Due West Adventures

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

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
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.

Feliz Navidad

25 December 2018 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
Happy Christmas 2018!

After a bit of radio silence this fall, we're back to wish you a Merry Christmas, and to catch you up on what we've been up to for the past few months. No, we have not sailed off the edge of the earth... just enjoying Mexico and life as it flies by!

As they say in Mexico "It got late." One of the things we've been doing the past six months is taking Spanish classes and doing homework. Here we've learned that WE are not late, no need to apologize, "it GOT late." Se hizo tarde. The Spanish language apparently doesn't have a direct translation for the word "accountability", and without the word, there isn't really the concept of accountability either. So when someone doesn't show up to work on your boat as scheduled, "Se hizo tarde." They aren't late, it just GOT late, not their fault. Manaña doesn't mean tomorrow, it just means not today. Luckily we can do most boat projects ourselves.

No height-freight here... Heidi loves going aloft to do projects on the mast and rigging. Good thing too, because it's much easier for Kirk to grind her up with the winch than for her to grind Kirk up! The views from above are amazing.

Currently we're waiting for an engine mechanic to put in the LAST piece of our engine (remember that break-down that started with the broken camshaft last winter that then included a few other parts?... Every time we replaced one broken part, we'd find another.) We now have one last oil pump to install, and our awesome engine mechanic has just moved to Acapulco. :-O So Kirk will probably be doing the install himself. While he does 98% of all our boat repairs, major diesel engine repairs and refrigerators are the two things he doesn't love to work on. But this one last part is keeping us at the dock, so hoping this will be repaired soon. Meanwhile, we are still waiting for the refrigeration guy to show up, for the past two weeks...Se hizo tarde.

There are also a laundry list of other boat projects, including replacing our running rigging (halyards, jib sheets, and tack line); life lines (the safety wires that go around the boat about 2' above the deck -- we're replacing them with dyneema lines instead of wire); and new "kitty-netting" around the boat to keep Tosh & Tikka from falling overboard. The original kitty-netting we put up before we left Seattle has deteriorated from the sun/heat. So we removed it to prevent it from falling into the ocean, (don't want to add any more plastic into the sea!)

Mae, Jonna, Heidi, and Kirk (photographer!) picked up plastic and trash off the beach after heavy rains washed it down from the rivers and towns above Puerto Vallarta into the ocean. THANKS Mae and Jonna!

Speaking of plastic in the sea... Heidi's college friend Jonna and her daughter Mae came to visit us a few months ago. While they were here they helped us pick up lost of plastic garbage off the beach--courtesy of Hurricane Willa which thankfully didn't do much damage here...just lots of rain. Another evening we got to help release baby sea turtles.

Baby sea turtles making their way to the sea, beautiful night with a sprinkling of rain.

Sadly, sea turtle eggs are still poached around Mexico as they are believed to be an aphrodisiac!?! There are several sea turtle sanctuaries that patrol the beaches and collect all the eggs as they are laid. Then they keep the eggs safe until they hatch, releasing the baby turtles into the sea the day they hatch. You can call 911 here and report a turtle laying eggs, and they will come right away and collect the eggs. The sanctuaries often incorporate educational programs that include Mexican school kids helping with the turtle releases. If they name a turtle or two, and help it into the water, they may be less likely to want to eat the eggs later, and can also help educate the elder generations. It's such a FUN experience to help release the babies. This was also at the top of Jonna's bucket list, so we were especially grateful to be able to help her realize this dream.

We also had a really fun time with our dear friends Patti & Frosty when they came to say for a couple of weeks. We took a day trip to the Mexican towns of Mascota and San Sebastian with a hired driver. He was a conservative-redneck from Texas, but other than that we had a good day. Patti & Frosty also got to release sea turtles and take another fun trip with Juan Bravo. Each Juan Bravo Panga Tour is different depending on the season, but always a fun time. This time Juan took us up to a new waterfall in the jungle we'd not been to before. Super COLD water fall, and we all took a dunk, another great day on the water! Looking forward to going out again soon for some humpback whale watching.

In November we left Tosh & Tikka in the good hands of Judy & Paul at their condo and headed for the states to visit Heidi's two sets of parents, where we helped out with some handyman chores at both houses. We were also able to pick up some more boat parts and our mail. In addition, we took a fun hike with Heidi's mom Jean up Madera Canyon. She's an amazingly YOUNG 82 year old, and a great role model for all of us on how to live life to the fullest. We flew in and out of PHX airport, and when we learned that some Seattle sailing friends (also named Judy & Paul!) were wintering south of PHX, we decided to stop by for a visit on the way to the airport. Much to our surprise, Patti & Frosty were there visiting them as well so we had a double-dose of fun.

Paul & Judy, Kirk & Heidi, and Frosty + dog (Patti was the photographer!) Fun visit with long-time sailing friends in the middle of the Arizona desert.

