Sailing on Starshine

Vessel Name: Starshine
Vessel Make/Model: Outbound 44
Hailing Port: San Francisco, CA
Crew: Pat and Melodie Williams
About: We have been "working the plan" since 2004 when Pat began taking sailing lessons. That lead to a few sailing vacations on sailboats. Melodie took some classes too. We purchased our boat in 2011.
17 July 2017 | Polson Montana
31 May 2017 | Our new Camper in Ira Texas
04 May 2017 | Nuevo Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit Mexico
04 April 2017 | La Cruz Anchorage
12 March 2017 | Chamela Bay
12 March 2017 | Tenicatita Bay
18 February 2017 | La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
29 January 2017 | La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
19 January 2017 | La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
06 January 2017 | St Thomas USVI
06 January 2017 | Balboa Panama
30 November 2016 | Golfito Costa Rica
02 November 2016 | Marina San Carlos
27 October 2016 | Copper Canyon - Hotel Mirador
27 October 2016 | Copper Canyon in Chihuahua
15 October 2016 | Marina San Carlos, Sonora Mexico
12 June 2016 | Marina San Carlos
12 June 2016 | Santa Rosalia
08 May 2016 | Puerto Escondido
29 April 2016 | Isla San Francisco
Recent Blog Posts
17 July 2017 | Polson Montana

Arizona to Montana

Today is Sunday July 16, 2017.

31 May 2017 | Our new Camper in Ira Texas

Our new Camper in Ira Texas

The photo was taken on May 20 in Ira Texas.

04 May 2017 | Nuevo Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit Mexico

End of the Season - Paradise Village Marina

Today is Thursday May 4th, 2017.

04 April 2017 | La Cruz Anchorage

Back in Banderas Bay

You would think I'd have learned by now. Save your work! Especially when the internet connection is kinda flaky. That said....I will now write our blog post a second time : (

12 March 2017 | Chamela Bay

Chamela Bay

Sometimes we take a photo that we really want to share. Here is one from our stop in Chamela Bay, off the town of Perula. This is dawn, which occurs at about 7:15 here. Mexico won't have a time change for a few more weeks.

12 March 2017 | Tenicatita Bay

Tenicatita Bay

Today is Sunday March 12, 2017.

Arizona to Montana

17 July 2017 | Polson Montana
Pat and Melodie
Today is Sunday July 16, 2017.

Melodie and I have been making our way across the western US over the last few weeks. We began to make our way to California beginning on June 1. We took the scenic route through southern Utah, canyon country, and stopping in Zion and Pinnacles National Park.

After attending to a few doctor visits (all routine) we had a chance to visit with family and friends. Melodie flew back to Milwaukee and I hung out at my sister Cheri's in Oakland CA for a week. We made a quick trip down to Santa Cruz to see our friends Bill and Charlene. Unfortunately, we did not have time to see everyone. Please don't take offense if we didn't get a chance to see you.

On June 30 we left the Bay Area and began our trek toward Oregon. Our plan was to head north out of Tahoe and make our way to Crater Lake in Oregon. We did head north, but from Placerville, after seeing our friends Keith and Dana in Cameron Park. We looped west of Tahoe on HWY 49 and then took the grand volcanic tour. We stopped at Lassen National Park where most of the road was closed due to snow. We also stopped at Lava Beds National Monument. We spent three days at Lava Beds over the 4th of July weekend. What a great place! We hiked into several lava tubes. These caves are not lighted and you must use flashlights (bring a spare or two as well) as they are VERY DARK...not a bit of light once past the entrance. Hiking up to the Schonchin fire look-out built in 1942 gave us a great view of many of the lava flows on the landscape. The volunteer lookout explained what he does. It was interesting to learn/see that they put glass insulators on the cot legs and on the legs of a little stool. When lightening is nearby the lookout squats on the stool. We had a special treat during an evening Ranger Program when they brought out 3 telescopes. We were able to look at the details on the moon and Jupiter with its moons and could even see the bands on Jupiter.

We've seen many National Parks and Monuments so far this summer while stopping along the way if something looks interesting. For example, we stopped at Klamath Wildlife Refuge. There was one overlook in particular where you could hear nothing but birds and frogs and insects; getting just a glimpse of what the countryside used to be like. We traveled on the Volcanic Legacy Scenic By-way. We stopped at Crater Lake, but did not camp there. There was still quite a bit of snow on the ground and half of the road around Crater Lake was still closed due to snow. We saw the Newberry National Volcanic Monument and took a few hikes through lava flows. One was through huge masses of obsidian. It seemed like a different planet. We travel up through Oregon; staying on BLM land often. One especially nice place was right on the Deschutes River in a valley between Volcanic hills. We visited my brother Chris and his wife in Portland OR.

