Kasasa

22 March 2015 | (actually writing this from Nanaimo)
26 February 2015 | Punta Perula, Chamela Bay
01 February 2015 | Punta Perula, Mexico
21 January 2015 | Punta Perula, Chamela Bay, Mexico
04 January 2015 | San Blas
02 December 2014 | Guaymas (Boat Yard) Mexico
21 November 2014 | Guaymas, Mexico
17 November 2014 | Guaymas, Mexico
01 November 2014 | Page, Arizona
30 October 2014 | Page, Arizona
28 October 2014 | Moab, Utah
23 October 2014 | Colorado
18 October 2014 | Rapid City, South Dakota
18 October 2014 | South Dakota
22 May 2014 | Nanaimo, BC
10 April 2014 | Somewhere in Oregon
27 March 2014 | Guaymas, Mexico
12 March 2014 | La Paz, Baja, Mexico
04 March 2014 | San Blas, Mexico
04 March 2014 | San Blas, Mexico

Homeward Bound - Again!

22 March 2015 | (actually writing this from Nanaimo)
Ellen
Photo: Riding behind a truck of Roma Tomatoes wondering if any will fall off as the truck navigates the pothole ridden highway - can't imagine what the ones on the bottom of the pile look like!

Well we had to finally pry ourselves off of the beach and make our way home. Our visa's were only weeks away from expiring so time to go. We made only a few stops heading north to Guaymas, one of which was our 2nd favourite RV'ing place; Lo de Marcos. Had a good visit with friends we had made further south and after 2 last days on the beach said our goodbyes and drove to the boat for a quick visit.
At the boat all looked in order and we cleaned up a few things and said our goodbyes and jumped in the van for the 3200 km drive ahead of us. The last few hours on the highway and I was getting excited about getting off of the bumpy Mexican highways even though we were on the expensive toll roads they still are not the best.
At the boarder we went into the line up for RV's. This was going to be a new experience for us. The inspection guy asked us questions about the various things we were carrying foodwise and then asked about pesticides. Well we were carrying some Ant Poison which we bought in Mexico in an unmarked plastic bag in a hardware store. Works like a hot dam too! Anyhow we said yes we had this stuff well now we have to go back to Mexico to dispose of it. He was nice and said we didn't have to go back via the van and that him and another boarder guy would walk Ian and the poison to the Mexican boarder and Ian could go and get rid of it however - just not in the USA. So off they went and they didn't even get to the boarder when just along the fence between the US and Mexico some guys asked Ian what he had and when he told them they were more than happy to relieve him of it. So he didn't have to return to Mexico after all.
The rest of the trip home was pretty uneventful. We made a 2 day stop in Phoenix to visit my cousin and her husband. Saw their lovely condo there and enjoyed a great visit. From there we just drove north. Starting about 8 or 9 in the morning and driving till about 5. Easy days and driving in the van is so easy. When your hungry you stop and cook something - want coffee same - tired just pull into a casino, rest stop or walmart for a free nights sleep. Made in home about 4 days later.
We stopped at various friends in Vancouver to catch up and visit and then came over to the Island to get organized to start work next week. We will be living in the van in the Living Forest Campground until the end of April and then we will be house sitting until mid July. Not sure where we will be after that but I know something will come up it always does.

