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This IS retirement
Gabriellas grandapa
03/05/2009, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

I know you like to hear that the weather is nice(which it is) and the food is terrific(which it is) and it is a tropical paradise(which it is) but, I would not do justice to this blog or the info I put out if I didn't tell you everything(almost) that goes on down here. This is a blow by blow description of the trip down from Barra to La Cruz. As you know, I take great pains in travelling north in the best weather windows I can find because I'm in no hurry. I left Barra with nice southerly winds up to 12 knots..perfect, right? As I was approaching Chamela, I had a decision to make about stopping for the night or doing a all nighter to La Cruz. I decided to stop because the winds for the next day were out of the southwest up to 12 knots and that would be good enough to do a beam reach to Cabo Corrientes and into Banderas Bay. Had a nice night at anchor in Chamela and did a lazy late morning departure for La Cruz be cause it would have to be an overnighter anyway. Well, the wind was more west than I wanted and I was tacking out to sea then trying to point up the coast without running into land. The head sail I was using was my loose luff drifter and I can't point into the wind high enough with that sail so I doused it and was motor-sailing north to make better time. When I took down the drifter I tucked it under my dinghy I had on the foredeck and tied a line around it so it wouldn't blow away. I checked on it about 30 minutes later and it looked fine, so I thought nothing more about it. About an hour later I was making good time motor-sailing with just the main up in real junky seas(6 to 8 feet) when all of a sudden my engine went clunk and stopped dead. I glanced over to my left and saw my new white drifter in the water. What happened was the drifter broke loose from it's not so secure tie down and washed overboard and sucked into my prop. Now there is only about 45 minutes of daylight left and I have no propulsion. So I go forward to release the drifter and find out that it is so tight that I have to break out my dremel tool and start my generator and cut it loose. Then I go back to put on my shorty and fins and grab a big knife to cut it off with. Just as I was going to get in the water a whale blew about 10 feet off my stern quarter and I thought he would never clear the drifting sail or my boat..but he did. SOMEBODY IS TRYING TO TELL ME SOMETHING. So I go into the tossing sea with the knife in hand and ropes dangling off the stern for me to grab so I won't get pushed away from the boat. I was hoping I could save the sail and just unwrap luck there. So I started to cut..cut..cut away at my new sail as the boat was sliding sideways and forward and the sail was drifting away from me..thank God. Finally, just as the sun was setting, I cut the last piece off and climb back aboard the boat. Started the engine and put it in gear and everything was fine. I know Karen is biting her nails and cussing me for taking on these dangerous tasks, but there were no other options. I told this story to the sailmaker here in La Cruz (who is mending my other headsails) and he told me how dangerous it was with a drifter because the material is so light and could easily wrap around me and that would be that....Karen, I was being careful... I made sure the sail stayed down-current from me. So you see.....sailing in Paradise isn't always just guacamole and chips and sipping double coca lights. The photo is all that's left of my new drifter................

03/06/2009 | Susan
All I can say is OMG, Phil!
03/14/2009 | Gabriella's Mommy
I know you're careful, G-Pa, but I just can't help but worry when you do those dangerous (aka, STUPID) things. I know, I know... it was your only choice. I'm glad all turned out OK. Guess I'll have to start lining up some painting work so you'll have some pesos to pay for all these unfortunate mishaps. Your room has been "ocupado" for the past 4 weeks -- and probably one more before all is said and done -- but (hopefully) should be vacant by the time you are ready to see your Little Princess in June. I don't think we're expecting any more out-of-town guests between now and then... but you never know! Love and miss you!
03/14/2009 | Princess Gabriella
Hi, Grandpa!!!! It's me Gabriella! I love the pictures you sent!! I can't wait for you to get home in the summer time. I just can't wait. It is hard to because I love you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! byebyebye

Colimilla and Rancho Cordova Kids
Gabriellas grandapa
02/26/2009, Barra de Navidad

