Monday, February 23, 2015

Fish Stories

Warning -- if you don't want to read the details of killing a fish, you should skip this post!

As Jolanda mentioned in her post of today, we caught a fish on Friday while motoring up the coast.  I have to say that I'm really not an avid fisherman.  While we've been cruising, I will throw out a trolling line when we're on a long passage, as long as the conditions aren't too rough.  I have a fishing pole on board, but in five months I've not used it once.  So you can tell I'm not crazy about fishing, but it's something to do while on passage, and I do like to eat some wonderful freshly-caught fish!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Single-handling minus 1

Back on the San Francisco Bay Tod and I both single handled our own boats. That's how we met and noticed each other. Once we merged our lives, and sold Jolanda's boat and kept Tod's boat, we didn't single hand any longer. Until, Tessa joined our lives. While sailing with a baby is easy, as they still sleep a lot, and don't want all your attention, things change when it comes to the toddler age. This is the 'all about me stage' and once she is awake, she is happy, active and ready to play with us  So, when we do passages, it pretty much means that one of us is single handling the boat, and watch traffic and weather. The other person plays with Tessa.  We try to alternate those roles. Not such a big deal for day passages, but overnite passages are a different ball game. We get a few hrs of sleep during the night during off watch (if lucky and if the sea state isn't too bad), but then comes 7AM, and we are back in full activity parent mode, in addition to the boat watches. Fellow cruiser Windy of S/V Del Viento referred to this age as a "minus-one" crew, which I think is quite applicable, when it comes to boat handling.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Cruiser camaraderie

It may not be obvious from our blog posts just how many other cruisers are out here doing the same thing we are.  On the Pacific coast of Mexico, at this time of year, there are hundreds of cruising boats (mostly Americans or Canadians) having a wonderful time touring around.  Most of us fall into a few basic categories: 1) came down the California coast in the fall, and spending the winter season in Mexico before departing for the South Pacific in the spring; 2) brought the boat to Mexico some years ago, and spend the winter messing about here and there, until it gets too hot in May or June, then put the boat in storage some place until fall when they do it again!  Of course there are some exceptions -- like folks travelling down through Central America; proceeding through the Panama Canal to go to the Caribbean; or heading back uphill to California after a few months here in Mexico.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Swimming and cruising friends

When Tessa turned 2 yrs old we put her in an intensive swim/float program, called Infant Self Rescue.  For 6 weeks, she would swim 5 days a week for 10 minutes in a one-on-one swim/float session with the excellent IRS instructor Heather.  Tessa loved it, it was the first thing she mentioned in the morning.  At the end of the program she was in the pool fully clothed and with shoes, and was able to float for 5 minutes as well as swim to the other side of the pool.  It made us feel just a tad more comfortable knowing she could do this (and I say a tad, as we fully realized it would only give us a tiny bit more time if she ever were to fall in the water).  Then, sadly we didn't see a swimming pool for months, too busy with prep for this trip.  And it showed when we first started to swim again. Tessa loved going to the pool, but she didn't want to do any swimming or floating….

Well, that has changed since we are in Barra, and visiting the pool every day. Now we are back in the

Thursday, February 5, 2015

a peek at local medicine

Visiting a general practitioner in a small town (population 4,500) gives you a bit more knowledge about the country's or at least local culture. OK, that was not the main reason I went to see a local doctor for some minor health issues. For visit number one, I called her number, she answered herself and asked me when I wanted to come in. In one hour? Sure, no problem. We took the dinghy to shore, and looked for the pharmacy of the same name as the dr's name. Yes, they are linked. The dr's office was quiet, clean and modern, removed from the louder main street. The doctor was fluent in English, took plenty of time to ask me what was going on, and was not at all offended by my self diagnosis.  No pretense here, no white coat. Some labs were needed, so she told me to take the bus to the next town, and then either wait for the results, or ask them to email it to her. After that, just come back and see me. Oh yes, you can pay at the pharmacy when you come back.

It was one of those few rainy days, so soaking wet I arrived at the lab in the next town. Super friendly locals guided me to the tiny lab. Twenty minutes later I had paid the $10 lab fees, blood results in my hand, and just had one hour to kill before I would see the doctor again.  The bus ride back is one I won't forget in a while. I thought only boats and seas can be super uncomfortable. Wrong. Sitting in the back of this old bus, driving on dirt town roads with big holes, and not much to hold on, made me want to walk back to Barra. Note to oneself: do walk or get out of the bus when the ride gets rather uncomfortable.

