_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Marcy home Walvis Bay Angling Club club AFASyn Ushuaia Marcy and crew

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

It's New Year's Eve and we are motoring toward Zihuatanejo. We've got about 45 miles to go so we should drop the anchor at about 1AM, 2007. Lisa made it safely by bus to PV and back to Seattle. We rested for a day at Melaque and then headed south. We spent a very noisy 2 days and 1 night at Bahia de Santiago next to Manzanillo. By all reports Christmas week is busy all along the coast and the jet skis were there to prove it. Though we were planning to make a leisurely trip south the weather was perfect for sailing so we left yesterday at 5PM and sailed all night in steady 25 kt winds. The wind finally died this morning around 11A and we fired up the motor at noon. The wind is gone but the waves are still here and it's much nicer to be moving with them than tossing around not moving all day. We've definitely found hot weather! It's 90 degrees in the cabin and 94 out.

Since it's New Year's Eve I'm thinking about 2006. It was (obviously) a huge year of transition for us. I quit my job and we untied the boat and left friends and family for our voyage. By midnight tonight we will have traveled approximately 3200 nautical miles on Marcy. At an average of 6 knots that's about 533 hours spent underway. We've both been to a new country for the first time - Mexico and we've grown more comfortable at sea. We've made new friends and visited with old friends along the way. We're settling into the life and the boat is better and better as time goes by. We don't get much news here but it sounds like it was a great time to be away from Seattle for the fall weather. One of the best things about our trip has been email and visits from friends and family in San Diego and Mexico. Since we left on our trip there have been several accidents with friends at home. It's the first time I've left Seattle for an extended period and it's been tough for me to deal with loss and being a supportive friend from such a distance. I am so appreciative that we have the opportunity to be on this trip and the news from home reinforces the importance of our decision to go now.
We're looking forward to a couple of months in Zihuatanejo working on boat projects, swimming, exploring and a visit from our friends Rachel and Paul. We plan to leave in early March for the South Pacific.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve, Melaque - Ginger

Today is Christmas eve. We watched the Polar Express last night to get in the mood for Christmas as it's been hot and sunny here and poinsettias seem out of place. We picked Lisa up in PV a week ago Thursday and have made our way slowly down the coast enjoying swimming and sun. We stayed in La Cruz for a couple of nights after Lisa came aboard. We made a trip into Nuevo Vallarta on the local bus missed the consulate by 5 minutes and then went to check in with the Port Captain. We were lucky enough to see whales on our way south in Banderas Bay and enjoyed an uneventful trip around Cabo Corrientes with gusts up to 25 kts. We arrived very early in the morning (3AM) at Chamela; snorkeled and enjoyed the bay for a day then headed on to Tenacatita. Tenacatita is known for the "jungle cruise" a winding stream through a mangrove swamp with birds, fish, fresh water crabs, and supposedly small crocodiles though we didn't get lucky enough to see those. We enjoyed the jungle cruise from our dinghy and snorkeled at "the aquarium" in big surf with low visibility conditions. Tenacatita does get the award for best pina colada ever (per Lisa)! We arrived in Melaque on Thursday and have taken the local bus to Barra and explored Melaque as well. We've been getting lots of avocado and shrimp for Lisa and tonight we're going to have to sample tequila to figure out which bottle Lisa should buy to bring home. We are feeling very lucky that Lisa delivered a very nice Christmas present from my parents and we'll be able to take under water pictures now! We soaked the case all day yesterday to check for leaks so in spite of the cloudy water we'll take it in today for some photos.
Hope everyone has a great Christmas!


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Marcy is now in the Tropics

We like birds, so Isla Isabella - a small island where lots of seabirds nest – seemed like a good place to visit as we made our passage from Baja to the mainland.

I isabella anchorage

Boobies on cliff

The anchorage was an open roadstead on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, exposed, dangerous, and rough, so our sleep was uneasy. Even so, it was such a fascinating place that we spent two days and nights here. We learned about boobies, both blue and yellow footed, frigate birds, and saw our first tropic birds. Iguanas and other lizards roam the island.

I Isabel frigate 1

Isla Isabel reptiles


nesting boobie on 2 eggs

We loved Isla Isabella, bird heaven!

Ginger on Boobie island

Peter and boobie

Our first mainland landfall, after crossing the Sea of Cortez, was Chacala. We arrived just before sunset, dropped the anchor and sat on deck to absorb the ambience. The air was warm and humid. It felt somehow….tropical.

Peter chacala

The next morning, shore party! We explored dirt and cobble roads, tiny shops, and palapas – palm thatched beach restaurants.

Chacala beach and palapas

downtown Chacala

main road Chacala

The vegetation is luscious, the air is soft and warm, and the sounds of surf, birds and music are everywhere.

Chacala house

store front chacala

We anchored next to “La Solana” who we first met at Isabella, and since they had two athletic young boys on board, we set up a rope swing on Marcy’s spinnaker pole.

Michael rope swing

After a couple of enjoyable days, we hauled anchor and headed for La Cruz, Banderas Bay. We caught a nice Sierra on the way, one of the tastier fish available here.

Peter's Sierra B. de Banderas

We are here to pick up our daughter, Lisa, for a visit onboard Marcy for a couple of weeks. It will be great to see her!


