Thursday, December 11, 2014

Mazatlan (Day One)

Buenas Dias!

Ahoy!
     It was a decent 47 hour hop from La Paz to Mazatlan.  We got in about 10 hours of sailing.  We were entertained by Manta Rays emerging randomly from the depths of the ocean.  They would leap out about 6 feet from the surface and go back down.  Quite a sight and sort of hard to believe that our eyes were not deceiving us or playing tricks.  The three of us were witnesses to the crazy event and have the sight in our memories rather than in photo form.   We will be better prepared with a camera next time we are out.  Also, we were graced by a full moon, clear skies, and calm seas.  Yes, a decent trip, indeed.

Unbrella.....rain or shine


     Friday, December 5th, 08:00,we tied up in slip C4 at El Cid Marina.  We called our family at the resort five miles away and made arrangements to meet with them after showers and breakfast. Normally we would have taken the day to rest and regroup, however, this was their last day in Mazatlan and we were excited to see them here.  So, as Wendy suggested, we hailed a pulmonia and had one of the most enjoyable taxi rides we might ever experience.



   


     It was a 5 mile, 60 peso ride to the beautiful resort of Pueblo Bonita.  I have to say that Wendy and Kelly made a pretty good choice of time share property.

     Shortly after arrival Kelly took Bucket to the pool, they were just going to "look at it."  Bucket doesn't get near water and just "look at it."  He was in the pool in seconds with all clothes still on.  Okay, so that prompted the adults to go to the room (which was four flights of stairs) and get on their suits so that they could enjoy the pool as well.  Long story short, Bucket slipped on the steps and (as he says) BOOM!  He received his right of passage chin injury that will lead to a permanent scar for a story later in his life.  We held the gash together the best that we could with the bandages we had.  Bucket swam for the rest of the day, much less affected by the accident than his parents.  He made a new friend, and played with "U.K"(Uncle Kelly) and Aunt Thelma in the pool for another 6 hours.
We had a lovely day with our family.  Wendy is a beautiful, gracious, and generous hostess.  We had a delightful dinner, said our "See you soon's," and caught a pulmonia back to Velvet Sky.


A gift shark from "U.K."


A New Friend.  Meet Una.


A fine photo.  Una becomes one of the family :)

   

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Heading to the Main Land

     We have been waiting for our charts to arrive.  They are not expected to be here until the end of this week or the beginning of next week.  We learned today that "Lopez Marine" will send them to Mazatlan for us.  So, we are leaving La Paz tomorrow morning.  We will be underway for just under 48 hours and should arrive in Mazatlan on the 5th of December.  

   

While in La Paz....



We used local bus system for transportation

We walked to get from place to place

We found innovative ways to fill the water tank

As easy as syphoning 150 gallons of desalinated water

Only 30 more to go....

We had a very satisfying Thanksgiving dinner with about 200 other cruisers


Very satisfying

We are forever Thankful for the gifts that life presents to us every single day.  This is a grand adventure!

It's a WHALE! It's a SHARK!

     


IT'S A WHALE-SHARK!

And so begins this day's excursion

Bucket is offered the wheel

He loves to be Captain 

Swimming with the largest fish in the ocean

The krill/plankton eating, Whale-Shark









Friday, November 21, 2014

La Paz

Ahoy!
Buenas Dias!

    We are in La Paz.  We tied up to the docks in Marina Cortez on Monday, the 16th of November.  It was a rough 10 hour ride from the anchorage of Ensenada de los Muertos to here. It was one of those, "I never want to do that again," trips.  One of us here on the Velvet Sky wound up with a headache and vomiting, that would be me, and I was a worthless crew member.  Scott stayed at the helm the entire 10 hours while I was curled up in fetal position in the Bucket's nest praying I wouldn't be needed by either of the boys.   They are so good to me!  Bucket rested and made himself comfortable as he could eating crackers and granola bars for meals and snacks.  Scott got us here, to La Paz safely and as dry as possible (which wasn't really dry because we had left the hatches open on the front of the boat.)  The boat  was a salty, wet mess by the time we tied up at 16:20.  

