Toys Toys Toys

We finally finished all of our projects in La Cruz and stocked up on provisions. We were ready to head south but decided to make a detour to Punta Mita. Mike really wanted a surfboard as we are going to hit lots of surf spots south and in Central America this year. After talking to our friend Merle on Kenta Anae, Mike decided he wanted a stand up paddle surfboard. We have two SUP boards on the boat, but they are inflatable and not exactly what you can surf.

Banderas Bay was probably the last chance we were going to have for quite a while to find a surfboard to buy in Mexico. So, we headed up to Punta Mita, where there is some surf and lots of surf shops. Now, these surfboards can be pretty expensive, so we were really in the market for a used one. We found some surf shops with some used ones for sale that Mike tried out, but none were really what he was looking for.

Then, we found an American couple living in a condo just off the beach that had one for sale! It is a bit less “floaty” than Mike would probably have liked, but it really is perfect for him to surf. It’s just going to take lots of practice. As Mike has quite a few pounds on me, the board has no problem floating me. It is a bit more challenging to paddle than our big inflatables, but a challenge is a good thing! So, we ended up with this awesome board at a totally reasonable cost. It was definitely worth our stop in Punta Mita.

Part of what we wanted to do by setting sail was to push ourselves and be adventurous. It wasn’t just about sailing for us, which is why a good part of our investment in this project was in non-boat related gear. Or, as I sometimes call themtoys.

When I met Mike, he had more “toys” than anyone I had ever met. Two cars, two boats, snowboards, wakeboards, a mountain bike. You get the picture. What else did I expect from a very active 40 yr old bachelor!
In loading up Adagio, we had to trade in some of our old toys for new ones that would work on our adventure. So, here’s what we ended up with on the boat:

Fishing – Mike had lots of fishing gear that he acquired over the years. (He used to take charter fishing boats out of San Diego every year and bring back enough tuna and yellowtail to fill my freezer for a year!) Rods, reels, lines, lures Mike adds some new little things here and there. But, his birthday/Christmas present this year was a new speargun! After our adventures with friends in the Sea of Cortez this last year, Mike REALLY wanted one, and we found a great deal on Ebay for a Riffe speargun when we were back in the States over the holidays.

Snorkeling/Scuba – We have lots of masks, snorkels, fins, etc. for snorkeling, but our real investment was in the scuba gear. You might recall that before we left California we got our scuba certifications. But, we wanted to be able to dive wherever we were, even in a remote place without a dive shop. So, we picked up the BCDs, dive computers, regulators, etc. And, we put four steel Fabor tanks on the boat. Getting tanks filled can also be a challenge in remote places, so we added a gas powered dive compressor to fill our tanks. It really is cool and totally worth the cost, which wasn’t really all that bad.

Bicycles – Mike and I both liked cycling. I had a road bike, and Mike had a mountain bike. We liked the idea of having bikes on board for both exercise and transportation. After some research, we found the Dahon Mariner folding bikes. They fold up pretty compact. The tires are the size of a kid’s bike, but the frame is larger for an adult size person. The seat and handlebars are adjustable. You can go back and read about our adventures on the bikes in San Jose last year.

Canoe – I know this one sounds funny. We had two rigid kayaks that we used for years back in California. But, they take up a lot of room and created a lot of windage strapped to the rails. So, we sold them and started looking for inflatable kayaks that could fold and store easily. Then we found the 14 ft inflatable canoe from Sea Eagle and decided we had to have that instead. It is pretty big, but it is lots of fun and gives us good exercise rowing when we don’t want to throw the dinghy in the water.

SUP/Surfboards – So, that brings us to the stand-up surfboard we just acquired. We also have two inflatable SUP boards from Tower. They are lots of fun and easy to paddle. They are very “floaty” and wide, so not very hard to keep from falling off even in rough waves and surf. But, I’m really excited to paddle our new Starboard surf/paddleboard.
I think that is about it for the toys. Mike has talked about getting a kiteboard, but I think I’ve convinced him he needs to master the surfing before taking on another toy to learn.

It’s all part of what makes this our adventure!

