Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Heading to Guaymas and a new chapter of adventure

Donning our new Passion Yachts
jackets, gifts from Mike the owner
We are excited to be heading to our boat tomorrow, leaving early from Phoenix for another chapter of new adventures. After a long 8 months in Oregon, it's time to explore. Mike earned his 100 Ton Captain's License in March, followed by another class to earn his certification for teaching advanced sailing lessons at Passion Yachts, so his summer was filled with all things boating. He's taught another round of students some of the wonders of sailing throughout the summer and fall months.

We both worked shifts on the BrewBarge  on the Willamette River downtown - Mike as one of the Captains and me as a Deckhand. Sometimes our shifts coincided but not often. And of course, we both worked at West Marine, our retail experience.

I worked multiple jobs, working pretty much every day but 4 from June through October. I was glad to be done, as we packed up the next day to start our journey south. Living room was filled with new Garmin electronics, boat gear and basics that we can't find in Mexico - Mike carefully packing the Escape, loaded to the gills and full car topper borrowed from Jeff. Visiting friends and family, it's always a multi-day trip with beautiful fall colors along the way.

Until our last days in Portland, the weather cooperated and we were able to enjoy our little firepit on our back deck. Here's a view of the ramp up to the parking lot. It's a lot more angled than when we arrived in rainy March when the ramp was almost flat. The river fluctuates with a 4 ft tidal shift twice daily,
Day and night views of the ramp
so that provides viewing a variety of wildlife from river otters, heron, fish jumping, beavers, raccoons, osprey and hummingbirds to paddleboarders and kayakers between us and the shore.

Mike setting up our
newly inherited umbrella
from our sweet neighbors

Mike hauling our new dinghy - thanks to
generous friends Cathy & Ken

Our garden yielded amazing treats

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Zero to 60 … in just 60 years

Our backyard - the river is slowly
receding as the rains slow down 
As noted in our last post, we made the trek north to Portland in early March – way before it was wise to return to the incessant rain and cold temps! Always a hard adjustment to wearing shoes after sandals all winter, but donning winter woolies really has been the norm. Many asked us, why did you come back so early?  

Captain Mike
(showing off his newly earned shirt)
All worth it, though, as Mike earned his 100-Ton Captain’s license in March and has been actively working in that capacity since, in a variety of jobs. 
The most recent is the addition of being a Captain on the BrewBarge - check out https://www.brewgrouppdx.com/brewbarge/, taking groups out on a paddlewheeler where 10 bicyclists propel the boat on the Willamette River whilst drinking beer. Yep, it looks like fun.

He’s also been teaching sailing lessons and this weekend, will take additional course work so he can teach advanced ASA sailing classes at Passion Yachts.

We’ve both returned to the retail world of West Marine to help fund our apparent addiction to buying boat parts, where Mike unloads the truck in the early morning and I work in clothing, footwear, accessories and doing some cashier work. The glamour never stops and it’s a good thing we work with some great people. We are also both working as handymen for hire to help our income stream.

I am doing freelance marketing, working with a number of clients. Now marketing opportunities are really focused on digital media including social media and SEO, which is ever-changing.

Local family entertainment
On the home front, river living brings us both great joy. A heron pranced across our deck yesterday and the hummingbirds have found our feeders.
Although home projects aren’t nearly as intense as last year’s multi-month remodeling, Mike just had the unplanned opportunity to change the sump pump under the deck at our floating home. Not as sweet smelling as some of our boat projects... I’m always so thankful he’s versatile and handy at, well, everything.

For our dining pleasure, we invested in a trough as our garden. Veggies are already showing up, assuming the rains and cold weather subside and the plants stand a chance of making it to 2+”. Beans, lettuce, sugar peas, even strawberries and herbs. Eating like kings one day.
Urban gardening, floaty style

And the Zero to 60 reference? 
Mike’s 60th birthday looms on June 1st. He’s pleased to have made it this far, and we will celebrate with a week-long trip to visit friends on 4 islands in Canada and Washington! 

Friday, March 17, 2017

From the Sea of Cortez to the mighty Columbia River

A moment of bliss on the sea
Posting this photo in my swimsuit at the bow of Pura Vida is a small reminder of what it's like to be warm, as I sit here in rainy and chilly Portland.
River boat moving logs in front of our home 
In fact, this river boat just floated past our front yard, moving logs on the rather high, fast moving Columbia River.