Winding Down

26 February 2015 | Punta Perula, Chamela Bay
Ellen
Since the last blog we have been to the interior of Mexico and come back. Not exactly as we had planned to do it but enjoyable all the same.
We left here on the 10th of Feb. and headed south along the coast. We had to make a stop in Manzanillo to provision and get a few other things done. We happened to be at our last stop before continuing south, when Ian started up the van and it make a big racket. It ran but sounded awful. He looked at belts and obvious stuff but couldn't spot the problem. He went out on the lookout for a mechanic. Lucky for us there was a shop across the road. The mechanic came over and poked around in the engine and started it up. He diagnosed a loose sparkplug which is sort of what it turned out to be. If only it were that simple! What actually happened is the sparkplug must not have been properly installed and overtime it worked itself loose and ruined the threads along the way. Because of where the engine is and because it was the furthest away plug a simple job of rethreading was complicated because they couldn't line up straight to do the job. It needed a heliocoil and in order to do it right the engine had to come out! Another mechanic came and looked at it because our mechanic wasn't set up to do that job (he is really just a tire shop), anyhow all of this took 2 days to get a quote done. In the meantime, we stayed in the van inside the mechanic's shop. At 8pm when he closed he would lock us in for the night (we had an emergency escape) and at 8am we were unlocked.
They told us the job would take about a week. Now what? We could either rent a hotel in Manzanillo for the week - not something we really wanted to do, or instead rent a car and do at least a part of the interior trip that we had planned. So that's what we did and had an awesome time too.
We drove south to Playa Azul and then headed inland from there. Our first stop was in Patzcuaro. A beautiful little historical town full of beautiful 400 year old architecture. Lots of churches and historical hotels. You could hardly walk 20 feet and there was a cafe with pastries to temp you, or a cart selling tamales. There were several town squares which every Mexican town has, but here there was a main plaza and a block out almost either way another smaller square. One of those squares had more street food that I think I've ever seen. We ate at one place and I was quite disappointed in the quality. But on another evening we found one that made up for it. We did lots of wandering around looking at shops and churches and going into the hotels just to see what they were like. Our hotel was pretty awesome especially for the price. Less than 50 bucks a night and we were right on the main Plaza.
From there we went to Morelia just for the afternoon and one night. Beautiful colonial town which almost looked European. Saw one of the more beautiful churches I've ever seen - Cathedral de Morelia. Our hotel there was very modern inside an old exterior.
Next day we set out to Anganguero which is the town close to the Butterfly Sanctuary Sirrea Chincua. We found ourselves a hotel and then discovered our friends Anne, Dick, Fran and Jean-Guy were in town only a few blocks away. We were scheduled to meet up in a few days in Patzcuaro but got lucky and spent some extra time together. The first day we went to the sanctuary, it turned out to be a cloudy day and the butterfles just stayed in their clumps opening their wings if the sun came out. The need a few hours of sunshine to warm up so that they can fly. It's mating time and they want to fly but have to have that sunshine. After about 4 hours we decided to call it a day as the clouds showed no sign of going anywhere. We had hired a guide for the day so he took us to another village where we had a tour of one of the old gold and silver mines.
Next day Ian and I were heading out back to Morelia and Patzcuaro but we woke up to a blue sky and lots of sunshine! We couldn't resist so we returned to the sanctuary and were rewarded with lots of open clusters of the Monarchs and lots flying around. We had arranged to meet up with an old friend in Morelia for coffee so we didn't linger more than a couple of hours. Glad we got to see them in the sunshine.
We met up with an old friend/coworker of mine from 25 years ago! Coincidentally him and his wife were also in the area and I found on on Facebook that they were there. It was fun to see him again and to meet his wife. 25 years really dosen't feel so long ago! From there we returned to Patzcuaro for a few more nights. We went to Santa Clara de Cobre a town near by which seems to just work with copper. Every store in town sells copper ware and if you walk down the side streets you hear banging everywhere which is how they work the copper by pounding on it. Tough job - it takes 2 full days to make a bathroom sink which sells for just over 50 dollars! Beautiful stuff.
On day 9 we turned the car around and headed back along the same track we came, back to Manzanillo and our van which was now ready and waiting for us. We decided to come back to Punta Perula because with the expense of fixing the van and staying in hotels and renting a car, our inland budget was spent. In a few more days we will leave here and head north. A few stops here and there including at the boat, and then we hit the US and make a run for home. It's not going to be a sightseeing trip on the way home. Hope to be back in BC for mid March.
I posted a new gallery of photos called Patzcuaro so have a look

Raining in Paradise

01 February 2015 | Punta Perula, Mexico
Ellen
Photo: Me in line at the fruit and vegetable truck that comes here twice a week. We also have a weekly beer truck too!

