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 - Sara Goes to Sea: La Paz to Puerto Vallarta
Photos 1 to 51 of 51 | Main
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