Cruisers returning North to Peurto Vallarta talked us into heading South, and we were lured by the plans of S.V. Endurance to continue. We had a few hours of big wind and seas but the 20 hour journey went well.
Lounging on the back of the boat, our tranquillity was interupted at one point by the very distinct sound of wet rushing air. A whale spouted several times just behind us. So exciting. So beautiful. We only glimpsed a tiny portion of this huge animal even though it was so close. I wasn't fast enough to grab a camera.
Lisa slept so I supervised the boat through the night. I love the solitude of the night watches. Stars so brilliant. Systems to attend to. Careful checks of the radar image. Long minutes that linger. A mission to keep the boat safe from unseen dangers... Then the rising sun warms the heart of the weary nightwatchman. Lisa woke, and as we were preparing to enter the bay, she heard a Securitae radio message on the VHF. She relyed to me that S.V. Moondrifter had received a cell call of the 8.8 earthquake in Chile and a potential tsunami warning for all of the Pacific. He was gathering information as quickly as possible and mobilizing the entire fleet of cruising vessels in the bay (about 30) for an exodus into deeper water in case a wave came ashore. I was really anticipating a rest upon anchoring but the excitemant from the pending threat overshadowed my weariness. We sailed around in the open ocean for another 4 hours and watched as boat after boat came out of the harbour to join us in the deeper water. There was no perceptible rise in the water level so we followed the regatta of cruising sailboats back to the anchorage.
We had a new first experience this past week - we ran aground.......
Brad is certifiably crazy and I just follow his leading. He decided it would be a good idea to run our sailboat up onto the beach so we could change the oil in the sail drives. It was a little nerve wracking drive the boat right up into the sand and wait for the tide to go out. But, this is my honey's story and he should write this one.
He is still in Tenacatita without internet and I am in PV with wireless so I couldn't resist at leas a little picture of what it looked like (for Kurt). I'll let Brad tell the full story when he arrives.
Until then, enjoy each day and live life to its fullest.
05/03/2010, Puerto Vallart
aah....Mexico. This land casts a spell over the unwary in its paradoxes. I am charmed by the smiles of the people, the shy glances of children and the warmth of the sun. The ever-present garbage, the whistles and hoots of the men and the strange food become background to the beauty.
I left Tenacatita via dinghy two mornings ago with my luggage and computer; bus bound for Puerto Vallarta. We swung by Endurance to say our "asta luegos" for a time which brought tears to the surface as I struggled to smile away the sadness I felt.
I had to call a taxi from the only resort hotel in the vicinity, feeling frustrated with the exorbitant rate without any other option than to accept. We were transported up and over a mountain on a cobblestone street to the nearest highway where I was dropped off to wait for a bus. There was a small tienda and nothing else there. The sun was beating down and the sweat was already running down my back and it was barely 10 in the morning. The buses drive at crazy breakneck speeds and will pull over to pick up any passengers along the road that wave them down; which I did. I am amazed at the bus system here in Mexico where infrastructure seems almost non-existent. I paid about $10 US to take a five hour bus trip to PV; complete with two movies which were grossly graphic. I had to take out a book to avoid looking at the screens!
As the bus entered Puerto Vallarta I was unsure where it would stop and how I would find the hotel my sister had booked. I looked out the window and saw the driver pass the hotel! I jumped up and asked if he would please let me off here on the busy downtown street. He hesitated, but I think he felt sorry for me and pulled over. I only had to walk about two blocks back and when i walked in I saw Krista, my sister, at the check in counter!
I ran to her and we hugged, holding back tears.
We are now settled into the all inclusive hotel and I feel like I've emigrated to another world. I have unlimited power, water, food and drinks! Wow! I have a great big bed that doesn't move and I don't have to think about what the wind is doing today!
This break in my sailing journey marks the turn around point for our family as well. Tenacatita is the furthest point south that we will sail and then we head back north into the Sea of Cortez. We have many northward passages to make to get back into the Sea and I am praying for good, settled weather with the rare winds from the south.
For today, I am relaxed, enjoying the visit with my best friend and sister.
After following the blog of Third Day for over a year, we finally meet! We are having a pizza party on our boat this evening with the crew from Third Day. Yesterday, we met and had Jason and Amy over for a swim off the back of Tenacious Grace. I captured some short video clips of all the kids running off the bimini, leaping over the solar panels into the water a good 10 feet below! Stunning! We are thrilled to finally make their acquaintance and look forward to more great days hanging out on the beaches, having hot dog roasts and getting bit by the no see ums together. More to come on this momentous day...just a tidbit for you....Rich was a pilot boat for running aground......
The best part about my epic journey has been the friends; both those I have met along the way and those I have left behind.
The ones left behind because I value them so much more in their absence. I am amazed at how many friends follow our journey through our blogs and with the abundance of emails and facebook comments I receive. In living so transiently, the value of rootedness in friendships and in family has been made more vivid; like the bright yellow fish discovered in the coral reef and rocks. There is joy in seeing these friendships grow in the distance and a joy in looking forward to our return to routine life in the future.
The unexpected friendships gathered along the way has enriched me and enabled me to see the wonders in the world around me, today.