     I felt better soon after docking and pulled together a meal of tandoori/coconut chicken and jasmine rice. Night fall was a welcome gift and sleep came early.

     Our first full day in La Paz was quite a nice adventure.  We started out the day looking for the TelCel store where we could hopefully purchase a USB stick for internet and a new portable movie player for Bucket.  We lost the convenience of the movie player shortly after departing San Diego.  I never knew what a gift it was until we spent 3 entire days underway and I was to sole provider for entertainment for our fabulous 4 year old.  Read, color, cut, paste, go out on watch....repeat...for hours on end.  Yep...I am truly a portable DVD player advocate.  I don't know how moms got any personal time before the invention.  Oh yes, back to our first full day in La Paz.  We did find the TelCel store, however, they were sold out of USB sticks for internet.  We purchased a sim card for the cel phone instead.  

     We discovered the city bus system.  It is mostly used by the locals, but we found it very helpful and traveled the city on four different ones that day.  And for dinner we had chinese food buffet.  We did not find a movie player.  Maybe tomorrow.

   Our second day started out with Scott washing the salt off of the outside of the boat.  Then we went to coffee at the cruisers club.  Club Cruseros here in La Paz is a God Send and has helped create a wonderful cruising community.  We will be having Thanksgiving dinner with other cruisers.  And, rather than lobster we will be enjoying the traditional turkey dinner.  I will be bringing cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and stuffing.  You must know that fresh cranberries are pretty much unheard of here in Mexico and I was told that since I volunteered the cranberry sauce, I best be on the hunt for canned cranberry now, and I would be lucky if I even found any.  Well, lucky, I am.  We bought the last 9 cans  we found tucked far back on the top shelf in the very sparse canned fruit selection at the Walmart store. Today we find and purchase a movie player.

    It is day three in La Paz for us, and a holiday in Mexico.  It is Revolution Day.  We take our morning walk to the streets and find a shady place to watch the parade.  The parade started at 09:00 and ended around 11:30.  It was very colorful and done at the slowest pace I could ever imagine a parade to done.  I was at one time thinking the parade might go on until dusk, maybe it was meant to be an all day thing.

  


Still celebrating....it is 6:00 pm, this was our dinner entertainment.  This dance is breathtaking, beautiful, and leaves a person feeling happy!








     

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Nosotros en Mexico!


Ahoy!
Y Hola, Familia, Amigos Y Amigas!

     Nosotros en Mexico.! Este es Verano aqui!

     We are in Mexico!  It is summer here.  We left San Diego, California on Monday, October 27th. My BFF, Shawn, and her man, Gary, flew in from Idaho and spent the weekend with us.  And what a great weekend it was!  We were so honored to have them stay on the Velvet Sky and give us a loving, "Bon Voyage" on the morning we joined up with the fleet parade.
BFF's (And the Photo Bomber!)
Captain and Crew!  OFF TO MEXICO!

A Pirate? wanna be Sailor?.....off to join the Baja Ha Ha parade

The brains of the operation  (Marshall! He figured out how to make the horn sound!)


Sun rising around Turtle Bay

      We joined a fleet that started out with approximately 170 boats.  The founders call this run down to Cabo San Lucas a “race.”  Really, it is just a lot of fun and a great way to meet people.  We made it to the finish line of the first leg, which was 359 miles, on October 30th at 01:18.  We were underway at that point for 69 hours and 37 minutes, of that we sailed for 21 hours, the rest was motored.  We made it to Turtle Bay or Bahai De Tortugas at 08:30 on October 30th.  We anchored out with the rest of the fleet.  Scott, Bucket, and Marshall did not hesitate to take a plunge in the warm waters of Mexico.




The water is about 75 degrees! 

And......HE'S IN!


    We met Marshall in Crescent City.  He was a crew member on a boat called Kialoa. It turns out that we became good friends with the owners of Kialoa.  We buddy boated with them from Crescent City, Oregon to Monterey California.  Their names are Scott and Tonya.  Tonya will be celebrating her 50th birthday on January 10th in La Paz, Mexico.  We will be there to celebrate with her.  I will be easily side tracked and back tracking as I write, for we have had so many adventures since we took that BIG LEFT TURN in August.  So, Marshall, was looking to crew with a boat that was going on the Baja-Ha-Ha.  Bucket made quick friends with Marshall and so did we.  The four of us discussed it and made the terrific decision to have Marshall crew on Velvet Sky for the Baja-Ha-Ha.

