow".

Friends Margaret and John, on SV Cahoots, have shared their company with us and we've enjoyed our time with them. This morning, shortly after daybreak, both boats will head on their respective ways. So goes the nature of this cruising life. Our 'family' of cruising buddies is a fluid one. We meet old and new friends as we travel from anchorage to anchorage. Some we see more often, others we don't, but the friendships continue with the understanding our paths will cross sometime in the future if they are meant to. Believing we'll see them again is really important because saying goodbye is just too hard.

Last night we sat out on the foredeck, under the spectacular stellar display and listened to the light swish of water falling off the rays' backs as they leapt out of the sea and the booming slap of their bodies as they landed flat upon it. They were showing off around us for quite a while. During the night, when I was up checking the anchor, I was delighted to see us completely surrounded by phosphorescence. Those wee creatures were everywhere -)

Well, I've just heard the sound of Cahoots slipping quietly into the soft dawn. Time to rouse the ships company and get under our own way. We're heading south to Isla Coronados today and then into Puerto Escondido tomorrow (there's supposed to be a big blow starting Thursday... PE is a good place to ride it out.

Hope you all have a great day.... Adios amigos. CJ and K

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Sunday, December 4, 2016

At last... Sailing into the night.

We're sitting here watching carefully as a lightening and thunder 'cell' slides slowly by us. We are (yup, we made it!) anchored in Caleta San Juanico...exactly where Sean and Heather (in their cruising guide) suggested. We are one happy pair.

But I must tell you about our crossing! It was a collage of, well, everything. We slipped Bahia San Carlos at 1515 hrs. and headed out to take a look. The wind had been whistling through the anchorage and we were indeed having second thoughts about the crossing. Never done it before. Never sailed across from San Carlos to the Baja. Never sailed this boat more than an hour or two. Quite the predicament. But, and so, we sucked it up and headed out. Miss Sophie might have been tsk tsking us... but we headed out anyway.

We left while we still had enough daylight to sort things out. You wouldn't believe how many bits and pieces get collected while you work on and set up a sailing yacht. Anyway, we waded through them all and got re-acquainted with our sea legs while we bounced and flounced our way out of and away from San Carlos. We saw only three fishing boats as we left and not a single, floating vessel of any kind throughout the remainder of the crossing. That's one of the good things about sailing up here... no (or very few) long lines and no commercial traffic (except for the ferry running from Santa Rosalia to Guaymas).

Our crossing was windy, lumpy, cold, wet ... and marvelous. Let me tell you about the highlights (and leave the lowlights to your imaginations :-). Our journey across the Sea could be divided into three parts. The first involved learning SSpirit; setting up a second reef on the main, making sure all necessary lines were snug (jerry cans, boarding ladder, etc., etc.), setting up the cockpit for helming in comfort, preparing our snacks and meals for the crossing (sandwiches made before we left, along with drinks and snacks), and generally getting used to the feel of SSpirit as we began to move with the seas. They were largish and kind of lumpy, but they weren't bad enough to turn us back. We've been waiting almost three years for this moment and a little water wasn't going to stop us... so onward we pushed. Long story short, we motor-sailed into lumpy seas and wind, almost on the nose, and carried on across. At one point we had a bit of a disappointment... our auto pilot stopped working. Those of you who followed our journey down the coast of North America in 2011 will recall how upsetting the loss of that one piece of equipment can be. Faced with the loss of auto, others might have been tempted to turn back, but we had come too far and waited too long, so we decided to keep going. Heck, we hand-steered the majority of the NA coast, surely we could do the same to cross the Sea. Even so, Kathy was determined to check out everything she could, and lo and behold - she cleaned up the connections to the auto-pilot motor and old Otto began to hum his little heart out. He worked fine for the remainder of the trip. Things calmed down for the central third (where it was supposed to be rough) and then built up into a real challenge as we approached the Baja, especially for the last three hours. Twenty-one hours after setting sail from San Carlos, we were 'hook down' in San Juanico.

Now then, let me tell you about the phosphorescent torpedoes... of the dolphin variety. 'Round about the centre of the crossing (98 nautical miles in total) we were joined by some wonderful dolphins. They swam with us, at us and away from us... all the while trailing magical streams of green phosphorescence. It was a delight to watch, and to share in their joy as they challenged and tackled our bow wake.

As well, the stars blew us away. The Milky Way flared across the sky right over our heads and the rest of the sky was filled with clusters and constellations and, well, enough to keep you watching for the entire night. Each of us saw a few 'falling stars' as well and the new moon was so bright that even as a little 'slip' of a piece... it sent out a moon beam across the sea.

So, that was our crossing. We arrived in San Juanico all crusty with salt... even in our hair. SSpirit had buried her nose in several steep waves along the way, and we had taken spray all the way back in the cockpit - and over our heads. Guess you could say it was a little lumpy :-).

We are safe and sound in San Juanico, along with several other boats. SV Cahoots arrived today after an even tougher crossing than ours. They saw winds up to 35 Knots (we can only boast 24) and huge seas. From where we are sitting we can look out and see mountains of water rolling by, some with their tops exploding off with the wind. Yup, there's a big wind blowing out there now and we're in the best place we could be for protection from the north.

