Thursday, April 1, 2010

Essays by Joshua Morrison

Crocodiles of La Manzanilla

One of the days when my aunt and uncle were visiting with us we went to La Manzanilla to see the crocodiles. We got to the first place where you could see the crocodiles and we got out of the car that Larry’s (my uncle) brother drove us around in. We walked up to where you could see the crocodiles. I noticed that at some places there was no fence and you were just on a raised surface. Everybody was a little freaked, besides my parents, they had been there before. It was definitely a first for me in the respect that I had never been so close to crocodiles that big. I wanted to get some food for them from a place that sells fish for that very reason but mom said later.

We then went over to the north end of the pond where you could see the crocodiles. Even though they were farther away than the (sort of) fenced place there was nothing stopping them from walking right out to the heavily populated beach. It was a huge risk and we all thought “Never see anything like that in the States”. We sat down at a palapa restaurant and had refreshments. Since I was so psyched to feed the crocs we went got some whole fish (when my parents were here last there was only parts of the fish). The crocs weren’t really excited for fish at all but it was still cool seeing them lazily eat the fish. When we ran out of fish we got in the car and went back to the hotel.

It was a dark and stormy night
It was another beautiful day in the Barra de Navidad/Melaque area. The weather had been perfect, not too hot, not too cold with a nice afternoon breeze. It was great weather for my aunt and uncle visiting from New Mexico. We spent the day exploring Melaque and La Manzanilla. It was fun to feed the crocodiles and watch them lazily try and find the fish. We stayed that night with my aunt and uncle at their hotel instead of going back to the boat. The next day it was raining and that is quite unusual for that area. The next morning we bid my aunt and uncle goodbye, and headed over to the Barra lagoon. We took a panga in to the mother boat to find that she was wet because we had left some hatches open. Also to my mother’s horror we picked up a mouse somehow. That afternoon was filled with mopping up the boat and more rain.

Later that evening we were watching Mission Impossible III (good movie) and we started hearing thunder and seeing the outside get a lot brighter. We went outside and gazed in amazement at the incredible display of thunder and lightning. I felt sorry for the people in Tenacatita, a couple miles north of Barra, it looked like they were getting some of the lightning right above them. We eventually went in to finish our movie and I went off to bed. I didn’t go to sleep because I was a little freaked when it started raining and blowing so much it made the boat heel. I got out of bed to see that my parents were already securing items and my dad started the engine. My dad steered the boat so it stayed pointed into the wind to avoid the wind catching our side and using it as a sail to make us heel. My mom and I looked for any boats that might be dragging. I stood up in the back of the boat when it started to die down and commented that I should go get my shampoo and take a shower. After the ordeal I thought, ”it’s my mom’s fault for the wind” because she said earlier that “We’re in a calm anchorage” while she held up glass wine glasses. When we started heeling, they were on the side of the counter and just slid off the counter onto the floor, SMASH! PIECES!! . I blamed my dad for the rain because he ordered some drinking water from the store so Mother Nature said “OH!!! I’ll give YOU water!!” and that’s how we got rain.

Racing in the Banderas Bay Regatta by Joshua Morrison

When we were in Chamela on the way back up to the Sea of Cortez we were invited to go over to s/v Gato Go for dinner and a movie. Since it was a bouncy anchorage we didn’t put the motor on the dinghy and just rowed over to GatoGo. GatoGo is a big Kenner 43 foot catamaran, that’s a boat with two hulls instead of one, so it’s a big boat. When we got to their boat my mom started making dinner with Craig and Bruce the two guys onboard. While we were eating dinner Craig asked if we wanted to crew with them for the Banderas Bay Regatta and we said “Sure, why not”. When we got to La Cruz they gave us some papers that we would need to get into the party and so we could be crew. So for the kickoff party they did some folk dancing at Paradise Village (a very very expensive hotel resort) and I was thinking “I’m glad I brought my computer if this is going to go on for a while”. We met up with Craig, Bruce, and the other crew that they had, Tom and John. Then the party kind of dispersed to the yacht club and/or any of the restaurants around. We went back to our boat to sleep and get ready to go back in the morning for practice sailing on Gato Go. The next day we got to the marina at Paradise Village with Tom and John then set out for a practice sail. For the first part we practiced our start and got a bearing on where everybody was going to be and who would do what. After scaring ourselves half to death with how close the boats got we went out into the bay and practiced using the screecher (a big sail that’s kind of like a spinnaker). After practice we went in to go eat and go home.