~katie

Video: Sailing Sea of Cortez Part 3

Hi all.  Here is the third installment of our Sea of Cortez video.  I hope you enjoy!

Video: Sailing the Sea of Cortez Part 2

Hi all.  Here is the second installment of our video from the Sea of Cortez this past summer.  I hope you enjoy it!

Day by Day

I’ve been asked by several of you land lubbers what the heck we do out here each day.  If you’ve read the blog and saw some of the videos, you probably have a good idea what we do when we are sailing or are at anchor in a new bay.  But, what have we been doing in the marina here in La Cruz for the past two weeks???

So, I thought I would give you the run down of what we have been doing for the past few days.  There really isn’t any typical day here since there isn’t much routine. But, this will give you some idea…

On Saturday, we were lucky to be invited to crew aboard Kenta Anae, our friends we met earlier this summer in the Sea, as they were about to race the final race in the Vallarta Cup Series put on by the Vallarta Yacht Club.  Now, Mike & I may have done our share of sailing, but we have no race experience whatsoever!  It’s a whole different ballgame!  I mostly tried to stay out of the way and grind on the winch to sheet in the spinnaker whenever Merle gave the order.  That, I could handle.

I was also the race photographer…

We were one of the only cruising/liveaboard boats in the race, so it we weren’t exactly pulling away from most of the raceboats. But, we did beat some boats and overall had a great time.  It was so nice to be out on the water again!  We even saw a whale pretty close to the boat.  One crazy thing did happen though.  Another boat had to pull out of the race in the middle because they discovered a dead body floating in the bay.  Eek!  Apparently a tourist at a nearby resort had gone missing and was presumed drowned.  I’m glad his family got some closure, but I’m also glad we did not make the gruesome discovery!

After a celebratory tequila on Kenta Anae after the race, Mike & I had to get back to Adagio to do some studying.  While we were in the States, we studied for and took the first Ham license exam (Technician level).  But, to really do anything on the radio, you need the second level – General license.  They were offering the exam at the Vallarta Yacht Club on Sunday morning, so we decided to go for it.  Unfortunately, we had procrastinated a bit on the studying, and had to stay up late Saturday night trying to memorize everything.  Unless you know a lot about circuits, oscillators, transceivers, how to solve for power when you have resistance and energy, etc…you have to study for this exam.

Sunday morning came early, and we took a van with a bunch of other folks from the marina over to the yacht club for our test.  Thankfully, we both passed and now have our upgrade Ham license!  After resting up (we stayed up way too late!), we met up with a group of about 15 people to head into Puerto Vallarta for dinner.  Our friends on Kenta Anae wanted to introduce everyone to a great Cuban restaurant that they found in Puerto Vallarta Centro.  We had to take two different buses to get there, and somehow we managed to all pile onto the same buses despite the large size of our group.  The restaurant was great with live music and a dance floor.  Unfortunately, Mike was starting not to feel so well, so we cut the evening short.  But, we heard the band played until 3 am!

On Monday, Mike was down with a bug, so I took the opportunity to do some computer work and video editing.  I promise there will be a new video up soon!

Tuesday was “I hate birds!” day.  We realized that for the last couple of nights, one of the large frigate birds had decided that the top of the mast was an excellent place to hang out for the night.  Our boat was literally covered in bird shit.  The decks, the canvas, the dinghy, the lines on the mast pulpit, the scuba tanks…everything.  And, on top of that, the bird broke off the wind indicator on the mast.  Ugh!  So, I got to work on my hands and knees scrubbing bird shit for hours in the sun.  Mike was finally feeling himself by the afternoon and decided to climb to the top of the mast to replace the broken piece of the wind indicator (thank goodness we had a spare) and to put up some bird deterrent.  He put up a bunch of bright colored zip ties sticking straight up that we hoped would keep the birds off.

Unfortunately, about 4 am that night, Mike & I both woke up to a noise. We both looked at each other and said “bird!”  Sure enough, that damn bird was back and didn’t care about the zip ties.  And what a mess he had made.  Lucky for me, Mike was willing to get the hose and scrub brush out and let me stay in bed.

