29 April 2020 | mazatlan
Scott and Donna Hansen | beautiful
We have sailed 2,200 Nmi in Mexico this winter. We left Ensenada in Dec. and sailed 700 Nmi down the Pacific side of Baja and and anchored at 5 or 6 places along the way. After a quick 2 nights at anchor in rolly, loud Cabo, we set sail for Puerto Vallarta and it was a stormy, wet, unusual 300 Nmi passage, that should have been a fast sunny skies reach. One boat was lost during the storm although the crew were saved in the nick of time. We spent 2 months in PV both at anchor an in the Marina. Friends came to visit and we took them out for a sail on Banderas bay for the whale watching trip of a lifetime. We were ready to leave the big city and sail south to our favorite deserted tropical bay in Mexico. We snorkel with all the beautiful tropical fish on the coral reef, we saw lots of wild animals, Coatimundis,Crocodiles,Iguanas, Sea turtles, Pelicans, Boobies, terns, frigate birds,and so many others. Look up the ocean sun fish, now that is a huge and crazy fish to see in the open ocean. The bay is called Tenacatita and while we were anchored there is when Mexico started to take the Wuhan virus seriously so then we stayed out of marinas and topped up all our supplies before most business shut down. We said goodbye to our sailing friends in the bay and changed plans and sailed north up into the Sea of Cortez and anchored in several bays on the way to La Paz. By now all beaches were closed and many good anchorages. We were low on food,water,fuel,and booze, so we decided to take a chance and sneak into La Paz to get what we needed and sneak back out again because Mexico was restricting most travel. Well, off we sailed to cross the Sea of Cortez for the third time this winter and sailed straight to Mazatlan and are in a nice little marina in order to leave the boat for the summer. Mazatlan is even more closed down than La Paz was, so when we rode our bikes to the Walmart all the products in store were forbidden to sell except for food. You couldn't be over 45 yrs old to go into Home Depot! We can't buy any alcohol of any kind and not even mixers. Alaska airlines stopped all flights outta here and did no tell us, so Donna spent days on the phone trying to find a way home that did not involve riding a burro or beating to weather for 3,000 Nmi. She finally got tickets for a Mex airline to Tijuana, walk over the border,take a shuttle,stay overnight,fly SD to Paine field and our daughter, Celeste will drive us home pant pant! Photo to follow!
Great day to collect water
08 January 2020 | Punta Mita
Scott and Donna Hansen | Raining
After watching ‘All is Lost’ while sailing, we discussed the do’s and don’ts of survival at length and decided to try and catch rainwater while sailing from Cabo to Punta Mita. We have sailed in countries where we absolutely needed water, but here, we were just over two weeks from our last fill, so we weren’t desperate but at least another week from refilling our water bladder of 50 gallons (and that’s an improvement over what our 47-foot sailboat came with!). Plus, we start off with 7 Jerry jugs of potable water, so we won’t be filling our only Jerry jug at the last moment as Robert Redford did, unless our 7 Jerry jugs were all dry and we need the compromised water in the bladder.
We have attached a hose to a hole in canvas to catch rain of a canvas surface but this time we used our solar panels that could angle down to one point into a 11” by 16” bin and into a 5-gallon bucket. The two panels we used were 26” by 58” so a nice surface to catch from. I also have my ‘cruise ship’ chair that I use for comfort in our strictly racing cockpit and I noticed it dripping from the netting on the seat, so I set up a large mixing bowl below that and again catch a fair amount of rain. The picture shows the cruise ship chair set up. Just from these three areas, we ended up catching over 5 gallons of water which even impressed us!
Back in the ‘90s we did use a pressure cooker to boil up saltwater then caught the steam off a copper coil into a container. It was faster than a solar still and uses propane, but it has a purpose inside the boat when we might not have sun.
So, we were excited to have our 5 gallons of salvaged water to show it could be done!
Hackers, canceled phones and a new baby!
