It's New Years Day, 2012 and...has it really been almost FOUR YEARS since our last posting to this blog??
It just shows you how time really does fly when "stuff" happens.
Last entry we were headed to Manzanio...
Well, we got there and had a great time. Got together with our good buddies who were heading offshore (while we were to head back to the Sea of Cortez), and had a lekker farewell party, etc. Found a wonderfully secluded bay where some rays provided us with a wonderful display each day we were there - jumping high out of the water, coming down with a loud splash. Trying to clean themselves of parasites (we believe).
I can fly!
Our sail back north was relatively uneventful...and undocumented.
I'm writing this entry while sitting in our home in Nanaimo. It's winter, cold and we really should be somewhere warm. But we're not...so I guess I can at least write about warm places and update this sadly underused blog.
Dates will be sketchy, but here is a very abbreviated version:
Isla San Francisco
By May 2008, we had sailed up the Sea of Cortez to a lovely small Mexican/American town called San Carlos. It is next door to Guymas and the area has some excellent marinas...for those who can't anchor. It also has two or three dry storage areas where your boat is both well protected and safe(ish) from hurricanes and sinking.
Our sail up the east coast of the Baja was very enjoyable and we found some truly beautiful anchorages along the way. Fishing was very average, but we managed to survive. Uneventful sailing makes for a boring blog, so I shall skip the details and get to the more interesting stuff.
We put Jabula to bed at the Marina Seca in San Carlos. This requires your boat to be hauled out on the back of a flatbed truck at a slipway and driven about a mile and a half to the dry storage yard. There are two sections to the Marina Seca: The work yard where you are allowed to do maintenance and repairs, and the storage section where very few people are allowed to enter. The security is the best I have seen anywhere in the world, and the marina staff are very friendly and professional.
All wrapped up
We wrapped Jabula up and said our fond fairwells. Caught the bus from Guymas to Phoenix and then flew from Phoenix to Victoria. (The flights out of Guymas are silly expensive.)
Our plans were to spend a few weeks in Canada visiting with our daughters Kristin and Seleste in Victoria and then spend some time at our resort in Parksville. Come June, we left Canada for South Africa, visiting en route with our son Justin in London and other daughter Natalie in Munich.
Loved our stay in SA and spent some very relaxed weeks with friends and family and at our SA home in Port Owen on the Berg River in the Western Cape.
Port Owen...waiting for Jabula's return!
Then it was time to go again. Something wasn't quite right at the resort and Bruce felt he needed to be there.
However, we managed to pause on our way back to Canada and spend a fun-filled (hic) week with Natalie and Justin at the Oktoberfest in Munich.
Oktoberfest in Munich
November 2008 found us back in Canada - just in time for that lovely Canadian winter! Clever huh?
So.....in March 2009 we decided it was time to go sailing again!! El Salvador, here we come!
We actually drove down to San Carlos in our little 1994 Mazda 626 that we bought for $3,000. What a great little car. Did us proud and we had a surprisingly excellent journey south. Took the Redwood Highway down to San Francisco and then - just HAD to - make a stop in Las Vegas. A good time was had by all.
The stunning Grand Canyon
Jabula was well and when we opened her up, it was like we had been there just the day before. Interior was perfect and the exterior was just a little dusty. There was much work to be done and we had found an excellent stainless steel manufacturer in Guymas and hired him to build us a stailess arch and a solid stainless safety rail that was six inches higher than our existing lifeline. What a fantastic addition that rail has been! We aren't as young as we like to think we are and this rail will provide that added security for us aging sailors. (Actually I had better speak for myself or my fearsome first mate will have my guts for garters!) The arch is also an excellent addition and tidies up our stern nicely. It also provides an excellent position for our solar panels.
Jabula's new arch
It took a good 6 weeks to get everything done that was needed and then it was time to stock up for our upcoming voyage.
We were a couple of days away from launching and we got an urgent e-mail from Jeannie's family - her mom had fallen and badly damaged her hip...at 80.
They say the sailors write their plans in the sand at low tide. We could have written our plans on the wall of the local church, it wouldn't have mattered. The tsunami caused by this dangerous fall washed everything away and Jabula was quickly wrapped up and unceremoniously moved back into the storage yard...and we were on the road again, hightailing it to Canada and our flight back to SA.