By Wednesday we were really getting serious about narrowing our to-do list so that we could finally depart the marina. Mike took off to run a bunch of errands and get some last minute parts as well as make a couple of returns to the marine shop in Puerto Vallarta.  I stayed behind to work on polishing the stainless steel.  I didn’t get the whole boat done, but there are only so many hours I can stand working in the sun and heat before I call it quits for the day.

So, that brings us to today. Mike needed to do some maintenance on the outboards, so I got tasked with finding the AutoZone to get us more refrigerant.  I found the AutoZone, which was right next to the WalMart.  I took the opportunity to pick up some last minute things at WalMart and was surprised to find lemons!  Limes are easily available in Mexico, but this is the first time I’ve seen lemons since leaving California.  This was also my first time negotiating the Puerto Vallarta bus system by myself, so I’m pretty proud of myself.

After my shopping excursion, I walked over to the fish market to pick up some shrimp for dinner.  And, I decided to do a little work in the galley.  My cilantro looked like it was on its last day, so I made it into some great cilantro pesto with some almonds, garlic, olive oil and salt.  It should keep that way for some time.  I also started a new batch of sprouts.  I’m trying some different seeds this time, so I hope they turn out pretty yummy.

We made a plan to leave here on Saturday, weather permitting.  We’re still debating whether to head to Punta de Mita or to Yelapa.  I know Mike wants to try his hand at surfing, so I think we may end up at Punta de Mita for a couple of days.

We’ll keep you all posted of our whereabouts!

~katie

Holy Fireworks!

One of the great things about being in another country is getting to experience local culture, festivals and celebrations.  While we are still in La Cruz getting the boat ready to head south, we  happened to be here at the right time to experience the Bucerias Patron Saint Festival celebrating Our Lady of Peace (La Virgen de la Paz) who is the patron saint of the church in Bucerias and the protector of fishermen.

Bucerias is the next town over from La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, and lucky for us only a short bus ride away.  The festival lasts for nine days and culminates with all of the fishermen decorating their pangas here in La Cruz and sailing over to Bucerias to make an offering at the church.

The fishermen’s pangas in La Cruz are reasonably right by the fish market.  The fish market is seriously awesome.  You can walk up to stalls each day and see the fresh fish being brought in right off the boats.  The fish are sold whole or can be filleted for you.  It is always fresh, delicious and cheap!

We walked down to the market to check out the pangas being decorated and all the fishermen and their friends and family getting ready to depart for Bucerias.

Most celebrations in Mexico, as well as about every part of life here, involve music.  And, this was no different, as a band was set up between the stalls in the market to add to the joy and celebration as the fishermen set sail.

The celebration is not just a religious one as the entire town is set up with stalls with food, drinks, goods and fair games.  It is a makeshift fair with tacos, hamburgers, beers and all kinds of games for kids and adults.  We headed into Bucerias for the last night of the festivals to check out the parade, have some great street food, check out the games and most of all the fireworks. Everyone in town was out, young and old, to celebrate.

The parade…

The games were pretty hilarious.  Think homemade carnival games or something you would have seen in a small town maybe fifty years ago.  Mike decided to get into the action with a game to try and win a beer.  The game was set up with old beer bottles sitting on various shelves.  You got three rocks for 30 pesos and three throws to try and break the beer bottles.  If you broke a bottle, you got a Corona.  If you broke three bottles, you got a six-pack of Corona!  Mike won us a beer (but not a six-pack). It was all in good fun.

Its often difficult to put in words the sights, sounds and smells of Mexico.  Some good, and some a bit overwhelming.  This was definitely one of those times.  Bucerias is not a big town, and there are small cobblestone streets surrounding the church and main square in town.  On these streets popped up tent after tent of makeshift food stalls and stores, leaving narrow paths for crowds of people to squeeze through. Lights were strung over stalls connected with long extension cords to who knows where.

The food stalls were mom and pop operations each fighting for business.  Our friend Dale on Adios was very excited to find three hotdogs for 30 pesos (about $1.50)!

