Due West Adventures

The sailing adventures of Captain Kirk & Heidi, Tosh and Tikka Hackler . . .

11 October 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
16 September 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
29 June 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, MX
26 May 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, MX
07 April 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, MX
26 February 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, MX
30 January 2017 | La Cruz, Nayarit, MX
24 December 2016 | Banderas Bay, Mexico
20 December 2016 | Banderas Bay
27 November 2016 | La Paz, B.C.S. Mexico
14 November 2016 | Bahia San Carlos Mexico
17 October 2016 | San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico
30 September 2016 | San Javier, B.C.S.
25 September 2016 | Puerto Escondido, B.C.S Mexico
12 September 2016 | Puerto Escondido, B.C.S Mexico
04 September 2016 | Nopolo Norte - Loreto
12 August 2016 | La Paz, Baja California Sur

Botanical Gardens, Panga Tours & Limonada

11 October 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Check out more pix from our Photo Gallery.

September was a FUN-filled month with lots of visiting friends and celebrations. Mexican Independence Day is September 16th, so we checked out Puerto Vallarta's "Independencia" Parade, showcasing the Mexican Military - including a mix of old Mexican caballería (cavalry) and modern day army women in Chewbacca camo.



A week later our dear friend Christine arrived, and we welcomed her to PV with Tropical Storm Pilar! We hadn't seen Chris since she sailed away from Seattle 15-years ago. But as with all good friends, from the minute she arrived, we felt like we'd just seen her yesterday!

We'd been keeping an eye on EEBMike.com which has excellent weather forecasts for Pacific Mexico and Baja. The day after Christine arrived it appeared that Pilar would be making a close call to Banderas Bay. So we headed down to the marina to prep Due West for this potential tropical storm. Christine was a huge help, having ridden out Hurricane Marty herself in the Sea of Cortez many years ago - and she got busy taking down canvas and lashing things down, just like she knew what she was doing. :-)


Drowned-rats, Christine and Heidi eating Scandinavian Swimmers (a version of Swedish Fish~a treat from Christine and Trader Joe's!) after working away in the pouring rain to ready Due West for Tropical Storm Pilar.


So-long Pilar, watching the front move out after 24 hours in Banderas Bay.


Tosh loved the aftermath of Tropical Storm Pilar... playing among the umbrellas set out to dry!

Thankfully Pilar didn't turn out to be quite the storm that was predicted, and we only ended up with 24 hours of pouring rain with no wind at all. We heard reports of 7-15" of rain around Banderas Bay and saw the resulting rivers and waterfalls swell. So Pilar provided us a great day of staying indoors and watching a marathon of Netflix documentaries. The sun returned the next day and we headed into town to sight-see.


Go Ask Alice...Mexico has lots of strange little doorways...


Not to mention shops selling strange assortment of items like this one: Ice Cream, Cuban Cigars,
and Seafood... hummm?!



Freda Kahlo art is ubiquitous here.

One of the things that had been on our Banderas Bay Bucket List was to visit the Vallarta Botanical Gardens, and Christine was game to check them out too. We'd heard rave reviews about the restaurant-with-a-view at the top of the gardens so headed there for lunch, about an hour south of town by bus, through the lush jungle. Their website mentioned dressing for mosquitos (being in the rain forest!) and that the river had a great swimming hole. So we brought clothes for hiking and swimming after lunch. The open-air restaurant view was truly breathtaking. Humming bird feeders at every table--but they flapped their wings so fast none of us got a good photo--you'll just have to imagine the wide variety of these beautiful birds. The food was delicious too and included edible flower garnishes like begonias (which taste like lemon!)


The spectacular open-air restaurant-view at the Vallarta Botanical Gardens is worth the price of admission...


Maybe these flowers are what you find when you go through that small door?


Antheriums and other "indoor plants" at home grow everywhere here in the tropics.

