Saturday, December 30, 2006

The temperatures have fallen - way down to the 70's during the days and chilling lows in the 60's at night, so I've made great progress on my wool "Grass Creek Park" vest by Mabel Corbett. See? The little sheep are done!! Already, I'm planning my next 2-color or fair isle project because they are just way too much fun to do.

We had to go into Puerto Vallarta to apply for our FM3 longterm Mexican visas (to replace our 6 month tourist visas) and get our Temporary Import Permit for the boat. So, as long as we were there, we did some more exploring of the older parts of town. Check out this suspension bridge over the Cuale River - that's Jones standing in the sun over the river. Very rickety! Some boards were rotted and there was plenty of evidence of marginal repairs. Sure, they had used some heavy duty cables (a long time ago) and clamps, but it was the duck tape holding the cables together that made it so "Mexican".

Christmas Day we went into La Cruz where we are anchored for a Potluck Turkey dinner at Philo's Bar. Philo is a Canadian who has played rock n roll for years before settling here in La Cruz a few years ago. There sure are a lot of Canadians here in La Cruz - and elsewhere in Mexico. A local gringo, Russel, roasted up the turkeys, and we all supplied the other dishes. Great Food!!! Great Music!!

We have watched the yacht population grow here from about 20 boats when we arrived, up to 40 boats at Christmas, and now back down to 20. Many folks have left for the south coast, but we have to stay a couple more weeks to wait for our (better) visas.
I'll leave you with a pic of a sunset view from our boat here at anchor. Our son, Brett, says that there's no such thing as a bad Mexican sunset. With views like this - maybe we'll just hang out longer...

Saturday, December 23, 2006


Dogs of Mexico

No, that's not a dead black dog lying in the dusty road. He is very much alive, and so is the brown dog on the sidewalk. That's just how the dogs of Mexico spend their time during the heat of midday. No, they won't bark as you walk by, they won't sniff you, they won't even lift their heads. Usually, the most attention you get is a quick, one-eyed assessment.

The life of a dog, and it's behavior is very different here in Mexico than in the USA. Most dogs seem very tolerant of people, and desensitized to the chaos around them. Dogs wander the streets kinda aimlessly, into stores and restaurants at will and simply don't bother anyone. Dogs are everywhere - either snoozing during the day or wandering around at night. It's like they belong!

We have rarely heard a dog bark with the biggest exception being the dogs owned by Americans or Canadians in the deluxe condos.

Why do us northerners allow our pets to distrupt our peace and quiet so much? Why are so many of our pets agressive towards people and other dogs? You know, it's embarrassing to me when I see an American down here with a yappy little monster pulling at the end of it's leash.

I think the calm behavior of the Mexican dogs is because it is the expectation of the dog owner. It's part of the dog's survival - act neurotic and you're outa there.

At the spur of the moment today we walked about 2 miles along the beach to the larger town of Bucerias. It was "market" day, so we cruised the stalls (mostly tourist crap, but Jonesy bought a much-needed straw wide-brimmed hat). Then, we had lunch at a small cafe - about $10 total for both of us including Cokes - Jonesy had BBQ chicken and I had a whole small red snapper fish. Of course, beans, rice, tortillas, and salad were included!!!

Caught the bus back to La Cruz where we met up with some fellow Ha-Ha alums at the dinghy landing who had just arrived last night. So GREAT to see Melissa & Greg of the sailing vessel Pacifica - (an Ericson 39)!!!! And, their well-behaved dog Matey too!!!

Okay - I'll leave you with a pic of my favorite "dogs" of all - Jonesy's feet!!!

This is one of the better cobble-stone streets in La Cruz - and of course, you can see a dog in the top of the picture.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


Knitting at anchor & Party Time

Been knitting up a storm lately while the boat gently rolls out here at anchor in La Cruz. I finally finished the rather bright green/yellow/orange/honeydew socks that are my tote around project. Nothing special, just easy going knitting. No owner yet. I'll probably do the "Cinderella Thing" where whoever fits them - gets them.

Also, have been making great progress on the "Harry's Golf Vest" pattern sample. It's knit in one piece - so gets rather large and hot on my lap even though it is 75% cotton. It's still in the 80's here in this part of Mexico.