And, if you wanted music, it was everywhere.  Bands playing less than 50 feet from each other fought to play louder than the next band to get your attention.  The cacophony of sounds was unbelievable.

But, the highlight of the night was the fireworks.  This was no ordinary fireworks display.  A three story high structure was erected and placed right in the middle of the street in front of the church.  The structure was loaded with fireworks with long fuses hanging from it.  As we waited for the show to start, I chuckled at Dale affectionately calling it Mexico’s “burning man.”  It certainly looked like it!

We found a spot to watch the show across the street up on the grass as the crowds began to swell and get closer to the burning man.  We couldn’t help but notice that there was no barrier around the structure, there were power lines hanging nearby as well as a few pretty tall trees.  There is no way this would be permitted in the States.  It would be considered a serious safety hazard.

We saw the brave (or crazy) guy in charge of lighting the fuses light the first fuse that ran up the burning man and the sparks began to fly.  Then, wheels on the structure starting turning, flying more sparks around in various colors.  After one set of fireworks burned out, another fuse was lit.  This went on about 6 times setting off more and more fireworks.  At one point a stray went flying into the crowd sending people scrambling.  It didn’t look like anyone got burned, but I’m not sure how.

Seriously?  How is this safe?

Then, it was time for the finale as the final fuse was lit to blow the top of the burning man.  The sparks went flying again, and then, unexpectedly, a ring of fireworks was blown off the top high into the air.  It was amazing.  Seriously, I’ve never seen anything like this in my life.  Maybe the sacrifice of a little safety was worth it for such an incredible show.

The top of the tower flying off into the sky…

We felt very fortunate to be able to experience this amazing event in Bucerias.  As we’ve said many times on this blog, we have great love for Mexico and the Mexican people who have welcomed us with open arms to their country.  There is a large community of boaters and sailors in Mexico who are primarily American and Canadian with the occasional Frenchman or Aussie thrown in.  All of the foreign cruisers support the local communities, who in turn are incredibly friendly and generous to us.  We have been very disappointed to see that actions taken by our government in the last week are working to erode this wonderful relationship between the US and Mexico.  We urge everyone to contact their elected officials to let them know that you disagree with the proposed actions of a border wall and potential tariffs on imports, and that you support a positive relationship with our wonderful neighbor to the south.

Leaving our mark on Bucerias…

~katie

Back in Mexico!

After a month visiting with friends and family in the States, we finally headed back to Adagio in Mexico.  While we were stateside, we had to pick up supplies for the boat that aren’t easy to acquire in Mexico.  We left Mexico with just a couple of backpacks and a duffel bag.  We were returning with nine bags, including some large suitcases!  Among the items we picked up were a rebuild kit for our wind generator, a new SSB radio (ours was broken) and a speargun for Mike!

Our first challenge was getting all of this gear to the airport and on the plane.  We packed and repacked trying to make sure each bag was under the 50 lbs limit, but with so many bags we still ended up paying a price to get them all on the plane.  Next, we had to make it through customs in Puerto Vallarta.

Mexico lets you bring personal items and other equipment into the country with some limitation, but if you are over a certain dollar figure, you have to pay a duty of 16%.  While everything we brought back was for our personal use, and we have a temporary import permit for our boat and equipment, there was always a chance that some over-zealous customs official might decide that our items required the payment of duty.

So, we got in the line with all of the tourists coming to PV on holiday with our giant cart of bags.  When you go through the line, you get questioned by an official.  If they don’t find anything suspicious and you say you have nothing to declare, you push a button.  A green light means go on through, a red light means your bags get x-rayed and scrutinized.

Most of our bags looked like ordinary suitcases and luggage.  But, the speargun was in a long, odd-shaped box.  The customs official started questioning us about what was in the box.  She knew some English, but she didn’t understand “speargun.”  We know some Spanish, but didn’t know how to say speargun in Spanish.  So, in my horrible Spanish, I tried to explain it was for fishing, but not a fishing rod.  It was for fishing while swimming under water.  Finally, she said, “buceo?”, which means diving.  Yes! we both exclaimed.  That satisfied her and she told us to push the button.  We got green!  So, off we went through the airport to find a taxi big enough to haul all our gear to the marina.

