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 - Sara Goes to Sea: La Paz to Puerto Vallarta
Photos 1 to 51 of 51 | Main
1
Sara goes to sea!
Our 380 nautical mile passage from La Paz to Banderas Bay took 60 hours from hook up to hook down.  If you
Sara arrived in La Paz the day before our departure and she and Heidi provisioned for three-weeks... er, uh, three-days! One thing
The watch schedule that works best for the two of us is 4-hours-on/4-hours-off during the night, and 6-ours-on/6-hours-off during the day. We modified that to have Sara
We cut Sara slack on keeping to the night watch schedule so she could hang out in this comfy "room with a view" bunk to get her beauty sleep and keep on cooking more phantasmagoric meals. ;-)
...Sara is a fabulous cook and she took over the galley making us FANTABULOUS meals every day. THANKS Sara!! xoxo
Frigate bird flying high over Due West
When Sara wasn
We take our off-watches seriously and get in as many winks as we can when ever we are off.   Even though we sleep in shorter chunks of time, we seem to get more sleep on passages than on the hook or at the dock. Ever the lover, Tosh is right there snuggling with who ever is off watch.
Flat-calm seas were the norm for about half of our trip across the Sea of Cortez. No wind meant motoring (which meant we could run the water maker!) and also meant we saw a LOT of sea turtles which are much easier to spot in the flat calm seas than rough seas.
We saw 10-12 endangered Olive Ridley  Sea Turtles while sailing across the Sea of Cortez from La Paz to Puerto Vallarta. And used the iNature App to track them as Citizen Scientists for "Project Sea Turtle" scientific research. (This photo copyright and courtesy of oliveridleyproject.org at http://oliveridleyproject.org/sea-turtles/.) When the seas are flat-calm you could easily spot large brown "blobs" on the surface of the water, which turned out to be sea turtles!
Navi-girl Heidi and Captain Kirk each host the SSB Amigo Net one day a week (Heidi on Monday mornings, Kirk on Tuesday mornings), 1400 Zulu on 4.149USB. This is a great opportunity to check in with other boats sailing in Mexico, "meet" new cruisers, or get a weather forecast for where ever you
We really love doing passages, and the night watches are our favorite with the beautiful stars, moon, sunsets, sunrises, and Orion always leading our way. Every sunrise and sunset is really different, just like snowflakes! Glad we don
Elliott Bay Marina friend and "Pirate Girl" Michele happened to be in La Cruz when we arrived, fun small world! Great to see you Michele! :-)
Heidi is in heaven at Organic Love restaurant in La Cruz. Check it out if you
Top of the list upon arriving in Banderas Bay was to hit the La Cruz Sunday market so Sara and Heidi could buy cute sundresses for $350 pesos!
Captain Kirk checking out the Five-Star view from friends Judy & Paul
Our celebration of the Festival of Guadalupe started with a walk down the Puerto Vallarta Malecon where someone had created this great Bienvenidos sand sculpture with the Virgin of Guadalupe herself...
Puerto Vallarta has a plethora of surrealistic sculptures all along the Malecón (walkway along the waterfront.) This fun ladder to the sky called "Searching for Reason" (En busca de la razón) by the famous Mexican artist, Sergio Bustamante had people climbing all over it. Not wanting to miss out on the adventure,  Sara and Heidi had to climb it too!
Our walk along the Malecón lead us to the Cathedral of Guadalupe where the Festival of Guadalupe was taking place. The whole town square across from the church (near Old Town) was filled with food vendors selling every imaginable Mexican treat, kids playing games, or painting pottery.
Our fantastic view of La Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe) from the restaurant upstairs-left, and all the pilgrims and revelers.
The inside of La Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, decorated in pink and blue. Many of the pilgrims crawled in on their knees, like these two in front of us.  The church bells ring for every pilgrim entering the church, which was pretty much non-stop.
This little boy was wearing his finest Lady of Guadalupe clothing, complete with drawn-on mustache!
