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This IS retirement
Life of a retired Gringo
Gabriellas Grandpa
02/15/2011, Barra De Navidad

Since I last posted I flipped my dinghy leaving the beach at Santiago and had to have the outboard worked on here in Barra because of it. Now my outboard runs better than ever. There is a fourteen year old hearing impaired student here in Colomilla. I met him when I had to go get permission from the teacher for Yoanne to join me for a video chat. The hearing impaired student only knew rudimentary sign and I could tell he did not interact much with the hearing students. He is from the larger town of Cituatlan and I surmised he was getting harrassed quite a bit there because of his deafness and so he and his brother commute daily to this outpost of a community. He had a sign language book that has been lost and I told Yoanne that I wanted her classmates to learn some sign language so they can communicate with him. They desparately needed a book, so I looked around Manzanillo and came across one that I thought was amazing but was being sold to another person. So I put an order in for the same book and had to wait ten days for delivery from Guadalajara. I took a bus from Barra to Manzanillo and picked up the book and delivered it to the school with instructions for all his classmates to get involved and learn some sign. I also gave them $100 pesos to get copies of the ABCs and the often used words and phrases so all the students could practise. I went back to the school today and asked the hearing impaired student if he likes the book. The look on his face and the thumbs up sign he gave me made it all worthwhile. Yoanna also said they have been practising and things are looking up for the students.
I sailed over to Cuastecomate which is half way to Tenacatita so I could clean the bottom of the boat and change oil in the diesel. When I was finishing up on the bottom cleaning I decided to dive on my stern anchor. I'm glad I did as it was wedged in an old metal fishing boat wreck on the bottom. I didn't have air in my tanks so I had to free dive in fourteen feet of water. After about 5 dives holding my breath, I finally got it loose and move it over to sand bottom. The next day I sailed over to Tenacatita so I could do the mangrove river tour and get online with my Banda Ancha. The second rate company I went with this year wouldn't come up, so I sailed back to Barra.....got to have that internet connection, eh. Besides, there was a red tide with jellyfish everywhere, so coming back was a good choice.
There are still quite a few repeat cruisers this year, but a whole lot more newbies down here. It seems the new class is not like the old cruisers in there attitude toward being here in Mexico.....or maybe it's me! The blog photo is me having to suffer through another Mahi-Mahi dinner on the beach so I don't have to cook and get dishes dirty. I might leave here in about a week and mosy on down to Santiago for my last visit of the season to that beautiful area.

02/15/2011 | Jeff
Good for you & let you know Jeff Jr now signing too . He has done it for a long time LOL Jeff
02/16/2011 | Susan
What a nice thing to do, to get the book for the boy. But even better to encourage his classmates to learn to sign.
What is different with the this year's crop of cruisers?
Lovely Santiago
Gabriellas Grandpa
01/26/2011, Santiago/Manzanillo

As I start writing this blog the radio comes to life with the report of whales braching iin the anchorage. I run topside and sure enough a bunch of juvenile humpbacks are playing(flying out of the water) right in the anchorage area. This is a tough life and I'm glad that I can sacrafice my time and retirement so you all up north don't have to. The blog photo is of the group of people trying to get a sick dolphin off the beach and back into deeper water. It was a success by the way. I came back to Santiago after the school chat to start my cruising experiences in earnest. There is a little bit of pressure when your doing things that have schedules and that involve hi-tech items and the availability of same down here in manana-land. Almost on a daily basis while in Santiago, I walk about a mile and a half down this lovely beach with rental homes and condos on it. I catch the local bus to either old town Manzanillo, Santiago, or the shopping area of Walmart-Sorianas-Commercial. I either people watch or do shopping. When shopping in Mexico you have to go to several stores to get everything you want....it might seem like a chore, but it is all part of the experience of cruising and is quite fun sometimes. Today I went to old town Manzanillo and there was a huge cruiseship at the dock. It was the Osterdamm out of San Diego. It's fun to walk among them in the waterfront area and watch them throw their money away and see them try to bargain with the locals. Remember in the last post I told you about the young couple that swam out to the boat...I ran into them again and tomorrow we will day sail around the area. It's so much fun taking people out sailing because they appreciate it so much and it's a no-brainer for me. I will try to get picture of the breaching humpbacks tomorrow if they are still in the area.

01/26/2011 | Gabriella's Mommy
I appreciate cruising, too, G-Pa. That is... when we can find our destination. (Where's Yelapa?)
Gabriella had her first piano lesson yesterday. She said she really liked it and is already trying to teach me how to play. (Now I know which key is the middle C, when to use my right and left hands, and for how long to hold a note.) No doubt sbe'll be playing all the Baby Einstein ensembles by the time you get home in May...! I'm just grateful that I hear Yankee Doodle only intermittently these days. Hope you get some good pics of the humpbacks!
01/27/2011 | Susan
This year's Mexico cruise is fast becoming your whale cruise! Lucky, lucky you. Haven't heard much about the other cruisers from years past. Many of the same boats back this year? Are you all set to paint the insides of the school?
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.

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