It was (is) a dark and stormy night… Yes we are sitting here in the van and it's pouring outside with some lightning and thunder as well. We were up in the lounge area watching the Superbowl (well I was just there hanging out not watching cause football is not my thing) when the rain started and then the signal for the satellite tv got lost. So the big party is kinda slowly starting to deteriorate. Oh well not all things are the way you want them I guess.
So yes we are still here in Punta Perula Chamela Bay. It's been a busy week with lots going on besides all the regular stuff like yoga and whatnot. Ian went with a group of people to a river where they launched Kayaks and kayaked the 15 kilometres to the ocean. Ian was in one of the trucks dropping off and picking up people but he was happy to be on the river seeing lots of birds and things. The next day, I went with a group to a village near Tenacatita Beach and we spent the morning at the local baker's house getting a demonstration on making Boillos stuffed with cream cheese and halpeno peppers. They also made a big pot of Pozole Soup for us. After a wonderful lunch with lovely hosts, we bid our farewells and headed to Tenacatita Beach for some snorkelling and swimming. On our way back to camp, we stopped in at Agua Caliente which is a river and along the banks there are hot springs coming out. It was a great day and I especially enjoyed seeing how a Mexican family lives and works in their small village.
The next day Ian and I set out for a day in Barra de Navidad where our friends Connie and Ed are in the marina and had invited us to come spend the day at the pool with them. We arrived early and had a great day swimming and hanging around the pool visiting. Lots of other cruisers there as well. At 5 there was a cruiser pot luck so we attended that and got to see lots of our friends that we have made over the past 4 years. Lots of fun. We spent the night in the van in the marina parking lot so that the next day we could continue our visits. Saw Anne and Dick from Full & Bye, Ian and Diane from Salish Sea, Jake and Sharon from Jake and lots of others too.
So as you can see we are not bored at all! In fact some days there is too much to do. We are down to our last week being on the beach as we plan to head inland on the 10 of this month. Really looking forward to seeing some of the sights we have heard about over the years but have not been able to get too.

"You can check-out any time you like but you can never leave"

21 January 2015 | Punta Perula, Chamela Bay, Mexico
Ellen
Photo: Most of us in the Trailer Park save our scraps and feed them to the local pigs.

We came for 2 days and here it is 2 weeks later and we are still here in Punta Perula! And we are going to stay for a third week!
We arrived here with the intention of staying a few days to see if we knew any cruisers in the bay and then we were going to go to La Manzanilla and camp there as it's always been one of our favourite places. Well within an hour of arriving (we happened to arrive right at happy hour and were welcomed with open arms) we had decided to stay a week. Then it got close to the end of the first week and we paid for another. We decided to take a drive to La Manz one day and we looked at the campgrounds there and were so not impressed with them that we decided to just stay put. Here we have clean washrooms and showers, there - nothing, we have power - there - nothing, and here we have a fun bunch of people who enjoying doing things and have games and crafts and yoga and language classes happening. So I am in my element and Ian just loves to go fish on the beach every day. He does participate in some of the activities but not as many as me.
The water is really warm right now and has been pretty clear. We snorkeled in 30 feet of visibility the other day. There are a few jelly fish around but I wear my suit so I'm okay. Ian has only caught a few fish so far but none of them what we consider good eating. He lets them go if he can and if not a lot of the Mexican's are happy to take them.
The little town is as of yet mostly untouched by tourism and remains just a working Mexican town. There are some stores selling beach wear and beach toys but this is a holiday destination for the Mexicans. They flock here during Christmas and Easter and in the summer months. It's really nice to sit on the beach and not have someone trying to sell you something every five minutes. Don't know how long it will stay this way but we are enjoying it for now.
We have had some friends come in on their boats and we have gone out for the day with Connie and Ed on Sirena to one of the local islands. Another boat Salish Sea with Diane and Ian were in and we swam out to have a visit with them. So that makes it interesting too watching every day to see who comes into the anchorage.
For now our plan is to stay here until the end of the month and then we will go a bit further south before heading inland.

Cruising to a Different Beat

04 January 2015 | San Blas
Ellen
Photo: Ian standing besides some rows of roma tomatoes. From a distance they almost look like grape vines.