Ahhh, life is good. BBQ steak for dinner tonight. Sleep well... CJ

PS. After arriving at San Juanico, we discovered our Pactor Modem has packed it in. Sadly that means no emails in or out. I'm writing this post now, and will follow with others, so as to tell you of our journeys. They will get posted once we hit civilization again.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Window !

Well, my goodness.... Here it is November 30th already. We put Rikki to bed last night. Stored him at "Ed and Dorothy's Dog Boarding". I know, I know... Only in Mexico :-) Seems Ed passed away a few years ago and I've never seen Dorothy, but a very nice guy named Rodolpho runs the place and it's great...for vehicle storage.

Now why would we say good night to Rikki? You might ask. It's been so long you've likely forgotten what it was we came here to do... Go sailing, of course!!

We (well Kathy really, with her diligent attention to about seven different weather aps and broadcasts and websites... ) has identified what we in the frustrated and waiting group of Marina San Carlos groupies call.... A WINDOW !! Yippee!! Yahoo!!

We really, really think that later tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday are offering us reduced winds (seas still a little lumpy but hey... Gotta go) enough such that we're going to take the plunge and head off. If we don t leave now, we'll be here yet another week waiting.... Soooo, here we are, Wednesday morning, all paid up and just stuffing those last minute things into tiny crevices ... Where ever there's room. When we run out of space (which we have) we'll tie things to the deck... We already look like the pioneers must have... With their pots and pans clanging away on the outside of their dusty wagons. Hopefully ours won't clang too loudly :-)

Once we're finished with last-minute stowing, showers, and farewells... we'll be on our way; all the way to the anchorage just outside the marina. It's like a waiting room, where boats go to anchor, get their sea legs back, and make sure everything you think you fixed is truly and actually working. All being well, we'll hoist anchor and bid San Carlos farewell tomorrow afternoon at 1600 hrs. It's an 18-20 hr. crossing (best guess) from here to San Juanico which is our destination (check it out on google. It's supposed to be beautiful with good holding grounds, great beaches, and lots of hiking trails). We've never been there and it's top of our list of places we want to see.

I must leave you now; still lots to do before departure.. Will write again when I can. Once we leave the marina we'll be using SSB for email so messages will be more succinct (lucky you! :-)

Adios for now... Until we 'write' again. CJ and Kathy aboard SV Shannon's Spirit

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Moving day!

Can't believe it! After three years including two seasons; after a dog attack, an emergent return home with a broken dog, weeks and weeks of hard hot labour, and after narrowly missing a disastrous outcome from Hurricane Newton..... Shannon's Spirit sits... waiting patiently... for us.

Today... we move aboard with the last of our belongings. Now, I'm not saying everything's neatly tucked away in our copious amount of storage base (cuz there isn't... great storage)... but I do know whatever makes the final cut (stays vs. goes) will find a home somewhere... tucked into some nook or cranny :-). We've done it before. It's amazing how much stuff can sift down and away into a small boat. It's also surprising how, on a small boat, you can lose things.... Some, never to be seen again until you sell and have to empty it. That's why we keep an inventory; lists and lists of bin numbers and locker locations... places like "port side, under V berth" and "centre, under aft berth". Now if only I could find all the notes and put them together :-). Anyway, we're pretty excited.

As you might correctly imagine, this will be a big change. Not only will we finally have all our belongings under one roof, but we will be leaving our rather spartan but familiar 'home' at Adlai Apartments. And, after three years, we'll finally be moving forward and committing to the plan of setting sail. That's pretty big, even for us. I have no doubt that excitement will rule over apprehension and by tonight we'll be sitting in the cockpit... thrilled we don't have to drive back to the other side of town, and sharing dreams as we gaze at the stars...yippee!!!!

The weather forecast is calling for rather high winds starting Wednesday, so we likely won't be crossing the Sea (over to the Baja side) until after they abate. But, we will... live on board at the dock for a few days (while we settle in, get our official papers organized, put the truck in storage, and provision for a 3-4 week journey down the Baja coastline). Then we'll move out to the anchorage where we'll spend a couple days making sure everything goes up and down like it should (anchor) and hoists and unfurls properly (sails) and performs when it's asked to (heads, water, electricity) and... when the weather Gods permit... we will set sail and head west. We are very happy to be moving forward.

Some of you have asked how things are going here given the highly publicized and outrageous 'reality show' unfolding to the north. The best way to describe it, I think, is that everyone seems to be in a 'wait and see' mode. That there will be change seems pretty obvious. How much and in what direction remains to be seen. There's not much we can do really, except wait and see how things go and keep an eye on the general mood.

With that, I must leave you... got a truck to pack. We hope all is well with each of you and will write again when there's a story to tell. Adios for now CJ

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Monday, November 14, 2016

OK, just one more...

Yup, couldn't resist posting this photo.  It feels so good to stand on your own boat, floating on the water.  She's looking pretty good, I have to say.  Just a few more things to set up and we'll be on our way.  Phew!!

TTFN. (tatafornow)

And then there's the bilge....

