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 - 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