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Frannie B goes Sailing
South of the Equator Now
carol/blustery ptly cloudy
01/29/2013, San Cristobol, Galapagos Is.

We had an uneventful trip across the Tehuantepec, the large gulf at the southern part of Mexico known for big winds. Continued on to Cocos Islands where we hoped to do some diving. Due to the difficulty of getting permits for these islands we were only allowed one day there. We had a rest and carried on to San Cristobol, Galapagos Islands, one of the larger inhabited islands in the eastern part of the Galapagos. I had gotten an Autografo last summer to allow us to cruise to three of the inhabited islands so we were met by Bolivar and Patricio for the check-in process. It took about two days but went smoothly and they were lovely enough to give us a tour and take us for lunch.
We did the local tourist things here, did the dive at Kicker Rock and fought with the persistent sea lions coming aboard the boat. Unfortunately, one night we were not awoken by the sea lions, but got up to find we had had been robbed in a very vindictive way. The perpetrators had come aboard and cut most of our important lines to a length that render what was left useless to us. They also took such items as dinghy oars, spare blocs, Ned's pink crocs, our bucket of fishing gear, all of our boat bumpers, my shampoo and on and on. They were on their way to the outboard motors when something must have scared them off.

01/31/2013 | Johnny B
Sounds like the next shopping list is growing, Good? thing you won't be at a dock for awhile?? And the experience goes on. Guess you'll put the night watch is back on duty. Glad to hear you are all getting good nights sleep. Just another grey cold day here, 53 degree water and some new 33 degree snow in the mountains. Travel well, keep an ear and eye open at all times. Thanks for the updates.
The Adventure Continues in Huatulco
Carol / clear and sunny, hot as always
01/01/2013, Huatulco, MX

15 44.5'N 096 07.7'W
The Adventure Continues in Huatulco
Pretty exhausted from the bus ride we decided to spend the day on Frannie B and picked out a nice anchorage in which to swim and snorkel. Cacaluta was close by and quite nice. The water was somewhat clear and still a toasty 82 degrees F. We washed FBs bttom, fixed the freshwater pump and didn't get too sunburned. The next few days involved surfing, scuba diving, and finally the raft trip down the Copalita River. We experienced lots of thrills and spills on this day long adventure with plenty of class three and four rapids. I was the only long swimmer, but fortunately Keri and Will pulled me back into the boat. Stephan, our guide, made sure we had plenty of excitement. For New Year's Eve, we needed a day of reprovisioning , rest and Homeland (TV series). Had a great dinner at Café Juanita, too much food again and made it to midnight for some lovely fireworks (fuegos artificiales). The weather window across the famed and sometimes treacherous Tehuantepec looked to be short so we opted to check out and be on the road on New Year's Day. Keri, Will and Spencer flew home with good memories and probably in need of a vacation.

01/21/2013 | Jill
Nice blog Carol! I hope the smooth sailing continues!
01/25/2013 | Stan Burnett
Sorry to use your blog for this, but I am trying to contact you. If you could please contact me via email stan (at) solmatesantiago.com I would really appreciate it. Thank you!
01/28/2013 | alfred
Hi Ned & Carol, It looks like you are already at the Galapagos. How was your passage down from Mexico? Great going. Waterhoen is still in Alaska.
“Festival de los Rabanos”
Carol/Clear, sunny, cool at night Brr
12/26/2012, Oaxaca,MX

