Friday, January 22, 2016

Flash backs in Barra de Navidad

This morning the French baker who deliveres his croissants in the lagoon of Barra de Navidad, shared a bit of his experience and preparation of going through Hurricane Patricia, which made landfall close by (according to Wikipedia "the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere in terms of barometric pressure, and the strongest globally in terms of reliably measured maximum sustained winds. The landfall was in a significantly weakened state").

We are anchored in the shallow lagoon, further away from the Pacific, and just like last year, we saw a boat run aground at the entrance. Economics seems the motivation here, a cheap bottom scrub, instead of navigation error. Anchoring here feels just like being in a marina, not the rolling we have encountered in other anchorages directly on the Pacific. Downside is that you don't feel like jumping in the water here, but that's OK as we got to visit the pools of Sand's and Cabo Blanco hotel, and the town of Barra. Tod got excited to see the woman selling tamales again (yep, the ones which caused me to experience terrible food poisoning on our passage back North last year), and bought some for his dinner. Oh, and the jury is out on the medical treatment I received her last year. I can happily report I have been walking without any pain for 11 months now, and would for sure seek treatment here again if needed. All in all, the Bliss crew is happy to be back here again for a few days.

yep, those tamales.....the lady is so sweet though, but I couldn't get myself
to eat another one

Sunday, January 17, 2016

double duty of anchor chain, life sling and flopper stoppers

With the temperature of the Pacific Ocean at 85F here in Chamela Bay we are discovering fun different purposes of the anchor chain, the flopper stoppers (the cones that suppose to help a bit against rolling), and the life sling (safety floating ring with long nylon line attached to the boat to be thrown in case one falls overboard).

We are enjoying Chamela Bay, 100 miles south of Banderas Bay, where we arrived Friday morning. What a joy to sail Banderas bay is! Consistent wind, just like San Francisco Bay, but then warmer, and whales around. We have had bottle nose dolphins play with our anchor ball here in Chamela, great fun to watch these playful mammals.

Just like land lubbers, we have our daily rhythms aboard as well. After breakfast, we play and read down below, do Bliss "school"(something Tessa is really excited about), then slowly make our way to the beach via our dinghy for some walking and wave jumping. Before the sun gets too hot, we head back to Bliss for lunch and quiet time.  Tod uses most of this time to do boat projects, as the list is long again. By 4 PM, we head out again for a couple of hours. Inspired by some other sailors in La Cruz who blow into conch shells to mark the sunset, we get out flutes for sunset. Most nights we eat aboard, and Tessa goes to bed earlish, so Tod and I have some time to ourselves!

swinging from our anchor chain

jumping on the flopper stoppers, there are 8 cones on a line with
a mushroom anchor at the bottom

Tessa loves to know where we are and where we are going, so Tod put up
a map in her room

looking for hermit crabs on the beach
new sunset ritual

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

spinnaker joy and clean sheets

These sheet smells so good, Tod says, as we put clean sheets on our bed. Ah the joy of dropping of your laundry at the lavenderia in town, and get it back the next day, folded and smelling fresh. Three loads for 185 pesos, about $10.

On our way from Mazatlan to La Cruz, where we are now, we got to fly the spinnaker or our jib for the majority of the time. That doesn't mean it was a comfortable ride with 5 to 6 feet waves aft of our beam, but it was more quiet than listening to our iron lady. We made the 170 nautical miles in about 30 hrs, and arrived just around lunch time. Within one hour of dropping the hook, we met a kids boat, and were invited to a boy's birthday the next day. Tessa clearly remembered the town, as she was on the look-out for iguanas falling out of the tree, while we enjoyed life music at the town square. Jumping in the waves, visiting the town's white horse, drinking plenty of agua frescas, Sunday's farmers market, bumpy dinghy rides, slightly rolling anchorage, and excellent and very affordable dental cleaning....all part of our life here in La Cruz.

The Bliss crew will head south tomorrow to enjoy Barra de Navidad and Tenacatita Bay for 3 weeks, then come back in February to meet our dear friends Ana and Christian from Switzerland.

Bucerias, town next door, gets large waves
Bliss at anchor with 30 + other boats

our outgoing daughter is the only joining the "dance floor"

Dinghy ride into the marina, more like a mellow bull ride sometimes

at one point, Tessa helped painting the towns square, Mexicans
enjoy kids a lot and don't mind the extra 'help"

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

"flying" 65 hrs to the tropics

Shorts and dresses, fans running aboard, ice cream, cold margaritas, 1 liter fresh squeezed juices, pool guessed it right, we are back in the tropics! And although it isn't super hot, the temperature and the scenery is quite different from central Baja.

Bliss just flew in the water, and what we expected to be a 3.5 day passage, turned about to be "just" 65 hrs to cover 380 nautical miles (418 miles). Not much sailing though, almost all under engine. We got the jib out from 3AM to 9AM the first night, and then again for the last 1 hour of the passage. Yep, you read that correctly, during the last hour, just when you are ready to be done. The marina is dredging the entrance, and we found out that we had to wait one hour before we could enter. Hubby decided it was time to get both sails up, and just sail around in front of the entrance.

We saw our first whale on our last morning; chatted on the radio during the night with a sailboat; and dodged several shrimp boats on our last morning shift (for 20 minutes I detoured Bliss to head for Cabo instead, so we could stay out of their way.)  All in all, our first long passage of the season was uneventful. We are now tucked into a slip of Isla Mazatlan Marina. Tod is baking a "Christmas" chicken, which we still had sitting in the fridge, and Tessa is having a blast with her Peppa pig toy we picked up at the Mercado central in old Mazatlan this morning.

back in Old town Mazatlan
for $2 you pick your fruits for 1 liter fresh squeezed juice
large indoor mercado with mostly food

little did we know, but it was busy at the iglesia selling large cakes for epiphany
dress day for the female crew of Bliss
sunrise at the last day of passage
helping papa with the water maker under way

Friday, January 1, 2016

Feliz año nuevo!

We started the New Year well with a 4 hr hike to the top of the canyon with our friends Theo and Marion aboard s/v Marionetto. It was climbing up and down, going though narrow passages, making your own trail, and avoiding cacti. Tessa hiked and enjoyed it too, especially when she got to hold hands with our friends. Thanks to Marion we had yummie oliebollen at the top of the canyon during our break.

lunch break at the top

Theo and Marion are fun to hang out with, and great hosts

Although our Italian cruising buddies on s/v Kiribati won’t be able to join us for this season, we had fun celebrating Christmas and New Years with them, while they visited and worked on their boat here.

Tessa with her "twin" brother Nicolas, and Deborah and Marco
The Bliss crew is getting geared up to move south again, and see warmer weather on Saturday. Betsy is tucked away in the same boat yard where Bliss was stored. Everything down below is stored away, food will be baked for several days (as cooking under way is not our idea of fun). We have not decided if we swallow the 400 miles to Mazatlan in one scoop (at least 80 hrs trip), or divide it in half and stop in Topolobampo. The sea state and our own mental & physical state will let us know what choice we make.

Happy and Healthy 2016 from the Bliss crew!

Spelling your own name with Bananas is a fun thing to do

Everyone pitching in to get the boat ready, please
don't disturb my project, mama