After Portland we spent a week checking out central and eastern Oregon. On August 21, 2017 there will be a total eclipse of the sun. They are expecting HUGE crowds to come and Madras Oregon will be an epicenter for viewing. Mostly because of the possibility for clear weather, rural country side and it's near the path of the max eclipse. After checking things out in Eastern Oregon we think we've found a spot.

We visited the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument with some spectacularly colored hills. The drive near there was enjoyable, with nice valleys through cliffs of volcanic rock. Once our eclipse research was complete we began working our way east toward Glacier National Park. We found out that Idaho has great little camp sites next to rivers, mostly for the fisherman we think. Anyway, we got a great spot next to the Little Salmon River in Pollack ID. We both woke up during the night thinking "what is that running? Then we remembered it was the river, and not the a/c, refrigerator, etc.

We crossed Idaho and are now in Montana. This is my (Pat's) first time in the state of Montana. It's really beautiful. There are just over 1 million people in Montana, I think that's one reason we like it. It was nice to see the historic Lewis and Clark sights along the way. I did not realize they traveled this far north in 1805-1806. We've been making a point to push the schedule and see the little roadside attractions. We toured a historic Forest Service compound from the 1920's that was used until the 1970's. Cool stuff! Today we took a self-guided driving tour (stay in your car for safety) through the US Fish and Wildlife preserve for Bison and other animals. We saw lots of Bison; some were huge and there were also many calves. We also saw some elk, deer and pronghorn antelope. There were reports of bighorn sheep, but we didn't see any.

We find our internet is only good when we pass through towns and we have no service at our campsites. We are doing well following our USFS and BLM camping model. Most of the places we stop are free. The challenge is to be among the vacationers and not the "urban campers". We have found several sites strewn with trash, obviously used by homeless and they left a big mess. We really like the quiet, deserted spots, especially along a river or stream. We even camped in a spot and were visited by four wild horses...The ranger had told us where a band of 50 had been hanging out lately. They came fairly close to us, but were very wary. We find we are eating in a lot more. In Mexico we eat out all the time. It's good and it's cheap. Not so, here in the good ol' US of A. So lots of sandwiches roadside in the camper and always breakfast to ourselves. We did go out to lunch the other day and treated ourselves to fresh baked pie!

I was not intending on keeping the blog going over the summer. But I was surprised to hear from so many that they read our blog. So I hope you have enjoyed hearing about our travels so far. We have so many good photos, but we only get to post one with each blog.

Our new Camper in Ira Texas

31 May 2017 | Our new Camper in Ira Texas
Pat Sunny
The photo was taken on May 20 in Ira Texas.

We did look at about 20 campers in AZ before our flight to Dallas. They were all very tired looking. We were surprised at the asking prices on such tired/well used equipment.

We are the new owners of a 2007 Dodge 3500 4x4 with DRW and a 5.9 Cummins diesel. We picked up the truck in Dallas Texas on May 10, then stopped to look at a 2005 Lance 981 camper on the way back to Arizona. We really liked the camper and made the owner an offer which he accepted. We returned to Dewey AZ and spent a week preparing the truck to accept the camper. New tie down points, wired the bed for the proprietary Lance camper plug, plus a bunch of preventative maintenance.

We returned to Ira Texas and took possession o the camper. We began to make our way back toward AZ. We stopped at Carlsbad Caverns, Solar Observatory, and the Very Large Array radio telescope along the way. We stayed on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and US Forest Service land. We avoided staying in RV parks and paying any fees. Our goal is to "disperse" or "dry" camp as much as we can. We are fixing the little things that always seem to need attention when you buy something used. Don't get me wrong, the camper is in great shape, it just needs a little love and attention.

Our general plan is to head to the SF Bay Area by next week, then north toward Seattle. Loop around toward Glacier National Park, then be in a position to view the Solar Eclipse on August 21. We will likely be in Oregon, since we want to be back in SF by late August for the Snakes to the Lake Cobra trip.

We don't know when our next blog post will be. Hope you all have a great summer.

End of the Season - Paradise Village Marina

04 May 2017 | Nuevo Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit Mexico
Pat Sunny
Today is Thursday May 4th, 2017.

Lots of things have changed since I lasted posted to the blog. Melodie and I moved to Paradise Village Marina in Nuevo Vallarta which is half way between La Cruz and Puerto Vallarta. We changed our plan to summer the boat in Mazatlán. Starshine will stay in Paradise Village for the summer of 2017. This area has never had a direct hurricane hit. The dock we will be on is down an estuary so it should be well protected. Plus we have been enjoying the hot tub and pool. It is especially nice at the yacht club as it’s like our own private pool and hot tub since very few people use it.

