Archive for the ‘wenchhandle’ Category

Winding Down

08/27/2012

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.

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Heading East South East

08/27/2012

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.

Heading Down the Pacific Coast of Mexico

07/30/2012

 After waiting 3 days for a weather window we left Chamela, our next stop was La Barra De Navidad. It was 137 nautical miles and it took us overnight to arrive in the afternoon.  La Barra De Navidad has a lagoon where boaters anchor and locals fish.  It was very shallow going in at low tide and we ran aground.  First Mate Mike was sent up forward to “watch” as we went forward.  But he was preoccupied checking out all the boats in the anchorage, scanning for familiar boats that might contain friends from La Paz.

  It wasn’t long before a small boat was headed our way.  In the boat was indeed friends we had met in La Paz from the boat Third Day. They had seen us come up the channel and had come to say hello and lend a hand.  We welcomed them aboard while Mike and Jason went up to the bow and caught up on past events. We adults went back in the wheelhouse out of the sun and passed around “cold ones” while waiting for the tide to rise.

This was probably one of Mikes favorite stops.  His friend Jason was taking surfing lessons the following day and invited Mike to come along.  Mike was able to hang out with J and surf with him a good part of the day. The two of them did great and got a real workout.  The seas were a bit rough and the waves were just right for practicing.

We anchored the boat in the lagoon there and the trip back and forth to shore was a long one.  Coming back  to the boat at night was the most exciting with the brightest phosphorus I had ever seen.  A flashlight wasn’t needed due to the light reflecting off of the transom and the outboard.  The sea life was ever so active jumping and darting in all directions. The outline of sea snakes would come to the surface and move their heads back and forth looking around, while everything was a bright flourescent green.  It was down right eerie.

Our friends from Third Day have a boat made by the same designer as ours, a William Garden.  It was nice to see the two boats anchored together.  We had a nice visit and just wished we had more time to play.

Hello

07/18/2012

I’m Currently Writting. Check Me Out Again Soon. There will be pictures and everything, really!

La Cruz, Mexico

04/02/2012

March 28th, 2012

Day 4

Last year we bought “Pacific Mexico A Cruiser’s Guidebook.“, by Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer. It was a smart purchase. The information inside contained places to visit, restaurants to eat at, transportation available and other services that boaters would find interesting.

On our cruise south, we planned our stops according to the anchorages listed in the book. Notes were made concerning what side of the anchorage provided better protection from the winds and weather and whether or not the anchorage was exposed to sea swell/rollers. What we didn’t gather from our guidebook was how hard the wind blows DAILY in Banderas Bay along the coast of La Cruz.

Last Sunday we left Punta De Mita, the Northern Tip of Banderas Bay, because of the large rollers that came in the anchorage during the night. We had to wait for daylight to pull up the anchor and head to a better anchorage. We had decided on La Cruz because the guidebook noted that the town was located outside the marina where a dingy dock was provided with security .

After the anchor was set the guys went ashore to check in with the Port Captain. I was invited to go but thought I better stay behind to keep an eye on the anchor. No sooner were they out of sight, the wind began to gust and each time the gusts were stronger. We had white caps and rollers in the bay. The anchor held beautifully, but I was a bit worried as the wind continued to get stronger. I decided to get a beer to calm my nerves and put on some music while I watched the kite boarders and racing sailboats breeze by. When the guys returned, they were surprised to see how quickly the weather had changed. After sunset, the wind calmed down. We later learned that this is a normal weather pattern for this area.

A trip into the small town of La Cruz is a special one. The town has an old charm. Many or most of the streets are cobblestone and red dirt. The buildings are close together with very unique uses of building materials. I had never seen a garage roof made of bricks before and the pattern was rolling and not flat. Ceramic tiles placed in creative patterns that gave you the desire to stop and look at them for awhile. A small park was located in town. It contained large huanacaxtle, pronounced “wah-nah-KAHSH-lay.“ , trees that were seriously huge. Not only tall but bumpy and wide. Black tropical birds with long black tail feathers squawked back and forth with high pitch voices. A concrete center was built in the middle of the park with metal supports in a circle. Beautiful timbers were used to connect the supports to a common place in the center of the circle. Park benches were placed close together around the park. The wood used looked to be shaven from a reddish wood that looked like rosewood. It looked “too nice” to be used for the general public. It was obvious that the community respected their park due to the condition these benches were in. They looked like fine furniture.

Just like other places I had been in Mexico, when you are walking around you best keep your eye on where your next foot is going to land. If you are looking around and walking, you can very easily miss a hole in the sidewalk or street, or a step up onto the next section of sidewalk just happens to change abruptly. Unlike the United States, you are responsible for yourself. If you fall and hurt yourself while walking around, it is up to you to pay attention. Law Suits aren’t as popular here in Mexico.