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Isla Isabela (we're officially in the tropics!) Sat 12/9 4PM (Ginger)

We left La Paz and Marina Costa Baja a week ago. It was great to explore the city of La Paz but we were ready to get out of the marina. Before we left I baked "Pat's banana squares" which were, of course, fantastic! They disappeared as fast at the marina as they always did at the office when Pat made them so I must have done the recipe justice. We sailed North to Isla Partida and were fortunate the wind was light that day, about 15 kts out of the north. We arrived at Ensenada El Cardonel in the afternoon Saturday 12/2 where we hunkered down for another couple of days of north winds with some gusts higher than 40 knots. I left La Paz with a cold and was glad for some rest time, Peter spent some time fishing, and we did go for a short snorkel though the water was fairly cloudy. Dolphins swam through the anchorage Sunday morning and Susan from Wiz jumped in to swim with them though they were hunting and not interested in playing with her. As the wind continued we had a couple of evenings of dessert on Wiz. Tuesday though it was still windy and the swell was still 4-5 feet, Susan and Darrell hosted a trip north to swim with the sea lions. The crews from Baloo, Marcy and Rocinante piled aboard Wiz and we motored into steep waves up to Los Islotes. Darrell jogged back and forth as it was too rough to anchor and we swam to the rocks. The smaller sea lions got in the water and came to visit. As advertised they were curious and playful. It was a real treat to get to do that before we left! No photos as Baloo's camera wasn't working so you'll just have to imagine all those sea lion pups and us. The weather sounded good Wednesday so we left the anchorage Wednesday at 8A, rounded the north end of the island and headed south. We were sad to say goodbye to Wiz and Baloo as they are not planning to come this far south. It was a very fast trip south. We had 6-8 foot seas and 25 knots of wind. Our SOG (speed over ground) was consistently 8.5-9.5 kts (great for Marcy!) and we saw a high speed of 11.5 as we surfed a particularly steep wave. We had steady wind until 20 miles north of Las Tres Marias the penal colony islands. Our wind died and we were slowly drifting south. Our cruising guides clearly say that you are to stay 20 miles away and since we certainly didn't want to pick up and hitch hikers we fired up the engine and motored on. There were several hours of lightening storms which passed within 2 miles of our course to keep the early morning hours interesting. Though we made great time it was a tough trip. I was sea sick probably made worse by my cold and Peter had to fend for himself for food. Fortunately we have a lot of canned goods on board but we were both happy to anchor as Isla Isabella at 9A Friday morning. We stopped at the preferred anchorage on the east side, jumped in to check the anchor and any close rocks and then enjoyed a much needed nap. The wind and waves came up in the afternoon so we moved to the south anchorage and had it all to ourselves last night. The island is beautiful, there are caves with breaking surf next to the boat and warm blue water. We hiked to the top of the cliff this morning and saw the nesting boobies and frigates. When we returned to our boat we snorkeled and though the water is churned up from the surf there are plenty of tropical fish here to make snorkeling fun. After the cool weather in La Paz it's nice to be back in the tropics enjoying 85-90 degree weather. We plan to leave tonight or tomorrow morning to head to Chacala and then on to La Cruz where we'll anchor to pick up Lisa.


Friday, December 01, 2006

La Paz (Still!) Ginger

We had the best intentions to leave as planned Wednesday morning. We've been listening to the weather daily and the forecast for a "Norther" starting Wednesday night was firm so we decided to stay put in case it was bad. Locals said these winds come up often during the winter. A new neighbor arrived at the dock Tuesday night and said the one big protected anchorage north of us was packed with people who had been listening to the forecast. The final straw was Wednesday morning as we listened to the weather they were predicting 40 kts, 10 foot wind waves and specifically mentioned that there wouldn't be any protection from the small islands we were planning to visit. We stayed at the dock. The surge was intense at our dock, the wind gusts in the marina were in the high 30s and the surge slammed the boats and docks around for 48 hours. We chafed through 4 lines but since we had 10 lines out the boat was OK. The motion was very uncomfortable and the sand blowing covered every surface on the boat with a fine grit. We have new respect for the Northers! We plan to head out to the islands tomorrow, swim with the sea lions and then make our way south west toward Puerto Vallarta. We're jealous of the snow storm at home and would have happily traded the last 48 hours of this storm for snow in Seattle. The temperatures here have been in the low 60s at night and we've been forced to get out our fleece. The mosquito curtains are almost done and Peter accomplished some big items on the to do list here in the last week so we're ready for the tropical mainland.
La Paz was a great city to visit. There is a vital downtown and it's been a treat to explore. It's tiring to try to find the things on our shopping list here and I'm learning that most of the items on the list are just extras. We had a great night on the town with Nick and Cindi from Baloo. We took a siesta and went into town at 8P last Saturday to get the weekend night experience. We watched a traditional Folklorico dance exhibition on the Malecon (the waterfront promenade), went to a tequila bar, and went to see a guitar duel which didn't happen before we left that place at 1:15 in the morning. While waiting for the duel we did get to see some happy cowboys and some great dancing on the dance floor. Finally we went in search of the mythical "late, late dinner" we've heard about, for the men who stay out drinking. We found out that all the kitchens are closed at that hour, there is no IHOP here and the mythical meal is hot dogs from the street carts. Though Cindi and I were hungry this wasn't our kind of late dinner but reports were positive that the bacon wrapped hot dogs hit the spot. We got back to the boat at 2:30 and had a great time! Enough of the delights of civilization for now, though, we're really looking forward to being back out in the sea and away from the city.