03/29/2013, Exiting Banderas Bay
The last couple of days have been pretty intense. On Wednesday we did some readiness exercises with Realtime, and broke the alternator for the house bank batteries. What we think happened is that a bolt vibrated loose from an adjacent part of the engine and fell into the alternator fan, which promptly kicked it into the bowels of the alternator (which we will call "Sparky"), where it (1) was digested and (2) gave Sparky a high-order case of indigestion. Naturally we went immediately into whining and moaning mode, but at the same time, we made a telephone call to the PV shop of all shops, where they give new life to items like Sparky. They agreed to try, and yesterday we went ashore early in the morning and boarded a bus for PV. We found the shop, and they said it was pretty hopeless, but when we showed them our spare components, they smilled. Yes - the rotor had to be rewound, but the guy had reportedly not had any beer yet that day, and for a very reasonable price, he gave Sparky new life.
So this morning we reinstalled Sparky and at about 1 PM we set sail in beautiful weather: 15 to 20 knots from NNW and moderate seas from the same direction and lots of whale activity. We had a scare a scare an hour later when the watermaker quit because it needed more power. So we ran the engine some more to charge batteries. We're actually in very good shape with both power and water, but we are watching all the meters and indicators closely to make sure our systems are OK.
Our watch schedule is now in action. Karyn just relieved James, our friend from Vancouver, BC. And now we have the Hydrovane doing our steering. It's actually doing a perfect job of steering us. I'll explain more in a future message/blog.
Our Latitude is 20 degrees, 32 minutes. Our Longitude is 105 degrees, 46 minutes.
03/19/2013, Banderas Bay, Puerto Vallarta
Well, we are down to less than a week! It is almost time to throw off the dock lines. It has been an interesting time. We have been in beautiful Paradise Village Marina for our last couple of months of preparation. It is a lovely setting. Puerto Vallarta has places to shop for provisions and parts (up to a point). There are about 35 boats leaving from this location. The Vallarta Yacht Club has sponsored several seminars a week for the "Puddle Jumpers" on subjects as diverse as refrigeration, medical care, and provisioning. We have enjoyed them. These last few days are the Banderas Bay Regatta. Bob and James are racing on Cherokee Rose. I'm finishing provisioning! Last night they presented an incredible Aztec dance troupe for all of us. You can see pictures in the blog. The community of cruisers is great. Bob has taken a leadership role in organizing people and their information. We will have a daily ham net at sea to keep track of each other. It is said you rarely see anyone else after you are a few miles out. We will try to be there for mutual support. Most of us have also broken down and bought sat phones for emergency use.
Most of us are leaving sometime in the last week of March or the first week of April. It depends on an appropriate weather window that will send us out to the trades without depleting our diesel fuel supply. It is a very logistical time. We make our lists, do our chores, add to our list, do our chores again, etc. It feels as if we really are about ready. We could keep adding items ad nauseum. Our crewman, James Buscard is arriving tomorrow. He will stay on the boat for about 2 months. He sailed with us on Mahina Tiare in the South Pacific 3 years ago. We look forward to having him be a part of our team.
A lovely distraction was a short inland trip to Guanajuato. It was a town we so wanted to see before we left Mexico. We took a 12 hour bus ride on Primera Plus. It was worth it. You can see it for yourself in the gallery. We went with our previous travelling companions, Jackie and Leif on Dodger Two. We had a great time. It was really a relief to stop the chores for a few days. When we returned, we had energy to really dig in again.
It is real now. We are beginning to accept that we are really going to do this. 3000 miles before we will see land again. Our planning and chores have been an attempt to control "what we can". Now there is much that we cannot control. We are lots more prepared than we were when we originally started this odyssey from Long Beach. Our Shoreline Yacht Club friends must have wondered if we would make it this far. We started out very green. Can you imagine how much we will learn by the time we are in Australia? I will try to periodically update the blog through saildocs on our SSB radio. No pictures, sorry. Goodbye from Mexico. Karyn
Well, the pedal has hit the metal. We are reallyinto preparation mode for the Pacific Puddle Jump. We returned here to Banderas Bay. We spent our first week in La Cruz. It's a very social place and we enjoyed being with friends old and new. The market is really something special in this area. Then, on to Paradise Village Marina. This is where the seminars are held for the PJ. They have scheduled lots of folks to help us. We have heard everything from travel-logs to radar and communications, and everything in between. We are also trying to see as much as we can before leaving Mexico. This is a wonderful country with so much to experience. There are many other places I would still like to visit.
Our friends the Gidley's came to visit. We had such a nice time. They fit in perfectly with all our cruiser colleagues. We went on a beautiful hike south of PV to a waterfall. It involved crossing the ridge lines up and down to spectacular beaches. Look in the gallery for the pictures. It was strenuous, but so picturesque. April from Wavehouse was our fearless leader. Later, I also had the opportunity to go see the petroglyphs with her. She is a treasure.
The boat is frequented by repair and service people as each system is checked out for the crossing. Canvas covers for protecting the fuel cans. Servicing of the in-boom furling, small stainless additions for safety, VHF and SSB tweaking with group entries for communication. Today, I ordered a sat phone for emergency and for contact with family. I'm inventorying everything to get the final provision list. Much to think about and plan for.