Cheers to Seattle cruising friends Judy and Paul who now live in PV full-time after years of cruising their sailboat to Ecuador and back. They were gracious hosts showing us around their new home city, and they knew just where to watch the Festival of Guadalupe festivities from! Thanks for a fantastic week guys! :-) xoxo
The parade of pilgrims on the evening of December 12, Dia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, went on all night long. Think "Torchlight Parade" in Seattle but for 24+ hours and with firecrackers and church bells ringing throughout the whole thing.  (Kirk says: but with no Hydroplanes or Seafair Pirates! :-)
Many of the local neighborhoods, civic clubs, branches of the armed services, and schools had their own groups in the parade, and some of them carried large images of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
There were a multitude of Aztec Dancers in various head-dresses, including these dancers dressed as hummingbirds.
Sara, Heidi and Kirk at the Festival of Guadalupe... La Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe is lit up in the background.
Sara, Heidi, Viviane, and Scott joining the revelers at Dia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, FUN time had by all!
Heidi working her Neal
Judy and Paul picked up Kirk and Sara at the marina and we all headed off for a beautiful day-hike along the south coast of Banderas Bay. The hike started south of Puerto Vallarta at Boca del Tomitlan...
The hiking trail leaves from the head of the bay at Boca del Tomitlan, passing all these fishing pangas in the river...
...the trail winds through jungle forest up and down steps and slopes, and Kirk was in his element in the great outdoors. ©SaraGiswold.
... five miles later the trail winds down to the beach with last mile plus hiking on the beach. After lunch on the beach in Las Ánimas we took a panga back to Boca and drove home from there. A great, fun hike! Thanks Judy & Paul!! :-D
Map of Banderas Bay, showing Due West
The small fishing village of Yelapa is only accessible by boat and the whole town is owned by the indigenous tribe that lives there, no one owns individual buildings or plots of land. A trip to Yelapa has been on our bucket list for years, so we were glad for this chance to finally visit. ©SaraGiswold.
View of Yelapa Bay from the trail that connects the village to the beach.
Tropical shadows cast on the cobblestone paths through the village, between houses, stores, and restaurants.
We LOVED this multi-cultural snapshot of life in Yelapa... a little blonde-haired white-girl pushing the little Mexican boy UP a steep cobblestone path on his BROKEN plastic trike (note front tire.) They were both jabbering away in Spanish...so cute! And race was SO not an issue... we could all take a lesson from this.
No cars, but plenty of burros, mules, and horses here in Yelapa!
We were so surprised by the variety and freshness of the produce available in the little tienda in the middle of Yelapa. We could hardly find this beautiful of produce in Puerto Vallarta!
Sara took this lovely shot of the Yelapa waterfall. This one was close to town, only a 5-minute walk.  There was apparently another, larger one about a 2-hour walk away which we didn
Interesting to see plastic milk crate strapped onto the backs of burros and mules in Yelapa. Maybe they carry more stuff than the traditional saddle-bags? ©SaraGiswold.
We happened upon Cafe Bahia in Yelapa and were SO glad we did! Fabulous vegen-gluten-free friendly food (they also have non veg and other stuff, but Heidi was thrilled with this find!) Check them out here http://bit.ly/2hVLXKd and stop in if you are ever in Yelapa, you won
Kirk and Sara with our beautiful, delicious food at Bahia Cafe.
We ordered a Passionfruit Margarita at Cafe Bahia, and it was so delicious Sara just had to take a selfi as she tried it (she can normally only drink a thimble-full of alcohol!) ©SaraGiswold.
If you
Marina Vallarta has a great Artisan Market on Thursday nights. Little did we know they also have crocodiles!?! This was taken right from the marina malecón. We made sure Tosh and Tikka did NOT go swimming here!
One of the local Huichol artisans at the Marina Vallarta Thursday Evening Market ~ this was the BEST artisan market we
We were in need of a new galley rug as our old one had worn out and been donated to the dog shelter in La Paz. This one from the Marina Vallarta Artisan Market caught our eye and we debated the size/color/pattern and care of wool rug on boat, but Sara threw in the deciding vote when she said "Bob would LOVE this one!" And so do we...Tikka and Tosh included. Merry Christmas to Due West (and Tikka and Tosh who love the Escher-like fish!)
Sara got this farewell shot of us and Due West at Marina Vallarta as she headed back home to Baja and Whidbey Island. We all had a WONDERFUL time and were so glad she could stay with us for 10-days, and that she got to experience an off-shore passage! We
 
1