After lunch we hiked the trails around the Botanical Gardens, taking in the lush tropical flowers, bamboo, Jurassic-Park-like plants, cocoa pods, coffee beans, and the Orchid Conservatory. Who knew that vanilla beans were a type of orchid?! We do now. On the Jaguar Trail the sign reminded us: "Just because you didn't see the Jaguar doesn't mean the Jaguar didn't see you!" When we arrived at the river the swimming hole was raging! No thanks...as the daughter of a white water river guide - Heidi said NO WAY was that river safe to swim in. All of the rains from Tropical Storm Pilar had that river overflowing its banks. Despite no swim, it was a fantastic day overall and we can't wait go go back.


Quimixto Trail Hikers (left to right): Lisa, Juan, Rachel, Kirk, Christine, and "Nacho".

Because we'd all had so much fun for Kirk's birthday excursion with Juan Bravo on our Panga Tour of the southern coast of Banderas Bay, we decided to take Christine and go again. Cruising friends Lisa & Don from s/v Windcharmer joined us, as well as our friend Rachel (our fantastic holistic chiropractor who happens to be Juan's girlfriend.) Last trip, the bay was too murky for snorkeling. This trip, despite the recent rain, the Bay was much more clear, and we stopped for a fantastic snorkeling experience complete with sea caves, along Majahuitas Bay. Sightings included sergeant majors, angel fish, red snapper, 3-foot-long needle fish, a zebra moray eel, sea stars, and a sea snake! Wet from snorkeling, we didn't mind the rain on the way to Yelapa. We hiked through town to the waterfall and then got a tow across the bay to the restaurants for lunch.

Juan's new outboard had been acting up and then wouldn't start. Fortunately for Juan Bravo, Captain Kirk is the "Outboard Whisperer"! So while the rest of us ate lunch the Capitán, Juan, and Juan's brother Israel got to work and fixed the outboard. Lunch at Yelapa was really mediocre compared to our previous lunch at Las Animas...note to self, eat at Las Animas next time.


Three young trail-crew heading down the trail back home as we were hiking up.

After lunch we headed back to Quimixto to do the 2-mile MUDDY hike up to the waterfalls. Last time around Heidi had hiked it barefoot, and encouraged everyone to do the same this time. Kirk was the only one that one listened... the rest just got muddy shoes. LOL! We were joined by Juan's friend "Nacho", an indigenous Chacala, who was our guide and entertainer. Although we didn't really need a guide, the entertainment aspect was super-fun. Once at the waterfalls he proceeded to dive in from several rock ledges, hamming it up all the way.


M-U-D-D-Y Trail... this is why we hike barefoot. Plus it's super grounding and feels great on your feet to squish around in all that mud...Some people pay big money for a mud bath!:-)


Capitán, Nacho, and Juan Bravo - after swimming at the falls.

There was a noticeable difference in the water flow CFMs this week from just 10-days before. Thanks to all the rain from Tropical Storm Pilar, the waterfall was raging and the eddies below it were even harder to swim in. Juan Bravo is also a Bombero (firefighter and lifeguard) and cautioned us NOT to follow Nacho's antics and swim too close to the falls. Wet, cold, and tired after a long day of hiking and swimming, we were all ready to head home with a quick visit to beautiful Los Arcos. One of these days we'll actually snorkel there too.


View from inside one of the "Los Arcos" arches. This is a great morning snorkeling spot, by late in the afternoon when we were there the sun is too low, making the water too dark to see.


All too soon it was time for Christine to head home. We so much enjoyed her visit, and really hope it won't be another 15-years before we see her again!

So what about the Limonada?

Well, as the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade - or when in Mexico, Limonada... Last month Kirk got a clean bill of health and we made plans to keep cruising on south later this year. However, he was still waiting to get his Pacemaker ID Card, and when he went to see the Cardiologist to get that the Dr. also ran a 7-month report on his pacemaker. Low and behold it turned out that one of the lead wires had come detached from his heart wall sometime in the past 5 months. YIKES!! While this is apparently not uncommon, it's not what we had wanted to hear, or even expected. That wasn't even on our radar.

