Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Nature At Its Best – above and below the water

7mm wetsuits!
We make sure to have some fun along with the excitement and challenges of working on the boat and walking around in the dirt yard visiting friends. The natural beauty and creatures we encounter here are part of the joy of Mexico. Not so much the mosquitos and no-see-ums... We went diving last week and take morning walks several days each week for exercise, to enjoy the sunrise and look for birds.

DIVING: We took a day off from our labors of love and went diving with one of the three dive shops in nearby San Carlos. We scoped them all out to find out who had the best trip and planned for a good weather day after we’d had a ‘wind event’ so the waters had settled down. It was an excellent dive boat – with a working head (!) and helpful staff who assisted with our gear and made a delicious lunch of quesadillas and guacamole between the dives. We had an hour and a half fast boat ride to the island of San Pedro where the sea lions bark and the rock formations rise from the sea to form an amazing bird sanctuary.

A beautiful boat ride to San Pedro Is
We brought dive gear from our boat but like everything here, items dry out and Mike’s mask no longer provided a good seal. The first dive, his mask flooded constantly and he looked like a cartoon character with the mask filling up and his eyes getting bigger as he tried to clear it. We borrowed another mask and enjoyed two dives in 71 degree water, which is chilly when you’re in the water for 50 minutes. 7mm dive suits, gloves and I was glad for a hood.

Great dive stickers from around the world 
We saw tons of starfish, a nudibranch, ray, giant schools of various species and even had a zoom by from a female sea lion (smaller and with no knot on the forehead like the males). They’re incredibly fast and curious. Glad for the dive trip and break from our work, we enjoyed the outing and were glad to log a couple of dives. It had been over a year.

BIRDING: We walk 3-5 times per week and the bird watching is great in the early AM, as the sun begins to rise above the surrounding craggy mountains. Once we started taking the binoculars with us, the count of black crown night heron and little blue heron in the bushes along the shore rose from 11 to as many as 27. It’s great birding here, some migratory and some full season. Osprey, pelican, egret, sandpipers, grebe, hummers and we think, a long-billed curlew (or his second cousin).

Just as part of the walk is the birding, part of the birding is the walk. On the road to the shore, the local buses "Paraje Fatima" rumble by hauling uniformed school kids to two oceanography/fishing prep schools. One's primary, the other secondary where there's a huge poster outlining very specific appropriate uniform attire for boys and girls - right down to the centimeters the girls' skirt is allowed above the knee. As I write this, memories of the nuns measuring at St. Jerome's School in Oconomowoc overwhelm me! 

It's not a road that is easily traveled - from the danger of those flying buses and tardy taxis to random stray dogs that bark at your heels and conveniently leave their mark everywhere. Horse hoof imprints indicate early morning passages. Tons of small rocks twist ankles (as Mike found out a few days ago) and potholes lurk for the unexpected. When you make it back safely, it's a great start to the work day.

In Search of Jehovah’s Tacos

Traveling nursery - "Have truck, will sell stuff..."
Thanksgiving in the boat yard - a wonderful potluck
Where to start... We’re in the dry boatyard (Marina Seca) in Guaymas, Sonora once again, preparing Pura Vida for her splash next week. Having an old sailboat, you always have projects that improve and repair. And what better place than the bustling town of Guaymas where we’ve been since mid-November. 
Our 2 new portlights rock! Great job, Mike

The 3 covers worked great to protect Pura Vida
We’re with a few other boaters doing the same – installing, replacing, grinding, painting... One of the great aspects of this experience is sharing ideas and resources, like buying a kilo of rope and dividing it (not easy) and a bucket of bottom paint (a mandatory, treasured commodity – but that’s a whole other story). We exchange needed parts, swap stories about where to find the ‘good boat hardware’, which shower stall has water/hot water or important things like where to find the best street taco.

Let’s just say Guaymas isn’t famous for street signs except the two main drags, so directions are smattered with “near the Pemex, by the statue in the square, turn right at the churros stand”. Keep in mind there are probably a hundred Pemex (government owned, locally managed gas stations where they don’t post prices because, well, they don’t have to). Well-intended directions often lead to adventures and finding some other place that might just be a gem. In this case, Daryl’s description about his favorite street taco stand includes it's built into a car that’s sunk down, been there 30 years and the guy’s sign says something about religion and tacos. He’s not sure of the name, but as I walk away he shouts after me – hey, I think it’s called Jehovah’s tacos!

Unloading the car & new diesel fuel jugs carried on the roof rack
Visiting friend Cathy in NV on our way south

Hauling up the
ladder to  our home

Turns out, he went there after we talked and reported back: don’t bother, the prices have gone up - to 28 pesos (that’s over $2.00 for a street taco!).
Wine tasting in No Cal with Cathy & Robert en route south
Sunset in the dry yard from our cockpit
Giant squid at the grocery store - calamari fillets and tentacles
Resident sheep keep the yard 'clean'

Another clean up and paint project
Mail delivery moto - you don't see many
mailboxes and this is the first mail
delivery guy I've seen

The new 'guard shack' in the dry yard
Replacing our flares - safety first!

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.