Day 5

 

Advertised on the VHF this morning was a Jazz concert being held this evening in order to raise money for a film that was made of the locals in the area telling the general public that La Cruz is a safe place to visit. Once again the Media in the United States over exaggerates the crime here. The logic most people live by is that there are bad neighborhoods anywhere in the world you go. That includes in the United States. Unfortunately the news that we all hear is selective and bias. Something we all seem to overlook at times.

We decided to go, sounded like fun. There were four different sets of performers. We learned that many Jazz performers that made a decent living on the west coast of the U.S., retired here to La Cruz. What a treat for the locals to have these musicians that are willing to continue to play for enjoyment of the public.

Day 6

The day is spent running errands and picking up supplies. We had been walking everywhere up till now. We knew we needed to take a cab to the ATM to get pesos but had no idea where to find one. We stopped at the security check point at the marina and asked the guard where we could find a taxi. The guard turned and faced the woods and began screaming at the top of his lungs ‘TAXI! TAXI!”. We started laughing and then a car zips around the corner and a man rolls down his window and says “You need a Taxi?” He drove us maybe 5 miles and charged us 80 pesos.

Day 7

Today was The Cruisers Swap Meet. Actually it was a cruisers Yard Sale. These events are fun to go to. You never know what people are getting off of their boats. Michael bought Night Vision Binocular , A oil change kit, some shackles and a surf board for Mike. Mike was excited to go off to the beach at Punta De Mita to meet a friend of his and do some surfing. It was a wonderful diversion for him. Staying on the boat with his folks drives him insane some days, which is understandable.

Last night we attended a “get together” at the marina. On the way I met two men that were carrying guitars. They asked me if I’d like them to sing me a song and of course I couldn’t refuse. The younger of the two smiled at me and said he had a special song for me. He called it “Kiss Me All Over.” I’m sure I blushed at the title of the song and fortunately it was sung in espanol, so I didn’t understand many of the words. Both of the men’s guitars were chipped and broken in places.  The older man played his guitar in a classical fashion. He was the musician of the two.

The “Get Together” was for cruisers to socialize and meet other cruisers that were traveling in the same direction. Many of the people here were waiting for the perfect weather window to do what they call “The Puddle Jump.”. These people are headed across the Pacific Ocean to the small islands that lead over to Tahiti. There were suppose to be other people heading south, but we didn’t meet any.

We did meet a man, a gringo, at the bar as we first arrived that seemed to be real friendly. But as the night progressed, he ended up coming across as very strange. Alcohol was his issue, I’m sure of it.

My crew ended up going to a nice restaurant for dinner. We had barbecue ribs that were made with pineapple and mango sauce. They were delicious. After our meal the guy from the “cruisers get together” came in “only to have a beer. “ he said. He told the owner he was kicked out of the last place he went to. Then he sat at the bar and chatted up about us and how he had met us previously. He then told the Owner “to sit back and watch, things were about to get strange.” He picked up a pocket knife the owner kept at the bar and was opening it up and waving it around. At that point, he was asked to leave, as he took the knife from him and put it away. I felt uneasy when we left the restaurant to head back to our dingy. Then I remembered that both my guys knew Judo one of which is a brown belt in Judo. In this case the trouble maker wasn’t even Mexican. We had a nice walk back to the dingy dock and safe ride back to our boat.

Day 8

 

Big day for vendors selling goods they have made along the malecon (A walk way that runs along the waters edge) at the marina. I had heard about this market from the locals and wanted to check it out. As we approached this morning we saw people everywhere. My first thought was to turn around and head back to the boat. I wasn’t in the mood for crowds. But since Michael and Mike were with me I didn’t want to change my mind on them.

It was a good thing we went because there were so many nice things that people had made. Things like tiny beads made into designs that had to take a long time to do. Jewelry of all kinds with pretty stones, paintings of local scenery, pottery from the area of Oxaca with gorgeous glazes, ice cream made with coconut and carrots, marlin empanadas, fresh bread., organic coffee and vegetables. Many of the people wore festive garments of bright colors and beautiful embroidery with large sombreros.

What I was looking for was art work done by the Huichol people that live deep in the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains. It is said that these people are one of only a few tribes people remaining in North America. Once a year they harvest the peyote cactus. They believe this helps them communicate with their gods. Their artwork is the product of their beliefs. I did find a vendor with many pieces to choose from. We haggled about the price and eventually I was able to purchase a beautiful piece that I liked. It is said that if you don’t haggle over price you are considered weak and are disrespected. I still find it hard to do.

