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 - It's a Family Affair
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Kirk eating a healthy breakfast at the Yogi Bar with Heidi
Mama humpback whale teaching baby to wave to the tourists!
Giant beaches with big waves to play in at Playa Mayto.
Mid-hike lunch stop at Maraika Beach Club with Rina, Teresa, Arne, Anni, Sasha, Dalir, between Boca de Tomatlan and Las Animas.
Dalir, Sasha, Pichon, and our niece Anni, sliding down the waterfall rock at Quimixto.
Panga beach landing at Las Animas. This is how we typically embark and disembark a panga at the beach. 1-2-3 jump before the next wave hits!
Heidi and her brother Arne at the paletaria (popsicle shop!) It
The Boyz: Galen and Kirk, can you tell they are related?! Kirk was so thrilled to be with his brother again.
Galen, Heidi, Kirk, and Ann at Baracuda, being photo-bombed by 3 year-old Kyen!
Uncle Kirk and nephew Mikey, celebrating their birthdays, 72 and 40! Can you guess which one is which?!
The Whole Fam-Damnly: Heidi, Sara, Maverick, Mike, Galen, Kyen, Ann, and Kirk on Johnny Bravo
Mike, Mav, Kyen, and Sara, the boys took like fish to water on their first snorkel adventure at Los Arcos.
Lunch stop at Las Animas where Maverick got to hold a giant iguana. He wasn
But when the jewelry vendor came around with shark tooth necklaces, the boys were all over that!
Mikey meeting Moctezuma, all was good... until it wasn
Bario Bistro changes its menu weekly, depending on what they can source locally and seasonally, and it
These large (4
Galen, Ann, Mike, Sara, Kyen, and Mav. All too soon it was time for them to pack their bags and head back to Florida. It was a wonderful visit, and we were so thrilled to finally meet our great-nephews Maverick and Kyen and to have some good quality time hanging out with Ann and Galen.
Puerto Vallarta welcomed Jean with one of the most amazing sunsets we
When asked Jean
Besides yoga, we also do regular Pilates Reformer classes with our friends Lisa and Don from s/v Windcharmer. Here we are warming up with our teachers. Heidi, Kirk, Don, Tere, Lisa, and Karla.
We hired Johnny Bravo with his panga "Andrea" for a fabulous half-day of snorkeling and hiking to waterfalls. Here we are at the Los Arcos caves, a rookery for pelicans and blue-footed boobies. The caves can make for good snorkeling and kayaking too.
After our snorkel, we bouldered our way up the jungle trail to the Colomitos waterfalls to rinse off in the freshwater pool.
Heidi getting blasted under the Yelapa waterfalls, so refreshing and LOUD!
Of course, we had to stop for the traditional drinking coconut on our way back down to the beach. You put the lime in the coconut and shake it all up... along with a little chili lime salt, Yum!
Yelapa waterfalls on left, the day we visited with Mom Jean and had a wonderful swim. On the right was taken 2-days later (saw this in a video online, apologies for no photo credit!) as Hurricane Lorena was passing through. It
Capt. Kirk has the rare treat to drive Juan Bravo
NOAA updates these projected Hurricane path maps every few hours. They often show storm strength changes and the estimated path of the eye. Hurricane Lorena had a more constantly wandering path than most other hurricanes that we
Due West in her normal summer mode with sunshade up. But when a hurricane is forecast, the sunshade quickly pulls back and ties up along the bimini frame (see next photo.)
Sunshade canvas stowed along bimini frame. For this Category 1 Hurricane, we left full jerry cans on deck, tied down, and left dodger, bimini, tied sails, and solar panels on deck. The dinghy was also secured by a halyard and locked and tied to the deck. But anything more than a Cat 1 Hurricane or a direct hit, and we
Top image: Hurricane Lorena brought 10" of rain, but thankfully only light winds. However, the next day the seas were huge. The little palm tree gazebo in the center of these photos was inundated by breaking waves all day. It is normally used for small weddings, or beach massages, not this day!
Post-Hurricane Lorena sunset, notice the huge waves, people on beach for scale!
Kirk picking up beach trash after Hurricane Lorena. Garbage washes down the river in the background from villages and towns upstream, onto the beach below. Kirk focuses on picking up styrofoam chunks and pieces as small as BBs. Styrofoam is ubiquitous in the oceans and beaches and is horrible for the environment.
As kids, Mom Jean taught us "Always leave any place cleaner than you found it." So as soon as the beach was open after Hurricane Lorena, we headed down with garbage bag. Photo on left is before, photo on right is after 8 of us cleaned the beach full-tilt-boogies for two hours, or a total of 16-man hours, to ensure none of it washed back into the ocean!
Big THANKS to the Grand Venetian maintenance staff who brought their ATV and trailer to pick up the large bags of trash. We filled four extra-large (body bag sized) black garbage bags with plastic and styrofoam trash. Hopefully, we prevented a few sea birds, turtles, dolphins, or whales from eating plastic.
We love the Vallarta Botanical Gardens and were thrilled to take Mom Jean for a visit. She
There were SO many butterflies at the Vallarta Botanical Gardens, every color, size, and shape.  We didn
The vibrant Zinia flower (top left) is native to Mexico and is one of Heidi
The "lily pond" is actually a Lotus pond, and this one was teeming with gorgeous, purple lotus flowers.
We ended our day at the Vallarta Botanical Gardens at just the right moment. Kirk and Mom Jean, waiting at the bus stop for the 45-minute bus ride back into PV, the skies opened up and it started to pour!
Adios Mom Jean, it was a wonderful visit, thanks so much for everything, please visit again soon! You
Tropical weather storms are amazing to watch, and this squall was headed straight for the condo before it veered away.
The skies and water often turn dark in the afternoons as the thunderstorms build. Here the sunlight is still shining on the beaches and the sand-colored water (where the river meets the sea), but minutes later it was pouring rain with an impressive lightning show. Although Due West is relatively protected in the marina, we do have friends in another nearby marina who had a direct lightning strike to their boat in the marina. Masts act as lightning rods, so we prefer to be around boats and buildings that are taller than Due West!
Tikka "Chapita Margarita Rodriguez" loves hanging out on the lanai chasing bugs. Not the bees Tikka, those ones bite back!
Tosh in his favorite yoga pose, "Cat pulling it