So here we are again.
Putting all of our efforts into another house. We bought this sixty year old house for little money. Didn’t pay much for it so didn’t think buying insurance for it was necessary.
Our plan in buying the property was having a place to use as studio space. We weren’t planning on living here. Within a year of buying the property our plans took a turn. We were thank full that we had this place. I looked into what insurance would cost after we decided we’d be staying here. The Insurance company informed me that we were considered a risk since we didn’t purchase insurance when we bought the house. I explained the situation but it didn’t matter to them. They wanted to charge us several thousand dollars a year to insure a sixty year old house. After that we decided to continue to fix the house up and then put it on the market.
The house had sat empty for at least six years. The owners used it for storage. It had spiders and webs and empty insect eggs everywhere. It gave everyone the creeps that looked at it. But to me it had potential; old Florida Style House, property loaded with cabbage palms, single washington palm, royal palm, coconut palm and fox tail palms. It also had an old mango tree that produces some of the best mangos each summer. The house floor plan was a reverse floor plan. Living areas upstairs, garage and studio/great room and full bath down.
Within the first three months of buying the house we had an exterminator treat the house and kill every living thing in it. It was amazing how well it worked. I coaxed a friend into helping me use shop vacs and suck up all the spiders, webs and dead carcasses. That was the creepiest part. She was more brave than I. We demolished the existing kitchen. Smashed up the tile counters. Using rubber hammers we laughed hysterically as we hit the counters and watched the tile rise in the air, freeze in space and then fall in back onto the counter.
The house had a long line of windows across the front. As you entered the upstairs you entered onto a porch first, then through another door, the living room was straight ahead and a galley kitchen on the left. There was one bedroom on this upper floor along with one bath that consisted of only one sink and commode. So to let more light in we knocked out the wall between the porch and the rest of the house. We also purchased new cabinets and appliances and built an island in the center of the kitchen. Turned it into the most efficient kitchen I’ve ever worked in.
We built a wall in the middle of the living room to make a second bedroom along with a built-in closet inside the room. Michael installed new water pipes and electrical wiring where needed. He installed a tub in the upper bathroom. Ran the plumbing for it and replaced the drywall. While I ran hundreds of square feet of paint all over the house inside and out. She has no insulation between the floors. So keeping it warm or cold during the seasons take a little more effort.
Every morning it is a real treat to walk into the living room, open the shades on all the windows and look outside at the beautiful outdoors. It gives the real feeling of living in a tree house.
Hello Friends! As you can tell last year took my wind away. It has been a long time since I have been able to do any blogging.
Life Goes On!
Since I am dirt bound I have decided to make the best of it. Last January I took a Master Gardener Class with a friend of mine.This week in April is our last class. I have very little experience in growing things. Amazingly enough I have learned of so many beautiful plants and trees that are growing right outside my door.
I have also have been exposed to the world of Volunteering. The basis of this class is each Master Gardener must dedicate 50-60 hours a year volunteering in our communities. The Master Gardeners are good people. They are self less and work hard. We all share a common interest and aim to educate the public about conserving water and not fertilizing during the rainy season.
If you ever see a Master Gardener Program being taught in your area you should check it out. It’s another way of opening your eyes to the world around you.
Here are couple pics of some of the plant life I have fallen in love with.
This is a Dutchmans Pipe. Previously labled this wrong. Sorry. Banana Plant
FYI. If you are running your business online and are desperate enough to surf blogs for attention, do me a favor and Don’t Stop Here. I’m not interested in what you have to sell.
I found these words I had written while staying on the boat. After reading them I decided to post them. Somehow they felt therapeutic.
Clouds of pink and light blue randomly spaced across the sky. The sea gently rolls toward the shore reflecting the colors.
A light sweet chatter of birds fly all around. Fish feed on their morning breakfast. Mostly small ones on the surface dart back and forth to get out-of-the-way of the big ones below. Sea birds fly above doing gentle passes while soaring on the light cool breeze, looking for a school of fish to dive into.
The air is a comfortable 70 degrees while a light breeze adds to the peaceful feeling.
Fisherman quietly approach my boat, tossing a hand-line over to the fish hiding underneath. “Buenos Dias” is exchanged back and forth in a whisper, so to not wake those sleeping on deck.
From town faint sounds of traffic off in the distance. Lights on-shore begin to fade.
The sun shows signs of peaking over the eastern mountains on the horizon. Rays of pink, yellow and blue light jet straight up as if announcing the start of a new day.
We continued on until we came to Zihuatanejo. Our approach there wasn’t until sunrise the next morning. I had just finished my watch when Michael came up on deck and took the wheel. I told him about the dolphin playing around the boat for the last 4 hours and how they seem to know when they startled me. They kept me awake the last two hours from 2am to 4am. I also told Michael that the boat had seemed to take on an extra rumbling and vibration sound. We weren’t able to really look at it until we were in the bay at Zihuatanejo. It was there that Michael determined the shaft was loose and the motor mounts needed replacing. We were thank full that something worse didn’t happen with that situation while we were offshore, such as taking on water.
Our son Mike was getting “itchy” to get back to the states to get up with his friends that were graduating from high school. It was decided that with the mechanical problem and it being the start of hurricane season, that we would secure the boat and head back to the states to save some money for the repair and return after hurricane season. Then the boat would be fixed and continue on.
We stayed in Zihuatanejo another month while we talked with the Port Captain and the locals as to where the best place would be to moor the boat. The Locals recommended putting the mooring close to town, the Port Captain insisted we put it in a remote area between La Roppa Beach and Los Gatos.
