Sailing on Starshine

Vessel Name: Starshine
Vessel Make/Model: Outbound 44
Hailing Port: San Francisco, CA
Crew: Pat and Melodie Williams
About: We have been "working the plan" since 2004 when Pat began taking sailing lessons. That lead to a few sailing vacations on sailboats. Melodie took some classes too. We purchased our boat in 2011.
02 September 2015 | Dewey AZ
14 August 2015 | Dewey AZ
14 August 2015 | Dewey AZ
27 July 2015 | Dewey AZ
23 June 2015 | Marina San Carlos
14 June 2015 | Marina San Carlos
04 June 2015 | Marina San Carlos
30 May 2015 | Marina San Carlos
30 May 2015 | Bahia Conception
30 May 2015 | Bahia Conception
09 May 2015 | Puerto Escondido
09 May 2015 | San Everisto
22 April 2015 | Marina Palmira
12 April 2015 | Mazatlan
12 April 2015 | Mazatlan
01 April 2015 | El Cid Marina
21 March 2015 | Yelapa
16 March 2015 | La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
09 March 2015 | Tenicatita Bay
02 March 2015 | Tenicatita Bay
Recent Blog Posts
09 April 2018 | Marina Mazatlan

Marina Mazatlan

Today is Monday April 9, 2018.

07 March 2018 | La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

Leaving Banderas Bay

Today is Wednesday March 7, 2018.

23 January 2018 | La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

Still in La Cruz, but looking to sail south

Today is Tuesday January 23, 2018.

04 December 2017 | La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

Enjoying Mexico in Banderas Bay

I've been told by my mother that my blog has once again been neglected.

24 October 2017 | Oakland, CA

Where have we been?

I have been neglecting our blog since early September. I wrote an update but made the classic mistake of not saving my work. You have seen me make this mistake in the past, but it appears I have not learned my lesson! So here it goes again, post # 2……

04 September 2017 | South Lake Tahoe CA

Snakes to the Lake

Today is Labor Day, September 4, 2017.

Marina Mazatlan

09 April 2018 | Marina Mazatlan
Pat and Melodie
Today is Monday April 9, 2018.

We almost left Mazatlan today after being here for 31 days. We got some repairs done, but are still plagued by our fuel issue. We got our cracked port window in the aft head removed and had a new one reinstalled. We hired two different mechanics to help diagnose the fuel issue without success.

We were going to try to cross over to the Baja and spend some time in La Paz. We thought we’d try a different pool of mechanics. We were all set to go when we called to get a reservation at a marina. We’ve stayed at Marina Palmira in the past. I guess we’d forgotten why we have spent so little time in La Paz in the three times we’ve passed through the area. The slip rates are 30% higher there! We changed our plans and decided to work the issue from Mazatlan a bit more. We decided that we would change our slip from Marina Mazatlan to Marina El Cid, still here in Mazatlan. I like El Cid better as it has more amenities, nicer facilities and is attached to a resort type hotel. It’s also closer to transportation and restaurants. The down side is there is more surge there and the boat moves around quite a bit. The movement is hard on the dock lines if you don’t use enough chafe gear. We use old fire hose to protect the dock lines (Thank you Dan and OFD).

We also had to cancel some planned visits from friends. We were hoping to share some good times with them, but we’ve got to get our boat in order first.

The photo was taken in the old town square in central Mazatlan. One evening we got to hear the Army Band playing in the band stand in the background. They were quite good. The square is lined with restaurants and there are many to choose from. Some good and some not so good. We find the good ones by word of mouth. The morning local radio net even has a category called restaurant reviews. (It’s not all Boaters Assistance and Treasures from the Bilge) Mazatlan has many high quality restaurants providing more upscale dining. They are more expensive than other places in Mexico, but by US standards are very inexpensive for such a quality meal. Melodie got to get three pounds of her favorite coffee beans. The beans come from Chiapas Mexico and they roast them here locally at Etnikafe; a coffee shop and art gallery.
Two big events have occurred during our time here. The first was Samana Santa, which is a holiday for Easter. Many Mexicans take vacation during that time and the beaches were packed with people. The other was Mazatlan Bike Week. Thousands of motorcyclists descend on the city. They close off the boulevard called the Malecon along the beach and only allow motorcycles access. The riders take the chance to show off their rides. They also include ATV’s and the quads (dune buggy looking 2-4 seaters made by Polaris). I’m surprised they let them ride on the street. Several had red/blue lights and sirens just like the police in the US. They also like to take their kids along, many carrying infants in their arms as they ride 3-4 at a time down the street. It was a great place to people watch. These words don’t do the insanity justice…Crazy, crazy…it would never be allowed in the US.