The next day began the races, for the start of racing there was a parade of boats out the channel doing all kinds of stuff; we dressed up in various costumes. For the start instead of having 55 boats start all at once which would lead to sunken boats they had six classes leaving at different times. The slower boats did shorter courses than the faster boats. The course for that day was a lot of upwind sailing and catamarans don’t go upwind very well. We just tried to go as fast as we could on the upwind so we could catch up on the downwind. Of course that never really happened but we had fun getting almost last place. After the race, we hung out in the pool at Paradise Village and had dinner at another restaurant then went home. The second day we were happy because it was a course with supposedly not much upwind and a lot of angles good for catamarans. Although we didn’t finish we still had fun. We all got a little mad at one boat that completely didn’t go around one of the marks. The last day of racing was the same course as the first day so we knew we weren’t going to do very well. To make sure we didn’t finish the wind died right when we were headed up to the last mark. The committee boat gave us an offer to turn around and not go around the last mark and they would give us the points for last. The other option was that we could try and finish, so we took their offer and turned around. Not even five minutes after we turned around the wind picked up so fast that I had gone downstairs for a little bit and when I came back up it was windy! We were saying “couldn’t it die down and pick back up after we finished”. So we just went in with last place and the awards ceremony was next. I’ve been to enough things like that to know it’s going to take twice as long as they intended to. After dinner, I decided to see if any of the little kids wanted to go to the pool because they might have been bored, but none of them wanted to. So I ended up walking around and went to the boat and played on my computer for a while until everyone got back from the awards ceremony. Gato Go is so big they had two extra staterooms to spare so we spent the night on their boat.

On Sunday, instead of taking a taxi we went over to La Cruz with Gato Go. We had fun getting into the marina from their boat in the anchorage because it was very windy which made the water choppy. It was fun racing on Gato Go in the Banderas Bay Regatta. That is all the racing we’re going to do for a while. We won’t do any with our boat ever.

April Fools'

Well, here we are in La Cruz - the trip around Cabo Corrientes was definitely not flat.  It was probably the most exhuasting watch I have had in recent memory.  It was windy (15-20+knots) and bouncy and of course we were heading right into it.  To add to it, there were 6 targets on the radar all night long.  At about midnight as I came on watch s/vGatoGo passed us by, then Persistence and several others.  Throw some big ships in the mix and it felt like the sailing version of the 580 on a holiday weekend!  We made it in to La Cruz by mid afternoon, the sailing was fine as soon as we rounded the corner.  Seems like just about everybody we have ever met sailing was here or has come since. It has been interesting watching the boats we know complete their preparations for the puddle jump and take off.  I have decided that I am glad that we are not doing the jump this year, but am definitely taking notes!! The last of the puddle jumping kid boats that Josh hangs with (s/v Totem and Capaz) are leaving tonight.  The kids are cramming as much video game time in as they can, we'll probably have to pry the controllers out of their little hands....Tomorrow will be a quiet day for Josh, but today our boat looks like the "Evergreen home for video game addicted boys".  I am way outnumbered


We will be here well into next week due to a dead fresh water pump for the engine.  It was not rebuildable and not one to be found here, so we are flying a new one from San Diego via Tiajuana on Monday. Thankfully we discovered this issue here and not under weigh - that would have been no fun.  For an engine that is 27 years old with as many hours as it has, it really has not had too many issues, and we have bascially had no problems since La Paz. And as Dave from s/v ExitStrategy reminded me today - Cruising is all about doing boat maintenance in exotic places.  La Cruz is also very comfortable -especially when you are in the Marina, which we are.  The town and people are friendly, the kids can run around safely, the food is good, there are big stores close by to provision from and it is great fun to socialize.  So what's not to like?  The only downside is that when we finally do leave we will have to go to the Sea of Cortez more directly than we had planned - not necessarily a bad thing, just another lesson in flexibility.


