Due West Adventures

The sailing adventures of Captain Kirk & Heidi, Tosh and Tikka Hackler . . .

01 May 2018 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
24 December 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco Mexico
02 November 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
11 October 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
16 September 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
29 June 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, MX
26 May 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, MX
07 April 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, MX
26 February 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, MX
30 January 2017 | La Cruz, Nayarit, MX
24 December 2016 | Banderas Bay, Mexico
20 December 2016 | Banderas Bay
27 November 2016 | La Paz, B.C.S. Mexico
14 November 2016 | Bahia San Carlos Mexico
17 October 2016 | San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico
30 September 2016 | San Javier, B.C.S.
25 September 2016 | Puerto Escondido, B.C.S Mexico
12 September 2016 | Puerto Escondido, B.C.S Mexico

Sea Changes

01 May 2018 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
Check out more images in our Photo Gallery.

OK, we're getting a little gun-shy about making plans! As you've heard us say before, our plans are written in sand at low tide. But it seems that as soon as we write down any so-called plans, things start to go sideways on us. And this spring was no different.

If you read our last post, we were planning to race Due West in Banderas Bay Regatta, and then head back up to the Sea of Cortez for a few months this spring. But the week before the regatta, just as MEXORC (another regatta) was happening here in the bay, Kirk found himself back in the hospital again due to an intestinal infection combined with electrolyte imbalance. No bueno!

While it was a significant ordeal at the time, thankfully he's made another full recovery and we've learned a LOT about our own physiology, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies in the meantime. We've also learned about the MTHFR gene mutation (that may have played a part in causing Kirk's stroke last year), and that as we age the body doesn't always absorb all the nutrients it used to. Add to it all, that as soils become depleted of minerals many foods are much less nutrient rich than they used to be. Heidi wrote about all this on her Happy Well Lifestyle blog, which you can read here: Vitamin & Mineral Deficiency: Are You Deficient? If a holistic health coach and Capitán Kirk can be deficient, anyone can be. So we hope our experience and this article can help some of you.

As you'll learn from Heidi's recent articles, we found that we're both deficient in several key nutrients--vitamins and minerals, plus protein. So along with taking supplements to help get our nutrient numbers back up more quickly we've had to become omnivores again. This dietary change hasn't been easy on us after being vegetarian/vegan for 30 years (Heidi) and 45 years (Kirk). Happily Kirk is thriving on eating meat and says he feels 10-years younger in just a few weeks! The jury is still out for Heidi, but she's sticking with it for now. As Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world", and we have a lot of change left to affect in this lifetime. So although we both became vegetarians for ethical reasons, if we need to eat some meat to help us get healthy again, then that's what we'll do...for now.

These health setbacks along with continued engine issues has meant we won't be making another trip to the Sea of Cortez this spring after all. After the new timing belt was installed, and the freshwater and saltwater pumps were rebuilt and re-installed, the engine started right up. Yay!!.... Oh, wait... there's no water coming out of the exhaust?! Uh oh... And so when Kirk and our trusty engine mechanic Omar (and his assistant Tosh!) took another look, they found that our camshaft was broken--in three places!?! Something as strong as a camshaft should not break, especially not into three pieces! There is evidence to suggest that it was a faulty casting and was likely bad from the get-go, 28 years ago! So we're now working with Perkins UK, on getting a new camshaft. Until that happens, Due West is sitting in her slip, Jonesing to get out sailing again soon!! Thankfully Puerto Vallarta isn't such a bad place to be stuck...

Meanwhile, after 45-years as a meditator, and six-months of studying ancient Indian Vedic wisdom through the Chopra Center in San Diego (online), Kirk has just graduated as a Primordial Sound Meditation Teacher. Over 40-years of scientific research has shown that meditation is an effective way to reduce stress, improve health, and enhance intuition and decision making. Kirk is excited to teach anyone who wants to learn mantra meditation or deepen their existing mantra practice, so let him know if you're interested. He will be teaching online via Zoom, and in person where ever we are.

