Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas 2010 Puerto Vallarta or close! Plus our Christmas Letter.

Duck Fans La Paz: watch Civil War!

Isla Isabella: Volcanic Crater 70 miles from PV

Chala: Tropical anchorage- Mainland Mexico


Sunset: Chala: Little Christian anchored right of the sun.

La Cruz Anchorage
Hola and Feliz Navidad!   We are actually in La Cruz, Mexico.  On the North end of Banderas Bay. PV is approximately 20 miles away but bus (collectivo).  We haven't really seen much yet, unless you count Walmart and Mega another large grocery store.  Sight seeing will wait until after Christmas.

We plan to be with other cruiser's on Christmas Eve for a dock party and gift exchange and then on Christmas Day for dinner with another group of cruiser's.  I am cooking the turkey in my oven, (the newer boats don't have one as large as mine (can't do a 12 lb bird like we can).  Then we will eat on one of the larger it all works out great.  It is certainly different that when we celebrate with family but it will be sunny.

Tonight we are planning on getting up at 1am (December 21) to watch a meteor shower and the first total lunar eclipse in this region of the sky for hundreds of years: 1638 was the previous time it occurred.  Or so we heard.

  May our Lord and Savior bless you all this Christmas.  Don & Jacquie aboard s/v Little Christian

Monday, November 22, 2010

Second Season of Cruising Mexico

Hola Amigas;

Don has been in La Paz since early October working on the boat and getting it ready to cruise.  Some things he had to wait for me (decisions) but the boat looks wonderful.  He totally refinished the floor in the main cabin and the pilot house.  It was long overdue but difficult to do in "damp" weathers of the Pacific Northwest.With just one person it was possible for him to get off the boat when the fumes of the products were too strong.  

The other plus was  hot and dry weather here on the Baja.  Don, also, refinished was all the outside teak and some topside paint  too.  Now left for me is cleaning and polishing hatch covers and the stainless need a good polishing.  Oh and I do have a bit of sewing.

My biggest challenge is to make a cover to protect us and cool us.  This will be used at anchor and be a cover for the front of the boat; back to the cockpit.  It is done in two pieces using the mast to help suspend it with line. Not sure yet how I will accomplish this but I do have a wonderful SailRight sewing machine on board for just such a task. Second is to make some dingy chaps...these project the hypolon material that the dingy is made of from the sun. Can't manage without a dingy although we have met cruisers without one.

We will plan to leave La Paz and cross over to Mexico's mainland and the Mexican Riveria for  winter. The plan is to leave the Baja the first of December, weather permitting, and sail across the waters to Puerta Valharta area and anchor in Banderas Bay for an extended period to explore the region. New exciting horizons.  It will be a three night at sea crossing.  Always a challenge for me as I love my sleep.  But Don and I do sleep and have actual shifts at the helm.  But if the weather is bad neither of us get to sleep. Storms can appear out of no where!!!  Or on the sea here it can be nice weather with just big wind!  Keep us young, RIGHT?

No plans to fly home before April but always an options since I have a new grand-baby who will be born in early March.

Today I plan to get ready for Thanksgiving celebrations.  Here we have a big Cruiser's Potluck. The turkey is provided by the Cruiser' Club here and we all provide the trimmings. Our friends Dave and Joy from s/v Happy Nest and Lue and Claus from s/v White Shell II plan to join us later on our boat for pie.  The only thing I am not willing to risk at a potluck.  LOL. 

Keep us in your prayers, especially pray for Don, we had our windpoint instrument repaired over the summer at home and it does not work, now we are here , this is huge.  He needs wisdom to know what to do with regards to getting another instrument for out panel.  It is possible to sail with out it, that is what was done before all the great electronics and TRY to find one when in Puerta Valharta. I can always stick my finger out in the air...not nearly as easy as reading the instrument or as accurate.  Never was good at that.

All for now, off to coffer at the club house and I ordered "tamales" from Imelda and they are awesome. Until next week Chow!

PS; I am glad to be back and it was nice to arrive in a familiar city and provision the boat. La Paz is very clean and nice this year due to all the work they have done repairing damaged sidewalks and planting new vegetation, which was damaged in the 2 hurricane's two years ago. Not one hurricane came up the Pacific this past season.

