Friday, March 27, 2009

Adios La Cruz! Hola La Paz!

As some of you may have heard through the grapevine or other various ways, David is freaking amazing (duh) and he got the engine running. From plastic baggies to a functioning motor in two days. I have the best man ever. EVER I say!

So now we are checked out, cleaned up, stowed and stocked with plenty-o-beer. In fact we built the Beeramid of Eupsychia. One of David's places of worship. Now we are ready to get going to La Paz. We will be partaking in the fun event known as the revised Sea of Cortez Sailing Week. It is a sailing, beach volleyball, potluck, sunset cruise and general merriment event beginning on April first. If you want to read up on it go here and you may want to plan on making it down next year because it is the best event of the year.

We will be off later tonight so the blog will be on hold until April 6th or something. Hopefully it will be a smooth crossing and the engine will do its job proper as it is supposed to be almost windless.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Caballos en Sayulita y la enfermedad

"Now you will get sick and have to stay in bed while I am gone!" David proclaims as he gives me a big kiss goodbye. I didn't care, but I did need that kiss. I waved as David got into the cab. This time I managed to choke back tears as I made my way back to the now empty boat.

The sickness. It begins. I got it. I awoke Monday morning to a sore throat and a general feeling best described as bleh. That kiss did me in, but it was worth it. I got up and made my way to Sea Level to hang out with Ann. She debated going back to the states, but I asked her to stay and keep me company. She did. We talked of big plans. Maybe going to San Sebastian or exploring PV. Heck, maybe even surf lessons at Sayulita. Feeling the way I did that first day...I had to bail. I vegged on the boat all damn day. It paid off though because I felt 80% better the next day.

Ann and I got moving a little later than planned, but whatever. We were on a mission to go to Sayulita. Surfing was off the map since now Ann had developed a bit of a cough. We decided to keep it low key by stopping by to see Eugenie and maybe do some horseback riding if we were feeling adventurous enough.

We stopped at the palapa topped restaurant at the La Cruz marina for a drink and we were soon joined by Richard. We chatted over tortilla soup (yum) and chips with salsa. On the way out we discussed our plans of Sayulita. Richard was appalled at the taxi idea saying it would be $50 USD for the round trip. Whoa, that was more than I bargained for. So the bus it was...except the bus to Sayulita doesn't come to La Cruz or Punta Mita. After some negotiating we settled on hopping on the back of Rico's bike for a lift to the bus stop. I got dropped off first followed by Ann with fenders (that she had taken for Eugenie) in tow. We caught the bus for a whopping 10 pesos and were there in 15 minutes.

After wandering around in the streets for a while Ann called Euge to get her coordinates. Once we made our way to the casa we were greeted with Nayali at the door. She led us to the bed ridden Euge. We talked about various things before deciding to go horseback riding and leave Eugenie to rest up. Nayali told us where we could find some horses and off we went.

We met Antonio and saddled up on our rides. Ann's horse was Gordo and mine was Tomate. It was a nice ride on the streets to the beach where were were allowed to run at full speed before slowing to a gallop and eventually a trot. Those were my horses two favorite things to and eat. Tomate was eating constantly. Everything from tree palm leaves to shrubs. Antonio pointed out where Tomate has already eaten everything along the path.

The ride lasted about an hour. We went along the beach of Sayulita, up a "mountain" and down the other side to Playa San Pedro before turning around and going back. It was a lot of fun and I got to practice my spanish on Antonio who spoke no english. It was great fun.

After a stroll through town, a drink and a walk back to Euge's place we got our stuff and got a cab back to La Cruz where David would return to me later that night. I missed my boy, but Ann is great company. Thanks Ann!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Banderas Bay Regatta 2009

Wow, what a fun packed few days the racing was! There had to be over 50 boats racing in the regatta. There were every different size, shape, rig and number of hulls. There was a beautiful old schooner out that looked marvelous sailing with all sails up. The cats came in every shape and size, there were little J24's and a J160, heavy cruisers and super fast race boats. It was great to see so many smiling faces on the bay. And what weather! The sun was shining with great visibility in the whole bay. Amazing.

We were recruited as crew for Sea Level a ways back so we were both looking forward to it for quite a while. Our friend Ann even flew in from SF to do this race. For the first day I jumped over to Endless Summer since they were in dire need for crew. With me aboard it brought the grand total to a whopping three people and one dog. Though Endless Summer didn't do especially well in the race they were more than happy with themselves. The night before the race Steve and Manjula were unattended on the "enemy boat" of Sea Level. They were all giggles the next morning as they proudly showed me pictures of their sabotage...they wrote LOSER on the port ama of Sea Level in blue tape! The funniest part was that no one told them until they docked after the whole day of racing. Ha, ha, ha! Those two are too much fun, slightly evil, but fun.

