Sunday, February 21, 2016

Getting our taco fix

Bundled up for my night watch

Dolphins at sunset

Calm sea - cloud reflection

Incredible hour long sunset with popcorn pink clouds

Our 23.25 hour passage across the Sea of Cortez was calm, pleasant with light sailing to help with our safe arrival in Guaymas. Lots of red tide all day and night so no wildlife with the exception of a small pod of dolphins at sunset. And the sunset - one of the best ever. We took so many photos!

Trying to photograph the quick moving dolphins!

We arrived in the early morning, avoided the fishing nets and shrimpers in the Guaymas area and scored the last slip at the Fonatur marina, where we worked our butts off for 2 days to prep for our haul out.

The sunset ooohs and aaahs from the crew were non-stop
Haul out on Saturday 8AM was thankfully uneventful and we are safely on the stands in the "new" dry yard. In between work projects, we are getting our major fix of tacos from the myriad of wonderful vendors that Guaymas has no shortage of.

We are living in the dirt yard until we depart in the next couple of days for a new chapter in our NW lives. This chapter features moving into our new tiny floating home! Although heading north "early", we have a lot to look forward to. Of course, including seeing friends and the

Happy Captain doing happy hour at the end of a long work day.
Behind him, construction of the music conservatory is going fast.
In the ways awaiting the lift. Mike had to turn us around to back
into the lift because of our boat configuration.
Yep, 36,000 lbs turns on a dime (or ten pesos).

Heading for the barn after some great sailing adventures.
We will officially no longer be 'homeless' as we have been the last five years. It's a huge deal for us. Come check out our new digs if you're in Portland.

Monday, February 15, 2016

From Maz to La Paz: another world beckons

Molcajete in Mazatlan. Killer!

Our attentive waiter, Memo, in Mazatlan
I’ve been remiss in writing since we made our safe passage north from Mazatlan to the Baja peninsula. No shortage of life has filled our past 15 days. Friends have written – where are you, they wonder and the truth is, we’ve been a lot of places. We’ve not had much internet of late which has been great, really, except for my work commitments!

Watch for the Shrimpers!
At the end of January, we enjoyed a good 48+ hour passage northwest across the sea to the La Paz harbor. We got in to the flow of day to night to day, our own cadence meshing with the boat movement and sail trim. Weather and water conditions varied a lot during that time so there’s plenty to keep us on our toes, along with the occasional dolphin checking in to ensure we are doing alright. The night sky provided a tremendous blanket of stars and bright planets spotlighted by the late night waning moon. To pass time during our 5-6 hour night watches, it’s a time for thinking and watching the darkness. We follow Orion, the Big Dipper and familiar constellations as they cross the night sky. We check gauges with our handy red-lensed headlamp, check for birds roosting on the mast, and sneak a treat from a dark cupboard hoping not to awaken our sleeping partner whose watch is coming up sooner or later. Only a couple of freighters and a giant cruise ship crossed our path during the night hours. While they loom small on the horizon, they quickly approach amid a frenzy of bright light and pass into the dark horizon, always a trip for me.
Interabang at anchor in Bahia Falsa
We are thankful for our night time tools that show targets including radar and AIS on Open CPN, which shows direction, speed and CPA (closest point of approach). Important stuff to know for decision making when you’re the little guy.
Our newly adjusted main sail, working like a charm

Freighter dock in the background
Hiking at Bahia Falsa with Trisha & Derrick

Ahhh, back to our destination which was Bahia Falsa. It's a wonderful protected harbor six miles outside of La Paz where the freighters and passenger ferries and cruise ships coming in at breakneck speed. Protected from the north winds by verdant and yet desert-like red hills. We stayed for six nights waiting for the northerly winds to subside and allow for a safe passage into the La Paz harbor. Turns out, the port was actually closed for 4 consecutive days which is quite unusual. Incoming traffic is always welcome, outbound not allowed. Luckily we had plenty of provisions and a couple of breaks in the wind during the week so we could hike on shore to stretch our legs and brains with Trisha and Derrick, our friends who shared their secret anchorage with us.

At the start of the parade route along the La Pa malecon

One of the first of many colorful and LOUD floats
We stayed in La Paz through the festivities of Carnaval, a full out sound and lights affair, which ended with a fabulous parade that was repeated for three, count ‘em, three nights. We caught the parade that last night then it was time to start our journey north up the sea to put Pura Vida to rest for the coming months.

The Shoe Mobile?

Banda music abounds. Musicians of all ages.

The Tecate "boy band" - they were good!
We’ve explored a few beautiful anchorages along our way north and are currently holed up in Ballandra, across from Loreto. As I write this, the winds are howling and we sway safely in the anchorage with a few other boats. We had planned to cross today but the winds are too strong for a safe journey and so we wait it out, hoping tomorrow is a better crossing day. We anticipate 24+ hours to Guaymas, as always, planning for an average of 5 knots per hour. We’ll see! 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

North from La Cruz & Banderas Bay

Sunset on our overnight passage north.

Mike and I departed La Cruz before "0-dark 30"; that being 6AM out of La Cruz. With their time zone change, the sun sets and rises an hour later than other places we've been. In the supreme darkness (no moon at that hour), we weaved through night time fishing pangas which thankfully had small lights so we could see our "targets". The sun rose about 7AM and we enjoyed smooth sailing for the first day of our trip. As usually happens, the winds pick up at night so the seas were choppier after our nice, long day. 

