Makin’ Water and the A**hole Panguero

Today was a very productive day.  We rose with the sun and prepared to take Ellie to sea.  After stowing everything and spending the better part of an hour rinsing all the nasty mud off the anchor chain, we headed for the fuel dock.  After fueling up and giving Ellie a good scrub down we pointed her bow offshore.  Once outside the breakwater we fired up our awesome watermaker (a Cruise RO high-capacity unit) and started filling our empty 115 gallon water tanks.  We can produce over 33 gallons of fresh water per hour so we only needed to be out for a few hours before returning to the brackish muddy water of the Barra lagoon.

We had a nice sail about 8 miles offshore before turning back for the breakwater.  We turned back early because some wind chop was kicking up and we didn’t want to get even ONE LITTLE DROP of saltwater on our freshly washed stainless and spotless topsides.  About halfway back we were getting ready to pickle the watermaker and were filling a 5-gallon bucket with membrane preservative and product water and then out of nowhere this fkn a**hole panguero came up on our stern at about 25 knots, took the port side mere inches from hitting us, and SPRAYED A HUGE WAKE OF SALT WATER ALL OVER OUR FRESHLY WASHED STAINLESS AND TOPSIDES!  We couldn’t believe it!  We both looked at eachother dumbstruck and couldn’t believe what the a-hole just did.  After a brief moment I went from dumbstruck to really pissed off and started screaming at his wake and blaring my air horn.  Of course he disappeared towards town probably still downing his cervezas and killing the last of his few brain cells.

If we were in the marina it wouldn’t be a big deal.  Boats are meant to get water on them right?  But we AREN’T in the marina and we take extra care to keep the highly corrosive salt water off our rigging and stainless when possible.  Not to mention how dangerous and careless the idiot was.  

I spent the last of our sail brainstorming ways to get back at the guy….but we figure that karma will catch up with him…and when you spend your life at sea, you need all the good karma you can get.

Anyways, that was our day.  We are anchored back in the lagoon in the same spot but with one huge difference…FULL WATER TANKS!  We figure we can stay another 8-9 days without needing water again.  

We still love it here and are having a great time.  So, how are you?  Is there ice on the docks at Bair Island yet??

Barra Sunrise – And Baked Goods Delivered via Panga?!

Hola!  Buenas Tardes!  

Just wanted to share a few pictures of the beautiful mornings we are enjoying in Barra, complete with the delivery of fresh baked goods from the local French baker!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.  We have been doing boat projects all day.  Now headed to the resort for showers and then on to the chili cook-off in the town square! 

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We Love Barra!!

We are in Barra de Navidad and may never leave.  A couple days ago we dropped anchor in the back lagoon and have been thoroughly enjoying our new surroundings.  

Let’s just recap yesterday.  We awoke to birds singing and Ellie was not rocking even the slightest (we are anchored in a completely protected lagoon).  We made some tea and sat in the cockpit in complete awe of the beauty of this place; towering lush green mountains with beautiful architecture tastefully clinging on the cliffs.  Then we heard on the radio that a French Baker was entering the anchorage and would be coming from boat-to-boat selling fresh baked pastries, croissants, quiche and baguettes so naturally we had to flag him down and investigate.  We bought an almond-crusted croissant and a jalapeno and chesse baguette (this IS Mexico you know).  They were both delicious and Alyssa made a delicious breakfast feast with our fresh baked goods.  

Then we launched the dinghy and cruised in to town and tied off at the Sands hotel.  After a failed attempt to check in with the Port Captain (the woman very nicely informed us we were too small of a boat to require official clearing-in procedures.  Fine with me!), we strolled along the malecon and had lunch at a stunning beach-front restaurant with tables set above the crashing surf.  We enjoyed our lunch while watching yachts come and go and surfers ride the break.  Oh, and it cost a grand total of about $9 US!

After an awesome lunch we found an internet cafe to take care of some business and skype with family.  We watched the sun set from another great restaurant while catching up with our friends.  We then cruised the dinghy back to Ellie where we enjoyed a great night’s sleep on flat, calm water and dreamt about how great tomorrow was surely going to be.