The second day of racing I was back on Sea Level, but David was not. David has had a sore throat and a cough for a week and he had worn himself out on the first day of racing. So we were down two people since Carol had taken a bad spill into the cockpit of Sea Level the day earlier and was out of commision. The spinnaker had also ripped and was in the process of being repaired so it was going to be a semi-relaxing day under white sails. Sea Level didn't have a great first day, but we were hoping the next couple days would be better.

The race went alright, but without our tactician it was tough. We found way to many pockets of windless air to be a threat to anyone. We never went into irons, nothing broke and we got fifth place again. So all in all it wasn't a bad day.

The last day David was ready to be back in action as tactician/grinder. Our spinnaker was returned to us 20 minutes prior to the start. The guys got it in the sock and hoisted to make sure all would be proper for when the time came. We were a little late to the start, but we were in the running. We were late hoisting the chute for one leg, but we got it up and flying. It had been stuck in the sock somehow, but Jim and Dan got it fixed. It doused with out a problem and we sailed on. On the final leg we were neck and neck with Cirque when we saw a hole in the spinnaker. We dropped it and crossed the line under white sails.

With it all over we placed fifth. Not bad considering we lost to Profligate (63 feet), Escapade (52 feet), Humu-Humu (75 feet) and Pantera that is just stupid-fast. There were five classes in all, but I can't remember all of the winners. One did stick out really well though...Cirque. Luis got juggling with some crazy cool baton thingies as they went to accept their first place plaque. It was awesome. I guess the boat name Cirque has some history.

Now that things are done with racing it should settle down a little more. David is flying back for a couple days to see the worlds-most-perfect-daughter and pick up engine parts. Hopefully we will have enough parts for David to reassemble the engine so we generate electricity again. We are going to do a crossing to the Sea of Cortez for the race week that begins on April first. For now it is time to come down from the high energy racing and slip back into island time.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pirates for pupils, Lucha Libre and the scrotum totem

This past weekend hosted the annual Pirates for pupils fundraising event. On Saturday all the boats participating were to "race" from La Cruz to Punta Mita. Of the six boats racing to Punta Mita only two were mono-hulls Blue the J-160 and Charissa. The rest were catamarans: Capricorn Cat, Endless Summer, Escapade and Sea Level. We were recruited by Jim and Kent Milski to be on Sea Level a while ago. David and I were both looking forward to sailing on this beautiful cat. The start of the race was intense! We were pushing Endless Summer up trying to pinch them out at the starting line, but Steve did an amazing job of turning up and dropping back down barely making it inside the line. Kent couldn't watch as we were about 18 inches away from having Endless Summer crawling up our rear.

Cap Cat was hot on our trail for most of the race, but two not-so-good tacks let them take the lead. We stayed inside hugging the coast to keep with the pressure and Cap Cat had gone towards the middle of the bay. By the time we tacked out of the beach some huge swells were rolling in...we had been in the surf zone! We could tell Jim was pondering going back to that very spot after the race, but for now we had to keep on racing. That little trick allowed us to catch Cap Cat. We kept closing the distance until we knew Cap Cat couldn't tack. We were both on starboard tack and they would have to duck us and lose valuable time. While we kept playing with Capricorn Cat taking them up towards the Marietas, Escapade started to catch up. We knew we had to pull out some serious tactics. We pulled up alongside Cap Cat less than a boat length away and began talking to Wayne. A little history about this tactic: We have raced with Cap Cat many times and David made a rule that no one was to talk to Wayne or vice-versa because he would stop steering the course. So we pulled out all the stops and taunted, yelled and chatted until there were water guns being pulled on us. Once everyone was distracted on Cap Cat we tacked in and made a hustle towards the finish line. Cap Cat scrambled and tacked quickly and were hot on our heels for the remainder of the race, but we are happy to say WE WON!!!

It was a great day of fun sailing so we went over to Cap Cat to congratulate them on a great race and give them their second place prize...the scrotum totem courtesy of Jim and Kent. Jim and Kent found these baskets in Zihuatenajo that turned out to be bulls balls made into cute "little" baskets. Huge and furry bulls balls. Wayne seemed pleased with his new toy and we all got a good laugh. Soon Cap Cat turned into the party boat as every boat came over to hang out, talk tactics, sail trim and mingle.

Later we caught a panga ride (since the swells were big) into the Blue Water Grill for some drinks and food. We got into some playful trash talk and started to throw down some money on the Lucha Libre challenge. The food arrived and my plate was delicious. I had the Pollo Adobada with a green pepper. Mmmm yummy. We enjoyed the socializing, but after a long day of fun in the sun we called it a night by cruisers midnight.

