Sunday, December 26, 2010

The last road trip of 2010

First a car wash, just so I can see out the windows

Loaded the Simmburban onto the Baja Ferry to La Paz

La Paz, last in first out!  After 2 hours!

Ok, I think we go North from here

El Burro cove in Conception Bay, we anchored here last Spring

It was a dark and stormy night, but we made it!

This looks like wine country
I have always been a stickler for all my paperwork being in order.  That said it was time to take the Simmburban home.  It needed a smog check and a 2011 license tag.  We decided to drive up the Baja for a little something different.  It was actually very interesting to be on the land side of all the places we cruised last Spring.  We really, really were out in the middle of no where on several occasions.  Mexico is not a country known for signage so it was interesting to drive up the Baja knowing that there were little villages off a dirt road and not seeing any signs for them.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

And so this is Christmas

We arrived in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle in December for the Zeppelin Group Christmas party!
This dock the Zeppelin Group only, How are we a part of the Zeppelin group?  Let me count the ways!

 It was time to get ready for all the festivities!  A small Christmas dinner turned into a rather large get together of over 20 boats and 60 people for a sit down potluck dinner.  During the course of the week there was an informal dock party every night which were really fun.  All the food was amazing, just like the Holiday season at home and I think I over ate.
My first boat turkey, it just fit in the oven!

Gift exchange

These folks look pretty relaxed for it being the Christmas Season!

Our friend Anna the Banana, nice skirt!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pizza, killer Margaritas and a Boa

Yesterday ended up being a very busy day.  I arranged a grocery store run for our buddy boat SV SeaBear, they had just come over from La Paz and needed a small resupply trip. Kathy SV BlueDolphin, JC SV SeaBear and I made a fairly quick trip to the store and grabbed a bit to eat. (Breakfast/Lunch?)

Upon our return we found that "everyone" was waiting for us to head over to Stone Island for pizza.  Our crew Leo was back from his big adventure to Guaymas and was really hungry and pizza sounded perfect.

So we all met over on the dinghy dock.  Somehow our group had grown to over 12!   Word gets around when you are talking about good pizza.

No trip to the Old Harbor is complete without a water taxi ride over over to Stone Island's Benji's Pizza.  We arrived in time for a late lunch I think.  We enjoyed 6 pizza's with different toppings (pepperoni, veg, mexicano and their famous shrimp pizza.  They were all eaten so fast I didn't get a picture. Eli served wonderful margarita's and his pina colada with a punch!  The coconut shrimp was also a big hit.  Just after we finished eating pizza Eli came over to our table and announced we were all going on a field trip, follow him!  OK!  I love field trips.  Turned out there had been a BOA siting just behind the restaurant.  It was big, very big!  BOA's? here? what the? I hate snakes, I have just about the same reaction as Indiana Jones.
Everyone else got up real close to it and took some pretty good pictures.  The snake actually made a pretty loud noise which sent me off in a different direction.  They were entertained for quite a while by the snake.  I spent the time picking stickers off of Tuckers paws.

After bothering the snake we,  the "Crew" kids (they have decided I'm ok and can hang out with them) we decided to hike to the top of the little mountain at Stone Island and watch the sunset.  Geez, sunset?  I thought we came over for lunch.  Oh well, I love a good hike so I scurried off bringing up the rear.  It was a really good climb up the side of the little mountain.  We even passed a bunch of goats.  The scenery was beautiful and the view was spectacular.  I think the view was better than from at the top of the light house mountain top.

We were so caught up in watching the sunset we sort of forgot about the rest of our group at the restaurant.    We scurried down the mountain, back to the restaurant only to find that the rest of our group had already taken off. Opps, when does the last panga leave?  Wow, it's really dark out here. We made it back to the panga at exactly 6:00 pm.  Turned out there was one more panga ride for the evening.  He tried to charge us again, saying we were late but we managed to get a ride without having to pay again since about 10 other folks came running down to the dock after us.  He wasn't going hassle the entire boat full of people.