The weather is warming up but remains cool by Mexico standards, low 60’s in the am and up to 80 in the afternoon. It’s really quite pleasant. It’s very wet in the morning with frequent morning fog.

We will continue to try to diagnose our fuel issue and take advantage of the swimming pools at El Cid.

That’s all for now.

Leaving Banderas Bay

07 March 2018 | La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
Pat and Melodie
Today is Wednesday March 7, 2018.

Once again I’ve been neglecting our blog. I gave this some thought the other day. I think it’s because we aren’t doing anything special. Well, it doesn’t seem special to us because we have been hanging out in Banderas Bay for a while. But, keep in mind this is a big vacation destination and just being here is quite special. We are very blessed to be saying that such a pleasant area and living here is just “ordinary”. We haven’t been moving around much or doing anything out of the ordinary. We’ve been getting together with friends. We watch movies in the evening. There are many good restaurants nearby, and they are very inexpensive for great food. Keep in mind it just takes longer to do your daily activities here. For instance going grocery shopping can be an all-day event. I’ve been reading quite a bit. I recently found a series written by Stephen King called the Dark Tower. It’s a series of books he wrote over a number of years. What I find interesting is he incorporates other books, such as The Stand and Salem’s Lot into the narrative. They aren’t short books either. Like The Stand, several of them are in the 1500 page category.

Weather here on Banderas Bay has been wonderful. The temperatures in the low 80’s without any rain. The wind usually picks up in the afternoon to cool things down a bit and make it very nice.
We have seen a few sea turtles swimming in the marina. There are many more things to see in the anchorage, but we’ve been in the marina as of late. Some of the sunsets and rises are spectacular. Occasionally some dolphin will swim through the anchorage. When we were anchored we saw many whales and mothers with their babies. Whales would often swim right through the anchorage. The baby whales would usually be breaching up into the air with their moms alongside. Every day you could see whales spouting in the bay. One morning we heard what we thought was a bird landing close to the boat, but much louder than usual. When pelicans or other birds dive for fish their splash sounds pretty loud from inside the boat. We heard a noise and ran up into the cockpit to look. The sun had just come up and we saw there was movement in the water, it was very turbulent. Then I saw a whale surface less than a boat length from our boat! We have been saying we were “kissed by a whale”.

While at anchor we were being serenaded by whales. At night and the early morning we could hear whale songs from inside the boat. It was very peaceful to be lying in bed and night and being lulled back to sleep by the whale sounds. There was usually lower pitched sounds alternating with higher pitched ones. Perhaps a mom teaching her baby how to sing. Sometimes we could hear them during the day if it was quiet. Melodie even dug out her stethoscope to put on the hull. You don’t need iTunes when you have whales.

The bioluminescence was amazing one week. One night we were making our way to the boat via our dingy. It was as if bright blue lights were shining into the water where there was any turbulence. It was also fun to throw a bucket of water overboard at night just to see the brilliant blue glow.

The race boats from the San Diego to Puerto Vallarta Race have been arriving. The trimaran Mighty Merlot is docked near us. It is very large and mighty looking.

We go to the Sunday Market here in La Cruz. We’ve learned to get there early, before 10:00 o’clock and all the Canadians show up. The walkways between the vendor booths are only wide enough for four people. A row on each side can browse the merchandise, but the center is for coming and going. Many of the tourists stop in the middle to look and it causes a traffic jam because after 10:00 the place is packed. Melodie enjoys a large glass of fresh squeezed orange juice and I usually get a tamale or two.

We got our taxes done. One of the things that cruisers do for one another is they announce when they are headed back to the US or Canada and they will hand carry stamped mail for you. This is how we’ve done our taxes the last 3 years. You can file electronically, but your signature on a piece of paper is still required. Getting repair parts is done in a similar manner, but in the opposite direction. It’s just that people who bring stuff are usually friends or acquaintances. There aren’t generally people willing to haul stuff down from the US for anonymous neighbors. BTW, these would be electronics or specialty boat parts, not generic brown bags of white powder or dried leafy greens. Melodie did have some good quality spices brought down. It’s actually hard to get good spices here.

