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 - Sights & Sounds of Puerto Vallarta
Photos 1 to 65 of 65 | Main
1
s/v <em>Due West</em> sung in her berth at Marina Vallarta.
We had a wonderful surprise visit from our nephew Tate (Heidi
Great day at the beach in Punta Mita with nephew Tate and extended family: Jack, Tate, Kirk, Heidi, Joan, and Mark.
The down-side of this nomadic sailing life we live is always saying "hasta luego." We met s/v Kenta Anae and crew: Matero, Allison, and Merle (and Shandro missing from photo) sailing last summer in the Sea of Cortez. These guys have pure hearts of gold, and the nicest, most outgoing, well-rounded teenagers we
More "hasta luegos" to our friends Lisa and Don on s/v Wind Charmer. They stayed with us for a night before flying back to the US for a month and we took in 3-D "Pirates of the Caribbean." Heidi will meet up with Lisa again in Orlando later this month when they attend their Neal
Tosh-the-Jungle-Cat loves how his stripes really camouflage him when he
Post haircut, "The Littlest Lion" lost about 2lbs in hair (or so it seemed). We know this photo is not the greatest quality, but it does show off his Kinky boots and Lion
Meanwhile Tikka the green-eyed lady lounges on her pink bed, finally warming back up to her brother whom she ignored for two-weeks straight post-hair cut. Not sure what she was so tweaked about, she
The lovely view from our amazing condo-sitting summer gig (THANKS Judy & Paul!) The views and scenery on the beach change daily, if not by the hour, or even by the minute sometimes. Anything goes on this beach... fun to watch and beach-walk along.
These cute little boys were so fun to watch. Before the niño in orange could ride the burro he had to walk it back and forth a bunch of times with his older brother riding it. Finally he could ride it with his brother, and he
Boot Camps and exercise programs happen on the beach most evenings. These head-stand dudes practiced for over an hour until they were finally all lined up together...then they had to go home and "wash that sand right outta their hair!"
Lots of LOVE and SUN on the beach in PV, lots of weddings too. This is a prime spot for wedding photography, and many destination weddings take place at the resort next door.
A bride on the beach...Beautiful.
The Captain being a "good-sam", every day we walk on the beach we pick up handfulls of trash. We
"OSHA-approved"... NOT! Another thing that has not caught on here is eye protection, ear protection, and respirators. We watched as 5+ guys used hatchets to whack-hack-thwack away the old tile and grout and make a smooth surface to re-tile the pool. They literally hacked away for 10-hours a day, 6-days a week, for 2-3 weeks... Unbe*¡*¡*lievable. Click this <a href="https://youtu.be/ieHh5C6c6qs" target="_blank"><u>link</u></a> , to check out the video including the soundtrack of our life for the past 2-3 weeks.
Our little bit of tropical paradise. With 5 swimming pools at the condo we
On the way home from yoga class one day Captain Kirk ran into a gang of banditos. Pretty nice guys...they weren
Umbrella ART at one of our favorite hangouts, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/La-Tostaderia-702794516467580" target="_blank"><u>La Tostaderia</u></a> (BEST tostadas in town!) BIG THANKS to proprietor Javier for creating this outdoor Art-space! Puerto Vallarta is full of ART and Javier wanted to give his patrons something beautiful to look at. He plans on changing up the art every couple of months.
Looks like this Bug parked too long and a palm tree sprang out of it
Nearby that VW bug this wall is covered in psychedelic flamingos, egrets, fish, snakes, bugs, and more. We pass this on our walk to the grocery store almost every day.
If you
A modern adaptation of Madonna & Child Mexican-style. Also note the painted tree trunk that lines up with the tree behind the wall (they do this a lot in PV), and the multi-colored ceramic bricks... not just "Another brick in the Wall."
A different sort of Madonna and Children? Or Native Mexican "St. Francis of Assisi" figure? We
This beautiful corner wall mural in Punta Mita celebrates the diversity of life in Banderas Bay, from frigate birds to blue-footed boobies, humpback whales to octopus and more...
This colorful humpback whale adorns the wall of another of our fav tostadarias, "Ocho Tostados" at Marina Vallarta. This family-owned chain of tostada stands all over PV has delicious fish, crab, and shrimp tostadas for only a few pesos.  Plus they have the BEST guacamole and pico de gallo (here they call it "Mexican salsa") we
There are amazing murals on walls ALL OVER Puerto Vallarta, like this one of "Uncle Albert."  Riding the buses around town we are often surprised to view new murals we hadn
Many of the city busses are decorated by the drivers themselves to their own personal tastes. This guy loved the Rolling Stones... Each bus has it
Often bus rides are accompanied by live musicians entertaining the riders for all or part of the ride, passing the hat for a few pesos. Talent ranges widely with some being awful to others being good. These guys on our 30-minute bus ride from Puerto Vallarta south to Boca de Tomatlán were some of the best we
The interior of this whole bus was RED including the LED lighting that turns on when the driver presses the break-peddle. His hand-carved coin-holder is decorated with the Virgin of Guadalupe. The "TUNEL" ("toon-el") sign indicates that this is an express bus taking the highway around the back-side of PV and through the mountain tunnel to Old Town, or Zona Romantica south of downtown PV, rather than stopping at every block along the malecon (ocean-front) in town. The words written on the window (far right in photo) are the major stops it makes. We
Another musician, another bus (this bus less full at this point but sure to fill up before the end of the line.) This guy (or his doppelganger) also plays every day at La Isla shopping mall just out side the back deck of the condo. We are serenaded daily by a mix of Peruvian Flute meets modern-music, whether we want to be or not. Click this <a href="https://youtu.be/gkVGbatSMOg" target="_blank"><u>link</u></a> to watch and listen:
The "Pink Bus" sends riders a mixed-message: Adorned with pink fringe curtains, an angel on the dashboard and pink-fringed Virgins of Guadalupe all over the ceiling...but what
Like in other parts of the world many Mexican shops sell only one type of item. Lots of cool baskets in this basket shop. We were looking for a new bed for Tikka, but unfortunately their prices were too much like Pier 1 prices in the US, so we
We
Super-Supplements meets the Vitamin-Shop Mexican Style—in the back of this truck under a blue tarp and a tree—you can find every type of vitamin, mineral, herb, and supplement imaginable, with  zero FDA oversight.
