Due West Adventures

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

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
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

¡La Vida es Chula!

17 March 2019 | Puerto Vallarta
Heidi & Kirk Hackler
Es la Vida...Life is what happens while you're busy making plans. So much for our plans to sail south for a few months, high tide washed them away...

Between a trip to the states for Heidi's dad's 88th birthday (where we had to wear WAY too many clothes!) and running into yet another engine glitch... Life is great!

The 88th Birthday King Verne and his wife Willa.

If we have to be stuck in paradise awaiting another engine part, at least we have visits from friends and family, and plenty of fun things to do! We had a fantastic time in February when two sets of friends visited us and we got to share whale watching in Banderas Bay with Laura & Will and Lal & Eric. Laura & Will also brought us some boat parts, and a few other items from the states that we can't find in Mexico. This week we have Heidi's brother Arne, sis-in-law Teresa, and our niece Annika, plus several of Anni's friends coming to hang out in Puerto Vallarta for spring break. Life is great!

Clockwise from left: Lal, Heidi, Judy, and Laura whale watching on a Juan Bravo Panga tour.

A lunch stop at Maraika Beach Club is always a delicious treat, and this time was no exception! Eulalie (Lal), Eric, Judy, Will, Heidi, and Kirk.

As you may recall, we had our engine water pump rebuilt here in Mexico last spring. Sadly the the rebuild was faulty... so BIG thanks Arne & Teresa for bringing us a brand new water pump this week! This is no small feat, as our 20 year old Perkins engine is no longer manufactured and spare parts are becoming harder to find. Luckily Kirk has a good stable of Perkins part dealers around the US, and when we need something he is usually able to find a part, but they are becoming fewer and further between, several times we've bought the last one available! With any luck at all, our trusty engine "Michael P" will be up and running, with leak-free oil and water pumps again by next week! Life is great!

Our most exciting news of late, is that Tosh is a medical miracle! He's recovering nicely from his nasal tumor, thanks to Homeopathic remedies from Australia! We have been extremely happy with the results from Holistic Animal Remedies, (another BIG THANKS to friends Wai-Lin & Terry for turning us on to them!) In fact, Tosh's vet here in Vallarta is blown away. He actually asked us for the information on what remedies we've been treating Tosh with, because he's never seen an animal recover from a nasal tumor like this. We've opted not to do another invasive biopsy procedure to confirm it's really all gone... but we are over the moon with Tosh's revived personality, increased energy levels, easier time eating, gaining weight again, and even the shape of his face is going back to normal. Kirk is excited to have his journeyman mechanic back helping him again! Tikka is also very excited that Tosh is back to chasing her around and pouncing on her while she's sleeping (NOT!), as siblings will do... We can hear her say "He's touching me!" Life is great!

Since we are currently short on time to write and long on photos this post is primarily a photo blog. A photo is worth 1000 words anyway, so sit back, relax, and enjoy! Be sure to check out our photo gallery for more photos of friends, family, and adventures around Banderas Bay!

A trip into PV wouldn't be complete without a stop at our favorite juice stand... on a street corner, they have a power cord running into a building, and run two blenders and a hand juicer making any combination of fresh juice to go. $30 pesos for a pint ($1.50 US) Heidi's fav is toronja, perejil, y jengibre (grapefruit, parsley and ginger, try it, it's SO refreshing!!) Kirk likes betabel, zanahoria, y jengibre (beets, carrots, and ginger, also super yummy and great for your heart!)

Another local attraction we love to share with visitors is the hike from Boca de Tomatlan to Las Animas. This 3-mile section of trail (one-way) winds up through lush jungle and open forest with ocean views, past waterfalls, and back down along the beach. Those who are more intrepid can continue another 1.5 miles to Quimixto, or 7-miles all the way to Yelapa. Water Taxis are available for the return for those who don't want to hike back. We recently hiked this trail with friends and fellow cruisers, Judy & Paul from s/v Grace, and Christina & Alex from s/v Blue Wind.

The trail is well maintained and well traveled through the jungle which would otherwise quickly take back the trail... Remember, just because you didn't see the Jaguar, doesn't mean he didn't see you!

The trail crosses playa Colomitas and winds up the hill giving an exquisite view back down onto Colomitas beach and the boardwalk trail along the shore we'd just walked on.

If you're thirsty at the end of your hike, fresh Cocos await! They'll machete off the top for you to drink the coconut water out of. Then when you're done drinking, they'll machete it in half and scoop out the coconut meat for a yummy snack!

What could be better than an old car show complete with Pink Cadillac and palm trees? Stay tuned for our next blog post to find out!