As we piled into Sea Level feeling elated we heard a horrible scraping noise on deck. Jim went up and was astounded to find that a turnbuckle (silicon bronze) broke allowing the now free shroud to flop around. The guys secured it to a cleat and ran the spinnaker halyard down to the deck for added safety. A closer inspection inside the boat revealed cracks in the partition joints. Luckily Jim realized that it wasn't structural part of the boat, but still a pain in the ass to repair. Not the best way to end the night.

The following morning we called Mike to see if he had any 3/4 turnbuckles laying around. Turns out he did. He brought two to the El Dorado brunch for us. We strutted the beach in full on pirate garb and made our way to the gathering. We weren't sure which restaurant it was until we saw two little pirates running around slaying people. Yep, that was us. The brunch made for some more successful donations for the Pirates for Pupils, more trash talk Lucha Libre fun and more Punta Mita Y&SC members. A successful start to the day.

Since we had our two turnbuckles to try out we hoped to be participating in the spinnaker run. We took on the Don Quixote family and after trying both turnbuckles with no luck we quickly hustled with them to Endless Summer. It was a full boat with Manjula, Steve, Dean, Toast, Jamie, Mera, Aeron, David, me and Sookie the boat dog. We were late to the start, but our spinnaker was up and we were on the way. It was a great boat to sail and a decent day for a spinnaker, but we never caught up to any other boat once we blew by Tomatillo. I really enjoyed talking with the Don Quixote family. I think both the parents of the girls and I had preconceived notions of one another and they were quickly set straight once we actually got talking. I love when that happens. The girls are so smart and free in the way that they think. We need more people in the world like them.

So in the end Cap Cat won followed by Escapade then us on Endless Summer. At least we got on the podium. I am told that it was a "photo finish" between Blue and Capricorn Cat. That would have been great to see, but we were busy not catching up, but enjoying ourselves fully. I also heard from Ronnie the Tea Lady that we raised a whopping 30,000 pesos, the most ever for this event! Very cool.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Happy birthday David!!!

There happened to be about four birthday boys all in La Cruz at the same time. Barry of Anna Banana's, a guy named Dale, Mike's son Merrik and of course David. Anna Banana's had live music, dancing, food and a cake. Kameron got the girls up on the dance floor and started to do the macarena. Anna gave us a special little piece of cake complete with relighting candles which thrilled Anna to no end. The festivities got going and the tequila got flowing. We found old friends and made new ones. We got a picture of a hound dog barking the blues and three celebrities all in one place! Gene Wilder (Monty) Clint Eastwood (David) and Michael Caine (Barry, but not the birthday Barry). The party moved on to the Britania where yet more tequila was distributed. We skipped the tequila and I opted to play with the most adorable puppy ever. I have never had dogs or puppies so I fell in love with the little ball of joy. I think David even had a moment of weakness and took a liking to the little puppy.

Puerto Rico for a night

Our first layover was 23 hours in Puerto Rico. After David did some flight research he found the *shortest* layover was 7 hours in either Miami or Puerto Rico. We opted for the longest layover in PR. Once off the plane we had to collect our luggage and an extra empty (read:full) bag that Dona asked us to fly down for her. We thought we would be able to check the bags, but it turns out that is not the case. The bags can not be checked until the same day of the flight. No worries. We grabbed our stuff and got a cab. The driver asked where to and we said "we don't know." He found us a nice hotel for a low price. The Hotel Las Americas was renovating so it cost a whopping $65 USD for the night. We thanked the taxi man, Rafael, and made our way to our room.

The hotel was all old style with paintings of Colombus on the walls, beautiful stained glass windows , fancy chandeliers and some things like the "peeping toms." The ceilings were painted along with banners over the balconies. The room was smallish and bare, but it was practical. We only needed a place for our bags and to sleep and this room was perfect for our needs. We dropped off our bags and headed to the local restaurant for some mofongo. Mofongo is the popular local dish made of fried plantains that are mashed and sometimes stuffed with chicken, shrimp, pork or other meats. I had the chicken variety and it was both filling and delicious. After such a big meal we had to lay down and let it settle if we wanted to be active later.

Later that night we found a nice place for a drink and appetizer before going to see a movie. We saw Milk which I thought was phenominal. We had to return to the hotel semi early so we wouldn't miss our flight the following morning. Not that staying in PR would be bad, but Eupsychia beckoned us.

We had a last chance to get some Puerto Rican grub before we were flying to Dallas and then home to PV. All went well and after flying all day we were glad to drag our weary bodies to our floating home. The cat was very happy to see us and she expressed that love with licks and copious amounts of fuzz all over everything she could reach. Vacation was great, but its is nice to be home.

Always, always, always down wind...except...

On the morning of the 6th we got the boat to ourselves. By six am we were motoring towards our delivery destination of Tortola. We were going to stay the night at Virgin Gorda's Spanish Town if all went according to "plan." It didn't.

