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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

We are at Latitude 8.17, which means we are 8 degrees and 409.5 nautical miles (NM) north of the Equator, and are about to enter the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). We got our first squall this morning, just light rains but the skies are black and gray and there are squalls all around us. I took some pictures to post when we get to the internet. We're jammin to Janis Joplin as we await the inevitable - that we will get wet. Destiny needs a bath, and will appreciate the cleansing. We don't
have good radio transmission, probably because of these weather patterns. I'm the dummy in that arena, but we have been trying to transmit since early yesterday to no avail. The wind and seas have given us a good ride of late and we seem to be making much better progress. I am finally sleeping well when not on watch. Either my body has finally succumbed to the extreme fatigue or I am getting accustomed to the jolting and banging. I question not the why or how, only thank God for the "what is".
There is nothing real exciting to report just now, except that we had 15-bean soup for lunch (uh-oh!), so we had better stay outside for a while, ya think!?

Monday, April 28, 2008

April 27, 2008.

Today we had some real excitement - we are 1200 miles from shore and while we were both down below we heard a helicopter! We ran up to the cockpit and sure enough an orange chopper was hovering over us. It had the floater skids on. He just kept hovering - I could see the pilot's face he was so close - so smiled and I waved. He waved back and then took off. So bizarre! It looked like it was a search and rescue bird, had the Mexican flag painted on the side. We tried to hail him on the VHF but
got no response so we don't know what it was about. Where did he come from? What was he doing clear out here? Was he searching for someone who was lost at sea? Did I scare him off because he saw me in my swimsuit!? Eerie indeed!
This has been a busy day. I've been doing laundry (by hand in the sink) and we are house (boat) cleaning. I overcame my Weenie-ness and braved the top deck. I actually donned my safety gear and, armed with clean wet cloths, set about to wipe down the chrome rails the windows and rigging. Destiny has a lot of chrome and a lot of portholes and windows! The scariest part for me was going out on the bowsprit with the gennaker (sister to the spinnaker sail) flying. Then I attacked the salt encrusted
windows, and cleared the decks of the dead flying fish and squid who had committed suicide on Destiny's topside. The squid were nasty because they release their ink when they die, so I had a bit of scrubbing to do there. Smells good too! I kept thinking, "There should be some way to harvest all of this salt!". When I got back into the cockpit, my rear was coated in salt crystals. Guess I got exfoliated!
I finally got an email from my wonderful and beautiful daughter back in Texas. She has an upscale hair salon in Seabrook, TX and has often been asked to do the hair styling for models on photo shoots. In fact, she has been asked to participate (model) in some of them once the photographers get a look at her. There is to be an Ed Hardy shoot/show in town and she has been asked to do the hair for that one. I'm so proud of her! She and our grandson are getting settled into new digs and this will be
the first in her last 3 moves that we haven't been there to help her out. I don't think we are too upset about it.
We are nearing the half-way point on this voyage, and have stayed in constant contact with our sister voyager, Imagine. They are several days behind us but it is so nice to know they too are out here. Imagine is a beautiful 50 ft Hallberg-Rassy. Very nice teak decks, center cockpit like ours. We are both very happy to be making this journey in big, heavy, well-built cruisers. I cannot imagine doing this singlehandedly or in a smaller craft, such as Tania Aebi did years ago. If you want a good
read about adventure, bravery and overcoming tremendous odds, read her book, Maiden Voyage.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Yesterday we had little excitement to break up the otherwise monotonous day. We have been seeing lots of flying fish throughout this crossing, and were enjoying watching them when we noticed that something was jumping up and out of the water seemingly snatching them. It was such quick movement that it was difficult to discern what we were witnessing. After gluing ourselves to the side of the cockpit and watching intently, we saw that we had come upon a huge school of tuna. They would sometimes
jump up and twist about so beautifully, as though putting on a show for us. They were greedily feeding on the flying fish. It took us a few minutes to realize, "Hey! We should get out the fishing rod!" Frank got it set up and within 5 minutes we had hooked one. I ran for the camera as he reeled it in, and while doing so he saw that we had a Blue Fin on the hook as it leaped out of the water, and then the line went slack! Well this is the third time we have sacrificed lures to Neptune's Fishdom.
By the time we got the line in and a new lure secured the frenzy has passed on. We sent it out anyway hoping for yet another chance. There were no more sightings the rest of the day, but it was a lot of fun for a few moments anyway.
Last night was another (ugh) rough night. I feel like someone glazed my eyeballs with sandpaper I got so little sleep. I am on the 9PM-12 AM, and the 4-7 AM shift. Frank takes the midnight to 4 AM shift. I am going through the eye drops! Now how on Earth does Frank sleep through jerking seas, that have us heeled over at an angle that takes superglue to stay in the berth, while the sails are whipping and lines are banging? He is not human I'm telling you right now. He is superhuman. I married
Sailboat Man. I think he has little sucker things all over his body that hold him in place at any angle - kind of like Spiderman, he can climb all over the boat while I gasp and pray as I watch him from the safety of the cockpit. Of course, he is in his harness and tether, but no less amazing.
So today as a gift from Heaven above, we have been blessed with smooth 10-16 knot winds and relatively kind seas, while we are making a speed averaging 6 knots, with a about a 1.5 knot current giving us a speed over ground (SOG) of 7.5 knots . And to make it an even bigger deal we are actually getting to sail in the right direction! No wind chasing today, knocking on teak while I write this.
I decided while we are having a relatively easy day of sailing to bake a key lime pie. Of course as soon as I turned on the oven to preheat, the waves took on a mind of their own and gave me some challenging hits to the starboard hull (the side of the galley). I got to practice extreme acrobatics and balancing skills separating egg yolks and pouring ingredients into a bowl that took to skating the countertop while I was in mid pour. The spillage wasn't enough to thwart my efforts at making that
pie! Thank goodness for gimbaled ovens. We will have a delicious key lime pie for dessert tonight.
More to come…