We love it here.  I think we’ll stay a while.

p.s. Phil (Alyssa’s Uncle) Thank you SO much for all the great music!  I loaded up Media Monkey and we now have over 51k songs!  This is going to greatly improve our lives out there at sea!  Your library included some of the artists I used to listen to but have not heard for a long time.  A huge thanks again!

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Bahia Tenacatita and the Jungle Adventure!

We sailed in to Bahia Tenacatita and spent 4 awesome nights anchored off the sleepy beach town of La Manzanilla.  It’s a gorgeous stretch of beach lined with laid back palapas and a great friendly town packed with Canadian ex-pats and retirees.  We spent our days lounging on the boat and beach, eating street tacos (and even street pizza!) from the town square and jamming out to live rock and blues at Palapa Joes.

One day we trolled across the bay (apprx. 3 nm) to do the jungle dinghy ride and it was quite the adventure.  We had to pull the dinghy across the sand bar during an ebbing tide and in the process I stepped on a freaking sting ray!  It was a weird feeling because I was pulling the dinghy and then I stepped on something leather-like and definitely NOT sand and then it SWAM out from under my foot!  I jumped in the dinghy much to the schegrin of the mermaid but then pulled myself together and soldiered on into the estuary.  

We motored all the way up the crocodile-infested river until the mangrove forest was touching both sides of the dinghy.  After some skilled manuvering and a few broken branches we made it to a huge beautiful lagoon and the end of the line.  Past the abandoned palapa, there was a fence blocking access to the beach.  Our friends (with apparently very poor judgement) decided to walk past the fence to go swimming in the ocean.  We stayed back and had lunch.  Good thing we did because they were escorted back by two armed security guards and almost got arrested!  We all made it out of the jungle safely and both dinghies were still inflated – a victory for sure!

The last night in Tenacatita Bay was spent anchored amongst 15 other cruising boats in the NW corner of the bay.  We spent the whole afternoon cleaning the bottom and boot stripe on the boat.  Oh, and I finally have a serious regret or more accurately a serious mistake I have made: NOT PUTTING BOTTOM PAINT ON THE BOOT STRIPE!!

Allow me to explain.  Unknown to me at haul out time, our boot stripe is apparently and old layer of hard bottom paint (ablative paint that repels bio fouling).  I didn’t know this when we were hauled out last summer and could have very easily put another fresh coat of paint on the boot stripe while we were on the hard.  So now I get to painfully pay for this oversight every month if not more frequently.  The warm nutrient-rich Mexican waters have created the perfect environment for a plethora of sea organisms to go crazy.  When we cleaned the boot stripe there was grass, snails, barnacles, crabs (not joking).  Oh, and the fact that we are grossly overloaded and sinking below the boot stripe doesn’t help either ;-)

So anyway, enough with my rant.  But I am going to jump at the first affordable opportunity that presents itself to haul out and put paint on the stripe!  And I’m going to raise the waterline by at least an inch!

But alas, as we like to joke, “first world problemas.”

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Gunkholing Down the Gold Coast

We sailed from Careyes to Tenacatita today and are anchored off a little beach town named La Manzanilla in Bahia Tenacatita.  I snagged a WiFi signal with our booster.  We are listening to the waves crash onshore about 80 yards from Ellie.  The sunset is magnificent with hues of pink behind grey airbrushed clouds,

Here is a recap of the past week or so…

So we hid out in Chamela Bay behind Isla Pajarera for about 5 days before deciding to move on due to lack of fresh veggies and a very strong desire for ice!  While there I cleaned the bottom and replaced the zincs, made sun shades for the entire foredeck, programmed two redundant navigation laptops and found time for exploring and relaxing.  Alyssa was feeling under the weather so she enjoyed her “girl-time” watching chick flicks every day while I went fishing.  I speared a beautiful yellow jack and Alyssa cooked up a storm of a meal – Asian stir fry – and we ate like kings!

One afternoon the wind was dead calm so we broke out the fishing poles and went trolling around the island.  Then we took the dinghy to the other side of the bay and landed on what appeared to be a private beach.  It was surreal.  Palm trees backing a white sand beach that was only about 100 yards long with towering cliffs on each side.  I tried knocking down a few coconuts while Lyss gathered shells from the beach to make a necklace.  A security guard came by on a 4-wheeler but we got a pass most likely due to the color of our skin…  We then went island hoping back to Ellie.  It was a fantastic day.

