Saturday, January 24, 2015

Continuing South





     As it turns out, time seems to go by pretty fast even when life is moving "Mexico Style," at a slow and steady pace.  

     We had a course set for LaCruz and passed right by landing Velvet Sky on the dock at Paradise Village Marina in Nuevo Vallarta.  Seahorse V had been to tied to dock A in space 11 for about two weeks prior to our arrival.  They knew we were coming and had a space held for us.  We remained side tied to dock "A" for a day and moved to slip "B43" which became our residence for the next 17 days.  We got our gate keys and identification cards which allowed us access to the resort lobby, hospitality suite, restaurants, nightly entertainment, and most appreciated hot tub/swimming pool area.  It was like we were on a Carnival Cruise vacation.  

     Sunday evenings we were entertained with a stage show and family games, free drinks and appetizers.  Paradise Village called it their "Welcoming Party."  It was a lovely treat and fun for everyone!  Tuesday and Thursday  afternoons was a colorful performance by the local parrots and their trainer, again, fun and laughter all around.

     The pool area was tied to the ocean beach, I must say, it doesn't get much better than that, as far as swimming goes.  We could take a nice surfing dip in the ocean, rinse off the sand and salt and dive into the cool fresh water pool, get out relax on the lawn chairs, have a frosty beverage, and repeat.  Nice. eh? Yes, yes it was.  Every day was pretty much the same routine with just a few variations.  

     Scott and Bucket took a morning walk on the beach and found three baby turtles that they escorted to the ocean. We took a bus to LaCruz for a day and a "Puddle Jump" seminar.  We had dinner there at a place called Enriques, and to date was the best mexican meal we have had.  We took a bus to Walmart and Costco to do a bit of our Gringo shopping and provisioning.  We started a boaters potluck at the BBQ pit, thursdays, bring your family's dinner and a little something to share with others.   We developed a deeper friendship with the family on Seahorse V.  We had kid sleepovers almost nightly.  Bucket and Billy have developed a "brotherly" kind of friendship. And Grace, well, she thinks I am cool and I KNOW she is cool so we do girl things, like paint our toe nails and discuss hairdos.  Tina is her mother.  I adore Tina and think she is a terrific parent and a good friend.  Steve is the dad, husband and captain of Seahorse V.  He is too is an outstanding human.  We are blessed to know them, and super happy to be buddy boating with them.

     Overall Nuevo Vallarta, was a very relaxing, and carefree existence for us.  We were in no hurry to leave, however, the season will be changing soon and hurricane warnings we want to avoid, so south we will continue to cruise.  

     Our agenda and line of travel looks something like this:

 Nuevo Vallarta to Yelapa
Yelapa to Chamela
Chamela to Paraiso
Paraiso to Tenacatita
Tenacatita to Barra de Navidad

(Will attach photos later...when we have better internet)


Love to All

     

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Todays Destination....Nuevo Vallarta


     We Left Mazatlan on Saturday, December 27th at 15:00 after filling the fuel tank.  Since we had successfully installed a CPT autopilot on Christmas day, this short 18 hour tour had promise of a  whole new type of underway adventure for us.


     The Autopilot worked just as it should for the first nine hours or so.  I had the 2-5 am shift.  The CPT quit doing it's job.  My guess was that the belt was loose and we would figure it out in the day light.  I am old hat at hand steering under motor…..so, no biggie.   Scott came up for the 5-8 shift and found me a little disappointed that our new crew member had dropped the ball.  He confirmed the belt was loose, did some adjustments, and took over for his shift with the CPT fully operational  (lucky him).

     We had a course set for a stop at Isla Isabela.  It is home to hundreds, including frigate birds, blue and yellow footed boobies, turns and gulls.  There are literally huge flocks of birds constantly circling this island.  We pulled in to the south anchorage around 09:00 on the 28th.  We get ready to drop anchor and all we see is a rocky and foul bottom ocean floor.  Scott spies a bit of a sandy spot and we drop the hook only to find that the actor drug far enough to get caught in the boulder area.  We made 3 attempts to anchor.  The third time the anchor got lodged and a fellow boater used his dinghy to pull it out backward.  Our anchor was saved from the anchor graveyard at Isabela.  We opted to skip the island and continue southbound to San Blas and Mantanchen Bay.  Around 8 hours later (17:30)  we dropped anchor in 13 feet depth with sand bottom, had dinner of hamburgers and fresh oranges, killed mosquitos and no see-ums,  sealed the door from further invasion of the pests and nestled in for the evening.  I am sure the three of us were sound asleep by 7:30 (definitely NOT uncommon).