As usual the afternoon wind was blowing hard as we rode back to the boat in the dingy. It was a real challenge to keep my purchase dry. Somehow, we made it. The rest of the day was spent putting away clean laundry and helping Michael with tools while he did maintenance on the boat. For dinner I made a shrimp scampi with white wine, garlic and lime juice. It was a hit. J

Are We There Yet?

08/14/2011

Seems like we spend most of our time wishing our lives away.

By the end of May we could hardly stand the heat in La Paz.  The days were starting to reach 100-101 and the window liners had been put back in the ports to keep the temperature down inside the boat.  Couldn’t wait for the sun to start setting just so we could sit out on the deck and attempt to catch a cool breeze.  By the first week in June we were planning on storing the boat for hurricane season and heading back to the states.

We had been in Mexico for 11 months and had no idea what we were missing. Television in the U.S. is mentally degrading not only the commercials but the programs as well.  The people are more self absorbed and less willing to speak in passing.   We discovered that we had been acclimated to La Paz.  Life in Mexico had taught us to slow down……. and focus on keeping it simple.

We have been back in the states for two months now and  are looking forward to returning to Mexico and our home on the boat. As soon as hurricane season is over and things start to cool off  we will be returning back to La Paz to pick up where we left off.  Are we there yet?

Sea Trials

04/19/2011

The day was getting so hot that we were dragging our bodies around as we went about our chores.  The high was predicted to be 95 degrees and I think it was close to it by 11AM.  The deck looked like a bomb hit it. Michael turned to me and said “Let’s clean this all up on the way out of here”.  Those were the best words I had heard all morning.  So he started up the motor and out we went, cleaning up the deck as we motored along. 

The water was Blueberry Blue and the hues changed lighter to white as the water got shallower.  We motored up to the same place as before, a couple of weeks ago. There were people in kayaks, waverunners, and fishing boats. The anchor was dropped in 20′ of water.  The GPS set to announce any dragging of the anchor.

Mike jumped into the inflatable dingy with a 4 stroke 10 hp motor on the back.  Off he flew to go check out the sights.  He was so fun to watch as he bounced off the waves from a nearby waverunner.

As my eyes scanned the water I  saw several schools of fish right on the surface of the water.  Each time a bird flew over it was as tho the bird had a magnetic pull as a soft swosh sound would occur and many of the little fish would pile up in the direction the bird was flying.

Later in the evening the guys were out on the deck, when a kayak with a father and son pulled up next to the boat.

The little boy yelled “HOLA!” As if he were saying “I said Hi!   He spoke some english and asked if he could come on board and have his picture taken.  Up comes Father and Son.  More voices came from behind the boat. Three more people climb on board. It was Mom and two daughters. The children looked to be between the ages of 9-12.  They all wanted their pictures taken on the boat.  So we took their pictures.

As the sun  set and the full moon crossed the mountain, it reflected into the sea.

Michael was  done for the day and goes to bed.  Little Mike says he’s wired and can’t go to sleep.  Says he doesn’t like being on the anchor.  I tell him he’ll have to get use to it because we’ll be anchored out much over the next 3 months. He explains that he should have gone to bed while we were still up so that he could feel that someone was on watch.  So I tell him that I would be up for a while.  He finally settles down and goes to sleep.

If I weren’t so sleepy I’d stay up for hours sitting in the companion way watching the stars and the bright lit up moon. There’s a gentle breeze blowing which carries the sound of the mariachi bands tuba player over from the nearby beach.  Someone must have gotten married today due to the  white tents set up and music being played all afternoon.

By the next morning the guys go over the routine check of the engine and find a leaky transmission seal and a few other issues that need to be addressed.

It is decided that we head back to the marina and address these matters.  Shouldn’t take more than a day or two and hopefully we will be out again for another sea trial.

Bitter Sweet

04/13/2011

A week has passed, almost two…but I thought I’d better update my blog.  Our family pet Wally passed away Sunday two weeks ago.  It was a very sad time for us.  We had the boat ready for a sea trial so we took the opportunity to motor out into the bay and bury Wally in close to 100′ of water.  The ride out was exciting.  The boat handled like a dream.  The day was clear and warm with virtually no wind and the water was crystal clear. Dolphins decided to escort us as we crossed the downtown area of La Paz.  They stayed directly under our bow wake and when I talked to them, they would surface and blow water at me.  It made me smile.