Heidi is continuing to grow her online wellness business, HappyWellLifestyle.com, and is super-excited about adding I Thought of You, fair-trade and sustainable jewelry, gifts, and accessories to her online shopping experience. Each purchase creates the opportunity of food, water, shelter, education, quality of life, and dignity to people in developing countries around the globe. I Thought of You dovetails perfectly with Neal's Yard Remedies organic, fair-trade, sustainable health and beauty products. Please take a look at these awesome products, and consider shopping with Heidi for Mother's Day gifts...it supports a great cause. In addition to her own blog, she's also ghost-writing and freelance blogging for several other companies. Oh, and she couldn't resist picking up a Dos Piños guitar at the market from this nice old Mexican guitar-maker...now she just has to remember how to play. It's been about 35 years!

So great to see Jimmy & Robin, has it really been 20-years since we'd first raced together on s/v Charisma!?

We've loved all the visits from friends and family this winter and spring. So much fun to hang out with our tribe, sailing framily Frosty & Patti, and April & Zak, and we're looking forward to seeing John & Carol here soon too! Our long-time racing friends Jimmy & Robin were here for Banderas Bay Regatta. Gratitudes to Kirk's old work buddy and mentor Roger and his wife Kay who kindly brought down our mail and some Amazon.com items from Seattle when they visited last month. And we loved our quick hug and lunch at the airport with our nephew Tate and his Dad Mark when they flew through on their way to Sayulita. Kirk also had a couple of high school friends visit PV, and it was fun to meet up with them as well. Puerto Vallarta is a mecca for people from the Pacific Northwest, and as we were waiting for our nephew at the airport, we randomly saw another Seattle acquaintance who happened to be on his same flight.

Great to catch up with our nephew Tate as he backpacked through Central America on his gap year. Check out this cool experiential program Carpe Diem Education that he participated in volunteering in several countries.

Spring is the time of year that sailors typically leave Banderas Bay to continue cruising. Many of our close cruising friends have set sail across the oceans, to the South Pacific, and the Caribbean, or back north to the Sea of Cortez before hurricane season starts up. One of the difficult things about the Cruising lifestyle is always saying goodbye as friends sail off to distant lands. But thanks to the Internet, we can keep up with them via their sailing blogs and social media. And a few friends are summering in Banderas Bay as well.

To celebrate Earth Day we started the day with 22 Sun Salutations, then walked the docks at our marina scooping out lots of trash with a fish net. Although there's certainly some intentional litter, the majority of litter in the marina comes from people setting plastic cups or water bottles on the dock, likely intending to take them up to the basura (trash), but invariably the wind blows them into the water first. So we always carry a trash bag with us walking the beaches and pick up trash when ever we can. Mexico is a lovely country full of brilliant colors, delicious food and drinks, and wonderful people and festivals...but also a HUGE plastic problem. At least many local restaurants are doing their part to stop using plastic straws. Americans use 500 MILLION plastic straws a day, and many of those end up in the ocean. So if you must use a straw, check out this cool re-usable straw that fits on your keychain!

A refreshing reward (sans-straws!) at El Barracuda with Judy & Paul, after a walking the beach, picking up trash.

We'll be condo-sitting for friends on the beach again this summer and are looking forward to our daily beach-walks, watching sea turtles hatch, and picking up more trash along the way. We LOVE our yoga practice at the beach three times a week, plus Pilates reformer classes which are the best workout we've ever done. A Pilates reformer class is a must-try if you really want to get in shape!

We still hope to sail south in November, but we don't want to jinx our plans, so you didn't hear it here. Happy Spring to all of you. Tikka and Tosh would love you to come and visit any time, PV is a wonderful town!