We’re in Mexico!

Back at the marina, we have started a long list of boat maintenance projects before heading south:

(1) installing the new SSB radio

(2) rebuilding the wind generator that was off balance and creating too much vibration

(3) service the outboard engines for the dinghy

(4) change the fuel filters on the diesel engine

(5) tune the rigging

(6) seal the deck hatches (a couple were leaking)

(7) wash and wax the boat and polish the stainless steel

(8) remark our anchor chain

The great thing about Banderas Bay is that there are so many cruisers here and great resources to help you with boat projects.  And, we were so excited to run into our friends on Kenta Anae that we left back at the end of the summer in the Sea of Cortez.  Mike is really hoping to go surfing with Merle and the boys soon!

We retuned the rig to get ready for the next year of sailing, but there is always so much more to learn.  So, Mike & I headed over to Nuevo Vallarta for a seminar on sails and rigging.  We met our buddy Dale from Adios for the seminar and then went to dinner with him, Lana and Richard.  After dinner we headed down to the beach for a walk and were lucky enough to get to experience the release of some baby sea turtles!

There is a local volunteer conservation organization that is trying to help the sea turtle population.  All of the sea turtles are endangered, the result of various problems including illegal fishing practices and pollution.  (If you didn’t know, the turtles mainly eat jellyfish.  And, plastic bags floating in the ocean look like jellyfish.  So think about that the next time you use a plastic bag or see litter that might make its way down to the ocean!)

These baby olive ridley turtles hatched less than 24 hours ago.  The baby turtles face huge hurtles as they are a prime meal for sea birds and fish.  So, the volunteers take them down to the water after dusk when there are less birds and it is harder for fish to see them.  They want to give these little guys a chance!

Baby olive ridley sea turtles…

Waiting for the turtles to be released…

Go turtles go…

We’re hoping we only have about another week here in the marina in La Cruz, so we can finally head out and begin exploring again!

~Katie

Video: Sailing the Sea of Cortez Part 1

Hi all.  I finally got one video uploaded from our summer in the Sea of Cortez.  I’ll keep working on the next installments.  Enjoy!

Coming to America

I’m not sure if the title of this post is more Eddie Murphy or Neil Diamond, but we are headed back to the States!  We’ll be there a month to visit with friends and family over the holidays while Adagio sits safely tucked into the marina here in La Cruz.  So, don’t expect any adventure posts from us for a while.  But, I am going to try and work on editing all of our video we shot over the summer, so maybe I’ll finally get some of that posted.

In the meantime, I want to catch you all up on what we have been doing!  We left San Blas on our way south toward Banderas Bay.  But, we stopped at two really neat anchorages on our way down – Chacala and Jaltemba.

Chacala is a beautiful bay with white sand beaches.  There are a few beachside restaurants and hotels, but the city itself is pretty sleepy.  We wandered through the cobblestone roads and hung out on the beach.

Our first night anchored at Chacala, a huge lightening storm came through.  We were the only boat in the anchorage, and so we crossed our fingers that the lightening would not find us.  When you are the only mast sticking up out of the water, you are just asking for it.  But, the storm finally passed and we got a decent night sleep.

The next day our friends on Kya arrived.  We had them over for cocktails (or as cruisers call them, sundowners) as well as a single guy on another power boat that showed up in the anchorage about the same time.  You can never have too many cockpit cocktail parties while cruising!

The anchorage got a bit rolly that night and we decided to follow Kya down the coast the next day to Jaltemba.  Jaltemba is the opposite of Chacala.  While Chacalca is calm and pleasant, Jaltemba is a cacophony of sights and sounds.

Jaltemba is a tourist destination for a lot of the Mexican cities nearby.  We were there on the weekend and got to see how the Mexicans party on the beach!  Families came early to the beach and set up for the day, and I don’t just mean beach chairs and picnic baskets.  There were huge tents, BBQ grills, giant stereos and speakers…you name it.  People literally moved to the beach for the day.

