Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Dinghys, Birds and Birthdays

Kellie's Comments-

Sorry about the lack of posts. We have a friend at home trying to help us post and fix the problems. Technology is great but has it's glitches. Don't worry about us, and keep checking, we're working on it.

Tenacatita is turning out to be much of what we dreamed cruising would entail. It's warm, social and we're swimming right off the boat. The kids have other boat kids to play with too. At least once a day they paddle their boogie boards over to another boat or two and socialize. I have been rowing the hard dinghy around to give myself a little independence and we're enjoying the speed of the inflatable. We used it to take a several mile long trip up the river and it's great for towing kids on boogie board. "Dinghy surfing" is quite the sport here. Those with surf boards and large outboards zoom through the anchorage towing kids and grown ups alike. Being able to stand on their boards is the advantage of the surfers.

Our trip up the river was fun. There is a mangrove lagoon several miles from here with a fresh water outlet that comes in to the beach where we are anchored. Four dinghies took the trip together. We stopped to enjoy the wildlife along the way and took our time exploring. Tree crabs live all along in the branches. Ellie counted 101. The varieties of birds are great too. My favorite are the Great Egrets. They are white with yellow feet, and look much like the blue herons from home. At the other end of the trip, we enjoyed a wonderful beach with snorkeling and restaurants. We had a terrific seafood lunch and then spent the rest of the afternoon snorkeling in the "aquarium." Ellie is really improving her water skills. She is now snorkeling with very little support out in the deep water. Carter is practicing in the shallow water with his gear, and will venture out deep if he has his boogie board or noodle. Apparently there is another snorkeling area nearby where most people have seen turtles. We'll definitely have to check that out.

There are three birthdays here this week. Iain on Loon is turning 44 today (Tuesday), Marilyn on Icarian is turning 55 and Olivia on Sunflower will be six tomorrow. Our day today will be school this morning and birthday celebrations in the afternoon. Parties on cruising boats are funny. No one has enough supplies to host a party, so we turn everything into a potluck. Bringing your own drinks, plates and forks is the rule of the game. Imagine asking your friends over for a birthday party and requesting that they bring their own lemonade and a glass to drink it out of. Tomorrow we'll go to Icarian for another cake eating party. Brian was able to order a fancy cake from the nearby village. It will not be the exact cake that he always got from home though. Apparently the humidity down here makes baking difficult. Then tomorrow evening, there will be a potluck on the beach to celebrate with Olivia and enjoy the full moon. The whole anchorage is invited to that one. I think there are about 30 boats here, so we should have lots of food. Hope I remember the plates.

Today it's overcast, so the humidity is extremely high. Even the cushions inside the boat are damp. It's nice not to be so roasting hot, though. I think I'll do some baking this morning. Usually it's just too hot to use the oven.

All for now,


Friday, February 18, 2005

blogger is still broken...

Can't figure out why our e-mailed postings aren't making it thru. We're in Tennacatita having a good time, and we'll be here for a couple weeks. More news and "back postings" coming sometime in the near (hopfully) future... keep checking back. -Pete

UPDATE: Neilson here (Pete's friend and web host guy) - We're working on fixing the email-to-blog problem. Blogger is experiencing some issues that are beyond our control at the moment. I've posted three new back dated posts so please scroll down and check those out. I'll be publishing more posts as the crew of Imagine sends them to me.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Kellie's Comments- Here we are in a little community of cruisers who have made the bay of Tenacatita their "home". There is something magnetic about this bay that keeps boats in place for a month or more at a time. Everyone is very social. Each morning on the VHF radio there is a "net" where everyone checks in, does announcements, tells jokes and asks for "local assistance." Volley ball is played daily on the beach, card tournaments take place in the beach restaurant, exercise groups swim to shore and walk together. Kids play in the river and boogie board in the surf. We too have been sucked in and plan to stay until the first week in March. We met a couple yesterday who are hoping to be the first legally blind couple to circumnavigate. They joined us at a potluck last night and we compared preparation plans for crossing the Pacific. You can check out their story at www.blindsailing.com. I've had a cold for the last couple of days, so we have slowed down our pace a bit. Today I'll make it up to the kids and we'll finally make the long awaited Valentines cookies. We plan a dinghy trip up the river and through the mangroves, a snorkeling trip to the "aquarium", and a dinghy trip to the nearby village for groceries and internet. We're in our third day of doing laundry by hand. THere is a fresh water hose on the beach that we can use to fill containers and bring to the boat. Hand washing is not so bad when there is unlimited water. The rails around the boat are currently covered in underwear. Hopefully we can finish the clothes today, start on the sheets tomorrow and then we'll be caught up. Laundry is getting easier as it gets hotter and we wear less and less bulky clothes. The kids practically live in bathing suits, which are easy to rinse out. There is also an outdoor shower at the beach, so we can wash the kids before bringing them back to the boat. Our friend Marilyn on "Icarian" will be celebrating her birthday next week. For the last 30 years her husband has bought her a special cake from a French bakery in Vancouver. She has told the story countless times recently, and it's obviously a huge disappointment to her to miss her cake this year. However, we have heard about a French baker in the nearby town of Barra de Navidad. There might be a chance to get her that cake after all. The suspense is great and we're all in on the planning. It's the little details that make all the difference out here. Hope all is well at home or where ever life takes you. All for now, The Crew of Imagine