Thursday, April 24, 2008

April 25, 2008

I can't believe it is Friday and that we have been out here a whole week already. We wish we could say that progress is steady but the truth is the winds and the seas are fickle. The only real consistency is that for about three days we would start out the day with rolling seas and light wind but then by mid-morning the wind speed would begin to build to a nice 20+ knots by early evening and we would truly enjoy some smooth sailing, just surfing those big rollers. Then in the night the seas would
kick up the really huge swells, then the wind dies and begins shifting all about; coming from crazy directions vacillating about and we are back in the washing machine once again on the agitate cycle. Today's winds have mimicked this unpredictability to the extent I see frustration and despair written on my dear husband's face. We love sailing, but this is not the fun part, especially when the boom is slamming and the sails are flogging it just jolts us and Destiny. It has been hard work and lots
of going off course just to try to capture the wind and keep from getting stuck in the agitator motion. We are resisting running the motor unless it becomes very necessary.
When sailing is like this it does get tiresome having to brace yourself in the galley while trying to chop and mix and construct, but you really do get used to it eventually. We try not to get caught in the same old, same old when it comes to food because we love to eat! So at mid day I thought I'd try to get creative with lunch to at least break the monotony a bit. When we sat in the cockpit to munch, Frank commented on how good my latest concoction was and asked me what it was. Of course I said,
"I don't know I just started putting things together that seemed good at the time". I was going for light and refreshing because it is warm out here. He then said, "You know Barb, we get pretty creative out here and maybe we should write these things down so we will remember them, in fact, let's put them in our blogs to share with our friends. " So here is the Friday Blue Plate Special that we had for lunch today: ...
In med bowl combine
1 can albacore white tuna, drained
Chopped onion (2 slices off a lg. onion, chopped)
1/2 chopped large roma tomato
2 T dried cranberries*
2 T broken walnuts*
2 T chopped fresh cilantro*
1 dollop real mayo*
juice of ½ fresh key lime
Mix all of the above and salt and pepper to taste, then I served it in a bowl over a bed of salad lettuce and sliced avocados, topped with a dash of ground ginger. We ate it with Kashi crackers.
*The measurements are only relative because I used what looked right to me.

April 23, 2008 Update

Today marks our 6th day at sea. We have been having good winds, rough and +at times but haven't had the need to motor as much. We are excited that our sister cruiser, Imagine, has left Manzanillo and is making the passage. We have been in touch via email and will be talking over the SSB daily. There are a couple of radio frequency networks out here for those making the jump. We have until now been unsuccessful picking them up, but today could finally hear the "PPJ" (Pacific Puddle Jump) Net;
not too clearly but hope for a better signal next time. These are important tools for us out here so we can check in with other boats and have a link for various resources. It is nice to know that, although you cannot see other boats they are out here as well.

