Saturday, January 7, 2017

Starting off the New Year in Mazatlan

Sea Lion catching a ride and a bite to eat on a fishing boat that is returning into the harbor after a day of fishing.

Cabo to Mazatlan...
The weather is still cloudy and gray, but the tourists are still in full force on the water and on shore.  Our boat is constantly moving up and down, side to side in the wake of it all. There is never a restful time during the day because you are walking through the boat like you’re on the monkey bars, swinging your arms reaching the next handrail to keep from falling. Or during the night where we have to lay sideways in the bed to get any kind of sleep. We are growing tired of Cabo but are trying to make the best of it, taking little excursions just so we can get off of the merry-go-round on the boat! But poor Harley is still stuck onboard until her wounds completely heal.

On December 28th, we took the dinghy to the dinghy dock at the Marina and started walking in search of a Chiropractor. Rick’s shoulder and neck have been causing him a great deal of pain and constricting him from certain arm movements. We had no idea where we would find a Chiropractor so we asked around. This was very difficult to explain and to get directions for. We got several different directions along the way and just went with the ones that seemed the closest.  After nearly an hour walk we found one and sat down inside the air-conditioned waiting room until the Chiropractor got off the phone.  After his lengthy phone conversation, he poked his head out from around the corner and asked if he could help us. Rick explained the situation (he was an American so it was easy) but the Chiropractor stated that he could not help him. He said that he only gives adjustments to people who are already in alignment.  We were stunned with his response! He obviously wanted to get back to his phone call or who knows what. As we walked out the front door of the office the Chiropractor said that we could find another Chiropractor in front of the Wal-Mart. Ok great…. let’s go there we thought. At this point, Rick just wants to get treated.

On our walk to the bus stop, we stopped and had lunch at a little whole in the wall restaurant. There were lots of people inside and the aroma was inviting, so I thought it would be a good choice…a safe choice. Thought wrong! The food was lousy and the plate of condiments and veggies the waiter brought out were dried up and wilting. Rick ate his taco reluctantly and I picked out what I could stand to eat from my chicken quesadilla.

After a dissatisfying lunch, we kept walking to the bus stop and got on the bus headed for Wal-Mart.  We got to Wal-Mart, found the Chiropractor but the sign on the door said, “cerrado” (closed).  Rick was bummed and decided to give up on the idea altogether.  So since we were at Wal-Mart, we stocked up on some groceries for the next few days.

The next day we decided to take a bus into San Jose Del Cabo to see what the town was like. Unfortunately I told the bus driver we wanted to go to El Centro (thinking it would be the town where all the pretty and interesting shops etc were).  It turned out to be the opposite of where we wanted to be... poverty stricken, dirty and run down vacant partially demolished buildings, small tiendas with flies swirling around the entrance and outdoor restaurants blurred by heavy smoke. On top of it, there was a heavy wind that was stirring up dirt and plastic from torn garbage bags into mini cyclones into our faces.

Since we weren’t having any luck with our daytrip to SJDC, we decided to look for the Marina instead. At least we knew at the marina, it would be pretty and we could find some decent food.  That was going to be another long journey, but we decided to walk as far as we could then finally we broke down and took a taxi the rest of the way. We were dropped off at a restaurant called The Container at Puerto Los Cabos. There were lots of other gringo boaters eating there which made us feel like we picked a good spot. The kitchen and bar were actually in a container that opened up to a deck that had a rustic tropical beachy feel to it that looked over the Marina. The food was ok but it was very pricey. Rick and I each had a cheese quesadilla (since they were out of pollo), and two limonadas for a jaw dropping $25.00.  Normally we can get that meal for $3-$5 anywhere else.

After another let down, we walked as far as we could till we found a bus heading to the main highway where we could catch another bus to Cabo. 

The last day before we left Cabo, we just hung out on the beach and swam even though it was cloudy and a little chilly. We had dinner on the boat and went to bed early so we would be rested up for the 32 hour passage to Mazatlan.
Sunrise in Cabo
In the early morning of the 31st, we got the boat ready, pulled the dinghy up on deck, stowed everything else below that needed to be and prepared meals that would be easy to grab and to eat underway for the next couple days.
As we were heading out of the bay...

Then the rain came...

Around 10:45 we pulled up our anchor, motored off with our Jib-sail. About an hour after we left it started to rain! The sky was dark and visibility was difficult.  So into our foul weather gear, which was packed away underneath our V-berth (a place where we put things we don’t use very often).
Rick always says the best time to fish is when it's cloudy out. So what a perfect day to catch a fish!

