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 - Back in the USA y Bienvenidos a México!
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Every 180-days we need to renew our Mexican Tourist Cards ("Visas".) The only requirement to renew is to leave Mexico for a few minutes, then return again, and pay about $20/ea for a new 180-day card. Alternatively you could apply for a Residente Temporal or Residente Permanente, to become a temporary or permanent resident of Mexico. These both cost a lot more money and require many more hoops to jump through. So we
The highlight of Heidi
We voted a month early online (Washington State lets residents living over seas vote online!) but ended up being in the States on that fateful Election Day. We had planned to stay at Heidi
Kirk birdwatching with Heidi
Heidi with some of her Holistic Practitioner colleagues at Neal
Kirk and Jean graciously helped Heidi with some Neal
We took Verne to visit two of his cousins who lived in a retirement center near by and had a FUN lunch with cousin Ed (95!) A hoot-of-a guy, and former WWII PBM flying-boat pilot, Ed is also a very good and prolific oil painter (see behind guys and next photo.) Ed said he
Cousin Ed
It was so great to see Heidi
Somehow after the fun week visiting Heidi
Our stash of Costco and  Trader Joe
Everything from soup-to-nuts stowed in crates, our "secondary pantry". We shop where the locals shop, buying fresh produce every few days. But our favorite dry good staples and gluten-free items for Heidi are harder to come by or more expensive here. Since we
Farewell dinner with Cruising Buddies at the Sunset Grill, Playa Algodones.  Back row: Heidi & Kirk, Maryalice & Rick (s/v Notre Isle), Chris & Liz (s/v Espirtu), Don (s/v Windcharmer). Front Row: Kimi & Trevor (s/v Slow Flight). Missing from this photo were Lisa from s/v Windcharmer (who was back in the states visiting her mom), and Boni & John (s/v Ingenium) who were burning the midnight oil working on their engine. We MISS all of you guys, but look forward to catching up again soon in other ports of call.
His and Hers clever signs leading the way to the restrooms at the Sunset Grill.
Fun adult swings at the bar at Sunset Grill, Playa Algodones. If you
Beautiful metal Mexican wall-art tree at the Sunset Grill, decorated with lights and glass ornaments. This looks like permanent decor, not a holiday decoration, really lovely, Heidi wants one on the boat! :-)
Our passage south from San Carlos to Bahia Bonanza on Isla Espirtu Santo, about 215 nautical miles, took us 34 hours of sailing and motor-sailing. After two nights at Bonanza, we were off to Marina de La Paz (another 20 nautical miles), and then a 2-hour bus ride to Los Barriles for Thanksgiving. Note that we plan to spend summer 2017 in Bahia de Los Angeles, located at the top of the Baja Peninsula on this map, come and visit!
South of San Carlos, while the seas were rough and winds were howling, at least the sunset was beautiful! This was one of the best ones yet, 360° of pink and orange sky!
Though we didn
"Tikka-la-Sneaka" our green-eyed-girl, hanging out under the bunk on top of a sleeping bag covering the "Soup-to-Nuts" crate. Heidi made her a cozy nest to hide out during our passage from San Carlos to Bahia Bonanza. This bed worked much better than her preferred hiding spot in the bow, squeezed under the head toilet, that is the bounciest place in the boat!
Passages do not phase this Kool-Kat Tosh who sacks out in our salon sea berth with who ever is off-watch, chases his toys around the salon in pitching seas, or chilaxes in the cockpit with who ever is on-watch. This boy was MADE for sailing, as long as he doesn
Captain Kirk with the filthy-black Racor fuel filter. Note to self: Even filtered fuel in Mexico can be dirty, we
As part of our gig being SSB Net Hosts on the Amigo Net each Tuesday morning (1400 Zulu time, frequency 4.149), we read the NOAA Experimental WX for Mexico and the Sea of Cortez. You can check out the daily forecasts here: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/experimental/epoffshores/data/WRKOFFPZ7. Previously  only computer generated data, this forecast is now vetted by humans at NOAA each day, for which we are grateful!
A wonderful surprise on our return to La Paz, a new art-sign like the one in Loreto! We love the fun, bright, and colorful addition to the Malecon.
Delicious dinner at Dulce Romero in La Paz with good friends (and Tosh & Tikka sitters!) Viviane and Scott. This all-natural/healthy/organic restaurant was SO delicious. Not super gluten-free friendly (lots of multi-grain breads!), but they had great salads for Heidi. And Kirk
Wonderful to make it to Los Barriles in time for Sara
A close-up of the little Mexican Cakes that were SO beautifully decorated, but sadly not gluten-free for Heidi...Captain Kirk enjoyed his piece though!
Thanksgiving Day bike ride with Braden and Molly to the store for dinner ingredients. Nice to be in Mexico for Thanksgiving where the stores are open and there is no mad-rush to buy food! This was Heidi
Hans, Lyna, and Braden on the beach...we are now taking wellness advice from the "kids" we watched grow up as maniacs on the ski slope, Hans is a Naturopath and Braden is our Dentist. So much fun to be with our "framily" again!
Captain Kirk, a.k.a. "Salad Man" making the Thanksgiving salad complete with his top-secret delicious dressing!
Sara and her brother Fred with the Thanksgiving spread including: smoked turkey, vegan mashed potatoes, stove-top-stuffing, grilled veggies (green beens, peppers, mushrooms, eggplant, sweet potatoes, and asparagus), a green salad, and tequila-lime-shrimp skewers!
Cheers...So much to GIVE THANKS for!
Nothing Black about this "Black Friday" morning breakfast with good friends and family: Heidi, Sara, Kirk (and kitty Kaya), Fred (back), Molly & Braden (front), Lyna, and Hans.
Captain Kirk and Heidi checking out these fun, unique, colorful Mexican Christmas ornaments in Los Barriles. We bought one for $75 pesos ($4 US), it
 
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