What a wonderful day and change from the mundane life of cruising the Gold Coast of Mexico. I finally got the elementary school from Colimilla(which is a small community on the peninsula across from Barra de Navidad) hooked up with my Princess' school in Rancho Cordova for a video conference. I had to go up the day before and hook up the computer to make sure I could get Skype working properly. Then I had Grandma Pat in Sacto run through the process using her Skype connection. Then the day came and just like clockwork it was off and running. I think the kids here were a little intimidated by the large class at St. John Vianny and did'nt know what to ask. But after a little hesitation, they were getting into it. In fact, towards the end I had to keep telling them to quiet down so we could here the questons and answers. Here in Colimilla, we were fortunate to have Joanna, who is a fourth grader and has lived in Modesto for a few years, interpret for us. She did a fantastic job and was very excited about the whole event. I know Mrs. Reali(Gabriellas first grade teacher) did a lot of footwork to help pull this off......A big THANK YOU to you Gloria. The school here is a lot like a one room school in the country. There is one teacher and she has all the students from 1st grade to 6th grade. There is a total of 30 students and they are broken down to 1, 2, 3, and 4th grades in one room and the 5th and 6th grades in another. Then they have a computer room, thanks to a gringo couple from California who live here in a very nice house in Colimilla for about 7 or 8 months of the year. They invested in wireless internet hardware so they can transmit to the anchorage. We cruisers then pay them a fee to use the wireless from the ease of our boats. That money goes to the kids at the school and cruisers donate old computers and other school items. If it wasn't for the generosity of John and Vicky, these kids would have little or nothing to help them with their education. Next year we get to paint the complete school the right way so it will last at least 5 years. I could say more about the lack of government support for these outpost schools, but I don't think it would be to anyones benefit. Again, THANK YOU St John Vianny first grade class for participating in this cultural exchange expedition. The blog photo is of some of the students here and the pose was influenced by Gabriella.

02/26/2009 | Susan
Well, this posting just made my day! Congratulations to everyone involved.
03/01/2009 | Princess Gabriella
Presenting... Gabriella! (She even typed most of this message with her own little fingers.:
"Dear Grandpa,
I'm glad that you got to say hello to my first grade class. It was very fun when we got to hear all the kids ask their questions. And I liked the poses of the kids that you took a picture of on your blog. I appreciate you doing video conferences every year. You're very nice all the time and I love you!!!!!!!!! See you later alligator!"
A new(to me) anchorage
Gabriellas grandapa
02/16/2009, Las Hadas/Manzanillo

I left Zihuatanejo on what I thought was going to be a good weather window for trying to sail most of the way. It started out OK, but quickly turned south. First of all, my oil cooler problem has reared it's ugly head and I soon lost use of the engine. The plugs I put on kept on leaking badly, so I could only use the engine to get to set the anchor. That meant sailing in directions that I didn't want to go. I would sail about 12 miles off the coast then tack back toward land so I could make some north other words, I would travel about 24 miles east and west just so I could make 5 miles north in the direction I want to go. On top of all that excessive travel I was in winds that topped 20 knots, which was not at all comfortable. I stopped at Caleta de Campos for an overnite break then headed up to Muruata for another break. Then left Muruata at 10 pm for an overniter to Manzanillo. The trip to Manzanillo was great until the last 3 hours with the wind gusting up to 22 knots and heavy seas, then a container ship wanted to run me down. I finally dropped the hook at Las Hadas next to new cruising friends that I met in Caleto de Campos. This place is on the luxurious side and I'm enjoying all the decadence it has to offer. The resorts are built on hillsides and the open air restaurants are sitting up high so the view is great. The food is pretty decent with dorado filet going for 90 pesos($7.50US). So I'm hanging out here for a few more days getting all the water out of the boat and cleaning the bottom tomorrow in freezing 75 degree water...don't you feel sorry for me? The first grade kids video conference will be a little late because I'm having so much fun that I don't want to keep that rigid of a schedule. I am actuallly getting attached to the MANANA ATTITUDE. Look for some new pics of this piece of Paradise.

02/17/2009 | Heather
Don't forget to go visit Ruben the Port Captain. That place was a nice stop, but too class for cruisers of our kind ;) Good luck with the motor.
02/21/2009 | Boomerang
When we visited Ruben on the way south, he charged us 150 Pesos a day for dinghy fees. On the way north we sorta forgot to visit him. (Cheap cruisers) Good restaurant up on the hill outside the resort.

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