Harley and I sitting under the dodger trying to keep dry

Are we there yet?
Snuggling with Harley trying to keep warm

Rick, making sure we are on course
We weren’t feeling like we were off to a good start. But even though it rained the seas and the wind were our friend. 
Sun trying to creep through the clouds as the rain stops

You can see a slight rainbow in the clouds
The next morning I was happily surprised to see the sun out with only a few wisps of clouds in the sky. The seas were calm and the winds were slight. We were still motoring for lack of wind and making good time, so good that we were going to arrive in Mazatlan in the evening instead of the next morning.

Just as I started my two-hour shift and Rick got into the V-Berth to catch up on some sleep. The fishing pole started spinning at a fast rate, we had a fish on! So I yelled at the top of my lungs, RICK YOU HAVE A FISH, YOU HAVE A FISH!!! I’ve never seen him jump out of the V-berth as fast as he did at that moment! It’s usually a very slow methodical process in order not to bump your head.
Rick still half asleep trying to reel in the fish
Rick grabbed the pole immediately and reeled in a Dorado! It was a good size…just enough for the two of us for two days. No part of the fish would go to waste! It was a decent fight bringing it in and a bit of a wrestling match once the fish was on deck. He was quite active, banging and bashing around spattering blood from where the hook had entered its mouth.

Within twenty minutes to a half an hour, Rick had the fish cleaned, gutted, filleted, put into Ziploc bags and into the Engel to keep cold.

After catching the first fish of the season Rick was a little amped up and skipped catching up on sleep. We were both awake the rest of the day and into the early evening. Just before arriving in Mazatlan, we noticed a pod of whales out in the distance….  too far to take a picture, and a few sea turtles. We also picked up a passenger on the way, a little bird who sat on the bow pulpit.
Sea Turtle sighting
Little bird catching a ride
We ended up anchoring in front of Isla Pajaros, just outside of Marina Mazatlan because it was too dark to enter the channel to the marina.
Sun starting to set

Crescent moon

Sunset as we approached Mazatlan
Sunrise looking from Isla Pajaros (where we were anchored) to the Malecon at Mazatlan
Next morning, January 2nd we motored through the channel and to the marina. We were greeted by our friends, Marilyn Gibbs & Steve Dees, Mike and several other people from Dock 6 who grabbed our lines and helped us into our slip. It was such a welcoming committee, we felt like we’d just circumnavigated the world or something. We felt very special and quite welcome.


Our boat snuggled in on an end tie! Just the way we like it.

Marina Mazatlan

Steve and Rick

Me and Marilyn
Breakfast is served!
Soon after we tied up and put a few things away, Marilyn and Steve had us over to their boat for homemade Tamales, fresh Cantaloupe, hot tea and coffee.  It felt really good to be in Mazatlan after a safe and easy crossing and visiting and catching up with our friends.

Later that day after cleaning the boat inside and out, we walked over to the Beach Club belonging to Marina Mazatlan and sat out by the pool for a while. The Beach Club was desolate…no people but us. It was hard to believe because it is one of the most beautiful spots I’ve seen in Mazatlan over the last two seasons.  The pool at the beach club is beautiful and very inviting!  It looks out over the beach and gives you the impression that it merges into the ocean. After I made my way into the cool water, I swam stealthily to the edge of the pool where I rested my arms. I felt like I was in Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous! It was such a beautiful sight and I was a part of it. I stayed there quite a while just soaking it all in.

Looking out at Isla Pajaros (where we anchored the night before)

Walking on water….
We didn’t stay there too long as planned because the wind came up and it got chilly sitting in our wet bathing suits. So we got dressed, packed up our towels and walked back to the Marina.

That night we had dinner on Toccatta (Steve and Marilyn’s boat). Rick and I brought the Dorado that had been marinating all day in olive oil, garlic and limejuice, along with some rice. Marilyn made a delicious apple salad, and heated up some veggies.  Steve barbequed the fish to perfection and it tasted amazing!

After our delicious meal, we watched a movie, Burn After Reading and then called it a night. We were pretty tired from our long couple of days getting there.

Wednesday the 3rd, we did some tinkering around on the boat. I took two large Ikea bags full of laundry to the EcoClean Laundromat while Rick worked on our Staysail…trying to configure it the best it can be in case we should use it. 