     Okay, we got to Turtle Bay on October 30th.  There was a beach party on Halloween and later that evening people would dinghy from boat to boat to do the traditional trick-or-treating.  You must know that after hiking, swimming, running on the beach, and all the other fun in the sun stuff that took place that day, everyone went back to their boats to get ready for trick-or-treating and no one made it back out to the dinghy.  Exhaustion won and sleep came early for the fleet.  I estimate that most everyone was fast asleep by 8:00 that night. It was a memorable Halloween in Turtle Bay, Mexico.

Bucket plays baseball for the first time.....WHACK!

And RUN!

The typical Mexican Sunset.....STUNNING!


     The fleet was scheduled to depart from Turtle Bay on November 1st.  Then along came a tropical storm given the "Vance."  The group made the decision to stay put for a day or so to watch "Vance," and see if he would turn into a hurricane or just fade out as predicted.   We utilized our time wisely and ran the water maker for the first time.  We 14 gallons of fresh water.  I am totally amazed at this machine and how it extracts only hydrogen and oxygen.  We have water that is 99% pure.  This day we also used the generator for the first time.  And….Bucket learned to write the capitol and lower case letter "B."  This was a very productive 2 days.  We also rigged FRESH with her sail.  Scott and Marshall took her ashore and explored the town of Bahai De Tortuga.  Vance did fade out and we left Turtle Bay along with the rest of the fleet on Monday, November 3 at 10:45.



      At 10:56 the sails were up the wind was out of the Northwest at 11.5 knots and Miss Sky, well she was gliding and dancing gracefully atop the sea, she was ailing at 6.5 knots as happily and as peaceful as the dolphins that swam at her side.  This was a beautiful thing.  We sailed for 40 hours and 39 minutes straight through. We had this wonderful sailing experience thanks to the Monitor Windvane, which we decided to name "Ken" in honor of our good friend Ken Watters (Ken was half of the dynamic duo from the boat named Fourth Of July.  We met Ken and Mary earlier his summer and they became a part of our family and have a place in each of our hearts forever. Ken passed away on November 5th.  We miss him greatly and send our love and hugs to Mary daily.  It is truly remarkable how we could know someone for such a short period of time and have them make such a profound impact on our lives.)

     For the first time in our existence  as sailors we were free from the drone and groan of the engine. Beautiful, divinely beautiful. We crossed the finish line of this leg at 03:43 on November 5.  Now we are in the bay of Santa Maria.  Here there was another beach party.  Some of the locals from a nearby village loaded pangas (water taxis) with stereo equipment, food, tents, and beer and put together a beach party for the Ba-Ha-Ha fleet.  Amazing and generous!  They even had live music for us! And in a place that speaks spanish almost exclusively, they managed to play and sing some pretty popular American music.  It was a great time. We played beach volleyball and swam in the ocean.  The water just keeps getting warmer.
I'm IN!  It IS warm!

     We left Bahai Santa Maria and set off for the third and final leg at 06:47, Thursday, November 6th.  During this course we crossed the Tropic of Cancer at 02:26.  Marshall was on watch, the rest of the dwellers of Velvet Sky were asleep in their bunks.  At day break we all got up to watch yet another spectacular Mexico sunrise, make another 7 gallons of water, and count down the hours to the final finish line of the Ba-Ha-Ha.  We tied up in Cabo San Lucas at 13:45 (1:45), Friday, November 7th (Happy Birthday Little Brother, I Love You!). We tied up to the docks that were previously visited by hurricane "Odile,"on September 17th this year.  It is quite the tie up, pictures do not even come close to showing the web of line securing the boat. Always a new experience.
Partial photo of a web of a lash up on Cabo docks H and I



     We went to the beach party and awards ceremony on Saturday the 8th.  Velvet Sky took 2nd place in the Agave division of the Ba-Ha-Ha!