Boat bilges.... Yuk!  Usually dirty, greasy, smelly, collectors of all what-evers you can possibly imagine.  Right?  Not ours....  :-). Kathy has worked very hard and the result is stunning!  Not sure how long SSpirit's bilge will look this pretty..... But here it is.  Just had to brag a little bit :-)

That's all for tonight.  Hope all of you are doing well and enjoying every day....  Adios for now. CJ

Kathy and Salvador - new batteries and fancy caps

Water-Misers... That's what they're called. If you have wet-cell batteries, take a look at their web-site. We've been told they will really cut down the water loss, which will help our new batteries stay healthy. Will have to let you know on that, but it all sounds good so we're giving them a try :-)


Surprise visitors...

As some of you may know I have written a few magazine articles about our adventures. One of them is about "putting your baby to bed in a Mexican boatyard". The last chapter of that piece talks about re-commissioning your boat after its 6 month hiatus all bundled up against Mother Nature's summer horrors... beasts... and vermin.... and all that is capable of surviving the horrific weather of mid-summer Mexico.

Well, I lived to test one of my own theories last week! While inspecting one of the boats that had suffered major damage during Hurricane Newton, I pulled away the tinfoil that still covered the vessel's roller furling. I had already walked away, when a 'not so wee' creature popped out to protest the invasion of his privacy. Yikes!! Having already met his larger cousin on the patio where we are staying... I was more curious than petrified (and I have since learned that Tarantulas are actually quite friendly). Needless to say, I just had to share this photo... This guy (or gal) would have filled the palm of my hand.... (ok, that's a little close.)


We are so close, we took the evening off.... :-)

But, did you hear about the Super Moon last night?? Closest the moon has been since 1948... And it won t be this close again for about 30 years. Last night, we were SO tired, after days of work.... but we sucked it up, turned right into La Palapa on the beach, dragged two of their white plastic chairs down onto the sand (almost to waters edge), accepted two glasses of lovely L.A. Chetta wine (mine crisply cool and white, Kathy s red).... And watched that beautiful "Super" moon rise over the horizon. That's it in the background behind me (and yes I wear my hat and, yes, I wear sunscreen...the photo was taken at dusk).

We had a lovely, ever so romantic, evening watching the moon rise. Even more exciting was the fact that a kazillion small (baby) sardines came galloping ashore right at our feet! One of our waiters (er... Service providers) realized it first and put out the call... The staff rushed down to see (as did we) and we stood in awe as clouds of schools of thousands of little fish... turned the wave crests black with their numbers and succumbed to being washed up onto shore in the wave crests....only to be sucked out again with the next wave. It was awesome to watch. Even the restaurant cat came down to dream?

So, that was last night. Tonight we changed focus and joined the San Carlos Yacht Club for an evening of soup, delicious bread, and salad. We were even joined by the Commodore of same (who we think came to see if we were party crashers... And then decided to let us stay). In fact Kathy had been befriended by the bartender who invited us...and now we're invited to attend any time or event we want!!

So, that's the social news. On the work front... well, we can see the light! Most projects have gone well... really well. Others? Not so much. I'll show you photos in a series of follow up posts. The only "not brilliantly happy" news is that we had to order a new depth sounder... Did so... And included a shoot-through transducer (as we were already in the water). After three days of crawling around on our hands and knees, we have had to accept the transducer was not going to work on our boat. SO.... Tomorrow we have to get hauled back onto dry land, and back into that dusty dry work we can drill a hole in the bottom of our boat (I have always hated that part!) and install a through-hull transducer that we have tested and know to be true. We'll be back in the water on Thursday and, hopefully, will move on board on Friday and Saturday.

So that's enough yakking for now. Temps have cooled to a brisk 16 in the morning and a 'suggestion of siesta' 28-30 in the afternoons. Evenings are perfect (75 or so), and the wind fills in every afternoon at 1335 hrs. precisely.

So, that's the news from our little world.

Adios for now. Talk again momentarily. CJ


Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Hello out there... on dry land. :-).... today we "SPLASHED". Yippee, Yahoo, oh my goodness. What a wonderful feeling... the moving deck, the wind in our hair, the smell of salt water. All those things that aren't dry and dusty and gritty... 'Tis true: we will miss the people... the cruisers we've met in the yard and the wonderful ground crew (those guys who have been so helpful and accommodating to us "girls from Shanoon"). That's kind of our nick-name in Mexican cruising waters :-). BUT, we are pretty happy to be away from the dirt and grit and into the water... And the cruisers will follow us to the dock... We're part of the the 'first string'. Some have been working hard and will be on our heels, while others are still driving down... hoping the heat will abate before they get here... 99 yesterday, 99 today, 99 tomorrow (80% humidity). Being on the water makes about a 10 degree difference in comfort. Should you be by.. we're in slip C19 at Marina San Carlos :-)

To be clear, we're not moving on board for a few days yet. We still have some projects to complete (there will always be projects, but some take up more room than others) before we give up our apartment and take the leap to life aboard. But, once the storage locker is empty and the gear has been sorted (to boat, to home, to swap meet, to pile of summer maintenance materials whose future is yet to be determined :-) we will be 'living the life'...

We have a few photos which we will share tomorrow. I just wanted to let you know that all went well today, SSpirit is afloat, and the sorting begins :-)

Hope all is well with you and your families... Adios for now, CJ

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

All's well in San Carlos...

Hola, Buenos Dias. SSpirit's crew is back together and on the job. After a very uneventful (read that kind of boring) two-day journey CJ is back on duty in San Carlos. Scars from the wee bit of nose surgery are calming rapidly and it's all good.