I'm reading at night on my new watch schedule to pass the time - it is OK for me now to read while on watch because there isn't any traffic, although that is why we WATCH. It gets muggy and cool at night, and sometimes the seas get rough no matter what time of day it is, so I'm practicing my Yachtie Pilates a lot! This is sheer survival wherein you balance using whatever limb of your body is available and not too bruised to brace yourself or to hold on to something supportive while doing simple
things, like using the toilet (without falling in!), preparing AND eating meals, putting on clothes, taking a shower, typing on the laptop which I am now doing with one leg wrapped around the chair.

Frank continues to be my hero! I watch him in amazement and learn as much as I can from him. He sure gets banged up a lot though. Nothing serious but he bleeds like a stuck pig, and I am constantly on him to quit bleeding all over everything, hence he is covered in band-aides because I am constantly chasing him around armed with Neosporin and various sized bandages.

We got to talk to our folks today over the Sat phone, and it was so nice to hear our parents' voices. Ma is really good at checking our website and staying up to date on our activities and progress. I'd like to say THANK YOU to those of you who have been emailing us. We love to hear what is going on back home and to know that you are sending us your kind thoughts and prayers. If any of Frank's pals are reading this, you should write him. He would be thrilled to get an email from you. We are
like children at Christmas every time we turn on the HAM (SSB) radio and get a connection for one thing, and then to see that we have bytes coming through, meaning we have messages! OK, this is getting long enough and if messages are too long they take forever to send. By the way - a friendly reminder - if you do email us, especially via "reply" please delete all previous messages thus sending only your new message without forwarding ours back to us. This blog and all emails transmit via a radio
frequency which times out if messages are too long.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Update from Sea While on Watch

It is about 4:30 AM on Tuesday. I am on watch and this has been a rough 24 hours! We are encountering the craziest seas yet. It has been so unpredictable that it is difficult to sleep when off watch because I roll and slam no matter how or where I lay. Frank on the other hand can sleep on his head and nothing wakes him. We have both tried everything we can think of during our respective watches to find a comfortable direction and set of the sails. Not to be! Before that we have both been so
tired when not on watch that we try to grab some shut eye, hence although he is posting our position on the website neither of us has been up to writing or posting logs.
In fact as I write this I'm pitching about so this will be done piece-meal.
After I sent the last blog, we thanked God that the winds and the seas had remained fairly calm because (this will be my lingo not boat words) the lift line that runs from the top of the mast to the end of the boom snapped loose. The clamp at the end of the boom gave way, causing the lift line which has a shackle (pulley) attached to the end to slap around the rigging - much like the clew clamp did back before Cabo. And when a boat has a boom as large as ours you do not want the lift line to go!
It keeps the boom off our heads. Frank had to go up the mast in the bosun's chair to retrieve the loose line which was just at about the first spreader slapping around and getting tangled up in the shrouds. He got banged around a bit as the boat rocked but successfully got it reconnected.
After that the winds picked up and we had finally entered the NE Trades. We have on and off been getting up to 22 knots and are averaging a speed of about 6 knots so have been making up for lost hours of the first 2 days. We have traveled well over 500 miles in the 4 ½ days out. We have not seen another boat since the first day. We have seen a lot of flying fish but as for sea life that's about it. The sea birds are driving us nuts! They come along and sit on our solar panels on the dinghy
lift and poop all over the place so Frank has taken to running about like a mad man on his tether, screaming and flipping a towel at them to shoo them off. In response, they began dive bombing him! These are not lovely creatures - they are mean spirited and nasty. One bit his hand. In the end, they won - however, they do not sit on the back of the boat, now there are several who have roosted on the rail above the bow sprit (at the very front), and they leave a mighty mess all over Destiny. We
can't do much about them in rough seas nor at night, but each day that he can, Frank runs up there and sprays them with the anchor wash-down. They cackle and fly off, but come right back. This may be our routine for the next 24 days.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Day 3 at Sea

It is Saturday afternoon of our third day out. We left Manzanillo around 1 PM on Thursday, fuel tanks topped off, window replaced and galley stocked. Manzanillo turned out to be a very pleasant place to get stuck. After the red tide abated the bay waters proved to be a beautiful blend of teals and aquamarine hues. Some friends we met at the hotel (Rob and Alex) turned us onto a great restaurant, El Chipotle - not to be confused with nor bears any relation to the Denver chain - which had the best
thin crust pizza, Huerte Salad and stuffed chipotle peppers we have had anywhere else. We went back several times! A local hotel, Dolfin Cove Inn's Paradise Restaurant offered cruisers a 10% discount plus free WiFi in their lobby. We enjoyed that one very much as well, yet the lobby was a long haul straight up the cliff-side for our big heavy laptop. So we used it a few times and then decided we can't become enslaved to this thing. It is necessary to our survival but the reality is we cannot
take its use for granted as we did when we had a daily internet connection back home.