If ever there was a great city in which to spend the holidays, I think Oaxaca is it. Little did we know when we planned our trip around Navidad that on the 23rd of December there would be the 115th celebration of Los Rabanos (the radishes). Ned and I made the 9 hour bus trip through the mountains a couple of days before the family was scheduled to arrive. Upon other cruiser recommendations I had signed us up for a cooking class, visit with a local micro finance nonprofit, guided tour of Monte Alban, the Zapotec ruins, visit to a rugweaving village, a mezcal distillery and made restaurant reservations at all of the cool spots. Kiss the diet goodbye, we ate and ate.
Our hotel was less than a block from the Zocalo and maybe three blocks from the big Mercado. We began the first day of touring with breakfast at Benito Juarez market. A traditional Oaxacan desayuno consists of a grande hot chocolate with bread to dip in it. We had that along with some Mexican eggs and were way too full. As with all Mexican markets, the produce is beautiful, along with meat and fish stalls and tons of just Mexican junk and crafts. With the approach of the holiday things were lively and crowded.
Keri and Will arrived as scheduled, but poor Spenny's flight was delayed and with a missed connection it looked like he might miss it all. Luckily he was able to reschedule to Huatulco and endure the same bus ride that we did He arrived a day later than the rest of us. Being a lover of radishes we didn't want him to miss the radish festival and he didn't. On our first day we did a cooking class with Pilar Cabrera. This entailed going to the market with our teacher to buy all of the necessary ingredients for three different types of tamales. Then we headed to her lovely home and prepared the meal. Not an easy prep but fun and the food was delicious. I now am a lover of tamales especially the sweet yam type. We made our way to the Sunday market in Tlacaloula, famed as the biggest around. We got into the shopping spirit, bought a few gifts and rugs as well as the famous Oaxacan wooden painted animals. On a seven hour all day tour with Benito of "Tour Oaxaca" we hit all of the big spots, mezcal factory, rug weaving, frozen waterfalls, did a nice hike, visited the largest (in volume) tree in the world and learned lots about local custom and history.
The biggest event of the short week was the world famous radish festival. We were told to arrive early and did so but still had to wait over an hour in line to view these creations. Local families grow radishes of all sizes, shapes, and colors and then carve them into figures which depict biblical scenes, holiday dioramas, or just scenes from life. They are creative, amazing, beautiful and seemingly never ending. They are judged and given cash prizes. Every night before Christmas there are musical as well as dramatic performances in the square. It is full of life, families, and fun. Regrettably but ready we all boarded the bus to Huatulco the day after Christmas, ready to relax and enjoy the beach.

Too Many Turtles
Carol / clear and sunny, hot as always
12/15/2012, Huatulco, MX

The trip from Puerto Vallarta to Huatulco was a last good bye to our favorite anchorages on the Mexican Riviera. We sailed more than expected using our colored Gennaker often. The most fun of the passage was almost a constant viewing of Sea Turtles. They look like logs laying on the surface and don't seem fazed by us at all. Because we were early in the year on this pilgrimage, there were very few cruising boats and we missed the camaraderie of our friends. On a good note, the weather was benign, the seas were flat and all systems on Frannie B worked well.

The highlight of the trip was our unexpected stop in Acapulco. The Yacht Club was welcoming if expensive and contrary to lots of reports of danger downtown, we managed two bus rides to the Zocalo as well as taxiing to see the famous cliff divers in the evening. We were sufficiently wowed to tell others not to miss the event. A few pesos and you can stand on the rock path facing the cliffs which are lit up at night. About five young men take their turns diving up to 140 feet above a narrow surgy inlet. They do flips, swan, and gainers in increasing height and difficulty. After the event Ned posed with the divers and bought an autographed T-shirt.

Arrived in Huatulco about 5 days before having to meet Keri, Spencer and Will in Oaxaca. We checked out the many bays for snorkeling, signed up for scuba diving and rafting as well as sampling the local restaurants. Yes, there is an Italian district in this little town with great pizza, fresh pasta and Italian bread baked daily.