We removed the sails and winches and anything else that might attract someone to go aboard. We had an alarm system installed that would go off if the locks were broken and someone entered the boat thru the companion ways or hatches.
It was hot at night. We put up a screened covering that covered the deck and dropped down on the sides. Pulled the cushions from down below up on deck and slept under the stars. It was a wonderful feeling sleeping outside. We watched the first thunderstorm of the season go thru late one night. As the rain swept across the mountains and into the city, explosions from the transformers lit up the town in all directions. It was quite the light show.
As we continued down the west coast of Mexico we stopped for the night in Manzanillo. It was a pretty city on the coast and the buildings that climbed the hillsides were impressive. Flowers were in bloom in brilliant reds and pinks while most of the buildings were painted white. The contrast of the two along with the bright sun almost hurt your eyes to look at. The boat was anchored directly outside the local marina. The tourist book stated that the marina offered amenaties that we were looking forward to using, only to find the marina had “seen better days”. The impressive buildings that climbed the hillside were actually falling apart. As you walked around the area it was a maze of pathways and alley ways. Cinderblocks pilled up in areas, along with barbwire dangeling and dirt pathways. Many of the condominums appeared to be nice and were being used as a resort area. It was just the structure underneath that was falling apart.
When the guys returned to the boat and reported what they saw, it was disapointing. We went back later to find the dock master to see if there was a shipstore nearby. He charged us $200 pesos to park the dingy at the marina that offered nothing other than a tie up and told us there was a shipstore down the row from him. Only to find that there was a sign “closed” on the door. It looked as tho this place was a thriving resort at one time…just not now. It was full of shops on the lower leavel that were mostly vacant. We wandered around until we found a restaurant on the ocean side and had a nice lunch of baked, whole red snapper. The following morning we pulled up anchor and continued down the coast.
The day we left La Barra De Navidad was a bit sad for me. We had spent some time with the crew on S/V Third Day and they were fun. We go thru life and meet lots of people but few do we actually connect with. As life on the water goes, we wished each other safe passages and hoped to see each other again.
Then we were continued on our journey Manzanillo our next port of call.
It is July and much has transpired. It looks as tho my last entry featured Bandares Bay on the west side of the mainland of Mexico. We cruised over to the far south end of the Bay to stay the night in Yelappa (http://www.yelapa.info/). Such a unique place. Very small fishing village that looks like a picture you’d see of Switzerland. We were told by locals that we would be helping to support the small village if we paid to use their moorings instead of using our own anchor. The bottom was close to 100′ deep very close to the beach. Unfortunately the moorings were very close together and I spent the night “on watch” due to “fending off” with the boats around us.
Yellapa has an interesting history that is worth checking out. The morning we exited the Bay we got an early start so to get around the point at Cabo Correntes before the afternoon winds picked up and made cruising rough. As we passed the point we spotted as many as nine different whales heading north. The seas were a bit bouncy but with Michael at the wheel I was able to wrap my arm around a “stay” and hold the camera as steady as possible. One whale in particular took a large leap out of the water far enough away for me to get the shot of a lifetime. It was one of the most spectacular events I had ever witnessed and I got a picture of it too.
Wind and seas were perfect for a while. We actually did some sailing. But as the afternoon wore on the seas picked up and it got a bit rough. Michael was at the wheel and instructed Mike, the First Mate to go forward and take down the sails.
As he turned into the wind, the direction of the seas were on our nose. The boat was heaving up and down in the tall seas with white water crashing across the bow. He was working on a sheet that had gotten tangled due to the wind and was focused on freeing it up. Holding on with one arm wrapped around the mast while the other hand worked on the knot. I remember vividly the grin on Mikes face as he returned to the wheel house. He enjoyed the excitement of the energy of the wind and the seas.
Michael was on the wheel way passed his shift. Somedays we felt like steering longer than our set schedules. That day was one of them for Michael. I went below and took advantage of the free time to catch up on some sleep. Around midnight Mike woke me up and told me to go on deck for look out, we were pulling into an anchorage. Mike had gone up forward with the new night vision scope scanning the area for boats, rocks and beach and was reporting back to Michael at the wheel. It was pitch black dark. I kept trying to clear my eyes to see but wasn’t having much luck. The air was cool and the smell of salt was heavy in the air.
As the boat moved forward I could hear a school of fish swimming to get out-of-the-way. As they swam a large circle of phosphorus lit up their way giving me a little light to see around the boat. We could hear the surf but it was difficult to determine just how close it was to the beach. While Michael watched the depth finder he decided to drop the anchor in 30′ of water. He gave Mike the “go ahead” to drop the anchor and let out the chain slowly as he backed the engine down in reverse. A tug on the bow with a swing to right was indicative that the anchor had grabbed.
Michael shut off the engine and once again our ears rang with the sound of silence. We sat on deck awhile to take in our bearings, making sure the anchor didn’t drag and that it was a safe place to stop for the night. Caelin our labrador got in her bed in the wheel house while we went down below and got in our bunks. Being exhausted, Michael went right to sleep. As usual I lay there for some time listening and re-assuring myself that we were in a safe place to rest. Caelin was our alarm should anyone or anything come close to the boat. Unfortunately dolphins and birds were no exception.
When we awoke the next morning we grabbed a cup of coffee and out onto the deck to take in the unfamiliar surroundings. We were amazed to see that we had crossed over a long span of nets entering the channel the previous night. Our boat doesn’t have a fin keel so luckily we didn’t disturb the nets….that we know of.
Chamela was were we had landed the night before. It was another gorgeous beach. The place where we anchored was in the top part of the picture (north end) on the other side of the last island.