Oh we attended a meeting on traveling to El Salvador..Don is considering it but most likely next season.  Anyone want to visit us in 2011?   

PICTURES ARE OF MAGGIE 2 1/2 yrs, NATALIE 4 yrs, AND MADDIE 7 yrs. All 3 are my granddaughters. The boys next week, I need to organize their pictures for upload.

Jacquie and Don on s/v Little Christian

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Still in La Paz: Will we ever leave???

   We are still here and did attend the "Carnaval" here.  It was much like a parade with a mid-way much like our larger fairs in the states. There were princesses' for everything and their gowns were fabulous.  The streets were crowded but there was not the out of control crowds like I have seen on TV when they show clips of  Rio de Janiero and Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  There were vendors and typical fair foods.  

   One man was making the largest cotton candy ball I have ever seen.  My grandson Jack loves cotton candy and he will be amazed at the size and will wish I had been able to bring one back for him. ha-ha!  We were amazed when we found out that the parade is done on 3 separate nights.  We asked why? and were told that each of the three main beer companies in La Paz wanted to sponsor a parade.  So one night it is sponsored by Pacifico, then Modelo and last Tectate.  Image if Seattle had 3 torch light parades for Seafair...whew!

   Each night there would be entertainment at a main stage. The night we went there was an artistic presentation by an Hawaiian dance school..It was very well done and very surprising to us that it was not Mexican dancing.  Although later in the evening there was a group doing traditional dances of Mexico. We also saw a famous Ranchera-singer who did many of the crowds favorite songs because they would all sing along with her and she had an excellent Marache band with her. Also a Cabo San Lucas,  pop group sang and danced the Salsa on stage and they were very good too.  Other nights there were shows but we did not stay.

We walked the main street of carnaval on 2 other evenings, and were not even tempted to ride on any of the carnaval rides.  But we did have some excellent kettle corn oneevening and another time tried a 24" long spiraled deep fried potato, which when done right is like potato chips..ours was less than good and we tossed it in a can.  We were shocked to see hot dog vendors is very popular down here.  Don did buy a candied apple and I took a bite but they are not my if it was a caramel apple that would be different.

  It was fun to see and I would like to see more of the shows but the mid-way music is very loud and we could still hear the base beats way out on our boat until 2-3 am.  Other stages through out the vendors were playing loud...and louder music much like we can hear from car steroes in Yakima.

   Other things of interest: I have attended (when I have time) a quilting group here in La Paz.  It is made of women from the Cruiser's Club here.  This last  week one lady showed us how to make small landscape quilts.  She provided all the fabrics and tools needed and I made a little quilt that is a picture of what we saw when we went up into the Sea of Cortez.  I love how it turned out and I will use it for a travel album for the photos of our trip that I decided to have printed.  Before I publish this I will include a picture of it in process for all to see.

   Today Don along with Joy and Dave, went shopping for things we needed before leaving, (haven't we done this before ?? ). We went by taxi because we had many short stops.  I have found a favorite taxi driver here in La Paz.  His name is Castro and he is 72 years old.  The reason I like Castro is he drives slower than the younger men, his taxi is cleaner, he actually stops at the STOP signs and his front seat seat belt works.  He patiently teaches gringos Spanish and helps you find things plus he will wait for you at the stores.  All this and he is sweet.  Don says I have a crush on him and maybe so...he makes shopping fun and safe. I will miss him and have told so many cruisers to use him that he told me thank you for saying he is the best taxi in La Paz. He usually can be found just outside of the Marina de la  paz and all you do is ask for him.

  While shopping we went to a book store, stopped at a street tacoeria for dos camerone (shrimp) tacos, I made a dentist appoint to have  my teeth cleaned, Don had his glasses repaired, Joy got new frames and had lenses made for them and she picked them up the same day..we got a few groceries too. For less than 50 pesos we each had 2 tacos and shared a Coke. Can't beat that.  The taxi was $15.00 per couple.

   Later we returned to the marina where we had  parked out dingy, picked up our laundry (all done) loaded it in the dingy and went up to the restaurant for a cervesa before going back out to the boat (velero) is sailboat. I will put things away and make tortillas.. It is 81 degrees.  I guess it will get hotter later in the spring but for now this is perfect.  A light breeze to keep us cool, and cool nights so we sleep well. 

