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.