We formed new friendships with other boaters who we hope to meet again, "out there", and with whom we have vowed to stay in touch. We had hoped to have a cruising partner in s/v Imagine (Andy, Sandy and Emma Peasley) for the jump across, however, they would not be leaving for about 5 more days. The marina's surge was hard on our lines and fenders; Destiny was bucking the lines to get underway and we were ready to get back out on the water again, so we traded contact info with them and promised
to stay in touch as they bid us farewell.

The passage so far had been fairly uneventful. There have been a couple of "things" pop loose that have been jury-rigged for now, but nothing harmful or of cause for great concern. We have had fair seas with very large rollers. The wind has been averaging under 10 kts, so we aren't making fast progress and have had to motor to keep from getting beat to death by the rollers. We're getting back into our watch schedules which takes a few days. The moon has been so bright - nearly full - that it
feels we are under a spotlight at night. This is nice. The first night out Frank took a nap and missed the most brilliantly beautiful sunset I think I have ever seen. Neither words nor a picture could do it justice. The sea is a deep blue and the skies are relatively clear. Not bad so far, not bad at all.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Staying in touch with us...

It is noon on Wed, April 16, 2008. The window installers have arrived.  It looks like a huge task, so it may take all day today to get done.  This said, and if it goes well we may be leaving Manzanillo tomorrow.  We have always and will continue to believe that delays of any kind play a part in revealing hidden blessings to us that we would not normally see.  Alas, Destiny is t work again.  During these past two weeks we have made some lasting new friendships and have connected with another family, Andy, Sandy and Emma (their 6-year old daughter), aboard s/v Imagine, who also got stalled leaving for the big jump west.  Now we have someone with whom to make the crossing.
We will probably be updating from our HAM radio link for the next 30 days or so, which means we will NOT have internet access because we will be at sea enroute to French Polynesia.  We will each be able to update our blogs and the position tracker.  Pictures and other stuff will have to wait until we have internet again.  We have not been given promising reports that this will be possible in the Marquesas, but one never one?
You may email us at In doing so, however, bear in mind that your first email to us may be kicked back to you as a permanent failure if we do not have you in our address book.  That is our software's safety feature.  If you get that message, we will know it and will add you to the address book at that point.  Try again the next day.
Thank you everyone who has signed our "guestbook" - it has been a delight reading your comments and words of encouragement.  Because of our inability to have regular access, it is a real treat to read those messages when we do get on-line, although we may not answer you individually.
I now have a prayer request for my nephew, Tre Long.  He suffers from Muscular Dystrophy, and is the bravest and most kind-hearted teenager I know.  This is truly a young man of special character.  He suffers silently and courageously - never revealing his illness nor using it as some may for sympathy or special treatment.  He is scheduled for very serious surgery on his feet and legs in mid-June.   This will put him in a wheelchair for his entire summer break, but if the surgery is a success - which we have Faith will be - he will be graced with much more freedom from pain and with new freedom of movement for at least several years.  Please keep him, my sister Beverly and my brother-in-law, D in your prayers.
Thank you and God Speed to you.
while at sea:
Skype ID: frank.barb.gladney

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Getting Closer to Departure

Today after a huge effort on Frank's part we think our window is finally being released from Mexican Customs in Guadalajara. We have high hopes that it will arrive at Marina Las Hadas tomorrow, and that the installer will be available to get the job done sooner than later. In the meantime we have stayed very busy. We found a graphics shop to make some logo T-shirts. Only problem there is that we think men's "XL" in Mexico is meant for much smaller men than the American size, and that the women's
"L" would not even fit the most petite woman I know! I have two beautiful women's polo's that will fit our 4-year old grandson if he stops growing now.

