Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Days before Christmas

    Christmas in Mexico:  Early in December the town's people began to put up many street cabanas. They are mostly selling things for children.  This week there are more decorations that have been put up and in the center of La Paz a large lighted tree.  All the palm trees along the waterfront have been wrapped with lights and several boats in the marinas have been decked with lights.  All very festive.

    Besides being a religious holiday it is a day for children. One of the most fascinating shops is a shop called the Dulceria, a candy shop.  Inside are all types of pinatas and large boxes and cellophane package containing small toys and  assorted candies to fill the pinatas. There are even decorated sticks to match each pinata to be used for hitting the pinata.  The  pinatas range in sizes and some have religious pictures on them others have old fashioned Santas (the coke a cola Santa is a big hit), along with Frosty the snowman.

    We went to church last Sunday with several cruisers, who are our friends, I will post a pictures of a few of them. After church we go out to lunch and then last Sunday we walked along the Malacone towards our marina, taking pictures of the beautiful statues decorating the water front here in La Paz.

    Tonight we had a dock party, and toured a few boats, it was great to share our Christmas goodies with others and have a taste of home. There are many of us who share things in common, and it is good to talk with people who have the same dreams and love this life on the water.  We will meet many of these people as we go from place to place here in Mexico. And folks who have been cruising for several years all share their information with us to help us on our way.  It is quite amazing the way information to help us out is given freely to smooth our way and we will pass the things we learn on to others in the same way.  Most of us are retired and we are happily surrounded with a few older couples and a few younger couples and some traveling with younger children whom are being homeschooled on the sea.  I really admire those couples who are homeschooling and I have watched the laundry being done in the marinas.  Unbelieveable!!!

    Merry Christmas to all of you who have read my blogs, hopefully you will enjoy my photos of La Paz, Mexico. 

Love Jacquie and Don


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Warm Days here in La Paz

    It is so nice and warm here in La Paz that we find it hard to pack up and leave. Cruiser's warned us about this and we are determined to go to the mainland and visit the area between Mazatlan and Puerta Valharta this season before we return for Yakima's great weather.
     Yesterday we ordered snorkeling suits made from Lycra.  They will protect us from jelly fish stings, scratches on coral and sun.  I hear they help with warmth too now that the water temperature has cooled into the high 70's.We had hoped to slip out for a week and do some snorkeling this  weekend, however a small northern weather system is going to make the wind blow and the sea rough so snorkeling will have to wait a bit.  But the weather here is nothing like the single digits happening in Washington. On the other had it is hard to feel like it is Christmas time when it is 81 degrees every day.

    Today I am mailing some Christmas cards to the U.S and the stocking I made here on the boat for my youngest grandchild, Maggie, who is approx. 20 months old. I am including a picture. I wonder if this will be my last stocking?????  Maggie is a cutie and her Mom says she is very determined to keep up with Nathan her 4 year old brother.  I only have 3 little girls in the 8 grandchildren and I think they are all mover's and shakers.

     We are decorating the boat for a boat parade this Sunday since we will be in town. I have always wanted to do this and not sail in cold rainy weather so here I my big chance. Will include photos of trophy next blog, just kidding.

     Don is busy adding a ground wire to our radio, it has been shaken so much it has a little hum and that won't do. He had also started on taping the decks for adding some non-skid to the surface. Always something to do on a boat that is for sure.

    This afternoon we are meeting our friends from Canada, on White Shell II, who were in Santa Cruz replacing their engine and just arrived here in La Paz. We attended a great church with them in Santa Cruz and we have found one here in La Paz. It was nice and the big diference for us was singing carols in Spanish.
Lue and Chas will have stories to share about their trip down the baja and they are wanting to hear ours.

    Our coffee-Seattle friends on Pacific Mystic, Val and Eric, are sad this day because their beautiful little cat of 14 years wandered off their boat 2 days ago and has not returned.  Not a good sign. We feel for them, since we know what that feels like. Hopefully they will find her or find out what happened so they can have closure.

   Next post will be my Christmas Letter. Until then... Chao amigos, Jacquie and Don

Sunday, November 29, 2009

La Paz, Mexico

    Here we are in La Paz, a city on the Sea of Cortez.  We have been to the Club Cruseras (Cruisers Club) for coffee and found they are very active in the community of cruisers and the city.  They have an auction (Subasta) coming up that will benefit the schools here, run a blood pressure clinic, swap meet (boat parts), have a bazaar that cruisers can host a table for their crafts and many other things during the year. You can find people to help you with anything through this club. People are very friendly and helpful.