We’ve been busy making Starshine ready to fend for herself. We have contracted with a local to look after her while we are gone, but we do our best to make her ready before we leave. We’ve done all the usual end of season maintenance. This year we decided to actually wash the sails, rather than just rinse them with fresh water. Wow! That was a chore. But we were glad we did it as the head sails were kind of dirty, especially at the tops of the sails. We got them all dried and have them folded away in their sail bags. They will be stowed inside the boat.
We’ve been trying to eat through the food we’ve purchased this season. That has led to some eclectic meals. We found that we’d eaten out quite a bit this season. It’s so cheap to eat out down here we figure we’d enjoy it while we could.

Our plans this summer are to tour the western US by truck camper. We’ve made a down payment on a big Dodge dually pickup and will travel to Dallas to pick her up next week. It’s a 2007 Dodge 3500 4x4 5.9 turbo diesel with dual rear wheels. We haven’t found the camper yet, but we have a short list to look at once we arrive back in AZ.

Speaking of AZ, we leave the boat on Sunday May 7 and take a red eye bus to Guaymas (near San Carlos) were the Acura is parked. We arrive at noon on Monday, then we’ll drive to AZ. Catch a plane to Dallas and go pick up the truck (assuming it looks the same in person and the test drive is satisfactory). Then we drive back to AZ and get the Acura. Then our search for the truck camper (sits in the truck bed, doesn’t have its own wheels) begins in earnest.

It is very quiet in the marina these days, most of the boaters have gone north. The morning radio net has up to 60+ check ins during the season, but now there are around 20. This morning only 5 boats checked in from our marina. Our friends on Wind Dancer have contracted with Mustad Marine to deliver Wind Dancer north to San Diego. I’m looking forward to having dinner with them tonight and to say hello to my friend Arnstein. Arnstein is the guy I sailed with in the fall from here to St John USVI via the Panama Canal.

This will probably be the last blog post this season. We expect to be in the SF Bay Area in June for some medical appointments. Then our schedule is very open. We are hoping to attend the BACC Snakes to the Lake again in the fall (no dates on that yet).

Hope everything is good wherever you are.

Back in Banderas Bay

04 April 2017 | La Cruz Anchorage
Pat - Partly Cloudy
You would think I'd have learned by now. Save your work! Especially when the internet connection is kinda flaky. That said....I will now write our blog post a second time : (

I was saying that I haven't been very timely with our blog entries. That is a very typical pattern with personal blogs. In the beginning you are posting every detail. Then as time goes on you find yourself posting less and less. That said, here's what's new with us.

We are in the anchorage at La Cruz. After spending about 10 days in Tenacatita we moved to the Marina at Barra De Navidad. We stayed there 10 days and then moved to the Lagoon at Barra. Our time in the marina was divided between some maintenance items: wash the boat, clean the bottom, change the engine oil....and relaxing in the pool. We also enjoyed eating out at the many restaurants in Barra.

I did attend the St Patrick's Day celebration in Melaque. Melodie didn't want to attend because of the expected noise and large crowds. I tagged along with some other boats and we staked out a place at a bar overlooking the town square. Our dock was well represented, with about 8 boats in attendance. There was a small carnival happening a block from the square. A group of us went over and rode the bumper cars. 5 minutes for $50 pesos, about $2.50 USD. It was fun.

The fireworks scheduled to begin at 11:00 got started at about 11:40. It was a typical Mexican display, no safety zones. Every once in a while a stray mortar would shoot off into the crowd. Once the main show was over we began to make our way to the taxi stand. The regular taxi stand was closed due to the festival. So we cut across the square. That's when the excitement happened. People with paper mache bulls with fireworks attached began running through the crowd. Roman Candles were shooting in every direction at eye level. We made it across without taking any casualties, yewh! We caught a cab just outside town (about 2 blocks). It was a good time.

I was surprised to find Melodie awake when I got back to the boat. Turns out we both caught a parasite, but it hit Melodie hard. I got a little sick, but Melodie was much sicker. We went to the doctor and a laboratory and got tested. Turns out we had a ameba problem (parasite). We took antibiotics and that took care of it. We don't know where we picked it up, as we both ate different things that day. It's one of the challenges if you are gonna travel outside the USA.

Our time in Barra came to an end and we turned north back to Banderas Bay. We chose to make the jump in one shot. Normally people stop in Chamela Bay for 1-2 nights as a layover. We chose to stop only for a few hours. We arrived at 1:00 pm, took naps, ate dinner, then got underway at sunset, about 7:00 pm. That's when Melodie took the attached photo of me.