Because we try to eat as healthy as possible, because it
Many of the produce markets have these cool wooden bins and stock everything from Apples (manzanas) to Zanahorias (carrots).
Ever the good Sam (and engine mechanic too), Captain Kirk stopped to help an older Mexican gentleman on the street who was having engine trouble. Kirk was able to determine it was a fuel problem, but exactly what? Bad fuel? Clogged injectors? With out tools he couldn
Seen one hack-saw, seen
Another creative Mexican solution: the bell-ringing garbage man. Houses don
No, a bag of aluminum cans didn
YES we
SO PROUD of Puerto Vallarta for having one of the largest LGBTQ communities south of San Francisco, and throwing an amazing PRIDE Parade including the original Rainbow flag from the first Pride Parade in SF. The next day was the Drag Queen competition including: song and dance, rock-climbing wearing a dress, running down cobblestone streets in stilettos carrying a tray full of cocktails, and a blind-folded piñata smack-down of a neighboring country
Dame Edna, er-uh, Pearl! Resident PV Drag Queen from Tuna, Texas, all decked out for the Pride Parade. You can see Pearl perform weekly at Incanto Piano Bar [http://www.incantovallarta.com/] where she calls out Bingo numbers for charity fundraisers, interspersed with tales of life in Tuna, Texas... Most FUN you can have on a Saturday night in PV while fundraising for local charities!
Many parts of the hillside in downtown Puerto Vallarta are too steep to drive up. So these would-be-streets are beautifully landscaped with stairs, benches, terraces, and trees and shrubs in planters. When it rains  these hillsides turn into a man-made "river-beds".
One of the artfully decorated stairs on the PV hillsides. As you follow these stairs up there are hearts along the way, ending in a glass mosaic of hearts outside someone
View of Iglesia Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Lady of Guadalupe cathedral) as we walk from yoga to catch the bus. The red tile roof is actually at eye-level and we have to duck below it walking down the sidewalk, or be clocked in the head! Clear passages on sidewalks are definitely not up to code in this town.
We could hear the church bells from this little church in the Versailles neighborhood from the guest house where we were staying. When they have big events like funerals or weddings, they block off the street with cars and set up chairs in the street to accommodate more people! No permits from the city, they just do it.
Architecture in PV includes everything but the kitchen-sink: architectural elements, arches, columns, window shapes, door shapes, wrought iron railings, ornate tiles,  paint colors and more...This house included nearly one of everything
We often walk past this super-cool door on our way to Costco. One day as we were looking at it about to take a photo, it opened! So we asked the owner permission to take a photo of their door. This extra-wide door swings open on a pivot point with 2/3 of the door on one side of the pivot. Amazing dove-tail precision.
Most homes in PV have some type of decorative gate at the entrance...we though this one combined with the ceiling, doorway, tiles on stairs, and paint colors was particularly interesting. If you
Mexicans are big on decorations, including door knockers, door knobs, handles, key holes, etc.
Classic doors abound. This massive door is right on the Malecon, surrounded by night clubs and restaurants and constantly beat upon by ocean breezes, sun and rain.  If this ornate old door could talk it would likely tell some good stories.
We loved the marine animal carvings on this beautiful door. Everywhere you look, a unique door or window appears...
The reflection of Heidi
We
Speaking of arches in walls, so cool that they made a little archway for the tree roots to protrude through this wall, saving the tree (which would likely not be done in the US.) Too bad the wall has been graffitied, we don
Monstrous Banyan trees are found all over PV with their roots and trunks merging into one.  Roots actually grow down from the branches until they reach the earth and take root. New roots fill in becoming trunk-like, supporting the large branches.
Coco... young coconuts ready to be harvested for their coconut water: just lop off the top with a machete, insert a straw, and drink. Don
Vibrant colors everywhere here... the colors of this beautiful Tiger Lily match Heidi
Heidi is off to teach her first class in Restorative Yoga at Davanna Yoga.
Captain Kirk and other students comfortably relaxing in Heidi
Preparing to perform 108 Sun Salutations (in 4 sets of 27) with Anna at Davanna Yoga, to greet the Summer Solstice—which also happens to be the International Day of Yoga. Why 108? It
View of Iglesia Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe all lit up in the early morning light (0730) from yoga at Los Arcos (the arches) on the Malecon...
Our friend and fellow yogini Sam (far left) teaching yoga at Ángel Yoga on the beach downtown. This is the class that Heidi will be substitute teaching for the next couple of weeks (en Español!) while Sam goes back to Canada to visit her family.
Puerto Vallarta never fails to provide amazing sunsets... and we never tire of watching them. Adios el sol, hasta mañana!
 
1