Due West Adventures

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

27 June 2019 | Puerto Vallarta
22 May 2019 | Cienfuegos, Trinidad, y Viñales, Cuba
16 May 2019 | Canarreos Archipelago, Cuba
25 April 2019 | Havana, Cuba
17 March 2019 | Puerto Vallarta
25 December 2018 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
26 August 2018 | Puerto Vallarta MX, ABQ, NM, and SEA, WA
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

Interloping Iguanas & The Banderas Bay Sand Trap

27 June 2019 | Puerto Vallarta
Heidi & Kirk Hackler
Happy Summer!

We continue to re-live our amazing Cuban adventures, and feel so lucky to have visited just before the US once again slammed the door hard on Cuba, claiming that they are instigating unrest in Venezuela and Nicaragua. But if you have visited this small Caribbean nation, you'd know that's not very likely. If you missed our Cuba blog posts, please be sure to check them out. And if you're inclined to visit Cuba, you can fly there via Mexico or Canada. The Cuban government won't stamp your passport, just your Tourist Card that they keep before you depart. They'd still LOVE to have your tourism dollars. And our lovely tour guide Bel is waiting for your arrival! Let us know if you need more info.

Summer is here in Puerto Vallarta along with the heat and humidity. When we're out on the hook (anchored in a bay) the heat and humidity aren't such a big deal. The breeze generally cools things off, and we can always jump in the water and go for a swim.


We're grateful every day for our summer condo-sitting digs, beach walks, swims, and closer proximity to town.

Yet when we're at the dock in a marina (like we have been for the past couple of years), the heat and humidity become almost unbearable. Luckily we've once again been invited to condo-sit for our good friends Judy & Paul, which means not only do we have air conditioning, we also have laundry, hot showers, a life-size fridge and freezer, a beach, and five swimming pools! Wahoo!!


Summer Solstice POOL PARTY! Clockwise: Capi, Don, Heidi, Liz, Karla and Lisa.

The things that most of you take for granted in life, like being able to wash a load of clothes whenever you want, keep food frozen, or take a hot shower... not a reality aboard Due West or most cruising sailboats. So we're grateful for this opportunity, and Tosh & Tikka love running around the large condo, and finding new places to nap... but we also miss our sailboat-home.


Tikka napping on the bookshelf. It's a cat's life...

Speaking of Tosh & Tikka, they both got a clean bill of health from the vet this week... except that they both need to lose a bit of weight! So they're now on a pumpkin diet, and getting lots of exercise running around the condo. Tosh's cancer is either totally gone, or at least not causing him any problems (we have decided not to do another invasive procedure to find out for sure.) And he's acting like a normal, healthy 5-year old cat (how did they get to be that old?!) We are very grateful to Holistic Animal Remedies in Australia for their cancer-fighting homeopathic tinctures. They ship to the US within about a week to 10-days. Thanks Wai-Lin for cluing us into them as well!!


Tosh the guard-dog, er, uh, CAT! He's part Siamese and they were bred to be guards. True to his genes, he's always laying across the threshold of the boat companionway or condo door. Anyone who enters must be approved by Tosh first!

A few days before we moved into the condo Tosh & Tikka were SO perplexed by this interloper, they didn't know if they should chase it away or run and hide! Heidi finally shooed it off the boat and into the water because our guard-cat Tosh was looking like he would to attack it. Iguanas are great swimmers and climbers, but we'd never had one aboard before. Too funny!


Click the image to watch the video, it's pretty cool!

Kirk has been teaching a few people to meditate here in PV, and may soon be teaching meditation at a local retreat. He also visits Due West daily (a short 10-minute bus ride away), and keeps busy working on a myriad of boat projects, including installing our new cockpit shower so one day soon we'll have hot showers aboard too... Once we get the engine running again that is! Read on below about Michael P, our trusty engine that could... until it couldn't.



Heidi stays super active with her holistic wellness business Happy Well Lifestyle, blogging, co-writing a book on the benefits of eating an anti-inflammatory diet for auto immune diseases, and with Neal's Yard Remedies, where she's just been asked to be a speaker at their national conference. And she's still doing a bit of graphic design and web design for long-time clients.

Living at the condo also makes us a short 10-minute bus ride into town for beach yoga, urban hiking, and other festivities like the vibrant Pride Parade! We're really proud of this city for all the LOVE it gives back to the LGBT+ community. The police and military showed their support as well as hundreds of community members in floats and on foot in this hour-long colorful parade.