   Tomorrow the plan is to stay on the boat and do some work. Don will supervise the diver who is going to clean the bottom of the boat...(lots of barnacles growing) and I will do some sewing projects and clean the windows. Oh and  perhaps take a siesta. 


Buenes Tardes mi amigas and amigos,   Jacquie


Monday, February 8, 2010

Our trip North into the Sea of Cortez

    We just spent 3 weeks in the various bays traveling North into the Sea of Cortez.  Sometime we anchored on the Baja coast and other times out in bays on the many islands out in the sea.
    If the water weren't so blue and warm we could almost imagine we were just still sailing in Puget Sound.  Instead of seeing green evergreens we were looking at large and varied rock formations, cactus, dolphins, whale pods, beaches with shells, and turquoise waves.   To the right is a picture of the colors of the sea and in the distance is our boat,
SV Little Christian. We were on the beach exploring and shelling.
    We traveled with two other boats;" Lovely Lady with Rose and Jani from Seattle area, and "Happy Nest" with Joy and Dave Robbins from Colorada but more recently living in Gig Harbor while they learned the art of sailing. Joy is pictured above with me shelling at Bahia Amortajada on Isla San Jose. 
    Here are a few other pictures from our trip.
Hopefully you can see the variety of sea and land scapes from these pictures.  It was fun, we went all the way to Puerto Escondito, which is 14 miles from Loreto and then took a taxi into the city.
    Some of my pictures in Loreto were erased during a whale frenzy..We saw several pods of whales traveling north to give birth in the Sea and then on our way back we saw one large whale just frolicking, flapping his tail and lifting up one large fin.  It was determined from pictures of types of whales that it was a Humpback Whale.  We have quite a video of him or her.  It was the closest we have gotten to a whale.  We have seen hundreds of porpoise right by or very close to the boat but this was our very first whale, up close and personal.
    We even had some strong wind and one rain squall where we had to way anchor and go around to an anchorage on the other side of the island to get protection from the directions of the winds.  The interesting thing was we decided to do this and 4 other boats followed us to the other side and in the morning when we got up there were at least 3 more boats who arrived in the dark. That was on Isla San Francisco.
     Now we are back in La Paz, Getting provisions and planning on staying here for the "Carnaval" which last the week before Lent begins and is a smaller version of the ones in Rio de Janiero and New Orleans.  It will be fun to see what this is all about. 
    Today I attended a quilting class with Joy and we learned how to do a small landscape quilt..there is lots to do down here even quilting and beading.  Things that I never even thought of doing while in Mexico. Sunday we attended the little English Church we have found that many cruisers attend.  And we watched the Super Bowl with all the comments in great Bud commercials but we did see the game. The guys were thrilled to see it on a big screen complete with Negro Modelo, a beer down here. So life goes on and God remains constant in our life even if we are "on vacation" so to speak.
    I will catch up next during the Carnaval...I guess we will have to take naps to be able to party after dark during all the festivities and parades..I need to make a masks for me and probably for Don.

Happy Sails to you.  Jacquie

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Time to Leave La Paz, and getting the boat ready.

   Today is our second day of getting things ready to leave our safe next here in La Paz. We arrived just days before Thanksgiving 2009 and will depart January 16 th around noon.

   We spent Tuesday provisioning (food) and yesterday picking up some boat items plus some prescriptions.  We put some non-skid on the top of the pilot house where we stand to lower the main sail and move the boom. Also, I baked some cookies (necessary) and cleaned the barbeque.  Of course when we took the barbeque off its stay, it had cemented itself on, so it broke the plastic regulator stem which the propane hose attaches itself later we had to walk to town and buy a new one!!! That friends is the nuts and bolts of owning a boat and using it because if it sits in the marina everything lasts longer.
    Today we or I did laundry and we did an errand or two, I remembered something I needed at the fabric store and so we took the shuttle bus to town and a taxi back, after having a fun lunch in downtown La Paz.  There are many places to eat and so far all have been good.  It is sunny and around 82 degrees, however it has started a 3 day blow...with winds up to 20-30 knots our on the Sea of cortez.  Hopefully it will do as the report projects and the wind will  die down on Saturday and won't blow again until next Wednesday and that should give us time to get to our next destination further up into the Sea. That was not our original plan but instead of that we have decided to see some more of the sea before going over to the mainland.