Captain of the boat sports his Baja Ha-Ha tattoo


     Today is Wednesday, November 12th.  We have met so many new friends and great people.  This has truly been a life enhancing and enlightening experience.  Marshall left to go back to his home in Seattle, we miss him.  We plan to make our way to La Paz tomorrow, the 13th.  We will make a couple of stops along the way.

     Today,  will take the computer to a restaurant and sign on to free wifi to do this bit of blogging.  Wifi is a rare find these days (and I thought it was rare on our trip North).  Anyway,  we will be in La Paz for a while, hopefully we will have internet access more frequently and easily.  I believe we will be in Mazatlan the end of November, for Thanksgiving.  We are hoping to meet up with Wendy and Kelly there.

Buen Viento Y Amor a Todos
Fair Winds and Love to All


Cindy Scott Bucket

P.S.

I just tried downloading photos....no es possible!

I will try again in La Paz

XOXO


 






 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

First offshore passage

Ok to begin with this is Scott not the artful Cindy,
We set sail from Neah Bay at 0810 bound for Newport Or.
This will be not only our first offshore passage but also our first overnight passage, I know the boat is well prepared but am nervous none the less.
The trip length is about 250 miles, we decided that we would sail about 30 to 50 miles offshore to accomplish a few things. First and foremost it would give us sea room in case a bad storm came up and blew us around a bit , second we would be clear of the crab pots that are set by the commercial fishermen, and third the wind would be more steady and constant.
We set a course for 125 degrees west and would follow that south.
Well, it was foggy as all get out (again).
We had to motor until about 1600 due to lack of wind.
The wind picked up at about 1600 so we hoisted the Main and unfurled the Genoa and Staysil, the wind was about 9 to 12 knots.
The wind was on our Starboard rear quarter about 120 degrees, with the wind there the boat wanted to turn into the wind (round up) we had to turn the wheel to the left to counter balance the sail plan.
The monitor wind vane steered the boat like a dream.
The wind then moved a bit further aft and things went wrong, we should have put a double reef in the main and just used our Genoa to pull us down wind. The boat was overpowered and the Main sail was covering the Genoa and the Wind vane couldn't overcome the weather helm.
I spoke to a sailing pro Allison HickenWood from Port Townsend sails to confirm my suspicions.
I can't thank Allison enough for the advice and encouragement.
Live and Learn.
Well, instead we started the engine and motor-sailed with a single reef in the main for the next 35 hours.
Its was foggy for the entire trip.
We arrived at our Newport approach waypoint at 2345 and found that our visibility was less than 100 feet. Truly if the Nav lights had not been on I wouldn't have been able to see the bow of the boat.
As I was ready to turn into the jetty I hear on the radio that a Tug and Tow was headed out the jetty, I called the captain and told him that we would hold and jog at the green entry bout until he was clear.
He was 500 feet behind our stern but we never saw him (heard him loud and clear though).
He could see us on AIS and Radar and we could see him by the same means.
We told the tug skipper that we had never been here before and he gave us some very good advice about getting in the jetty.
As an aside one day earlier in better conditions but still very foggy two commercial fishing boats collided in this very spot.
Well, we did manage to navigate into the harbor, found the entry to the marina found the very first slip open docked the boat at 0103 and went to sleep.
We had acomplished and learned a great deal about our selves and the boat.
Bucket was awesome he entertained himself from his "nest" on our bed. He watched movies and ate snacks. What a great guy.
Cindy was the ultimate trooper, I had painted a mental picture for her of warm breezes and smooth sailing. Our trip was anything but that, it was bumpy and grey and really kind of dismal.
We will set out tomorrow Friday the 22nd bound for Coos Bay, only a short by comparison 80 miles.
We will employ the sail plan that we discussed with Allison and are sure that it will be an enjoyable passage.
You will be happy to hear that Cindy will be back at the keyboard soon, 'til then Fair Winds and Following Seas to all of you.

Photo Gallery update

Monday, August 18, 2014

3-2-1.....