There were vendors everywhere, selling T-shirts, tourist items and lots and lots of food!  There were carts with skewers of fish and shrimp. Ice cream vendors.  Vendors with whole coconuts and pineapples.  If you were hungry, there was someone there to sell you something.

The most fun we had was watching all of the bands play up and down the beach. These weren’t rock bands.  Some were mariachi bands.  But, others were simply a group of different instruments (who walks around the beach with a tuba!) that walked up and down the beach offering to play for a tip.  You didn’t have to walk 100 ft before there was another band playing. So, you can imagine what that many different bands playing all at once sounded like.  It was crazy.

After a couple of days at Jaltemba, we finally made it to Banderas Bay.  Banderas Bay is a large bay that includes Punta Mita, La Cruz, Bucerias, Puerto Vallarta, and a few other cities and towns.  It is also home to a huge cruising community, most of which show up sometime in November or December and sail around the area until about May.

We were here for a few reasons, but one of those was that Mike’s family was coming to Puerto Vallarta to visit us for Thanksgiving.  We had a fabulous time with the family, and I know the kids loved the resort pools and jet skis.  Mike’s mom and nephew even went parasailing!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner at the Vallarta Yacht Club, where they made all us wayward Americans roast turkey, dressing, cranberry, mashed potato and pumpkin pie.  It was almost like home.

We can see why some cruisers get “stuck” here, because there are so many things to see and do.  But, when we get back to La Cruz from visiting the States, we have big plans!

We’ve had to figure out where we are going to be next summer during the Pacific hurricane season.  Basically, we either have to go back north and spend another summer in the Sea of Cortez, or we have to head south.  So, we chose south!  We are headed to Central America.  We signed up for the Cruisers Rally to El Salvador which will take us to El Salvador by the end of March.  From there, we can spend the summer in Costa Rica and Panama safely out of the zone of the hurricanes.  We are really excited for this next step in our adventure!

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and gets to spend the time with friends and family.  Look for more adventures from us when we return in January!

~katie

Welcome to the Jungle

The Tropic of Cancer runs just north of Mazatlan, so we are officially in the tropics! This was definitely evident when we headed to our next destination – San Blas.  San Blas is a small village about 45 miles from Isla Isabel, so it was an all day sailing trip for us to get there.

We had a nice (and interesting sail) to our destination.  As we were leaving Isla Isabel, we hooked up on a really nice Sierra (my favorite fish, as you might remember).  We were super excited as we got him close to the boat when he suddenly spit the hook. Mike was a bit aggravated, as he really doesn’t like the fish to beat him.  I was just sad that I wasn’t going to get my yummy Sierra for dinner.

As we got closer to San Blas, the shallow shoal areas extended miles offshore, meaning that in places we were in only about 30 feet of water where we would normally expect it to be hundreds of feet deep so far offshore.  We were hoping to catch something good in the shallow water, but we kept hooking up on these really big Jack Crevalles.  They are beautiful fish and put up a fight but no good to eat.  Finally, the line zinged and we were pretty sure it was something other than a Jack Crevalle.  Jackpot – we pulled in another Sierra!  So, we redeemed ourselves with the fishing. After hooking a few more Jack Crevalles, which took some time and substantial effort from Mike to reel in, we pulled the lines in before we reached the harbor entrance.

We had read that there was a bar that crossed the entrance to the San Blas harbor, but with the swell and position of the sun, it wasn’t something we were able to see as we approached the entrance.  The sand bars shift and change the depth frequently.  We also didn’t know if it was high or low tide, so we were crossing our fingers that we wouldn’t have a problem with the entrance.

As we approached, Adios was just ahead of us.  Dale radioed us to let us know that it was quite shallow ahead and to approach cautiously.  Mike was on deck putting the sail cover on, and I was at the helm. I slowed the boat down as much as I could while maintaining some steerage.  I slowly watched the depth sounder drop and held my breath as I saw it dip below one foot under the keel.  Then it quickly shot back up to three feet and then six.  Whew.  We were over the bar and headed to the marina.