When we arrived in Cabo San Lucas last November, we were issued Visas good for 180 days.  Back then, it seemed like an awfully long time, and I didn't do the math.  As it turns out, our Visas expire on May 7.  Our haul out date in San Carlos is May 15th. HHMMMM!  Well, we had heard that you could get a 30 day extension, and the internet talked about extensions. So Kevin (s/v Albatross) and I decided that since we were here, we would go to the airport in Puerto Vallarta and see about getting extensions for our families.  Quite the adventure it turned out to be and in the end, no extension for the visas.  Four hours, 3 immigration offices, 1 port captain, 1 marina and lots of bus time were all we had to show for our efforts.  I polled some of the more experienced cruisers the next day and found that yes, sometimes if you're livning right, the moon and stars are lined up and the person in the office is in the right frame of mind, you might get an extension.  Try Mazatlan..... And the consensus is that as long as you are not flying out, no one looks at the tourist visa anyway.  The general suggestion was to not worry about it, and if we get caught play dumb and pay the fine.  More on that later.....

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Perfect Day

So, you might think that every day is perfect in the life of a cruiser, and generally speaking that is so.  However, some days are just more perfect than others and yesterday was one of those. We had a leisurely start and after a good breakfast, we left Tenacatita around 10:00 am.  It was sunny but not hot.  The forcast was for 10-15 knots of wind from the north/northwest - in other words right on our nose.  However it was blowing from the south -way cool.  We put up all the sails and actually sailed out of the bay.  Josh and Dennis put the fishing lines out and less than an hour into our sail to Chamela - we had a fish on the line!!! Josh pulled in what we finally decided was an Amber Jack - sadly not so good eating.   While we messed around with the fish, s/v Gato Go (a 44 foot Catamaran) sailed past and took the picture for this blog.  With fishing lines back out (with instructions to catch dorado or sierra) we continued north. As we settled onto our tack to Chamela - Dennis mentioned to Josh that we would go faster with the spinnaker up - so up it went - smoothly, no problems, just up and out.  The seas were a little mixed, so the ride was just rough enough to make lunch seem like a good thing to put off.  We had been lazing in the cockpit for about an hour so it was roughly 1230 when - whirrrrrrrr!  A  hit on one of the lines!!  Josh had just gotten to it, and the other line went out too.  Well, slowing down under sail is not the easiest, especially the when flying the spinnaker, but we did the best we could.  While Josh reeled in his line, Dennis reeled in the second line, but the fish had let go of that one.  Josh pulled in a good sized sierra - good boy!  We had just gotten it situated, dragging on a line behind us, when the other line got a hit - another good sized sierra!!! We ran around re-situating ourselves to bring a fish on board.  I brought the first one that was dragging behind us in, Dennis exchanged it on the line for the second one, and there we were- looking forward to fish for dinner.  We pulled into Chamela around 4pm.  Gato Go had made it in ahead of us, but went to look at the anchorage at the islands.  Was a no go for them in the islands, so we made plans to meet at their boat for dinner.  It was a great evening of food and fun. Craig showed me how to make ceviche with part of the sierra, it was great and I hope I am able to duplicate it.  Bruce made pizza on the grill, what a treat.  Then we grilled up the rest of the sierra.  With a tossed salad it was a wonderful meal.  We watched Julie and Julia, and just when you think life is perfect, Craig pulls his pineapple upside down cake from the oven.  Oh my gosh our stomachs had died and gone to heaven!!!  As Josh and Dennis paddled us home in the dinghy, we noticed the bioluminesence in the water was working overtime.  It was like fairy dust in the water - even the fish were glowing.  What a way to end the perfect day.
We are leaving today for La Cruz, we are hoping the Cabo Corrientes forecast is accurrate and we have a flat ride in......

Monday, March 8, 2010

Just in case you think the Morrison's have given up adventures, or how to really use Charlie's Charts

