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This IS retirement
So, you think its all beaches, guacamole, and sun
Gabriellas Grandpa
01/21/2011, Barra De Navidad

After a week in Barra I took off for Santiago/Manzanillo for a week to play while waiting for the school kids to get off their extra long Christmas vacation. Of course this made mi nieta a little sad because she and her classmates were getting a little anxious to get to the video conference. A sail to Santiago from Barra is about 5 hours of pleasant off wind conditions. Dropped anchor off the upscale restaurant hoping to get easy access to wifi. It turned out the wifi signal I got was from about a mile away from the other end of the beach. I stayed put because I was further away from the crowd of other anchored boats so I could run my generator each evening to enjoy my decadence of watching a movie with the lights on and keeping my batteries up. You'all are probably wondering what that post picture is all about. The definition of cruising is "fixing boat things while in exotic anchorages". The first thing that broke was my instant 'on demand' hot water heater. I bought the big one on the right about 13 or 14 years ago on ebay and it was shipped from China straight to me. For $135 (including shipping), I think I got my moneys worth although I ordered one that was way too big for my boat. The one on the left is my new one I bought at Coppel (a Mexican department store) in Manzanillo for $170 and is exactly the size I needed. It is also made in China and sports a German manufacturers name. So I sucessfully installed it and was taking warm showers with more water pressure than my backup Sunshower that I used for a few days while waiting for my new water heater. The next item to break was my dinghy(car). It sprung a leak right at the end of the tube in the cone. I didn't have enough glue to effectively put enough patches on it so a good cruising friend of mine donated his glue and patch kit. Got it fixed after a couple of patching episodes. You see, a dinghy on a cruising boat is like having a car back at home. If you don't have a dinghy you can't go ashore unless you call a water taxi (if there is one in the area you are anchored) or swim to shore. Last year I had a backup dinghy and a backup outboard...this year I am living dangerously by having only one of each. Yesterday I finally had the video conference between the schools here in Mexico and Rancho Cordova. You see, this is the only way to see my granddaughter in school. I baked 2 batches of Toolhouse cookies and bought fresh leche for the kids to consume (a bribe maybe?). Of course my wonderful daughter-in-law Karen tried to match my hospitallity by making cookies for the kids on the other end. I absolutely love to see the kids interact on theses video chats. For the little effort I take to do this, the reward is so gratifying that I want to do it on a daily basis. Now I can cruise for a month or two with no obligations and enjoy the guacamole and chips under a palapa on the beach. Oh yeah, I forgot to relay a little 'dream come true' episode (sorta, kinda) in the anchorage at Santiago. I was sitting down in the boat one afternoon when I heard some giggling and some yelling hello. I went topside and there were 2 people in the water holdiing on to my dinghy. The girl asked if they could rest holding on to the dinghy and I said yes and then asked them to come aboard while they rested up from their swim to the boat from the beach. Needless to say the girl was a very nice (visually and mentally) young Mexican and the young boy was Swiss. We had a very nice visit and chatted for a long time before they swam back to the beach. the boy was on vacation from Switzerland and the girl (who spoke very good english) was hoping to get into Scripps in San Diego. They were the kind of young people that give you hope that our society will survive.

01/21/2011 | Jeff
So U keep up the Maint. And keep up the HOPE Love U Jeff P
01/22/2011 | Susan
What a wonderful post! Now, THAT's great cruising, minus the annoyance of a few breakdowns.
The Gold Coast
Gabriellas Grandpa
01/05/2011, Barra De Navidad

After leaving Mazatlan I bypassed Isla Isabella and San Blas to go straight to Chacala so I could get a good Mahi-Mahi dinner and be in the comfort of the tropics. I was not disappointed as the weather was a little better and the Filete de Pescado Veracruzano style was the best since arriving back in Mexico. It also doesn't hurt to be having your delicious dinner in a nice palapa on the beach with all the pleasant viewing that goes with it. It is still Navidad and Ano Nuevo vacation time and the place is busy. After spending only one night in Chacala I sailed over to La Cruz (Puerto Vallarta) to anchor for a couple days while I resupplied at Costco. On the sail over I saw breaching Humpbacks and some Blue whales playing with a panga full of whale watchers. Then a large group of dolphins surrounded me....I love it when there is so much sea life around while on passage. After spending 2 rolly nights in La Cruz and getting all my goodies (Jelly-Bellys, etc.) I headed out for Barra de Navidad not knowing whether I would stop at Ipala or Chamela for a nights rest. I ended up sailing straight through because the winds were perfect, if not a little stiff, to go the entire passage. I did it in 22 hours from pulling anchor in La Cruz to parking outside of Barra waiting for sunrise. It was such a fast passage that I had to slow down and wait for light to enter the lagoon. The photo is of sunrise right outside Barra. Oh yeah, on the sail down there were more whales and dolphins along the way. Once I got settled in I strolled up the hill to Joannas' house and visited with her make arrangements for the video conference with the schools. Today I was walking in Colomilla (the community where the school is located) and a lady came out of a little lunch type restaurant and said Hi Felipe. It is so nice that the locals recognize me. Then walking down the main street I passed by Pablitos house and there he was in the yard and the look of sincere happiness to see me was so rewarding. Pablito is the boy (about sixth grade) who took care of the keys to the school and would let me in each day I went to work there and then lock it up after I left. They trusted this fifth grader with the keys, but not me. I'll spend a few more days here then sail on up to Santiago/Manzanillo.

