Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Another Mexican Adventure
The four of us were on board last night and there was a band playing on shore. Barry and Ian were busy installing a new chart program on the computer so Helen and I headed ashore in the dinghy to find out what was happening. It was dark and on the way in we saw a fellow rowing a fairly large boat and we wondered what he was up to. When we got ashore we found a Mexican wedding going full tilt. There was a live band and the main characters in the wedding party were all standing and everyone was singing heartily. We just observed from the side for about 10 minutes and then headed back to the boat on the dinghy. OH, OH as we were speeding along something slowed us down and I thought we had caught something. Sure enough the motor quit and low and behold we were in the middle of a fishing net. The guy in the boat had set a net in between the shore and the boat, what a dummy.
Well, I leaned down and tried to untangle the net from the prop. NO LUCK, it was pitch dark and I didn't know what to do, I couldn't even tilt the motor to get the prop out of the water. Fortunately someone in the trailer park ashore had seen us and started shouting and asking us if we needed help. They shone a big spotlight on us to find out what was going on. We yelled back and let him know we needed a knife. We figured we would have to swim ashore, I had a dress and my panties on, nothing else, too bad I didn't have a bra because I would have taken the dress off, but no, I would rather be cool, so in I jumped in dress and all and swam ashore. I got the guys knife, a lovely Swiss Army joby and swam back out to the dinghy and hacked the fisherman's net to bits getting the prop untangled. Helen rowed part way to shore and I jumped back in and swam ashore to give the guy back his knife and thank him. He wondered if we were going to come ashore and try and get the prop untangled, but I figured I would let Barry look after that. Helen rowed the dinghy all the way back to the boat, going way around where we thought the net might be. Barry took it all in his stride and went in the dinghy and got all the net out of the prop. I don't think there is any damage but we haven't tried to run the motor again yet.
Today we are on our way back to Manzanillo and Helen and Ian leave tomorrow morning. We were under sail with the boat rigged as a cutter and we got caught on a fish line. Barry jumped in and tried to get it off the keel. We were still making way so he was having to swim like crazy to try and keep up to the boat. We had let all the sails loose but the boat still was merrily moving along. We turned up into the wind and then slowed down enough so Barry could get the fish line loose, then we just kept going. Never a dull moment. We are looking forward to the four of us going out for dinner on the town tonight. Tomorrow is Ian's birthday. Crew hard at work.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Our buddies from Yellowknife have arrived. They drove to Manzanillo from Puerta Villarta and managed to find us at anchor at Las Hadas. The next morning we set off for points north with all four of us on board. Our first stop was a lovely isolated anchorage about 5 miles north of Manzanillo is a very private spot with no houses or hotels around just hills, rocks and a nice pebble beach. The next day we motored and sailed the 15 miles to Melaque which is a nice spot with a huge long beach a little town and lots of tourists. There is a trailer park and there are all sorts of RV's parked there and from what I could see they were mostly Canadians there. We have been enjoying each others company, swimming and diving off the boat and relaxing with good food and wine. Barry and Ian put on a display of diving off the boat yesterday, each one vying to show up the other. We even had them doing back dives off the side of the boat, Barry climbed up on the radar arch and executed a half turn off the rail, good form. Ian is perfecting his dive from the cabin top, he is working on keeping his legs from bending and his toes pointed. I am a chicken to try that because I think I may catch my feet on the lifelines as I go over. There is a nice spot to go snorkeling so I think I will head over there now.
Not bad Ian, not bad at all!!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

We are back in Manzanillo. We sailed back from Maruata, arriving last Friday night. We had a good sail up, managing to actually sail about half the time. Maruata was a gorgeous spot, sandy beaches, a protected anchorage and a sleeply little town unspoiled by big time tourism, Barry said it felt like being in small town Saskatchewan. We spent our time there visiting with other yachties, exploring the town, flying some stunt kites that Jennifer gave us and running up to Ticla where Trish and Graeme were staying to visit.

Jen and Mark after staying in Ticla a couple of days bused it to Manzanillo. We have seen them a couple of times since we have arrived, they came aboard and we went snorkeling, and today we went to visit them in their hotel room. It is a lovely spot right on the beach with a nice pool. We got to have a hot shower, what a treat, Barry said he didn't realize what a good tan he has until he looked in the mirror at the hotel. We played cards, dice, went swimming in the pool and the ocean, flew the kites on the beach and Jen cut my hair. She did a great job, and it was fun having my daughter cut my hair as the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. It was a lovely sunset and it was so special that we could share it with Jen and Mark. Ahh, the life of a cruiser!!!
Jen and Mark watching the dolphins on our sail down to Maruata