We are using Charlie's charts as our cruising guide, and have had no real issues with the info in it. I guess there is another slightly more current guide, but we don't have it.  Anyway, we left Z town and Josh didn't want to do a "get up before the buttcrack of dawn" overnighter.  So we decided to head to Lazaro Cardenas. It would give us one medium day and a short overnighter into Manzanillo.  Figured even though it looked icky, the anchorage would be well protected for an overnight stay. We arrived about 3:30p, had to move out of the way of a container ship, the port control called asking what we intended, I told them we were headed to the first northeast anchorage for the night. Seemed a little weird, as nowhere else has cared one way or the other. Then the very nice gentleman asked if it was an emergency? Getting weirder, but I replied no, we were not having an emergency. All this is going on as we are taking down the main (in the only wind we had all day I might add), with very long pauses in betweeen. Then we went on to anchor in this small lagoon - with the nastiest water we have seen to date. The port control guy comes back and asks all the usual port captain questions, hailing port, number of people on the boat, last and next port etc.. again with many pauses. We finally had the anchor set, I had heard nothing from the port guy for the last 15 minutes or so, so we got on with relaxing, making dinner etc....About 5:30 a harbor patrol type boat arrives and the fun truly began. After much back and forth, we finally understood that he wanted us to move, and that we would have to go to the harbor master the next day to get "the paper stamped". At one point we asked if we could just leave - but oh no, once you are there you have to get "the paper stamped". We were getting nervous about running out of daylight, so we pulled up anchor and headed up the river to the place they wanted us to anchor. Unfortunately the drawbridge was down, and when I called to have them open it, it was broken (you could see sparks from the welder they were using on it)....I was starting to freak out and again asked if we could just leave... but our little friend was adamant that "the papers had to be filled out". So there we were anchored in the channel, barely enough room to swing with the current. Definitely a bad scene, hard to see too, cuz it got dark. We had decided to make the best of it  I had resigned myself to a sleepless night on deck to make sure nothing hit us.  Next thing you know, our little paper stamping cog in the  bureacratic wheel came back and said the Navy would come inspect us, then we could leave and not deal with the papers the next day. So, the Navy came - very nice man with a big gun, black soled boots and no english to speak of...Took copies of the papers I had, and took pictures of the boat. We're thinking cool, let's eat and blow this joint....Not so quick missy. Senor Navy returns and wants to take pictures inside the boat. Well what are we to say but "sure come on in".... He took a picture of each room, the fuel tanks, the TV, the electrical panel, no rhyme or reason really. Finally about 8:15 we were set to go - which we did. No letting the proverbial door hit us in the stern as they say. Dodged a container ship on its way out, 2 tugs and a container ship coming in.  I really have never been so happy to leave a safe anchorage in my life!  Sailed thru the night to Maruata. Met up with another boat there that said - Yeah boats aren't allowed to go there unless there is an emergency....Now we find out. Guess that's the downside of old guidebooks.....But, I guess any Morrison adventure you walk away from unscathed is a good adventure.. Right?????

March 8, 2010

Well, it is hard to believe that I don't manage to find time to update our blog any more frequently than I do.  Wish I had a good excuse, but I really don't.  But let's catch up any way.
We had a great time in Tenacatita - even if we did manage to flip the dinghy.  Thankfully the only permanent damage was to our egos.....  Between kid boats, good snorkeling, spear fishing, the jungle tour and La Manzanilla with its smart crocodiles we had a great time.  Before we knew it, it. was time to leave for Barra De Navidad/Melaque to meet up with Dennis' sister Corinne and her husband Larry.  The calmest anchorage is in the Lagoon at Barra De Navidad, so that is where we parked.  It's a crazy little anchorage - very shallow with not much room to err.  We had waypoints to put into our navigation software, so that helped.  The day we arrived the ocean swell was quite high and it was pretty trippy surfing the waves into the channel.  We made it to the fuel dock - we had to use our jerry jug spares to get us from Tenacatita- and into the anchorage without mishap.  Pretty disconcerting to park the 6'2" draft boat in less than 9' of water!!! (picture above of Barra Lagoon, below right Corinne, Carol & Larry)
Corinne and Larry came in on January 28th. We met them at the airport, cuz gee, that's an exciting thing for us these days.  We took them out sailing the next day - guess they won't be joining us for any long crossings....they were troopers about it, but both of them had trouble with the motion.  We came back into the bay and anchored for the afternoon in Melaque.  Dennis, in true brotherly form, took them out to learn to snorkel.  You would think that he would be past the whole torturing his sister thing, but I guess not.  I'm thinking that by the time they gave up and came to the bar on the beach it was way past "miller time". 
Fortunately in Mexico the sun is always over the yard arm, the beer is cheap and the Margaritas are yummy!!
Larry's brother and his wife joined the party on Saturday - it was nice to reconnect with them (they live in Mexico City).  Sunday we all piled into Casey's car and headed back to La Manzanilla to see the smart crocodiles.  It really is amazing how well trained these big guys are.  You may note in the picture that they know to stay away from the yellow caution tape that bars their exit onto the beach.  I bet Florida wishes they knew how to train their crocodiles to stay behind the tape!!  They must have one or two that haven't learned to read yet, because there are signs at the beach restaurants close by warning you to keep your pets on a leash for their safety.....
The visit ended all too soon, they left here on February 2nd in the rain, and arrived home to snow. We hope that they will come visit us again next season.