La vida es chula! (Life is Great!)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Heidi & Kirk, Tosh & Tikka

PS. Check out our photo gallery for more photos of friends, family, and adventures around Banderas Bay!
Vessel Name: Due West
Vessel Make/Model: Passport 40
Hailing Port: Seattle, WA
Crew: Captain Kirk & Heidi Hackler + Tosh & Tikka
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 - Viva Cuba! Part 1: It’s Complicated
Photos 1 to 59 of 59 | Main
Classical colonial home with tropical Havana colors and palm trees.
Havana: vintage American cars,  horse and buggies, and bright-colored Cuban architecture, it
Our travel destinations marked in pink: Havana, Cienfuegos, Canarreos Archipelago, Trinidad, and Viñales. We visited the Northwest 1/3 of Cuba.
Women Who Sail Cuba! Valerie, Heidi, and Teresa with our WWS Burgees.
Our Salty Crew: Valerie, Rob, Kelly, Capitána Teresa, Heidi, and Kirk visiting Palacio de Valle in Cienfuegos.
Bel became our trusted tour guide and friend, sharing so much information about her lovely island nation.
Bel and crew: Rob, Teresa, Kelly, Val, and Heidi in the courtyard of a Spanish Colonial merchant home in Havana.
Courtyard view of typical Spanish Colonial merchant home: The ground floors were used as mercantiles and storage for food and other dry goods, easily transported by horse carts from the nearby wharfs. The second floors with balconies that overlooked the courtyard were merchant offices, accounting, etc. The top most third floor and rooftop terrace were where the merchants lived with their families.
Cuban produce carts and small tiendas carried mostly garlic, onions, plantains, cucumbers, potatoes, peppers, cassava root, sweet potato, cabbage, papaya, pineapple, mango, and tiny bananas.
We also saw lots of bicycle vendors with braided ropes of garlic and onions throughout our Cuban travels.
Busted! We weren
On our approach to Havana the pilot announced that the Havana airport had temporarily closed (???) and we would be circling for a bit.... one hour later the airport finally reopened and we landed at 12:30am, after a low approach.
Hostal Aeropuerto, our Casa Particular for the first night, sent Dayari, "a yellow haired woman in a blue car" to pick us up from the airport. Dayari was super friendly and greeted us with a smile and "Bienvenidos a Cuba!" A much nicer welcome than we
A typical Cuban "tourist" breakfast consists of: yogurt, eggs, bread, fresh tropical fruit, coffee, juice, and milk. All things that Heidi can
... we brought lots of organic, complete-meal protein and energy bars that Heidi ate for breakfast every day. We also saved every single wrapper and brought them all back to with us, not wanting to add our packaged food wrappers to this lovely island
In the suburbs of Havana we passed many Eastern-European-style residential buildings from the Castro era.
Our first view of the Havana neighborhood where we
It was very common to see someone
Brightly painted houses fill Havana
This house was down the street from our first Casa Particular in Havana, and similar to where we stayed, although the one we stayed in was in a lot better state of repair. Bel
The "panorama" feature of the camera put a curve in this photo which is actually a flat wall mural. It is made entirely of crushed stones of various colors, mixed with epoxy, see inset. No paint was used. It
Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, the Palace of the Captains & Generals is the former official residence of the Spanish governors of Havana, Cuba. Located on the the Plaza de Armas in Old Havana it is home to the Museum of the City of Havana. Legend has it that one of the former governors wives couldn
Faro Castillo del Morro is the lighthouse at the entrance to Havana Harbor. It was built in 1845 on the ramparts of the Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro, an old fortress guarding the harbor of Havana. In case you
Artistic grafiti is everywhere in Havana and adds to the cultural color.
Street artists are everywhere selling colorful paintings depicting Ché, Cubanos, classic cars, and tropical scenes.
We LOVE the Stones tongue tail lights on this concert poster! With Rock and Roll being banned in Cuba for many years, and rumors of people even going to jail for listening to the Beatles in the past, the  first Rolling Stones concert in Cuba was a BIG DEAL, as evidenced by this poster still hanging 3 years later. The Stones played for FREE on March 25, 2016 to an estimated 500,000 Cubans in Havana. Some lucky tourists who happened to be there that day also attended the show which was originally slated to be held on March 20th, but had to be changed as the Obamas were arriving that same day. Due to the US embargo, the Stones had to ship all of their equipment from Belgium. They also had a difficult time setting up the stage/sound system as they typically hire local roadies where ever they perform. But in Cuba there ain
More graffiti pop-art in Cuba from Ché to the Beatles to the Stones and PEACE!
