Saturday, January 29, 2005

La Cruz -

We're glad to be away from the bustle, noise and dirt of the city and back to a scenic anchorage. We'll hang out here while Loon, Icarian, Wyndeavor and some others get provisioned and underway, then we'll all pal around down the coast for awhile. We test-drove (sailed) a spinnaker yesterday in hopes of buying it, but it was a bit big for the boat and too much for Kellie and I to handle by ourselves - we had Mike (Wyndeavor), Brian (Icarian), Iain (Loon), Kellie and I and we were all busy doing something when we were flying it and it still got wet going up and coming down... So I'm still looking for a drifter, spinnaker (preferably asymetrical), gennaker or other downwind light air sail, hopefully with a dousing sock since we'll always be shorthanded. Luff length around 49'. If anyone has a lead on (an inexpensive, i.e. <<$500) one, give my folks a call at 360-427-4258 - they can get in touch with me via the SSB radio e-mail.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

baby turtles

We all had an interesting experience last night at the beach. Just down from Nuevo Vallarta there is a baby sea turtle release program. Each night they release all the newly hatched babies back into the ocean. Tourists can come for an hour and hear about the program and release one turtle each. All the kids got to participate and cheer on their turtle. The babies are a dark grey color and about the size of your palm. They feel funny crawling in your hand. Volunteers work each night relocating fresh eggs to a safe holding area. The eggs take 45-60 days to hatch and average 100 eggs to a nest. Poaching and egg harvesting as well as fishing nets have reduced some of the local turtle populations to endangered. This population of Olive Ridley turtles is making a comeback thanks to new laws, new fishing practices and volunteers. The turtles are released about 15 feet from the water so that they can imprint the beach in their memories. The theory is that they come back to the same beach to nest. They are released after dark to give them the best chance against predators. Today is a quiet day at the pool with our only plans being a walk on the beach and dinner out. Then tomorrow our friends go home and we're back in boat chore mode. I'm planning to buy several months worth of food before we leave the city. We'd like to go rural for a while after this and don't know what to expect as far as resources. We'll be travelling with Loon, Wyndeavor and Icarian. We've also met another boat with an 8 year old girl, so we hope to see more of them as well. -kellie

Monday, January 24, 2005

Puerta Vallarta with friends

Kellie's comments-I think we've been a little lax lately about sending updates. So here is the rundown on the last week or so. We received a terrific welcome into Banderas Bay by the resident group of Humpback whales. What a great way to end our 48 hour trip across the Sea of Cortez. We spent a week at Punta de Mita, the northern most end of the bay. Wyndeavor was there and various other acquaintances passed through. The anchorage suffered from a bit of swell, but Peter built us a "flopper stopper" and that set things to right. -Flopper Stopper: device suspended off a long pole into the water to dampen rolling. For those of you engineering types, you'll have to e-mail for details. Suffice it to say, "Macgiver strikes again." On Sunday, we took Imagine out to the Tres Marietas with the Wyndeavor crew aboard. If all days of cruising were equal to that day, I'd have no complaints. The islands are about a one hour trip away right through humpback territory. We had a nice whale show on the way over, spent the day snorkeling, body surfing and hiking, had some great avocado bean dip on the way home and saw the whales again and the sunset. Not bad for a winter day in January. The island is a park, so there are lots of fish and the birds are quite tame. Lots of caves decorate the landscape and the blue footed boobies nest there. I had never seen one before, and they were kind enough to give us a close up look at their Easter egg blue feet. The caves were quite amazing and we wrote our boat names in small stones to commemorate our visit. Now we are enjoying a "vacation" from cruising. Our good friends John and Dee Munckton, along with their three girls, are visiting. We are splitting our time between the boat and their condo, having meals together and catching up on all the news. On Friday it was cooler and overcast, so we took the opportunity to go explore Puerto Vallarta proper. There are lots of market stalls, touristy restaurants, and a fairly impressive cathedral. The kids were a bit wiped out and just wanted to try out the pool, so we spent half a day there as well. On Saturday we took the boat on a small trip to an incredible little cove about 6 miles away. We anchored right off the beach (literally) and swam in the fresh water lagoon and river that have carved out the canyon. The water is over 100 feet deep right up to within 50 feet of shore. Most of the people enjoying the beach were locals, so we got a break from the typical touristy vendors. Sunday morning we hooked up with some other cruisers for a church service. One of the cruisers is a minister and they host a service every Sunday wherever they are. We really enjoyed the fellowship and time together with other Believers. This was our first Christian fellowship since we left. The kids were most impressed with the cookies and looked forward to getting back to the pool. Today we took a bus to the nearby town of Bucerias for the festival of the "Patron St. of Fishing." It was great fun to barter for souvenirs and people watch. They decorated all the fishing boats and had a boat parade. There were also bands, children dressed up in fish nets and senioritas on horseback in beautiful dresses. After a nice taco dinner back at the condo, the kids are now watching a video, Dee is watching the sunset and the guys have run to the store to buy donuts for breakfast. We plan to spend tomorrow with some other cruising friends at Paradise Village and all us ladies are going to have a stamping time. We plan to be here until the weekend, when we'll head out along with several other boats for points south. Most of the trips from here to Ixtapa will be day trips, and I'm pretty happy about that. The climate has changed now and the vegetation is jungly, instead of the desert of Baja. We're very excited to keep exploring and enjoying the warm water and air. All for now, keep in touch. We can receive e-mail this week on the petekellie acct, so please drop us a note with all your news.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Banderas Bay