Don't know if I have mentioned it before, but it is not supposed to rain here in the winter.  Doesn't seem to be following the rules this winter.  The night before Corinne and Larry left it rained like crazy, so when we returned to the boat the next day it was sopping wet.  To add to my dismay, at some point we managed to acquire a mouse.  Pickky little bugger too.  I think it tried a little of everything it could chew into.  Finally deciding he liked juice, pita chips and ritz crackers.  We searched high and low in Barra for a real mouse trap, but only came up with the sticky kind.  I'm pretty sure I heard little mouse laughing as he ran across those. (picture left is Josh with the monkey at The Sands Hotel searching for the banana in my pack)

We left Barra de Navidad for Manzanillo with our stowaway on board.  What a mess!  In Manzanillo we finally found real mouse traps, and the bartender at the Las Hades resort gave us some poison.  Between the traps and poison, we are hungry mouse less - I hope I don't come across his desicated body in the future. Met up with kid boats in Manzanillo, so stayed there a little longer than planned.  We also got to spend some time with Jim & Diana from gate 11.  s/v Black Dragon showed up from Zihuatenejo as well, so Josh really got a kid fix!  FYI the Las Hades resort area is where they film the movie "10" with Bo Derek.  Very pretty, sort of mediterranean looking.
Finally we had to leave so we would make it to Zihuatenejo in time to meet Sue and Anna (friends from Tracy).  We had a pretty good trip, the last 8 hours into Z town were pretty wild 20-25knots steady wtih on and off rain (did I mention it doesn't rain here in the winter?).  Zihuatenejo is a pretty town - easy to be in.  There is someone on the beach to help you land your dinghy for about 80 cents to a dollar, and the port captain is right there.  Sue and Anna made it in with no problems.  Had another great  visit.  Very relaxing.  Josh taught Anna to drive the dinghy.  He also pulled her behind the dinghy on the tube until I thought her arms might fall off.  We spent a day at an all-inclusive resort and another day on the beach.  Josh and Anna went parasailing too. Another visit that ended all too soon.  We didn't linger in Zihuatenejo after they left.  Basically provisioned and left.
(Above - Anna Parasailing, right - Sue relaxing, below Josh parasailing - self portrait.)

Arrived back in Barra lagoon on Monday and here we are......all caught up.

Josh on Spearfishing

Spear Fishing
By Joshua Morrison

In Chamela my dad and I (Josh) finally got the spear gun out. With the spear point sharpened (sharpened by me) and the Hawaiian sling ready we got in the dinghy and left. When we got to this snorkeling spot I showed my friend Bryce (from Capaz) the spear gun. At that point my parents shot out with the dreaded mandatory safety lecture. Even though it is important I still am not fond of lectures in any way. After that we snorkeled until there weren’t as many people so there was much less of a chance for accident. My dad and I tested the gun out in open water first with one of the rubber bands back and it jammed. The rubber bands are the rubber cords that get pulled back and allow the spear get launched. The second time we tried it with both bands back and it jammed again. The second time it jammed we couldn’t unjam it so we couldn’t use it. My dad and I fixed the spear gun at the boat after snorkeling by putting a washer in. We moved to Tenicatita and went to one of the snorkeling spots and it jammed again. By that time we were thinking “Heck with it we’ll put two washers on” and that seemed to do the trick because it stopped jamming.

One day my friend Nikita and I were spear fishing in Tenicatita while our parents were off wandering around. We weren’t getting anything until I saw a fish that was injured. I dove down and got it with the Hawaiian sling but  it got off. I got it again and this time I shoved the fish further in on the prongs against the ground. By that time I realized Nikita was right there with the spear gun. He shot through the fish and wrapped it up in the string to make sure it didn’t get away. When we got back to the dinghy Nikita told me the reason the fish was injured was because he had shot the fish first but it got off so he pursued and that’s when I came in. We brought it back to my boat and cooked it up and had it for lunch. It tasted pretty good.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

January 17, 2010 Tenacatita

Well, we are now in Tenacatita about 120 miles south of Banderas Bay. We left La Cruz on the 5th and headed up to some Islands at the west end of the bay for some snorkeling.  Spent one night there, then back to Punta de Mita (north western most anchorage in the bay).  We were hoping to get some surfing in, but no such luck, so flat we had no trouble landing our dinghy on the beach.  We spent two nights there, then moved to Marina Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta proper.  We had a slip right next to another Liberty 458, and there is another one that berths there as well, but they were out.  Then, as if that isn't "small world enough", a couple walked up and said they used to own a Liberty too.  Theirs sank on an uncharted reef in the south pacific.  Talk about old home week.  We spent two nights there, did some provisioning, bought the telcel card for internet, got laundry done (expensive) and filled up water.  From there we headed Yelapa. 