If the lead wire comes loose, it's generally within the first 2-months, and we knew his was still firmly in place at 2-months. So all that to say we have no idea when it came lose, or why or how... but he will be having surgery this Thursday afternoon to repair it. This also means they want to see him back here in April for another 6-month follow-up... so looks like we'll be spending yet another year in Mexico! Apparently the Universe thinks we aren't done with Mexico yet?? Thankfully we make REALLY GOOD Limonada (sin azucar)!!


This Capitán just hiked 8 miles, and was SHOCKED to learn that one of his pacemaker wires had been detached for who-knows-how-long...meanwhile, the doctors were shocked that he wasn't feeling weak and fatigued?!?.


THIS is why the Capitán is going in for a "tune-up" on his pacemaker.

Everyone in the "know" says this is an "easy, routine" operation - but when you're the one going under the knife, it's never easy or routine! He should be home the same day, then instructed to "lay low" for a few weeks, and not raise his left arm overhead for another month or two. As you can imagine, the Capitán is not very happy about this "laying low" prescription, but is taking it gracefully and looking forward to the next few months going by quickly so he can be more active again!

On the plus side, this will mean we'll get to catch back up with several cruising friends this spring that we weren't sure we'd see again anytime soon. And we may even get in another trip north to the Sea of Cortez after April... but we are making NO plans, as they seem to keep getting derailed. Another plus hanging around Banderas Bay for the next few months is that we may get to see some of you as you head down here for your winter vacations! So please keep us posted if you're headed this way. We'd love to see you, and take you on a Juan Bravo Panga Tour!

We are grateful to our friends Judy & Paul for letting us stay at their condo a bit longer, and hope to be moved back aboard Due West later this month.


The sunsets are finally shifting south enough that we can once again see them from the condo instead of having to go down to the pool around the corner... but that won't stop our nightly sunset swims (as soon as Kirk can swim again!)

