23/03/2010, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
I decided that kayaks would be a wonderful accessory for this life on the sea. I think it has been a great decision. I have been trying to find a good deal since California, and this time I jumped quick enough. So far the payback has been immense.
I have added a new photo albumn to the gallery for water activities.
20/03/2010, Bandaras Bay
While in La Cruz we have enjoyed meeting "Meshack", "Mullan", and "Oblivion". Each cruisers' story is so interesting. Our journey has coincided with "Oblivion" and even intersected in La Paz and Mazatlan. It has been a pleasure to get to know such wonderful people. They have shared with us wonderful meals, some special treats, and stories of some of their inland adventures.
We have also enjoyed the visit of a friend from Canada for a week. We had several great daysails, and enjoyed exploring, fishing, visiting, and kayaking. Well maybe not the kayaking... I hope that the cuts, sunburn, blisters, cough, aching feet, and fatigue were worth it Monte. Thankyou for taking a week out of your life to visit us. Thankyou for the encouragment.
18/03/2010, Bandaras Bay
Seeing a whale is a truly magnificent sight. We have been fortunate to experience this many times. Power with grace comes to mind. Ferocious power. A whale spout is exciting to see or hear. But to see a whale launch vertically straight out of the water... breathless... We were entertained by whales on both of our recent leisurely daysails.
I recently finished reading the book "In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex". It dialogues the epic of the men who faced tragedy on S.V. Essex when they were attacked by one of their prey. The story of Moby Dick was spurned from this incident. Men lived hard lives doing long voyages chasing sperm whales for up to two years at a time in the 1800's in a quest for oil. We almost destroyed these wondrous creatures. Our thirst for oil hasn't been quenched but fortunatly these animals are better protected.
As we silently sailed past this whale, it swam nearby, playfully rolling in the water. It seemed to be waving at us with an upraised fin. U2's "kite" was playing softly from the boat's salon - "...I know that this is not goodbye"
18/03/2010, Tres Marietas
I promised a photo of Tres Marietas and finally got my act together and downloaded the photos. I will put a few pictures into the gallery as I can only post one photo at a time when I update the blog.
We are enjoying incredibly hot, humid weather with a brisk breeze to keep us from completing melting. We appreciate the comments you send and it lets us know we are not forgotten. We hope this finds you all well.
17/03/2010, Tres Marietas
Sharing our lives with others....is that the purpose of this journey? Is it to grow closer as a family through adversity and celebration? Is it to grow as individuals as we challenge our personal limits? Is it just to enjoy each day as it comes? I think it is all of these and more, with purposes to be revealed in years to come.
Yesterday, it was sharing our lives with others. We invited the crew from S. V. Oblivion (Thane, Brenda, Jeff and Nancy) to join us for a day excursion to the islands of Tres Marietas at the entrance of Banderas Bay. Monte Heyn from Alberta is also a temporary crew mate aboard Tenacious Grace.
We had a great sail with perfect winds and relatively calm seas out to the islands. We enjoyed the small talk of getting to know new people and the joy of discovering things you have in common. It was relaxing for me to have so many extra crew aboard relieving me of any need to help sail the boat. I could just sit back as a passenger and enjoy the leisurely ride. We had the fishing lines out and the contest was on!
There were a couple of tour boats anchor in the lee of the island and we motored around a bit looking for the best spot to join in the anchoring fray. This was done without much ado and we anticipated making our way to shore through the jutting rocks and confused surf; the light sandy beaching alluring us to come and play. After a quick lunch, we made two forays to the beach in the dinghy negotiating the swell, waves, surf and the rocks (photo to come).
The beach blanket was laid out, the snorkel gear dug out of the bags and the adventurers were off to pursue their desired activities. I was amazed at Katryn's bravery at snorkeling in amongst the rocks with a strong tidal current and surf washing her around. She was tenacious and swam out past the big rocks and was rewarded with an array of water life beneath the surface. Brad accompanied her to alleviate mom's concerns for her lack of caution. She is such a brave girl taking after her father in her love of passionate living on the boundaries of safety.
Zach tried boogie boarding but found the undercurrent a little much for his lightweight body to fight against so he settled for gathering a little hermit crab farm. I think he finally gathered about a dozen and had them holed up in the sand to keep them from escaping. He also ran around the island through the many caves and brought to mind my imaginations of the book Lord of the Flies.
I enjoyed visiting with Nancy and picking her brain about how to train for ultra marathons. She has run several and I am amazed at the potential of the human body to achieve such feats of endurance, of which I hope to participate someday in the near future.