Two days ago we sailed across Banderas Bay to visit the village town of Yalapa, taking the Beemer Family and Matt's mom along. We had a fabulous time watching Matt and Brad glory in trimming the sails just so to get the most speed out of them. Matt's experience and Brad's drive to learn all he can are a perfect match. The kids settled around our salon table with the game of Clue; unfortunately no one knew exactly how to play so Paula took on the challenge of reading the instruction booklet. (English is her 2nd language!) The journey across was calm and we were excited about the day to come.
Sailing into Yalapa, we were immediately bombarded by several pangas, each one trying to entice us to tie up to their mooring ball; anchoring seemed out of the option. We took a mooring ball for free on the condition we ate at their beach palapa. It turned out that it would have been better to pay the 100 pesos for the mooring ball as the food was super expensive. We resigned ourselves to a drink each and a snack to share. I think we had about four taco chips with guacamole each!
Shortly before eating Zach pulls something out of the sand and hollers, "Hey! Look what I found!" It was a dead snake that wasn't dried up yet. He wanted to keep it, so into the dinghy it went! It is now residing in a locker on Tenacious Grace. I am hoping it doesn't reconstitute itself and start reeking!
The kids enjoyed playing in the big surf and I was astounded to watch a few waves break right over Trinidad's head and tumble her and Samantha into the beach. I was sure there would be tears to follow, but no, they just wiped the water from their faces and jumped back in! They are two water nymphs!
We hiked up through the concrete homes that were built right into the mountainside up to the local waterfall. The waterfall was right out of a movie, but was much too cold to tempt the adults into a photo opportunity. Katryn, who swims in our lake back home when the ice is still coming off it, swam right under the waterfall. She is so brave!
The day slipped by so quickly, other than an agonizing half hour spent searching for Zach's glasses which he had dropped into the sand neglecting to take into consideration the incoming tide. I prayed for God to help me find them as this problem was too big for me. The glasses are extremely special and very difficult to obtain, even with the prescription. We were searching the little estuary that they had been put down beside and Matt was even in the surf looking for them bashing around in the waves. It seemed quite hopeless. As I gave up hope and was consoling myself that at least nobody was dead (although I had thoughts of throttling Zach) I crossed the estuary way up at a high point, upstream by about 100 meters of where Zach had put his glasses down. I was wading across and happened to look down and right between my feet were his glasses. It seems impossible that they went UPSTREAM against the flow and incoming tide, but there they were! Unbelievable and yet so believable - we have a big God who cares for our small dilemmas.
Matt's mom had the precarious experience of a rough dinghy take off into big surf. Matt, Paul and I had decided to swim back to the boat so we were able to wade waist deep into the surf to push the dinghy out over the waves. I stepped off a ledge just as we pushed them off and had a big wave wash right over my head! They made it out without getting too wet. Thank goodness the motor started on the first pull. The swim was somewhat arduous as the waves were harassing our ability to see and breathe, but I felt invigorated upon arriving back at Tenacious Grace.
We had quite a bash getting out of the bay as the tide was coming in and the winds had picked up substantially! Tenacious Grace was bouncing up and down into the oncoming waves. Matt and Brad were up on the bow which was bucking like a rodeo bull trying to better secure our secondary anchor. I think they enjoyed the rough challenge.
Thankfully, once we left the bay we altered course so that we were on a beam reach that turned into a VERY close hauled ride! We were sailing remarkably close to the wind and were clipping along quite nicely. We had a fun ride back with Paula and I practicing our balance out on the bow by trying to see who could stand on one foot the longest. It was quite crazy and memorable. We hadn't even had the wine yet!
We arrived back in La Cruz shortly after dark, being delayed slightly by all the excitement generated in catching two fish right before dusk. We threw both back into the sea as neither seemed to be of excellent food value according to our fish identifier.
I was grateful to head into the marina to finally fix us some dinner of beef tacos; our lunch time snack was long used up. We were all quite hungry, quite sun warmed and tired after a busy day exploring the beauty of Mexico.
The best part was sharing it with those I love; Brad, Katryn and Zach, and with those new friends we have made somewhere along the way; Matt, Paula, Samantha, Trinidad and Karen. Thanks for a great day!
22/02/2010, In front of the Laptop
So umm..... Yeah. I have been having a lot of fun, ever since we got down to where its lush and green. thereare so many cool plants, all so different from back home. Take, for instance, this fern. You stroke its leaves, and the fold up instantly, right before your eyes. I've been told that if you hold your finger on one long enough, it will eat your hand!
Yesterday we dinghied (dinghyed?) well, uh... took the dinghy to a little beach with the Beemers (Beamer?) The trip was pretty exciting, swerving, bumping into each other, and soaking everyone. We even had a turn coat as Zach made a shaky leap to their boat. The snorkeling was fun, even though i forgot my gear. I got a little nervous as I saw some larger fish go snapping after other fish, then turn and look menacingly at me. I found some stupendous shells there, one coloured like a pink tiger.
As Dad's previous blog explains, we went to Yelapa. The walk to the falls was interesting, though dirty. It was more like walking down your average hallway. there were some amazing butterflies, and we saw some bananas growing wild. The waterfall was beautiful, tall and elegant, cascading down the smooth cliffs in a smooth silk curtain. The water in the pool was icy, it was fantastic to feel real cold again, considering how hot its been, today we got a plus 38 celsius. I swam for quite a while, and we all jogged back to warm up again, easily down in the hot humid air. Yup, Yelapa was cool despite the sadness of it all, the buildings built wherever, garbage, and mexicans selling cheap trinkets.