29 October 2013 | Sag Harbor, NY
25 June 2013 | Sag Harbor, NY
18 June 2013 | Port Washington, NY
16 June 2013 | Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey
13 June 2013 | CapeMay
13 June 2013 | Chesapeake
08 June 2013 | Washington DC
15 May 2013 | North Carolina
15 May 2013 | North Carolina
15 May 2013 | North Carolina
15 May 2013 | Florida and S. Carolina
01 May 2013 | Marathon, Florida
01 May 2013 | Dry Tortuga, Florida
09 March 2013 | Isla Mujeres
09 March 2013 | Isla Mujeres
20 February 2013 | Isla Providencia
06 February 2013 | San Blas Panama
06 February 2013 | Portobelo, Panama
12 January 2013 | Green Turtle Cay, Panama

Mariposa monarch

05 February 2012 | Morelia, michoacan
Ann
I travel for those moments when my body stops and my heart fills, when my brain cannot categorize all that I see and my soul takes over to hold the moment. I will relive yesterday over and over again, because my heart and soul were nourished.

As we ( crews of Flight, Serendipity and Swift Current) walked in the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary, we immediately saw butterflies beside the path. It was just like home, when a butterfly's bright wing caught your eye. We stopped and photographed them - identifying the males by the dots on the lower third of their wings. As we climbed higher the sightings became more common. Our guide, Ricardo, led us ever higher for 45 minutes, and then we stopped. We saw a dozen or more butterflies milling about. Clouds covered the sky, and we were told the butterflies awoke with the warmth of the sun. We would wait, hoping for more. The longer we were stopped the more we saw. Our eyes took time to adjust. Was that a clutch of butterflies clinging to that yellow flower? Were there butterflies on that tree above us?
The first patch of blue appeared in the sky, and more flashes of orange and black began to quiver. The trees, swathed in gray, in the valley below us were not covered in moss, for the moss started to move. As the clouds moved along the the gray and the green became background. First dozens, then scores of butterflies flew before us, as the scores became hundreds and then thousands. My brain tried to categorize the images. At a distance they were like bats dancing in twilight, up close they showed the acrobatics of hummingbirds. We listened to the wings beating, forewarned that it would sound like rain. Yes, the constant tapping on a tent roof, or the murmur of a fountain. It had a water quality. Then one inadvertently landed on me. I was kissed by a fairy. The delicate legs oscillating pressure as the wings beat. As we watched the air filled and the trees emptied. First at the top, and then as the sun's warmth reached lower, the pines turned from grey to green. The valley no longer empty, but filled with orange life.
The continent of North America is funnel shaped, somewhat. Canada and the United States are the open port and it narrows to Mexico, serving as the spout. The monarch butterflies live in this funnel. They lay eggs in the wide area, where the milkweed grows, and then migrate down through the spout to the mountains of Michoacan. They rest on the oyamel at el rosario (a pine tree) from November to March. A multigenerational trek, for those resting now are the great, great grandchildren of last year's inhabitants.
It was over a three and a half hour drive from Morelia to the car park, from there we walked a quarter mile up through an alley, bordered with souvenir and food stalls. The food vendors cook on grills, fueled with wood scraps. Grey-blue tortillas lay on griddles. The color coming from the blue corn of the region. The souvenirs include baskets woven from the pine needles and cloth mats with butterfly motifs. Hundreds of butterfly nicknacks, that I feared would be the best display. When we reached our spot on the mountain, we could hear the mariachi quartet playing below. "I hear the butterflies, and they have a Latin beat." the smell of wood smoke gave way to the tang of the oyamel. The car park was half full,and there were 14 tour buses parked at the lower level. I was dismayed by the crowds - it was the Saturday of a three day weekend. Our driver, Jesus (I'm saving that introduction for later) promised me it would be alright. He walked us to the park entrance and found our park guide Ricardo. Pointing to Hugh, who has a bad back that has never stopped him from hiking or zip lining, Jesus asked Ricardo to help us see the butterflies. Ricardo requested permission for us to use a side trail, that was only 45 minutes instead of the hour to the top. This is how we ended up above a valley alone, with waves of butterflies surrounding us.
Comments
Vessel Name: Taking Flight
Vessel Make/Model: Nordic Yachts 40
Hailing Port: Seattle, Washington
Crew: David Rhoades, Ann Sutphen and Kara Rhoades
About: We are a family of three cruising in our Nordic 40 down the west coast of the United States into Mexico and Central America.
