Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Heading West from Mazatlan!

We’ve spent a few enjoyable days in Mazatlan, mostly anchored in the old harbor then 3 days at El Cid Marina. Photos tell the stories:
Tonight at 11P, we head west across the Sea of Cortez with our friends on Interabang and two other boats from the Baja Ha-Ha. We’ll traverse an estimated 190 miles, around 36 hours transit time. Leaving at night, we’ll have 2 night passages and arrive at Bahia de Los Muertos in AM. Los Muertos is a few kilometers south of La Paz and a nice resting spot after a long journey.

Cruising Along Mazatlan Harbor

Its Saturday midmorning (3/24) and we’re traversing 14 miles north from Mazatlan old harbor to the estuary where the marinas and bird nesting areas are. We will spend two days at Marina El Cid to clean the boat, enjoy services and prepare for our voyage to cross the Sea of Cortez, known here as the Sea.

At the helm we’re experiencing a rich array of seabirds along Isla Pajaros (Birds Island) and serve as a source of their entertainment:

-           Magnificent frigates, perilously close, crisscross Pura Vida with their almost seven foot wing span and occasionally attack a lone Brown Booby sitting on the water

-          Bevies of Brown Boobies skim just before our bow and acrobatically zoom up then down into waves for food, checking us out rather closely in the cockpit

-          ‘Gangs’ of pelicans zoom like low riders barely missing the waves

And for dessert, as we approach the entrance a pair of dolphins skim a wave and say hello. The estuary entrance proves rather harrowing as the tide ebbed and waves crashed along the breakwater access. Mike deftly moves our heavy “Bessel” through the narrow channel. This access is all about timing: the tides, the dredge that keeps the channel open and tons of fishing boats that pass.

Bioluminescent Dolphin

During our night passage from Puerto Vallarta/Banderas Bay to Mazatlan, our most incredible nature experience yet. Thankfully, Mike woke me to share watching the awesome dolphin that played along left and right of our bow for 15 minutes. The night was very dark and blue bioluminescence encapsulated his body, serving as a spotlight for us to watch the show. Wow.

That night was illuminated by the rare proximity of Jupiter and Venus glowing brightly together in the western sky. Around 4 am, the last quarter of the moon shared its dim light against the star-filled sky and I anxiously awaited the first light of dawn, ready to approach Mazatlan harbor in the morning light.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Portland, Here we come!

It's hard to believe that in May it'll be one year since Judy quit her job, we downsized our lives, and made the transition to live aboard Pura Vida to prepare for this incredible journey. Every aspect of this time is enriching and life-changing. As I sit here writing in a palapa restaurant in the magical sea village of Chacala, with the sea breeze blowing on my face and mariachi band playing, we are thankful beyond belief for this great adventure.

Our 6-month Mexican Tourist Visas expire on May 1st - we didn't expect to stay in Mexico this long but it's a rich and wonderful country - and we fly to Portland on the 2nd. Shamelessly, we are seeking your help to secure 6 month employment opportunities for both of us, and really appreciate any referrals or ideas! We are ready to start work on May 3rd.

We look forward to seeing family and friends, driving a car for the first time since September, oh - and Judy is looking forward to Chinese food! We've traversed thousands of miles, explored coastal and inland destinations, and have come to love the cruising lifestyle. We've decided to leave our boat in San Carlos, Sonora (northern Mexico above the hurricane latitude for insurance). Our hope is to return in November to explore more of Mexico, join our cruising friends on journeys south and see what the winds bring.

Photos from Chacala at

Monday, March 12, 2012

El Presidente comes to the Sailing Regata and Pura Vida projects

The International Sailing Regata has filled the La Cruz marina with people from all over the world, here to race in several classes of boats!

The town has been bustling with repairs and upgrades the last 2 months in anticipation of President Calderon's visit, which happened yesterday - few knew about it - presidential security and all that. Tons of military with machine guns throughout the marina and security gates to pass through and we are in the midst of it all, at the fabulous marina.
Working the booth at the regatta
We volunteered at Amigos de La Cruz booth this week during the regatta, to help educate visiting sailors about this great service organization that helps local people, educates and provides recycling programs, library and education opportunities and more. We are proud to be members.

Since our last visitors departed, we have been connnecting with fellow cruisers to learn more about system maintenance and upgrades to benefit our improvements to Pura Vida. Cleaning and oiling teak; making sun and bug screens for all hatches; installing sun shades and side panels for the cockpit, and tons of other "stuff" that makes us and our boat happy.
Judy cleaning the teak on the bowsprit

Our screens are handmade concoctions that work!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ziplines, mule ride and ATV adventure trip

With Kathryn & Kent (friends from Camano Island WA), we enjoyed a very full day of adventure, starting with travel to the Sierra Madre mountains outside Puerto Vallarta - on a flatbed truck with sides and a top - winding our way into the mountains on ATV, followed by 11 ziplines through the jungle and forest - ending with upside down backwards ziplines down to the river. Yowsah! Then off on mules along the river to a tequila exhibit and tasting in the lovely mountain setting. A complete day!

Inland to Guadalajara, Jalisco

We traveled via super deluxe bus for 4 days in early Feb to history-rich Guadalajara, Jalisco. Enjoyed double decker open air bus tours of Tlaquepaque, Tonala and the city. Great way to explore in this very European style, bustling destination, full of sculptures, parks, monuments and a town square not far from our Hotel Morales.

Went to lucha libre our first night, Mexican wrestling with costumed "heroes and villians". Too bad, no photos allowed - just a photo of the masks you could buy.

We traveled with Lauri, visiting from PDX for a week, and our Canadian traveling companions from Copper Canyon - S/V Tahnoo and S/V Borboleta who we met after the Baja Ha-Ha.

Photo gallery: