Due West Adventures

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

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
30 June 2016
24 May 2016 | La Paz


26 May 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, MX
Check out more photos from this post in our Photo Gallery.

We usually view our glasses as half-full (or more!) When life gives us lemons (or boat fire, hurricane, stroke to name a few!) we've always made lemonade, playing the cards we've ben dealt the best we can. And honestly, we've had so many positive things come out of each of those awful situations. 

As long time meditators and yoga practitioners, we try to practice daily gratitude by either writing down, (or telling each other every night before bed) three things we are grateful for. The science behind a daily gratitude practice shows that it can actually  boost your immune system, and help you sleep better. But that's not why we do it... we are truly grateful for SO many things in our lives, and all of you, our family, friends, and blog followers are included in our gratitude! 

April brought us something to be very grateful for. Heidi's Jackson Hole school classmate Shane and his wife Lybby graciously gave us a week of their time to help with some long overdue boat projects aboard Due West. Fellow boat owners themselves, they know all about working on boats and how squirrely boat projects can become. There always seems to be some hitch to every boat project, they never go quite as planned... So after Kirk's stroke, Shane contacted us to see if he could come down and help out with any boat projects. 

To quote from the Wind in the Willows, "...there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." Luckily for us, Shane loves "messing about in boats." And he had a bit of spare time between gigs as a National Geographic wildlife photographer (check out the snow leopard footage in DisneyNature's Born in China if you get the chance), and being a cameraman on Deadliest Catch. So we gratefully took Shane and Lybby up on their offer to come to paradise and help with some boat projects. 

Shane had been working on their boat in Alaska and had a layover in Seattle on his way to Mexico. So another gratitude goes out to our Seattle friend Pamela who ran around town picking up boat parts and specialty food items for us, and delivering them to Shane at SeaTac airport. Sadly, TSA and Delta tossed their luggage around enough to break open one box of cocoa powder...Yikes! COCOA. POWDER. ALL. OVER. EVERYTHING!?!

Luckily no harm done, we were able to wash or wipe the cocoa powder off everything. We're still shaking out bits of cocoa dust when we flip the pages of one book they brought us! Thankfully it didn't have any sugar in it like the cocoa powder in Mexico does. And it's kinda fun to read a chocolate-scented book, LOL! :-)

Captain Kirk had a long list of boat projects for Shane to help him with, and we quickly prioritized them into the top 5 most important. First stop, Tienda de Tornillos (the nuts and bolts shop) in Bucarias to find stainless steel washers to use as spacers on the chain plates. Back aboard Due West, Shane rebuilt the fresh-water foot pump at the head sink, which had sprung a leak. 

Next project: Rebedding Chainplates. Kirk had last rebedded our chainplates in 2014 and three of them were starting to leak saltwater in big seas. Since the rainy season is right around the corner here in Puerto Vallarta, the chainplates needed to be rebedded before the summer rains arrive. [For the non-sailors in the crowd, a chainplate is a metal plate used to fasten a shroud or stay to the hull of a sailboat, to hold the mast up. They protrude through the deck and are covered by a sealed metal plate to keep water out.]

1) Remove old sealant from beauty-plates around chainplate, and mask off deck. 2) Goop up hole and beauty-plate with 4200 sealant. 3) Clean off excess 4200 and pull masking tape off. 4) Ta-da! Newly re-beded (waterproof!) chainplates. THANK. YOU. SHANE!!

Next up: replace the saltwater through-hull valve for watermaker (desalinator). The through-hull itself was fine, but the handle on our old bronze valve broke-off in Kirk's hand last time he cleaned the watermaker and tried to re-open the valve. He had to use vice-grips and McGuiver it back open, then use rescue tape to stop the leak and still enable us to use the watermaker. NO BUENO! This was high on our list to repair, as we need to be able to close the valve and keep water out for safety reasons. This project also entailed hiring Diver Poncho to put a plug in the bottom of the boat while Shane and Kirk changed the valve inside the boat. We know this is the type of project that is BEST done when the boat is hauled out of the water... but that was not an option at this time. Luckily Plan B worked just fine.

1) Old bronze valve with missing handle. 2) New marlon plastic valve getting ready to be installed. 3) Sink-drain plug in the valve hole (tupperware tub to catch leaks) under floorboards while Diver Poncho tapped in a wooden plug from the bottom of the boat. 4) New valve in place and working great! THANKS Shane & Poncho!

Meanwhile, Heidi decided to take advantage of being "stuck" in PV for a few months to finally get her 200 HR Yoga Teacher Training, something she'd wanted to do for many years but the timing was never right. A series of interesting synchronicities lead Heidi to the front door of the lovely Davanna Yoga Shala, which was offering a 20-day/200 HR Intensive Teacher Training in May. Only one hitch, her yoga was kinda rusty as we hadn't been practicing yoga very regularly for the past 18-months (a little on deck, a little on the beach, a little on the dock!) And the Teacher Training would require taking 9+ yoga classes per week as part of the curriculum!?! Gulp! Luckily while Kirk and Shane worked on boat projects, Lybby was a great sport and went to several yoga classes with Heidi so she could knock some of the rust off her joints before the course started. 