After working diligently for a month and a half on Kasasa, we made a complete change of plans for our winter cruising season. It was getting chilly in the Sea as the north winds had started to blow, and we were wanting to get back to Tenacatita having decided we wanted to be in warmer climes. We have a short season this winter due to our visa's expiring so we need to be out of Mexico by the 3rd week of March. This wouldn't leave us with enough time to cruise to Tenacatita and back since I'm such a fair-weather cruiser. Weather windows and the distance of almost 900 miles each way would make it a tough slog. So we decided to just land cruise down there since we have such a great camper van and we are only a few days of driving away. And the bonus is we can do some inland trips we have often talked about doing by bus now we can camp and drive where we want.
If your reading this blog and thinking to yourself "this is supposed to be about sailing and cruising not camping" well sorry but we still feel like we are cruising even though it's a different means of transportation. Granted there are some differences like having to gas up the van and pay for camping most of the time but the rest is the same. We do the same things and we meet new people every day and we try to interact with the locals when we can.
We are trying out new areas that are not possible to get a sailboat into. We were in Teacapan which is a tiny fishing village at the mouth of a very large estuary. We walked into the town and found it to be a friendly place with a good street taco stand where we both had 2 tacos and a soft drink for 5 dollars total! Ian bought himself a machete for 5 bucks so he can now cut coconuts when we find them on the beach.
The drive since about 200 miles south of Guaymas has been lush and green as we are driving through the bread basket of Mexico. It's been fields and fields of tomatoes, peppers, greenhouses, orchards and corn. I guess we must have hit high farming season as everything is so green. The roma tomatoes grow on vines like grapes back home, rows and rows of them.
Today we packed everything up and decided to head to the town of San Blas where we are now. It's always been a favourite of ours so we want to experience it as RV'ers see if it's different or just the same great place.
Our plan is to follow the coast down to Tenacatita, spend a few weeks there and mid Feb, we will go inland for a couple of weeks and then start making our way north. So if you want to follow along on our new adventure, we welcome you. Just remember, we are still cruisers so our plans are still written in sand at low tide!

Work work work!!!

02 December 2014 | Guaymas (Boat Yard) Mexico
Ellen
Now really people... I do not need an intervention!! I like my happy hour but it turns out I like my happy hour on a shinny clean boat! Since my last post, I've been so busy buffing and waxing Kasasa I can hardly type let alone lift my glass at the end of the day. But the end is in site. I hope to be done with 3 more hours of work to go. It's a physically hard job to clean and wax the boat especially when doing it by hand. But I have to say it's one of those jobs that I get satisfaction from. I love the feel of the wax as you rub it in and the hull gets smoother and smoother. Ian always said I'm about 'instant gratification' and this is really that. Wax on Wax off...
In the meantime, Ian has been busy doing other boat maintenance projects. It's year number 5 and we thought it prudent to do some things to the boat to keep her in shape. We have replaced all the bolts in the toerail... that's over 250 bolts folks, changed out half of the rigging (the other half will do next season), re run some plumbing due to issues we were having, installed the new depth sounder which included running new wires and a new transducer and making a new bracket to fit the new sounder, checked the chainplates for cracks and found none, replacing hose clamps, checking and replacing impellers as needed and the list goes on, still a few things to be done. I would dearly love to have the boat painted but not in the budget this year will re look at next year.
So that pretty much sums up what we have been doing - oh yeah that and enjoying happy hour every night mostly with our good friends Fran and Jean Guy on Gosling. They have their own list of jobs and should be in the water in a week or so. For us, we plan on taking a week off next week and spending it in San Carlos as some friends from Vancouver are coming to visit. So we probably won't be back in the water till close to Christmas. After that our plans are pretty fluid, we will cruise around the Sea until end of March and then put the boat to bed in early April but that is still a few months away.
Vessel Name: Kasasa
Vessel Make/Model: Endurance 35
Hailing Port: Vancouver, British Columbia
Crew: Ellen Gallant and Ian Shepherd
About: Ian was born in South Africa and grew up on the water. He has been sailing for many years including some offshore crewing on various yachts. Ellen was born on the Prairies and the first time she was on a sailboat she was terrified but seems to have conquered her fear - well mostly.
Extra: Our long term goal: Sail off into the sunset... In the meantime, we are continuing to work on our boat, and at our jobs in order to fund that goal. We have been planning this trip for many years, but in the last 4 years we have gotten more 'serious' about it. We plan on leaving in October of 2010.
Kasasa's Photos - San Sebastien
Photo 11 of 46 | Back To Album
Prev   Next
Inside the kitchen.
Inside the kitchen.
Added 28 March 2012