One of the things we love most about summer in PV is the tourist crowds significantly drop off and we practically have this lovely city to ourselves! Instead of 2-3 cruise ships a day, there is only one a week. So this is the perfect time to come down and visit us! July and August bring the Mexicans on vacation, as Nationals from around the country descend to play on la playa. The Mexican families love their beach-time.


Heidi, Kirk and Judy picking up plastic trash off the beach on World Ocean's Day, June 8th.

Unfortunately, some of the beach-goers don't consider cleaning up after themselves. We've been taking daily beach walks with our garbage bags and picking up lots of litter, and little bits of plastic on the beach. Sadly we're seeing all too much micro-plastic on the beach (almost the size of grains of sand--in neon blue, green, yellow, orange, red - we're pretty sure sand doesn't normally come in those colors!?) Knowing that seabirds and marine mammals are dying from stomachs full of plastic, it's really eye opening to see all the little bits of plastic on the beaches.


Just when we thought we were "done" collecting trash for the day, we turned the corner to see this pile of flotsam including a green toy car, that had washed down the river after the first big rain of the season. Foot for scale.

PLEASE consider alternatives to your single-use plastics, or better yet, no plastic at all. Think about where you can replace plastics with other options. There are now great alternatives like these biodegradable avocado-pit straws, reusable silicone "zip-lock" bags, and of course all types of reusable grocery bags. We both learned as kids to "always leave any place cleaner than you found it", and we're trying our best, but some days it feels like the plastic is winning.


The Mirador de la Cruz hiking club: Sharna, Liz, Heidi, Judy, Capitán. Though it's all stairs straight up from the water, the view from the top is spectacular and well worth it. Surprisingly after you've done the stair-climb a few days in a row, it actually gets easier?!

We've also been hiking up the Mirador de La Cruz, an urban stair-climb up above the city of Puerto Vallarta. It is a fantastic workout with a spectacular view as the reward. And we're picking up trash along that hike too. Part of the garbage issue is that PV has a very antiquated garbage collection system, where people pile their trash up on street corners every day. And the garbage trucks pick it up. Except when the bags get torn open by dogs or birds (luckily there aren't a lot of scavengers here), and what spills out doesn't always get picked up. So there is a lot of garbage along the streets, which seems to encourage people to just toss their trash anywhere they are.

One day we actually witnessed an older woman pick up an empty plastic water bottle off the sidewalk, and stuff it into the crook of a tree?! Everywhere we see garbage stuffed into bushes, shrubs, nooks, and crannies. It's the oddest thing!? Then again there are also very few garbage cans on the streets, and almost none at bus stops, where a lot of trash seems to accumulate. The trash problem is one of the few downsides we've found about PV.


Liz and Capitán picking up basura (trash) on the hike down from Mirador de la Cruz. Happy to have picked it up, but disgusted that we had to...

We also try to be conscious to not view Mexico through "US eyes." However, we've heard many Mexicans complain about this poor garbage collection system as well. And apparently PV is one of the last remaining Mexican cities to still be collecting trash this way. We just signed a local petition to revamp the garbage collection system here. Once rainy season starts (rapidly approaching), much of the trash ends up flowing down the streets as they become rivers, eventually making their way to the ocean. So the more we can clean up on the streets, maybe the less we'll have to clean up on the beach!



And now the moment you've all been waiting for. WTF is up with our engine?! Michael P Engine has been our trusty pal for 27-years and 3,000 hours. (That's one year longer than we've been married, we just celebrated our 26th anniversary!) With Kirk's diligent care, it's never failed us once. Until the camshaft and timing belt both broke over a year ago, and then we started replacing the engine bit-by-bit. As Kirk installed part after part, each time THIS was going to be the part that fixed everything... and then it wasn't. Many friends "muled" engine parts down to us when they visited, and for that we are grateful!


Cuz 4 hands are better than 2, Heidi got to help work on the engine too!

Turns out these ongoing engine issues were all caused by a microscopic leak of coolant (antifreeze) inside the front of the engine. It was in a part that was inaccessible, in an area that you just couldn't see unless you started dismantling the entire engine. This leak may actually have been there for years and years, or even since day-one. We don't know, and it was small enough that it didn't affect the coolant level. But when those tiny droplets of antifreeze hit the hot engine and evaporated, overtime that caused corrosion to the crankshaft, to the point where the oil pump seal can no longer seal against it. This is a BIG HUGE Bummer... It's leaking almost 1 quart of oil every 24-hours. Gulp...