Taking Flight's Photos - Main
40 Photos
Created 8 June 2013
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Created 8 June 2013
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Created 8 June 2013
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Created 8 June 2013
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Created 8 June 2013
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Created 8 June 2013
8 Photos
Created 8 June 2013
71 Photos
Created 8 June 2013
sailing from Norfolk to Washington DC
12 Photos
Created 6 June 2013
Our time on the water-highway
23 Photos
Created 16 May 2013
Another fort and another pretty town
23 Photos
Created 16 May 2013
Castillo de San Marcos and the rest of the city
12 Photos
Created 16 May 2013
Just a few shots
4 Photos
Created 16 May 2013
Our time with Ed and Daisy, plus Lily and Caitlyn. Thanks!
19 Photos
Created 16 May 2013
Our wonderful time at Fort Jefferson. You will see that we didn't have settled weather, but the anchorage was fine.
15 Photos
Created 16 May 2013
Back in USM (United States of Mexico), baby!
49 Photos
Created 7 March 2013
Our week on the island.
34 Photos
Created 5 March 2013
Lisa is a master mola maker, and historian. She gives tours of the Sidra river, which includes a visit to her parents graves.
30 Photos
Created 5 March 2013
The devil river lived up to its name, well I did blow my flip flop on the way out. Anne and Hugh tested the depth the entire way. Kara and Freddie had a science lesson on tadpole to frog metamorphesis.
20 Photos
Created 5 March 2013
I took so few pictures in this amazing place. Brandt and Anne added to my gallery. I must have taken lots of memory pictures, because these islands keep appearing in my head.
94 Photos
Created 5 March 2013
Anne on Serendipty took most of the boat pictures. Shae had the same theme idea.
31 Photos
Created 5 March 2013
This goes with my Doors of Morelia and the Mushrooms of Costa Rica.
11 Photos
Created 5 March 2013
Our haven of refuge. We had planned to anchor, but found the anchorage unanchorable. The marina turned out to be a nice treat. Yogi is the manager and he understands cruisers, being one himself. There is nothing here, but a veggie truck comes twice a week, so all was well.
6 Photos
Created 5 March 2013
There are four forts surrounding Portobelo, why so many? In the 18th century all the gold found on the Pacific side of Central America was taken overland at Panama and kept at the custom house in Portobelo before ships took it back to Spain. Needless to say the pirates and privateers liked to visit and burn the place. After the four forts were constructed the raids stopped.
26 Photos
Created 12 January 2013
I have our pictures of preping for the Canal, and our two day transit.
57 Photos
Created 30 December 2012
The sad, lone picture that came out on Christmas day. Kara and I got tatoos when we visted the Embreduera village - we sweated them off the next day.
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Created 30 December 2012
See the blog for the info abou this incredible village.
20 Photos
Created 23 December 2012
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Created 23 December 2012
This was across from Mogo Mogo. where apprently Survior had a challenge.
15 Photos
Created 23 December 2012
Domingo and his daughter and grandaughter.
8 Photos
Created 23 December 2012
Great Snorkeling and a tropic beaches. Plus a hole in the rock.
7 Photos
Created 23 December 2012
Welcome to the Perlas. We met a the managers of Northwest Fishing a Canadian firm who have created a fishing lodge. We had a great time hanging out with them.
2 Photos
Created 23 December 2012
Naranja was a rolly, ;umpy anchorage. There were two things we liked about the anchorage. First, dolphins greeted us, including a juevenile who jumped out of the water and did flips. The other were these two turtles who hung around for an hour.
1 Photo
Created 23 December 2012
We visited Jimenez and took a tour up the estuary.
22 Photos
Created 16 November 2012
I have the mushrooms, so I should make an album for the flowers - a bit more normal than my usual
32 Photos
Created 16 November 2012
26 Photos
Created 16 November 2012
There is a hugh resort on the bay, but at $20 per person/day we swam ashore and mingled. They sponsored a triathalon on Sunday morning. We had the best seats for the swimming.
11 Photos
Created 7 November 2012
This is the second most visited parks in Costa Rica. It is the home to monkeys, sloths, iguanas, lizards, racoons, gorgeous plants and a few mushrooms. We hired a guide, Leo Godines (leosnaturetours@live.com) who made the jungle come alive. He whistles bird calls, and brings forth responces. After our tour we walked around another three hours.
43 Photos
Created 7 November 2012
Remember when I photographed the Doors of Morelia, well here is my latest facination. The colors range from ghostly white, bilious orange, purple, chartreuse and finally to black. I would love to know the identities of any of them. We are told that 5% of Costa Rican mushrooms are edible, I hope I didn't miss one I could have eaten.