In the afternoon at 4pm, we went to what is called a “Safety Meeting” on Dock 6, which is actually just a get together of people from Dock 6 and any of the other docks that want to join in. People bring their folding chairs, beverage of choice, and snacks to share with the group. Everyone just sits and visits. Nothing about safety is ever mentioned.  There is a couple that has been a resident of Marina Mazatlan for over 20 years during the winter months and they seem to organize the daily “meeting”, which meets right in front of their boat on the dock. While chit chatting with the other boaters, they feed the fish, birds and a stray cat that lives on the dock. Apparently the cat knows when the meeting is and he’s the first one to show up.
Fish frenzy at Dock 6 during the Safety meeting after being fed a handful of cat food.
Later in the evening we took a bus into the Golden Zone to listen to a cover band named ‘Rex’ at Twisted Mamas with Marilyn, Steve and Brian and Sheri. Rex is a rock and roll cover band and they rocked!  Marilyn assured us they were good, but when we got to see and hear them first hand, she was more than right! The talent of these guys was mind blowing. The entire band was related in one way or another. The lead guitarist, rhythm guitarist and the lead vocalist comprised of a father and his two sons.  The drummer and base guitarist/vocalist were also a father/son relation. Anyway, they played phenomenally! We were quite impressed. As they would say on ‘The Voice’, they were “spot on!”

After four hours the band played it’s final song and we all left the restaurant praising the band as we walked out the door. We then all jumped on a Pulmania for a ride back to the Marina. We made it back to the boat by midnight. Late night for us!
Topping off the water tanks. Two nice young men delivered and poured the water for us. 
We plan to be here until Sunday and then head south. We are thinking about heading down as far Zihuatenajo this season. From here we hope to stop in Isla Isabel then San Blas.

Harley update: She’s healing just fine and loving being able to get off the boat and to take walks around the marina. She’s also feeling spunky after the shampooing I gave her today on the dock!
Hanging out on the dock

Monday, December 26, 2016

Feliz Navidad!

Going out to the Arch…to find Nemo
Christmas has come and gone and so have our kids and grandkids. We all had a wonderful time, especially the little ones!  Had lots of beach time, pool time, a trip to the Arch on a glass bottom Panga looking for Nemo, a walk around the Marina, breakfast one morning on the beach at the Office and a festive dinner at Mi Casa! 

The kids all stayed at our family timeshare at Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach. They shared a presidential suite so there was plenty of room for the six of them. There was even room for us but we needed to stay on the boat. You never know when the anchor could drag and we also couldn’t leave poor Harley alone overnight. We did take advantage of using their showers a couple of times, which was a real treat! Before the kids arrived, Rick and I realized it had been a couple weeks since we had a real shower.
Tyler and Kim arrived first (coming all the way from Kansas).
 Ty had fun on the golf cart ride from the Lobby to the room.
Each day Rick and I took the dinghy to shore and pulled it up the steep bank onto the beach as far as we could. Then we would walk down to the sister resort, Pueblo Bonito Rose and meet the kids there, where they arrived by shuttle. We’d spent long days together at the beach and pool, then the kids would shuttle back to PB Sunset Beach in the evening. It was all of the grandkids first experience swimming in the Ocean and they LOVED it!
Tyler and Kim

Rosie, Justin and Eve

Tyler on the Panga ride

Justin and Rick 

Rosie having her hair braided

Eve and Rosie


Tyler checking out the Iguana

Mom showing Tyler the Iguana or "lizard"
Dinner at Mi Casa


Rick and Gary (Danielle's friends Dad)

Kim and the Office

Lauren and Eve

The last day before the kids left, Christmas Eve, we were spending a warm day on the beach on the lounge chairs in front of the resort, watching the people on the beach, in the water and all of the activities going on. Suddenly Rick sat up and looked down the beach to see if our dinghy was still where we left it. On this particular day, Rick anchored the dinghy a little ways off the beach because the surf was so big. Anyway, he did not see the dinghy anywhere! He ran along the beach and glanced out into the bay and saw that a Panga was towing it around to all of the other anchored sailboats to see whom it might belong to.  We could not get his attention from where we were, so we asked some of the guys in charge of the Panga’s to get a hold of him on the VHF. They told us that they could not because they were on a private radio. This was way beyond frustrating! So we ended up asking a man who was handling water sports on the beach to please hop on a jet ski and direct the Panga with our dinghy in tow, back to the beach.  He did just that and got our dinghy back. We gave the man $20.00 for his help, which he said he would share with the Panga driver.  Such a relief! No harm done!