Our rounding of Cabo Corrientes went well. The seas were calm and the wind was reasonable. We arrived in Banderas Bay at dawn on Saturday. We are in the anchorage at La Cruz for one more night, then we will move into the Marina at La Cruz for about 10 days. We have more boat chores. It seems if you aren't fixing it....you're cleaning it.

We expect to be in Banderas Bay through the end of April.

Until next time.

Chamela Bay

12 March 2017 | Chamela Bay
Pat
Sometimes we take a photo that we really want to share. Here is one from our stop in Chamela Bay, off the town of Perula. This is dawn, which occurs at about 7:15 here. Mexico won't have a time change for a few more weeks.

Tenicatita Bay

12 March 2017 | Tenicatita Bay
Pat and Melodie
Today is Sunday March 12, 2017.

We are in Tenicatita Bay where we've been for a week now.

Melodie returned from her trip to the USA and we moved into Marina La Cruz on Monday Feb 27th. We hoisted the dinghy onto the dock and I replaced the transom engine plate with a piece of Starboard (fake plywood) that Melodie brought back with her from the states. We did a few other projects, including getting the bottom cleaned and washing the boat. We decided to head south on Friday March 3. We awoke at 0330 and left the dock at 0400. The seas were on the beam as we exited Banderas Bay which made for a very rolly ride until we made the turn south off Cabo Corrientes. (Melodie was not feeling very well during that part-no sea legs yet). Once we were headed south the seas were behind us and the ride was much smoother. It was nice to make this passage during the daylight as we have done it before in the dark. The seas were fairly calm this time. In the past it has been like a washing machine. We arrived in Chamela around 1700 hours and got anchored with about 6-8 other boats. Most of the other boats were on their way north, but given our late start this season and weird schedule we were still headed south. We stayed in Chamela for two nights and spent a relaxing time hanging out on the boat.

On Sunday March 11 we left Chamela and arrived in Tenicatita. There have been between 8-14 boats here the last week. In the height of the season (Jan-Feb) there are as many as 35-40 boats here.

We were invited over to S/V Windswept for cocktails and met the crews of Dream Catcher and Paradisea. All were very nice people and made for an enjoyable evening. The next day we tried going up the estuary to see crocodiles and other wild life. We had trouble entering the small river as the tide was falling and was very shallow. We decided not to go and the other 3 boats (in their dinghies) continued on. They reported later that the entrance was the shallowest part. Oh well. We did this river trip 2 years ago before the hurricane hit here. The next day we all took taxis into the town of La Manzanilla for a day trip. We took the crocodile tour, ate fish tacos on the beach, and stocked up on fresh vegetables. The Crocs were quite active and a huge one seemed especially pissed off. It was hissing and made the water dance off of it as it vibrated its body. I think the wooden plank walkway would have snapped like a toothpick if the crock wanted to get at us.

During the high season the sailboat Harmony of Alameda, with Robert and Virginia aboard, host a weekly raft-up of dinghies every Friday. Since they headed north a few weeks ago I organized a "non-mayor" raft-up. Robert considers himself the Mayor of Tenicatita and the events he hosts are called The Mayor's Raft-up. About 12 dinghies arrived with 14 boat crews (2 boats car pooled). We shared appetizers and everyone introduced themselves. It was fun. T

The water here isn't as clear or as warm as it usually is. This winter has been cooler overall in the Mexican cruising grounds. We've been swimming, but only on select days when the water is clearer. I think there is more biologics in the cooler water than when it is warmer. Just like the whales go to Alaska to feed in the cold food filled waters.

We heard our friends on No Ties on the radio this morning. We last talked to them on the VHF radio in early January on our trip down from San Carlos. We heard their boat was in Barra de Navidad and had hoped to see them next week. It wasn't meant to be. They are headed north and we will not see them this season. That's how it works when you're cruising. Everyone is on their own schedule and sometimes your paths cross, and sometimes they don't. We look forward to seeing them next fall when our season will start at the normal time, Oct/Nov.

I tried to catch some fish on the way down from La Cruz. We only caught one Skip Jack moments after leaving Chamela. We threw it back, as they don't taste too good. I've been active on the SSB and Ham radio nets. I check in almost daily on both nets.

We are enjoying quiet days here in Tenicatita. The breezes are soft and the sun is shining. The water could be warmer, but it is very beautiful. We'll move to the marina in Barra de Navidad next week and hope to attend the St Patrick's Day Festival in Melaque. St Patrick is the patron saint of Melaque and they put on quite a celebration we hear. After that we'll turn north again and slowly make our way to Mazatlán. I expect we'll be in La Cruz for 3-4 weeks on the way north.
Gallery Error: Unknown Album [1:]:29059
Starshine's Photos -

About & Links