The photo was taken during the Friday evening Mexican Train that’s hosted at the Poolside Deli here at the La Cruz Marina. It’s a chance to meet new people and pass the time with a fun game. There are several variations of the rules and they are often referred to by where they originate: La Paz Rules, Tenicatita Rules, etc. They serve Margarita’s but lately they’ve been blue. I think she’s using blue Gatorade, but that’s just a guess.

So why the short blog entry? Can you imagine writing a blog that detailed your daily life when you were just kind of living it? Maybe our next entry will contain something more exciting.

We think we will make our way to Mazatlán tomorrow. It’s 175 NM from La Cruz to Mazatlán and should take us between 24-30 hours. There are four other boats headed that way as well.

Tomorrow is also our 31st Wedding Anniversary!

Still in La Cruz, but looking to sail south

23 January 2018 | La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
Pat - Cloudy
Today is Tuesday January 23, 2018.

Melodie and I had a good holiday season. She visited family back in Milwaukee and I made an appearance there during the week of Christmas-New Years. Temperatures in the single digits and below….it was COLD. But it was good to see family and we had a nice visit.

I returned to Starshine in the Marina at La Cruz and continued to troubleshoot a problem in our fuel system. We were seeing bubbles in our Racor fuel filter. The internet said it was a supply side vacuum leak. I had a very difficult time trying to locate the leak. Several other boaters we know had a similar problem, that was tracked to the shut off valve at the fuel tank. I was able to blow air past our shut off valve, so I thought that might be the culprit. I changed the valve, but it didn’t make the bubbling go away. Finally we switched out the entire Racor unit, going from a fancy dual unit to a simpler single unit. That solved the problem. We will either rebuild or replace the fancy dual unit sometime down the road.

We finished our time in the marina, and with the fuel issue solved we moved to the anchorage. It’s been a little rolly, but we deployed our “Flopper Stopper” and it has attenuated the rolling somewhat.

We’ve been enjoying the many restaurants in La Cruz and going out with friends, both land based and other boaters. The photo was taken from the balcony of one of our land based friends.

I got some dental work done in Bucerias, the small town between La Cruz and Nuevo Vallarta. The cleaning was $36 USD and two cavities filled was $75. All done in a brand new facility by an English speaking dentist.

We were going to head south last week, but got waylaid by the weather. A large “swell train” came down from the north and caused there to be some really big waves in the area. We chose to stay here in La Cruz to let the weather pass. That was a week ago today. It’s looking like we may have a window this coming Thursday or Friday. We’ll have to see.

My friend Rich from my Club Nautique days came to Puerto Vallarta for a vacation with his sister. He gave me a shout via Facebook and we were able to get together for lunch down in Marina Vallarta. It was good to catch up, having been about a year and a half since we last saw one another. I was also able to have dinner with my friend Arnstein. He delivered a brand new Jeaneau 54 from San Diego to Nuevo Vallarta. Club Nautique is opening a charter base at Paradise Village. It was their first boat to arrive for their estimated 4-6 boat fleet.

It’s hard to believe we’ve been here almost three months so far this season. We are enjoying the warm weather, but wish the water was warmer too. It was in the low 80’s when we first arrived, but now it’s in the mid 70’s. It makes for a brisk jump in the water, but it’s not too bad after a swim around the boat.

That’s all for now. The next big thing on our calendar is finding a place to watch the Super Bowl.

Enjoying Mexico in Banderas Bay

04 December 2017 | La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
Pat
I've been told by my mother that my blog has once again been neglected.

November was a busy month. After moving all our stuff to a storage facility in Arizona we finally drove to Mexico on Thursday November 2. We stayed the night in Guaymas, near San Carlos in Sonora Mexico. On Friday November 3 I dropped Melodie off at the TAP Bus station and then I drove to the storage yard we've used the past two years in San Carlos (a 20 minute ride). I got a ride back to TAP and we caught the 1430 bus to Nuevo Vallarta.

