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 - The Minister & The Mermaid
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Big THANKS to Puget Sound Cruising Club (PSCC) friends Rob & Teresa (who circumnavigated the Pacific a few years ago) for hosting a fun backyard BBQ Pizza party with more Bainbridge Island cruising friends. Seen here: Rob, Paul & Judy. We hung out with Paul & Judy in Mexico and picked their brains for Panama and Ecuador cruising info before they shipped their boat back to the Pacific Northwest. We
Painterly image of cruising friends Teresa and Lisa. HUGE THANKS to Teresa for your wonderful hospitality and use of your car while we were there! And to Lisa for past and future use of your buoy at Puerto Escondido! See you in La Paz this fall...
PSCC Cruising friends Mike and Wendy & Garth chatting in Teresa & Rob
Our good friends Devon & Jim always make us feel so welcome in their beautiful home near Port Townsend. We watched it grow up from a muddy field to a construction zone, to a shining gem of a home over the years. They hosted a little get-together with our Port Townsend area sailing friends, then took us crabbing for fresh Dunguness, which we are so MISSING in Mexico, a highlight of our trip. Many THANKS Devon & Jim for all you have done and continue to do for us, we miss you!
Marrowstoners Carol and Devon with Heidi...so good to see these girls again, we miss you so much and hope you come visit soon!! :-)
Boys will be boys! Kirk hanging with his pals: Jim and Sandy. Seems like just yesterday we were all together! We loved having Sandy as one of our crew down the coast from Port Townsend to Newport, Oregon, too bad Neptune foiled the trip to San Francisco.
Heidi and Johnny G, who named us "The Minister & The Mermaid", as Kirk was going to officiate a wedding, and apparently Heidi looked like a fish out of water in jeans and a sweater!? ;-)
No gathering at Devon & Jim
Frosty jammin
Jim, Heidi (a.k.a. The Mermaid), Devon, Kirk (a.ka. The Minister)...we LOVE and miss these guys!
Frosty, Patti, Jim, and Devon... What?! The Mermaid is eating a hotdog?! Yes, Heidi was in hotdog heaven! It
We got to see Carol & Johnny G
No trip to Seattle would be complete without a stop at the Ballard Fred Meyer, to see our FAV checker Emma! She hails from Columbia and has always helped us with our Spanish. She was impressed that we knew much more then when we left! :-)
We were lucky to be in Seattle on a summer Thursday night to race in the Elliott Bay Marina Downtown Sailing Series with our friends Regina & Mike on s/v Quo Vadis. Not so lucky with the weather, Seattle welcomed us home with rain and lightening requiring jeans and jackets to keep warm. What a difference a week and 24° latitude makes!? Fun to see a few of our old marina neighbors too. As some of you remember, s/v Due West was a regular in this regatta for the past 15 years and we always loved taking people out on the water who didn
The UP side to the clouds and rain...this beautiful sunset over Elliott Bay Marina.
And now, the whole reason for our trip back to the Pacific Northwest... to attend the Mazama-Rama with Wedding, where The Minister would officiate the ceremony of our "nephew" Braden marrying Molly the Fox of course!
The Minister "Captain Reverend Kirk" bestowing last pearls of wisdom on Braden before the rehearsal.
Our "niece" and "nephew" Kelsi and Braden at the Mazama-Rama with Wedding.
Mother of the Groom, Sara and The Minister "Captain Reverend Kirk" before the rehearsal. Sara, Kirk and friends had cycled Europe 30+ years ago when Sara was pregnant with Kelsi! Such an honor for Kirk to represent Bob for this wedding.
To ensure people wouldn
The beautiful wedding ceremony site with chairs for almost 200 people on a river floodplain clearing in the forest.
Kelsi and her husband Jesse graciously hosted us in Seattle for a few days before and after the wedding, fed us delicious healthy meals from their garden, and lent us a car to get around. So much fun to hang out with them, but way too brief! Here
The King and the Queen of the Ball: Molly & Braden hamming it up post rehearsal, headed to a delicious gluten-free meal cooked by Braden
The Minister... Photo credit: Sandra Burr.
Mid-ceremony in the 85° heat and stillness, a gusty-breeze blew through the ceremony, Braden and Kirk simultaneously exclaimed “Bob!”, as Kirk was miked the audience heard him, laughed, then got a bit teary.
I now pronounce you "Dr. & Dr.", er, uh "Husband & Wife, Braden & Molly!" [Molly is a naturopath and Braden is a dentist, both on Whidbey Island, and it seemed like most of the guests were natural healers of one type or another. Fun to be with such a health loving crowd.] Photo credit: Sandra Burr.
Oh what a dance party it was, complete with Hava Nagila chair dance, Molly and her girls dancing to Madona
North Cascades National Park and North Cascades Highway, a beautiful drive through gorgeous mountains, was a welcome relief to the 104° heat we left behind in La Paz!
The Minister & The Mermaid with the Early Winters Spires in the background. One of the most beautiful drives in Washington state, Molly-the-Bride requested that everyone stop to take in her favorite view from Washington Pass Overlook.
One more party in Seattle before we headed back to Mexico. Friends Karen & Jared (who visited us in La Paz last spring) hosted a fun-filled get-together on their deck with a view of downtown Seattle and Elliott Bay. A mini-reunion from a sailing trip several years ago to the BVIs with some of these folks: Kathy, Lu, Ian, Jared, Karen, John, Heidi, Willie, Kirk, and Mike. Thanks so much for the hospitality and party (during your retirement/birthday week no less Karen!), and for the ride to the airport at an un-godly hour Jared! :-)  [If you
Heidi
We couldn
The Seattle sunsets did not disappoint!
Ugh! And then we had to PACK up all of the boat parts, gluten-free food, vitamins and supplements, cat food, and let
Yes, it totaled exactly 400 pounds of stuff, split up among 5 duffles and a box. Note to Alaska Air flyers: Although your first two bags can
Our dear friend Miles toured us all over San Diego County (this view above Black
BEST Cat Sitters in the WORLD! Not only did John & Boni take stellar care of the Furbies, they rented a jeep and picked us up at the Cabo airport along with our 400 lbs of luggage! (See it strapped to the roof behind our heads?!) We had to leave room inside the jeep for people and a Costco run. Thanks guys, we hope to return the favor!
Tosh & Tikka beating the heat in La Paz, sleeping on the salon table under the A/C unit...they
 
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