All the kids go home on Wednesday and our friends Ian and Helen from Yellowknife arrive on Saturday for a short visit. They are currently in Miami at the boat show so they should have some good tales to tell once they arrive.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you that Barry got a big fish on the way back from Maruata. He finally caught a dorado, otherwise known as a maui-maui, it was really big and very tasty. He fought the good fight one the hook but had swallowed it hook, line and sinker as they say and we managed to get him aboard after a battle to lift him into the boat. It was so pretty that it was almost a shame to kill him. I calculate that our Mexican fish are now down to $37.50 per fish and dropping fast. This one alone was worth the price.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

We are in Muruata, which is about 75 miles south of Manzanillo. It is a very nice anchorage, a small village, but lovely big rocks on the south side of a headland. We managed a beach landing in the dinghy with Jen, Mark and myself, but on the way out I almost got swamped. I was by myself and I was peering over the edge to try and figure out if I was going to ding the prop or not and I took my eye off the waves. Well the waves almost got me, the dinghy got twisted around and all of a sudden I was headed for shore. I managed to get the boat turned around so I was heading for the boat and realized that it was a quarter full of water. I had forgotten to tie on the baler so there I was with tons of water floating around in the dinghy, the gas can was even floating. I got back to the boat and Barry and I bailed for about 5 minutes. We put all of Jen and Mark's luggage in big green garbage bags that were specially imported from Canada by Trish. I got to shore without dunking the luggage, Jen had figured out a different approach and ended up getting in the water and swimming out to the dinghy to show me the way in, because I was confused!!! ( Maybe I had some of that water on the brain)
We hopped on a bus and went to where we thought Trish was. We got to a little town then took a cab to the beach. Trish and Graeme were walking down the road by the shore as we drove up, good stuff. Jen was yelling out the window at her "Hey Gringa" Trish was ignoring us, but she had a big smile on her face when we got out of the cab. It is great to have Jen along, she is fluent in Spanish from her year in Venezuela. She just yabbers away with everyone and we get the low down on where to go, what time to catch the bus and anything else our little hearts desire. The only problem is with her around, non of the rest of us want to bother saying anything.
Jen and Mark found a room and I took a room for the night as I wasn't fussy about getting a bus back by myself when it might be dark when I got to the boat. The room was $10.00, it was clean and the sheets were clean and there was a bed but there was no toilet paper, no soap and I couldn't get the shower to work, what do you want for $10.00? I went and watched Graeme surf and built an inukshuk on the beach. There were lots of surfers there. Today Graeme, Trish and a fellow surfer from England who just happens to have a doctorate in environmental toxins, came to the boat and we went snorkeling. There was a large rock with a hole in it that had some great fish in it and the sides of the cave had very beautiful fans and plant growth on it, absolutely beautiful colours. They headed back to the surf spot today with a promise to show up again in 2 days for more snorkeling. While I was gone Barry changed oil, oil filter, watermaker filters, fuel filters and made water and ran the generator for 5 hours with no one to complain about the noise. When we arrived he was in the water cleaning barnacles off the bottom, I should leave him by himself more often.
That't it for now, remember be good to your Valentine, everyone loves chocolate.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I have been trying to upload pictures of that sailboat and do another blog on the internet but our connection still sucks so I will do this one through my brother, so sorry no pics.
Jen and Mark are here with us now, it is nice to get to know the man who has stolen my daughter's heart. He seems like a good sort and has a lovely Cape Breton accent. They arrived yesterday without incident. We all spent a quiet night on the boat. Trish and Graeme have changed surfing locations, they have moved further down the coast so we are taking the boat back down south so we can all meet them. It is about 75 miles south of Manzanillo and it will take us over 13 hours to get there so we figured rather than rush through a really long day we would sail there over night. Hope we can find the little spot Trish and Graeme are in when we get there!!!
I have to tell you about a bus ride we took the other day. The bus was pretty full so Barry was standing until an older Mexican gentleman moved over and invited him to sit down. Barry immediately struck up a conversation and was yakking away to the guy. It was very comical, I was 2 seats behind on the other side and you could see everyone listen to what this gringo was trying to say. Barry told him he was a Canadian, one of our first conversational gambits, and that he had sailed here, how big the boat was, how long we had been sailing, etc. Then he told them I was his "espousa" and said I was the one in the red hat, but he said it a " rojo chapeau" and got a really blank look and then went oh yeah a sombrero rojo, everyone smiled and smiled. Then he told them his daughters were down here and we finally got across by hand actions that they were surfing (because there is no Spanish word in our dictionary for surfing), then he says, no mi, mi no loco!! ( Not me, I'm not crazy) Well the whole section of the bus started laughing, it was great to share that moment with a bunch of Spanish speaking strangers on a bus, people of different cultures and backgrounds communicating with the universal language of laughter, it doesn't get much better than that.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

