Wednesday, March 28, 2007

These are pictures of our visit to Isla Isabella.

Shots of the island in general, note the lava rocks on the beach. The fishing village was very basic although they had loud music playing and I saw a TV in one of the buildings. The crater lagoon, with frigate birds nesting. I saw one of these birds land in branches of a tree that was too light to hold him and he got entangled with all the branches and had a real hard time trying to spread his wings to fly up out of the tree.

There were lots of iguanas everywhere on the island. You would here them rustling through the grass as you walked along in the trees. There were very small ones as well and I think maybe they were geckos, but that is only speculation.

The frigate birds reigned supreme on the lower half of the island, as we came in there were hundreds soaring around above the island. They are wonderful birds to watch in the air.

The blue footed bobbies were lovely looking birds, this shot does not show off the colour of his feet very well. I imagine it is the female that is still sitting on her eggs. Notice the green feet on the bird in front of the boat. I love his/her expression.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Images of Puerto Vallarta

We loved the sand sculptures. We thought these aliens were wonderful sculptures, this ladder is free standing, it was kind of scary to watch about 5 kids climb on it!!!

Kim, Brent, Barry and Ann being goofy in Senor Frog's

A little touch of home in a P.V. bar, actually it was the No-Name bar and when I asked the bartender if he knew who was in the playoffs he just looked at me and said, "I'm from Los Angeles." Does he not know they have a hockey team, that the Great One used to play on?????

Monday, March 26, 2007

We have just left Isla Isabella bound for Mazatlan. Isla Isabella is a protected wildlife refuge. There are hundreds of birds nesting on the island. When you go ashore first thing you notice is all the frigate birds, they are all nesting in the trees that are about eye level, I think a lot of the trees were lime trees. In a small tree there may be 7 or 8 birds perched there, the whole family, mom, dad and baby. These are not small birds, they must have a wing span of 3 1/2 to 4 feet. The dad's have big red sacks under their bills which they puff out at times, the babies aren't able to fly yet and just lie in the nest looking cute. They have white fluff where their tails will grow but their beaks are white with a pronounced hook at the end. I wouldn't want to get too close. The birds basically ignore you as you walk within a arms' reach. There was a large building that we think had been built to house park activities but has been let go to ruin. On the south side of the building there were 10 iguanas sunning themselves, the biggest would be about 2 feet long. The island is basically volcanic so it is very hilly. There are trails up to the top and on the trails the boobies are nesting. Near the bottom the red and green footed boobies are nesting on the ground, at the top the blue footed boobies have claimed their spot. Their feet are really quite blue and it is quite a surprise when they are coming in to land and out pop these BLUE feet. They are actually quite beautiful looking birds, the feathers on their necks have a lovely brown and white speckled affect. There were gulls up there as well and these birds were the only ones that objected to our presence, swooping in to try and scare us away. The boobies were still sitting on their eggs, so we tried not to disturb them. I walked into a lagoon on the other side of the island, there was a lovely path through the trees and the vegetation was quite different. A sign said something about banana trees, sugar cane and coconuts being planted there. I could figure out what kind of trees the sign was talking about, but not quite the context that it was referring to them in.
We went about a half mile around the corner in the dinghy and went snorkeling. The water was so clear and there were lots of different fish swimming about as well as some different types of coral. It was the best snorkeling we have had so far. When we pulled anchor and left the island there were a couple of whales sounding just outside of the area we had been snorkeling in. Wouldn't that have been something, nose to nose with a whale. I don't think I am ready for that yet!!!
It will take us about 18 hours to get to Mazatlan so we will sail through the night. At the moment the wind is pushing us along at 4 and 1/2 knots almost in the right direction, so all is well.
We are currently in San Blas, about 40 miles north of Puerta Vallarta. This is new territory for us, when we came down the Baja we crossed from Cabo San Lucas to Puerta Vallarta and then went south. We have not covered this territory yet so it is all new and exciting. It felt great to be heading into unknown country and we look forward to exploring it. We had two uneventful days of sailing to get here and we are in no hurry, we had said that we wanted to cross the Sea of Cortez by the end of March and that is still our basic plan. There is so much to see in the Sea and a lot of great anchorages, we want to spend at least a month there. San Blas is located on an estuary, it is flat and apparently there are biting bugs in the evenings, YECH!! It looks quite different than most anchorages because of it's flatness. I think we had better go and explore.

