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 - 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