Kathy has accomplished a huge amount during the last two weeks. The bottom repairs are all completed and a fresh coat of paint will be applied over the next two days. The electrical upgrades and installation of new batteries is complete and looks great. SSpirit is actually looking like a very nice sailboat once again. Our goal is to launch next Monday so we still have some work to do to get her ready for that. Once she's in the water we'll continue our prep and will move on board as soon as we can.

For those of you up in rainy and windy BC.. You might like to know highs here are in the mid 90's and it's still pretty humid... (I'm sure I'll get used to it soon... Gasp :-)

Bye by for now..... SSpirit is calling :-). Hope you all have a great day. CJ

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Catching up... it's October already.

Hi everyone.  It's been a while (at least it feels like it) since we've written.  Sorry for the absence... but here's how it's going.

CJ (that's me) had to return to Canada for a couple weeks...  Yup, one more spot of BCC to deal with.. this one on my nose of all places.  The good news is my appointment was at the MOHs clinic. If you haven't heard of the MOHs method.. check it out.  Instead of the cut and chop x 2 that was my lip, this kind is a one-shot deal.  You spend several hours.. most of it waiting for lab results..  but it's all dealt with on the same day.  And the staff and Doctors are excellent... So, except for the fact I had to leave Kathy slaving away in San Carlos.. I'm really glad I hooked up with the Skin Care Centre in Vancouver (thank you Tom and Shae for the tips). My black/purple eye is fading rapidly and the stitches are also quieting down... People don't avoid eye contact and kids don't stare anymore :-)

I have been extremely well cared for while at home.  Friends have insisted on feeding me wonderful meals and I'm even the lucky recipient of a loaned vehicle.  I'm feeling very spoiled.  I leave Duncan on Friday to spend a couple days in Vancouver and I fly out of YVR early Monday morning.  I should be back in San Carlos for dinner on Tuesday.  Yippee!!

Now then, as for Miss Kathy... well, she has been one very busy girl.  Even with all my organizing (those who know me know what I mean)... she has still had to deal with the unexpected issues that continue to pop up.... like the "oh, what's that" on the bottom of the hull.  Well, 'that' led to the discovery of a patch job gone bad.  N/K when the patch was done, but once you've discovered something like that... well you have to deal with it.  The potential for delamination is too great to ignore it.  Add that to the list.

I think it's safe to say the 'repair' work on SSpirit has become more of a 'refit' and, although it's frustrating and expensive... once completed, we should have one heck of a good and safe little ship with which to continue our explorations of the Sea of Cortez.  This years additions include (but are not limited to :-) 5 new batteries (the not-so-old AGMs died over the summer); a new battery selector switch; a new float switch for the bilge pump; a Balmar Regulator for the engine; a new and much more efficient raw water strainer for the engine; a new SSB antenna (to replace the one ripped of by Hurricane Newton); a PSS shaft seal (never could get the packing gland to drip properly); repair of the aforementioned hull patch.... and a new depth sounder (as the old one had to be removed to facilitate the repair... and it was ancient anyway); new anchor chain (5/16 HT) and a new Lofrans Kobra windlass (you've already heard the tale of the previous one); the addition of our dinghy and outboard; SS rails in place of the wire lifelines at the cockpit (which will allow us to mount the second propane tank and bracket); new LED lights, one in the salon and the other in the Galley.  I'll stop there. As you can imagine we're both working hard to move SSpirit forward and I truly believe we'll make it away from the dock this year.....  We've even set Oct. 24th as our 'splash' date; so we'll see how that goes...

In the mean time, thank you to all of you who have helped us in one way or another.Your friendship and support has been amazing. We feel very confident that our season this year will be a good one.  Thanks.

Adios for now... take good care and have a great day.  CJ

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Talismen, Saints, and Angels...

We have arrived!

Got in yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon. Phew.  

As is our practice, we were up early and arriving at the border just after 0600 hrs.  Yes, that is early... but, yet again, it proved very worth while. Some say my copious amount of 'paper' and three ring binders would put anyone off lingering over the details... But I persist in believing that when it's early, and it's cold (by Mexican standards), and the task of unpacking and inspecting a load that is, by anyone's standards, formidable... well, that's enough to put anyone off. 

Yesterday morning we were met by two very official border officers; one apparently senior to the other. And, along with the aforementioned circumstances, we also had a well translated (thank you Maritza) explanation as to why we were carrying so much stuff back into MX.  Fortunately everything transpired as it should. The officers saw the wisdom of allowing us to proceed (it was early, cold, and there would be many more 'less loaded down' vehicles to stop and physically inspect) and allowed us to proceed... Even with our very conspicuous dinghy lashed on top.  

Our drive south to San Carlos was equally without excitement.  The stories of horrendous lineups and non-stop road construction and reconstruction ... well, we were lucky.  The roads were under construction but the traffic wasn't too bad and the weather was fine. We actually arrived earlier than expected. 

In the last 24 hours we have, moved into our 'digs' at the Adelaide Apartments, had SSpirit moved over from the storage yard to the work yard, discovered a few disappointments (very nearly dead batteries, seriously damaged SSB antenna, pretty much all 'messenger lines' for the halyards severed) and/but, quite frankly, SSpirit has faired very well considering what could have happened. She's dirty and needs a good bath...but we're not standing here wringing our hands.  