Why take the bus? Well we took 150 pounds of boat parts, including three gallons of paint for the bottom. That and our new flares made flying impossible. TAP is an ok bus line, but it isn't as nice as Tufesa. It was about 20 hours to get to Nuevo Vallarta. That included an unscheduled and unexplained one hour delay in Obregon, a couple hours south of Guaymas. Did I mention there was no extra charge for the two additional bags? (one was a box from COSTCO, the kind with the yellow lids).

We arrived to find Starshine had weathered the summer pretty well. We were glad to see the interior had no mold, but there was some growth on the exterior. It is very humid in Nuevo Vallarta and rains almost daily in the summer. Our boat caretaker did ok, but there were many details he overlooked. Our boat guy in San Carlos washed the fenders monthly. This guy didn't and now the fenders are kinda trashed. The dock lines had some green growth too. Not something I'd expect from our guy the previous summers. Anyway, we spent the next few weeks getting Starshine back from being "summerized" and back into shape. We also enjoyed the cable TV they provide at Paradise Village Marina. We spent the summer kind of TV deprived as you might recall from other blog posts.

My sister Cheri and her family came to visit during the week of Thanksgiving. We had a very non-traditional holiday. We spent one day poolside. One day we took the water taxi to Yelapa and took a hike to a waterfall. Well we almost made it to the waterfall. A slight detour up the river/creek we were following took us off the designated trail. We did not actually see the waterfall, but we enjoyed the hike nonetheless. We made it back to the beach in time for tacos and beer before we took the water taxi back to Puerto Vallarta. We spent Thanksgiving Day visiting Sayulita, a hippy gringo surfer town north of here. We had vegetarian tacos for lunch and seafood for dinner. No turkey or stuffing, but we ate well anyway. This is our second time spending Thanksgiving at Sayulita. Remember it's just Thursday for the locals.

After the Robertson clan returned to California Melodie and I had Starshine hauled out at the shipyard in La Cruz. It was a planned event. We've hauled out every other November since we bought her in 2011. Everything went well and we were back in the water as scheduled at almost at the estimated price.

Today Starshine is in the La Cruz Marina. Melodie and I will be here for about two weeks until Melodie flies to Milwaukee for Christmas. We'll move to the anchorage while she's gone, as marinas in Mexico are more expensive than California (during the season Nov-May). It will be nice to enjoy the amenities here before going out to the anchorage. We'll also have the chance to see many friends who we've heard on the radio or seen in passing, but haven't had the chance to socialize with yet.

Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season. Life is good here on Starshine.

Where have we been?

24 October 2017 | Oakland, CA
Pat
I have been neglecting our blog since early September. I wrote an update but made the classic mistake of not saving my work. You have seen me make this mistake in the past, but it appears I have not learned my lesson! So here it goes again, post # 2……

In early September I few to Poland and Melodie flew to Milwaukee. Melodie spent time with her family and I met my friend Arnstein for a motorcycle tour around Eastern Europe. I arrived in Krakow Poland a few days ahead of meeting up with Arnstein. I used the time to recover from the jet lag and see some of old town Krakow. We picked up the motorcycles and began our two week ride. In the end we rode about 2400 miles. We were within 150 kilometers of our 4000 KM allotment. The bikes ran well and we had no mechanical issues. We visited seven countries in all, six on the motorcycles and Norway during an 18 hour layover on the trip home. We started in Poland and rode through Slovakia, Austria, Switzerland, Germany and the Czech Republic.

We visited many historical sites focused on WWII. We ate lots of local food. We stayed in small hotels on the outskirts of towns (mostly). Not many people spoke English outside of the tourist areas, but we made due. Europe was very clean, no litter and people keep their homes free from misc lawn debris. The weather was unseasonably cool and we got rained on a few times. My rain gear worked well so it wasn’t too bad. Overall it was a great trip and I really enjoyed seeing the countryside off the tourist routes.

Melodie and I met back up in the Bay Area and made our way in the camper back to Arizona. We are storing the camper near my parent’s house over the winter. We took about a week to winterize the camper and get it and the truck put away.

We were just about ready to drive back to Mexico when I learned our storage space rent had increased once again. We almost moved our stuff out of California last year, but didn’t. This 15% increase was just too much. So we drove our Acura back to the Bay Area. We are renting a U-Haul and moving our stuff to Arizona. Why Arizona? Well we use my parent’s house as a base for logistics and the rent there is half what it is in the Bay Area.

