November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving to all

It's been a while since we sent our last message.

We've been busy having a great time exploring the Puerto Vallarta area, touring and generally keeping busy.

One change to our Itinerary, Dockwise Yacht Transport scheduled an additional boat in May from La Paz to Vancouver so we changed to that voyage to give us more time for the Sea of Cortez. We'll be leaving La Paz now in Mid May (instead of March), arriving in Vancouver late May/early June.

Everything takes a bit long here in Mexico so it's good that we've got lots of time. We've even been able to lounge by the pool a bit here in Paradise Village.

It's easy to get into town from the Marina. A 14 peso bus ride will take you to the outskirts and another 4 pesos will take you all the way through to the other side. At 11.2 pesos to the dollar, that's pretty inexpensive.

There's a village about a 1 km walk from the other side of the Marina, Jarretaderas with a great market on Tuesdays. We've picked up lots of fresh fruit and vegetables the last two Tuesdays along with great shrimp. A fellow sells Medium and Large shrimp off the back of his truck at 60 pesos per kilo for the small and 80 pesos for the large. So that's 2.2 pounds of great tasting shrimp for just over $5.

There's also a tortilla factory in town that sells fresh corn tortillas for around 3.5 pesos a dozen.

We're also still eating all the fresh fish (now frozen) we got from our fellow cruisers on the way down.

Tomorrow we're off to a nearby restaurant for a Thanksgiving day feast set up by the Marina.

We hope you and your families all have a really great Thanksgiving!

Warmest Wishes,
Bill and Mary

November 11, 2004

We Arrived in Paradise

The Paradise Village Marina in Nuevo Vallarta that is ;-}

Nuevo Vallarta is just across the other side of the airport and river from Puerto Vallarta. It's a newer area with a hotel, condos and very nice shopping center, It's a short taxi, water taxi or bus ride into PV.

It's also in the Mexican state of Nayarit (PV is in Jalisco). PV is in the Central Time zone, Nayarit is in Mountain Time - but everyone except the government goes by central time. So right now its: 944 AM (1044 Eastern and 744 Pacific).

The sail down was quite nice the first day and night with great sailing. We had a really nice breeze (around 15 to 18 knots) and we were zooming along nicely at 7.5 to 8 knots doing a beam reach (winds from directly off the port side). After motoring for 2 hours out of Cabo in absolutely dead calm conditions, we picked up the wind after getting out of the wind shadow of the Baja California landmass.

Our biggest concern was going to fast and getting to the Marina before dawn on Thursday morning. So that night we thought it would be good to slow down. We put a double reef in the main with the intent of slowing down, but with a full jib, we were still doing 7.5 knots! Anyway the seas were a bit lumpy and it was more comfortable going faster rather than slowing down even further by using the staysail.

By morning the winds diminished and with the lumpy seas, it was more comfortable going a bit faster so we fired up the engine and motor sailed the rest of day 2. The winds died down to only 3 or 4 knots by mid day, so we just kept motoring. On night 2 the winds picked up a little and got our speed back up.

In Cabo we were told to watch out for fisherman who sleep in the Pangas (fiberglass open fishing boats about 20 feet long with a large outboard) over fishing banks as much as 200 miles out with no lights. It was a moonless night and we didn't run across any.... but we did come across a fleet of about a dozen large fishing trawlers with very bright lights trawling over the fishing grounds about 40 miles outside Banderas Bay. They were very easy to avoid.

Banderas Bay is a very large (about 20 x 20 miles) protected and open area with great sailing. After we entered it we were still plenty early, so we took a long tack across the bay and back to kill about 2 hours. Sunrise here was at 7:08 AM and by 7:30 we were in and tied up.

We spent yesterday doing some close in exploring, doing laundry, checking out the local supermarket, going to the Yacht Club (100 feet away), etc. We hired a very nice local BMW (boat maintenance worker) to wash our boat, clean up the stainless and get off the salt spots. We're also using "Paperman" as our agent to handle the famous Mexican paperwork "Cha Cha" (checking in with each of the government offices.

After an early "Cheeseburger in Paradise" we turned in at 8 PM and slept until 9 AM.... We were a bit tired and punchy yesterday ;-}

Today, more exploring.... This time awake!

Regards to all,

Bill and Mary

November 10, 2004

Enroute to Puerto Vallarta

Hi Everyone!

Mary here:

We are on the second day of our sail to Puerto Vallarta. We left around 10AM yesterday. The first night we don't sleep very well but by the second night we are in the swing of it.

We did have the fishing line out all yesterday without a nibble. So this morning I put it back in at dawn (when I was on watch) hoping. No nibbles again. But when it was light enough to see, I could tell we were surrounded with playful pilot whales. They are small, similar to dolphin size.

We don't expect anymore Agricultural Inspectors. In Cabo our beef was confiscated. Darn. I was looking forward to the filet mignon and the packages of beef Burgundy that I had prepared at home. Some cruisers who had stocked up for their trip to the South Pacific really were hurt.