What needs repairing will be repaired... and we'll keep busy over the next several weeks with the upgrades we came prepared to do.  

While we feel quite lucky that SSpirit was not seriously damaged like some of the other boats, we must also acknowledge our Talismen, Saints, and Angels that have obviously been watching over our little ship and kept her from further harm. I'm not saying we're superstitious but, hey, we are Irish and, well, our special protectors have been with us since we left Maple Bay on SV Shannon in 2011.
Our Talisman:  This Polynesian sea turtle bone carving was given to us by Marg & Rob Elvidge, in the summer of 2011, before we left B.C. on Shannon.  They bought this from the its carver, on one of their many adventures.  Turtles are one of the oldest creatures on earth. The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, known as “Honu,” symbolizes good luck, endurance and long life. Turtles can show up as a person’s guardian spirit, known as “Aumakua.” When lost, turtles are excellent navigators and often find their way home. Legend states that a green sea turtle guided the first Polynesian settlers to the islands. (ref):

Our Saint:  Saint Christopher, the Patron Saint of Travelers. Thank you Mom, he's kept us safe!

Our Angel: Her crystal reflects sparkling rainbow colours throughout the cabin. Who doesn't need an angel looking over them?  A thoughtful gift from our friend Carol.

And we cannot forget our Mascot: Wallace the Easter pig... he's been sailing with us since 2000 when we crossed the Strait to Conover Cove on Wallace Island to meet up with Kathy's Mom & Dad on their boat, the "Hull Island".  He's looking forward to getting to "manana" when we will be released from his dust cover!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

All Tucked in... Yuma, AZ

Hi all, just us checking in to let you know TT Lucy is all set up, keeping Lane & Kathy's home in Yuma, AZ company. We've had a good drive down; stopped in some places that were new and others that were familiar.  Rikki has done a great job given the load he's carrying and with Lucy in tow.

We're in Green Valley tonight and tomorrow (early) we head south to the border; about a 40 minute drive. We like to cross early as it gives us the rest of the day to do the 7 hour drive to San Carlos... And this year the roads will be even messier than normal, thanks to Hurricane Newton.

Will check in again once we're settled and have been to inspect SSpirit... Fingers crossed there will be no more surprises :-)

Hope you are all well and enjoying each day.  Talk again soon... CJ 

Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Wind and Weather... and passage planning Apps


It's 1245 hrs (Thursday Sept. 22nd) and we're sitting in Lucy (hanging on but comfortable) while she rocks 'n rolls to the raucous wind roaring by us on both sides. As you can see in the photo below (or wherever it shows up on this post :-) taken yesterday afternoon, Kathy's precise positioning of big, tough Ricki... has created a wind-break for sweet Lucy... and thank goodness for that.

These predicted weather conditions were shown on one of the apps Kathy uses and, as is our practice, we decided we better hold up somewhere before driving into wicked road and weather conditions.  In fact, this particular "Fire Weather (Red Flag) Warning" predicted wind gusts up to 45 MPH as well as potentially dangerous forest fire conditions.  And so, we used this excuse to spend not one but two days at beautiful Pahranagat Lake Wildlife Refuge just off the highway near Alamo, Nevada.  The weather alert covers the area from here to south of Las Vegas (exactly where we're headed next) and it's supposed to back off by early morning hours tomorrow (Friday).  So, here we are safe and sound and playing musical windows as we open them for air and then close them when the sand and dust blows by :-). And we've books 'n cards 'n beer... So we're OK.

Now then; it's occurred to me that several of you have asked about our routes as we travel south.  When we're sailing in the Sea of Cortez, we have used IPad apps like iNavX with Sean and Heather's chartlets   (purchased from Blue Latitude Press online) as well as Navionics.  When we're on the road and land-cruising we are using the following sources of information...

Intellicast (or Storm) ... on iPhones or Android ... Provides weather and driving conditions as well as radar and satellite imagery AND alerts for wind, fire, ice and flooding conditions.

Here's what "Storm" has to tell us today:

 AllStays "Camp and RV" ... Allows you to set filters to display Points of Interest on a map, showing campsites in National/State/County Parks, Public lands, Independent RV Parks, etc., as well as Walmart "Ask to Stay" locations.  Each item includes links to site details and user reviews.

GasBuddy ... User-reported realtime gas pricing by location

Passport America... Annual membership which provides 1/2 price (with some restrictions) at many participating RV parks throughout Canada and US

Trip Advisor... Our favorite place for great advice on where to stay and where to eat.

Oh, and for valuable independent user reviews of RV parks throughout North America.

And finally, Verizon pre-paid phones have given us the best coverage (while in the U.S.) and they have an inexpensive, month by month, data plan which allows us to get all this info while we are on the road.

So, that's my news for today... Here, enjoying a breezy afternoon... With plans to head off tomorrow.