San Blas has a pretty small marina (maybe only 10 or so boats at the docks), but there was a lively bunch of people that all greeted us when we arrived. After putting the boat away, a group was headed into town for some dinner, so we joined in.  There are really only a few restaurants around the town square, but lots of food carts with tacos, hamburgers and hot dogs.  (Yes, hot dogs are big in every Mexican town we’ve been to, usually wrapped in bacon!) So, we had hamburgers and hot dogs and let the other boaters give us a quick tour of the San Blas square.

The church in the San Blas square…

The next day several boats wanted to go on the Jungle Tour!  There is an estuary that runs through the San Blas area, and you can rent panga boats to take you on a tour to see the crocodiles, iguanas and birds.  We rented a couple of boats and were on our way through the jungle.

 

A green iguana in the tree..

Resident crocodile!

There is also an animal sanctuary on the tour that we stopped at.  I’m usually not a fan of animals in cages, but they had done a nice job and explained that they were trying to do conservation of animals that were endangered.  There were crocodiles, parrots, jaguars and some other various animals.

That night was the night of the US presidential election, which of course we were interested in watching.  San Blas isn’t a big town, so in the afternoon we started scoping out where we could actually watch the TV coverage.  We found a small bar called the San Blas Social Club which had satellite TV service and could get the US news stations.  So, we made a plan to come back into town that night to watch the election results.

That night we camped out at the bar with some local Mexicans, Canadians, Australians, a Kiwi and one other American.  The bartenders said they hadn’t had that many people in the bar since the Super Bowl! Everyone was interested in what was happening in the US, regardless of what country they were from.  And, like at least half the Americans back home, the bar turned into a state of shock when the results started to come in.

Our Canadian friends starting buying us all tequila shots to get through the rest of the evening.  I can’t say it helped much.  We later mused that the election of Trump might be like one of those American tragedies in history where people later ask you, do you remember where you where when…? Well, when Trump got elected we were at a bar in San Blas with a very international crowd of shocked onlookers doing tequila shots to drown their sorrows.

We decided we couldn’t take the news the next morning and decided to depart San Blas and go back off the grid for a while.  So, we departed en route to Chacala!  But, more on that next time.

~katie

p.s. The election shock eventually did wear off, and we have hope for the future of our country.  Regardless of who is in the White House, we have the best system on earth that should continue to be a beacon of hope of the rest of the world.

Isla Isabel

After leaving Mazatlan, we had a nice overnight sail to Isla Isabel.  Isla Isabel is a small island off the Pacific coast of Mexico between Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta.  It is also known as the “Galapagos of Mexico” because of the enormous number of birds that roost on the island and all of the iguanas.

We pulled into the anchorage on the south side of the island, which we read was known to swallow anchors because of its rocky bottom.  So, Mike & I got in the water and dove on the anchor to make sure we were dug in pretty well and our chain wasn’t snagged on any rocks.  The water was clear and blue and felt awesome after a long sail.

The anchorage isn’t very protected, so there was quite a bit of swell coming through and waves breaking on the rocks not far from the boat.  But, we were determined to see this amazing island!

Once our buddies on Kya and Adios arrived, we went to shore to do some hiking and check out all the birds!  If Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds creeped you out, you would not have liked Isla Isabel.  Seriously, I have never seen so many birds (large birds) in one place in my life.  But, they were amazing.

The male frigate birds have a red chest that they puff out and make a drumming type sound.  All of the sounds of the island were incredible.  I commented that I thought we were at Jurassic Park.  That is seriously what it felt like hiking around the island.  The tree cover was so thick that we got a bit lost at one point but eventually found our way back to the beach.

Dale (Adios), Katie (Kya) and Mike (Adagio)

Here are some photos of the frigates and boobies, including a fuzzy hatchling and one guarding an egg.  Pretty cool!

There were so many kinds of birds and they let you get so close to them.  This island must seriously be a bird lovers’ dream.  I was just happy to get a few cool photos!

We also did some snorkeling around the reefs and appreciated the warm, clear waters.  But, after a few days, we were off again to San Blas!

~katie