Just imagine the many differences between the Sea of Cortez and the mighty Columbia River during March.

Great kayaking in Bahia Algodones

Happy to be in the northwest, we are, having just arrived after a fast yet enjoyable drive north from Guaymas, Sonora - and especially because we had our very own home waiting for our arrival. It means so much to us to get settled in with our own things. Thanks to our friends and neighbors who watched over our place during the cold and snowy winter; all was fine.

Mike's already taught a sailing class since we arrived in Portland and has his plans underway for the summer while I am pursuing marketing work and finally going to get my Ham Radio license. :-)
Great vistas and cirrus clouds along our way

The first of March signaled our haul out and the end of our sweet month of being afloat, hanging around the Sea of Cortez. During our time on the water, we explored new areas, kayaked, hiked, relaxed and actually had time to read some books. The highlight was the self imposed "work stoppage" where no additional boat-love projects were undertaken, discussed or worried about. They, too, shall wait for another time.

Amazing rock formations and colors.
And a seemingly designated bird poop rock.
After haul out, we hustled over the next few days to get our boat ready for another hot summer.  We are quite meticulous in our boat prep so she endures the heat, sun and rain. This time we hope for no storms with the strength of Hurricane Newton who wreaked havoc on a lot of boats in the  Guaymas/San Carlos areas.

Fishing vessel heading to home
Installing LEDs in my closet!
The repair projects Mike completed and those we worked on together in our many weeks in the boat yard all worked very well, so we were thankful to experience 'all systems go'.

Extricating himself from closet
Nice! Well lit closet.

The two nights before we hauled out, we docked at the Fonatur Marina in Guaymas to take down and wash sails, wash the boat, do laundry - all the fun stuff. We didn't connect the neurons that we were there at the end of their Carnaval 2017 (Mardi Gras).

We docked directly across from the malecon (boardwalk) where Carnaval was underway before Ash Wednesday and Lent quieted things down. So, we experienced close and up front the competing loud music from various stages, flashing lights, parade sights and sounds.

We decided to be part of the action, taking it all in after a long day of work prepping the boat. Fun was had by all. Even as we shook our heads at the questionable ride structures and old systems in use at the Carnaval, we trusted Attraciones Tijuana and did the Wild Mouse Ride. Great fun, with lots of screaming from yours truly and the 2 girls who shared our car on the ride. Mike's long legs barely fit but we were safely locked in place.

Check out the mobile cart with a small fire the guy stoked and added wood to before he did his lap through the crowd selling roasted calabaza (squash), platanos (plantains) and some other vegetable we didn't recognize. Of course, we had to try it - delicious, served with hot sauce and cream topping. Who knew it would be so tasty.

Citrus from our friends' home in Oroville, CA.
I will be making my first batch of limoncello.
Beautiful stone & ironwork

Wine tasting on our way N, Mike showing off
his shirt from the dry storage yard

Great sign at the winery
A resident egret at the Fonatur dock
Why we love being on the water, Bahia San Pedro
Sunset at Bahia San Carlos
Travel lift to the dry yard
Sunset at Guaymas Harbor during Carnaval
Closeup of the fisherman statue and stage set up
for the super loud Banda music during Carnaval
Quite the Carnaval festivities. Yep, we went on the
Wild Mouse ride even after seeing the antiquated equipment.
Cheetos tree at the Ley Market
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Enjoying a night out at Carnaval with some crazy tequila drink and my newly won Pokemon light, earned at the carnival games.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Sea Beckons

Touchdown into the bay!

Bottom painting in bunny suit
Another coat of teak oil on companionway doors

Engine Room project

Rebuilding aft head
Head #2 rebuild

Enjoying the scenery

Nice reward after a journey

Wind in our sails

Navy ships crossing paths - changing of the guard

We splashed Pura Vida on January 30th.  As occurs each time we have the fortune to put our beloved boat into the water, we all experience a glorious moment when her keel safely touches the shallow water of the bay. It’s like, yes, you are home now. Andres and Alejandro, the guys running the travel lift, give us high fives and we set loose our mooring lines and float toward the little white building across the bay. It’s the landmark that must be tracked to avoid going aground. In fact, one of the other boaters in the yard recently donated two buoys to help mark the narrow passage out around the peninsula and into the harbor.