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

CJ & K

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016

My how the miles do fly!! I left you on the 16th with visions of our intentions...and, for the most part, we've followed the path set. We didn't, however, stop to see the Locks.... It was POURING when we woke up on the morning of the 17th and it took most of our energy to pack up camp and slither our way out of our mud site... Sure glad I washed my shoes before leaving home :-)

One quick aside here: You know how, when you're drifting along country roads and you come to a railroad track, you dutifully slide your eyes left and right as you do a sliding stop before carrying on across?? I know you do. Well, aren't we glad the mud track out of the slithery... I mean the Fisherby, was uphill. The slow drive uphill helped us do a much better stop at the train tracks and imagine our shock as we lazily look right and .... Holy Cr_p there were two bright and beady eyes comin' down the track at us,,, Even though we didn't need to, we backed up another three feet.. just to give the nice engineer plenty of room. No caboose, so no wave at the last man. But, I can assure you we are even more diligent every track we cross.

We spent the rest of that morning driving out of a weather system that seems to have taken a liking to it's traveling in roughly the same direction, but a little slower. Our stop on (Saturday) the 17th was at a place that is new to us.... and we quite liked it. The Eagles Hot Lake RV Resort (used to be La Grande Hot Lake RV) was a great stop for our one-nighter. There was even a couple there using their tugboat on a trailer as their RV. Didn't get a chance to talk to them but they were up and gone the next morning, just before us. As well as friendly staff, a pet duck (Daisy May), flat, and clean sites with full services, this location has a pool and a hot tub (and washrooms and showers). we had our first dip and hot tub almost ever! It was marvelous. Again, that night, the system caught up with us though, and we had to pack up in intermittent drizzle showers. Away we sailed, still heading east.

Ahhh, our favorite State Park (Three Island Crossing State Park in Glenn's Ferry, Idaho) was our stop on Sunday the 18th. this is a beautiful state park, situated right at the spot where the pioneers used to cross the Snake River (using three small islands to help them) on their way west. There's a terrific museum wherein lies their story and artifacts. What slays me is that all this was taking place a mere 150 or so years ago.... OMG. Anyway, this State Park is so nice we decided to kick back and take an extra day...very relaxing.

Tuesday, Sept. 20,2016... On the road again and continuing our journey east and south. As we have done during the past several years, we are using a route that is flatter and much slower (phew) that I 5. We turn south once we get to Twin Falls and head down Hwy.93.

Some of you may recall my rave a couple of years ago about a place with the coolest washrooms. They're spotless and look just like your grandmother's. Welcome Station RV Resort, Wells, Nevada is right where we left it and the washrooms are just as we left them :-)

We're here for the night and, while the highway traffic can be heard, the ambience makes up for it in many ways. Trout in a small pond with a brook running through; a field across the back with horses; huge shade trees through out the site and very friendly owners... all make this a great place to stop.

Tomorrow? Well, that's another day. We continue south on 93... Let you know where we stop when we figure it out :-). The weather system I spoke of earlier is still tailing us so we want to try and stay ahead of it.

Until then, know we are well.... And hoping you are too. Adios for now... CJ

Sent from my iPad

Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday evening - Sept. 16, 2016

It's 1800 hrs. and I m sitting here in my old, black, well-used camp chair, feet up on an a decaying log guardrail... peering through a copse (not sure what that is, but it sounds good :-) of ancient and new trees standing on a disheveled (another big word :-) bank of undergrowth.

Oops, a little chipmunk just ran across my foot log, jumped over my feet and kept on going...  True story!!

Six or eight "good old boys" fishermen are cleaning their catches of Chinook salmon at the fish station across from our campsite and I can hear the crash and tinkle of their beer cans and bottles as they are dropped into collection bags.

Anyway, we've had a rather long day...having started with finding a replacement GAM antenna to purchase and ended with us trying several camp sites looking for a site to settle in for the night... with no luck.  Finally, the Park host at the last campground, told us about "The Fishery" a rough-hewn fisherman camp, carved out of the shore-side forest... rough, but just down the road.  We took a chance and here we are, tucked into Tent site #2.  Yup, Lucy and Rikki just backed right into this little tent site and here we are dry camping on the shores of the Columbia River just a short drive away from the Cascade Locks.  All this for only $15 :-)

Oh... There goes the 1900 train (right behind us and 15 minutes early).

A friend of ours reminded us this is likely our last drive through before we start flying to the boat...and she's right.  She said to be sure to see the things we want to see while we're on this journey.. and we think she's right about that too. Given those words of wisdom, and considering Kath has always wanted to see the Cascade Locks, we have decided to start our day tomorrow with a visit to the locks.  We'll then press on to the Grande Hot Springs RV Resort (in La Grande)   all going well.

For now, know we are well, resting, enjoying our fishermen's retreat and looking forward to a good sleep in between train whistles (there's one on each side of the river :-)

Buenos noches me amigos y amigas...  CJ

Friday, Sept. 16, 2016

Up 'n attum this morning.... Couple things to do. Received a photo last night... Of SSpirit (still upstanding :-) that shows her GAM antenna (that s the antenna for the SSB radio, that runs up the back stay) hanging over her side and obviously ripped from its moorings. We are blessed in that Portland lies not too far ahead of us AND has one of the few GAM dealers on the western side of the US... AND they have one in stock :-). So guess where we re going first? Also had to fiddle with the dinghy and raise the bow a bit as it was rubbing on Rikki's roof :-(. CJ McGiver on the job! All fixed now :-)

Rikki (dragging his pants a bit due to weight in box) and Lucy are doing well and we re fine... Getting reports of hot, humid, buggie conditions in San Carlos...rats. But maybe they ll be dried up some before we get there...