The next day we made the very long passage (a whole 2 miles) to the NW corner of the bay and anchored off a little beach town called Perula. We went ashore and scrounged up some fresh veggies.  A few tomatoes from one mini-mart, a head of broccoli from another, some cilantro from yet another, grabbed some ice and made one more stop to pick up the only orange that didn’t have a roach on it!  The Princess was thoroughly grossed out by that place..

Later that night we decided to grab some tacos in town.  We enjoyed an enormous meal of adobaba tacos with all the fixin’s  for a total price of 56 pesos (about $4.50 US).  The food was absolutely delicious and totally worth the pain we both felt the next morning while “paying” for the fact that we ate Mexican street food the night before. [Note: It’s surprisingly easy to stay skinny eating Mexican street tacos ;-)] We then strolled back to the beach and found some live music at an open-air palapa.  We spent the evening swinging in hammocks and watching these hilarious, friendly, drunken Canadians party the night away.  Once the band was done playing no less than three couples had invited us to their homes the next day!  Unfortunately we wanted to pull anchor and depart in the morning so we politely declined the invitations.  But, we can certainly say we have some friends in Bahia Chamela!

The next day (I would tell you which day but we stopped keeping track) we weighed anchor and set sail for Paraiso, 8 miles south.  When we arrived outside Paraiso we evaluated the conditions and decided to keep sailing south.  Unfortunately there was a large (10 – 12 foot) NW swell running and Paraiso is exposed to the NW.  There was one sailboat anchored inside the cove and he was getting tossed around pretty severely. 

We sailed for Bahia Careyes, a few miles further south.  We studied the cruising guides and knew about the narrow entrance and dangerous rock that was awash only at low tide but decided to give it a go.  Sailing into that bay was hair-raising!  Seeing waves break on a rock barely awash and only having about 40 yards between the rock and a rocky island is scary!  Despite the exciting entrance we made it safely into the protection of the bay and sounded around to find a decent spot to drop the hook.  We anchored right outside Playa Careyes and once the hook was down and set we looked around and were in awe of the spectacularly beautiful surroundings.

Bahia Careyes is by far the most picturesque place we have ever anchored.  Words can’t start to describe the beauty so I may not even try.  The pictures below speak for themselves. One thing I will mention is the pink deciduous trees.  I have never seen lush green hillsides sprinkled with bright pink trees; it is breathtakingly beautiful! 

We spent one night in Careyes before sailing south to Bahia Tenacatita.  Here are some pics of the past week:

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Passage Notes – La Cruz to Bahia Chamela

Wednesday January 8, 2014

On passage from La Cruz, Nayarit to Bahia Chamela, Jalisco, MX.

We left La Cruz just before noon bound for Yelapa, just across the bay.  We made water under way.  When we arrived in Yelapa we assessed the anchoring situation but decided the swell was too large to safely overnight and we didn’t want to trust the moorings.  We left the cove and set a course for Chamela.  Unfortunately we were dragging the dinghy so a few miles out of Yelapa we lowered RPM’s to idle, set the autopilot and went to work lifting the dinghy on deck.  We managed to wrestle the 110 lb zodiac up and strap it down.  We enjoyed a beautiful sunset as we rounded Cabo Corrientes and headed south.

Some passage notes:

It’s 0230 now and Alyssa just woke me up for my shift.  I was very glad to see a steady breeze off the land had filled in at 6-7 knots.  We raised full sail and I turned off the engine.  We are ghosting along nicely at 4.0 – 4.2 knots over glassy seas with a very minimal swell.  I can hear the water running along Ellie’s freshly cleaned hull.  There is a half moon and the stars are twinkling brightly; I can clearly make out the Milky Way.  A few dolphins just passed; they were headed north.  It’s peaceful out here.

0342 – Alyssa still snoozing.  I ate a snack of PB&J that she left in the fridge for my shift. The wind died to less than 4 knots, boat speed dropped below 3 knots, engine now on so we can maintain 4 knots.  Roca Negra is 6 miles off the port beam and there are 4 large fishing trawlers working the area.  At this speed we should arrive in Chamela just after first light.  I read more about the islands near Chamela and am getting excited to be in clear water again and go spear fishing.