Sent 2:30 PM Saturday March 24

Thursday, March 22, 2007

We managed to meet Kim and Brent yesterday as they came off the cruise ship the Carnival Pride. We got there in time to see a Holland cruise ship as well as Carnival Pride dock. It was interesting to watch the process, the Holland ship was the first ship in and it turned around and backed into the harbour, Carnival Pride came in and then pivoted in the harbour. We saw the guys attaching the ships lines to the docks, they were really struggling with the weight of the lines, we noticed one fellow was wearing a weight belt to support his back. We were not surprised.
Barry spotted Kim and Brent on the ship and we met them as they came out the gate. We went downtown and wandered around shopping and site seeing for most of the day. We got a chance to visit the large cathedral in PV and toured the old town. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner together and Kim managed to find a lovely outfit to wear to James' wedding in the fall. It was great to catch up on their news and spend some time together. Kim is taking a course in horse nutrition, who knew there was so much to learn about managing to get your horse the correct nutrition, she even had to have her hay analyzed. It sounded like they were enjoying their cruise, they head to Matzatlan, Cabo San Lucas and then back to L.A.
We have to check out with the Port Captain at 10:00 A.M. and then we will be heading further north. We probably will either go to an anchorage that is 10 miles away or one that is about 40 miles, depends on how we feel. Haven't heard from some of you lately, keep in touch.

Monday, March 19, 2007

We had a real experience this morning. Our buddies on Toketie told us that we could make money by going to a condo or time share presentation. We were approached in the Walmart yesterday and asked if we would be willing to do it for $250.00 USD. Well I was all keen on the idea but Barry didn´t want to, but when the guy upped his gift from $200.00 to $250.oo we decided to do it. The beginning of the tour was very nice. They treated us to breakfast and then the tour began. The setting was beautiful, right on the beach, the grounds were very well kept and the accomodations were very nice. We took some pictures. The saleslady was very nice at the beginning but when it came to the sales pitch she got fairly aggresive. They are used to selling I tell you. We resisted and it was kind of fun playing the game. We had to tell them we were renting a room in a condo complex and there were a few times when Barry and I just kind of blanked out when asked questions, did the condo have one bedroom or two, we both had the deer in the headlights look in our eyes. Anyway we finally got away from the first lady and then we were taken upstairs and given another pitch about just buying holiday weeks, we could go to any resort in the world that we wanted, 20 weeks over 10 years for only $1,999.00 down. Well by that time I had had it and told the guy I just wanted to get out of there, he finally let us go and we picked up our $250.00. When we got back to where we had been let off another fellow offered us $300.00 to go to a different resort tomorrow. Barry was a little tempted but there was no way I was going to do that again. We figure that Barry´s brother Bruce would have lined up 3 a day to pay for his holiday. That paid for our groceries at Walmart anyway. Kim arrives on Wed. on a cruise ship so we will leave the area on Thursday morning.
I just reread my last blog, I don't like to write such negative things but I was really in a BAD mood. The blog was really whiny and petty, sorry about that!!
Things are looking up way, way up. We managed to find a slip at a dock in Puerta Vallarta so we have unlimited water, hot running showers and power. It is amazing how things that most of you take for granted become very special treats when we are willing to pay for them. We have met up with another of our original Vancouver Island cruising group, Dave and Linda on Toketie, it is great to see them again. We went shopping to Walmart in town. What a ZOO, tomorrow is a Mexican holiday, not sure if that had anything to do with it but boy was it ever packed. I felt quite stifled and it was so crowded all I wanted to do was leave. Toketie went with us and we shared a cab on the way home, I have never seen so many grocery fit in the trunk of a cab. It reminded me of clowns getting out of a Volkswagon. I am looking forward to making contact with other cruisers we have met along the way that are here.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Well yesterday had to be one of the ugliest days we spent on the boat. We left Chamela at 5:00 in the morning planning to get to Puerta Vallarta if the weather was good or to the small anchorage just south of the big cape you have to get by before you get to PV. Maybe that was a sign of ugliness that we actually got up at 5! Anyway the first few hours were okay, motoring and then the wind started to pick up. I started to argue with Barry about whether or not we should sail. Then the wind and seas continued to pick up, it wasn't dangerous or scary or anything, just very uncomfortable, bouncing around in the big waves, that were very close together and not getting anywhere. The boat just tends to slam around when the waves are so close and instead of slicing through them you go up, slam and stop or slow down so you loose all your speed and it is just yukky movement as well. We finally made it to the little anchorage just before the cape called Ipala. Then we proceeded to argue about where we should anchor the boat. There was one spot that was really protected but it was iffy to find out if there was enough room, finally Barry agreed to go in and try it and there wasn't enough room. Then we went and anchored in the spot that Barry wanted that had no protection and was out in all the swell and it was 40 feet deep. There we stayed, bouncing around some more. I decided to stay below and drink the last bit of gin we had aboard and hopefully get in a better mood eating the remainder of a cheese ball I had made. The cheese ball ended up on the floor due to all the bouncing, the later Barry cut his finger while making supper and the glass I had been using to have my last gin and tonic in ended up smashing all over the floor. The glass was my last Yellowknife wine bottle glass so it was a special one. By this time I had pretty much had it with the day so went to bed. Barry chose to sleep on the couch and I was glad.
Today has been a much better day. We made it around the cape, the wind and the waves behaved and we were able to sail for most of the morning. At the moment we are motoring to make some distance so we can get to the anchorage just north of PV before dark. There is a big sailing regatta here next week. We would like to get to a dock for a day or two so are looking into that at the moment, Barry is not optimistic about our chances of getting one as there are all lot of extra boats hanging about for the regatta.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

