Saturday, February 25, 2012

Surf and sea animals

We've been to shore a few more times, a few more wet launches from the beach, but we're doing better in spite of having way too small wheels -- the main issue is getting the timing down right and avoiding (or riding) the big waves that are coming in while we're going out!

We reconnected with Erik and Terry from Mija on Wednesday at a gathering organized by Stan, an ex-cruiser now living permanently in Santiago -- and who does a daily weather report for cruisers! We had big hugs with Linda and John from Nakia, friends we spent lots of time with during our Jellybean days. The photo shows Linda, Terrie and me:

Today Karen and Roger from Meridien and Erik and Terri from Mija and we went to the restaurant at the nearby resort for an early dinner. After scrumptious dinners the waiters asked if we wanted dessert -- well, I remembered the flan as excellent (it was 6 years ago!), so 5 orders came with vanilla ice cream atop generous servings of flan, drizzled with Kahlua. Hey, it was even better than before!

Animals: When pulling up the anchor in Tenacatita Roy called back to me at the helm: grab a camera -- there's a seahorse on the chain! Indeed there was. Here he is after being pried loose from the chain:

Still on the animal theme: last night around 3 a.m. while lying in our bunk we listened to whale sounds. There are whale sightings every day by cruisers, as well as dolphins, however this sound was rhythmic and just like some of the whale recordings we've heard -- very exciting. Today while in our dinghy talking with friends on their boat, Pam called out: there's a sea snake. Yes, right next to us.