All work and no play is no fun for anyone, even if working on boats in Mexico is much warmer than in Alaska! So we made sure Shane and Lybby had some FUN too. We checked out the Thursday night crafts market at Marina Vallarta, and the Saturday morning food market at Biblioteca Mangos, plus we ate some yummy meals out, and walked the Malecon and Old Town taking in PV night-life. To ensure we all got out on the water too (Kirk's FIRST time out on the water since his stroke!) we took a FUN dinghy ride around Marina Vallarta and out into Banderas Bay before the guys stowed the dinghy and outboard away for hurricane season.

Although Hurricane Season officially starts June 1st, the air, water, and humidity levels are already starting to raise. We've been keeping the doors open mid-day to get a cross-breeze, which Tosh & Tikka love. We are SO grateful that the Furbies don't take off and explore the neighborhood--even with the front door wide-open--they just lay back and watch the world go by!?! LOVE! :-)

All too soon it was time for Shane & Lybby to head back to their own boat. Growing up in land-locked Wyoming back in Jr. High who would have guessed that at least 4 kids in our class of about 100 would turn into sailors down the road?! Let alone be helping each other out on boat projects 40-years later...We are so GRATEFUL for Shane & Lybby's friendship and help! And we look forward to the day when we can all be out cruising together. They are contemplating crewing for our Panama Canal crossing next year which would be fantastic!

John, Boni, Stephen, Ginny, Captain Kirk and Heidi meet up in Puerto Vallarta.

We were also sad to say bon-voyage to our cruising buddies John & Boni (s/v Ingenium) and  Stephen & Ginny (s/v Jabaroo II) as they sailed north to the Gulfo de California (Sea of Cortez) for the summer hurricane season. We had originally planned to be sailing north with all of them again like we did last summer. But after Kirk's stroke we decided to wait out Hurricane Season in Puerto Vallarta, so he could make a full recovery with good medical care nearby. We wish them fair winds and following seas, and are looking forward to seeing them back down this way next winter. We MISS you guys and know you will have a FANTASTIC time up in the Sea. Say hi to the whale sharks for us!!
One nice thing about Puerto Vallarta is that a LOT of our non-sailing friends tend to visit or snow-bird here! Kirk was really excited to meet up with his former colleague and mentor Roger, who first hired Kirk as a Landscape Architect and Environmental Designer in 1982 (the year emDue West/em was built!?) They worked together for over 10-years and Kirk still considers Roger to be one of his closest friends. Roger and his wife Kay live in PV part of the year, and it was fun to reconnect with them before they headed back to Seattle for the summer...lots of old stories to share. 

With most of our friends gone, it was time for Heidi's 200 HR Yoga Teacher Training class to start. It ran every day from May 1-20, phew! Kirk and the Furbies were such troopers keeping our home-life on track as Heidi was out the door at 06:45 every morning, and some nights not home until 2100 or 2200 hours, with homework still to be done. Since she had to take every public class at the studio (9 per week) as part of her training, Kirk was able to join her for a few classes a week which was fun. He even got to take her final-exam class where she taught a public Restorative Yoga class along with her class mates Susan and Vivian. Three weeks flew by and before we knew it 200 hours had passed and the class of 7 students from around the globe had graduated! Wahoo!! 

Heidi's yoga classmate Vivy, from Hong Kong, stayed with us for a few days after yoga training was over and we so much enjoyed her smiley personality. Tosh and Tikka were especially taken with Vivy who doted so much attention on them. When she packed her bags to leave the were very sad, and tried to hide in her luggage to head back to Hong Kong with her! That would have made us very sad. Making new friends from around the globe is one of the biggest perks of being a cruiser (or yogini! :-) but it's always sad to say bon voyage.

Tikka & Tosh contemplated stowing away in Vivy's luggage back to Hong Kong... luckily in the end they decided to stay with us!

It's been three months since Kirk's stroke, and his recovery is going very well. He's now practicing yoga 3-4 times a week. Some days he still gets light-headed and has to take it easy. He's still taking 2-hr. naps every afternoon which help with the light-headedness. And he's still diligently doing his Physical Therapy weight lifting, balancing, stretching, abs, and walking about 4-6 miles a day! Heidi is SO impressed. Overall he is doing great, but still has some weakness and numbness in his right arm and right pinky and ring finger, and random lightheadedness. It's all part of the evolution to re-program the brain, and thankfully he's better and better each week.

A BIG THANKS to all of our friends and family who continue to make donations towards Kirk's medical costs. We have passed the half-way mark to our goal!! We are SO grateful for everyone's love and support. Here's the link if you'd like to make a donation.

Next week we'll be moving out of this lovely 60-year old Mexican hacienda we've been staying in for the past three months. More gratitudes to Leslie & Dean for allowing us to stay so long. You guys have been the BEST land lords and friends ever! And to Mike and Emily for hooking us up with this great place. Now on to our next gig condo-sitting for our friends Judy & Paul in their lovely condo on the beach, while they head back to Seattle for the summer. It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it! We'll hold down the fort and watch the storms roll by the bay. We'll only be a few miles away form Due West, snugged tight in Marina Vallarta, and will be checking on her often and continuing to work on boat projects throughout the summer, getting her ready to continue south next winter. 

LOVE and Gratitude for all of you...have a happy Memorial Day weekend! Remember to check out more photos from this post in our Photo Gallery.

~ Heidi, Kirk, Tosh, and Tikka
Vessel Name: Due West
Vessel Make/Model: Passport 40
Hailing Port: Seattle, WA
Crew: Captain Kirk & Heidi Hackler + Tosh & Tikka
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. [...]
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.