North American Tour 2017-2019

From Portland, OR through Panama Canal to East Coast of USA and back via Caribbean, Panama Canal, and Hawaii

12 December 2017 | Barra de Navidad, Mexico
11 December 2017 | Tenacatita Bay, Mexico
09 December 2017 | Tenacatita Bay, Mexico
08 December 2017 | Careyes, Mexico
07 December 2017 | Chemela, Mexico
05 December 2017 | Punta de Mita, Mexico
01 December 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Mx
21 November 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Mx
14 November 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
14 November 2017 | On the way to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
13 November 2017 | On the way to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
09 November 2017 | Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
09 November 2017 | On the way to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
08 November 2017 | On the way to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
07 November 2017 | Bahia Santa Maria, Mexico
06 November 2017 | Bahia Santa Maria, Mexico
05 November 2017 | Nearing Bahia Santa Maria, Mexico
04 November 2017 | South of Turtle Bay, Mexico
03 November 2017 | Turtle Bay, Mexico
02 November 2017 | Turtle Bay, Mexico

Dodging a Bullet

12 December 2017 | Barra de Navidad, Mexico
George Stonecliffe
It seems that the honey bees have vacated Julia Max. In the morning there was one around the mizzen boom which received a Raid spray. There were no bees visible flying around the mast head or around the boat. At the morning radio net, when we talked about our encounter, Adagio mentioned they had a hundred bees on their boat deck in various stages of dying. One of our readers mentioned that the swarm was waiting for a new hive location to be found, and that they wouldn't have stayed on our boat. But that one is a tough call. We love honey bees in our backyard..., but not on the boat. So we moved four hours away to Barra de Navidad where we will be in the Marina near a pool! 1. Charging batteries 2. Provisioning 3. Laundering 4. Watering: drinkable water, and getting our watermaker running 5. Removing trash 6. Birding 7. Enjoying the town of Barra: French Bakery, masseuse, Internet 8. Maybe even a little varnishing....

A Swarm Of Bees

11 December 2017 | Tenacatita Bay, Mexico
George Stonecliffe
Sue saw them coming! A swarm of honey bees chose our boat out of 15 in the harbor to land on. They swarmed on to the end of our mizzen boom probably wanting to take up residence. But not if we could help it! So I donned long sleeve shirt and long pants, shoes and socks, rubber bands around my pants at the ankles, garden gloves, hat and mosquito netting all over from hat to my waist, leaving my arms and hands out to do whatever. First, I sprayed them with white vinegar which they supposedly don't like. I was spraying directly on a 3-4 bee thick blanket hanging on to the boom. No response. So we had some Raid for crawling insects, nothing for flying insects. But we used that with total effect. I sprayed them, then ran into the boat where we had closed windows, and had screens over the rest of the portals, as they stirred and started flying around. But they didn't come after me. So I went back out, and did it again, noticing that several were on the deck dying. This time I sprayed longer all over both sides of the boom. I ran back in side the boat. I removed the sail cover. Sprayed some more. Then I raised the mizzen sail to shake any bees out of the sail. And sprayed the inside of the boom again. Continuing to sweep up the dying bees, I noticed that several of the bees were flying up to the top of the main mast. Oh no! Our main mast does not have an opening at the bottom (it is keel-stepped). But there are openings where the lines go over the sheaves at the mast head, and where the halyards come out of mast above the main deck. I sprayed Raid into these lower openings, hoping to discourage their presence. But at this time I think some are still in the top of the mast. Tomorrow we will go to Barra de Navidad, and among other things, will by some more raid for flying insects! The battle continues.

Arriving in Tenacatita

09 December 2017 | Tenacatita Bay, Mexico
George Stonecliffe
Arriving in one of your favorite anchorages can be a rude awakening after nine years away. Local political powers have changed the landscape. Some of the hills have been given a buzz haircut. The mangrove dinghy ride has changed in upkeep. Some of the local palapa restaurant owners lost their businesses, buildings leveled, and security guards controlling access to once favorite places. More hotels/condos have been built on the beach front. But cruising boats still come, and so new friendships spring up, and information shared on boat projects and plans of places to go still occur. This is a big reason for us to go on our journey. Oh, on the way from Careyes to Tenacatita, we saw over a dozen adult turtles on the surface. Maybe they're the Moms and Dads of the turtles we helped release last night.