We hope to return to Starshine by the first week in November.

That’s all for now.

Snakes to the Lake

04 September 2017 | South Lake Tahoe CA
Pat and Melodie
Today is Labor Day, September 4, 2017.

A busy two weeks since the Eclipse.

We left Culver Oregon and began to make our way to Livermore CA. We made an early departure to beat the traffic and found the roads busy, but traffic was moving. We dumped our waste tanks in Bend OR at a Chevron Station and only paid $5. These RV businesses really try to rip you off (they wanted $20 at the KOA). You just have to be diligent. We arrived in Lava Beds National Monument and found the wildfire smoke was very thick. You could only see a mile or two. We had a quiet afternoon and a thunderstorm passed through late in the evening.

We left the next morning and when we were at the intersection of Hill Rd and HWY 161 the Google Map car drove by. I’ve been checking, but I haven’t seen our camper at the intersection yet on Google Earth.
Just after turning south on HWY 97 from 161 (hour north of Weed CA) we experienced a flat tire. We both heard the pop, but Melodie recognized it as an emergency more so than me. I pulled over and you could hear the air rushing out of the front/right tire. I had stopped on gravel, so I quickly backed up 25 feet onto some pavement before the tire was completely flat. I changed the tire and we were back on the road in about 40 minutes. We got the flat repaired in Redding CA. It only took an hour and it was free (I buy a lot of tires at America’s Tire / Discount Tire). We ate burritos while we waited.

Back on the road we continued south, stopping at the Colusa County Fairgrounds. It was 100 degrees out and we wanted hook ups to run the A/C. We arrived and the place was deserted. I asked a passerby for directions and he pointed toward and open gate. We found a spot and plugged in, no one else was there. In the morning we stopped by the office to pay our fee and they thanked us for actually coming in. I guess some people just drive away.

We arrived in Livermore and got the Cobra ready. We stayed at my friend Bill’s place that night and met up with the Bay Area Cobra Club in the morning.

About 15 Cobra’s met up in Livermore on Friday Aug 25 and we caravanned up to the Kmart lot in Antioch at HWY 4 and 160. We met another 10 cars and the group made our way toward Rancho Cordova for lunch. It was good to see old friends from our “old life”. After lunch at the food trucks we continued up to South Lake Tahoe via HWY 50. In years past we’ve taken very scenic routes to Tahoe, HWY 88, 4, and 120. But due to construction we stuck to HWY 50. We arrived early, so we gathered near the pool and got the party started. We all chip in and volunteers put on a self-catered meal. Pulled pork sliders and BBQ Chicken.

On Saturday the group drove to the North Shore and we had ourselves a miniature golf tournament. It was fun and it’s a group activity which is more the point than the activity itself. We had lunch in Tahoe City at The Bridge Tender. Golf was a group activity, but for lunch people broke off into smaller groups of 2-3 couples. We went to Café Fiore for dinner, it’s more than we usually pay but it was delicious.

On Sunday the group drove to Truckee and we played Bocce. Melodie and I play Bocce on the beach in Mexico, the rules are VERY loose. This time two of the couples play on Bocce leagues. Again, good times with great people. A nice way to spend the day. We drove back to South Shore and I took a nap before dinner. You may have noticed but much of the Cobra Club activities revolve around eating!

On Monday we were one of the last people to leave the hotel. With temperatures in the Valley expected to be around 100, everyone wanted to beat the heat. Many people chose to take HWY 88 back to the bay, but we returned on HWY 50 so we could stop in Cameron Park.

We stopped in Cameron Park and spend the night with our friends Keith and Dana. We had a really nice visit, tasting wine at some nearby wineries in the Amador area.

We also got the chance to visit with friends Phil and Desley in Brentwood.

The next chapter is more travel for each of us. Melodie is returning to Milwaukee and will stay at her family home. I am flying to Poland for a two week motorcycle trip with my friend Arnstein. I fly tomorrow and take a day to arrive in Krakow Poland. We will be visiting Poland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Slovakia and Lichtenstein. I’ll be on a Honda NTV700 and Arnstein will be on a Suzuki 900. The theme will be Historic WWII places. Our longest planned day is 450 KM, about 280 miles. I think I’m all set, looking forward to another adventure!
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