We're just a few miles from the mainland. On the Baja side it was blowing 25-30 knots and continued so for about 24 hours. We made 7.5 knots average boat speed, with many peaks up over 10kn!. Then, as was predicted, the wind gradually shut down until last night around 11 we had to put on the motor. We've been doing a combination of sails and engine off/on ever since. The seas were not so bad this time so no one got sick and the kids were able to play downstairs. Currently they are on the stern, trailing a toy boat behind in the water. We saw a humpback whale breech, and a pod of dolphins came to play in the bow... cool stuff! We plan to be in Banderas Bay until the end of the month. We will see our friends the Muncktons for a week in PV and spend the rest of the time exploring the anchorages around the bay. Most of the boats that we know are in the area, so we are looking forward to socializing as well. We should have e-mail access in the next week, so please send us lots of news. It's quite sad to finally be able to check our account and find it empty. -Kellie

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Back in Los Frailes

We're back in Los Frailes. My sister Leni with her hubby Steve and 2yr old daughter Audry are visiting. We had a nice potluck on our boat last night with them, Loon III and Ludis Amoris. Today we're visiting some friends of theirs in Cabo Pulmo, where we're mooching a shower and wireless net connection. If you haven't seen the San Diego to La Paz pictures, click San Diego to La Paz Also, I've updated the "where are we now" page to include a couple better map servers. Where are we now? We're planing to cross to Banderos Bay in the next week, and we'll meet with our friends John & Dee Munckton in Puerto Vallarta later this month. All is well and the sun has finally made an appearance. We spend the morning at the beach which we haven't done in a while. It's amazing how three small children can stay entertained for hours in the sand.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Away from La Paz

The check out process was sure a lot easier than checking in. It took about 10 minutes and cost $10 less to have Marina de La Paz do the paperwork than if I'd done it myself and walked the ~4 mile round trip to the Capitan de Puerto (again... I figured 4 times was enough!) We made the rounds and said goodbye to new (brief) friends. Just before leaving I purchased a used watermaker (PUR35) from Sumara II. They're loading their boat on a ship (Dockwise transport) for the "easy way" to make the trip back to the northwest. They'd been out cruising for 13 years, and were great to talk to. Too bad our meeting was so brief. We don't really need a watermaker because we can carry 400 gallons of water, but it's going to start getting harder to find water that's easy to get into the tanks... transporting 400 gallons is 5gal. jugs in the dinghy sounds like a long day! If we're making our own, there's no concern about waterborne critters making us sick. Also, 400 gallons of water weighs about 3500lbs, which makes Imagine's waterline settle too low - I should have raised the antifouling paint another 2 inches! We made out way (upwind, of course!) to Isla Espiritu Santo, and are anchored in a little cove at the sound end of the island with Wyndeavor rafted to us. I'd hoped to take a dinghy trip around the south end of the island to try to find a hotspring that is mentioned briefly in Charlies Charts... it doesn't say exactly where it is, just mentions it while describing Punta Bonanza. Unfortunately, we woke up to light rain and overcast skies, so we may just stay hunkered down today and let the kids play together. While walking on the beach last evening I found an intact nautilus shell... one of my "goals" for the trip! Apparently, there is a small island off the north end of Espiritu Santo where you can swim with playful young sealions. We talked to a couple boats that had done it and all said it was a fantastic experience... We'll work our way up there over the next couple of days, then go around the north end and back to Los Frailes to meet up with my sister and her family before heading over to the mainland. -Pete