We're still here in Santiago Bay, enjoying some of the best that Mexico offers. We're looking into taking a one day tour up to Colima, see the volcano, the town, museum, etc. More later....

~~~ Marlene ~~_/) ~~

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


After a 2-minute discussion, and considering the grey skies with no opposing wind, we departed Tenacatita mid-morning Sunday and motor sailed down to one of our favorite anchorages, Santiago -- which is one of the bights within the huge Manzanillo bay.  Several old friends are at anchor here -- what a treat!  And we're meeting many new nice folks as well.  Monday we stayed "home" all day, watching the surf trends, trying to scope out a strategy for dinghying ashore.  We did the same on Tuesday, but since we had been invited to have dinner on Meridien we offered to bring dessert, so having something to occupy a few hours in the afternoon helped while the day away.  As is usually the case, lively conversation lasted well into the night and our dinghy ride back to Damiana on glassy water, illuminated by anchor lights and a few reflections from highly polished white boats, was almost surreal.

This morning was the "test."  We were determined to ride the dinghy into shore without any other cruisers to help us (they all really do want to help and it's very hard to say "no thank you.").  After riding a few not-too-big waves, we had a successful landing,  After we got it onto the hard sand two nice cruisers came by and grabbed some line handles on the side and we just didn't have the heart to say "no."  Well, we left it in wet sand with an anchor since the tide was going out and would continue going out for several more hours.  We met them and another couple of cruisers while walking the beach, and all six of us stopped at a palapa (thatch-roofed open air restaurant) for lunch.  One couple left early.  When it was only four of us, the guy said, we'll walk down with you and help you.  His wife was still drinking her water, so we said "we'll start ahead and really do want to see if we can do this ourselves."  Yea!!!!!  We got it turned around and launched all by ourselves!  We still need larger wheels, but what a great feeling to not feel dependent on others for doing a routine and necessary activity.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

La Manzanilla

Yesterday we had clear blue sunny skies. How lucky for us since we had arranged for a driver to take us and Karen and Roger from Meridien to the charming town of La Manzanilla, across the bay from the anchorage here in Tenacatita. The surf at La Manzanilla can be challenging -- in fact when we were there years ago we hurriedly ate our lunch when we saw the surf building and hustled out to Jellybean and got soaked while the dinghy was pitching fore and aft -- but did finally get on board and beat it out of there -- whitecaps were throughout the bay. Well, what a nice difference yesterday. We met a charming cab driver who let us off at the town square and promised to pick us up at the same spot at 2:30 p.m. We had a leisurely walk through town, stopping at the many stores to look over their goods, deciding where to stop to pick up groceries after lunch. Lunch at Yolanda's was a real treat -- their menu included Mediterranean, Thai and Mexican cuisine. We sat at a table right on the beach, shaded with an umbrella, and each of us ordered something exotic. In addition to buying a large selection of wonderful, fresh produce, we bought some cheese and meat at a Deli plus a cooked Chicken Asada that included rice, salsa and tortillas. The driver let us off a few feet away from our dinghies which were on the beach at the anchorage. Once again we had to confront the incoming surf with the dinghy loaded with groceries. This time, with Roger and Karen's help, plus kinder seas, we got beyond the break without getting hit in the face by a big wave -- our first successful launch this season! We hope to acquire large dinghy wheels which should enable us to manage our heavy dinghy ourselves. We've appreciated the help we've gotten from friends and even strangers on occasion.

Late afternoon brought the usual flocks of boobies and pelicans around the boats, looking for fish hiding underneath.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Friday night raft-up

For the past several years cruisers have appointed a "mayor" in the Tenacatita anchorage.   The honor has been traded off between two boats in recent years -- one having the honor in the first part of the season and the other taking over during the last.  Sometimes there's even a third mayor if the season lasts longer or the mayor moves on.  Every Friday evening there's a dinghy raft-up.  People from most all the boats anchored here prepare some food to share, bring their own drinks, bring boat cards to distribute, books and DVDs to trade or give away.  Everyone introduces themselves -- it's a nice way to meet other cruisers.  So last night we had the raft-up and Rita on Overheated announced she is the mayoress, not the mayor.  Her husband Darrell has had the honors for many years but tired of it so Rita stepped up to the plate and did a fine job of getting all the boats securely rafted and organizing the entire event.  For cruising friends who are checking our blog, we've also connected with Roger and Karen on Meridien and will share a van ride with them today to La Manzanilla.

Good weather news:  Sunny skies overhead!

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Weather blahs in Tenacatita

Well, as we've mentioned a few times before, there seems to be a stalled weather system over this part of Mexico.  Most every day we have grey cloudy skies, cool to cold temperature, some rain, with occasional sun peeks every once in a while.  There's no wind, so we're just bobbing around the anchorage with about 25 other boats.  Some of the more energetic folks are planning to play volleyball on the beach this afternoon.  In the meantime I'm sitting inside, wearing a long sleeved shirt and my feet, shod in sandals, are almost numb with being so cold.  Hey, remember -- we complained about the Caribbean being so rainy, cloudy, etc. --- and just couldn't wait to get back to sunny Mexico.  Well, it turns out that this weather system is a fluke: just doesn't happen, says everyone.  In fact, folks from Seattle are reporting that our weather is just about the same as theirs at home.  So. we'll wait it out and try to remember how nice and cool it was in Tenacatita when we're working to put the boat away in late May, in 100-degree weather.

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Adios Chamela, Hola Tenacatita

Last night we joined several other cruisers on SV Frannie B to celebrate Ned's birthday.  He was born on Valentine's Day, as was his son!   Chocolate cupcakes, tea and lots of good conversation -- ahhh, the cruising lifestyle!  This morning, after the morning net, we weighed anchor and after a pleasant 10 day stay we left Bahia de Chamela.   For most of the day we motor sailed, but around 1 or so we had enough wind to sail and we sailed right into the anchorage at Tenacatita.  So far we've connected with four other boats we've been buddying with so the season looks promising re: social life!

No sooner did we drop anchor that I took the last bit of dough out of our 4-loaf bowl and got it ready to bake.  This reminds me to let all of our readers know that our book, "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day," given to us by Roy's colleague before we left Santa Maria, has enabled several other cruisers to bake break every day.  In fact one of the boats has already left Mexico, bound for the Galapagos and Tahiti with recipes for daily bread baking.  Another cruiser, after tasting some of our Peasant Bread, ordered the book and it now resides on her Kindle.

I also put together a pint of hummus, flavored with chipotle, mmmmmm.  We'll take that to the cruiser raft-up on Friday night here in Tenacatita.

Both of us have finished reading "My Song, a Memoir by Harry Belafonte" and heartily recommend it as a "good read."

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

Friday, February 10, 2012

Weather, anchors, etc.

We stayed up later than usual last night, 10 p.m.  Just as we were heading for the bunk, a clap of thunder, a few flashes of lightning in the hills, and then rain.  It rained all night.  This morning a boat that had arrived late yesterday was inching up on our stern.  They had anchored too close to us plus let out too little chain.  After several calls we finally awakened them.  He came out and let out a little more chain.  Well, we weren't at all comfortable with our boats being so close so we moved to another spot in the anchorage.  It's a funky weather day so we're staying on board; some new friends are coming over around 1 pm to play a game of some sort.  When we re-anchored we recognized a boat from our past years in Mexico and hailed them on the radio.  So tonight they'll come over for dinner and catching up on the last five years!

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fishing in Chamela

All boats offer hiding places for small fish, however catamarans provide cover for medium sized as well as small fish. Since arriving in Chamela we've been impressed with the many schools of fish that seek refuge under Damiana. This morning a panga with three pescaderos were using individual drop lines with tiny bits of bait to catch these fish swimming near our boat. They were very close so we got some fenders and invited them to tie up so they could catch fish, hopefully without ramming into our boat. They threw a large weighted net several times to catch enough bait to head out into deeper waters and try their luck with dorado. We mentioned that we'd be happy to buy a kilo of dorado if they catch one. They wanted to know what time we'd be here! We'll keep you posted! ~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Correction to last night's post

Ice cream --- what were we thinking?!!  We had spectacular gelato at Mega while we were in La Cruz -- don't know how that slipped our minds.  Nonetheless the vanilla ice cream on a stick dipped in chocolate hit the spot while walking in town on a warm day.
~~~ Marlene ~~_/) ~~