That was our only mishap during our stay in Cabo, which was quickly resolved…. EXCEPT for a few days prior to the kids flying into Cabo.  On this day, Rick, Harley and I walked down to the end of the beach where it was a little more relaxing and less congested to go swimming. After a nice swim we got out of the water and headed back towards our dinghy. As we were walking we noticed a black stray Pit-Bull mix trotting along in front of us, which soon, turned around, faced us, crouched way down in the sand and stared intensely at Harley. I was a little worried and told Rick it looks like the dog wants to attack! Rick said he just wants to play. Well…unfortunately I was right and as soon as we got up to the dog, it pounced on Harley, took one big chomp at her neck and shook and growled while Harley was making loud, sharp squealing noises. I was so scared for Harley! Rick ran at the dogs yelling and swatting at the stray dog with the back of Harley’s leash. Finally the dog released it’s grip and ran off.  Harley whined loudly for a while after the attack even while I was petting her trying to console her. I didn’t see any wounds initially because her hair is so thick and curly, but as soon as Harley walked up ahead of us sort of staggering I ran over to take another look. There was blood running down from three different spots on the back of her neck. I gasped in horror! I didn’t know what to do. I definitely wanted to get her some help! Rick was more calm than I was and seemed to think we could just pour some Hydrogen Peroxide on the bite, but to me it looked a little more serious and might need stitching up. As we got closer to where people were and close to the activity coordinator guys near some tents, one of them noticed Harley and walked over to us asking us what had happened. We filled him in on the details and he told us he knew of the dog and that she has actually attacked a few other dogs recently. He said the dog is a friendly stray that roams the beach, but just does not like other dogs. (I don’t care how friendly the dog is…he hurt my dog)! But anyway, he doused some iodine looking liquid on the wounds and told us it looked like Harley needed stitches. He directed us to the nearest Veterinarian on foot. Luckily it was only a few blocks away. We made it to the Animal Clinic and got right into to see the Vet. She first shaved Harley’s fur around the wounds, gave her a pain shot and then scrubbed out the wounds vigorously with an antiseptic wash. I couldn’t watch.  I had Rick hold Harley during that part. I figured next was going to be the stitching up but the Vet said that she did not want to give her stitches because that would trap in any bacteria that came from the other dog’s teeth. So she preferred to leave the wounds open and gaping. I understood the importance of this, but it was hard to look at her wounds! We were given antibiotics, pain pills, anti-inflammatory pills and some antiseptic wash to take with us, which we were to use 3 times a day.  We were also instructed to keep Harley off of the beach, out of in the Ocean and to keep calm for 7-10 days. All 3 of these are tall orders!
Rick holding Harley while the Veterinarian is shaving her
Ouch! Two of Harley's bite wounds.
The next day we started Harley’s new regime. First we washed her wounds then put all the pills into bits of hot dogs for her to eat. The wound washing went fine, but the pills were found later along with remnants of hotdogs on the decks. Poor Harley was sick from all the meds. We tried again the next day after she ate some of her dog food, but she was still throwing up everything. It was not fun for us to clean off of the decks. Not only was she sick but she was also sequestered to the boat. So each time Rick and I got in the dinghy to go ashore, she would get excited and wait near the gate to get into the dinghy with us. But we had to tell her to stay and that we’d be back. She looked so sad as we motored away. We both felt so badly for her. Her whole life revolves around the beach and swimming! Poor girl.

Over the last week, her wounds have slowly been healing. Two of them are pretty much healed through but one of the bigger ones is still a gaping wound and seems to keep reopening by the end of the day. She likes to rub her back along the safety netting on the boat to relieve her itching. As long as this one wound is still exposed, she is stuck on the boat.  We try to explain it to her, but she’s not understanding.

On Christmas Eve, I stayed the night at the resort with everyone because I wanted to say goodbye to Lauren, Justin and the girls the next morning at 6am and to ride along in the airport shuttle with Kim and Tyler to see them off.
Tyler wildly rocking in the chairs outside in front of the Lobby! :)

Saying goodbye on Christmas Day to Tyler and Kim

Tyler resting up on the shuttle ride to the airport for the long plane ride home.
So Christmas Day after saying goodbye to everyone and dropping Kim and Ty off at the airport, I got a taxi and had the driver stop off at a Wal-Mart while I got some groceries. Then the taxi driver took me to the Marina where Rick whisked me off and nearly 50lbs of groceries in the dinghy back to the boat.  Just as we were approaching the boat, two people zipped up to us on a jet ski. It was Danielle and her mom! They had been in Cabo that morning with their friends and were enjoying some time on the water. So we hopped back into the dinghy after dropping off the groceries and met them back on the beach. Danielle, her mom, Rick and I walked over to the Marina while Danielle’s friends left for their hotel in San Jose Del Cabo. The four of us had a nice afternoon together.

Rick and I made it before dark back to the boat and just had a quiet evening on the boat. We thought about going out for a special Christmas Dinner, but I think we were both tired from the long week.  Rick was especially tired due to the fact that Harley was running around the decks and whining with excitement from 9-1am chasing a seal that was playing in the water near the boat.
Quiet morning on the boat
We were originally supposed to leave Cabo today to make our crossing but we’re waiting on a better weather window. It’s pretty lumpy out there with big seas and high winds that are going in the opposite direction than the waves. So it would make for a very uncomfortable sail, and we’d like to have 3 days in a row of good sailing weather since that’s how long it will take us!

 You'll be hearing from us in the New Year!