What that means in lay-person terms, is that our engine is basically toast. In order to replace the crankshaft, we'd have to pull the whole engine up off the mounts, and there are so many parts to be removed in the process, most of which "should" be replaced if you're already going to have the engine pulled... and the parts for this old Perkins M50 just aren't available any more. A re-build would cost half or more of a new engine - and then we'd still be left with a 27-year old engine that could fail elsewhere at any time.


It's a family affair, ever the helper Tosh was also helping us work on Michael P Engine!

We're continuing our recon, and are open to suggestions from any engine experts out there. But at this point it's looking like we need to re-power... which costs about as much as buying a new car. YIKES!! That was NOT in the cruising budget. We truly thought Michael P would last forever. Or at least as long as we decided to cruise. So now we're leaving engine parts under our pillow in the hopes that the engine fairy will bring us money to buy a new one!? LOL...

In the meantime, we couldn't be "stuck" in a better locale. Although we do wonder about the Banderas Bay Sand Trap, and why the Universe won't let us leave yet?! Hum...

Hope you're all having a wonderful summer wherever this finds you. Check out more pix from this post in our gallery.

Tosh and Tikka send their love, as do we!


It's almost 5pm, Dad will be arriving in the metal box soon to make us dinner!

P.S. Leaving you with a little bathroom humor in case you're inclined to origami your toilet paper into a sailboat - pretty clever!

Vessel Name: Due West
Vessel Make/Model: Passport 40
Hailing Port: Seattle, WA
Crew: Captain Kirk & Heidi Hackler + Tosh & Tikka
About:
Captain Kirk and First-Mate/Navi-Girl Heidi untied the dock-lines in Seattle in August 2015 and set sail for Mexico with our two-kitty crew Tosh & Tikka. We've been in Mexico since then.  
 