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Idyllic days

Kellie's Comments-- Our day trip to the island proved to be the idyllic cruising day that we dreamed of. If you picture cruising to be warm sandy beaches, aquamarine water, good friends, and hot sunshine, then Wednesday fit the bill. We piled two boats full of people (Loon, Wyndeavor, Icarian & Komara) and headed out around 9 in the morning. There isn't much room to anchor there, so we towed all the dinghies and car pooled. The climate here is quite arid and although it rains more than on Baja, the majority of vegetation is cactus and scrub. I never imagined cactus growing right up to the beach before. We anchored Imagine and Komara and all headed for a picturesque cove. The haze of morning burned off to leave a sweltering sun and bright blue sky. All the kids spent the majority of the day in the water on boogie boards and inner tubes. The adults snorkeled the outlying reef and socialized on the sand. In the whole day, only two other boats visited the beach. Most of the time we had it all to ourselves. Everyone rushed to occupy the small strip of shade that appeared around 3:00 behind some rocks. Skin was becoming a bit pink and faces flushed. Shells lay strewn in the crashing surf on the ocean side of the cove, just perfect for collecting. I'm constantly amazed at the new colors of shells that we find-green, yellow, brown, pink, purple. Iain tried to troll for tuna and mahi mahi, but nothing bit. After such a hard day of swimming and sweating, no one had the energy to cook anyways. We arrived back at Chamela pink, tired and happy. Since no fish was caught, the idea materialized that we should patronize the local beach restaurant and eat theirs. All 14 of us piled in dinghies again and enjoyed a scrumptious dinner ashore. We ordered for the kids early while the grown ups had drinks. Then when our shrimp a la garlic, red snapper "diablo" (spicy), and various other local fare arrived, the kids entertained themselves with a game of hide and seek on the dark beach. There was only one other table occupied that night as it's the off season for Mexican tourists. Hardly any other Americans or Canadians come here. Our server, a young woman with wonderful English, took great care of us. Her grandparents own the business but are now too old to work, so her parents, herself and her husband run it. Her 20 month old daughter played in the sand with the cat while she worked. But, as they say, all good things must come to an end. The next morning, the kids and I donned bathing suits and swam to Wyndeavor for a morning visit. Part way through our time there, the wind kicked up from the South with a vengeance. Mike graciously gave us a ride back in his dinghy. After that we were boat bound for the rest of the day. The wind sustained bouts of 17 knots and peaked at gusts of 30. We might as well have been on a passage for how rough and rolly the conditions were. Pete and I read most of the afternoon and the kids listened to their walkmans and painted. We actually got seasick if we came downstairs. Now today, we've done a bit of grocery shopping, Pete has taken the kids to the beach and I'm having a quiet moment to myself. Iain did catch a fish this morning and we're having it for dinner tonight together. It's too hot to cook, so I've made a pasta salad, some no bake cookies and some fresh "limonada." When Pete gets back, I'll have him set up the BBQ and we'll be all set. If the south wind ever pipes down, we'll be on our way again. We hope to leave Saturday with everyone else. We'll stay in Tenacatita until the first week in March. Buenos dias.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