We are putting together our Ditch Bag, AKA Abandon Ship Bag, which we will need to toss into the life raft should such event occur. We plan to be prepared so that it will NOT occur. We have begun the official provisions inventory and have discovered that among our food supply, if nothing else, we can survive on chocolate, snacks and cookies for 40 days and 40 nights. The trip across should take an average of three weeks. So during that time we will be able to update the website via the HAM, but
will not have internet access to the website itself.

Destiny has had her filters all checked and changed and fluid levels topped off, oils changed, insides scrubbed and is awaiting the high sign to go. Next update will be to say that we are ready to set sail!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

We have complied Saturday morning in Manzanillo

We are still in Las Hadas Marina, Manzanillo, awaiting the window which is still in Guadalajara waiting to clear Mexican Customs. We have complied with every documentation request and still have no status other than "delayed". Frank is at the end of his rope. We cannot send it back and we can't get it. We are at an impasse. Things we cannot change...

We've already checked out of the country - another 1/2 day spent tangled in the red tape of Mexican bureaucracy. We were the only ones in line, but they had us going upstairs and then downstairs and waiting while 5 employees watched soap operas on TV. Frank thinks they have to justify their jobs by making us wait or the gov't. will get wise and have a lay-off if they become too efficient. And of course you pay, but you never know how much or for what you are paying for any given service. It is
very random and subjective.

Yesterday, Frank rented a car and we made a road trip to Colima which is the largest city in the State of Colima, which was named after a King (Aztec?). The drive took us through the farm country where we saw groves of coconut, mango, papaya, lime trees and cattle farms. There were dozens of Farmer's markets along the highway. What astounded us most along the drive was that in order to slow vehicles down when entering a small town they placed speed bumps in the middle of the highway! Even more
shocking was that the sign alerting drivers of the upcoming bump was right next to it with a down arrow. Thank God we were behind another vehicle for the first few and got a clue before we hit one at 90 km/hr! There was nothing interesting about Colima, in fact after a while the towns all have the same dusty, tired look. We got some errands done while we had the car and decided we are itching to get back out on the water and go cruising again.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Update from Manzanillo

Here in Manzanillo we are adapting and adjusting as we continue to learn that in this new life of ours best laid plans are arbitrary.  Our initial objective was to arrive here on April 1, drop Tom and Mary off at their hotel, spend a couple of days getting re-organized and then head to the Marquesas.  We would have been ½-way there by now on an 18-24 day passage.  Today is April 10; Destiny still sits anchored in the Las Hadas Marina as we await our replacement window, which we have found was shipped (finally!!!!!) from the Island Packet factory on the 8th.  It made it as far as Guadalajara and got held up at the customs office.  Good news:  it is in Mexico!  Not so good news: items have been known to be held at customs in Mexico for indeterminate periods ranging from a few days to several weeks or months for reasons unknown.  Frank is like a caged lion.  We can't get any information from DHL (the shipper) or through any other means.  He just told me he is going to go catch a cab to the local DHL office to try to sort it out – Lord, let there be someone there who speaks English.
Time here has not been a waste, however.  We have met some wonderful people and had some interesting experiences that we would have missed if our departure had been on schedule.  Jan and Rob on the IPY 38, Triple Stars became fast and dear friends.  Before they left we enjoyed some very good times with them, and I got Jan's recipe for the perfect Key Lime Pie.  They headed south to Ixtapa and Z-Town, enroute to the Panama Canal and the Caribbean, and then eventually up to Maine.  We will see them again.  We have met so many other interesting people from other boats and at the hotel pool that it would take forever to recount them all.  There are a large number of Canadians here as this is a popular vacation spot for them.  One fellow cruiser, Clark Beek on s/v Condesa is just finishing a 9 ½ year circumnavigation and is heading back to California.  He has published several articles in magazines such as Sail & Yachting World.
As we await departure we are taking care of provisioning and inventory.  And we are taking care of ourselves, spending down time at the pool, shopping and pretending to be tourists.  We now look at ports and arrival points from a cruiser's perspective rather than through our previous resort seeking perspective as vacationers.  We use the local buses, walk a lot and go here and there sometimes unsuccessfully searching for what amenities will best serve our provisioning and onboard needs and comforts.  There is so much we take for granted in the USA, such as being able to flush toilet paper down the toilet, eating local food or drinking local water without fear of dysentery, running to Home Depot for household items like W-D 40, a 5-gallon gas can, propane for the grill. We have found it a challenge finding decent paper products such as toilet paper, paper towels and plates, buying Half and Half for our coffee or any real creamer (not possible), and most of all speaking the language.  Doing simple things like taking a cab or purchasing things without having to negotiate first because nearly every price is random being based on your "savvy factor" take more effort than we are used to. I'm not saying we are not enjoying ourselves or that a good time is not possible in another country.  We have traveled many places in the world, and have stayed at some fabulous resorts, yet nothing and no place compares to American convenience and luxury.  Right now I would readily kick anyone in the gut who dares to put down my beloved USA. 
April 6, 2008
Las Hadas, our present temporary home, reminds me of a once beautiful woman who in her prime was the most beautiful and desired creature of the lot, yet has aged and can no longer sustain the Botox or the cosmetic tweaks.  This resort was once home to Hollywood legends and in fact the movie, "10" with Bo Derek and Dudley Moore was filmed here.  As I walk about my heart aches just a little bit for the soul of this place.  There are empty alcoves, buildings and rooms that were once grand and luxuriously appointed.  You can imagine the music and laughter, the shops that held the coveted items that only the very wealthy could afford to buy, and yet they lie in disrepair and neglect.  Other areas of the hotel and waterfront look as though they are much better cared for, yet the place is too large to be fully revived.  It is a paradox of sorts.  I'll walk around and take some pictures so you can see with your own eyes the inconsistency.
Manzanillo is experiencing Red Tide, a phenomenon of red algae that just takes over the ocean, causing reddish discoloration of the water, producing toxins that kill fish and contaminate shellfish, causing a sickeningly sweet smell akin to rotting flesh.  It is said that this is Nature's way of cleansing oceans, I suppose like some people detox their bodies.  We cannot make water right now because of the Red Tide, so we are being very conservative.  We hope before we leave here the waters will return to normal so that we can see the beauty of the waters that attracts so many visitors.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Update from Manzanillo