Kirk grew up sailing in Seattle and has been boating his whole life. [...]
Extra: See pix of our boat here: Due West Interior Photos and in the Photo Gallery.
Home Page: http://svduewest.com
Due West's Photos - Sights & Sounds of Puerto Vallarta
Photos 1 to 65 of 65 | Main
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s/v <em>Due West</em> sung in her berth at Marina Vallarta.
We had a wonderful surprise visit from our nephew Tate (Heidi
Great day at the beach in Punta Mita with nephew Tate and extended family: Jack, Tate, Kirk, Heidi, Joan, and Mark.
The down-side of this nomadic sailing life we live is always saying "hasta luego." We met s/v Kenta Anae and crew: Matero, Allison, and Merle (and Shandro missing from photo) sailing last summer in the Sea of Cortez. These guys have pure hearts of gold, and the nicest, most outgoing, well-rounded teenagers we
More "hasta luegos" to our friends Lisa and Don on s/v Wind Charmer. They stayed with us for a night before flying back to the US for a month and we took in 3-D "Pirates of the Caribbean." Heidi will meet up with Lisa again in Orlando later this month when they attend their Neal
Tosh-the-Jungle-Cat loves how his stripes really camouflage him when he
Post haircut, "The Littlest Lion" lost about 2lbs in hair (or so it seemed). We know this photo is not the greatest quality, but it does show off his Kinky boots and Lion
Meanwhile Tikka the green-eyed lady lounges on her pink bed, finally warming back up to her brother whom she ignored for two-weeks straight post-hair cut. Not sure what she was so tweaked about, she
The lovely view from our amazing condo-sitting summer gig (THANKS Judy & Paul!) The views and scenery on the beach change daily, if not by the hour, or even by the minute sometimes. Anything goes on this beach... fun to watch and beach-walk along.
These cute little boys were so fun to watch. Before the niño in orange could ride the burro he had to walk it back and forth a bunch of times with his older brother riding it. Finally he could ride it with his brother, and he
Boot Camps and exercise programs happen on the beach most evenings. These head-stand dudes practiced for over an hour until they were finally all lined up together...then they had to go home and "wash that sand right outta their hair!"
Lots of LOVE and SUN on the beach in PV, lots of weddings too. This is a prime spot for wedding photography, and many destination weddings take place at the resort next door.
A bride on the beach...Beautiful.
The Captain being a "good-sam", every day we walk on the beach we pick up handfulls of trash. We
"OSHA-approved"... NOT! Another thing that has not caught on here is eye protection, ear protection, and respirators. We watched as 5+ guys used hatchets to whack-hack-thwack away the old tile and grout and make a smooth surface to re-tile the pool. They literally hacked away for 10-hours a day, 6-days a week, for 2-3 weeks... Unbe*¡*¡*lievable. Click this <a href="https://youtu.be/ieHh5C6c6qs" target="_blank"><u>link</u></a> , to check out the video including the soundtrack of our life for the past 2-3 weeks.
Our little bit of tropical paradise. With 5 swimming pools at the condo we
On the way home from yoga class one day Captain Kirk ran into a gang of banditos. Pretty nice guys...they weren
Umbrella ART at one of our favorite hangouts, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/La-Tostaderia-702794516467580" target="_blank"><u>La Tostaderia</u></a> (BEST tostadas in town!) BIG THANKS to proprietor Javier for creating this outdoor Art-space! Puerto Vallarta is full of ART and Javier wanted to give his patrons something beautiful to look at. He plans on changing up the art every couple of months.
Looks like this Bug parked too long and a palm tree sprang out of it
Nearby that VW bug this wall is covered in psychedelic flamingos, egrets, fish, snakes, bugs, and more. We pass this on our walk to the grocery store almost every day.
If you
A modern adaptation of Madonna & Child Mexican-style. Also note the painted tree trunk that lines up with the tree behind the wall (they do this a lot in PV), and the multi-colored ceramic bricks... not just "Another brick in the Wall."
A different sort of Madonna and Children? Or Native Mexican "St. Francis of Assisi" figure? We
This beautiful corner wall mural in Punta Mita celebrates the diversity of life in Banderas Bay, from frigate birds to blue-footed boobies, humpback whales to octopus and more...
This colorful humpback whale adorns the wall of another of our fav tostadarias, "Ocho Tostados" at Marina Vallarta. This family-owned chain of tostada stands all over PV has delicious fish, crab, and shrimp tostadas for only a few pesos.  Plus they have the BEST guacamole and pico de gallo (here they call it "Mexican salsa") we
There are amazing murals on walls ALL OVER Puerto Vallarta, like this one of "Uncle Albert."  Riding the buses around town we are often surprised to view new murals we hadn
Many of the city busses are decorated by the drivers themselves to their own personal tastes. This guy loved the Rolling Stones... Each bus has it
Often bus rides are accompanied by live musicians entertaining the riders for all or part of the ride, passing the hat for a few pesos. Talent ranges widely with some being awful to others being good. These guys on our 30-minute bus ride from Puerto Vallarta south to Boca de Tomatlán were some of the best we
The interior of this whole bus was RED including the LED lighting that turns on when the driver presses the break-peddle. His hand-carved coin-holder is decorated with the Virgin of Guadalupe. The "TUNEL" ("toon-el") sign indicates that this is an express bus taking the highway around the back-side of PV and through the mountain tunnel to Old Town, or Zona Romantica south of downtown PV, rather than stopping at every block along the malecon (ocean-front) in town. The words written on the window (far right in photo) are the major stops it makes. We