We are in Chamela today, just a little further up the coast from the last spot. We had quite the struggle when we tried to pull our anchor up when we left Careyes. We had a stern anchor out and it did not hold, we knew that in the middle of the night but since we were in the anchorage by ourselves, it didn't seem like a problem and we just let it be. Well hindsight is a wondrous thing, we should have pulled it in, or gone and reset it. It got wrapped around the main anchor chain and became ensnared in a 3 and 1/2 foot long piece of re-bar that was shaped like an L that was covered in cement and barnacles. Barry attached the stern anchor line to a winch and hauled everything up, at this point we had no clue what was going on so it was a bit of a shock to see this ugly piece of stuff emerge from the water with all the chain in a huge mess around it. Barry unscrewed the shackle to release the stern anchor from it chain and then took about 30 minutes to untangle all the chain. Barry was quite worried at this point that the main anchor might have snagged some other piece of junk. The anchor chain gods were smiling down on us once again and we didn't have any problems. We were happy to see the last of that anchorage, lovely spot but really bad anchorage.
Chamela is a fairly protected spot although the surf is rolling in from the southwest and we are rolling pretty good. The flopper stopper is doing it's stuff and we learned a new trick yesterday about how to get your boat faced into the swell so may try it again. Yesterday the surf was just too huge to attempt going ashore but we made it in this morning without any problems so managed to buy a few things we needed and do some exploring. We were going to go north to P.V. today but heard it was going to 20-25 knots on the nose around the big cape just south of PV so decided to stay put another day. We had two other couple on board last night for dinner and that was a nice way to get to know them better. We had "Pears Elegante" for dessert, fresh pears with melted chocolate mixed with Kaluha drizzled on them, quite yummy!!!
I had e-mailed Trish to ask if she could try and book us flights using airmiles as you efforts had proved fruitless. She came through with flying colours and we will be land in Victoria on May 11. I don't know the particulars yet as have not had access to the internet to receive the e-mail from the air miles folks. We now have to make plans to get the boat out of the water and figure out our planned route to get there. It is really nice to have the flights booked, WHEW!!!

Monday, March 12, 2007

We are in Careyes, it is a lovely spot although the anchorage is quite rolly and uncomfortable. We have a wonderful opportunity last night to meet someone that lives here. There were 2 other sailboats in the anchorage that we had gotten to know in Tenacatita, they invited us to join them for cocktails at the hotel pool. When we got there there was another couple with them whom they had met in a previous time in the anchorage. The couple had run a very successful business in California manufacturing airplane engine parts. They have a home in the Gulf Islands, one in California and one here. They invited all of us to dinner, the cruisers were to provide the food and cook it and they would supply the locale. Well, what a place, it was unbelievable, there are 3 small guest houses, a recreation area with indoor squash court and workout gym, a VIP suite, the main bedroom with his and hers walk in closets, office and balcony the main living area, a palapa that holds the dining area and kitchen and an infinity pool overlooking the ocean. They rent it out when they are not there for $30,000 a week. The workmanship was unbelievable with unusual details everywhere, the walls specially made the ceilings all designed by the owner, hand done out of bricks, the palapa roof done by a specialist. It was almost surreal being there and seeing it all and then sharing a wonderful dinner with everyone.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