Back at our house in Port Owen where Jeannie's folks were living, we had lots of work to do. Jeannie's mom was recovering nicely from her operation, but she was now confined to a wheelchair and they could no longer live on their own. They were moving up to live with Jeannie's sister in Johannesburg and we needed to prepare the house to be rented as a holiday home.
View from our home in Port Owen
Four months later we needed to get back to Canada and see how the development was coming along at the resort. So after spending a rainy winter in the Cape (!!??) we managed to arrive back in Canada...just in time for "that lovely Canadian winter"! (Sigh...) That made three winters in a row!
It was during our time in SA that hurricane Jimena paid a visit to San Carlos with winds in excess of 70mph and what was described by the manager of Marina Seca as "an obscene amount of rain". In fact San Carlos experienced something like 48 inches of rainfall in a 24 hour period!
The devastated boat yard
It was reported that Jabula had 4 feet of water flowing around her keel at the worst of the flood that decimated San Carlos, Guymas and the surrounding area. Fortunately for us, Jabula was relatively undamaged. We always remove all sails, boom and other items that would cause wind drag when we leave her for any extended period of time.
But the "real" damage wasn't caused by wind or flood....(more on this later).
Then, in November, 2009 we were back in wintery Canada, and it appeared that we might be there for some time. We had business to attend to and El Salvador was just a name in an atlas.
2010 arrived. Last year of my fifties! Ouch.
...boring business...boring business...boring business...
Then it was time to get back to Jabula. So when, in early October Natalie arrived for a visit, we decided to take her with us down to Mexico for a "holiday". Little did any of us know at that point just how that holiday would unfold. Remember the hurricane I mentioned?
We rented a nice two-bedroom flat in San Carlos and had Jabula retrieved from the storage yard so that we could get her cleaned up and ready her for her upcoming voyage to...you guessed it...El Salvador!
We were also hoping that said cleanup would happen quickly. All the serious work had already been done and we were just going to dust her down, put some paint on her and get her back in the water for a bit of a sail before Natalie had to head back to Europe.
We hadn't seen Jabula for over a year. She looked dirty, but aside from her wind sensor on top of the mast that blew over during the hurricane, appeared perfect. But stepping below after opening the hatch was like stepping into a scene from the movie District 9! There were cockroaches EVERYWHERE!
Picture hundreds of these...
Worse than that, there was cockroach poo EVERYWHERE! In fact there was cockroach poo to a depth of Â½ centimeter on the floorboards. Jeannie was in tears and I felt totally overwhelmed. It appeared that the humidity during the hurricane caused our cans of food to rust and burst.
Every food locker looked like this!!!
And once one went, they all went. Something like $2,000 of food was spoiled (Remember...we had just stocked up for an extended voyage just before our emergency call from the family) and it had created cockroach heaven!
...Four weeks later Jabula was back to her shiny, sparkling, sweet smelling and cockroach-free self thanks to the unbelievable efforts of the Queen of Clean and her trusty assistant Princess Buff. The skipper managed to busy himself with "boat stuff" and was spared most of the really disgusting, unspeakable and soul-sapping cleanup.
We wrapped Jabula up (again) in November and headed back to Canada...wondering just where the hell El Salvador went!
More business rubbish and we decided that my erstwhile business partner would never see the light and therefore it would be best to force a sale of the resort. We eventually managed to persuade said partner to buy us out. Yippee!! Free at last...well, sort of.
It was then 2011, and soon Jeannie's folks were to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. Of course we were expected to attend, and 'of course' this fell in the South African winter...so off we went...winter-to-winter (yet again) and spent 4 months in SA. Fortunately it turned out to be a mild winter and the "blessed event" was an enjoyable one. It was a wonderfully eventful trip actually as Justin and his girlfriend, Victoria, got engaged while they were visiting us in Port Owen. Great excitement in the Quayle family!
In October we arrived back in Canada to finalise the plans for our upcoming voyage. Besides the sundry equipment purchases we needed to make, Jeannie has been canning ground beef and dehydrating onions.
So now it's 2012 and we actually believe that we will in fact manage to set off on our long intended voyage across the Pacific.
We have decided to give El Salvador and surrounds a miss and are planning to sail directly to Costa Rica, giving the gulf of Tehuantepec a wide berth. We hope to do a final stock-up there and then head out first for Cocos Island (our third visit) and then on to the Galapagos Islands.
That's it for now...as if it's not enough. Update to come from Mexico in February or March.