Hawksbill Turtle release

08 December 2017 | Careyes, Mexico
George Stonecliffe
The eco-turtle site at Careyes allows anyone to release the baby turtles safely into the ocean 2 days after they hatch during the month of December.. Eggs are gathered from holes dug by the adult turtles in October. They hatch after 45 days of incubation in a sandy hole, rest for 2 days, and then are ready for release into the ocean. The El Careyes Hotel concierge arranged a taxi to pick us up at Playa Rosa at 5:00 p.m. for the 6:00 p.m. activity several miles down the beach. The site attendant dug out 100 turtles from one hole within a sea of nests behind a net fence designed to keep out predators. After 10 minutes, as the sun was setting, George and Sue lifted each turtle out of the bucket and placed them on the sand facing the water. The turtles acted like turtles, slow to react, and seemingly dazed, not really knowing what to do--except for one that made a bee line for the water. He was the first to be swept away. We worked with all the rest to make sure every last one made it into the pounding surf on their own power. One other family with two young boys participated with their own bucket of 100 turtles. When ours were all gone, we helped the boys make sure all theirs also made it into the water. They were delighted to see our care and enthusiasm for the activity and welcomed our help corraling the little creatures. They were from Mexico City and spoke both English and Spanish fluently. On the other hand, George and I did our best to ask questions and understand the answers from the attendant who only spoke Spanish. After a nice dinner at the hotel we found our kayaks on the beach and paddled back to Julia Max in the inky night, following the anchor lights we had left on for our return. Someone turned on a spotlight towards the island nearby, a real help in identifying all the pangas at anchor outside the swimming areas. All-in-all an exceptionally wonderful experience.

NW20-25 knot Winds

07 December 2017 | Chemela, Mexico
George Stonecliffe
We weighed anchor from Punta de Mita to go over and snorkel at Las Tres Marietas. But shortly after anchoring, a park ranger came over and asked if we had a permit. Also he told us we were anchoring in a coral bed. Obviously we shouldn't be there, and we left post haste, noting that the Park Ranger took a photo of our boat. So we decided to head out of Banderas Bay to Chemela about 60 miles away. As we approached the famed Cabo Corrientes, known for its wind, we were experiencing light winds NW 8-10. But as we passed the Cape, the winds picked up to NE 15-20. We used a single-reefed jib, and were able to do 6+ knots. During the night, winds built up to N20-25, and we used a double-reefed jib for the remaining 40 miles to Chemela, arriving at 3:50am at a place we had anchored on a previous journey. In the morning the water was clear, so we were able to dive the boat, check the condition of the zincs (showing some wear), and polish the prop, removing little barnacles that had attached at Paradise Village. It's amazing how much more effective and fast, a clean prop can be! In addition I checked the fluid level in our transmission (up to max), and its color (pink). Healthy condition. And the new tranny cooler was working fine. Sunny weather here, 88F, with a light breeze to refresh.

Breaking Away from Puerto Vallarta

05 December 2017 | Punta de Mita, Mexico
George Stonecliffe
Life is good in Paradise Village! The Yacht Club, Restaurants, swimming pools, sandy beach, Starbucks, ice cream, provisioning at Wallmart and Sam's Club, marine chandeliers like Zaragosa's, biking to Bucerias, scuba diving to Los Arcos, and the list goes on. But this morning we checked out with the Port Captain as required in Mexico. Then we motored to La Cruz, a nearby marina that has a fuel dock for filling up our diesel tanks (72 gallons). Then we sailed to Punta de Mita to anchor for the night. The wind increased as the afternoon continued, and we enjoyed a Close Reach doing 6+ knots in the second half of the sail. We anchored in 25' of water with a comfortable 10 knot breeze to keep us cool in the afternoon 82F temperatures. It finally feels like we are out on our own, and ready for heading south towards the Panama Canal. This evening we are listening to Sirius Radio, and a light jazz station (Water Colors) that includes some holiday music in their mix. So we hope you are enjoying your Christmas holiday season. Cheers!
Vessel Name: Julia Max
Vessel Make/Model: 45' Passport/Peterson Custom Ketch
Hailing Port: Portland, Oregon, USA
Crew: George and Sue Stonecliffe
About: Float Plan: July 1, 2017 Leave Portland, OR; head south along US West Coast; leave San Diego 10/29/17 with Baja Ha-ha Rally; go through Panama Canal 3/2018; Florida 6/2018; NYC and Rhode Island 7/2018; Chesapeake Bay 9/2018; Caribbean 11/2018; Panama Canal 3/2019; Hawaii 7/2019; home 10/2019
Julia Max's Photos - Main
2 Photos
Created 4 July 2017
8 Photos
Created 5 May 2011