08 January 2020 | Bahia Santa Maria
Scott and Donna Hansen | too windy
We are anchored in Bahia Santa Maria
Phone and internet are sporadic in the little out of the way places we anchor. It has been nothing short of miraculous some of the bits of internet we have received. After leaving Ensenada, we sailed for 2 days and nights to the small village of Bahia Tortuga and we planned to spend 2 days and sail on. We had no internet at all but at O Dark 30 we were up and getting ready to go and I decided to check one last time and I got a miracle wiff of internet and got weather fax files at 20 kilobytes and they showed a low pressure storm from the south so we stayed 2 more days as there are few anchorages on the outside of the Baja with protection from the south.
The next day Donna got a text from our credit union that said they thought we had been hacked and there was a 1-dollar charge then 2- $1,699 charges one after another. It was unbelievable that we got that message so that Donna could call on our working Mexican cell phone and get the card canceled. After weathering the storm we sailed in rough seas to Bahia Asuncion and with no internet, I used an old radio to internet interface to get a 321 byte query out and receive the 20kb weather that I needed and I don't even know where it came from. Then we sailed 2 and half nights to Bahia Santa Maria and as we came into the bay at 22:30 at night we got a text from Nate that his baby girl was born.
Our Mexican phone was discontinued the next morning because the month was up and our USA phones were disconnected the same morning because our canceled credit card could not auto-pay. Donna, as a new G-ma, was desperate for some communication on the new baby girl and she tried everything and we spent hours talking to Mexican Telcel customer service as our only phone service was to the carrier but she tried a desperation call to the Mexican owner of the boat yard that we hauled out in. She could not get thru, but he called back and I told him of our crazy problem, and he said, “No problem, I will go and put 150 Pesos on your account and Merry Christmas!”
That held us over until we could get to La Cruz where we could use our American phones once again.
Coming back to boat failures
14 December 2019 | Ensenada
Scott and Donna Hansen | fair, did have 3 rain/wind squalls since being here
We came on a Monday and the next Sunday we got on our bikes to find a church we heard about. It meant biking 3 miles, which normally I could do but it was super-hot, we didn't bring water and we started to climb hills. I sprained my ankle less than a month ago, but it was doing ok, although numerous times getting on and off the bike wasn't the best for it. Then the GPS was sending us the wrong way, so we finally turned around and came back to the boat. I had been using my phone for the map feature and when I got off the bike, I gathered up my things and placed them on the deck. THEN I heard a plunk and the phone was gone. So, we bought a Mexican phone for $66 but unfortunately left the hotspot on overnight and woke up to a warning that we had used over 2G from 11pm to 7am when we were FAST asleep. We complained to the Telcel company but it was not their problem....
We also had a soap container and a bleach bottle leak into a bilge, our water foot pump rotted away in the bathroom and our coffee pot tipped over due to a broken post on the stove top, so our week has been eventful!! But we love the marina, the friends, the almost sunny weather, having our bikes to get around faster, and being in a marina when those winds kick up!!
The picture shows part of our 6-month growth on the bottom. I scraped from the dock, Scott used the hookah to stay down and scrape off the prop and rudder so we could at least sail slowly to the yard to have the bottom repainted.
Getting the bottom and mast paint renewed at Guillermo's yard
14 December 2019 | Guillermo's yard, Ensenada
Scott and Donna Hansen | fair
Last June/July Scott spent 2 months repainting the entire hull and bottom at Baja Naval's yard. He stayed right there and liked their slow, steady work but this year we chose Guillermo's yard, a smaller, less expensive yard but they were known for doing faster work.
Our boat, Celestial is 47 ft, 14 ft beam and needs 9 ft for draft so only a high tide would do. We were trying to get the bottom paint on and drying before the rains and heavier winds returned so our window was small. Guillermo was ready at the 8:30am haul out time which was only a few days away, we were even early just because we weren't sure how SLOW the boat would go. The owner was there supervising the whole time, and as a last-minute project, Scott asked if they could clear paint our 75ft carbon fiber mast, spreaders and spinnaker pole. They agreed to send a guy up the mast on our bosom chair, while Scott watched him go up and I managed the electric winch under the dodger. The pictures shows the dark top, fresh paint so it was working! Everything was done and we were back in the water in 2 & ½ days, we had up to 5 days for the tide. Scott had to lay down our own tarps to catch drips from the mast and they tried to do some touch up work on the hull which wasn't perfect, but we were happy overall.