We are headed north again, we are going to try and anchor in a little spot called Careyes. It is only about 14 miles north of Tenacatita so we don't have far to go. Apparently in Careyes the endangered Carey hawkbilled sea turtles nest, the adult sea turtle is 2 to 3 feet long and weighs 30 to 100 pounds. The babies hatch in December and if you are in the area then you can take training and help the babies reach the water by shooing away predators, maybe next year!!
We had a great time in Tenacatita, both Barry and I played volleyball 3 days in a row. The caliber wasn't great but it was lots of fun and our older bodies managed to cope with the sport. Barry didn't have much mobility with his hip, but he has really long arms and just leaning and reaching he could get to most balls that were his. We were covered in sand at the end of the games, it is very fine and clings to the sweat and sun block that you have on. One fellow was playing in his socks and I thought that was a bit weird until we got out on the sand, man was it hot, socks would have been the perfect solution, one day we both played in our Crocs, thanks Jen. The first day we played volleyball, after we got back to the boat and showered on deck there was a bunch of sand in the cockpit. The next day we jumped in the water with a scrubbie and some soap and scrubbed most of the sand off before we showered off with fresh water. A couple of times I swam to shore so had a good workout doing that. We met a bunch of cruisers at a dinghy raft up we had to get to know each other and exchange books and CD's, we hope to visit more with some of them further up the coast.

Yesterday we made a trip to the little town across the bay from Tenacatit that has a crocodile reserve. THEY WERE HUGE!! I would estimate that they were at least 10 feet long. We bought some fish bait to feed them (mostly leftover fish after they were filleted)and there was a feeding frenzy when we tossed the fish over the 6 foot high fence. There were 4 crocs vying for the fish and it seemed like the smallest one would get the majority of the food, he was more mobile than the others and could move faster. At one point one of them chomped on a plastic water bottle that was floating in the area. those huge jaws going chomp, chomp, chomp on the bottle, everyone watching was trying to tell the poor croc that he was chewing the wrong thing. I have a good picture of them and once we get near a internet cafe I will make sure to put in on. We saw some termite nests in the trees and some unusual birds flitting about.
This little number came and anchored in Tenacatita the last day we were there, check out the toy on the upper deck at the stern!!!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I didn't tell you about The French Baker in Barra. Every morning he would make a tour of the marina and the lagoon and he would deliver fresh French baked goods to your boat. He would call up on the VHF and ask in his lovely French accent, "This is de French Bakeur would you like me to stop by." then if you wanted he would come and sell you fresh baguettes and croissants. I practised my French on him but it was mightily confusing trying to remember to say merci beaucoup, instead of gracious!!!
His almond croissants were delicious, good thing we have left or I would added a much unwanted extra few pounds.
We are in Tenacatita today and had a lovely trip up a river. It is referred to in the cruising guides as the jungle river dinghy trip. As we started the river channel was fairly wide with mangroves closely bunched on both shores. The channel became narrower and narrower until you were riding along under a canopy of trees with tendrils of mangroves reaching into the water from the overhanging branches, it was really dark and cool under the canopy. I thought the buck brush in the NWT was hard to make your way through, you would have to have a machete or chain saw to make your way any distance through this maze of branches and vines. The birds would fly off the branches and ahead of the boats down the waterway, we saw quite a few different looking birds and I will have to get out the bird book and look them up. After an hour we arrived at a little beach town. We walked along until we came to the spot called the aquarium. The beach was pebbly near the water and there was coral mixed in with the pebbles. Once in the water there was a coral reef close to shore that had a ton of different kind of fish swimming around. There were quite a few new fish there that I hadn't seen before, it was great. I had a delicious seafood soup for lunch at one of the palapas and then we headed back. Once back at the beach there was a game of bocce ball in progress and others were playing Mexican train dominoes. There is going to be a volleyball game happening this afternoon so I think I will take part in that. They also have horses to rent down the beach that may be a possibility as well. All is well in paradise.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

