03/07/2013, Nuevo Vallarta
A while back, our friends on Third Day- specifically Lori- posted a recipe for a poblano cream sauce.
I have worked on perfecting it to fit our tastes, and last night I think I nailed it!
So real quick and dirty
3 Poblano peppers
One large onion
Garlic, cilantro, and salt to taste
About 500cc Media Crema
Really simple ingredients, but all in the technique!
Roast the peppers until the skin is mostly blackened, set aside to cool for a bit
Dice up the onion
After they cool down some, take the peppers and scrape the black off of the outside, open and remove the seeds and the ribs then dice them up. This actually is the hardest part of the whole deal.
Toss the onions and peppers into a saucepan with a bit of olive oil and sauté, add in the spices and cook until the onions are starting to get a little clear.
Once you have the stuff cooked down a bit, pour in the Crema and cook for just a bit longer- don't let it get too hot though.
Take the batch and pour into a blender and mix until smooth and creamy!
This stuff is an awesome cream for spicing up chicken, fish, shrimp, etc. I have enough left to thin down and use for a base for a shrimp soup later this week, starting to salivate already!
02/28/2013, Nuevo Vallarta
Just initial impressions- we have so much more to do and explore
Nuevo Vallarta is really nice, but not the Mexico we are used to, more of a Mexico theme park. And while that may be great for some folks, we have become used to the little chaos that "normal" Mexico offers and we do miss it a little bit.
So we rented a car for freedom.
Our first expedition was last night into Puerto Vallarta Centro district and it was eye opening to say the least. The cobbled streets were a change from the potholed streets of La Paz! Almost as jarring, but harder to judge the real bumps- and good luck in seeing the Topes (speed bumps)
Another change from La Paz- the incredible number of tourists. And that leads to the incredible number of vendors, tiendas, and restaurants. A very dynamic and lively place.
Better? No, I don't think it's any better, but it is different and nice in its own way- I think we will enjoy our time checking it out.
For our cruising friends that may follow- Paradise Village Marina is nice, a bit out of the way, but nice and you really don't "need" to go anywhere. There is a slight amount of tidal current inside and the water is not perfectly clear, but not anything other than what you would expect in an estuary.
And yes- there are crocodiles here. We were sitting in the cockpit last night, and one was hunting about 50 feet behind us. That was a first for us.
02/26/2013, Nuevo Vallarta
We sailed from La Paz to Puerto Vallarta over the last few days.
Most folks seem to head to the mainland by sailing from La Paz to Bahia de los Muertos (Bahia de la Suenos now) or Los Frailes for the overnight then on to Mazatlan and heading for points south from there.
Not us- 400 miles of downwind sailing was an irresistible temptation and thus we decided for the run straight to Puerto Vallarta.
The North winds were forecast to run 10-12 kts with an occasional gust higher. "Occasional" and "gust" were undefined terms and this lack of definition let the wind gods get away with just a little spanking for us,
15 kts in the Sea of Cortez leads to some really awful sea conditions- really awful and our winds were not limited by 15. So a reefed main and the Genoa poled to leeward and we started sailing just to the East of Cerralvo Isle and didn't change anything about the set other than to roll up some jib and open it up later.
Imagine a roller coaster ride on the old school wood units along with a Niagara Falls barrel ride, combined with a washing machine. Fun stuff indeed.
That lasted about 30 hours, and while it tested the two of us, our boat is so very much more prepared for those conditions than we ever could be. She brought us through safe and sound.
Other than that- great sail! And we both are very happy we did it the way we did. We didn't change the sail set until we dropped them, The wind shifted as we wanted to rotate around the Tres Marietas Islands outside of Banderas Bay and that kept us booking along just fine.
We ended up with a 12 hour motor the last bit as the wind just shut off.
Found Paradise Village Marine and Nuevo Vallarta just dandy and we were moored in time for the Oscars and a good nights sleep.
More on the place here next.