40 Photos
Created 7 November 2012
San Lucus was a maximum security prison, and has reopened as a national park. The jungle is trying to take back the land, and in many ways is succeeding. Most of the prison huts are gone, and bats have free reign over the remaining cells. This is Costa Rica, so the wildflowers are exotic, and would cost $6 a stem in the States.
6 Photos
Created 7 November 2012
Pirates, mermaids, witches and pumpkins.
24 Photos
Created 4 November 2012
The swanky resort we spent one day.
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Created 4 November 2012
No this is not Ireland.
3 Photos
Created 23 October 2012
34" Dorado!!!
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Created 23 October 2012
The secluded anchorage of Santa Elena, plus our hike to the waterfalls and snorkeling fun.
10 Photos
Created 23 October 2012
The Puesta del Sol marina and hotel. It was very swank.
15 Photos
Created 23 October 2012
Yes, this was the easier way. It still looks hard.
3 Photos
Created 12 October 2012
Bill got great pictures of us crossing the bar. I really wish our crossings could not make the Rally cover pages. I wanted calm, and easy.
6 Photos
Created 12 October 2012
Thanks to Anne we have these glorious sunrise photos
3 Photos
Created 12 October 2012
Our wonderful hosts in San Salvador, thank you again!
2 Photos
Created 12 October 2012
Before our return to El Salvador we went to Lake Atalan, a crater lake, with steep mountain walls. The best part by far was the Nature reserve, where we saw a Spider monkey in the jungle. The hotel was poor, but had a gorgeous garden.
19 Photos
Created 8 May 2012
We took one week of immersion Spanish in Xela. All of us got sick, so our excusions were limited. We did go to Salcaja and ride horses for a morning. Salcaja boasts the oldest church in Central America.
19 Photos
Created 8 May 2012
While we were away, Flight broke free of her mooring (see While we were away). This was so lucky, for she didn't hit anything, and grounded in soft mud. Four days later the bay was hit with a microburst, and 70 knot winds. This time Flight held, if she had been on the other mooring, she would have gone out with the wind and current. Everyone else was so busy saving their own boats, that no one could have saved our.
7 Photos
Created 8 May 2012
The artwork in Guatemala is remarkable. We saw similar work in Mexico and El Salvador, but not in the same volume. I spoke with different weavers (most use back-strap-looms) and table runners take about a month to make, while their shirts take two months or more. I went to a fabric store, where they have wider cloth. Yes they were made in a factory, but using wood looms, the threads still set and run by hand.
1 Photo
Created 8 May 2012
The first Colonial capital of Central America, it was abandonned after repeated earthquakes. The Spanish took all they could to their new captial, but stone facades and pillars are hard to move. On our tour Kara befriended Corey from Ballard.
20 Photos
Created 8 May 2012
Up the estuary in Bahia del Sol
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Created 8 May 2012
We have visited two schools. One is to teach local families English, and cruisers Spanish. It is run by Jan, who is "retired" here. Kara loves it and wants to go twice a week. The other school was celebrating a Festival de Fruta. An English speaking festival, where we were the surprise guests. We all loved the games, especially the balloon toss - I was the only catcher.
21 Photos
Created 3 April 2012
Our buddyboats crossing the bar. Note Serendipity's jerry jugs hanging on the side of their boat. Hotspur had the biggest waves. The red jetski was our pilot "boat". Inside we were in the tropical paradise promised. Do we really have to cross the bar to leave?
18 Photos
Created 3 April 2012
I included ALL the bar crossing photos to give perspective. Our long surf were the last eleven pictures.
21 Photos
Created 18 March 2012
This beautiful and fasinating archeological site. Edgar, our guide, was incredibly thurough and I wish I could remember a tenth of what he told us. The T shaped windows are for the wind gods. The red tomb was for a Queen. They built a pyramid over her house. Pakel's tomb was found 10 meters under the pyramid build for him - the largest tomb. The tree is the Tree of Life and gave reference to many of the Mayan beliefs, including their compas where North points skyward, South to the ground, East to sunrise and West to sunset. I can't wait to learn more.
14 Photos
Created 14 March 2012
There wasn't much to capture in Palenque. The parrot is known for biting Anne.
6 Photos
Created 14 March 2012
The casading waterfalls at Misol-ah. You can walk behind them, and then into a cave for an underground fall.
13 Photos
Created 14 March 2012
The moutain city in Chiapas. Hosts a jade and Amber museums, and intricate weaving.