01/06/2011 | Susan
What a perfect trip! And I really envy all your whale sightings.
01/09/2011 | Gabriella's Mommy
From your last post on the 5th, I couldn't tell how many days you'll be staying in Barra, but we'll try calling you tonight on Skype, G-Pa. We just picked up the piano yesterday. It's absolutely beautiful and sounds great. Can't wait to have Gabriella start her lessons. After 45 or so renditions (I've lost count), "Yankee Doodle" is getting a bit old.... Hope you are well! The kids in Gabriella's class are getting pretty excited about their upcoming video conference w/ the school kids there. Just need to figure out which computer Mrs. Balantac will use, as hers is on the fritz. I may load Skype on Mrs. Boen's laptop and try that. Let us know when you have a firm date. Love you!
01/20/2011 | Gabriella's Mommy
THANK YOU for the wonderful teleconference today with the school children. I've shared your blog with Mrs. Balantac and she was pleased to see that she could track your progress -- a great geography lesson for the kids! Thanks again, and be safe.
Navidad in Mazatlan
Gabriellas Grandpa
12/25/2010, Singlar-Mazatlan

Last year I broke up the trip down from Guaymas by pulling into Topolabampo to get a good nights rest. This year I decided to go straight through with a 3 day and 3 night passage. Out of those three days and nights I got about 2 hours total(20minutes on and off) of sleep. On my second night out at about 5 in the morning I hit a fishing net line (deja vu) and it was to the swimming ladder with knife in hand to severe that line. Water was freezing cold at about 63 degrees. So later on that morning I was thrilled to get online with my Iusacell Banda Ancha (3 G) and posted on Facebook my experience with the snagged line. I was sitting on the cabin top to get a good cell signal and just as I finished posting the comment I saw another long line(fishing net) going under the boat and snagged my rudder. This was daylight and there were 2 guys in a fishing panga about 100 meters from watching as I sailed over their net. They did not wave, yell or anything, just looking at me and probably laughing at me. This time I put on my bathing suit and climbed down the boarding ladder and pushed off with my foot. It released easily because there was little pressure from the boat because of light winds. I had some good sailing and a little too much motoring. Pulled into Mazatlan's Old Town anchorage at first light and could not sleep, so I took off on the bus for Singlar and Marina Mazatlan way across town. The girls at Singlar talked me into spending Christmas at their docks and the decision was a no-brainer because Club Nautico in old town wants fifty pesos to just tie up the dinghy at their dinghy dock. Some Mexican businessmen can really get greedy. This is the time of year where the only down side to my otherwise wonderful retirement rears its ugly head. I get to feel lonely and miss my sweet Gabriella soooo much. I got to talk to her this morning (Christmas day) just as she woke up and was waking up her mom and dad. She related a sweet dream she had and my Christmas is so much better now. I will leave in awhile and stroll down Hotel row and stop for Christmas dinner at the first place the strikes my fancy. Can you believe that this blog post will be a Christmas present for someone? I know that Grandma Pat will. Merry Christmas everyone...

12/25/2010 | Susan
This post was a Christmas present for two people in North Carolina, of that I'm certain.
Merry Christmas, Phil.
12/25/2010 | Diane, Evan & Maia
Happy Christmas--and best of the season to you. Your kindness to Maia (and all of us!) made our stay in Guyamas even better--so we wanted to check and see how you we're and where you made it to for Christmas.
12/26/2010 | Linda Dobie
Hi Phil - Merry Christmas to you! We have been watching our video from over 10 years ago now when we first met you in Mexico - so it is wonderful to read about your adventures so many years later - it is cold here in the UK - so Mexico sounds very inviting right about now. Safe travels - we miss you and will always have such fond memories of our time with you - especially Allen with his 'buddy boat' Tons of love Linda and Allen
12/27/2010 | Gabriella's Mommy
It was great seeing and talking with you on Christmas Eve, G-Pa! Gabriella was thrilled that Santa had not forgotten you, as she discovered Neccos and a Starbuck's gift card in your stocking. The only thing is... you'll have to treat her to a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino when you get home. (That 8-year-old knows what she likes!) In the days before Christmas she was quite melancholy and missing you. We prayed extra prayers that God would keep you safe on your journeys and return you home to us in 5 months. Now that January is nearly here, it doesn't seem that long at all that she'll be tugging on your neck once again. Prospero ano y felicidad! Te queremos!!

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