Yelapa is on the southern end of the bay.  Very picturesque.  No cars, streets are really glorified sidewalks, mostly cobblestoned.   Primary form of transportation is mules, followed by wheelbarrows for hauling things with one or two 4 wheelers thrown in to keep it interesting. People were friendly, lots of permanent gringos.  We had some adventures in dinghy landing on the beach.  It is a very deep bay, our mooring was in 170 feet.  I guess sometime in the not so distant past the beach used to go out about 400 yards, but an earthquake did away with that.  Now, it is deep right up to the beach.  So, on our first landing attempt, Miss Grace and Coordination basically fell down as I got out of the dingy (right after a shower I might add).  We went back to the boat, I changed and we tried again, new strategy, Dennis and I will get out at the front of the dinghy....... Well, a wave hit my side, and in I went (did I mention we had just done laundry??). I guess it just proves that I am more than a little nuts, cuz all I could do was laugh.....We ended up walking around wet, got some good intel on where to eat in town (where they actually have a dock), went back to the boat, changed again, and went into town for dinner.
The next day we went into town again and did a short hike to a waterfall.  We met some nice folks from Iowa who were there for a wedding.  After lunch, we attempted dinghy landing number 3.  Bathing suits on, dry bag packed - dry like a bone.....  Josh and I had our pictures taken with a huge iguana on the beach. It was pretty cool holding them.  We had heard that there was another longer hike to a waterfall, so off we went.  It was sort of surreal, we waded thru the river to get to the path/sidewalk/trail.  Then proceeded to basically walk thru everyone's back yard.  So we're walking along, and it is very primitive feeling and yet kids go by on bikes, and the occasional 4 wheeler passes you.  Most homes had at least one mule and chickens, a couple places had cows and we saw one pig.  The path was becoming more trail like, and what do you see, but a street light!!! There were street lights all the way to the first river crossing.  The foliage was green and felt like the jungle. (probably cuz it is).  After the first river crossing the path became a trail, fortunately the nice couple from Iowa had mentioned that the turnoff to the waterfall was under a fence marked "to the waterfall". Felt kind of weird going under a fence, but sure enough we ended up at the bottom of the waterfall.  Very pretty.  On the way back, I am sure I saw Macaws.  Made it back to the beach before all the palapas closed, had a couple of margaritas, went back to the dinghy only to find that my backpack had been gone through and the only thing missing was my camera.   I know it is my own fault, I shouldn't have left my camera there even though the dinghy was in our sight....So, that is why there are no pictures of the iguanas, the mules, the waterfall,s the beautiful rooster, the poinsetias growing in the garden or anything else since I last  downloaded pictures. We left Yelapa the next day.  I am trying not to let the camera thing ruin my experience there, cuz it really is a neat place.

Our next stop was Ipala for one night.  The guys caught a bonita that day.  The next day on the way to Chamela they pulled in a 45 inch dorado. In Chamela  we caught up to s/v Totem and s/v Capaz.  Josh was  overjoyed to have friends to hang with again.  We had a great afternoon on the beach, then a day snorkeling, the next day we thought we might move to a different anchorage, but Totem scouted it and called to say it was not so good.  They came back and hosted a yummy dinner on their boat. That brings us to today and Tenacatita.  We stopped at the not so good anchorage to go snorkeling at a  place called the aquarium.  It was good snorkeling, some of the best so far.  Now we are anchored in the good anchorage and will be here for a few days........
more later

January 2, updated January 17

On Internet access

Okay, how hard can it be to maintain wifi in the marina?? So sure, I know nothing about how it works. It is basically magic in my book, but really when it is not working, it makes me want to chew nails. Part of why we are willing to pay to stay in a marina is to have at will internet access. I don’t suppose we’ll get a discount either. Oh well, I shouldn’t be such a gringo about it. It could be worse; I could be sitting at my desk in Tracy with internet at the speed of light. I suppose it’s a small price to pay.
Well, we succumbed to my frustrations and bought a mexican internet usb card.  Whew!!! I now get internet in places that I don't  get  cell service - crazy!!  Is nice to have reliabe access though.