     We are taking the plunge!  Some call it the BIG LEFT TURN.   Mother Ocean, welcome us.

     This morning we woke up in slip B32 at Neah Bay.  We were gifted a beautiful king salmon from the tribe of Makah.  Thanks to them.

       We have scheduled ourselves to push off the dock at 0830.  Our plan is to make Newport, Oregon our first stop.  We will be 30 miles out from the coast and hope for fair winds and smooth sailing.

Oceans of Love to All,
Scott, Cindy, and Bucket
(Sailing Team of Velvet Sky)


   

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bellingham Today Anacortes Tomorrow

     I am hearing voices.....

     Mostly through the phone lines, and often from the Capt'n, "Are you going to blog again soon?" they are asking.
   
     I am certain to not be alone in this kind of thinking...  "I am so far behind, I am not sure where to begin."  I suppose sometimes it is just easy to begin with the now.  We are tied up to the guest dock at gate 3 in Bellingham, Washington.  We have been here since Friday, August 8 at 17:59.  We have been  bouncing back and forth from Bellingham to Anacortes, and Port Townsend to Anacortes, then back to Port Townsend and right back here to Bellingham and tomorrow we return to Anacortes.  This may bring up the question of, "Why the back and forth?"  Well, the best response I have at this time is, "We are passing time."  We have spent the last four and a half months cruising schedule free.  We meandered and dawdled our way as far north as Hartley Bay, BC (53 degrees 42 minutes point 58 seconds north and 128 degrees 42 minutes point 40 seconds west) just south of Prince Rupert.  We arrived at Hartley Bay on June 3rd.  We used the BBQ for the first time and cooked a whole chicken.
Hartley Bay is a village still in possession of the First Nation People (an indian reserve).  The docks are government owned and moorage is free.  The only photo we captured of Hartley Bay was the one we took while leaving.  The streets here are all made of wood.  There are no cars here.  The motorized transportation was that of four wheel ATV's.  The locals call their village ATV capitol of the world.  We did spot a smart car in the village however, the fire truck was a Kubota, and the police car was a Mini Cooper.  A grocery facility with limited goods was the garage of someones home and was open whenever they chose to be open which was not while we were there.  It was worth the visit (especially for diesel fill up.

     From Hartley Bay we decided to make our way back down.  We spent the next 6 days anchored out in small and secluded coves of Princess Royal Island.  We were determined to encounter a spirit bear.  There are approximately 500 of these spectacular creatures in existence and approximately 300 hundred of them inhabit the Princess Royal Island.  A Spirit Bear is a black bear with blonde hair (not albino). Though we would dinghy across to the shore and plant bagels with peanut butter with hopes of enticing the beautiful creature, we never got to see one. We anchored our ever-so-trusting ROCHNA at Cameron Cove, Penn Habour, Bone Anchorage, Cowards Cove, Morris Bay.  During this time we had dinners made from fish that was caught daily (including rockfish, halibut, and salmon).  On June 11, we made our way back to Shearwater Marina where we re-provisioned and had a lunch made by someone other than me (the restaurant at the marina).  Of course Bucket enjoyed his usual meal away from home, a hamburger.  We used $32.00 for laundry, $278.00 for groceries, $10.00 for showers, and $124.00 for fuel.  That night we had cereal with real milk for dinner.

     Then back out into the solitude world of anchoring for the next seven days.  We went into the McNaughton Group, Judd Cove (Watt Bay), Lewall Inlet (where we crossed paths with Ken and Mary on 4th of July), back to Pruth Bay, and Waterfall Inlet of Fish Egg Islands.  We had more rainy days than sunny ones.  We often asked, "Will we ever experience summer again."  We would get in FRESH and dinghy around and explore the shores, rain or shine.  We found fresh water streams for bathing, playing and exploring.  We always brought along a tin can containing a few coins for noise making, which was probably one of the reasons we didn't see any bears. Ya think?

