Saturday, December 23, 2017

Happy holidays from the Bliss crew!

We have 3 boat kids aboard, all making Christmas cards to give to the boats on our dock. It's a fun thing to do for them, and what's great, all ages play together.  Tessa has been playing a lot with our neighbor boy, he's 9.5 yrs old. Just this week, Tod and I had just dinner alone twice,  while Tessa was eating on another kids boat.  It's one of the reasons cruising families linger in la Cruz a bit, and it's relaxing.

Tod's long time friend Michael is vacationing in Puerto Vallarta, about 25 minutes North, and we had fun taking him for a day sail yesterday. Great company, perfect wind conditions, and seeing 2 whales breaching, it can't get any better than that.

The Bliss crew wishing you all happy holidays, and a blissfull, healthy and creative 2018!

day anchor in the bay, fun swinging from the boom

delivering Christmas cards on our dock

tod and his assistant doing much needed sewing

holiday decorations made from cones picked up during our travels

the town square is full of iguanas

her favorite spot aboard

love these slabs, which we could take them home to make furniture
the teacher with her students

Friday, December 15, 2017

An UFO, a pet, free diving and the joy of snorkeling

“It looks like we are followed by an UFO”, I say to Tod, during my evening watch. It started as a small white light behind our stern, and it seems far away, so I don’t bother to check on the radar (which would tell me if any object is closer than 24 miles away). Then 15 minutes later, it’s not small anymore, there are lights everywhere, and if I believed in UFOs, I can imagine it looks like that. Our AIS responder tells me that it’s a cruise ship, 1000 ft long, on it’s way North to Mazatlan. You don’t want to be in their way, and I decided to hail them on channel 16 on the radio to make sure they see us. A very polite British accent answers my call. “Yes, we see you on our radar and by vision, we will hold this course, will you please do so too?” Sure, I have no interest in getting any closer to this giant, 26 times bigger than us. With it’s speed of 20 knots, the whole UFO story is over in 20 minutes, they pass us on port side and disappear into the night. Tod enjoyed a great meteor shower later that night.

We decided to take a trip to Bahia Chamela, 95 miles south of Banderas Bay,  about a 20 hrs trip. We anchored, had fun snorkeling, swimming around the boat, and jumping in the waves.  Although Southerly winds were predicted for our trek back North, it didn’t work out that way. We pounded against the waves, and had a rough overnight passage. For the first time in her life, Tessa was affected by it too, in contrast to a very rough passage a few years ago where she yelled “big waves, yeah” (you can read about that here). Off course, there was a bit mishap too, our sailing life wouldn’t be normal if there wasn’t any. Tod forgot to tie a proper knot on our flopper stoppers (line of cones with an anchor weight attached at the bottom, hanging over the sides, which suppose to diminish any rolling in anchorage), and oeps, there they went overboard.  Fortunately we only anchored in 16 feet of water, and I learned that Tod is a pretty good free diver! And Tessa, who has been asking about a pet forever, got to keep a hermit crab aboard for a night, and returned it to the beach next day. 

back in La Cruz, where we saw Rage, the sailboat that went on the rocks
2 years ago when we were here

leaving some of her toys for other kids at the town square

Saturday, December 9, 2017

unexpected catch of the day!

"Mhm, we have a boat issue", Tod says when his girls came back to the boat after a swim.  I'm thinking "what's new", we needed a new problem, as he just fixed our solenoid starter issue. For the record here, I'm very lucky to be married to an extreme handyman/ fixer, and can't imagine  passage making without that very helpful skill set. While at sea you need to be self sufficient, in contrast to being at the dock in a marine where you can hire people.

We got ourselves a snake on board. What??? Yep, a live snake. Tod discovered a sleepy snake on the front deck when he removed our kayak bag. Now it's not so sleepy anymore, and we are all alert. Tessa is excited and wants to have front row seat near the action, I'm less excited about that idea. Dock neighbors want to come see the show. Tod grabs our boat hook and Tessa's old bath tub. With his bare hand he grabs it, and throws it in the bath tub. It's not as active now, maybe due to lack of water? He and Tessa bring it to shore, where the security guard wants to have it as he has never seen a snake like that before. When did it decided to come along for the ride? Our best guess is when we were tied to the fuel dock in San Blas for the night, a few days ago.

We are now enjoying Banderas Bay, and are staying at marina la Cruz, with plenty of cruising kids for Tessa to play with. Yesterday Tod and I had just dinner alone aboard, while Tessa was eating at our neighbors boat, playing with kids she just met that afternoon.

it's not big, but for sure glad it's off the boat!

the joy of sailing into Banderas bay, it's the San Francisco Bay
without fog and with whales, dolphins and sunshine

Preparing for Sinterklaas's night visit by steam boat
Lucious Marina La Cruz

with fish market in town we eat well


ah, the joy of having 2 loads washed and folded for less than $5

home work including food and cards

helping to decorate the chrismas tree in the cruisers lounge

making ornaments with materials collected from the beach 

iguana's around the town plaza

driving in the pick up bed, mexican way with friends to dinner

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Swimming in the Pacific Ocean and sea life!

Sadly we had to sail by the “mini” Galapagos aka as Isla Isabela in the early wee hours, as the easterly wind didn’t give us good anchoring protection on the East side. We marched on to San Blas to check out the place where Bliss will be stored out of the water in the New Year. Underway the girls had a blast jumping into the Pacific Ocean (no worries oma, we were both tied to the boat, wearing life jackets, and no sails were up), watched bottle neck dolphins playing near our bow, and whales a few boat lengths away. The Baja Peninsula is no longer on our West side, it's the vast Pacific Ocean, and it's tempting to sail South West. Something to look forward to in 2 years!

We have been very lucky with wind conditions this season so far, we get to sail a fair amount. Luckily we are on a sailboat and not a power boat, as our latest boat issue is related to a sticking solenoid! Tod is trying to fix it now. It basically means that Tod is  hammering the starter solenoid  down below while I push the engine start button above decks.  So far it has worked but you never know when this trick will stop working, likely in the most inconvenient place! Good news, our fresh water leak is fixed (hot water tank), so off course we were due for a new boat problem!

sailing by Isla Isabela

reference guides can keep her busy for quite a while

the bird poop rock

hard to catch a good pics, but we saw 4 whales