We are headed into Tenacatita at the moment with a full head of steam. It is nice to be sailing along so nicely. Barry says we should have stayed in Barra so we wouldn't have sailed quite so quickly here, not sure what would please him. We had a nice time in Barra, explored lots of places and now are headed north again. We will probably stay here about a week or so or until we feel the need to head north again. One of the boats that we crossed from Cabo to PV with is here as well so it is nice to know someone in the anchorage. Hope the weather is improving in the great white north for all of you.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Here are some pictures I have been wanting to add for awhile but my connection has not been good. Hope you enjoy them.

Here we all are on the day that everyone is going home. It was nice to have everyone together.
Jen our doctor daughter has managed to learn to sleep anywhere, here she is on deck as we were underway. Taking it easy at the gorgeous pool at Las Hadas

Snoopy in his glory at the dock in Manzanillo. Charles Schultz is from Minnesota which has a sister city to Manzanillo, the last place I would have expected to see Snoopy.
This is a link to a great surfing clip these people that Trish and Graeme met in Pasquales. The music is from Graeme's band in Invermere and he is in one of the surfing clips, just look for the dude with lots of reddish hair.
We are really enjoying exploring around Barra Navidad. We have heard about it and what a wonderful spot it is from quite a few people. Well, it is. They have a lovely hotel and marina with a fabulous golf course. We haven’t tried to land at the marina yet but have heard how we can use the pool and showers for free if we wish.
We are anchored in the lagoon that the hotel and marina are located on. There is no swell in here so you have great uninterrupted sleeps and although we have heard that people are dragging their anchors in the muddy bottom. There hasn’t been much wind since we have arrived so we have not seen any evidence of people dragging around and our anchor seems secure. The entrance into the lagoon is quite shallow and as we came in someone was on the bottom and again today someone had run aground. We are hoping our shallow 5’6”draft will keep up afloat as we leave.
The lagoon is really shallow and it is muddy so there is no swimming off the boat here. There is a nice beach a short dinghy ride away and we hear it is a good spot to learn how to surf, not sure if I have the guts to give it a try or not, Barry says he won’t. Today we went ashore by the golf course and wandered around it for awhile. It is spectacular. We ended up on the Pacific shore to the south of Barra to watch the surf and walk on the beach. It was deserted and was the sand ever hot. At the end of the beach there were stairs cut and cemented into the rocky hillside. The stairs led around the hill and to another smaller secluded beach. It looked like you could snorkel and swim from that beach and if we stay long enough we may go back and explore more. It was noon and we had nothing to drink so we figured we would head back to the boat for a siesta. I am going to take the computer into an internet cafĂ© so I should be able to put this and a bunch of pictures I have wanted to add to the blog on.
We have decided that we are both are returning to Canada for hurricane season. Barry is trying to line up some work in Yellowknife and I want to be around to help out Trish and Jen with their new additions to their families. We are still hoping to be able to attend some sort of Spanish classes once we return to Mexico in the fall. Our Mexican visa’s run out on May 15 so we have to leave before then, once we put the boat on the hard in San Carlos we will bus it to Tucson or Phoenix and fly back to Canada from there.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Ian and Helen from Yellowknife left this morning to drive back to Puerta Villarta, we were sad to see them leave, we truly enjoyed having them aboard. Once they were gone we packed up and left Las Hadas anchorage in Manzanillo and headed north. We didn't get too far, at the moment we are in Barra Navidad about 20 miles north of Manzanillo. It is a lagoon with a big fancy hotel with a marina at the entrance. We avoided the temptation of showers and electricity and motored into the anchorage.
It was a bit tricky getting in, thank heavens our buddies on Espiritu called us on the radio and told us how to get in. We kept the 40+ foot Canadian ketch that was aground to our right as we went in. There was about 3 dinghies around the boat helping out. We anchored with about 1.5 feet under our keel so there was no need to put out 100 feet of chain!!! There are at least 3 boats here that we know folks on so we are looking forward to doing some visiting. I have put in a Yotreps report so that you can follow our trip north. We have no definite plans, we have no schedules to keep so we will just cruise along when we feel like it.