Little Green Boat

Spruce visited Japan and Alaska in 2018 after time spent in the South Pacific, NZ, Australia and Asia.

04 January 2020 | Creel - Chihuahua - Mexico
04 January 2020
04 January 2020
02 January 2020 | Batopilas - Chihuahua - Mexico
02 January 2020
02 January 2020
02 January 2020
02 January 2020
01 January 2020 | Creel - Chihuahua - Mexico
01 January 2020
01 January 2020
30 December 2019 | Creel - Chihuahua - Mexico
30 December 2019
30 December 2019
29 December 2019 | Topolobampo - Sinaloa - Mexico
29 December 2019
29 December 2019
20 December 2019 | San Evaristo - Baja California - Mexico
17 December 2019 | Santa Rosalia - Baja California - Mexico
17 December 2019

Giddy Up - Mexican Style

04 January 2020 | Creel - Chihuahua - Mexico
Sue & Andy Warman
The superb scenery around these canyons somehow seemed more appropriate and much more spectacular when seen from horseback; perhaps a result of all those Westerns that were screened during our childhoods; we just associate this backdrop with horses. A six hour tour was about right to give enough time to get out into the “Big Country” and just about the maximum saddle battering that can be suffered in one stint by those with soft and unaccustomed bottoms.
Sue used to ride a lot as a youngster, but that was many moons ago. Our last time aboard a horse was six-years past. This was great fun, though. The terrain ridden was varied and not at all like the bridleways that crisscross the UK countryside. We were a little apprehensive at first as to how well a shooed hoof might grip on solid rock, surprisingly much better than we initially feared. Our steeds “Tomate” and “Revolver” fared well in this their home territory.

04 January 2020
Sue & Andy Warman
Our guide, Luis, checked us out early in the day by breaking into a rapid canter on softer going. Had we been unseated perhaps a different route would have been followed for the day out. Luis looked after us well during the day's excursion. Although he spoke almost no English, our limited Spanish and sign language served us well.
The horses breathed heavily as we headed uphill, their flanks became sticky with sweat. Trails meandered along the sides of steep slopes, slowly we gained altitude as we rose out of the valley. With increased height the views opened out, rock-faces soared skywards, green pine needles positively glowed in intense sunshine, viewed against a vivid blue high altitude sky.

04 January 2020
Sue & Andy Warman
A deep canyon lay before us, a hazy horizon dissolved into the distant yonder. A steep downward trail had us laying back hard in saddles, stirrups kicked forwards and outwards to retain balance as our steeds picked their way downwards, occasionally scrabbling to maintain a grip with all hooves. We descended into a river. Horses took a breather and a long drink of water. This crossing, safely upstream from the waterfall that fell into the abyss of the canyon downstream.
A long upward slope extended the other side. Evidently this was a gushing torrent in the wet season. Our mounts strode assuredly along the smoothed granite steam bed, bounding over large steps in the rock that presented now and again. Eventually we came onto the edge of the canyon, this time opposite where we stopped earlier. Dead trees stood or lay, agave plants and an assortment of pine, juniper and succulents clung to timorous holding.
On the downward return, some along a north facing slope the trail became icy and treacherous, hooves slipped and scrabbled for grip. We dismounted. Horses led across the most slippery sections and we quickly comprehended the challenge of walking the surface. Remounted and safely on the valley floor, we made our way to the stables after a memorable and thoroughly enjoyable day in the saddle. The next excursion must not wait another six years.
Next we travel aboard El Chepe again, a return to Spruce in Topolobampo. On Monday we will depart to sail 220-miles south-east to Mazatlan. South of the Tropic of Cancer once more into tropical waters where we shall remain for several months after our temperate sojourn in northern waters.

Road Trip to Silver Central

02 January 2020 | Batopilas - Chihuahua - Mexico
Sue & Andy Warman
The fame of Batopilas harks back to the days of Silver Mining and Mule Trains that brought rich plunder out of the mountains. Each mule carried six ingots of bullion reputedly weighing 70-pounds each.
Batopilas is an interesting small town. There is a cluster of Spanish colonial style buildings and ruined mine structures from a wealthier hey-day. The conurbation is situated along the banks of a river that is prone to flash flooding and rapid rise of water level in the event of rainfall in the mountains upstream. Along one side a partially cleared mound of stones and boulders from the last flash-flood. Within the mass, the mangled wreckage of what looked like a relatively new shiny blue pick-up tuck , evidently swept away from farther up the valley and come to rest here, along with a mixture of other debris. Sections of the road within the town pass alongside the river below the level of previous inundations. A precarious existence if not abreast of weather conditions upstream.

02 January 2020
Sue & Andy Warman
The tortuous road from Creel transits three canyons, each quite different in appearance. Changing flora engendered by the individual mico-climates, in turn affected by varying altitudes and rainfall. The road was until relatively recently only a gravel surface. The 130-kilometre trip used to take typically 7-hours. Progress was often affected by rock falls, erosion and landslides. Although much improved by a tarmac road surface and work done to stabilise rock-faces...