We left the dock around 3:30 pm and arrived at a deep place in the bay close to sunset.  As we looked around for a spot to say goodbye to our friend, we passed a seal playing around in the water.  I poured two shot glasses of Coconut Rum and one of Grape Juice as the three of us offered a toast to Wally.  He was wrapped in red canvas from the boat, weighed down with some heavy weight and slid into the bay.  We watched as his body sink below the depths out of sight. Not one of us could speak a word.

Michael slowly walked back to the wheelhouse, put the engine in gear and headed out to a nearby island where we would anchor for the night.  We pulled into a cove and dropped the anhcor in about 20′ of water.  We had a light dinner of salsas, bean drip and tortilla chips.  As the light faded away the wind began to blow and blow it did hard until 2:30 AM.  Michael set the alarm on the GPS, as we all took sights on land to get an idea where we were so if we dragged anchor we would know.  By the time we finished dinner the wind had picked up considerably and we were concerned that we had dragged, so the three of us went on topsides, Mike at the wheel, Michael on the anchor as I am handed a flashlight and the VHF Radio to give Mike orders as Michael attempts to reset the anchor.  The wind just howled in our ears.  Michael had to yell for me to hear him giving me directions as to where to shine the light all at the same time giving me directions to relay to Mike.  With all of the mix of emotions running around in my head, I notice I’m pointing the handheld radio at the anchor while talking in the flashlight. Not helpfull!

Michaels content at last that we are staying in the same spot and goes below to bed.  While Mike makes a place on the deck to sleep.  He wanted to keep one eye open in case we start to drag.  I bring him a pillow and warm blanket while our other dog snuggles up to him to keep warm.  Me…I felt I would be most useful if I just stayed up all night.  The sun warms up the land during the day and when the sunsets the cooler air covers the land as the warmer air rushes upward.  It felt like the wind blew over 30 knotts that night.

By 4:30AM, I went to sleep.  Guys got up by 7Am.  I joined them, fixed a big breakfast then we lowered the little boat over the side while Mike and Caelin, our black lab, took a ride to the beach for her morning walk.  Then we splashed my kayak over the side and off I went for a morning paddle.  It was absolutely beautiful.  The farther out I paddled the clearer the water got and I could see all kinds of large fish under me.  It made me feel like I was up high looking down, as my heart sank.  A sea plane passed overhead and then circled around the island as well as an ultralight float plane.

As I paddled around the rocky cliff, white sandy beaches came into view. Wow what a day.  When I returned to the boat I noticed the tide was going out, we were in 7′ of water.  Our draft is 6′.  Michael seemed content to stay there but on went the motor, then up he pulled the anchor and out to the bay once again.  We headed back across La Paz and over to the marina where we have been staying.  It took 1 to 2 hours to get back.

Once we were back in our slip at the marina we felt exhausted, mostly from the sadness in our hearts from losing our friend.  It was a bitter sweet time.

Wind Advisory

02/04/2011

Each morning at 8Am the VHF Radio on channel 22 comes to life. They call it “The Cruisers Net”. It starts off with “is there any emergency traffic?”. Then the tides are reported and on to the weather. Last Friday during the weather report it was said that there would be a high pressure over the area by the following Wednesday which would bring on high winds and choppy seas. Surprisingly the winds began as reported, to the day. 

It began Wednesday morning before noon. All the desert dirt began to be picked up and swirled around  coating everything with a nice thin layer. While driving down the roads you could look ahead and see a virtual dust storm right before your eyes. Out in the bay there were white caps every where and on the horizon there was a long line of white foam from east to west. Boats on the anchor were bobbing up and down. Some looked as tho they were riding the waves smoothly while others jumped back and forth from beam to beam. Reports were coming up on the VHF Radio, people calling for help due to their anchors coming lose as the tide ran fast with the wind on its side. Dingies were breaking loose and off on their own. One boater had somehow fallen out of his dingie and was holding on the side of his boat desperately yelling for help from another boater at anchor as he drifted by. A zip lock bag was reported adrift carrying his cell phone, wallet, credit cards and pesos.  As each report came over the radio I was reminded how happy I was to be tied up at the dock.

Now it is 10:30 at night and the wind is still howling 30 maybe for 40 knots. This boat that I’ve been on for 6 months is demonstrating how well it moans and groans as the wind peaks and wines. I’ve already been outside to place a fender on the dingie so it will stop bumping the side of the boat and tieing off little things that are going “clickadity clack” and keeping me awake.

 I love to hear the sound of the wind, it reminds me of the days we lived on a boat on the Outer Banks of North Carolina in the winter. The wind there had character as it does here tonight. We will keep the radio on channel 22 to listen if anyone gets in trouble and needs help with their boats. Hopefully we will get a good nights sleep.


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