Sunday, April 20, 2014

Loreto to Guaymas, next destination: Portland

The Captain at rest
Michelle and I kayaking at Ballandra Bay

Just caught my first trigger fish
We enjoyed a week with friends from Vancouver WA, fishing ( successfully!), kayaking, swimming and exploring beaches around Isla Carmen, across from Loreto, BCS, Mexico.
The bar at Loreto - This old boat gets a new life

Enjoying my first michelada with Michelle

Tony's Pacific Porgy
Pura Vida at anchor, Isla Carmen
cloud formations at sunset
Baja CA rock formations and clouds

Our exclusive taquito extravaganza 

Tooling around an abandoned salt mining operation

Bahia Salinas - the church at the old salt mine
Amazing sunset - Ballandra Bay, across from Loreto BCS

Pretty sure nobody missed the amazing full
Our fresh caught fish on the grill!

moon this week – we had the extremely good fortune of experiencing the bright, full moon illuminating the night on our 21 hour passage north from Loreto to Guaymas. We hoped to traverse the 100+ miles during the lunar eclipse, but weather drives our decisions and we left once we reviewed the weather reports. Sunday: winds would be good. Monday: high winds predicted and they were. Gusts in the 40s once we arrived in Guaymas. I’m just saying that I’d rather be at anchor than underway with what I consider big winds.

We’ve been working long hours under the hot sun (no sympathy requested) since Monday, lovingly and carefully preparing Pura Vida for her rest at Guaymas Marina Seca (dry marina) - our dusty boatyard destination. We wait for high tide since we draft 6 ft (our depth under the water), so it's all about coinciding with the tides. For tomorrow at 4PM (high tide), we haul out and do final preps for long storage for the rainy, hot summer. It's Holy Week here (Semana Santa) so everyone is enjoying time off at the beach, relaxing, and life is at a slower pace than usual (read: try to get things done?!)

And so it begins… our journey north and the Goehler Quest starts another chapter, as we drive to Portland seeing friends along the way. In Portland, we look forward to reconnecting with family and friends, and continue our gainful employment.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Baja bound and heading North!

We’ve just completed another series of passages from the Pacific back up into the beautiful Sea of Cortez. First stop after our 310 mile passage from Banderas Bay across to Baja California peninsula: Bahia de Los Muertos (Bay of the Dead). 63 hours total transit time at ave 5 knots(mi)/ hr. Sighted the cape of the Baja peninsula at 7:30 am Friday, 50 ½ hours into our passage from the mainland. Although not a long distance compared to our friends heading to the south Pacific, landfall is a welcome sight.

We watched for fishing lines stretched across large areas along the northern route from Puerto Vallarta through the Tres Marias, 3 islands that include a prison – must stay 20 miles off shore to avoid Navy intervention. Winds were changing to stronger NW earlier than the various weather reports we’d studied.

We had all 4 sails up, then we took down two, and motorsailed with main and mizzen, as our boat isn’t that great sailing to wind (heading directly into it).

We did our 6 hour shifts 7:30pm to 1:30am – and 1:30 to 7:30am. We do long night watches and enjoy constellations passing across the sky and waited for the waning moon crescent arising in the wee hours for a spectacular, but short time. On the 2 nights, we switched schedules so each could experience the sunset to darkness shift and the late night to sunrise. Each offers different sensations! Main sail up at night with a reef in it. That presents the most interesting exhilaration seeing the sail against the night sky and the wind whipping in your face when you peer into the darkness looking for something you don’t want to see.  
The rest of the story fell below the photos from our journeys...

Mexican navy boat in the anchorage

Bird on the sheet as we enter Barra

Sunrises rock!

Jumping giant rays

Time for our 5th flag!
Although I am enjoying night passages more each time, they are unnerving as you can’t really see where you’re headed unless the stars or moon light your way. Whitecaps and waves bash against the boat and you wonder what the noise is.

The water in the sea is so intense in its many shades of blue and green, it’s incredible. The bioluminescence has been incredible these last few days. A fish passing, or a dolphin zipping by in the darkness leaves an undescribable trail of light in the water.

We made the passage with friends on Loomba Loomba so shared communications during our two and a half days northwestbound. We maneuvered 50 degrees to port behind a cargo ship that showed on our radar screen as moving, but apparently wasn’t actually moving. So, best to be safe and pass to stern, giving plenty of distance between us. Rules of the road say to avoid collisions and it’s just plain good thinking!