After a great afternoon of explorations we made our way back to Tenacious Grace for a quick swim to cool ourselves down and prepare the boat to head back to the marina at La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. We were unusually fortunate to have good winds for the whole way back and were able to sail most of the way without running an engine.
To top off a great day we were privileged to watch whales breaching, flapping their fins and slapping the water as they fed. A huge humpback whale jumped completely out of the water revealing his grey, barnacled body to our gaping crew! It was only about 50 yards away! Wow, we were so close! We could see the markings on its body clearly and we amazed at its show of breaching, spouting and flapping. Could this day get any better?
Only if we had caught a fish....which we didn't. That meant we had tacos for supper instead of the much anticipated tuna or dorado. Oh well, every day can't be perfect. Only near perfect.
I once read a quote in a sailing book for women that I now realize needs some qualification. The quote was "The difference between an ordeal and an adventure is attitude." They are right to some degree but I beg to add that there are two things that differentiate between an adventure and an ordeal. The first is surely one's attitude with the second being whom one is with.
We recently had an adventure that could have been an ordeal without the two, strong, capable men who were present and the positive attitudes and confidence of everyone else present.
While at Tenacatita we decided to take a recommended day trip up the mangrove estuary to another bay called "The Aquarium" which is well known for its clear, turquoise waters and amazing snorkeling. Our small dinghy was heavy laden with snorkel gear, beach blankets, towels, cameras, lunch, etc but we were prepared for a fun-filled day; spent with Matt, Paula, Samantha and Trinidad off of the S.V. Endurance.
The mangroves overhang the estuary making a green, exotic canopy filled with chattering birds and if you look hard enough you may see an iguana or even a crocodile. The dinghy journey down the estuary takes about half an hour and I was delighted in the mangrove tunnel and took much pride in negotiating the dinghy all by myself; not without bumping into the mangroves a few times when a panga would pass by in the narrow passage.
We had a wonderful time at The Aquarium laying on the beach, visiting, eating Jalapeno potato chips, collecting coral and of course, snorkeling. I am constantly amazed at the ingenious variety of life under the water, overwhelmed with vivid color splashes that jump out against the brown sand. My favorite was a tiny fish about 3 inches long that was a deep, dark blue almost black but had about 5 spots that were electric blue as though he were plugged into some power source. So incredibly bright were the dots on this fish I knew they served some purpose but I lacked the knowledge to know what. There is so much to observe and I have often wished for our own personal marine biologist to teach us more of the startling creatures we discover.
Anyway....this is getting to be a long story. So, I'll move right along.
On the way back down the estuary to the bay where Tenacious Grace was anchored we were met with what could have been an ordeal.... we came to a dead end! Huh? Did we take a wrong turn? No, there weren't any turns. This had to be our way but it was heavily concealed and blocked by mangroves that had toppled, fallen over our only way out. Mangroves twist and wrap themselves around one another giving them strength and they were now laying over the estuary.
We had two dinghies full of wet, sandy gear, wives and children - no machetes. But....
we did have every confidence in the two, capable men and we were able to laugh about what was happening knowing full well that Brad and Matt were competent to solve this dilemma. We had about two hours until dusk when the mangroves would be swarmed with flies that bite voraciously; we knew we had to be out before then.
I still like to picture what happened next, minus the accompanying stench of mud swamp slime! Brad proceeds to grab the nearest mangrove branch and, muscles jumping out of his arm, wrestle it out of its place pushing it behind and beside our dinghy. (I was thinking, "That is MY man!") Mud slime flew everywhere covering our dinghy, Brad and myself in this horrible stinky goo. I watched as Brad, the man, ripped, wrestled and forced a way through. Then, Matt steps into the fray with the only tool aboard....a pocket Leatherman (they should cough up into our cruising kitty for this little advertising plug). It was almost ridiculous when he pulled out this little knife and started to saw his way through two inch thick, water soaked mangrove branches. Ridiculous, until I saw it was working.
All in all, it took Brad and Matt about thirty minutes to cut and rip enough of the tangled branches away allowing us to drag, push and pull the two dinghies through. At one point I had to get out of the dinghy and balance on a mangrove branch overhanging the water (hoping there were no crocs about and that I wouldn't slip and fall in) so we could pull the dinghy over some fallen branches.
We broke through finally and could relax knowing we would not get eaten alive by the dusk flies. We gratefully motored the rest of the way down the estuary looking for hot showers; or even a cold shower; anything to remove the swampy, sludgy stink from our bodies and our dinghy.
So the ordeal wasn't an ordeal at all; it was an adventure because of everyone's cheerful attitudes AND the two, capable manly men we had with us. And that is the end of this story.......