April 3, 2008
Where to begin...we are in Manzanillo's Las Hadas Marina where we are moored "Med Style"; bow moored (facing the middle of the marina) with our stern backed into the dock secured with spring lines off midships and dock lines off the stern. We board from the swim platform. Frank is uneasy about this marina because the surge is relatively strong, and Destiny seems to be pulling on her lines and rolling about as if she wants to escape her bonds but we will stay here until her windshield is replaced. We had a little mishap a few days ago wherein a scuba tank took a dive into our center windshield shattering it so that it is being held in place with duct tape and plastic. God Bless duct tape! We have ordered a replacement from the IPY factory in Florida, and are in a holding pattern for now. That's alright because we all needed some down time by the time we arrived here on April 1. Las Hadas isn't a bad place to wait. It is a beautiful 4-diamond resort, although we are not staying in the resort we have access to the pool and other amenities. Tom and Mary are at another resort just a few hundred yards away, and no, they didn't run away; this was a planned stop for them although we think they were tripping over themselves to get back on land and checked into the lovely Barcelo Karmina Palace. We had quite the journey here from Puerto Vallarta.

The trip from Bahia Asuncion to Puerto Vallarta will remain in our memories but will not be detailed here because it is nearly a month of recapturing journals that just can't be rebuilt once the experience has faded into new ones. Hopefully our pictures will tell some of the tales. Here is the Reader's Digest version:
Frank and I traveled from Bahia Asuncion to Bahia Santa Maria, where we spent two glorious days of privacy on a beach so covered with Sand Dollars that at times we had to step around them in order not to crush them. We collected several, and have dispensed some to Mary (my sis-in-law), and to Jeri Lyn who took a few home to friends in Denver. I still have a few left to share.

From there we spent two days in Cabo San Lucas where Semana Santa and Spring Break were in full swing, such that we couldn't wait to get the heck out of there. The marina was full so we anchored in the bay. The small bay was filled with water adventure seekers, and at one point three cruise ships. It is a beautiful place but primarily caters to and services large motor yachts and fishing boats. We needed to replace a busted snap shackle for our Gennaker and were told sail boat parts were not stocked there - anywhere.

We bid farewell to Cabo and crossed the Sea of Cortes to Mazatlan. During that journey we encountered a heavy thick fog bank that gave us probably no more than 10 feet of visibility, and during which we caught our first fish - a shark! Go to Picture This to see it. We lost the shark and the lure before we could club it and cut it lose.

