Twas the night before Christmas and all through the Boat, not a creature was stirring, not even Tosh & Tikka!
...But wait! Before we get into the holidays, we need to catch you up on the past two-months since our last post: including a road trip through Mexico back to the states to renew visas and visit family, moving back aboard s/v Due West
after 9-months ashore, helping release sea turtles, the Festival of Guadalupe, a Winter Solstice Sunrise hike, and more.
Because there's so much to share, we're putting most of the photos and captions in the Photo Gallery
, with a preview below. Please flip through our Photo Gallery
for the whole story...
Tosh B'gosh is ready to PLAY at a moments notice, and ALL the world is a toy! He especially LOVES fetching his new red wrist band from Judy & Paul. What's even funnier is that although Tosh & Tikka had been off the boat for almost 9-months, once back aboard it was as if they'd never left. Not one second of adjustment period, they were just HOME. And Tosh went straight to the cupboard where we hide his favorite "Da-Bird" toy 9-months before, crying and scratching for us to get it out and PLAY! :-D Meanwhile Tikka just loves stretching out on her settee.
Road Trip Mexican Style
In early November, we hit the road to drive to Arizona to visit family and renew our Mexican tourist visas. Lots of interesting sights along the way and so great to visit Heidi's Dad Verne in northern AZ, her parents Jean & Pete and sister Kari in Tucson, and cruising friends along the way. Kirk also got to see an hold High School buddy Ray, fun to catch up!
Jajajajaja! (Hahahaha!) This is what it's like driving on the highways in Mexico... they turn a 2-lane road into 5 lanes or more! :-O
Hundreds of Old VW Bug parade through Mexico!
San Blas Cathedrals old and new.
A spectacular sunset greeted us back to the USA.
Family in Arizona
Heidi's dad Verne lives in New Mexico and drove up to meet us half-way (for a weekend in Flagstaff and Sedona), so we wouldn't have to be on the road for another 2-days. Thanks for a great weekend Dad! Meanwhile, Heidi's sister Kari was driving a U-Haul from Jackson Hole to Tucson area for Heidi's parents Jean & Pete. We rendezvoused with Kari in Flagstaff and Heidi rode in the U-Haul with Kirk in tandem.
Capitán Kirk and Verne at Wupatki National Monument, Arizona.
The moving crew: Kari, Pete, Kirk, Heidi, and Jean, unloaded boxes into the garage.
Thanks for a GREAT visit Jean/Mom and Pete and for being the mail-house central for so many cruisers!
Back Aboard Due West
Wahoo!! After nine-long months ashore, Kirk has been given a clean bill of health and A-OK to move back aboard Due West
. His post-stroke balance issues are virtually gone, and he's feeling 90% back to his old self. As you saw above, the gatos del mar LOVE LOVE LOVE being back home. And it's super nice for us as well. BIG THANKS to our friends Judy & Paul for their hospitality, and letting us condo-sit for them for five-months. PLUS for kitty-sitting for us while we made our road trip!
Besides loading up on hard-to-find boat parts, a trip back to the states always includes stocking up on our favorite gluten-free and organic foods from places like Trader Joe's and Thrive Market online (http://thrv.me/RMBtd1), not to mention high-quality cat food and cat litter which are impossible to find or very expensive in Mexico. Laundry and Dish soap in Mexico are also FULL of toxic chemicals and day-glow colors, so we load up on those as well. Now where to STOW everything!?!
HUGE shout-out of THANKS to our good friend Don from s/v Windcharmer who re-painted our whole head for us while we were gone! Kirk had been in the middle of this project when we learned he had a wire lose in his pacemaker and had to go under the knife, plus recovery time so our head sat half-done. Kirk was super-bummed as painting is one of his FAV tasks. We are so grateful to Don for stepping up to the plate, and to Lisa for being gracious about Don spending so much time on our behalf! Once we retuned, Kirk painted the two little accent walls RED. Why Red? Because we had our boat Fengshui-ed (is that a word?) and it turns out that our "Money Center" is in our Head!? Which is a NO beuno place to be... so they suggested adding RED to the head, along with a rock to "ground" our money center. We're going with it! :-D
Festival of Guadalupe & Sea Turtles Too
This festival stretches from December 1-12 every year, and Is one of the biggest celebrations in Puerto Vallarta. Check out last years blog post
where we go into more details on the event.
Mexicans LOVE to celebrate EVERYTHING! And Piñatas are a big part of their celebrations, these were being made for the Festival of Guadalupe.
We got to help out with a sea turtle release. Volunteers collect the eggs when they are laid, and incubate them in protected sanctuaries (out of the reach of birds, raccoons, and some poaching Mexicans who still consider them a delicacy.) Once they hatch, the baby turtles are kept for a few days to give them a better chance of survival, then released after sunset to keep the birds away. The sea turtles imprint on the sand that they crawl through on the way to the water, and will return to the same beach where they were released, regardless of where they were laid. The only have a 1% survival rate to full sexual maturity so any helping hand they can get is great. Heidi's toes for scale on just how LITTLE these cute little turtles are!
Merry-Merry, Feliz-Feliz, Paz-Paz
Due West is all decked out in her holiday finest as are we! We are thrilled that Seattle sailing friends Chris & Eric along with their daughters are visiting PV for the holidays, and we look forward to taking them out for a day sail this week. Kirk's first time out sailing since his stroke! We're also enjoying re-connecting with cruising friends who are returning to Banderas Bay for the holidays, including our old Elliott Bay Marina dock-mates Jill & Brent on s/v Cayuse.
Wishing everyone a Feliz Navidad y Feliz Año Nuevo, y Paz, Paz, Paz!
Capitán Kirk, Heidi, Tosh, & Tikka too!