The day has now become a stop 'n shop day...and Kathy wants to see the Cascade Locks so guess we re not going terribly far today... That s OK though... Life needs to slow down just a tad.

Hope all is well with all of you.... Take good care of each other....

Oh yes, I forgot to tell you our latest small world story. Whilst sitting in the ferry parking lot, waiting for Customs...didn't a lovely silver stream truck and trailer roll by us to park in the adjacent lane. And, didn't my glance become fixed upon the fuzzy noggin of a beautiful silver standard poodle gazing out the truck window. You guessed it... Couldn't help myself. I was out of the cab before they stopped and introduced myself...and asked for a poodle fix. Both Kathy and I had a wonderful meet 'n greet with Stirling and his parents... Beautiful dog and really nice folks. Here comes the small world part. We sat together on the ferry (with Stirling cuz Coho lets you bring your dog up to the people floor) and had a great visit. He is the VP of a work/retirement organization I belong to, and she is a retired nurse. They too love standard poodles. Turns out their last standard was related to our Chelsea.... We think he was one of her two pups. We got to share all kinds of good stories about our lives with our poodles... A great doggie fix for all.

So that's all the news for now... Leaving shortly. Will write again soon. Adios... CJ

Sent from my iPad

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Aaaaaand, we're off !!!!

At least as far as Victoria :-). Thank goodness my sister mentioned traffic problems on the Malahat (Hwy). After confirming the road construction would not end until sometime this morning, we made the (seemed logical given the alternatives) decision to head down the road last night. Kathy phoned and confirmed we were allowed to park over-night in the Coho Ferry parking lot IF we arrived between 1930 and 2000 later.

With that knowledge, and a strong desire to not work till dark (packing clothes, finishing off the truck packing, transferring food from big fridge to little fridge, and general tidying); and then to get about three hours sleep so we could drive glibly south into a quagmire of traffic woes.... We cranked up the pace (as if we could :-) and actually got all that accomplished AND the garage cleared enough to park the car in... AND headed on down the road to Victoria at 1745hrs. Phew.

Had a great drive... Very little traffic traveling south... And arrived 20 minutes early. Walked out for dinner and had a decent nights sleep. (they even left a washroom open for us).. What a difference! Wish we'd known about this option in years past.

Know we are well and finally on our way... Still receiving news from San Carlos about damage in the town and our boats. We received word last night that one of SSpirit's antennas may be damaged but we won't know for sure till we get there.

Hello and thank you to all our cruising friends who have sent us info and photos... Getting actual information is so helpful. Thanks also to folks who have contributed to the donations for the San Carlos Clean Up Team.... your help is very much appreciated.

With that, I'll sign off... It's time to get ready for the Customs check. Hopefully the grumpy fellow is not on duty.... Wishing you all well.. Enjoy the warm fall season... Talk to you again a little further down the road. CJ

Sent from my iPad

Friday, September 9, 2016

SV Shannon's Spirit... is Upstanding !!

😁  Yes, we are pleased to show you photos provided by our friend and electrician Salvadore.  He checked on SSpirit for us this morning and these photos show her standing proudly where we left her. Even her Canadian ensign is still flying....  quite amazing really.

The last photo shows what the boats immediately across from her look like... not pretty and we feel badly for their owners.  Now that we know we still have a boat in Mexico, we are busily continuing the packing of Rikki and prepping of Lucy. Six more sleeps and we'll be on our way..... 

Thank you to all of you who have offered your support to us and to the others we'll be helping when we get down there...  Friends in San Carlos have requested heavy duty trash bags, gardening and work gloves, and rakes... to assist with the clean up of the town itself.  We will carry down whatever we can. 

Bye for now.. will keep you posted.  CJ

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Fwd: Hola from Carolyn

Here are a few more photos.  I need to warn you that exact locations and vessel identities have been the subject of debate since early hours this morning.  It's finally getting sorted out now but not everyone has heard about the status of their boat or property.  There are reports of much flooding of homes and many boats toppled in several different boat yards.  If, indeed, SSpirit is in tact (as has been reported to us)... we are two very lucky ladies.  

By the way, I've just been advised that Blue Water Sailing Magazine has published one of my articles in their August issue.  Still haven't seen it myself but, oddly enough, it's my article titled "Summer Sleeps for Winter Boats" and it's all about putting your baby to bed in a Mexican boat yard.  Now, after a visit from Newton, I must confess... that all the preparation in the world will not deter Mother Nature.  All we can do is our best to stave off her efforts to offend.

Going to take a break now.... back to painting boat parts (steps 'n shelves 'n things like that :-)  7 more sleeps...  😁

Hurricane Newton's visit to Marina Seca San Carlos ...

Hola and gracias to Marya on SV Indigo who has sent us some photos.. three of 'before' Newton, and one of 'after' his 'visit'.  As of half an hour ago, we can tell you that, apparently, SSpirit is still 'upstanding' and has not been damaged.  Several other boats we know have also escaped the unpreventable wrath of this storm.  Others have not fared so well.​ We will, of course, feel much better once we've laid our own eyes upon our dear ship... but until then we must be patient and wait.  