We talked to this young artist creating a piece for La Biennial de Havana. He explained his medium was using epoxy to glue paper cones into every hole he could find in this crumbling building. He said filling the holes represented filling the holes inside of all of us where things were broken or missing... and also represented fixing the broken and missing parts of a Country... trying to make it whole again. So fascinating!  -- La Biennial de Havana is an Art Exhibition that takes place in Havana every two years. It principally aims at promoting the developing world in contemporary art circles, giving priority to Latin American and Caribbean artists, although artists from all over the world submit works. It started the day we left, so we didn
A fun photo opp for the passengers in a beautiful
Mojitos anyone?! Because limes are so precious in Cuba, most Mojitos we had in Cuba did not have a lime garnish...
The live Cuban music at La Bodeguita del Medio was fun, check out a short video clip here: https://youtu.be/ajQq-2FTwzQ.
Faded glory: 1920
Two Art Noveau architecture details from the 1920
The dome ceiling of the former Presidential Palace of dictator Bautista, now housing the Museum of the Revolution.
The Museum of the Revolution: (top left) José Martí, a 19th Century Cuban poet, essayist, journalist, translator, professor, and publisher, who is considered a national hero and an important figure in Latin American literature; (top right) Ernesto Ché Guevera, a major figure of the 1959 Cuban Revolution, whose stylized image has become a ubiquitous countercultural symbol of rebellion and global insignia in popular culture; (bottom) a 1959 propaganda poster of Fidel Castro overthrowing dictator Batista.
The Museum of the Revolution: The "Granma", a legendary 63
The Museum of the Revolution: Tail of American Douglass A29 twin-engine light bomber was was shot down in the Bay of Pigs. Castro had been a concern to U.S. policymakers since he seized power in Cuba with a revolution in January 1959. The Bay of Pigs invasion began when a CIA-financed and -trained group of Cuban refugees landed in Cuba and attempted to topple the government of Fidel Castro. The attack was a total failure and the US abandoned the Cuban troops on the ground with no air or Navy support. This US plane was painted in Cuban aircraft colors but flown by CIA American pilots. After the fact, the US government claimed to have known nothing about the downed plane or to have been in Cuba at all. You do the math...
The Museum of the Revolution: Soviet and US planes on display.
Havana had a few small bookstores, mostly filled with Cuban history and propaganda books like these. Many books on Cuban History, Fidel, Ché, and the Revolution were available at tourist trinket shops in Spanish, English, or Russian. One bookstore touted books by Aldous Huxley, Friedrich Nietzsche, Noam Chomsky, Sigmund Freud, and other would philosophers. We found it interesting that these free-thinking books would be allowed in Cuba.
We visited Iglesia de Nuestra Señnora de Regla, or the church of the Black Virgin. Senora de Regla, (quite likely a conglomeration of an African Yoruba goddess and a Christian saint), has been the patron saint of sailors and seagoing voyagers for hundreds of years. Not being at all religious, but realizing that we were a group of sailors headed off on a 70-mile sea-going voyage the very next day, we lit a blue candle and asked for fair winds. When in Rome... er, uh, Cuba! Note the ships Anchor at the top of the ceiling.
This passenger ferry is one of the few boats that Cubans are allowed to ride on, 15-minutes across Havana Harbor. Several years ago one of the ferries was hijacked to head to Florida, with a couple of unsuspecting tourists aboard. The boat was stopped and returned safely, but the hijackers were jailed for "harming tourists."
Just a typical tourist waiting to catch the ferry across Havana Harbor.
Early morning photo opp with the Classic Cars parked together. Shortly after, they all take off to different parts of the city for Classic Car Taxi Tours.  Cars range from late 1940
Initially we weren
Beautiful, rare example of a 1953 Chevy wagon. There are very few station wagons in Cuba, and this was the most cherry of them all.
1954 Teal Caddy on the Malecon stands out among a plethora of pink classic cars. We saw very few Caddies in Cuba and this was the nicest of them.
Captain Kirk is drooling... normally a Chevy guy, he
A flashy green and silver 1957 Ford sits in front of the Floridita, Hemingway
Fins to the left... 1950
This 1920
A beautiful example of deco residential architecture, we passed this building several times in one of the Havana neighborhoods we stayed in.  In an ironic time-warp, there
The National Theater is a beautiful building in the daytime, and even more so at night. This is the home of the famous Havana Ballet. We
Heidi the pedi-cab luggage wrangler!
Marina Hemingway is a famous marina to many sailors and we were excited to check it out. Unlike most marinas, this one consists of four parallel canals, each ¼-mile long, with side-ties on both sides. There are also hotels, homes, and restaurants along each canal. Most cruising sailors visiting Cuba will check-in here.
From Havana to Cienfuegos, sugarcane fields are common... running alongside 4-lane highways with virtually no vehicles... maybe an occasional horse cart, or motorcycle, a car now and then, or a tractor, it was one of the most empty highways we
Canarreos Archipelago, a National Park and our charter boat cruising grounds would be a 70-mile, 12-hour day passage from Cienfuegos Bay to Cayo Largo.
Arrival at Platten Yacht Charter, Cienfuegos. What you don
WTF? Where