They allowed us to live on the boat which means using their toilets exclusively and climbing a 15 ft ladder, but I managed that as well, even with my one-month old sprained ankle.
Our speed went from going barely 4 knots to doing 7 knots on the way back to Cruiseport! Scott was a happy Captain once more
Heading offshore on Tuesday!
14 December 2019 | Ensenada
Scott and Donna Hansen | foggy
Had a great Thanksgiving with friends and almost ready to head offshore. We bought a new zipper and buckles to repair our main sail, we inserted our new water bladder and we should go from 35 to 50 gallons of stored water for dishes and showers! We still use 9 separate Jerry cans for drinking water so we should be fine. The boat was hauled out and bottom paint applied so the waterline should be much easier to do once we get into warmer waters to try and clean it. I will do a separate entry on the haul out.
Had to add that WI-FI isn't the best at Cruiseport, almost gave up trying to load this then I used my Mexican Phone hotspot and it went through the first time!!
Back in Ensenada
14 November 2019 | Ensenada enada
Donna Hansen | Sunny 70 degrees
After 6 months dealing with taxes and renters in Seattle, we returned to Mexico. There was plenty of dust and soot to clean both inside and out but the engine started right up, the solar panels are charging and we are getting ready to sail south.
Next comes the waterline, oh my!
Got here in time to find a restaurant to watch the Seahawks Beat the 49ers!! Go Hawks!
Ensenada is a great place to be. Next week is the Baja 1000 race that starts here. Another fun event.
We are meeting up with old friends and getting used to life aboard our yacht. It may take 3 weeks to get ready to set sail but we are excited to start a new adventure.
Capt. Scott and Donna.
Puerto Vallarta Zoo
27 February 2019
Scott and Donna Hansen
Like I mentioned before, it was hard to leave Barra but we did, using one day at Tenacatita to rest then going on to La Cruz.
We had heard from our friends off Emerald Lady, that the PV Zoo was well worth seeing. It should have been a 3-bus ride trip from La Cruz to the zoo, but we made it into a 4-bus trip, using the wrong pickup stop. Luckily at $$10-15 pesos, (57-86 cents), it didn't break the bank. A young man on his way to work at a local hotel, named Moses, asked us where we were going and helped us get on the right bus.
The entrance fee was $$200 pesos so again, well worth checking it out.
The bus lets you off 800 meters from the entrance, but it is a doable walk or there are taxis close by. For a donation of $$50 pesos you are given a bag of carrots, pellets, corn and bread and a detailed list of what to feed to whom whether the monkeys, donkeys, hippo, wolves, tigers, lions, crocodiles, rabbits, guinea pigs, giraffes and more. This was the most fun, having such interaction as they came to collect your offering. In the picture, it looks like the giraffe is ready to eat my hair but I backed away in time!
The zoo is well spread out and bug spray is advised but what a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.
Volcano Trip from Barra de Navidad
27 February 2019
Scott and Donna Hansen
Lisa and John, our friends off Molly J, helped us check in at the Marina and made sure we saw the tour brochures offered by 'Jupiter' of Admire Mexico Tours. One was to see the Volcano in Colima and some coffee plantations, so we started to make plans to go.
It meant bringing our passports to the ETN bus station the day before to make sure we got on the 8:20am bus to Comala, Colima. That took around 3 hours, but we were given a ham and mayo sandwich and a drink for the ride. The way back we only got a bag of Doritos so be prepared. There were no options for those who were gluten free!
Jupiter, our tour guide was waiting for the 5 of us with his comfortable van and delivered a great presentation both while driving and off his tablet when we stopped along the way. Visitors are only allowed within 8 kilometers of the volcano, but we could see steam rising from the summit that day.
Jupiter is very knowledgeable in the history of the area and explained the workings of volcanos in general. We visited a small coffee roaster as well as a local lake that was originally a crater. He pointed out many wild birds along the way. We walked through an avocado plantation and got to see a 300-year-old tree.
The tour ended in time for our 3:40 return bus but for some reason that bus didn’t come, and we had to wait an hour for the next one and got back to the boat after dark but had a great time, costing less than $70 a piece.