As we rounded the west end of the island we knew it wouldn't be just a pleasant sail. The seas were building and the squalls were coming down to us. We motored for a while before getting the sails up under a double reefed main and reefed jib. We were going faster under sail than we had been under motor. Once the waves got to the eight foot area we started taking waves over the side. The winds picked up to 25-30kts. Waves would slap the bottom of the boat with a BOOM and bounce the contents around. We found where the ports leak and that one door refused to stay neither latched open or closed. We sailed on and did eventually make it to Virgin Gorda, but the anchorage was blown out so we sailed on to Tortola's Fat Hog's Bay. We dropped the hook and made a beeline to the closest food joint. We had no beer on board and little food so we were ready for a spot of both by the time we anchored. We found a place called Emily's and we got ordering the food. We met the new owner Jamie who was a really nice guy.

The following day we had to rush to Road Town for immigration. All went well and we explored the town. We found a restraunt called Midtown Restaurant that served good ol' greasy food. We went back to the boat to relax after a filling meal and were startled to see guts floating by the boat. Tripe anyone? Eww, definitely not going swimming here.

Once we got 'Ti Profligate to the charter base, we took the dink to go find sustenance. We hopped around different restaurants before ending up at the Pussers Rum place where we ordered some pub grub and a much too sweet rum drink. The food was good, but the atmosphere was ruined once some stupid frat boys came in rude, drunk, obnoxious and hurling profanities at one another. Time to go.

The day to leave finally came. We packed up and got a cab to the airport. The taxi man was astounded to hear that we came across in such rough weather. He tipped his hat to us as he took us on the scenic route of Tortola.

I have come to a conclusion...I like being in places where roosters roam in and around the airports. That spells out some kind of freedom somehow. Casual I suppose. It was a nice airport even with chickens walking through it. We didn't have time to ask why the chicken crossed the runway. Good times.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Saint Martin

The fun at St. Barts had to end eventually or so I am told. We had a great time hanging out with all of the people we met throughout our visit. What a slice of *expensive* paradise. Our trip was marvelous and the only bad thing we heard about was the day before we left. A boat named Wild Horses reported it's big red dinghy lost or stolen. The worst part was that the last guy that tied and locked it up was not on Wild Horses at all. Anyhow the rumors began flying on such a small island and settled on our ears as a yellow ketch stole it. We had seen the particular yellow boat in question a few days earlier at Fourchue. They had no dinghy and tried to bum rides constantly. With no evidence it meant nothing though. So with nothing more to do we left. Our next stop was to be at Saint Martin.

St. Martin (or St. Maarten) is a Dutch and French island which makes it interesting to observe. The French side seemed rather rundown and bleak looking and the Dutch side looked well taken care of and cleaner. We were to stay the night so we could drop off Dona and Rico at the airport. We arrived midday so we dropped Dona off at an internet cafe and got to touring in the dink. We toured Simpson Bay in the dink and wouldn't you know we saw that yellow boat, but the red dink was nowhere insight. Richard goes on about how Dona shouldn't jump to conclusions based on stupid rumors. After food, beer, buying batteries and relaxing we went over to say hello to Mike Harken of Wanderlust. After a few minutes of chatting we glance over at the yellow ketch. IT HAD THE RED DINK!!! Rico says sayonara and off we go full speed to the thieving boat. Richard starts screaming at the top of his lungs, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THAT DINGHY?!" One of the scrawny french guys comes out and tried to explain how he found it at Fourchue full of water. Riiiiight. We aren't leaving without the dink so David untied the bow and I got the stern free and off we went. It was an intense situation and thankfully it was over in minutes with no problems. Hours later we would check and see that the yellow boat left in a hurry. Rico owed Dona an apology.

The rest of the night went on rather calmly. The bay filled up with a ridiculous amount of boats that were going to do the Heineken Regatta. There must have been over a hundred boats anchored out and that doesn't include the 50 others that were waiting for the bridge to go up. The bridge goes up twice a day unless you want to spend $5,000 to have it opened just for you. It was a neat spectacle to see, but a big traffic jam for all the car commuters.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Exploring St. Barts

We have made a few friends since arriving in St. Barts. The great thing is that they all want to show us the cool sights, beaches, surf spots, bird wathing hot spots and trails to hike. We met up with a cool guy named Will and toured the island by jeep. We stopped to hike a trail that went from to a beautiful beach called Colombier. The other trail we took was a bit longer and on the opposite side of the island. It was a hike out to what is called the "washing machine". It is a boogieboarding spot with continuous waves and whitewater. It gets churning out there! We hiked on and came to a gorgeous place with natural pools. Ahhhh it felt so nice to take a dip after hiking for 45 minutes.

It is our last night here in St. Barts so we have to soak it all up. We are taking the boat to St. Maartan for a night to drop off Rico and Dona. Early in the morning we will get sailing to Tortola where we will say goodbye to the Caribbean and fly back to Mexico. So no more time to blog...MUST GO PLAY!