Unfortunately, I had a broken tooth and needed my first crown. It was harder here than I expected. They also found an infected/impacted wisdom tooth and tomorrow I get that removed. This certainly adds a little spice to my life. Had a mani and pedi to take my mind off my troubles. It almost worked :-)
01/25/2013, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
Wow, we have been busy. We finally got the boat back in the water with new bottom paint. These tropical waters had blistered the paint and they had to sand down to the fiberglass and repair before re-painting. It was lots of work...and yes...lots of money. That seems to be the way of things on a boat. We enjoyed our stay at Bungalows Mar Sol. Such nice people. It was a little home away from home for under $50/night. You can't beat that. Then there was spending time with so many of our wonderful friends before leaving the dock. We really enjoyed everyone. Lots of adventures, meaningful conversations, shared meals...and a world class Mozart Requiem at the Angela Peralta theater. The Wilson's had an adventure with us to the Petroglyphs at Las Labradas. What a place! Check out the pictures in the gallery. Some of them are Phoebe's. This Mexican town/area has everything. We even had a conch blown as we left the marina. Memories of Hawaii. What a delight.
We headed south later than we had planned. There were several days of high northerly winds and seas that kept us tied to the dock and dressed in our woolies. First we jogged down the coast to the town of San Blas. It lies within an estuary in the mangroves. We visited the old Spanish fort and church ruins, which were very interesting. But what I'll remember most are the bug bites that are still trying to heal. They really get me and they are not fun. Take lots of spray with you and use your screens when you visit. Also, watch your fathomoter. Bob had just repaired ours and it was a good thing it was working as we made our way down that shallow channel. So it's not surprising that we were anxious to get to Chacala, an old favorite. After a night dodging shrimp boats, we anchored fore and aft in the swell and enjoyed the beautiful beach and surrounding scenery.
Then it was off to Banderas Bay, where we have stopped for a week at La Cruz for a few days on the way to Paradise Village. This harbor is supposed to have diesel, but have not had a delivery recently and consequently we are still waiting (5 days). In the meantime we have reconnected with old friends and begun seeing some of the sights.The highlight of our first night here was a unique one for us: attendance at a memorial service at a bar, where the ashes were hoisted to the rafters in a Crown Royal Bag! They now reside there with many others. In my career, I thought I had seen everything. Yesterday we walked the beach to Bucerias for the Blessing of the Fleet. Those of you who read the blog will remember what a good time we had there last year. Horses dancing, food everywhere, Mexican families celebrating, banda music, flowers, priests, etc. It was an all-inclusive cultural experience. Today we will be attending our first of the Puddle Jump seminars at the Vallarta Yacht Club in preparation for crossing the Pacific at the end of March. Today the woman who hit a whale in her boat on the 2010 Ha-Ha will be talking about ditch bags and abandoning ship. Really hoping we won't need her information, but very important to know it. I'm organizing and sorting in the boat to take an inventory of what we have and what we need before going to sea for just under a month.
We are looking forward to a visit from our Shoreline Yacht Club friends, the Gidley's, next week. Special to have folks join us down here. We do love Mexico. I for one will hate to leave it. So much more to see here.
Lots has happened since the last blog. We reconnected with friends and saw alot of Mazatlan together. We went to the art walk and out to dinner several times. We strolled the old town and listened to the music in the square. Over the holidays, we went to two concerts in Angela Peralta Theatre, one classical and one seasonal. We saw sunset from the top of a hotel. It is lovely here. We have really enjoyed Mazatlan. I imagine fixing up a house in the old colonial section with a lovely courtyard....The Marina hosted the Salvation Army Childrens Choir. These are orphans from here in Mazatlan. They were so lively and loving. It was really an experience being with them. I attended a breakfast for children with cancer sponsored by local women with a craft sale. There were several hundred attendees. We enjoy Mazatlan more and more.
Before heading across the Pacific, Bob thought we should have the bottom painted. Since we had to be off the boat anyway, we decided to go to the states for Christmas and see our friends and families for a week. We may be a long way off next year at this time. We enjoyed everyone. When we arrived back, predictably the boat wasn't ready. We are staying at some bungalows that other cruisers have used in similar situations. It is fine. We have all we need, and it has a kitchen. We will wait here until we can put her back in the water in a few days. We spent New Years Eve in the home of a Mexican family, Augustin and his mom Alicia. They were so gracious to us.
We had to pay for a month in the marina up front, so we won't head south for a couple more weeks until we use our days up. At the airport, we met a couple from a small coastal town between Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta called Teacapan. We will try to go there on our way south to Paradise Village. We are always up for new adventures. In the meantime, Bob works on the boat in the daytime and I do the computer/paper work and practice my Spanish. It has been very rainy and cool here until today. We have been wearing long pants and jackets. Surprise! Feliz Ano Nuevo to all of you.
12/03/2012, El Cid Marina
We are back in El Cid. It was a lovely crossing. We were able to sail most of the way. The seas were lumpy and the wind was on our aft quarter, however, we moved right along. In fact, we got their too early and needed to anchor at Isla Pajaro until the Marina office opened. This is a lovely marina and we are very comfortable here. We remember having Matt here at Christmas last year. We have reconnected with Leif and Jackie on Dodger Two. They just got their boat back into the water after having extensive work done at the yard. Bob is busy troubleshooting the watermaker and hooking up the solar panels. Jackie and I went for a girls day and did a little "retail therapy". It was fun. Lots of nice visits with people we haven't seen in quite a while. That's a really nice part of cruising. You just keep collecting lovely friends.