Christ of the Cyclone
27 February 2019
Scott and Donna Hansen
Christ of the Cyclone is revered in the church consecrated to San Antonio de Padua and is located in the small port of Barra de Navidad in Jalisco. We got to see it on one of our visits to Barra. The incident happened in 1971 when Hurricane Lily struck the city for 3 days straight.
Desperate, townsfolk went to pray in the church and witnessed what they considered a miracle. The Christ lowered his arms and suddenly the storm ceased.
The town is set up with lots of tourist souvenirs and I got a beach cover that said Barra on it! The bigger town of Meloque is a short bus ride away for a large market to stroll through. Celeste saw a horse tied up near the beach and felt so sorry for it that she went and bought a carrot for it to enjoy. Most horses you see for the beach rides are sad, not well taken care of.
We actually anchored in Meloque the night before we went into the resort but they call it ‘Rocky Meloque’ for a good reason. Some brave folks do stay in the anchorage to be close to the larger city. One local rowed over to us to tell us where’s the best place to anchor to avoid rocking too much.
Beautiful Resort at Barra de Navidad
27 February 2019
Scott and Donna Hansen
We had friends on Molly J, Lisa and John, staying at Barra so I definitely wanted to make this stop. The resort is unbelievable with it's 4 pools, beautiful gardens, and fresh fruit water being served while you use Wi-Fi in their lounge. You have to take a water taxi to get into town but at $$30 pesos a round trip, it is quick and easy, just keep your ticket ready for the return trip. There is an anchorage further in from Barra, but it is shallow, so we chose just to be in the marina and enjoy our friends. They have laundry service right on the grounds so super convenient, just a little pricey. There are different walks along the beaches and around the golf course. Unfortunately, we chose a walk that we thought would get us out to the point you pass as you sail in but instead, we were thick in folage and TONS of mosquitoes so we quickly went back. A huge group of cyclists came riding down beside us.
One night, the yachties got permission to gather and have a potluck, so that was fun to get to know your neighbors better. We got to play water volleyball, ping pong and enjoy noon water exercises, so it was hard to leave at the end of our time.
27 February 2019
Scott and Donna Hansen
This is a great calm bay with lots of community. There is a river trip to another beach where we saw lots of mangroves, crabs, birds, one iguana and some jumping fish. On the other beach, there is a pretty good snorkeling beach that they call The Aquarium. Well worth the trip, tons of fish and eels to see.
We took another day and sailed around the point to anchor closer to the aquarium. It wasn’t as great as our first trip but we got some new underwater pictures. The ‘Mayor’ (designated yachtie who likes to organize ‘fun’) has a raft up every Friday and you are to bring food to share. We raft up in a circle and the food starts being passed. We had over 20 dinghies rafted so there was tons of food! The mayor asked us to think of two truths and one lie to say to all. The boat to the right must figure out the lie. That was fun.
Most days there is a ‘swim to shore’ at 2pm, Bocce Ball game at 2:30, 3pm. Numerous times we at least shared a drink with the group at the beachside palapa restaurant. There is a resort at the far corner of the beach, and although it is off limits for the yachties since it is an exclusive resort, it makes a good walk to and from the resort along the beach.
Scott, Celeste and I and 3 other couples took two taxis into La Manzanilla ($$250-300 pesos one way) and saw the Crocodile Sanctuary ($$30 pesos per person-well worth it) and ate at a restaurant right on the beach. The sanctuary has a mile of walking on elevated boardwalks and even a swinging bridge to cross. They give you a laminated handout of all the possible birds you’ll see. Plenty of turtles to watch also. Near the end they have a nursery with the different ages baby crocodiles and turtles split up and you can even hold a 2-year-old who is about 18 inches long so of course Celeste held that. I hear there is a nice hike to a waterfall from the city also. The picture shows one of the crocodiles just under the boardwalk. We got to see one attacking something under a mangrove but didn’t see him eating anything, but it sure made us jump.
Some people will dinghy the 3 miles over to La Manzanilla, but we hear it is a pretty wet beach landing. Or you can anchor near the town for the day and dinghy in. Wednesday was fresh veggies day! The anchorage is more exposed so usually people come back to anchor in Tenacatita afterwards.