    I signed up to get a flu shot and a day and a half before the shot clinic I got the flu (probably just food poisoning) but I did not get to have a flue shot!  So I will need to find it on my own. Isn't that the way it goes.

   Yesterday we got moorage at the Marina de las Palmira. We have not been in a marina for over a month and it is time to do a major clean the salt off job. We have salt crystals on the windows and just about everything on deck.  Since we are both feeling better we will do a bit today and then more this week.
My job is to finish some boat sewing, a cover for the life raft and for the B-que. We are having clouds today and that is expected to last through Tuesday. A northern wind being sent from Canada.

   Monday I am attending a quilting group called La Paz Peace Makers. Maybe I can get the scoop on where to find fabrics in La Paz.

   More later...I just got invited to breakfast by Don. 


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Special Day: Bahia Los Muertos

    We finally took just a leisure day, no work per se.  Don sat on deck and enjoyed his tea and I sewed on a Christmas stocking for my 8th grandchild, I need to mail it from La Paz.  Then we went to the beach and waded, found a few shells and just sat in the water up to our necks.  There were lots of rocks and a sandy shole so that is where we sat, it was like a 86 degree kiddie pool for big people.  LOL.

    Then we walked up to this beautiful restaurant and we were the only ones there.  Gorgeous hut type open air with big fans and leather topped tables and leather chairs.  They had a open shower for people to rinse the sand off and we used it.  While sitting at the table I saw something that reminded me of a pheasant and come to find out it was a genuine "roadrunner" and it looked exactly like the one Wiley Coyote is always chasing and it ran up the hillside like a flash.  It is fun to watch those things when you see them.

    We had a huge lunch: Don ordered the child rellano and it was "out of this world", nothing like what we get in the states. A huge poblano chile stuffed with fish and vegies, wrapped in a light egg batter and a wonderful fresh tomato sauce tht was slightly sweet. YUM!!!

   They were playing nice music that was so restful I guess I fell alseep at the table with my hand under my chin...Don said I was out for at least a half hour. How many Cerviesa could he have had while I was out.  Now the great  part is this lunch was under 30.00 US.

   Then we walked back to our dingy and fishermen had just arrived with their catch and they offered us some and for 10.00 we got a huge fillet of wawhoo which is Ono in Hawaiian ann a half of a Dorado which is MahiMahi.  What a find because the Pescado is not that cheap here in the markets and you can't tell how fresh it is.

   Then we motored out to the boat and just relaxed, eating some fruit and a small sandwich on fresh baked bread.

Now this was my idea of what our trip would be like.


Monday, November 23, 2009

What do we do all day???

     Each day is a bit different and varies when we are cruising or in a port.  What we do also depends on whether we are in a large port or a small bay; a Bahia in spanish.  Today we are in the Bahia de Las Muertos, inside the Sea of Cortez.

     We are making bread, nothing much to buy in the little villages, except tortillas, and I will try my hand at making those this afternoon. We have very simple, one dish meals and add a fruit or vegie. Storage for fresh things is limited. Mexico has great boxed milk (2%) like the soy milk comes in so we can buy several and not need the refrigeration until we open it. Most days we have a larger breakfast or lunch and then light dinner snack. We have both gotten thinner.  Hooray!

    If we have to use the engine we try to make water every 2-3 days depending on how many showers and things we need to do.  Every so often we have to wash some undies and easy to dry things.  The heavier wash needs to wait for a laundromat. The fresh water toilet takes 1/2 a gallon per flush so depending on the day that could take quite a bit of water.  We can store 100 gallons on board.  Pretty good for a sail boat.

     I can sew a little right now I am making a Christmas stocking to get in the mail at La Paz, and if we use our little generator we can watch a movie or a 1 hr episode of a TV show (we brought a few with us) like 24 and Lost.  Next year we will bring NCIS and something lighter that just high drama.