Check out more images in our Photo Gallery.
Vessel Name: Due West
Vessel Make/Model: Passport 40
Hailing Port: Seattle, WA
Crew: Captain Kirk & Heidi Hackler + Tosh & Tikka
Captain Kirk grew up sailing on Lake Washington and has been boating his whole life. He has been racing sailboats for about 40 years, including two Vic-Maui races (from Victoria, BC to Maui, Hawaii), one in 1990, and the other on Due West in 1996. [...]
You can see pix of our boat here: Due West Interior Photos and in the Photo Gallery. Our racing friends call us "The [...]
Home Page: http://svduewest.com
Due West's Photos - Hurricane Newton Part II: Auditioning for The Blue Man Group
Photos 1 to 38 of 38 | Main
Clip from diver Carlo’s video showing the hole in the bottom of the foam-filled rudder. Luckily (amazingly) the rudder did not fill with water in the 24 hours before we hauled her out.
A few dings and holes in the fiberglass, no gelcoat or bottom paint left on the trailing edge of the keel.
George and Kirk tending lines while Due West was being hauled out of the water. We needed four line handlers, port and starboard, bow and stern (kinda like going through the Panama Canal...but not!) Ruth was a huge help onboard Due West tending lines, then jumped ship to grab a line on shore when the boatyard
First glimpses (face-to-face) of the damage as Due West is hauled out of the water. She actually looked ‘less bad’ out of the water than the diver’s video had indicated (remember, water magnifies things by 25%!)
Due West on the jack-stands just after haul-out. Even with all the damage and dried on sea slime...she
Mid-day lenticular cloud over the Sierra Gigantes. The boat yard is off to the far right, the new marina owners are pouring lots of dollars into the guard-shack (far left) making it uber-fancy. We
Dried on sea-slime and baby barnacles  are difficult to remove once they
An early start to the day is rewarded with a beautiful sunrise over Hotel Tripui pool.
Kirk all suited up for a LONG, HOT day at the boatyard...sadly it was futile to try to keep the blue dust out...but we suited up faithfully and did the best we could.
Heidi donned mask, gloves, and eye protection for hand-sanding the waterline and was mostly OSHA approved too, but couldn
Kirk decided to audition for the Blue Man Group. Although all geared up to OSHA standards, somehow that blue paint dust permeated everything! Did we mention it was 98° in the SHADE, and Tyvek doesn
The Blue Man all suited up and sanding the bottom. The two peaks in the background are "The Mamoth" (on the left) and "The Gorilla" (on the right). They are facing each other as if having a conversation.
Our Mondrian Blue bottom, prepped and ready for paint... Heidi
Just can
Tripui Hotel and pool, a brightly colored oasis in the Baja desert.
Happy 69th Birthday to Captain Kirk! We had a FUN pool party to celebrate with fellow cruisers (left to right): George, Larry, Judy (front), Ruth (back), Boni, John, Heidi. The Birthday boy took the photo!
After a long day of boat work it was nice to be rewarded by beautiful sunsets.
Tikka-Pepita-Salulita-Margarita enjoying a nap on the giant king-size bed at Hotel Tripui.
In addition to the obvious food and litter-box, we also brought the furbie
Giant Silk Moths were everywhere just after the hurricane. The cats loved chasing them (thanks Boni for the hand model!)
Ouch! That hurt! Leading edge of the keel is down to bare fiberglass, missing gel coat, barrier coat, and bottom paint in places.
George and Kirk lay down the first layers of fiberglass matting on the leading edge of the keel. Many more layers to go…
George graffitied the keel with his sander before grinding down the damage to begin repairs. More laters of fiberglass matting being laid-up.
George expertly adding layer upon layer of fiberglass resin and matting, this time to the damaged rudder and skeg. He moved back-and-forth between the keel and rudder over many days, taking advantage of curing times between the many layers.
Fiberglass matting done, time for gelcoat (resin with white pigment) creating a smooth surface covering the resin soaked matting.
Fiberglass matting going on the rudder, note the errant fibers on George’s hand. He was rarely OSHA approved!
Next up, barrier coat (gray) over the keel repaired area, which seals the porous gelcoat making it ready for bottom paint.
Fiberglass and gelcoat layers done, and on with the barrier coat (gray). Next up, bottom paint…
Another gorgeous sunrise over the Sierra Gigante mountains. The beautiful scenery around here made the whole repair/boatyard experience much more tenable.
BIG THANKS to Kimi & Trevor for picking up spare parts in San Diego for us, and selling us a gallon of their blue bottom paint. And thanks to Tim for the hand-held GPS too! :-)
FINALLY ready for bottom paint...John (s/v Ingenium) and Heidi tackle the keel with BLUE.
It was just tooooo damn hot for Heidi to keep her Tyvek suit on, so she got blue speckled too!
Look at that BLUE, better than new! THANKS SO MUCH George (and Ruth for your patience!), we are forever grateful!
After a late night painting in the dark (because it was finally cool enough that the bottom paint wouldn
Finally! All repaired, zinced, and painted, Due West is ready for splashing!
And she
We SO MUCH appreciate and are truly humbled by all of the well wishes, love, and incredible support from our friends and family as we made our limes into Limonada, blue limonada that is! We even named a drink after this whole experience, Due West On The Rocks! Cheers to ALL of you!!