     Up with the sun, fresh perked coffee, breakfast of potatoes, eggs,sausage, and o.j., then in the dinghy and off to shore we go!  We landed Fresh on the beach in front of a palapa that called themselves, "Calamar," Edjardo is the manager of this palapa and is quite pleased to watch our dinghy for the day and serve us lunch upon our return (for a few pesos, of course).  And so we begin our walk through town on the dusty streets of San Blas Mexico.  We encounter several palapas selling banana bread (pan de plantano) and  cold coconut water (frio coco aqua).  We partake and thoroughly enjoy both.  We meander our way to the sight of the pangas that depart for a 2 hour "lagoon jungle trip."  We are guaranteed to see crocodiles, turtles, a variety of plants and birds, jaguar, wild boar and coati.  150 pesos each (the 4 year old is free) and we are on a panga going down the river spotting croc, turtles, plants, and birds.  Part of the tour included a drop off at a small zoo where we saw the other animals.  It was a pleasant day trip and we were back at palapa Calamar by 16:00.  Just in time for a delightful lunch that included coconut shrimp, lobster, ceviche, fresh limeade, and cold cerveza.  We made it back to the boat in time to close ourselves and lock out the biting bugs that come out at sun set.  I braved the bugs to capture a photo of a post card perfect sunset.

     We stayed another day here in San Blas in order to explore the historical town.  This is where the Spaniards built the vessels used for exploring the west coast of North America.

     On New Years Eve (day) at 09:00 we pulled up anchor and set course for Chacala.  This was an easy 5 hour tour.  A beautiful and peaceful little anchorage with a nice beach where palapas lined the shore front.  Minutes after dropping the hook both of the boys were in the water.  Bucket making laps around the boat while Scott scraped barnacles and coral worms from the bottom (this indicates that we will be hauling out soon for new bottom paint). There were fire works, all amateur, but a lot of them starting at dusk going on through midnight and shortly after.  Again, we were in bed and asleep by 20:00 (8 pm).  We could hear the grand fire work show at midnight and the music of celebration well past 02:00.  We went onto shore the next day around 14:00, had an appetizer and was back at the boat by 17:00.  We are party animals!

     Today we got underway at 07:00 and will arrive in Nuevo Vallarta around 15:00.  I anticipate being in Paradise Village Marina for at least 10 days.  We may get the boat hauled out here.


   

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas in the Mexico

Happy December 27th!

     We are departing Mazatlan today at approximately 15:00.  We like it here.  The weather is perfect, the people are pleasant, the atmosphere overall, very friendly.

     Although we celebrated Christmas in the traditional fashion, i.e.; friends, tree, lights, gifts, sweets, and Christmas dinner (not traditional....bbq chicken, pasta, and local oranges), it didn't feel traditional.



Walkie-Talkies.....Spend a year teaching them how to use them, the next five years asking them to be quiet....


Whoo-Hoo! A Bow and Arrows!
Boat toy? No, Christmas wish.


     We did not have the 2-4-7 Christmas music, the snow or cold temperatures, the television commercials force feeding us toys, clothes, jewelry, tools....you know..."stuff."  We have experienced 80 degree temperature, sunscreen, swimming pools, and margaritas under an umbrella. No hustle and bustle and feeling like we were running out of time. No stress of the "count down." Life is good.

     We did think of the joy we have being around family and friends.  We thought about gift giving and the good feeling we get when giving brings a smile to a loved one, and the wishes for blessings of the season and the new year we offer in the cards we send.  Those things were longed for.

     We were woke up by an excited Bucket, who just knew Santa would visit the Velvet Sky. Santa visits boats too, you know.  As we walked through town we saw elves pretending to be Santa, Christmas trees, and people shopping for gifts for there loved ones.  "Feliz Navidad,"was the common greeting.  The Harbor Master had a party for the boaters where he gifted us a meal, drinks, and gifts.  Christmas was in the air.  Christmas as a Live-Aboard, in the tropics.....yep, we will do it again.

Merry Christmas-Feliz Navidad!
Blessings of Love, Health, Happiness, and Laughter in 2015!

     

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