    Both of us have to take turns stearing the boat, Don does more of it than I do but I do all the docking and operation of the boat when we anchor. I have gotten good at taking us into a slip or fuel dock, Don says I am really good at it and other men have given me praise, I guess not many women do that part. The person who is no at the helm has to watch our course, check radar, make lunch etc. clean or stow gear, wash dishes or whatever else needs to be done. Then for a bit we rest.  Much more active than either of us thought. 

    We are going to put the dingy in now and go to the beach, walk and explore. I also spent some time this morning cutting my hair.  It doesn't look great but I wear hats when we go ashore, so good is okay.
We have new clippers and Don was my first ginnea pig and poor man I really got the back short, but hey it has grown out just great.

    Then we have been struggling with the time changes, I guess we are in mountain time here, so we have been going to sleep with the chickens...7:30pm or so. Sailing can be tiring work.

   Well time to put the dink in and go explore.

Until next time;   Love Jacquie and Don

Friday, November 20, 2009

From Magdalena Bay to Cabo San Lucas

Well here are just a random sampling of some pictures we've taken since October 25, 2009.
Shown above: John and Rose Olson on SerenaRay. We met them in Blaine and they sailed down last year in their sail boat but decided to buy a motorcruiser and sail the seas. They have been our guardian angels during our entry into Mexican water. Checking on us almost daily.  They are at the back of the table, John in the salmon colored tank and Rosie with the great smile. Their friends who keep their boat in Mazatlan are with them,Wally and Linda. We saw them in Turtle Bay.

 Next you can see our taxi driver Danielle,, in San Carlos on the Baja California Sur up Magdalena Bay where we had to stay 12 days to do a boat repair (engine). 

The boat is the Pacific Mystic, it belongs to Valerie and Eric Waggoneer who are former Seattleites. We met them in the Pier 32 Marina, San Diego. We will be seeing them in La Paz, they are in their early 40's and have given up the hectic pace for sailing, and eventually going over to France where Valerie was born (I believe). She and I bonded at Trader Joe's, we had identical purchases in our carts. This picture was taken at the starting line for the Baja Ha-Ha journey which we finished 3rd. Everyone that isn't first or second is third... We arrived at Cabo 12 days late due to engine repairs.

That last picture is Don and me at the Baja Ha-Ha send off party.  Which you can see was a costume party. We originally thought we would go as Wilma and Fred Flintstone but later changed it to Tarzan and Jane; I think that was because of Don's hair, he hasn't had a hair cut since we left Blaine on July 8, 2009.  ha-ha.
Pictures below are: a crab that I saw in Santa Maria Bay while gathering sand dollar that are 4-6 inches in diameter. Don and I have our first ice cold drink in weeks and the local (Cabo) starbucks where I got the royal treatment when I told them I lived in Seattle for 15 years. They did a great job and were so friendly.
Standing By in Cabo San Lucas: Jacquie

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Where is Little Christian on the Big Ocean.

Hola Amigos;

    We are okay if anyone was worried or wondering.  We have not had internet since we entered Mexico and we do not have phone service...AT & T too expensive, 59cents per minute after the monthly fee so it is not in the cards for this year.  But we do have Skype so if you have it you can talk to us if we are some where there is internet.  For today, just to have internet I had to rent a hotel room for the day.  At least on the Baja peninsula there is no internet even at an internet cafe we could not connect. 

     So exactly where are we...We left the US on October 26 with the big Baja Ha-Ha group of cruisers and there were storm warnings, so the man that runs it said if there wer ad conditions we would delay a couple of days.  However, since they had all this media attention for the first time ever...we all were told that it was okay and if it was too tough we had the choice of pulling in at night..and we did..but the die hard racers did not pull in and the group except for a few of us kept going. Thus we fell behind and since we were supposed to sail as much as possible we sailed.  We made the first way point just as everyone else was leaving and we took a day to sleep and rest.  So we left for the second way point and were again in really tough seas with no where to pull in.  We again got to Magdalena Bay just as everyone was leaving, and since our friends John and Rose were coming in the next day chose to rest and see them and leave the next day.  With good winds we should have made the Cabo party by November 7th...However, when checking out the boat to leave Don discovered an engine problem with a seal that he had fixed in San Diego...(apparently we got slightly taken) by the guy in SanDiego.