At 1.30 PM I'm sitting in the dr's office again. She has received the other labs as well. We talk for another 20 minutes or so, no rush, and then I walk over to the pharmacy next door. Total cost for her 2 consults: $24. Cost of meds $48.

Two days later, I call her again to ask about the treatment of another issue. Without going into much fun detail, it was a problem that my doctors and podiatrist at Kaiser couldn't solve. Or better said, they basically implied, live with it (mhm, even when it's somewhat painful to walk sometimes?). This was after I had  3 visits to see 3 different people.  This doctor suggested an approach that I'm familiar with, and that I had experienced in the Netherlands decades ago. No nurse to help, she just picked up anesthetics at the pharmacy, and 30 minutes later I limp out her office to pay the bill next door. Total cost: $50.  The jury will be out if it's effective, but it seems there was nothing to loose.

Totally unrelated.....Tessa takes down the cloth gate (for protection so she won't fall out while she is asleep) and climbs out of V-berth in the morning, but can't open the door yet. So this morning, we hear knock, knock. We ask "who's there?". She said "your little grand daughter, red riding hood" (her favorite story).

live entertainment for some sort of advertising

loving the water taxi ride back to Lagoon

Sunday, February 1, 2015

some firsts and a flashback in Barra de Navidad

Yes, we went on our first date since we left the San Francisco Bay Aea, while out boat is anchored in Barra! Thanks to the amazing sweet and fun Sherilyn from Believe! A few weeks back, we met Sherilyn and George in marina La Cruz. We shared the same dock, chatted a bit (we share a Dutch background as it turns out) and before we knew Tessa invited herself to their boat.  And what a fun she had fun playing and talking with Sherilyn, who as a former teacher had all kind of kid goodies on board. When we left, she gave Tessa a Spanish children's book, and told us she would have been happy to babysit if they had stayed any longer.

Fast forward a few weeks....we checked in on the morning radio net to find out what's going on here and  Sherilyn recognized our boat name  (like all cruisers, we are mostly known by boat name,  some know our first names but no one really knows our last names), and hailed us after the net. They were planning to leave that day, but she would gladly come over to our boat, play a bit with Tessa, put her to bed, and then stay at our boat while we went out. And so it happened! Tod and I took a water taxi, and treated ourselves to a nice meal out. It was great, enjoying wine, ribs and shrimp while discussing some future travel plans. Local kids around Tessa's age were still up when we left the restaurant, the town was still buzzing. Things we don't get to experience very often, as she goes to bed early.  Back at the boat, Tessa and Sherilyn had a great time, water colored, read books, and she got to stay up a bit longer than usual.

This morning we ordered some extra croissants from the French Baker, who delivers to your boat. We had hoped to drop them off at Sherilyn and George's boat before they left. But alas, so it the transient boating life, they motored by with their boat to say goodbye.  It looks like our plans are somewhat similar for the next few months, so we for sure hope to see them again.

originally from France, this baker does good business, and rightly so!

you can place your order ahead on the morning radio, or you
check out what's left

Although this was our first date in many months, we have had other cruising friends playing with Tessa for a while: Shelli from s/v Astrea entertained Tessa for hours in La Paz, while Tod and I discussed engine problems: and just a few days back, Britta from s/v Desire entertained Tessa on their boat, and played a lot in the pool.  Also Jane from s/v Dilly Dally generously entertained Tessa in their V-berth.  All much appreciated!

Having grown up in a country that sees a lot of rain, I don't really care for it that much. However, my short work/life stint in the Caribbean (Curacao)  twenty years ago, made me appreciate the rain in a whole different perspective. So when we got rain here last nite, it was yeah! Except for the part that not all hatches were closed, and some clothes were still hanging outside.....No problemo though, the sun came out again, and things dried up rather quickly.

super excited to dress herself and have her rain boots on again
We have a hard time to find good Mexican cheese. Their queso fresco works well in quesadilla's but we find it not that tasty on bread.  Shopping in Walmart a few days back (yep, that's where you actually can get a decent selection of food items), I came across on old time favorite as a kid: la vache qui rit. Bringing back memories of my childhood summer vacations in France. Nothing spectacular among all the amazing French cheeses, but as a kid I loved the soft , silky taste.  No longer a favorite as I got older, but it worked OK on the French baquette we bought from the French baker today.

malecon, and Bliss anchored in the lagoon in upper right corner

for 2 pesos a ride you get a lot of smiles

our daily routine of swimming at the somewhat dated and rundown Sand's hotel,
the only place to leave our dinghy safely in town