It’s so magical to be afloat, meandering to the harbor buoys as we breathed in the fresh sea air, welcomed by harbor seals and diving birds as we head out to sea. There is nothing like a warm breeze on your face as you ponder your new water world and the possibilities ahead.

After an extended time working on various projects, our boat was ready for some action. We’d grown used to living in the dirt yard that is Marina Seca, and as you can imagine, the sea beckoned and we were itching to put up a couple of sails. Marina Seca means ‘dry yard’ but in a desert environment, that means dust, dirt and when it rains, mud. Dirt camp it’s often referred to. But, it’s all part of the boat prep experience here, made tolerable by commiserating with others, each with stories of their own. I guess that all makes it seem OK.

We’ve enjoyed three weeks on the water wandering about this area of the Sea of Cortez with another 8 grand days before us.

Life requires a return to Portland by March 10th, so we will haul out on the first. A mad dash of 4 days to prep the boat for another long summer on the hard. Then we begin our journey north toward Portland and a whole new chapter in our lives. We are so thankful to be coming back to our new to us home on the Columbia River, safe after a very cold couple of winter months in the chilly northwest.  

Bird watching is always a highlight and this year’s bounty includes:
  • Pelican
  • Heron – great blue, night crowned, green
  • Egret – great, snowy
  • Grebes – pied bill, eared
  • Oystercatchers
  • Sandpipers, dowitchers and other little bouncy butt shorebirds
  • Boobies
  • Cormorant
  • Arctic tern
  • Roseate Spoonbill (yea!)
  • Kingfisher
  • Vermillion flycatcher
  • Lots of other land and waterfowl 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Rock 'n' roll into 2017!

Puerto Vallarta photo op
We took a break from our projects to meet up with Michelle & Tony in Puerto Vallarta.  We couldn't get there in time on Pura Vida, so the extensive bus services carried us south to Banderas Bay. This entailed a 2 day bus trip each way - can you say sore bum? We stopped in Mazatlan to visit Kirsty and Patrick and their baby, Perla, British cruising friends we'd met in Guaymas over the years. Then an overnight trip that brought us to the bustling Puerto Vallarta bus station at 7AM.

The fantastic pool & hot tub
We enjoyed 10 days at a condo in La Cruz, one of our favorite cruising areas. It was odd to be there on land and see the boats in the anchorage. We enjoyed the pool, the vistas, the fabulous kitchen and the hot tub. Walked a ton, took the bus to downtown PV, to Punta Mita and all points in between. Twice we walked the beach from La Cruz to Bucerias, about 6 miles along the rocky and sandy beaches.
New shoes
Shoe repair shop in Bucerias
On the first trip, my sandal totally blew out so I bought some shoes, thankfully found a pair my size at the market that didn't have 4 inch heels and covered in bling. Michelle and I walked through the barrio above the highway to the shoe repair guy. 30 pesos ($1.50) and a half hour later, I had a "new" Chaco which served me well. If I could have found the place again, I wanted to take him a Christmas Rosca de Reyes to say thank you.
Rosca de Reyes cake

We went ziplining in the mountains beyond Puerto Vallarta above the River Cuale, where we dipped into the river on the last zipline. We rode mules to get back up the canyon, followed by tequila tasting and fabulous nachos.

We headed back north via different bus lines, stopping in San Blas to visit our wonderful cruising friends there, then on to Tepic and an 18 hour ride to Guaymas.

And now we are back on board on the hard, Mike finishing the installation of our new non-leaking port on New Year's Day, and he continues working on the genset project in the engine room. I've finished polishing our stainless, sanding the bottom of the boat and will do the bottom paint project. First, cleaning the teak toe rail and all teak up top.
We are optimistic for a great 2017 and wish you and yours the best for this new year!

I got the stubborn mule, of course. Mike's kept bumping into mine to get him to MOVE. Andale, vamonos - my Spanish didn't help.

Geared up for the jungle trip

 Zipping with glee through the jungle!
Mike in the tucked position
Guacamole after shopping and our walk to Bucerias

Jerry's taco stand across from the airport. Welcome!

View from the condo to Banderas Bay

The boys having a cigar at the Cuban bar

Tableside guacamole at Pipi's

Punta de Mita beach

Yep, having some fun now
Light in a restaurant bathroom - careful

Happy New Year to you!