     We prayed...should we go on to Cabo and hope to get it fixed there (we were advised it was very expensive to have repairs done there or go up this little inlet in the bay that went to a small village San Carlos Baja Sur. We have to anchor out, pay for taxis to get anywhere and plus no one in town takes credit cards only cash...no engine parts...but a boat from US IronMaiden is here doing their own repairs and he can also do our repairs.  I think we have been here almost 2 weeks...

     Well God did lead us, if we had gone on we probably would have lost the engine entirely.  So we finally rented a hotel room just to have internet and do banking and communicate with family and friends. This is a huge learning curve. Plus the boat is low on power because we can't run the engine and it depends on everything....our little generator can barely keep  the refrig cool. PRAY FOR US.

    On the plus side: My spanish is improving,  there are palm trees, beaches and some great food. We have only eaten out 2 times but we have had to shop in the market and try some new things.  It is in the 80's and  who can beat that.  Our spirits are up, Don has been stressed, as you may have guessed and I will need to get some medications soon!  But we are trying to let each day be its own day and not worry about tomorrow.  Really different than life at home where you tend to just think the next day will be the same and predictable.  Here we know it won't be anything but what God brings. 

Love Jacquie

Monday, October 19, 2009

Visitors and Family in San Diego

Dear Ones

    Don and I had a wonderful weekend.  Beginning on Friday we had a special visit from Anne and Dick, friends from our Blaine Marina who are also cruisers.  They had planned to leave this summer with us and other friends but were detained by a health issue.  So they happily continue to get ready for next year and came down for a short visit here in San Diego with us before we all leave for Mexico.  Good new the health concern is looking like it may be cured and cruising is still going forward.  We were delighted to spend time with them and are looking forward to them joining us in Mexico this winter and cruising with us next fall.

     On Saturday we went to see my first cousin Doug Wheat (on my mother's side) and his family.  They graciously invited us to stay overnight so we would have more time and  gave us great food and a tour of Escondito and surrounding beach communities.  Doug is a business owner here in the area and filled us in on how the economy in Southern California is progressing.  We shared memories and great food plus visited a new brew pub here called Stone Brewery.  Their dog Chuck was fun to get to know and I was able to look at photo albumn's of Doug's siblings and my cousins at various get togethers. We agreed to keep in better contact through the next years and maybe we will have a family reunion so our children can meet each other. Something I got to do with my second cousins but that type of thing has not happened because of how spread out we all have become.... It is always great to visit with people you are related to.

     This week Don and I have to really push to finish all boat projects; I am busy sending some things home, can you believe I brought too much along?  Don is repacking, relubing, replacing, cleaning, changing, God only knows with in the head, in the galley, in the engine, up on deck etc.  He seems busier.

     But hey I have to make our Halloween constumes for our next Baja Ha-Ha function.  We are going as Fred and Wilma Flintstone.  I promise pictures.  I have finished some winch covers, and line (sheets) bags and only will do a barbecue cover before leaving, although there are still things to make, (an awning for shade). 

     We leave on October 27, 2009.  Pray for us. 

Love Jacquie

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hooray We are in San Diego

     Today is Saturday October 10th and we are in San Diego. It was all very easy to make our last few stops. Santa Barbara to Redondo Beach to Dana Point to Oceanside and then San Diego. Time wise we had arrived at 3 of the mentioned spots at night and wanted to arrive here during day light because we are 11 miles down in San Diego Bay.  We passed a nuclear sub in dry dock and many other US Navy ships having work done.  Most fascinating is the USS Midway which is "moth balled" here and one of the enormous hospital ships "Mercy" is here being worked on.  And it is larger than many hospitals. Fascinating.

      Haven"t been anywhere yet.  We found anchorage in  Pier 32 Marina, it is a new one and is more like a yacht club than a public marina.  The pool is not open yet but they say possibly by November 1...5 days after we leave for Mexico.  However, there is a great little cafe and a workout room, both of which we have tried. Also a very nice and new laundry facility...nice after all the awful laundromats we have used.  Some laundromats are as much as 3.00 but here 1.50 to wash and 1.00 to dry and the clothes got dry in that amount of time.  Probably now to fascinating to lots of you but to me heaven.

     Many folks on our dock are going to Mexico too, some doing the Baja Ha Ha like we are and other just on their own. Some of the boats are new and huge...fun to see, I do envy the galley's. Don and I both have many projects to do here: fix the things that did not make it down the coast, add new things that we had planned to do here, and I have some sewing to do. Making wench covers, bags for sheets (which are ropes for sails etc.) finish the seat covers for the table, and make some supplex shorts for Don and me.  Not too much.

