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.
Home Page:
Spruce's Photos - Antigua & Barbuda
Photos 1 to 47 of 47 | Main
A replica J-Class yacht, similar to Velsheda, returning from being put through her paces out at sea in preparation for the racing of Classic Week starting on 16th April 2010.
The 25 feet long Swedish vessel Ouhm at Jolly Harbour Marina, Antigua. Ingrid and Jonas sailed her from Goteborg. THeir longest passages were from Cork to Madeira and then from the Canaries to Guadeloupe acoross the Atantic in 39-days. Jonas went over the side in mid-Atlantic to scrape off the goose barnacles that had slowed their modest speed by 1-knot.
John and Sue providing "Sundowner Concert" aboard Spruce anchored at Falmouth Harbour - Antigua. The audience were the crews of Aleria (Alex & Daria), Rapau (Keith & Welly), Moonlight (Anne with John playing clarinet)
One of the transatlantic rowing boats. When we left La Gomera in the Canaries back in November these guys were preparing to depart in December for Antigua. The adverse weather delayed their departure until early Jan. Some are still at sea and due too complete soon.
Moon setting in the West as the sun rises in the East ...
Sunrise in the East and the full moon was setting in the West...
Rock Folly anchored at Barbuda. Steve has sailed her around the three-capes (Good Hope, Leeuwen and Horn), he will completed his circumnavigation when he re-visited Cape Town after South America and is now 5-days out from Barbuda (3rd April) on his way back to the Azores, then UK
J-Class vintage restored yacht Velsheda getting prepared for Antigua Classic Week. A restored J-Class vessel built in the 1930
English Harbour Entrance 2010 ... but a 1952 style view to help Ray Warman
English Harbour Entrance 2010
English Harbour & Nelson
A battered transatlantic rowing vessel... we think this one came for 80 days then didn
Ashley aboard the vessel in which he and a partner rowed from the Canary Islands to Antigua in about 80-days at sea. His rowing partner has left Ashley here while he joins an Everest summit climbing expedition in the Himalaya.
Looking North at Low Bay on the West coast of Barbuda.
The hunter-gatherers off to find fish.
Launching a dinghy in the gaps between larger swells.
Trolling for fish with a lure - unsuccessfully.
Latest Zinc-Oxide cream anti-sun fashion.
Not to be outdone by Sue, Andy also sports cricketer fashion.
An "upside down jellyfish". Apparently these are eaten by turtles.
Scene above the Frigate Bird Colony - inner lagoon Barbuda.
Looking South along Low Bay beach on the West cost of Barbuda.
Steve casting his fishing net in the style learned in Sierra Leone.
Preparing the BBQ with dried mangrove wood.
A conch shell. There are many of these around, the ones that are spoil from human consumption have a machete cut at the top of the spiral... without is a natural demise.
Young frigate birds on the nest awaiting the next meal from airborne gatherers.
Adult Frigate Birds sitting on nests.
Andy tying up to a rickety jetty at Codrington.
Our guide to the Frigate Bird Colony, "King Goldilocks".
An unsuited male Frigate Bird indicating availability with his red throat display.
Wandering lonely as a cruiser on a Caribbean beach.
Juvenille Frigate Birds sitting on the nest and waiting for a free meal from Mum & Dad.
Sue puts a brave face on having selected the wrong shade of blue to wear today.
A grey overcast moment as rain threatened:-)
Heading to Codrington via a long 11 Mile dinghy ride.
Mangrove trees spill over to the beaches.
Shallow water as we round the penultimate headland before entering Codrington Lagoon.
Contemplating getting wet. Time to launch the dinghy after the peninsular portage.
Monserrat some 20 miles away as we sailed from Guadeloupe to Barbuda.
A cracking good sail.
Various shades of blue punctuated by mangroves and underlined by a white ribbon.
The great view to which we woke up.
The anchorage off the west coast of Barbuda.