January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!!! It is hard to believe it is 2010, we are in Mexico, it is raining, and I am in shorts and a tank top. Gotta love it!!!! We spent the first day of the New Year zip lining through the jungle. What a blast!! It ended too soon, and then the scary part - riding mules back up the mountain to our starting point! Whew!! The whole day was an adventure including the bus rides there and back. We were all tired, but quite pleased with our Christmas present. 

Josh asked his friend Jamie to come along too. She and her family from s/v Don Quixote are moving to New Zealand for a year in February. This was Josh's first permanent goodbye to a new friend.

New Year’s Eve 2009

Sadly I have no picture of this, but we decided to pay to have a couple more coats of varnish put on the teak. It was a hard decision for Dennis, but the price was reasonable so went ahead. Well, do you know that it never rains here in December? Except when the Morrison’s are doing their varnish. The night before the work was to start it must have rained at least 2 inches. The taping and sanding started though, but it turned out that we had some water invasion on the starboard side which slowed things down (other things did as well, but that is another drama and part and parcel of having work done in Mexico). Back to New Year’s Eve. Should have been done, but weren’t, so decided to skip New Year’s Day and finish today. Guess what? It is raining. Very frustrating to say the least. Hopefully tomorrow….. On a lighter note, we were able to see fireworks in panorama and in two time zones. The finale done here in La Cruz (earlier time zone) was right over our heads – very cool! Josh spent the night on Don Quixote who graciously hosted a kid’s New Year’s Eve

December 29th - Behan's Birthday

On turning 40                           

As you all know, Dennis and I have left the 40 milestone in the dust, but we have been fortunate enough to help initiate a couple of new members to the over 40 club in the last couple of months. PJ from Capaz turned forty in November (while we were in La Paz). Her husband and family threw her a party on the beach, complete with a birthday card in the sand, margaritas, cake and a bonfire. Note the tiara in the picture. Next up was Behan from Totem. Behan turned 40  in La Cruz. We had a party on the dock, I made enchiladas, and there were 2 kinds of chocolate cake and poetry. I was a little behind the eight ball with my contribution to bad poetry, but managed to come up with the following:

Ode to 40

Welcome to 40, our club you’re now in
Anytime now the shooting pains will begin.

Your eyes are still bright, but soon you will wonder
Why your arms they’re just not longer.

The print on the page your read, remember when?
If you could only find your glasses you could do it again.

Your kids, genius teens soon will become,
They’ll wonder how you survive being so dumb.

Menopause it is coming, for Seattle you’ll be yearning,
When in the tropics your insides are burning.

(Menopause it is coming for cool climes you’ll be yearning,
When all night long your insides are burning.) for the non cruiser

The slide down the hill this is just the start,
Old age really ain’t for the faint of heart.

Don’t give up hope for although there’s no cure
A few things to have will comfort for sure.

To help ease the pain have available at will,
Chocolate, tequila and lots of advil.

Certainly won’t win any literary awards, but hopefully brought a smile to your face. Note in the picture that the tiara made another appearance. Behan kept it in place the whole day.

Christmas in La Cruz

Merry Christmas 2009

This was a first for Josh is many ways. It was his first one on the boat and in a different country. It was also his first away from all the hype and commercialism. It is just not that big of a deal here, or maybe it is because we don’t understand the language, listen to local radio or watch TV. Josh did comment that it was the fastest Christmas morning ever. We came in to the Marina on Christmas Eve, and I made cookies and posole. It is nice to be at the dock in some ways. Access power being the primary one. Our big gift was a trip on New Year’s day to go zip lining. More on that later. So Christmas day was pretty quiet - lots of kids around so that was nice. In the afternoon Josh and Dennis took the dinghy out for some fun in the anchorage. Dennis pulled some kids behind the dinghy on our water toy, while Josh, his friends Nikita and Jamie went scurfing. Scurfing is when you get pulled behind the dinghy on a surf board. According to Josh this is pretty hard. He certainly complained of being sore the next day. We spent Christmas dinner with the Capaz and Totem families. It was a great way to finish the day.