​We feel badly for the residents of San Carlos and Guaymas... our Mexican friends and their families... and we hope they are finding the strength they need to over-come the mess.  there are other photos, of the actual town and shoreline, we will post when and if we can.  suffice to say there is much work to be done to restore this beautiful sea-side village.  We will help where we can once we get there...  Adios for now.

Hurricane Newton...

Man oh man... the season has started with a bang.  A hurricane sized one at that. Yup, Hurricane Newton struck not only Cabo San Lucas, but also La Paz, Puerto Escondido, Loretto, Santa Maria and all the small villages in between.  Then..... he picked up speed and headed across the Sea of Cortez to Guaymas and San Carlos before slowing down a bit and continuing  into southern Arizona and New Mexico.

By now many of you will have had a chance to read up on Hurricane Newton and you have realized that, yes, there has been damage (some of it extensive) to Guaymas and San Carlos as well as their marinas; wet and dry. We, like many other cruisers we know, are sitting on tender hooks waiting to hear anything of our beloved yachts.  Facebook writers have posted photos of boats toppled on top of each other and, with I'm sure the best of intentions, they have attempted to identify the location of those photos...  That being said, the exact locations of the dry storage yards depicted are still under debate and reports of specific damage in specific storage yards is highly suspect with respect to accuracy.

Until we hear from folks we actually know, we remain uncertain as to whether or not our dry storage yard, Marina Seca San Carlos, has sustained the types of damage being reported.  Today, one week before we are scheduled to leave, we wait for news of the condition of SSpirit and other boats belonging to friends and to others in the cruising community.

Thanks for keeping your fingers crossed for SSpirit and her fellow ships as well as for the good people of San Carlos and Guaymas. We pray for them, their families and their homes and hope that all are safe.  Boats can be replaced or repaired... not so much people.

Adios for now... will post an update when we have information we can trust.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Kin Beach Park - Cruisers Pig Roast -

Having a terrible time (not!)... yup, we ran away. We're in Comox at a Pig Roast set up for our cruising (via sailboat, not the other kind :-) crowd from the Mazatlan area. The roast is tomorrow, but we ran away today so we could get here and get Lucy set up early enough to enjoy the sunset.

This past Thursday we had a terrific reunion of some older (not too old) retired gals, along with some younger wonderful women currently working... and it went very well... so well, we've vowed to do it again in a couple years. The gathering came about as the result of some of my research for 'Women in Blue' and it went even better than we'd expected. We had been working on the planning for this event for the past couple of months (in all our spare time... along with house stuff and boat stuff and family stuff) and we were pretty exhausted by the end of the day.... Made it home on the late ferry from Horseshoe Bay.

One days rest and we were back at it! 250' of new anchor chain needed to be painted with the new length markers; 240' of backyard fence is failing and needed to be shored up to get through the winter; new parts for SSpirit (it never ends)... And, as we hope this will be our last year driving down... We want to make sure we get as much as we re going to need.... (won't be able to carry much on an airplane in future years).

And then we looked at the calendar...yikes! Only 23 days before we head south... Unbelievable. We have so enjoyed this summer, living in our new home, visiting with friends and family. It's hard to believe it's already time to pack up and head south.

Anyway, we re taking a couple days off and then we'll be back home doing what we do. IF the photo comes through to the blog, it's a picture of a neat piece of art work (pieces of drift wood 'knit' together on the beach at Kin Beach Park where we're staying).

We hope you are well and enjoying the summer... Adios for now... CJ

Friday, August 12, 2016

Will you look at the date?....

WOW.  That's all I have to say... wow!  We got home yesterday (didn't we??) and now it's time to leave (feels like tomorrow).

We have gone from 'glad to be home'; to grieving the loss of Miss Sophie; oh God, the fence is falling down; oops there goes the lawn with no water; bye bye Mojo; the rebirth of Women in Blue... the writing project; family stuff;  and pretty much everything else that involves friends and family.

Yes, we're tired... but we're also looking forward to a wonderful cruising season on SSpirit (for those that have forgotten... SSpirit is short for Shannon's Spirit, our boat in Mexico).  Suffice to say, we've met the neighbours and have a plan for the fence (which involves shoring it up for the winter and rebuilding it in May); a plan for the house (which includes just enjoying what we have and unpacking and sorting as we have time); and ourselves (newbies to cycling ... Kathy;  busy researching and writing... CJ; prepping both body & soul for a 'more fun' next year... Kathy & CJ).

By the time we're ready to sail, dear SSpirit will be spiffed up with a new windlass and anchor chain, a bunch of electrical stuff that Kathy feels necessary :-), a few mechanical upgrades that CJ wants to take on; the return of our trusty dinghy and outboard from SV Shannon, and all sorts of bits and pieces that have made the TuDu list.  We're really looking forward to a wonderful season this year.. and are excited that Sue and John haven't given up on us but intend to join us once we make it to La Paz.  All going well they'll join us for some cruising just north of La Paz and then cross over to the mainland aboard the good ship SSpirit.

That's enough planning for now... no need to tempt fate.  Suffice to say the next four weeks will be filled with preparing, building, ordering, organizing, packing, sorting, house prepping, and everything else that belongs in the 'going sailing for the winter' hand book.

We hope you are having an enjoyable summer and that your dreams are all coming true... or at least taking shape :-)  Take good care... Will write again once we hit the road ... mid-Sept.  Adios for now.  CJ