Check out more pix from our Photo Gallery here.
Vessel Name: Due West
Vessel Make/Model: Passport 40
Hailing Port: Seattle, WA
Crew: Captain Kirk & Heidi Hackler + Tosh & Tikka
About:
Captain Kirk grew up sailing on Lake Washington and has been boating his whole life. He has been racing sailboats for about 40 years, including two Vic-Maui races (from Victoria, BC to Maui, Hawaii), one in 1990, and the other on Due West in 1996. [...]
Extra:
You can see pix of our boat here: Due West Interior Photos and in the Photo Gallery. Our racing friends call us "The [...]
Home Page: http://svduewest.com
Due West's Photos - Isla Espirto Santo, Isla San Francisco & San Evaristo
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Map of our travels from La Paz to San Evaristo and back again. We did variations of this trip twice, once with the WWS (Women Who Sail) Rendezvous, and again with our Seattle friends Jared & Karen.
Bonanza Beach view from our kayaks, east side of Isla Espirto Santo, where we anchored for 3 days before arriving at La Paz (see previous post.) The first day we had the entire bay to ourselves, then each day more and more boats showed up, including 12 kayakers camping on the beach on our last day.
Due West anchored in Caleta Partida, though the water looks inviting, it was still a bit on the cool side (74°) and we saw quite a few jellies, so we weren
One of two fishing villages on the cut between Isla Partida (this village) and Isla Espirto Santo.
The second fishing village on the opposite bank from the first, is on Isla Espirto Santo. The cut between the islands is very shallow and can only be passed by dinghy at hight tide.
Kirk and Jared dinghying to the Sea Caves. The geology around here makes us feel like we
View of the ever-changing shoreline along Isla Espirto Santo on the way to the Sea Caves.
Another view looking south from the Sea Caves along the eastern shore of Isla Espirto Santo.
Entering into the Sea Caves on Isla Espirto Santo. The water is a magical neon-turquoise color.
Inside the Sea Caves on Isla Espirto Santo, looking out a "window" in the cave. We dinghied into the cave which was about 80
Looking up inside the Sea Caves, made of conglomerate rock...hoping for NO earthquakes while we were inside the caves.
Cormorant silhoutte looking out from inside the Sea Caves.
Seattle friends Karen & Roger on s/v Meridien dinghied over from the next cove to meet us in Caleta Partida in the shallow dinghy channel. So good to see them even for a few brief minutes.
Isla Espirto Santo National Park: The shoals of Caleta Partida Bay (in some places only 1-2
Heidi  and Jared, sailing to San Evaristo.
We saw several individual dolphins and one pod of about 10-12 Bottlenose dolphins which surfed our bow wake for several minutes of play. None of our photos were quite as good as this photo, courtesy of Heidi
Panoramic view of Isla San Francisco from the top of the ridge. This birds-eye view really shows the crater well. Photo courtesy of Jared Smith.
Heidi, Karen, and Captain Kirk getting ready to hike up the ridge on Isla San Francisco.
Due West anchored in picturesque Isla San Franciso, a former volcanic crater with white sand beaches and turquoise waters.  We are the white sailboat in the middle of the photo, next to a white powerboat.
Top of Isla San Francisco looking north-east down the coast. The rocks on this island are high in both iron (red) and copper (green) content.
Sunset over Isla San Francisco filled with WWS boats.
The first night of the WWS Rendezvous, prizes and fun times for all, including the few DH
Heidi and Seattle friend Teresa, on the WWS Rendezvous. We were happy to kid-nap Teresa off of her charter boat to come sail with us for a couple of days.
Cardón cactus in bloom on Isla San Jose. These larger cousins of the Suguaro cactus can grow to 70
Sea birds swarming the fishing boats in San Evaristo.
Lupe Sierra & Maggie Mae
Maggie Mae (right) and her daughter-in-law cooked amazing food for 65 people at the Women Who Sail Rendezvous. We took Jared & Karen back there the following week for another delicious meal. Fresh fish from the day
The BYOB (bring your own BOAT) crews at the WWS Rendezvous. So much fun to meet up with so many people that Heidi had previously known only on Facebook. Photo courtesy of Frankie Grant (far left).
Cows and goats hanging out in front of the San Evaristo "Mini-Super" Tienda. For a small town of 40 families, 5 hours drive from anywhere... this tienda actually had quite an amazing selection of food including fresh produce. Heidi asked the owner if she could take a photo inside the store, but she declined.
The "Mini-Super" tienda in the little fishing village of San Evaristo.
The dogs of San Evaristo with the Agua Purificada and Heilo Purificada plant in the background.
The Heilo Purificada (ice from purified water) was "bag-your-own" at 20 pesos (about $1.20 US) per kilo. Since we didn
Karen, Steve & Sherri from s/v Pablo, Heidi, and  Jared on the beach in San Evaristo. Here you can see "Aventuras
"Aventuras" our dinghy sporting her new dinghy chaps (gray sumbrella cover); art-board motor; and new dinghy-wheels in the UP position. These dinghy wheels help us to "drive" the dinghy up the beach, away from the surf and rising tide.
Signs on the beach "Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle your feet" as you get in and out of the dinghy at the water
The crazy antics of these Mabula Rays (a type of smaller manta ray) kept us entertained on several occasions. Again, Heidi
Jared, who used to be allergic to cats, declared Tosh & Tikka to be "hypoallergenic" and got some cute shots of them as they played with him each morning... nothing like having your cats wake up your guests at 0500 to PLAY!
Tosh & Tikka chilaxin on the main traveler, at anchor.
Karen, Jared, and Kirk hanging in the cockpit.
Mix-master Jared Smith making our nightly margaritas with fresh limes, tequila, and "Controy"! They were delish!
As we returned to La Paz, we passed our new South Korean friend, Moon on s/v Adele. We first met Moon in Ensenada several months ago. Now he was leaving on his single-handed voyage back to South Korea, via Hawaii! We wished him fair winds and following seas, and will be eager to hear from him when he next gets internet access.
 
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