We did our 6 hour shifts at night with my starting with the evening, watching the stars come out and the moon rise. I came on shift again at 7AM, and caught this sunrise. 
The red ball rose through hazy morning clouds

Judy being artsy with the sunrise

Some of the shrimpers pass closeby
Quite spectacular! It lasted for a good long time and the warm sun was welcome after a cool night passage in our open cockpit. Off came the cap, socks and wind pants as the sun rose in the bright blue morning sky. On this passage, we didn't have any encounters with fishing nets so we were thankful. We'd had 2 tangles with nets on the way south. Mike got us free from the nets both times but we lost one of our boat hooks in the process - thankfully, Mike stayed on board!
Mike & David enjoying cigars on the patio. Nice!

Quite the panoramic view from Jan & David's patio

Blue mountains across Banderas Bay
Our last evening was spent with friends enjoying an amazing dinner and vistas of Banderas Bay. What a wonderful place! We hate to leave but it's time to head back north toward Mazatlan.
Funky Cuban bar in Puerto Vallarta where Mike bought cigars

Free mojito with the
purchase of a cigar
We'd spent an adventure day in Puerto Vallarta exploring, walking and taking in the sights and sounds - of which there is no shortage. We stopped at this Cuban place so Mike could by "authentic Cuban cigars". Well, they were good Montecristos to be shared that evening.

Next stop: we headed back to Mazatlan! I'll have to post pics of this stop later as we are getting ready to leave Friday AM for our 48+ hour passage up into the Sea, heading toward La Paz. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Night jasmine and palm trees

 This magic moment. The glorious scent of night jasmine wafting through the night air, the warm breeze swaying the palm trees, a nice evening walk back to the boat after a fun night out with friends. A great start to our time in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Nayarit, in the heart of Banderas Bay.
Shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe

Especially in this little village, music of all kinds is omnipresent. Whether surviving the loud banda music (the louder, the better? I don’t think so) or rock and roll in one of the many restaurants, La Cruz is a music hub. Music sets the stage, draws the crowd, tames the soul.
Cobblestone streets, Kenny's Carniceria (Meat Market)
Hot rod with air conditioning

Wednesday market - the veggie guy
We’ve been here over a week and on both Saturday evenings at the zocolo (town square), large Mexican bands performed dance music, everything from big band tunes to Mexican love songs. There were enough musicians that they spilled out of the gazebo, filling the square with music, while the locals danced and enjoyed general merrymaking. What fun to be part of it all.
We also enjoyed a great blues musician at Philo’s (may he rest in peace), and last night we watched the Packers game (volume off) while the house band played dance music. 
Tim Williams at Philo's

Relaxing at Dacquiri Dick's

Mike toting our new sinks at "World of Tile" store
Sinks for our new floating home
Leon, the world famous washboard player, sang “Jesus’ Brother Bob” to everyone’s delight.
We took a day to go to Puerto Vallarta for Judy's computer repair (again) and to find Mundo de Azulejos (World of Tile), truly a sensory overload of hand painted tile. We scored a couple items for our new floating home - sinks for the (soon to be upgraded) bathroom and house numbers.

It’s hard to say what the best part of La Cruz is this time…  however! The installation of our new mizzen sail and sail packs/lazy bags for both the mizzen and main is now complete, thanks to Tony Morrelli Performance Sails. We are stoked for the upgrades that we worked our butts off for this past summer.
Mike learning from Tony about our lazy bags

Enjoying the fun that is ... Mazatlan

Fast moving dolphins are hard to photograph
Our 36+hour trip south from Topolobampo to Mazatlan was uneventful, thankfully. We shared the company of dolphins and blue footed boobies. One boobie roosted on our mast for at least 12 hours, well into the night, pooping all over our deck.
Mermaid on the malecon

We enjoyed our time in Mazatlan working on boat and Judy’s work projects,
Changing weather

Blue footed boobie getting a free ride on the mast

On the way to Puerto Vallarta
spending time with friends and finally, took New Year’s Eve for ourselves to explore starting with a long bus ride to and through this bustling city of unending contrasts: old and new, the sea and the barrio, bright sandy beaches and short dark alleys, glorious and sad, expensive and cheap, loud and peaceful. 

The list goes on. It’s a living montage you’re too busy absorbing to even take photos. We like Mazatlan for all these reasons and more. It’s also a welcome place for all types of boats and a busy commercial port.

New Year's Eve
At the end of the bus line, we hopped off in the bustling market area where you can find anything including a great purchase from the “shrimp ladies” on a side street. We walked forever along the sea wall, the hilly streets and backstreet barrios and eventually were beckoned by a sign promising the best margarita and the best guacamole. That’s a challenge we must accept! This colorful sidewalk cafĂ©, La Copa de Leche (cup of milk), delivered. We sat watching people and the waves across the street when I was surprisingly coaxed into a fabulous pair of earrings by a passing street vendor with a black case full of silver; a guy who needed just one sale to make his day (I may have been his only sale that day so it was a win-win).
Haircut in Mazatlan