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Vacation is overSteve
07/14/2011, San Carlos, Sonora Mexico
When I first arrived in Marina San Carlos two weeks ago I decided to take it easy for a few days. I had been on the go for most of four months and wanted a break. When you tell most people that you live on a sailboat in Mexico their response is something like "oh lucky you, you're living the dream". As anyone who has cruised with me can attest to, there is ALOT of work involved with this lifestyle, most crew members have become overwhelmed with the amount of physical activity involved. How would you like to go up and down these stairs (pic) 75-100 times a day? And that is only the beginning, there's getting the dinghy into the water, getting the 80 lb outboard onto the dinghy, getting out of the dinghy once to the beach and dragging it up on to the beach and thats all so you can take your morning walk. There is constant cleaning, maintenance and repairing to be done...it some times seems like it's never-ending ....oh wait a minute....it is never-ending. Now don't get me wrong I'm not complaining (yes I am), I love this life and right now I wouldn't trade it for anything. I could never retire and sit on my ass all day, I love the constant moving about, the constant lifting, pulling and climbing that's involved. I love having to troubleshoot some kind of problem with one of the many systems on Si Bon..and then fixing it. When you see some old cruiser, who is in unbelievable physical condition and then find out that he/she is 75 years old, you can see first hand the benefits of this lifestyle. I told Shaybo the beginning of the week that my vacation was over and I needed to get stuff done this week, she laughed at me and said "how can a guy on vacation have a vacation", but she quickly corrected herself as I believe that she is aware of the work that lays ahead of her when she joins me in on Si Bon in October.
Navigating the waters....or land.Steve
07/12/2011, location unknown
There are reasons why a good mariner uses multiple systems to verify his/her location. This photo of the GPS located at the helm was taken as I was leaving Bahia Concepcion. The little triangle is Si Bon and the yellow area is a land mass known as Punta Aguja. As you can see Si Bon is clearly on land...or at least according to the GPS she is. I was warned about the inaccurate Mexican charts before I left to go cruising, a GPS uses a chart card that duplicates the information from paper charts. Now I'm pretty sure that there is someone thinking right about now "gee Steve, you need to get some better equipment on that boat". Granted that both of my onboard GPS's are 10+ years old, but I also have a brand new handheld GPS and all three GPS's showed the same information and since I have seen similar pictures from other cruisers I have no intention at this time of spending thousands of dollars on new GPS's just so I can have a larger, more colorful picture of Si Bon crossing a point of land. Sooo what do you do? Well the GPS is a still a wonderful tool and one that I still use extensively, but I also do pencil and paper navigation, I use my radar, my depth sounder and of course my eyes (and a good set of binoculars). When you combine all of the sources available there is little chance that you would actually be on the yellow land mass as the pic shows. Well since all three GPS's currently show me in the parking lot here at Marina San Carlos I think I'm going to hop off Si Bon and go ask for a refund on my slip fees, adios.
Congratulations Mexico U-17 Soccer teamSteve
07/10/2011, Marina Cantina
Sooo since I've been in San Carlos I've been catching parts of the U-17 boys world cup soccer tournament. I actually didn't realize that it was the U-17 until just now. I decided, after Mexico just beat Uruguay to win the championship, that I would get all the facts before posting this blog. I was SHOCKED that these were kids that were playing. Both the level of play and the excitement of the Mexican fans had lead me to believe that this was the Mexican National team. Whenever they played the cantinas were packed with yelling, screaming, fist pounding fans. It has been fun watching the team play and now that I know that they are the same age that I watched my own daughters play just a few years ago...makes it even more exciting. So congratulations to the Champions and also to the other teams that also displayed a huge amount of talent.