     Hope to see Sea World and del Coronado beach while here, maybe the zoo too. If our funds last, we have to buy some paper products and canned goods before leaving. 

    We have found that being out on the ocean is much different than Puget Sound.  Little things that have lasted for years in the sound have been eaten alive by the different in the salt air out here, some things have been clearly rattled to death by using the motor when there is no wind.  No wind is very common out here, something no one mentions, until you find it out for yourself.  Glad we did not spend the $$$$ on a spinaker sail.  Instead we are getting a downwind pole that telescopes and holds out our jib, at only half of the cost...LOL. Also adding a auto tiller pilot which we had thought about but now realize it is needed. Now we know why a boat is called "A hole in the water than you throw $$$$ into".  The watermaker than we did 2 years ago is worth its weight in gold, and the monitor wind vane is great when there is wind to sail.

    I will pack up the cold weather clothes we brought and used but it will be nice to free up space. And will send a few things back that I packed which are too much. Still trying to get Don to send some of his books home..on sailing..I don't thing they will all be needed (duplicates) they take up lots of space, and my yarn and knitting doesn't.  LOL.

   Well time for me to get busy.  More later.  Jacquie

Reminder: "God's controls the wind, we can only set our sails."


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Waiting for the Tsunami

Yesterday started out to be pretty normal.  Don and I returned our rental car, we used it to go to Culver City and see a filming of the Bonnie Hunt Show. Which was good by the way.  It was supposed to air yesterday in most areas. The main guest was Betty White. Her segment was good however, she had taped it earlier so we did not see her live.
Anyway then yesterday we got a tsunami warning and I guess some safety measures were put in shape. The harbor patrol did clear the beaches around here but no one was ever told to leave the marina or get off the boat.  Interesting!  We have decided to ask Alan, Don's son to notify us in Mexico if there is every a big alert while we are down there.
Today is gorgeous, no fog. We will do   boat projects this morning and leave here for Redondo Beach around Noon tomorrow.  Almost to San Diego...WOW.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sailing around Pt Conception

Good Morning from S/V Little Christian: Sailing on Nana's Big Ocean Blog.

Today we will leave Morro Bay and sail around Pt Conception.  It is sometimes compared to sailing around Capt Horn, I certainly hope it is not like that today.  We have been told that after this the winds and water will warm up and things will be easier to manuver than they have been...we'll see.

Don has it all planned out and I am up early to stow our kitchen and table items so they won't fly around the boat. Also making some meals ahead so we can eat without cooking if it is rougher than expected.

I am looking forward to getting warmer winds and weather. There has been alot of fog on the coast all summer. We are surprised, here in Morro Bay we have only seen Morro Rock one time and this is our 5th day in the harbor. 

Yesterday I did laundry and then went to the 2 bead shops here.  One was owned by Paula Radke, she is the guru of dichroic glass beads and it was fun to visit where she sells her glass.  Of course I purchased something, that is part of the fun.  I also found a unique fabric shop called "The Cotton Ball". They have beautiful designer fabrics and really beautiful quilting fabrics too.  I purchased a kit to make some silk clutch putses that have some silk ribbon flowers on them and beading.  Very nice.

My coffee water is ready time to put some coffee in the french press and get this blog wrapped up.  Oh by the way we are viewing a filming of the Bonnie Hunt TV show on Monday.  We will dock the boat in Santa Barbara and drive the coast to Culver City.  That should be fun I love her show which airs in Yakima on NBC mornings at 9 am.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

1,066 Miles since July 8, 2009

We left Blaine, WA on July 8th and here we are 1,066 miles later anchored for the night at Santa Cruz, CA. We left Half Moon Bay and Pillar Point Harbour Marina this morning after spending the Labor Day weekend waiting to here if Enterprise car rental had found my glasses?? And no they did not find them, and we are not so sure they really gave it a good try. The young guy in charge told Don last Friday that he rented it right away and really did not look through it much, he just washed it......... GREAT! The good news is the optical shop where I purchased them can still get me the frames and has all my measurements and RX..hooray! (except for the $$$$$).