02 January 2020
Sue & Andy Warman
...many of the same problems face today's traveller. This photo shows one of the detours to bypass a rock-fall that swept away a section of road and badly battered the drainage pipes buried below the surface. Several other zones were encountered where channels have been cleared through rock-falls and temporary buttressing erected to replace areas where roadway had slipped into the gorge alongside.
Vessel Name: Spruce
Vessel Make/Model: Hallberg Rassy 42 - Enderlein Design
Hailing Port: Portsmouth, UK
Crew: Sue & Andy
About: Sue is an artist, plays the flute and guitar. Andy enjoys technical challenges and hoped to learn to speak more Spanish. Unsuccessfully:-( Maybe this year?
Extra: During 2013 and 2014 we sailed across the Pacific to New Zealand and then Australia. 2015-18 brought us from Asia to Washington State via the Noorth pacific Rim. In 2019 we aim to cruise BC and then head south to Mexico.
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Spruce's Photos - Dominica - A Green and Pleasant Land.
Photos 1 to 51 of 51 | Main
Heliconia - Lobster Claw
Flower in the rain forest - Sue can
White Begonia
Pipeline taking water from the reservoir. Like at St Lucia this one is made of barrel like staves of wood, coated in bitumen and held together with rings of bolted studding... just like a very long barrel.
Alex & Daria (Alerians) enter the Titou Gorge to swim through.
Trafalgar falls after a small rainfall.
The two waterfalls at Trafalgar falls in panoramic view.
Rocks in the plunge pool below Trafalgar Fall.
Look closely at the name of the vessel. An oxymoronic expression for this part of the world:-)
A water wheel and press for extracting the syrup from the sugar cane. The name cast into the equipment indicated it was manufactured in Britain by a company based in both London and Derby. Vestiges of a bygone empire.
Close up of the disused waterwheel and sugar factory beyond.
A view of the upper parts of Roseau, capital of Dominica, as we ascended into the rain forest.
A poster at a Heritage Centre showing the resident birds. Some were so shy we saw nothing of them.
The shape of Dominica - The Sandemans Port Man from Oporto leaning forwards to insist we don
Lush foliage in the rain forest. We think this is a type of Aechmea which grows on the trees rather like Air-Plants.
Orchid in the forest
Iguana perched on a tree while visiting the Indian River near Portsmouth.
Covered market in Portsmouth on one of the two market days each week. If you don
Preparing sugar cane for sale in the market. People seem to take this to suck on for breakfast.
Not much of this Blue Marlin left for sale. Large hunks were chopped off with the ubiquitous machete and sold for £EC 8 per pound weight. We managed to get one of the last pieces and it was only 07:30 am. The market starts before light at 05:30!
Andy and Daria, from Aleria, en route to the snorkeling sites in Douglas Bay, Dominica.
Alex, from Aleria, en route to the snorkeling sites in Douglas Bay, Dominica.
Martin, boat boy and guide en route to the snorkeling sites in Douglas Bay, Dominica.
The settlement of Tanetane in Douglas Bay, Dominica..
Alexis, boat boy and guide, taking us to Indian River near Portsmouth, Prince Rupert Bay.
Iguana lounging on a tree in the Indian River.
Blood Root trees alongside a river. The Carib Indians used the sap, red in colour, to paint their bodies.
Market day at Portsmouth, Dominica.
The photo shows sugar cane being prepared for vending. In the foreground are Carrots and Breadfruit. Beside the table in the distance are coconut "Water-nuts" these are sold as a substitute for canned drinks. Again the machete comes in to play to hack the top off ready to drink:-)
Blue Marlin being "cut" with the ubiquitous machete. We got in just before the last of the large fish was all sold.
Farmers from the countryside bring their produce to market in pick-up trucks - some are very battered but still going.
In the margins of the covered market hall. Really just a roof rather than a whole hall.
Inside the covered market. Most of the action is in the back of cars and pick-up trucks outside this building.
Another view of the market hall.
Shoreline at Portsmouth, Prince Rupert Bay.
Make do signage - the most simple of shop fronts:-)
A traditional carib dwelling. Palm leaves for the roof with poles to secure against the wind.
Two Caribs. Dennis on the left and Clem. Dennis
A stream lined with fantastic shaped trees.
A close up of the tortured roots.
Entrance to the Indian River at Portsmouth, Prince Rupert Bay.
A local boat, dug out canoe made from a Gommier Tree with extra planks to increase the freeboard (distance from the water to the top of the gunwhale).
Climbers heading for light at the top of the tree canopy.
An impressive tree in the rainforest.
They claimed they are Danish and can
Melta Skywalker challenges his father to a light sabre duel! ... must mean Michael is really Darth Boe.
Our lunch stop. Coye with her husband holding grandchild number five.
A nutmeg still encased in its shell.
A view from Spruce looking towards the town of Portsmouth. Dominica has a total population of 72,000 people and Portsmouth is the second largest town with only a few thousand souls resident.