    We have stowed everything, but something will manage to fall on the floor and break or spill. The fridge is as full as we dare. We eat simple things like a small tortilla with cabbage, avocado, salsa or mayo and meat or fish on it maybe some cilantro but it does not last well. We have plenty of fruit and I may make a soup tonight in the pressure cooked.  Don filled the propane tanks, the barbeQ is clean. The water tank is full. We said  good bye to friends here at the marina and announced on the cruiser website that we are taking off today at noon.

    It is hard to leave La Paz and we are not alone in having a hard time taking off.  Others have decided to stay or come back and we will probably return but not this year. The wind has calmed down but the seas will take a couple more days to really calm down but there is another blow coming so we need to be where we are going which is Agua Verde by Friday.  We will stop tonight on the island of Espirtu Santo and then go up the Bahia Evarista to meet friends on s/v Happy Nest.

    It all depends on the internet connections but I suspect it could be a week or two before I am able to write on the blog again.  So chow for now; s/v Little Christian; Don & Jacquie.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A New Year _ in Mexico and What we did for Christmas???

     I was getting so homesick the week before Christmas that Don bought us tickets to fly home, he said, " it is probably better to take her home that look for a new woman".  So we flew out of Cabo on December 24th at 4:27pm and arrived in Seattle at 8pm in the same evening. At 11pm we caught the airporter shuttle to Yakima and walked in to our condo at 2:40am on Christmas morning.

    Don busied himself with turning on all the things we had turned off and when he got to the main bathroom and tried to turn the water on in the toilet the knob flew off and cold water began blasting all over our bathroom and Don, it was so cold that he was freezing and the force of the water was so hard that he could not get the knob back after getting the handle to turn off the water from our neighboring condo owner and calling the fire department we mopped up and fell into bed around 5am, slept for 2 hours or less and then the fun really began.

     I was dropped off and Laura's (and family) home and rang their door bell (lights were on) and Jack my oldest grandchild opened the door are was very surprised, everyone was in shock. After the big surprise Don left for Newport, Oregon where he surprised his kids royally...and it was lots of fun to be able to do that. The day after Christmas two of my sons and their families came for game day and let the cousins play.  They also were very surprised to see Nana had come home for Christmas.  Mike couldn't make it because he was heading south for the Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena.  (still sad about our loss)

    Don returned on Monday and we did some maintenance in our condo and got ready for New Years Eve.  We went dancing at the American Legion (we have to get some new places to dance in Yak) but alas we were so used to going to bed at Cruisers midnight which is 9:30pm that we could not even make it and went home to bed.   I guess we are OLD. We had most of our evening meals with Laura's family and the food was delicious. Don managed to eat at Bert's Pub his favorite and Laura and I took in a movie "It Complicated", and I would wait to see it when it comes out on video....just okay. Anyway then it was pretty much time to fly back to Mexico. Which we did on January 8th, Elvis's 75th Birthday.

   Now we are here on the boat, Christmas was wonderful, all the grandchildren are growing and so much more grown up. We are busily getting ready to set sail to Puerta Valharta or PV as it is referred to down here. We will leave here on the 15th of January for some snorkeling on the Island of Espirtu Santo and Isla Parrita.  Then the plan is to go acrossed to the mainland and see the area around PV and perhaps a bus trip up to Guadalahaja (spelling???). 

   Many of our new cruising friends are all dispersing to other directions and they will be missed, some we will see in the future and others will be heading to the further parts of the World where we have not planned to go.  We will follow their blogs and keep in touch hoping to cross paths in the future. 

   We have been invited to travel along with some others to destinations that all sound fun, but we are thinking that would be too soon for us to leave this part of the world. So far God is showing us to continue our planned course for this year and return home for the summer, returning to the boat and Mexico in the Fall of 2010.

   Please pray for us that we will know God's will for our path and He will keep us in His safe care.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2010.   Jacquie and Don