As the morning progressed, the chop picked up and the winds made us hobbyhorse, fighting current and against the wind. This slows us down to 3-4 knots per hour so our passage was longer. The Japanese temple bell we received from Teresa and Dan tinkles constantly as a reminder that all is well.

We had several days of red tide on the Pacific side, with intense blooms of red and brown that made the water scary and the water temperature dropped by 20 degrees. So no more swimming. Algae blooms and thousands of small white jellyfish floating by near the surface. Good reminders: don’t fall in! 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

St. Patrick's Day in Mexico!

church tower with teenage boys ringing
the heck out of 3 levels of bells!

Mike eyeing up his blue
margarita for St. Patrick's Day

view of the square from on high - thousands of attendees

yea! we're on the ferris wheel

the "castillo" of fireworks 
several workers making the crazy fireworks "castillo"
- a layered amalgam of flaming shamrocks and rockets!
...and outside, shamrocks abound 
We celebrated St. Patrick's Day in Melaque, Jalisco, a bustling, small pueblo next to the village of San Patricio - part of the same St. Patrick's parish. They put the Irish to shame with their 10 days of festivities, culminating in a parade with an interesting Catholic and indigenous Indian mix, crazy ground-based fireworks that spray into the crowds, a street festival, and carnival where Mike and I rode the ferris wheel. After our small group of 6 swore it wouldn't be a good idea to take a carnival ride in Mexico, we hopped onto the fastest ferris wheel that did at least 50 rotations! We were quite done but the ride was not so we enjoyed the views: full moon illuminating, the bay the city square, the other rides and the thousands of people. Festivities were serious, then religious, then fun, mariachi bands competing with banda music pouring out of loudspeakers, and local versions of not-so-nutritious carnival food.
new tractor - float says "ejido de
St Patrick"
(community of sorts)
The joy of receiving communion
cardboard sign says 'the joy of
Simeon and Sta Ana in the temple'
another dance troop: traditional
native costumes and shells
noisemakers on their ankles

the church was filled
with flowers 

Karaoke to go - with loudspeaker
mariachis walking to the church

and no parade is complete
without banda music and a tuba

St Patrick on his float

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Bus Trips to Guadalajara - Guanajuato

Mike getting ready to drop the anchor

Sunset at La Cruz after anchoring

Our walking tour through historical center of Guadajalara

Plenty of churches for Judy to visit

Wishful thinking in Guanajuato courtyard

Enjoying a margarita at the
theater cafe - Guadalajara
After taking our pic, the waiter says, what about me?

View from the cafe

The Inquisition Museum - seriously creepy

Incredible Baroque church in Guanajuato,
with a view of the mountains where they do the silver mining,
Guanajuato's claim to fame and reason for its richness

Seriously Baroque exterior and interior

Judy translating the tour guide's stories for the non-Spanish speakers
Old silver mine with flying buttress that looks like an elephant
(hey, that's what the tour guide told us)

During our Guanajuato tour, we stopped at a silver and
ceramic shop - this guy was fast at the wheel; also stopped
 at a Dulceria - a store filled with Mexican sweet treats

Hand crafted metal - chess sets, trains, you name it

The original name of Guanajuato
which means "hill that
looks like a frog"
(again, the tour guide's story, not mine)

We climbed down into Bocamina San Ramon silver mine -
I overcame my claustrophobia by holding my breath,
familiarizing with surroundings and knowing my point of egress

At the San Ramon
Silver Mine 
A view of the windy streets of old Guanajuato

El Pilipa, nickname of Guanajuato's hero, huge
sculpture overlooking the city

Good thing I'm not a shopper - that old Kodak sign is
probably worth something

The Don Quixote Museum - wow!

Check the double imagery on this Orozco painting -
Don Quixote Museum, Guanajuato

Theater at dusk -  Guanajuato- we did a carriage ride that night,
see the horse drawn carriage behind me
1610-built St Francis Hotel where we stayed
in Guadalajara in the center of the action

our horse-drawn carriage driver in Guadalajara -  great fun!
His horse was named El Grillo = "Cricket"

Cool theater in Guanajuato

we bought the sink - below the sun

Tequila shop - Tlaquepaque

Check out the full moon above the
"Half Moon Inn"
we stayed in at Tlaquepaque

Garden-side dining at Paco's sharing the
local specialty drink - shot of tequila with
fruit juices. Yumm!