We're just sitting here in Chamela. Icarian, Wyndeavor and Loon are here, so we're having a nice time with them. There is big surf at the beach, so it's a bit intimidating to land the dinghy, and a few of the other cruisers have been soaked, usually on a mis-timed launch. Carter and I got tumbled in a wave and I lost my sunglasses. I guess that's better than losing the boy. The kids are really becoming quite the swimmers. We had a potluck here the other night and a cinnamon roll feed on Loon this morning. Now we'll attempt the beach. There is a small village here and a couple of restaurants. It's very quiet and far away from civilization. Tomorrow we'll all pile on Imagine and have a day trip to a nearby island to snorkel. Then I think we're about done with being here and will think about heading 30 miles south to Tenacatita. Apparently it's quite nice there and a river comes into the bay that we can take the dinghy up through the jungle.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

still looking for a light air / downwind sail

We're still looking for a light air sail - a drifter, spinnaker (preferably asymetrical), gennaker or other downwind light air sail, preferably 1.5oz and with a dousing sock since we'll always be shorthanded. If anyone has a lead on (an inexpensive, i.e. <<$500) one, please let me know. OK if it needs some patching. Gennaker/drifter luff length around 49' Spinnaker hoist between 48 and 52 ft, 30ft foot max.

problems with postings...

I'm not sure what's going wrong, but we just happened to pick up wireless network in a very unlikely anchorage and noticed that a bunch of the log postings we'd sent wern't actually getting posted... I've backfilled a couple manually and tried to backdate them as well so they appear in the correct order.

Friday, February 04, 2005

The good, the bad, and the weather

Kellie's Comments-- This morning we left the very remote village at Ipala. Soon after our arrival there we were visited by locals asking for candy and school supplies. We're happy to give paper and pencils to children. Later some small boys paddled out on boogie boards and asked all the boats for more supplies. They ended up with several gallon sized ziplocs full of glue, pencils, crayons and paper. This was a new experience for us, up until now all the locals have been wanting to sell us fish or handmade goods, but never have we been asked for a handout. Today had it's definite ups and downs and a bit of boredom. Our day started out by the discovery that Carter's boogie board was missing from the boat. We had used them yesterday at the beach and left it outside. We have never had any inkling before that the boat was not totally secure. We're a bit upset to think it may have been stolen. There is a slight possibility that it went over board, but we don't know how it could have. Pete and Carter went into the village and asked around and showed a picture. All the kids remembered seeing us with it yesterday but no one confessed. We hope that it shows up and have asked that it be sent with any other vessels going south. We set sail about 9:30 this morning after the foray into the village. The trip to Chamela is around 50 miles so we had hoped to leave by 8. Coming into anchorages in the dark is not something we do if we can help it. There was not enough wind to sail, so we debated about turning around or motoring faster than our usual 4.5 knots. We decided to motor and the day turned out to be amazing for wildlife sightings. I decided to make a wildlife spotting journal. The kids and I had fun with sea life stamps. Just outside of the bay I caught sight of whales spouting in the distance. Soon they came quite close and we had a nice look at their dorsal fins and long black backs. We think they were humpbacks which migrate along this coast in the winter. A while later, I saw something quite large jump out of the water ahead of us. I assumed it was a whale or dolphin, but as we approached, the kids and I saw 2 triangular fins breaking the surface about 8 feet apart. My first gut reaction was shark, but upon closer look, we recognized a manta ray showing us his wing tips. I called to Pete to get off the radio and come see. Surrounding the boat and coming quite close, a whole school of rays delighted us. Pete wanted to jump in with them, but the shark image kept coming to mind and I didn't condone the plan. We stayed amungst them for about an hour. At one point in the ray watching I'm pretty sure I saw a turtle but our engine scared him and it was too fast to be sure. Later we had a pod of spotted dolphins come to visit. All in all we had a calm smooth trip. It's overcast still and we had some sprinkles. The humidity is high, so we are quite hot anyways. We motored at 5.5 knots all the way until the last hour or so, then the wind picked up and we sailed the anchor in. It got dark minutes after we arrived. We're enjoying some homemade pizza for dinner and everyone will probably hit the hay early. Tomorrow we will explore the bay of Chamela and plan to stay here for about a week.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Cultural Differences

