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Tom & Kim's Excellent Adventure
Day 1
03/29/2013

Neptune has been kind to us on the first day of our trip - we couldn't have asked for anything more. We left as the soon as the afternoon thermal picked up and we were able to sail immediately. For the first 24 hours we've had the luxury of 10 - 12 knot winds and a starboard beam reach (the most favored and often the fastest point of sail). With a full main and genoa we're averaging 5-6 knots of boat speed directly towards our destination. Sunny and warm, we were able to sail all day in just T shirts and shorts. We tried out our first 6 hour night watch schedule which is longer than the typical watch. We decided to try this to allow our partner a solid sleep in between watches. So far so good, thank goodness for ebooks, podcasts and music! Mid afternoon we noticed a flock of seabirds nearby, followed almost immediately by a pod of dolphins. Before we were able to pull out our camera, a tuna struck our fishing line which we had set earlier. Talk about everything happening at once! We successfully landed the tuna, so the thawing chicken will have to wait for another day.

Time to Get" OUT THERE"
Tom and Kim
03/28/2013, Punta de Mita

We finally checked out of Mexico officially about 1 pm Tuesday with our treasured Zarpe in hand. A couple of hours later we headed to Punta de Mita to await an upcoming weather window with enough wind to get us out and "attached" to the Northern trade winds. It looks like this will happen over the next few days, and so later today we will hoist anchor for the last time on the Mexican coast and set a heading of 224 Magnetic to the Marqueses. We spent the last 2 days with final preparation (hard to believe there was anything left to do!) and as I write this Kim is baking ginger snaps for the always essential night watch snack bag. Everything is tied up, strapped down, and packed into spaces we didn't know we had. The leecloths are in position for sleep on a heeling boat and we filled our water tanks with the water maker. I have downloaded a few bits of weather info and listened to the latest analysis from Mike of PV Sailing this morning. The constant motion and rolling while at anchor for the last 2 days has helped to get our "sea legs" back, and I think we are ready!! We may be a day early (winds are just beginning to develop) but it feels like the time to go. A number of our cruising friends will also leave today, tonight or tomorrow as well. We will attempt to provide position reports on Sail Blogs daily and will try on Winlink as well (although connection to Winlink has been difficult lately). We will also try to be a bit more consistent with our blogging! A few administrative notes: We would love to hear from you via email (CFK9580@sailmail.com) but as radio transmission of email is slow at best, and the radio is our only source of weather info (our main source of communication), please keep messages short. Photos/attachments will be deleted by the sailmail program. Also please do not use "reply" to any email messages from us as this just sends our email back to us and extends the download time. Final note: any comments on the 'sailblogs' website aren't visible to us while offshore, as we have no internet coverage. Happy Easter to everyone, we will be thinking of you!

Adios Mexico!
03/26/2013

It's 'Check-Out Day'
Tom has been to the Port Captain's Office, most of the paperwork is done, he made a trip to the Marina office to pay our final bill (ughhh!) and now we're waiting for Immigration to come to the boat to give us the coveted 'Zarpe' (official international check out form). The Zarpe is a critical document, as rumor has it we won't be granted permission to enter the Marqueses without it.

The boat has now spent two seasons in Mexico, and looking back we've had a multitude of great experiences and countless memories that we'll always treasure. It would be hard to pick our favorite spot, as there are far too many to choose from. We've met lots cruisers along the way and become close friends with many of them. Some will be making the same journey to French Polynesia, some are heading East to the Caribbean, and many will be staying in Mexico to enjoy another season.

The Pacific Coast of Mexico and the Sea of Cortez are fabulous cruising grounds, as we've documented in previous blogs. Although we will miss some of the anchorages here we look forward to the beauty of the South Pacific and the adventure of getting there. As some of you know, our initial plans were to go directly to the South Pacific and skip Mexico. In retrospect this would have been a big mistake.

So Adios to Mexico as we add 30000 miles of southwest sailing on 'Tom and Kim's Excellent Adventure'. We hope to have many interesting stories to share during our journey, and anticipate saying Bonjour to the Marqueses in a month!
(Unfortunately our blogs while out at sea will not include photos... we'll have to upload those once we get there!)

03/27/2013 | Mark & Deanna Roozendaal
Good luck on the crossing. You'll have lots of time on your hands so we look forward to MANY updates via SSB! Fair weather to you!

Mark R
What's New?
35 degrees C in the cabin yesterday afternoon...
03/23/2013, still in 'Paradise'...

Forgive us, it has been 32 days since our last blog... we've been knee deep in projects and to-do lists that have REALLY gotten in the way and have left us creatively uninspired. Enough excuses, here are some of the highlights of what we've been up to since our last blog...

