Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Seven years strong and heading south again

Rotary Club wine tasting with friends
Monday marked our seventh wedding anniversary and we continue having a blast together! We’d like to extend a special thank you to all of our family and friends who made 9/22/07 an incredibly special day.

At work on the dock at Passion Yachts
As the years fly by, we continue our quest for adventure and fun. Thankfully, we made the decision to head south again to sail in Mexico. This summer a few full time job opportunities for Judy came along but didn’t come to fruition, allowing us to make our southbound decision. While many ask when we’ll sail beyond Mexico, for now it’s the right place for us as our lives continue to be split between work in Portland and exploration in Mexico.

Days of our Lives: In our attire at West Marine
Portland summer’s been hot and hectic, both working lots of hours and living the vagabond life. We’ve lived in 3 places finally settling into a small furnished apartment mid-July where we finally unpacked our duffle bags.

Nancy & David visited on their way back to Mexico
We both worked at Passion Yachts again – Mike continues honing his skills as a sailboat broker and Judy coordinates sailing lessons for the many people ready to discover a new world. And we’ve both been working since May at West Marine in the world of retail. Judy’s marketing business, Island Marketing, is also thriving as she helps businesses grow.

Julie & Craig on the Columbia

Rooster Rock on the Columbia
We did have 4 days when neither of us had to work, attending Mike’s family reunion, going boating with good friends on Labor Day, a Rotary wine tasting where we won the Bocce tournament, and the July 4th Waterfront Blues Festival.

With all of the devastation on the Baja peninsula, we extend our thoughts and prayers to our many friends in Mexico and to the sailors who lost their lives there. We are fortunate that Pura Vida was out of the direct hit of Odile.
Judy joined the OR Women's Sailing Association
 - on the water with Captain Steve

Sailing into the sunset - Hunter 33
Capt Steve's spinnaker

Friday, May 23, 2014

Life in Portland!

Our 3 part boat cover:  thrilled it's installed 

Pura Vida is fully covered in the dusty yard
After our 2,000 mile drive from Guaymas via Phoenix, Laughlin and Las Vegas NV, Sacramento and Ashland, visiting friends along the way, we arrived safely in Portland.  

We miss our home/boat and the warm sunshine in Mexico, although we hear that it's getting hot - and it's only May! Friends who also store their boat in the Guaymas dry marina logged 140 degrees last summer, so we needed a better solution to protect our home than the giant dark tarps we'd bought 2 years ago. Paolo and Jesus carefully measured from stem to stern and we ordered three custom fit covers that straddle our 2 masts and cover the entire deck and the teak toe rail that Judy is responsible for cleaning and oiling. It was finished after we left so friends sent photos to show us the finished project. We love it!

The view from our deck at our housesitting gig

Looking N on the Willamette River

During our first week, we enjoyed visitation rights to our belongings in storage, bought Mike a Ford Escape so we both have wheels, picked up 6 months of mail which fit in a single grocery bag thanks to Ilene, and started the transition to a hectic urban lifestyle. We are thankfully already working multiple jobs and currently housesitting for friends on the Willamette River - check out these beautiful early morning photos on the river from our deck. Wildlife abounds along with tons of fishermen in various types of boats, hoping for their limit.

One of our jobs is at West Marine where we've been welcomed back by our associates and found two wrapped Christmas presents in our locker! Must say, the only wrapped gifts received for Christmas, and what a lovely surprise (thanks to Santa Chellie!).

Christmas in May - what a great surprise with cool gifts
Spring in the NW - cherry trees and amazing green everywhere

We made it to Famous Dave's for BBQ - no tacos!

Enjoying the bounty of NW apples - fresh washed, I had
to take a photo as they dried below the skylight

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