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chemela - Day 4

Just as in previous visits, we love being here.  We have fond memories of meeting some cruisers here on our first trip down the "Mexican Riviera," people we socialized with for several years and with whom we still are in contact.  Today was the first day we went to shore.  We met another couple the other day (they stopped by in their dinghy) and planned to get together at one of the palapas on the beach for lunch and then walk into town.  We aimed for the one on the right end of palapas where we always had wonderful food  The people operating it are different, but the food was spectacular.  Roy had a tasty shrimp dish while I feasted on octopus.  Rice and a small salad plus beverages -- what a grand lunch!  We walked through most of the town, stopped at one store and bought ice cream (on a stick), the first we've had since we returned to Mexico.  A little further down the road was another store with wonderful produce -- just what we were hoping to find.  So now with enough veggies for several days we're thinking of staking out our claim -- which I guess we already did when we dropped anchor.  We lucked out -- fresh veggies are brought into town by truck on Tuesdays and Fridays!  Getting back to Damiana in the dinghy proved to be a challenge: the rollers hitting the beach were great for surfers, but not for dinghies.  We had waited until late in the afternoon, but not late enough to avoid a few big splashes.  All in all, though, weather has greatly improved, warm and sunny and beautiful sunsets every evening.  We just heard on the local VHF radio an announcement from a boat that arrived in the anchorage about an hour ago that they caught a huge tuna today and that anyone in the anchorage that wanted fresh tuna to come on by their boat -- they are from France.  Cruisers from all over the world are some of the friendliest we've ever met!

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

Monday, February 6, 2012


We are currently in Chemela, having arrived Saturday afternoon. Our rounding of Cabo Corientes was uneventful: winds climbed gradually to 20 kts, but being cautious we reefed the main at 15 kts. Eventually the wind shifted to be entirely aft of us so we dropped the main altogether and with jib alone kept going at 6-7 kts until early morning, when, typically, the wind died, and we resorted to using the motors. The wind did pick up again around 11 a.m. and we were able to sail the rest of the way into Chemela.

The old saying that "you can't go home again" rings true with our return to Mexico. One thing that is very different is the number of new arrivals that are passing through or returning home. So many that we've met are heading down to Panama, Ecuador or across the Pacific before spending a full season here in Mexico. Weather has been colder than before: I remember spending January in Tenacatita, playing dominoes in bathing suits! We're currently 40 miles north of there -- we're using two blankets at night, I'm wearing long sleeves, long pants, the door to the cabin is closed and it's 9:05 in the morning!

Yesterday we had freaky weather: wind and swell from the south. All 8 boats in the anchorage were rocking back and forth all day. We spent the day doing some housekeeping chores and have a few more to do today.

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

Friday, February 3, 2012

Adios La Cruz

After spending over four weeks in La Cruz, enjoying all the town offers, live music at several venues almost every night of the week, social life with other cruisers and the convenience of being base a full-service marina, we are once again completely on our own -- at anchor just outside the La Cruz marina. Our last few errands before leaving the dock yesterday were to stop at the fish market to purchase enough fresh fish for at least five meals; also a quick stop at the carniceria organica to buy a whole chicken and some beef for the freezer. As has been our habit, when we left the dock we went out into the bay and sailed for a few hours, getting used to sailing again, enjoying the wind and sense of freedom. We returned to the anchorage to spend the night, catch up on our sleep, and plan our journey south. One of our bargains at the fish market was a whole huachinango (red snapper). Fifteen minutes on the BBQ and we feasted last night with steamed veggies plus our usual salad, and today we had huachinango sandwiches (of course with our homemade "Artisan" bread). One last trip to shore this morning: we dropped off our old dock lines at the fish market, expecting that some of the pescaderos (fishermen) will be able to put them to use (Roy finally finished putting esplices in the new line that we bought before leaving California) and we then walked up the the OXXO (local 7-11 type chain store) to purchase additional time for our modem's data card. We are aiming to arrive in Chemela (96 miles from here) by tomorrow evening, Sunday at the latest. A weather system is brewing that promises some turbulence that we'd prefer to avoid.

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~