02/24/2013, Puerto Vallarta
After being here for a year (not full time for us, but fulltime for Papillon), we have found a few things that we would recommend to everyone.
In no particular order-
Todos Santos- stay at least one night in the infamous Hotel California. While legend has it that this is the "original" Hotel California from the Eagles song, the truth may be different- but truth is a relative thing, is it not? The décor and ambience is a reminder of color and flow, truly well done. If you don't stay the night, at least go through the lobby and into the bar and gift shop. Across the street from the HC is the bar Tequila Sunrise- have a Margarita Damiana- your life will now be complete as you experience the best Margarita ever concocted! The town is also a haven for artists and craftspeople with easily a hundred different tiendas to wander through.
El Triunfo- this little town in the mountains above La Paz is a glimpse into the mining past of the area. The smelter stack was designed by Gustave Eiffel and is still standing. They have a great little bakery/restaurant and some local characters to match.
Los Barriles- for the absolute best Tuna fish sandwich ever made, go to Smokeys Bar. They take freshly caught and smoked tuna and blend it with the requisite herbs and spices- this will make all other tuna sandwiches pale in comparison. After you grab your sandwich- head down to the beach and watch some of the best windsurfers and kiteboarders in the world as they enjoy the winds and warm water of the East Cape.
Balandra Bay (Bahia de Balandra)- home of the famous "El Hongo", or Mushroom Rock. Balandra bay has crystal clear and nearly every color of tropical water you can imagine. Just a great place to hang out either on the boat at anchor or arriving by car.
La Paz Malecon- A nearly four mile waterfront walk populated by the locals on their strolls and beautiful sculptures ranging from an interesting caricature of Jacque Cousteau to dynamic mermaids. This walk will lead you to some pretty good restaurants of which one of my favorites is the Rancho Viejo on the sidewalk. Their Arrachera Tacos are referred to as meat candy around here.
La Paz is not really a tourist town, but there is a real charm in living in a true Mexican town, and I get to practice my Spanish much more than in places like Cabo San Lucas or Mazatlan. One of my most used phrases- "Con permiso, mi espanol es muy malo" usually gets me a smile and lot of goodwill!
Puerto San Carlos and the Hotel Brennan- The Grey whales come into Mag bay every year for calving and this allows us above-the-water mammals to interact- and interact we did! We actually had one of the magnificent beasts play with us for over an hour. Nudging our boat, eyeballing us and allowing us to scratch and pet it- yes we petted a whale!
Not even a close to complete list, but just highlights!
02/14/2013, La Paz
Wow, it's been a year here in La "Pause" and while we really, really, like it here- the time has come to check out someplace new.
Puerto Vallarta look out!
Yeah, decided that since it is only about 400 miles and downwind to boot, that we would take a long weekend and relocate. A bit warmer, a bit greener, and just different.
We will really miss all of our friends here; it is such a great community, actually closer to family. We will miss the Friday morning net with Gunther. We will miss the great taco stands we have on our munchies list. We will miss The Shack!
But there is that dark truth in our chosen lifestyle- as nice as the welcomes are, the departures are painful. And that is a rather different way of life for most. I don't really like saying goodbye, but I am sure that the La Paz bungee cord will pull us back in some way.
So we are out of here in a week!
02/07/2013, La Paz
Sometimes pushing around all of the bits and bytes that make up a modern nav system can actually work in a way we want.
Of course that is "sometimes" and with a lot of planning.
I found that I wanted to design a system that would incorporate things I want, nav charts and programs, integration with instruments, robust, and while not the most important- ranking up pretty high-, fiscally conservative (cheap).
So I started looking for a product that could take all of the disparate data sources and teach them to play nice with each other. I found that the AM43 Multiplexer from Noland was what I was searching for- easy to wrap my head around, simple to wire (kind of) and best of all, not that expensive.
Here's what the wiring ended up looking like- at least until I change things again.
I will start putting together some more descriptions and drawing of the "system" aboard Papillon as I get a chance.