Kellie's Comments--It's very interesting and a bit refreshing to be in a country where the pace is slower. On Sunday, we spend a very interesting day at a small town a bit inland from the boat. Feb 2nd is the festival of the Three Kings (Three Wise Men) and is a very important date down here. The town of Valle de Banderas hosted a week long festival. We took a bus with a group of friends and arrived there at 3:00, when we were told that it started. However, two things were wrong. One is that we had crossed a time zone and it was actually 2 local time and then other was that our info was wrong and it didn't start until 5. So we had several hours to kill. We bought sodas and beer in bottles from a small restaurant and used his bathroom. The first cultural difference is the time issue. Things seem to take much longer and are much slower to start or finish than expected. THe other are the standards. The bathroom had a shower curtain separating it from the cash register, no sink, no toilet seat and hadn't been cleaned in a good while. When Bennett (Wyndeavor's 6 year old) flushed, the handle fell off, landed in the swirling water and disappeared. We discovered a small flea market being set up around the corner, so killed an hour browsing. We did find a few small things to buy and by the time we had finished and played at a small playground nearby, we decided we could have dinner. We went back to the same place to try to compensate for the lost handle. He was cooking meat and vegies on an outdoor grill. He had thin sliced marinated pork on a rotisserie and beef cooking on a flat topped grill. Our group included Wyndeavor with Kelly's Dad, Loon, 13 year old Sophie from Nanoo, Larry from Kumara and us. We took up most of his table space in the street. No menus were offered, he just asked us how many we wanted each. How many what? Well we just guessed and each ordered 3 or 4 whatevers. We chose between beef and pork, the kids all ordered casadillas, and then we watched him make our dinners right there on the sidewalk. He asked if we all wanted "everything" on them. Not knowing what "everything" entailed, a few of us requested no onions and hoped for the best. The best is exactly what we got. Each "taquita" consisted of 2 small tortillas heaped with grilled meat, beans, cilantro, cabbage and onions. There was fresh guacamole and spicy sauce on the table. They were absolutely terrific and a few people ordered more. Even the kids ate quietly. No forks were offered, so it was just eaten with fingers off plastic bag covered plates. At the end, we asked for the bill and were told that each "taquita" cost $.65. The beers were $1 and the pops $.70. Talk about excellent. You don't get to pay those kind of prices in tourist towns. They are more than happy to charge American prices near tourist destinations. The square in front of the cathedral, where the festival was being held, was quickly filling with booths and people. About half of the booths sold fried bananas, strawberries and peaches with cream. We bought cups of fruit for the kids & I, and Pete tried a hot deep fried banana with cream and strawberry sauce. Dessert was $6. My cup overflowed the top and I dropped a strawberry on the ground. I picked it up and glanced around for a trash. The lady who had served us held out her hand for it. I assumed she had a garbage. Instead she carefully washed it with bottled water, put it back in my cup and added new cream. Ha, not exactly what we'd expect in the US, but acceptable down here. Cultural difference number 3, hygeine is not the same as US standards, but perfectly adequate in most places. We filled up a taxi mini van for the 40 minute trip home with some very tired kids. We arrived back at the boat at 10 and flopped into bed. _____________________________________ Update on our plans. On Tuesday we left Banderas Bay and rounded Cabo Corrientes on our way to points south. We sailed for about 9 hours and got into a small bay for the night. Icarian got here a few hours ahead of us and assisted us in in the dark. Today we're going to hang out, do school, do a boat project or two and explore the small beach. We'll head for Chamela tomorrow and spend about a week there with several boats that we know. The weather has been in the 80's with high humidity. Yesterday and today were overcast so the temp is lower and more comfortable. We actually donned sweatshirts for the sail down. The water is 80. There are new pics on the website, so check it out soon. Go to the "Christmas in La Paz" link in the Log of Imagine. We'll try to do more as soon as we have internet again. Thanks to all who have sent messages. We truly enjoy them. We will probably be out of e-mail range for a while, so if you don't get a personal response, know that we will try to reply when technology allows. Also, Pete's cousin's husband (Peter Vanderhelm) has agreed to crew for us to Tahiti. This will take some of the responsibility of sailing off of me and hopefully give me more energy for school and domestic responsibilities. As of now, we plan to leave the last of March and be to New Zealand by December.