We truly enjoyed Mazatlan - the cruisers, the marina and the town. We would have stayed there much longer but had a date to get to Puerto Vallarta to meet Tom and Mary. We hope to get back there some day. Marina Mazatlan was wonderful, as was Elvira at the dock master's office. She and Frank struck up a dear friendship almost instantly.

From Mazatlan, we continued south to San Blas, where we immediately met fellow cruisers from Longmont, CO. They along with a local couple named Norm and Jan gave us the lay of the land. We used Pepe's dinghy dock which also serves as his home, a restaurant and take-out grill. We explored the colorful friendly town, ate fresh lobster, fish and shrimp until we could burst and took a jungle river tour through the mangrove swamps. We enjoyed San Blas for nearly two days and then set out for Chacala which proved to be just adorable with a cove full of boats and a beach so full of colorful umbrellas and palapa's it looked like a veritable rainbow. It was so busy in fact that we could not get to shore to join in the festivities, so we threw out the stern anchor, heated up leftovers and settled in for a rolling night, leaving early the next morning.

We arrived in Puerto Vallarta on the 22nd to find that the marina office was closed and the security guard would not honor our reservation because we did not know our "slip #", which he pronounced "Sleep #". That gave us a chuckle but caused us a lot of grief. Eventually Frank, through the assistance of a wonderful fellow IPY, owner named Paul on Pincoya, won the battle of the wills over the security guards - us claiming Squatter's Rights in a true Mexican Stand-off, and bought us some time until the marina office opened on Monday. We were blessed to meet up with Jeff and Jeri Lyn yet again who happened to be in PV on business (yeah right, ha ha, wink, wink). And we got to spend Easter with these dear friends. On Monday, Tom and Mary arrived and the 6 of us spent a hilariously charged evening and scrumptious dinner at Daiquiri Dick's in down town PV on the water. Tuesday morning we sadly said our good-byes to Jeff and Jeri Lyn, and sent them home with our broken camera, my broken (brand new ) Oakleys, and instructions on picking up a new snap shackle from West Marine. What great friends we have in them!

On Wednesday, Tom and Mary took off with us; our first stop being Punta Ipala which we later renamed Punta Diablo or Nightmare Bay. When we arrived the small bay already had 4 other boats at anchor, pitching and turning. We found a spot and later saw that 3 more boats had crowded in around us. An 8th vessel arrived and after several attempts to find safe anchorage, headed back out to sea. In hindsight we wish we had followed his lead. All about us were buoys marking rocks and underwater debris. We decided to take turns at anchor watch throughout the night to make sure the anchor didn't come loose in the surge and toss us upon the rocks during the night. None of us got much sleep, and in the morning we found that underwater lines had wrapped around the prop and the anchor line. This is the point at which the scuba tank took on a mind of its own and tried to escape through our windshield. Frank donned scuba gear and cut us lose with the aid of a local panga operator, then we high-tailed it out of Nightmare Bay, heading to Chamela Bay hoping for reprieve. Chamela Bay was another adorable anchorage, but the strong surge continued here so we stayed at anchor and remained onboard until morning when we set sail for Bahia Navidad and its little village, Barra Navidad.

Alas, the calm after the storm! We all loved this cruiser-friendly little paradise, where The French Baker makes daily morning deliveries and the seafood arrives fresh several times a day. Tom and Mary dinghyed about and met some of the other Yachties, two of which were also IPY owners, Triple Stars with Rob and Jan and Equinox with Hank and Betsy. We spent two days at anchor in Barra Navidad's lagoon, and then 2 days in the Grand Bay Resort Marina - AKA Heaven! We laid out by the pool and treated ourselves to some great meals, and R&R.

After leaving Barra Navidad - sigh - we continued south once again toward Manzanillo. During the jaunt we were delighted that Tom and Mary had the opportunity to see not only many sea turtles, but lots of other "sea creatures" and as well to experience the playful dolphins racing through our bow wake. At some point I saw something that looked like a mini Stealth Bomber rise up from the water suspended for several seconds and then go back down. It repeated this maneuver again. We think it was a type of Ray. So odd!

Now in Manzanillo, it is Thursday, April 3rd. Tom and Mary arranged a day pass for us at the resort where they are staying and we are about to head out to dinner. This marina, Las Hadas, will be our home until our windshield has been replaced. It is nice that we an use the hotel's amenities. We need a few days of nothingness, and time to lay by the pool.