Another musician, another bus (this bus less full at this point but sure to fill up before the end of the line.) This guy (or his doppelganger) also plays every day at La Isla shopping mall just out side the back deck of the condo. We are serenaded daily by a mix of Peruvian Flute meets modern-music, whether we want to be or not. Click this <a href="https://youtu.be/gkVGbatSMOg" target="_blank"><u>link</u></a> to watch and listen:
The "Pink Bus" sends riders a mixed-message: Adorned with pink fringe curtains, an angel on the dashboard and pink-fringed Virgins of Guadalupe all over the ceiling...but what
Like in other parts of the world many Mexican shops sell only one type of item. Lots of cool baskets in this basket shop. We were looking for a new bed for Tikka, but unfortunately their prices were too much like Pier 1 prices in the US, so we
We
Super-Supplements meets the Vitamin-Shop Mexican Style—in the back of this truck under a blue tarp and a tree—you can find every type of vitamin, mineral, herb, and supplement imaginable, with  zero FDA oversight.
Because we try to eat as healthy as possible, because it
Many of the produce markets have these cool wooden bins and stock everything from Apples (manzanas) to Zanahorias (carrots).
Ever the good Sam (and engine mechanic too), Captain Kirk stopped to help an older Mexican gentleman on the street who was having engine trouble. Kirk was able to determine it was a fuel problem, but exactly what? Bad fuel? Clogged injectors? With out tools he couldn
Seen one hack-saw, seen
Another creative Mexican solution: the bell-ringing garbage man. Houses don
No, a bag of aluminum cans didn
YES we
SO PROUD of Puerto Vallarta for having one of the largest LGBTQ communities south of San Francisco, and throwing an amazing PRIDE Parade including the original Rainbow flag from the first Pride Parade in SF. The next day was the Drag Queen competition including: song and dance, rock-climbing wearing a dress, running down cobblestone streets in stilettos carrying a tray full of cocktails, and a blind-folded piñata smack-down of a neighboring country
Dame Edna, er-uh, Pearl! Resident PV Drag Queen from Tuna, Texas, all decked out for the Pride Parade. You can see Pearl perform weekly at Incanto Piano Bar [http://www.incantovallarta.com/] where she calls out Bingo numbers for charity fundraisers, interspersed with tales of life in Tuna, Texas... Most FUN you can have on a Saturday night in PV while fundraising for local charities!
Many parts of the hillside in downtown Puerto Vallarta are too steep to drive up. So these would-be-streets are beautifully landscaped with stairs, benches, terraces, and trees and shrubs in planters. When it rains  these hillsides turn into a man-made "river-beds".
One of the artfully decorated stairs on the PV hillsides. As you follow these stairs up there are hearts along the way, ending in a glass mosaic of hearts outside someone
View of Iglesia Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Lady of Guadalupe cathedral) as we walk from yoga to catch the bus. The red tile roof is actually at eye-level and we have to duck below it walking down the sidewalk, or be clocked in the head! Clear passages on sidewalks are definitely not up to code in this town.
We could hear the church bells from this little church in the Versailles neighborhood from the guest house where we were staying. When they have big events like funerals or weddings, they block off the street with cars and set up chairs in the street to accommodate more people! No permits from the city, they just do it.
Architecture in PV includes everything but the kitchen-sink: architectural elements, arches, columns, window shapes, door shapes, wrought iron railings, ornate tiles,  paint colors and more...This house included nearly one of everything
We often walk past this super-cool door on our way to Costco. One day as we were looking at it about to take a photo, it opened! So we asked the owner permission to take a photo of their door. This extra-wide door swings open on a pivot point with 2/3 of the door on one side of the pivot. Amazing dove-tail precision.
Most homes in PV have some type of decorative gate at the entrance...we though this one combined with the ceiling, doorway, tiles on stairs, and paint colors was particularly interesting. If you
Mexicans are big on decorations, including door knockers, door knobs, handles, key holes, etc.
Classic doors abound. This massive door is right on the Malecon, surrounded by night clubs and restaurants and constantly beat upon by ocean breezes, sun and rain.  If this ornate old door could talk it would likely tell some good stories.
We loved the marine animal carvings on this beautiful door. Everywhere you look, a unique door or window appears...
The reflection of Heidi
We
Speaking of arches in walls, so cool that they made a little archway for the tree roots to protrude through this wall, saving the tree (which would likely not be done in the US.) Too bad the wall has been graffitied, we don
Monstrous Banyan trees are found all over PV with their roots and trunks merging into one.  Roots actually grow down from the branches until they reach the earth and take root. New roots fill in becoming trunk-like, supporting the large branches.
Coco... young coconuts ready to be harvested for their coconut water: just lop off the top with a machete, insert a straw, and drink. Don
Vibrant colors everywhere here... the colors of this beautiful Tiger Lily match Heidi
Heidi is off to teach her first class in Restorative Yoga at Davanna Yoga.
Captain Kirk and other students comfortably relaxing in Heidi
Preparing to perform 108 Sun Salutations (in 4 sets of 27) with Anna at Davanna Yoga, to greet the Summer Solstice—which also happens to be the International Day of Yoga. Why 108? It
View of Iglesia Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe all lit up in the early morning light (0730) from yoga at Los Arcos (the arches) on the Malecon...
Our friend and fellow yogini Sam (far left) teaching yoga at Ángel Yoga on the beach downtown. This is the class that Heidi will be substitute teaching for the next couple of weeks (en Español!) while Sam goes back to Canada to visit her family.
Puerto Vallarta never fails to provide amazing sunsets... and we never tire of watching them. Adios el sol, hasta mañana!
 
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