Once back in Mexico, we collected Tosh & Tikka from the condo and moved back aboard Due West from our five-month Condo sitting gig. We love condo sitting for Judy & Paul during Hurricane Season, being right on the beach, and having access to A/C and swimming pools. But we were also super glad to be back "home" aboard Due West again. Kirk had been visiting her daily (2-mile bus ride away) to work on boat projects while Heidi stayed at the condo, playing with the gatos, and working on her holistic wellness business. She also spent this fall working on campaign graphics for her brother Arne, who won his bid for Town Council of Jackson, Wyoming. Congrats Bro!

Tikka doing her best to prevent Heidi from getting her work done. :-D

Tosh loves when we do yoga, especially the part when he chews up the yoga matts and yoga blocks :-O!

We're continuing to treat Tosh holistically for his nasal issues, and will be getting more tests done later this week to see how he's doing. He's still playing like crazy (he's addicted to "Da Bird"), and eating up a storm. Meanwhile Tikka is his ever loving little-sister grooming him and sleeping next to him each night. We're hopeful that all of the holistic remedies are doing the trick. But we also appreciate all the love, healing energy, and prayers sent his way. If you've never met Tosh, he's a one-in-a-MILLION cat, or pet for that matter. Smart, clever, funny, and with a heart full of gold, he thinks he's a person. We know everyone thinks that about their pets... but we've really never had a cat like him before. BIG THANKS to his foster-mom Jean Favini at Oasis for Animals on Whidbey for giving him a fantastic start to life. He's half Bengal (loves to fetch and very clever) and half Siamese (very protective of us, and won't let a dog onto our boat, right Silver Belle and Harley?!) If you're looking to get a cat, we think Bengal/Siamese is about the best mix you could ask for. Not to slight Tikka, who's a cute as a bug and also unique in her own ways!

Beach Yoga is still a big part of our lives, with a great community of yogis. Kirk attributes beach yoga and the sunshine of PV as a huge part of his stroke recovery. We've also been getting in a couple of Pilates reformer classes each week which has helped make both of us stronger...and it, like everything else in Mexico, is much more affordable than in the states. And we continue to take in as much of the local culture, arts, and music as possible. The Mexicans love their parades, from Independence Day to Dia del Muertos and everything in between. We recently saw Bob Marley's original Wailers play Reggae here, and also the Jalisco State Ballet from Guadalajara perform an amazing rendition of the Nutcracker. LOVELY dancing.

As always our plans are written in sand at low tide, but here are our latest ideas: Late January we will sail south to Tenacatita, Manzanilla, Bara de Navidad and Melaque for a couple of months. We plan to return to Banderas Bay in late March and leave Due West and kitties here for a couple of weeks while we do a sailboat charter with Seattle friends Teresa & Rob in Cuba. When we return from that trip we'll continue sailing north to La Paz and into the Sea of Cortez for a couple of months...looking forward to meeting up with our friends Sherri & Steve on s/v Pablo. We plan to summer in Puerto Vallarta again, having spent two summers here and watched hurricanes threaten the Sea of Cortez, we feel Banderas Bay is the best hurricane hole in Mexico.

Wishing all of our friends and family, far-flung around the globe (s/v Ingenium, s/v Slow Flight, s/v Lumenesce, s/v Shawnigan and s/v Kentanae we're talking about you!) a joyous and peaceful holiday season and prosperous New Year.

Paz en la Tierra y Feliz Año Nuevo!
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night...