How NOT to Boat in Mexico

We were over on another boat visiting this afternoon. We noticed a sailboat under motor come out of the marina and the engine was making a very odd noise and there was smoke pouring out of the exhaust. We yelled at the guy and told him "No agua" because we couldn't see any exhaust water coming out of the back of the boat. There were about 6 people on board, they had a big video camera on a tripod on the foredeck and there were 5 of them at the front and one guy at the back steering. The main was covered and there was no foresail attached. Okay, so we had done our bit and yelled at them but we were basically ignored.
We continued to chat to Phil on his boat and then about a half hour later we noticed the boat with the main up sailing very close to the beach to the east of us. This was not good, there was a decent wind out there and a pretty good surf running. And then OH Sh....! the boat is on the beach. We all got in our dinghy and went over to see if we could help. By the time we got there the boat was being tossed by the waves on the beach. It was a lovely looking sailboat, about 27 feet long with a big full keel and it was hung up on the sand. Every time a wave would come in the boat, which was sideways to the waves would get rocked over from one side to the other and the water would pour out of the bilge pump. There were 4 sets of cruisers there with their dinghies all seeing if we could do anything. We got a line attached and a bunch of guys got in the water and we all tried to haul the boat off the sand, NO LUCK.
Then a sport fishing boat came along and Barry and I helped take a line from the shore that someone had swum out with and we motored it to the sport fisher. (Keep in mind the surf is rolling in all the time and we had to very careful not to get the dinghy too close to shore or we would be tossed in, hook, line and motor.) The line was attached and everyone stood back and the big power boat took up the slack and pulled, twice the line broke and then he gave up and left. He didn't even budge the boat it was well and truly stuck in the sand.
A harbour patrol boat showed up shortly after and again guys from shore swam out to get lines that dinghy people had taken from the patrol boat and attached them to the battered sailboat. Line were attached, they were pulled taught and we thought she was going to come off the sand. She spun around and was facing into the waves but no go, the lines snapped twice more. We got the lines back to the patrol boat and the fellow said "Tiene mas". Which we took to mean they were going to go get a something bigger, we weren't sure if he just was getting a bigger line or a bigger boat. Well, he came back with both, now this boat had some POWER. They also had 2 and 1/2 inch floating line to attach to the sailboat. While they had been gone to switch boats our new friend Phil had helped the shore bunch to put a big bridle around the sailboat. They got hold of a huge line and fed it through the front cleats and led it to the winches in the cockpit, they managed to have one go in each side so there was something solid to pull on.
Meanwhile poor old Los Amigos (the boat) had turned sideways to the surf again and was being bashed. Her mainsail had been left on and it had fallen over the side and was in the water, alternately being filled with sand and water and then the water would gush out of it when she rolled on her other side. It was not a pretty thing to watch. The fellow in a dinghy beside us said that it would be the rigging that would be taking a real pounding.
Anyways, when the MAS Harbour Patrol boat started pulling, Los Amigos slowly slewed sideways nose into the waves, every new wave we would think this is the one she will float on. It took about 3 minutes of steady pulling and she finally was afloat, hurray. They tied her up to the patrol boat and took her back to her slip. It was quite a stimulating way to spend an afternoon and a good lesson on the dangers of a lee shore. Nice that we could in our small way be of some help.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Trish and Graeme arrived safe and sound. It is great to see them, Trish looks wonderful with her belly, she is 6 months at the moment so she has a nice little belly that doesn't get in her way or stop her from doing much. She didn't bring her surfboard but that didn't stop her from moaning and groaning about not being able to do any surfing yesterday.
I guess I should back up a bit, they arrived around 5 P.M. so they just came to the boat and stayed the night with us. Yesterday we all took the bus down to the place they are planning to surf and checked out the waves and accomodations. There were a number of surfers types hanging about when we got there so the kids got the scoop about what the waves have been doing and where was the best place to stay. The hotel they chose is right on the beach and the couple that is running it seem very nice. They have quite a bit of English so Trish was able to negotiate a reduction in the room rate if they stayed there for the whole three weeks. Graeme spent about 3 hours in the water surfing on the waves that were available, apparently they weren't very good, they broke too quickly I guess. There are supposed to be big waves coming this weekend so we are planning on heading out to visit on Sunday.

The bus trip was a good experience, we took a cab from the anchorage to the bus station. We had to get someone that could speak English to explain to our driver where exactly we wanted to go. Then we took a bus to a town called Techoman, then another cab to the beach. The bus was only $3.20 for an hour bus ride and it was really comfortable. We found out that a local bus goes out to the beach so we paid 60 cents and took that on the way back to Techoman where we got a bus back to Manzanillo. It was quite an interesting day, nice to get away from the boat and see some of the countryside.
Today Trish and Greame and I went snorkeling about 10 minutes away from the anchorage by dinghy and had a lovely time. We saw a whole lot of fish and Graeme had a great time with a disposable underwater camera they had bought and was busy snapping pictures of fish the whole time he was in the water. Barry stayed back on the boat and finished the patch job on the genoa. Together I would say we spent over 5 hours sewing that thing up. The patch should hold.