0500 – Continuing to burn diesel. Still almost no apparent wind. Furled in jib. May have to drop the main if the wind doesn’t pick up soon. There is a red flashing light on the horizon; it’s not on radar; it’s not on the charts; it must be on land – will monitor. One more hour until I wake up the Princess.

0530 – WIND! 10 knots of wind filled in! Glad I didn’t drop the main. Engine off and cruising along nicely at 5.8 knots under full main and 2/3 jib. Only 2 hours out at this speed.

0700 – We slowed the boat speed down to 3.5 knots to wait until the sun rises.  We are only a few miles out.

0730 – Beautiful sunrise illuminates the mountains.  Now we can see the islands clearly.

0900 – Alyssa lowers our anchor through the crystal-clear turquoise waters behind Isla Colorado.  The island is covered in dense green jungle with palm tree-lined white sand beaches.  The only other boat in the anchorage is our friends on the catamaran Skabenga.  Looking forward to resting up here in paradise.

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Road Trip to the Town of Tequila!

Happy New Year Everyone!

We just returned from a 4 day trip to the historic town of Tequila in Jalisco, MX.  We rented a car and drove 4 hours inland with our friends Doug and Elena on Island Princess.  The town of Tequila surpassed all of our expectations and we all had a great time. 

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Tequila (the spirit) can only be made in one town in the entire world, so when we found out that town was only a 4 hour drive from Puerto Vallarta, naturally we had to investigate..  We had no idea how old the town was and how long they had been distilling spirits from the famed blue agave plant.  The native legend holds that a lightning bolt hit a blue agave plant and the natives tasted the sweet juice that was produced and liked it so much they started cultivating the plant for a sweet beverage.  When the Spaniards arrived in the 1600’s, they distilled this sweet juice and thus Tequila was born.  Now anejo (aged) Tequila made from 100% agave is a highly-respected spirit found on the top shelves of the best bars and restaurants in the world.

En route to Tequila we stopped at Laguna Santa Maria for lunch.  The lake was beautiful; set in the caldera of an ancient volcano and surrounded by lush tropical jungle.  Lunch was local-caught fish under a thatched palapa roof along the waterfront.  Then we drove a couple more hours to Tequila.

We met a very nice family in the town square the first night and they invited us to breakfast the next morning.  When we arrived we were enthralled to learn that the home was the oldest in Tequila (380 years old!).  We had a great time visiting and touring the spectacular home that took up almost a whole city block.  After breakfast the family (Armando, Lupita and their son) brought us to one of the oldest distilleries in the town, La Alborada, where we enjoyed a tour of the facilities and of course some tasting of the amazing extra anejo (aged 7-8 years in American oak barrels).  Then we toured the La Cofradia distillery, which had a very impressive underground restaurant under the aging cellar.

We stayed at a hotel right on the town square, ate amazing street food (corn, veggies, tacos) while sipping on Jarros (a ceramic mug of juices and tequila) and spent hours people watching.  The people of Tequila were very friendly and exceptionally helpful.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the town.

On the way back we spent a night at Rincon de Guayabitos, a beach town where the locals go to relax and party.  We rented a room with a balcony over the middle of town and just relaxed and people-watched while munching on pollo asada and guacamole.  

We spent yesterday in the surf town of Sayulita before returning to La Cruz.  Sayulita is like Santa Cruz (complete with rasta look alikes) but with white sand beaches, taco stands and better weather.

We had a great trip and it’s good to be back on the boat.  We will leave La Cruz tomorrow and head to Yelapa for the night then push further south to Bahia Chamela (100 nm south of here).

May not have a good internet connection for a week or two. We will make another post when possible.  Here are some pics from our trip:IMG_0116 IMG_0129 IMG_0150 IMG_0166 IMG_0170 IMG_0173 IMG_0176 IMG_0182 IMG_0184 IMG_0185 IMG_0194 IMG_0198 IMG_0222 IMG_0227 IMG_0232 IMG_0233 IMG_0243 IMG_0248 IMG_0254 IMG_0257 IMG_0268 IMG_0294 IMG_0299 IMG_0309 IMG_0330 IMG_0332