07/09/2011, San Carlos, Sonora Mexico
Last night I walked up to the ATM machine at the corner Oxxo store, Oxxo stores are Mexico's equivalent to a 7/11 store. Well the ATM in the Oxxo wasn't working and the only other one I knew of was in San Carlos centro at a bank...so off I went. It is kind of a long walk and it gave me some time to think about San Carlos, which I quickly realized I hadn't blogged about yet. Soooo here goes. San Carlos is comprised of three separate areas. There is Bahia Algodones which is where I spent over a week anchored in, there is the Marina district, which is where I am now and there is San Carlos centro...which I haven't spent much time in. I have been in the San Carlos area now for for over 3 weeks, the longer I am here the more I like it here. San Carlos is a great combination of tourist Mexico and non-tourist Mexico. San Carlos is 255 miles south of the Arizona border, making it a relatively easy place to get to from the good old US of A. There are busses that run from Phoenix and Tucson and there is an airport in neighboring Guaymas. I have been exploring the marina district over the past week and there is just about everything you need (except a functional ATM machine) within an easy walk. There are several dive companies in the area, plenty of charter fishing boats, a good sized marine store and plenty of qualified marine repairmen. There are an abundance of good and inexpensive restaurants and bars and a decent tienda close by. On the way back from the bank I stopped at a palapa bars that had a Mexican Country western band playing and was offering 2 for 1 cervezas. I sat down at the small bar....by myself and was quickly approached by a large Mexican dude who drug me over to a VERY large group of his family and friends and sat me down in the middle of them all. Most of them spoke little or no English but my Spanish is now starting to improve and they were very interested to hear about my sailing journey. I didn't stay long but the friendliness of the mexican people still amazes me.
07/07/2011, Club de Capitanes
Last night I decided to go to hora feliz (happy hour), to anyone that knows me that should come as no big surprise. I decided on a place called Club de Capitanes, which means Captains Club...seemed appropriate. Now let me tell you that hora feliz here is really happy, first of all a Pacifico is only 15 pasos, which is about $1.35 USD, second of all happy hour lasts until 7:00 PM. As happy hour was winding down in comes two of the cutest little kids you've ever seen, they each had a box of handmade jewelry with them, which is pretty typical here in San Carlos. The owners of Club de Capitanes and all of the employees seemed to know Gabriella and Ruben and after they made their rounds showing off their jewelry, the manager sat them down and brought them a large plate of french fries. As they sat, very politely I might add... and munched away at the fries, all eyes were on them, you couldn't help but adore them...they were so cute. After they finished up the fries they got up and VERY slowly made their way towards the door, again showing off their jewelry. Gabriella is quite the salesgirl, at 14 she speaks a fair amount of english, when I inquired about purchasing more than one bracelet she started offering me multi product discounts. So not a bad plan, wait till the customers have had a few brewskis, get some free fries from the restaurant and work the intoxicated gringos on your way out. So I'm sure Amber, Ashley and Shaybo are asking soooo did you buy anything? Well you'll just have to wait until I get back to find out.
Trash in MexicoSteve
07/06/2011, any vacant lot
One of the things that use to disturb me when first arriving in Mexico, was how the Mexicans don't put their trash in trash cans. There can be a trash can right next to them and they just throw it on the ground. Why we even saw a police check point in La Paz where the police would confiscate cans and bottles, pour out the contents and leave the empties laying on the ground. Wanting to become submersed into the various cultures of the countries I visit, I have recently joined the wonderful people of Mexico and stopped using trash cans. It's really quite liberating when you finish eating a bag of Tostitos and instead of walking 10-15 steps to an empty trash can, you just toss it into the wind. Another nice thing here in Mexico is we don't recycle. We don't have a separate vacant lot for cans and bottles, everything goes wherever it may. We also don't have to remember when trash day is ...and with so many holidays it would get very confusing anyway. Now I know right about now my fellow gringos are shaking their heads and thinking Steve has really lost it now. But do we americans really think that we are doing the environment any better service because we put all of our garbage in one location? Here in Mexico we spread the trash across the land evenly...it may even be better that way, who knows.
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