Life Back on Board Frannie B
Carol / clear, sunny 85-92 degrees F
12/04/2012, Acapulco, Mx

Frannie B and crew are up and running again. This year we have an ambitious plan and so far we are on schedule. We returned to La Paz and Frannie B in Mid October. She survived the heat, rains, and even an earthquake with no damage. Spent a few weeks there dragging all of our boat stuff back from the storage locker and making many trips on my little folding bike to Chedraui, the mega grocery store, to restock the cupboards while the getting was easy. After a glorious sail across the Sea of Cortez, who says you never sail in Mexico, we enjoyed the great swimming pools of El Cid Marina in Mazatlan. I got to humiliate myself daily with pool volleyball. Rafael from Total Yacht Works taught us everything we needed to know about our Yanmar Engine and sent us off with a new exhaust elbow and clean bill of health. Unfortunately the Panda Genset got a bad diagnosis, but with no time to fix it we took off for another glorious sail to Puerto Vallarta. With the miracles of UPS the new Fischer Panda part, also an exhaust elbow, arrived before we did. 3 or 4 days later with lots of advice from our friends on he dock Mr. Panda fired up and seems to be as good as new. Crusing is definitely not all playtime but plenty of sweaty work. It seems that all of our crusing friends will remain in La Paz or on the Mexican Riviera for the holidays so we are off on our own now. With more great sailing and stops along the way, we finally find ourselves in the first place that is new to us, Acapulco. Decided to stop here to get fuel and to view the Cliff Divers in person. They didn't disappoint. Both their climbs up the sheer vertical walls as well as their olympic style dives from up to 140 feet left me breathless. Next stop Huatulco for the holidays and a visit from Keri, Will, and Spencer.

12/04/2012 | Debbie
So happy for your guys - looks like lots of fun (even with the sweat work!). Have a safe and happy journey and a great holiday with the kids! Can't wait to vicariously enjoy the trip through your blog!
12/04/2012 | Melody of Double Diamond
Hi from rainy and dark Kirkland! So you've made it to Acapulco- you are doing a great job of staying schedule. Double Diamond is still at Costa Baja. We return on the 17th and will sail to the mainland for the holidays. Keep posting so we can at least keep up with you by reading.
12/06/2012 | John and Val
Wow! Great to "hear" that all is well (normal never ending repairing of life intact). Looking forward to up to 2 ft of snow in the mts in the next few days. Cold & wet here, normal December. Glad to here UPS is well connected.

Happy holidays, J&V
12/09/2012 | Rd in CT
Life at sea and in Mexican ports looks busy and fun. Where is Ned's tan?? Warm and wet in CT but all is well. I am off to the library to get some of the books that you have recommended. Happy Hannukkah!! --rd
Ziplining and more
Carol/Always sunny
04/25/2012, Barancas del Cobre

Chris, Cole, and Conner arrived just in time to do a quick tour of Mazatlan before our early departure for the Copper Canyon. We began our tour in the town of El Fuerte where our guide Chal gave us a quick walk around of this very dead town as it was Easter and all of the festiities of the previous week had worn the locals out. Mega biting midgies and a beautiful view of the El Fuerte River rounded out the lazy day. We set out for the Copper Canyon railway train bright and early and it didn't disappoint. This railway took 30 years to build and one can see why with all of the switchbacks, bridges and tunnels. 4 hours later we were met by Mario at the station and are taken to his home/lodge near te town of Cerocahui. To say the least our accommodations were basic but the scenery and family experience were worth it. We began our descent into the Urique Canyon, (deepest in the Copper Canyon) early the next day. Four hours later we viewed the edge of the Canyon and it was truly as breathtaking as our own Grand Canyon. It was a long dusty day not without other adventures, running out of gas on the trip back up, swimming in the river in Urique. The trip went on to the lovey Mirador Lodge at the Divisadero Stop on the train. More amazing hiking and a discussion of possible return for yet a longer hike. Our final day had Chris Cole and Ned a bit apprehensive as they had signed up for ziplining across the canyon. Once there, they realized that they could not back out so off they went. Lots of smiles and a good time to say the least. After a great lunch of street food we were back on the train and in Mazatlan in time for dinner. The travelers all survived and hopefully had a good time.

04/25/2012 | Melody
Carol- Good job keeping up with the blog. You are an inspiration. People DO read them, even those crazy sailor folks you've been hanging out with.

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