     On June 19th we started getting our first taste of civilization.  Well, sort of.  While anchored at Lewall  Inlet (June 15th) Scott took the dinghy over and had a visit with Ken and Mary.  This was the beginning of buddy-ing up for the two of us.  Velvet Sky and 4th of July would meet and tie up on the docks of Dawson's Landing, on June 19th.  We got held up at Dawson's landing with 4 days of rain and gale force winds.  The best part about this was that we got to know our new friends better and on a much deeper level.  Together we found laughter in the high prices of expired food (most of it was expired at least a year), the milk was brought over by a boat while we were there and cost $16.00 a gallon.  The laughter helped ease the shock of paying a little over $300.00 for a small 3 bags of groceries (less the milk). Civilization?

     On June 23, we left shoved off the dock at Dawson's Landing and set course for Duncanby.  With Duncanby in our sights we decided to put the transmission in neutral and do some fishin'.  This is when Scott caught the "Yellow Eye."  He caught a couple of smaller rockfish a short time before the yellow eye and through them back to in so that they could grow older and bigger.  We discovered that Eagles like the "throw backs."  An unintended consequence of a too-small rockfish being pulled to the surface quickly is that the fish needs to acclimate in order to return to the depths.  In the meantime they float on top the water.  Well....while acclimating (floating) the fish becomes easy prey and the eagle gets and easy meal.  The circle of life.  I cleaned the yellow eye in the cock pit, washed it and put it in the fridge for dinner that night.  Scott got bitten by the fishing bug.  We tied up at the dock at Duncanby at 12:30. He brought his pole and tackle out on the dock (in driving raining, I must add) where he caught the ling cod.  Feast!


   


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Nanaimo, BC (here today)

     We have returned to civilization.  There are large metal contraptions that roar and grumble and roll around on this completely unnatural black trail that meanders through this village that has large buildings with flashing signs.  And there are people everywhere! Hundreds of them....no, thousands of them!  And they sit in these contraptions as they move throughout the village.  They do not carry back packs loaded with water, snacks, first aid, bug spray, and sunscreen.  They carry fancy little bags that fit  in one hand or over their shoulder.  So many of them are looking at their hands and moving their fingers around on some rectangular device.  They rarely look up.  They are all moving so fast and look as if they have some place to be.  No time to talk, I'm late, I'm late....

     So this is the city! Cars, and streets, and stores, and shopping, and people, and phones, and people in cars with phones going shopping, and internet that works.  And ice cream and hamburgers! (Yells Bucket)  His first meal when we tie up to a dock in a place that serves food is a hamburger with catsup and pickles, his favorite.

     Our most recent experience with a real city was just a few of days ago (July 9, 2014).  We were in Campbell River (fishing capitol of the world).  Campbell river is a city of 40 thousand.  Can you say, "Over stimulated?"  Okay, everyone knows what it is like to be in a big city.  We had not planned to arrive in the city for another day.  Before Campbell River we were at a nice little dock at Port Harvey Marina.  Let me back up a little more.  On July 08, 2014 at  09:43 we start the engine at 09:55 we cast off from the dock at the quaint and pleasant Lagoon Cove Marina (one of our favorite stops in the Broughton Islands). At 10:03 we are underway, our course overground is 100 degrees (m), speed overground an easy 6.6 kts, true wind speed the dull 2.2 kts, and we are in a comfortable depth of 176 feet.  It is overcast and cool, looks like rain.  We have a course set for Port Harvey.

     

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Another Photo Update

Yellow Eye Rockfish for dinner?

Or Ling Cod?  Both caught the same day and on the menu for dinner that evening.

Excuse me?  Can I get a price check (at Duncanby).

This is a real road, it is called the Corduroy Road.

Hiking back from the lake at the "now closed Greenway Marina."

Deep in the woods....happy days

A bird tornado forming



Hello Mr. Humback whale

Goodbye

Hello again....he entertained us for a good 45 minutes.  We have videos of this whale and a pod of dolphins (wish I could figure out how to post them).  Amazing!

My friend, Mary.  She travels on the Grand Banks named 4th of July.  She is a keeper!

Bucket makes friends so easily.  This is Bucket, David, and Guiness going out to pick up the prawn trap.

Returning with 3 prawns  (they were BIG prawns!)

David is certain we should have a dog on the boat.