Front Row Seats
03/07/2013, Banderas Bay

Tom's sisters decided they needed a respite from the harsh Albertan winter and flew south to PV to thaw out for a week and find out for themselves what we've been up to. We looked forward to their visit, and were grateful to them for squeezing some items into their suitcases that we needed for our 'puddle jump' that aren't available down here!
We shared a few 'happy hours' and meals together , and walked the beach back and forth between the Marina and their all-inclusive resort. While they were quite content to laze around the pool, saunter along the beach, and test out the various restaurants and bars in their 'dreamy' resort, they looked forward to an opportunity to go out for a day sail in Banderas Bay with us.
We were only too happy to oblige, thrilled at an opportunity to divert our attention from our endless To-Do list. We set sail mid-morning under a warm, sunny sky and light breeze, and headed out towards La Cruz for the afternoon. Within 20 minutes we spotted large splashes in the middle of the bay, surrounded by a small cluster of boats. We hoped we might be lucky enough to spot a whale or two that afternoon, and ended up hitting the jackpot!
For the next two hours we bobbed around, captivated by a pod of whales that put on the most incredible show we've ever seen. June and Sonja were thrilled, and so were we as the timing for our sail with them couldn't have been better! We hope they'll visit us again soon in another tropical location, as they seem to be our good luck charms!!
(more images in photo gallery)

03/26/2013 | Deb & Dave Tolman
What a great feeling to be dropping your lines heading for the Marquesas. Fair winds and calm seas...best wishes on the next leg of your wonderful adventure! We will be thinking of you!
Buses, Boats, and (Windward) Bashing
02/27/2013, Zihuztenejo

We had originally planned to fly down to southern Mexico to join our friend Joel and his niece on an inland excursion. The plan was to explore ancient Mayan ruins and an archaeological dig site, and afterwards, help him deliver his boat from Zihuatenejo back up to Puerto Vallarta. Unfortunately, our schedules didn't jive and we were unable to join Joel and Mica on what sounded like a memorable trip. But, being the great friend that he is, Tom still offered to help Joel deliver his boat the 300 or so miles north from 'Zihuat', and the adventure began with a 15 hour overnight bus ride.

Tom arrived at 4:30am a bit weary, but ready for the 3 - 5 day sail north. After a snooze, breakfast on the beach, shopping for provisions and some afternoon body surfing, the two amigos untied the lines at the Marina at high tide.

Tom: the wind gods were not in our favor, and we spent the night motoring, arriving just after sunrise and replaced the diesel we burned overnight. We spent the day anchored at Melaque, where we had a great seafood dinner at a small beach palapa. After a good night's sleep we headed out the next morning with the intent of going straight through to Puerto Vallarta.

This plan came into question when we heard that the weather further north was predicted to deteriorate over the next day. Being cautious, we decided to spend the next night in Chamela to try to sort out the weather forecast and our next move. The trip to Chamela was idyllic, with 10-15 knots of wind on our beam and we had a chance to try out Joel's Hydrovane as well as his watermaker.

After analyzing numerous weather reports relayed to us by Kim and received by radio we decided to head North the next morning to round Cabo Corrientes and head into Banderas Bay enroute to Puerto Vallarta. Cabo Corrientes is notorious for bad weather conditions, but all weather reports we received suggested a mild to moderate headwinds.

As we left Chamela we had a great show from 2 whales who decided to follow us for a while and perform great tricks for us. About mid-afternoon the winds started to pick up and accelerated throughout the rest of the day. By 7:00 we had sustained 30-35 knot winds on our nose and 8-10 foot seas. Under these conditions motoring upwind was impossible so we sailed to weather, often taking blue water over the dodger and into the cockpit. Although the conditions were severe, with 2 reefs in the main and a partially rolled headsail the boat performed comfortably. These conditions persisted to midnight, when the winds settled down to a mere 20 knots. That was when the autopilot quit working, leaving us to hand sail for the rest of the trip. Did we mention what a good friend Tom is?
We finally arrived at Paradise Village Marina at about 10:00am, tired and damp, with the boat which must have surely been feeling the same way. This final leg of the trip should have taken 15 hours but our bash spread out to a 22 hour slog .

After a quick shower we both hit the sack (Tom was a bit luckier than Joel, as he got to escape to a dry boat with dry sheets). Joel spent the next week drying out his boat, and Tom spent the next week getting over a cold he acquired during the trip. There is great truth to the old saying 'Gentlemen Don't Sail Upwind' !

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