Along with the sea animals, we have had dragon flies and butterflies stop and rest on our rigging before flying further. It's a sweet little surprise for us.

Bandaras Bay (where we are heading) is a calving ground for Humpback whales at this time of year. This should be fun. We know from our Tonga trip, that we can safely be in the water with them and near.

It's gotten quite a bit warmer - the water is in the 80s and the air is a bit above that. We're doing the night watch in shorts ;-}

The sky is fantastic! The milky way is grand.

That's the news for now.

Mary and Bill

November 9, 2004

On our way to Puerto Vallarta

We had a fun 5 days in Cabo and we're now on our way to Puerto Vallarta.

Cabo is a very touristy place. Every day at least one huge cruise ship was anchored in the bay dropping off thousands of passengers. The shuttle boats were constantly running back and forth. The street vendors were very forward in pushing their wares. Get a few blocks away from the harbor though and it quiets way down.

Most of the boats in the harbor are sport fishers. There was a major tournament that ended Sunday, with a $750,000 purse. So things were hopping.

The bars down here are quite something: Squid Row, Cabo Wabo, the Giggling Marlin are all quite famous. We did go to Squid Row Thursday night with the other cruisers and it was actually quite a lot of fun.

Friday was the Baja-Haha beach party at a restaurant/bar on the main beach. Lot's going on. The place is infested with Jet Skis, Parasailers, glass bottom water taxis and whole lot of tourists.

Cabo is quite a change from quiet Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria. The general consensus of the cruisers is that it's "not Mexico", at least the tourist part that we spent most of our time in.

The prices were also quite a bit higher then the rest of Mexico, but still much less than California for many things.

One bargain - We ate lunch at an outstanding Brazilian Churrascaria yesterday. Every bit as good as the one in NY City that we've been to a few times. The total price was $13 US.

One restaurant, "Pancho's" has a tequila tasting they'll do along with food pairings (we didn't partake of this one).

We also had a very excellent Japanese dinner (we had Sushi) at "Nik Sans". Mary had a lobster hand roll with a whole lobster tail in it... YUM!

Mary also gave me my first haircut since we left. It was also Mary's first time cutting hair..... Turned out great!

We left Cabo this morning around 10 AM and should get to Nuevo Vallarta by early Thursday morning.

We'll be staying at The Paradise Village Marina & Yacht Club, see:

More news later!

Mary and Bill

November 3, 2004

Last leg to Cabo starts tomorrow

Hi Everyone!

Bahia Santa Maria is our favorite stop so far ;-}

Today was the beach party with lobster and fish. With a live band in the middle of basically a fish camp in the wilderness.

We've got everything stowed ready to leave tomorrow..... We start at 6 AM (we're on Mountain Standard time here - which basically means we never changed from Pacific Daylight time).

Everyone on this cruise has been absolutely great helping folks with their problems. It seems (knock on wood) that all our problems happened before the start of the Haha... So we've been problem free and enjoying ourselves.

All is well - we just finished a nice salad with the last of the tuna - so it's time to go catch some more!

Bill and Mary

November 2, 2004

Bahia Santa Maria

Mary here - How are you all doing? And what is happening out there?

Tomorrow we will be getting hourly reports on election results but I haven't heard any political conversations going on around here. There just are too many other things to talk about, such as the people, their histories and very recent experiences (yesterday).

We left Turtle Bay expecting a leisurely downwind sail to Bahia Santa Maria. It turned out to be a bit more boisterous. So we arrived after some time flying the spinnaker, wing on wing and good old motor with Otto (The Autopilot). He's a great fellow. (bill: looks nothing like the one in Airplane ;-}

We arrived just after sunset and had a great sleep after anchoring. This sail was 37 hours.

Doctor Radio had several patients today. So we met some new interesting people. We have been very fortunate not to have any problems since we left on the Ha Ha. It hasn't been the same for many people but there is a huge resource pool among the other sailors. And everyone is most willing to help.

We didn't fish yesterday but the fish were striking. Another boat we crossed tracks with during the day brought over some fresh ahi. Mmmmm. We just finished a nice dinner of the ahi, roast garlic potatoes, corn and some nice Zinfandel (naturally Zin). So we aren't suffering.

The temperature has gotten warmer and the water temperature is up to 72 degrees. We'll be swimming soon.

I know we warned everyone about not swamping us with mail but we may have overdone it. We'd love to hear from you.

Let me see what else Bill wants to add.

Bill here - I just realized that it's been almost two weeks since we've last checked regular email or gone onto a website (That was in the Starbucks in San Diego)! So if any of you sent us anything on any email other than via winlink.... We didn't get it (yet)!

It's interesting how many people left on this cruise without learning how to work their radios..... Fortunately, 9 out of 10 issues I've been solving have been easily fixed by showing them how to use it!

All is well here in this BEAUTIFUL bay!

Warmest regards,

Mary and Bill