Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas to all! Having some fun with Michelle & Tony. They've been super helpful with our bowsprit and other projects. Working vacation for them...great project break for us.

At the Dulceria - candy store to buy our piñata!

Next, filling our piñata with candy
Michelle with a small bag o'cheetos
Asked the local policeman to take our photo.

Pre-margarita festivities
The creche in downtown Guaymas

Santa statue for sale
at the mercado

Sombreros at the mercado

Selecting our ceramics purchases, tableside shopping

Charly's Rock in San Carlos

Friday, December 15, 2017

Ni para ti ni para mi: Another Lesson Learned

Arrival at the Marina Seca boatyard, covers intact
Removing dust-prevention
When you're in another country, sometimes it's better not to disagree with your hosts. Okay, pretty much all the time.
Arriving at the Tetakawi Mountains, Sonora

So another life lesson learned. I get a lot of those moments. When discussing the price of a project with our electronics installation engineer, we started talking total cost. Having been to the ATM a few times since our arrival, I knew the exchange rate to the 3rd decimal. So when he quoted an exchange that was quite a bit lower than what I'd been seeing, I let him know he was 'wrong'. (He was offering us a much better US $ to peso conversion rate.)

When I realized my error some hours later, I had to laugh. Between my scruffy Spanish and my bad math, we would be paying substantially more than he was asking. The next day when he arrived to complete the project, I decided to eat crow and fess up to my mistake. He knew my error, of course, and quickly offered:

Ni para ti ni para mi

as the resolution to the matter, we negotiated half of the discrepancy so we only paid half of my error. Direct translation:

Neither for you neither for me

Maybe I've learned to keep my brilliant ideas to myself. Well, for anyone who knows me, that might only happen occasionally. But a lesson learned gives me pause every time.

Infamous "Loncheria Doney", Guaymas

Jamaica (hibiscus flower) juice & Tacos California at Doney's
And so on to our boat projects. We've had an action-packed month here in Guaymas. Dirt yard, windy days, gnoshing on great tacos, catching up with friends all working on their boats - almost all with the mutual goal of splashing. Sooner rather than later.

L to R: 2 old ports (teak trim), new aluminum
port, port removed (old layer of yellow hull paint)

Removing nasty old ports, standing on empty oil barrels and borrowed boards
We've installed 4 new ports so that's a total of 10 and one hatch cover that we've replaced over four years. Leakproof 'windows to the world' are a good thing.

Salvador assessing our electronics package
We had new electronics installed so now have working radar (mandatory), new chartplotter and instruments for wind, depth and other important data. We look forward to enjoying the latest electronics that all work.

Furler removal
from bowsprit 

Old bowsprit pre-project

Taking down the beast, slowly and carefully

Grind-o-matic man AKA Mike

Luis and Mike at the machine shop
assessing the new anchor setup
Check out the scaffolding & blocks
Along with other smaller projects inside and out, we were getting closer to splash time when we decided 10 days ago to take down our bowsprit and completely refurbish it. Our friend George helped with the cumbersome project of lowering the bowsprit, standing on scaffolding that is not OSHA approved. Mike spent several days grinding off 4 layers of different color paint, removing a ton of old hardware and the rotten teak boards that need replacing. Luis reconfigured the anchor support at his machine shop and now we're getting the aluminum painted and prepped for reinstallation.
Worn out teak, bright new Caoba

It's not Santa, it's Mike in
the anchor locker at the bow
We bought new Caoba (Mexican mahogany) wood milled to slats that meet our dimensions. We've both sanded those boards to perfection - which are now ironically spotted by rain laden with red Sonoran dust to add a dash of character. Next comes the exact cutting of each board to fit the aluminum base, then adding new SS hardware to support the whole thing. Then, up goes the bowsprit (we hope George won't hide from us when it's time to raise it).

Yesterday I completed another boat-love project to clean and polish about 150 feet of stainless steel (it'll look good for a short time until it's bashed by salt water) and today begins my cleaning and oiling project of the teak toe rail, grab rails and cockpit trim.

Happy camper post-mariscos coctel

Digging into mariscos coctel
Believe it or not, today is Friday we hope to splash on Monday, God willing and all things considered. Just in time as our friends arrive from Vancouver WA on Sunday for 11 days. They're thinking fun and frolic in the sunshine. We're thinking how nice to have visitors that distract us from our work.

Painting the chain - color coding each 30' increment
Leif stopped by on his way from Canada to
Mazatlan - here we are sharing a
moment with our 2012 Baja Haha backpack
Not what it looks like - epazote from the spice market
Around us in the bustling city of Guaymas, Christmas festivities are in full force. I did buy a poinsettia (noche buena) to add a bit of color to Pura Vida.

And I sought out epazote from the great spice market downtown. It's an herb that reduces flatulence when you make a pot o' pinto beans, so never a bad thing when you're sharing a small living space. I bought the minimum 100 grams, which was .30 US and was way more than we needed so I gave some away to 2 boating friends.

Time to wash the dinghy so we can raise her in time for our anticipated splash - we hope on Monday 18th. More later when we are hopefully floating on the sea.
Celebrating our new ports with a bit of holiday swag

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas a wonderful 2018!

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, 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.