Xoxo Love and Hugs

Captain Kirk & Heidi
Tosh & Tikka

Check out lots more Mexico photos 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 - Merry-Merry, Feliz-Feliz, Paz-Paz
Photos 1 to 60 of 60 | Main
Road Map - check • 
Guide book - check • 
Pesos for toll roads - check • 
Ready to  Road Trip Mexican style!
Road Trip Mexican Style! We took 3-days to drive from Puerto Vallarta to Tucson area. Stayed on the toll-roads, roads were generally good, better in some states than in others. Tolls are paid in varying increments ranging from $1US to about $12US, total one-way tolls = about $75.
Capitán, Alberto and Heidi at Breakfast... Our road trip was off to a GREAT start. Our Taxi-driver and friend Alberto picked us up at the marina at 7:30am with all our gear and took us to Fox Rental Car where our car was supposed to be available at 8am. We wanted to get an early start on the 6-hr. drive to Mazatlan so we
Mazatlan Malecon Sunset
Mazatlan has had its issues with crime, so they
So fun to meet up with our long-lost sailing buddies Viviane & Scott s/v Juniper in Mazatlan for dinner as we passed through town.
Jajajajaja! (Hahahaha!) This is what it
One of the funnier things we encountered on our Mexican Road Trip: We drove behind this "pick-up-truck-full-of corn" (see inset) for miles before it pulled over to the side of the road, and we realized it wasn
Throughout Sonora we passed one VW bug after another, every color and vintage from old to new, but mostly old. Hundreds of them! Not sure what this parade of Beatles was about, but it sure was fun to see!
There are stretches where the roads are all new and beautiful, but generally lots of road construction going on everywhere.
THIS was one of the more interesting (Crazy?!) parts of our road trip adventure in Mexico. You always here "Don
Detoured through the town of San Blas which we never visited by boat (reports are that it
As we drove back through Mexico on Revolution Day Weekend, town after town had big celebrations going on. Grandpa and mom were helping this little girl get ready for a parade.
Much of our Mexican road trip was filled with lush vegetation and agriculture.
YUMMM!! Mango trees as far as the eye can see!
We also passed mile after mile of vinyards in Sonora. Not sure if they are for wine or eating?
Besides mangos and vineyards, we also passed mile after mile of sugar cane fields.
One of many road-side produce stands in the state of Nayarit.
Welcome to USA: The longest part of the road trip, sitting in traffic at the border for over an hour waiting to cross. Driving a rental car with Mexican plates, we didn
This beautiful sunset greeted us at the end of our 3-day drive as we arrived north of the border.
On our way from Tucson to Flagstaff, we stopped to visit Kirk
We took advantage of visiting these natural treasures: Wupatki National Monument outside of Flagstaff and Red Rocks National Monument in Sedona before the current administration decides to do away with them! :-O
Remarkable Anasazi ruins at Wupatki National Monument.
Capitán Kirk and Heidi
Sedona scenery, although the sky was cloudy and the red rocks weren
More red-rocks of Sedona...
After Heidi
The moving crew: Kari, Pete, Capitán, Heidi, and Jean-mom. U-Haul all unloaded at Heidi
View from Jean & Pete
Saguaro-lined Arizona highways.
Eating the rainbow of food at Heidi
Great visit with Heidi
Tosh B
Tikka Rodriguez Pepita Margarita is SOOO HAPPY to be back home aboard Due West!
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
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 found 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. 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
Mexicans LOVE to celebrate EVERYTHING! And Piñatas are a big part of their celebrations, these were being made for the Festival of Guadalupe.
These cute little boys were rough-housing as they walked along the Malecon to the Festival of Guadalupe festivities.
Piñatas and Papel Picado banners stream the streets for Festival of Guadalupe.
Guadalupe Cathedral with Papel Picado Banderitas lining the streets.
The view of the Festival Guadalupe Processional from the Omelet Restaurant was fantastic, the service? Not so much! Plus they were out of just about everything on their menu...so we left and got street food at the parque below. DELISH blue-corn sopes!
Sunset along the Puerto Vallarta Malecón during Festival of Guadalupe.
Festival of Guadalupe crowds watching the processionals to the church.
Festival of Guadalupe is full of food vendors, dulces (sweets), and toys everywhere, more like a US carnival than a religious pilgrimage! This year we learned some interesting info on the whole Festival of Guadalupe processional/pilgrimage to the cathedral: to be IN the processional and make the pilgrimage to the church to get blessed, you have to pay, BIG BUCKS, it
Grand Venetian Beach sea turtle release. They 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, they 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.
The kids line up with little plastic trays like frisbees, and each one gets a sea turtle to release. Then it
Winter Solstice Sunrise over Puerto Vallarta.
Solstice morning sunrise from the top of Mirador de La Cruz hike. Beautiful 360° view of the mountains behind Puerto Vallarta and the town, bay and beaches down below.
Stairs on the way UP the Mirador de La Cruz hike above PV.
Our friend Anthony took us on the Solstice Sunrise hike up to Mirador de La Cruz, well worth getting up EARLY and climbing hundreds of steps before 7am.  We explored a bit on the return to town and found this lovely narrow street that reminded us of Italy!
The hike up/down from Mirador de La Cruz, in downtown Puerto Vallarta is lined with lovely murals.
More of the beautiful murals along the hike up/down from Mirador de La Cruz.
Due West all decked out in her holiday interior finest (still no tree/ornaments up, as Tosh & Tikka will just take them down and turn them into toys!) Maybe next year we
Great Holiday TREAT! Our Seattle dock neighbors Brent & Jill on s/v Cayuse finally sailed down to meet us this year! We
SO. MUCH. FUN! Seattle sailing friends Chris & Eric (along with daughters Brenna, Gretchen, and Hanah) are here in PV for the holidays. When we all get together we talk for hours on end. So nice to have a little bit of "home" here for Christmas.
Il Truinfo Galarias in Puerto Vallarta is one of the coolest stores around. Think far-out, whacky-crazy home decor, parties, and more, if you can think it, this store probably has it, and if they don
Holiday Fun at Galarias Il Truinfo!
Merry, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of our family and friends near and far. We think of you more than you know. One of the only things we don