Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Night out

We sailed in to Mazatlan about 3:30am this morning and, after a bit of a sleep moved the boat to Marina Mazatlan.  Internet and hot showers sure are nice.  Kathy and I headed out for dinner enjoying a bit of us time.

Fish On! Catching a Marlin while sailing toward Mazatalan

 Andrew takes a turn cranking in a 6' Marlin which took 36 minutes to land.
 A fleeting shot of our catch and release of this beautiful fish.
 Kelsey takes over.
Dave taking a turn.

Staging for our South Pacific Crossing

So we finally made it out of Banderas Bay and have been on the move for the last several days.  First stop, San Blas for a stroll around town and a chance meeting with infamous Norm and Jan Goldie which we followed up with some tasty shrimp tacos, fresa liquados (strawberry milkshakes), churros and some foosball.  With an early morning start from our anchorage in the San Blas estuary we headed toward Isla Isabela in light winds with some decent sailing until early afternoon.  Then the wind shifted and built to the point that we'd arrive after dark so we powered up for the last few hours to Isla Isabela.  Andrew and Kelsey hiked around the island until sunset enjoying the multitude of nesting birds, fluffy new chicks and iguanas.  Getting underway early three days in a row is a bit of record as of late, but the weather looked good for a 230nm sail toward Cabo San Lucas.  After three hours we had to tack after a big 'header' or wind shift altered our course toward the Isla Marias which are Mexican prison islands with a 12nm restriction.  The GRIB or weather file we'd downloaded wasn't agreeing with the observed conditions so we changed our course toward Mazatlan.  Brisk sailing conditions most of the day had us moving well, but on a close reach which isn't nearly as nice as going downwind.  Once in Mazatlan we'll have a much better sailing angle to Cabo, our intended jumping off point for the South Pacific.    Preparation wise all that remains is provisioning with fresh fruits and vegetables and we are ready to go.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Now- Huanacaxtle Cafe

Jen and Irvin from s/v Ventured, Tiffany and John from s/v Michaela, Rodger and Tori from s/v Tan Tori, Dave and Kathy from s/v LightSpeed, Andrew and Kelsey- Crew on LightSpeed in the Huanacaxtle Cafe!
Fresh french fries and hot dogs at Huanacaxtle

Fantastic last few days in Punta Mita and La Cruz- Captions thanks to Kelsey

 Kathy, Andrew and Kelsey enjoying the water at Punta Mita.
Oooohh, what a nice door!
 Banana pancakes, crepes, or breakfast burritos?  Andrew does them all.
Frozen juice in a bag- boles- on a hot afternoon.
Cocktail party on LightSpeed with Jen from s/v Venture and Dawn from s/v Deep Playa.
 John and his dog Thelma in the hammock.

Margarita girls.
Bus stop juice bar.
 Streets of La Cruz

Getting our abs ripped - with the help of Tony from P90X.
 Andrew trying to get the hang of 'Free boarding' which is riding on a surf board behind a boat.

Baby rays, sailing from Punta Mita to La Cruz

 Kathy and Dave sailing toward Puerto Vallarta.
The happy couple working together - when two become one.

The real captain - Kathy
Photo credit: Shell

This is why we call him "Swab"
Gourmet pizza cooked my master chef Kelsey
The crew's praise of master chef Kelsey
Cinnamon rolls - luxury!
Michelada bar is a must on the way home from MEGA.
Cheesecake - Andrew's cooking is progressing rapidly.
Mommy and baby
 John's b-day at La Cruz.

Kelsey picks out a few new books for the passage.
Having some fun with the local kids
Took this photo from the the second story of the taco stand owner's home.
Working hard to feed us.
Changing sails in the blistering heat.
Another taco stand.
Stuffed french toast? Is this a 5- star hotel? Too bad for you, Dawn and Patrick!
Mouth watering.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

French Polynesia long stay visa issues

We started our French Polynesia long stay visa application back in September of 2011 at the French Consulate in San Francisco.  The application needed to be submitted in person, along with proof of insurance, bank statements, fingerprints and one hundred and thirty seven dollars.   Three to six months later your application might be granted approval.  Having sailed from San Francisco to La Paz Mexico in the intervening months our passports then needed to safely travel to the consulate in SF and then back to us in Mexico.  Via the Club Cruceros net in La Paz we found a north bound cruiser who would drop our passports stateside.  Once received and processed by the French consulate our passports traveled to Kathy's parents home in Santa Rosa, CA then onward to Spring Creek, NV to the home of our nephew Andrew who would join us for the voyage to French Polynesia.  In the interim we crossed our fingers and hope nothing got lost and that we'd avoid any surprise inspections by the Mexican Navy.  Luckily, all of this worked out.  At least until we opened up our passports last week and found the glitch. 

We'd asked for a 6 month visa that would allow us to take our time exploring the Marquesas and Tuomotu before arriving in Tahiti.  What we got was pre-approval for up to one year AFTER we've used up our normal 90 day tourist visa.  This was a nice surprise except for the glitch on the start date of July 20, 2012 which is one month later than we'd planned.  The July date pushes our first possible arrival date in French Polynesia to April 20, 2012.

Having discovered all of this after our South Pacific crew had arrived and the boat was 99.9% provisioned and ready to go we were feeling a little defeated that all our efforts and expense on the long stay French Polynesia visas might be for not.  With the boat and crew ready could we ask our crew to delay nearly a month?  It was on our way to the Mexican Port Captains office to check out of Mexico that Kathy and I decided to stop for breakfast and really hash out these tough choices.  Resolved to risk that the delay might mean loosing our crew for the 3000+ nautical mile passage to the Marquesas we headed back to the boat with trepidation.  

Preparing for one of the longer sailing voyages on the planet requires great project management and a bit of psyching up as well.  This is a big trip with lots of unknowns so getting so close to the sailing date then backing off a full month was a bit of a emotional yo-yo.  Fortunately, our crew was understanding and accommodating so we'll spend the next weeks exploring the coasts of Mainland and perhaps even sail back to Baja Mexico before building up for crossing near the end of March.  

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Banderas Bay, Mexico

 Back streets of La Cruz.
 Kathy trying out s/v Michaela's new SUP board.

 Pre-cooking 3 kilos or 6.6 pounds of homemade pork sausage for pressure canning. We ended up with eight pint jars each containing five sausage patties for our long term storage. 
 LightSpeed at anchor at Punta Mita.
 Brian and Andrew aboard s/v Cat-2-Fold hauling the anchor as we headout for a day sail on Cat-2-Fold a very cool 36' folding catamaran.
 Andrew hoisting one of the bi-plane rig sails aboard Cat-2-Fold.
 Crossing tacks with s/v Red Witch II aboard Cat-2-Fold.
 Shell keeping a sharp eye on the new crew.
 So here's where all the plastic bottles go.  Very happy to see a huge recycling push in Mexico.
 Puffer fish at the marina La Cruz.
Cooling our lips after some nuclear hot habenero salsa at Red Chair street tacos in La Cruz.