He delivered us to the other side of the estuary but not near where we had gotten on the first panga boat.  So we decided to stop and have a beer at the restaurant on the point called La Pontilla, not to be confused with la putilla!  The band was playing when we walked in, then stopped.  They were done for the day.  We could wait for 30 min. and pay 50 pesos to hear the next band.   I don't really feel I need to pay to hear a mexican band in a bar.  I can sit in the cockpit of the boat and hear a mexican band.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mazatlan Mexico - Old Harbor - Now let's go get the truck

Posting from Mazatlan, Mexico.  Cruising can distort your calendar.  Just like sitting in front of the computer can suck away hours of your life.  We have been anchored here in the Old Harbor since November 25, Thanksgiving Day.  That's 9 days.  So has it been just over a week or almost 2 weeks?
Ah, who knows.  No matter where we are there seems to always be something to do either on our boat, or another boat.  Once we hit a port it's time to replenish our resources of water, fuel, food and of course spare parts.  In some ports it is easier to accomplish these tasks then others.  Here in the Old Harbor aka Puerto Viejo, the chores are very time consuming and require having a working dinghy and a strong back.  Having a vehicle here is really a luxury.  The alternative is bus, taxi or walk.  There are no nearby services.

Earlier in the week Caroline, crew from SV Blue Dolphin and I took the night bus North to Guaymas to retrieve the Simmburban.  It was almost a 24 hour trip up and back and cost about $250 in bus tickets, gas and tolls.  The bus ride took just over 12 hours and it was freezing cold the entire journey.  I should have packed a big blanket.  I instead only had my "CAL" sweatshirt and a towel.  I always carry a towel just in case I might happen to have an opportunity to have a hot shower.  In this case I wish I would have packed my BIG towel.  I was hoping to get some sleep on the bus but was to busy shivering most of the time.  We played scrabble, Mexican version, until I got a little motion sick.  I was very happy when the bus pulled into Guaymas.  I had planned on jumping on a local bus but decided we needed to walk a bit just to get the feeling back in my feet.  We only had time to grab a quick breakfast before we had to get back on the road and head South to Mazatlan.  When I took the night bus I had figured I would have plenty of time to drive all the way to Mazatlan during day light hours.  Time flies when you are having fun I guess and I never did get my shower, it was closed for repairs.  We did not get onto the MEX 15D until very close to 12:00 PM.  It's an 8 hour drive if you drive like me, a 7 hour drive if you drive like my friend Moses and Doug said it was a 6 hour drive.  Ah, who to believe.

The drive to Mazatlan was pretty uneventful except for a road detour that involved driving surface streets through one entire town, one herd of goats and two small boys crossing the highway, one wrong turn and one road block.

We arrived in Mazatlan at around 8:00 PM, which meant I had to drive for 2 hours in the dark.  We went through only one pretty scary road block in which the Federally dressed in black holding a very big weapon peered into the truck in amazement, I guess he wasn't expecting to find two tourist women smiling out at him.  I'm not sure what he asked me so I just guessed and said we were traveling from Guaymas to Mazatlan.  He looked a little puzzled and waved us through.

I was able to negotiate parking my truck inside the gate at the dinghy dock, at no additional cost but I need to move it outside the gates before 7, 8 or 9 in the morning, depends on who I ask.  This works out o.k. since I need to get up and take Tucker to shore anyways. 

We have enjoyed the huge convenience of having the vehicle here and have been able to purchase diesel and gas in jugs to refill the boat.  There is no dock surcharge on fuel purchased in jugs from the gas station in town.  We have also done our provisioning from the grocery store, taken Blue Dolphins' watermaker over for repair, a few trips to the laundry and one trip to the dentist.

I plan to leave the truck here in Mazatlan when we depart on the boat.  I will leave it in a friends condo parking till we returno.  There is a ferry here in Mazatlan called Baja Ferries and it departs Mazatlan and crosses over to La Paz.  The plan is to return to Mazatlan via bus (with really big blanket) and put the truck on the ferry to La Paz.  Once in La Paz we will drive North to Napa.