20 Photos
Created 14 March 2012
The waterfalls between San Cristobo and Palenque. Kara and Carolyn swam in the clear blue, but chilly water
21 Photos
Created 14 March 2012
Kara and Carolyn playing on flight. Gabriel the resurauntour who helped us stay out of the marina. finally Kara crossing the Tehuantepec
6 Photos
Created 14 March 2012
Great fun
41 Photos
Created 15 February 2012
12 Photos
Created 10 February 2012
Here they are in their glory!
20 Photos
Created 10 February 2012
I loved the doors in Morelia. I liked their own beauty, and knowing that they covered the hidden courtyards.
20 Photos
Created 10 February 2012
The town around Patzchuaro are known for different crafts. One village is near the lake and has clay, so they are potters. Just down the road the people are known for their carvings. Finally, another town collects the grasses from the low land and weave backets.
20 Photos
Created 10 February 2012
Our inland trip to Morelia with Anne and Hugh (Serendipity) and Lynn and Howard (Swift Current). We used the Casa Rosa as a homebase, and made multiple day trips
20 Photos
Created 10 February 2012
Kara and Ruby hanging around - or out earning money with their nail salon.
5 Photos
Created 13 January 2012
Mazatlan in early December. We caught up with Panta Rhei and enjoyed the pool at El Cis. Kara was reunited with her friend Savannah.
6 Photos
Created 13 January 2012
Pictures of the birds, and flying the shoots to La Cruz
18 Photos
Created 11 January 2012
We decorated for Christmas the Sunday after Thanksgiving, when Dave was feeling better. Then Kara decided that long hair needs too much brushing, so agreed to try short hair. She loves to bruch her hair now, and she looks much more mature. All is good.
8 Photos
Created 6 December 2011
Little Bean took us to meet Pechocho, a dolphin that has grown up in the Mangroes of Topolobampo. There was a storm, and Pechocho's mother took to the mangroes for safety, but then she died. Pechocho stays in the shallow mangroes, and socializes with the pangas. He is wild, but solitary - very undolphin like.
16 Photos
Created 6 December 2011
The town of Topo, and our visit with Pechocho
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Created 6 December 2011
We spent Thanksgiving off the beach in Bahia Santa Barbara. We spent the afternoon playing ball and collecting shells on the beach. During the day there would be 20 shrimp boat, and at night we would be all alone.
8 Photos
Created 6 December 2011
Kara was the cowgirl, and I was a pumpkin. Kara then became a cow-pirate.
6 Photos
Created 6 November 2011
trips to Guaymas, the two princeses (Marissa and Kara), jumbo cheetos and more fun
7 Photos
Created 6 November 2011
Life on the hard was much easier with the condo and our friends from Swift Current, Panta Rhei, Serendipity et al
8 Photos
Created 6 November 2011
Our time with Jeanine and Steve, and their dog Millie!
20 Photos
Created 29 September 2011
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Created 29 September 2011
16 Photos
Created 29 September 2011
Our first stop on our tour in the Southwest. Includes our trips to the Grand Canyon Caverns, Oatman and the county fair
10 Photos
Created 29 September 2011
We spent two months in Seattle and Sag Harbor
14 Photos
Created 29 September 2011
Lynn, Howard and Mike joined us touring Guymas, sies presidentes
3 Photos
Created 23 June 2011
Shells, dolfins
3 Photos
Created 23 June 2011
The sorst fish we caught, bonfire for s'mores, Kara at the cruisers shrine
3 Photos
Created 23 June 2011
Bosun swinging, whale shark and best buddies
6 Photos
Created 23 June 2011
Kara's birthday, including the cruiser's potluck.
6 Photos
Created 26 May 2011
Las Gatos with a whole group of cruisers, and then Chico all to Taking Flight.
5 Photos
Created 26 May 2011
San Gabriel started with Kara in her "jelly" suit, and our hike across the island.
6 Photos
Created 26 May 2011
A mangro tour with Panta Rhea
7 Photos
Created 26 May 2011
Kara enjoyed the beach, while Dave and Ann hiked the ridge.
10 Photos
Created 26 May 2011
Phoebe and Drake from Blue Sky, and Savannah from Endorfuin joined Kara decorating eggs.
5 Photos
Created 26 May 2011
Kara during the Tsunami, Kara and Pari scootering
4 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 27 April 2011
4 Photos
Created 27 April 2011
Kara on the Panga and riding her horse
4 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 27 April 2011
La Paz with Blue Sky and Endorfin.
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Created 20 December 2010

Taking Flight Adventures

Who: David Rhoades, Ann Sutphen and Kara Rhoades
Port: Seattle, Washington