So, I've started another project - the "Grass Creek Park" vest by Mabel Corbett!!!! Whooo Hoooo! So far, only a small part of the corregated (multi-colored) ribbing is done, but I'm in no hurry because I love working with this Jamieson & Smith yarn. (Except I have to have it finished by Meg Swansen's Knitting Camp next July because I made a pact with Debbie last year).

Last night Jonesy and took the dinghy to shore for a party at Philo's (local gringo bar & pizza place) to raise funds for the local kindergarten school. What a feast!! For 150 pesos (about $15) we were served a buffet mexican dinner prepared by the mothers of the kindergartners. We had Chili Rellanos, Mole Chicken, Sopas, Tostadas, Guacamole, spicy beans, chocolate atole, salad, some sort of pork, and wonderful desserts.

(Nature alert! Jonesy just spotted another sea turtle swimming by the boat as I was writing this blog)
For entertainment, some of the little kids performed a folk dance - So Cute! Also, a local historic dance troupe came in and performed many dances in beautiful costumes.

We've been very social here in La Cruz. Every few days someone that we met on the Baja Ha-Ha shows up. We get reacquainted and share passage & anchorage stories. Plus, we're meeting other cruisers everyday in town or at the dinghy landing. Still - so far no other knitters.

Monday, December 11, 2006


We caught a big one!

What the heck? Why is my electric windless working so hard to pull up the anchor in Isla Isabella?

Looks like we have a hitch-hiking ROCK neatly wedged into the exact shape of the inside of our Bruce 66 lb. anchor!!! What are the chances of that? And now, how do we get rid of this couple hundred pound unwanted guest?

Well, we figured that we would reverse the "scooping" action of the anchor. So, into the small hole drilled in the elbow of the anchor, we attached a shackle (by Terry hanging over the bow and Jonesy hanging onto her ankles) Then I latched a rope to the shackle, and Jonesy tied the rope to a cleat. As we lowered the anchor back down towards the water, the anchor rocked back upside down. Yipppeeee! The rock went straight down to the bottom where it belonged, and we still have our anchor.

Thanks to Paul & Meridee from the sailing vessel Bohemian who were comfortably anchored and thus able to photograph our latest (mis)adventure last week!!
On the Knitting Front: I finally found a store that sells something like yarn - this 100% cotton thread that says "for knitting" on the label. I'm thinking about a lacy tank top for me - something lightweight and airy. Hmmmm....

It's a good thing I had plenty of yarn stash before I left the United States as the pickings are slim in this part of the world.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Chacala, Mexico Photos

You can click on any of the photos to launch a larger size if you'd like to see details!

1) Palapas (restaurants with thatched roofs) line the beachfront in front of the coconut palms. We had lunch in one and paid about $3 each for full plates of shrimp, rice, beans and fresh corn tortillas - Yum!

2) Beachfront with lava rocks

3) One of the many colorful houses in Chacala
4) A Bromeliad growing up high in a tree! See the pink blossom?

5) "Dangerous Curve" roadsign - covered in jungle growth! The matching sign on the other side of the road was knocked to the ground - and a replacement sign was so faded that we could hardly read it. Oh well, you had to slow way down for the giant potholes anyway. Only in Mexico.

Kicking back today - have knit up about 7 inches of my "Harry's Golf Vest" for a pattern sample. Last night I spent some quality time in my hammock thinking about my next knitting projects. Socks for sons? Shawl for me? Finish up something from my "in-process" locker? So much knitting - so much time! Manana.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Hanging out near Puerto Vallarta

Whew! Time to slow down and just hang out here in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle in Banderas Bay just north of Puerto Vallerta. We've really moved south this past month - click on the link to "Niki Wiki Captain's Log" to the left to see the timeline of where we've been.

Boarded by the Mexican Navy
Last week we left Mazatlan to cruise on over to Isla Isabella because so many cruisers had told us that it was a real gem. So there we were, motoring along minding our own business when we see a large grey military vessel off our bow. No biggie. We've seen lots of US military vessels in our past adventures and they just ignored us. Hmmm...these were Mexican waters. Crap. The vessel changed course and headed straight towards us. No hailing was heard on the VHF radio, but they did 3 complete circles right next to us as we motored along. Mexican Hat Dance? Nobody on the Mexican Naval vessel Adm.Ortiz even would look at us. We were all totally baffled. Finally, they donned life jackets and automatic rifles and climbed into their smaller boat that they towed. They pulled up next to the Niki Wiki and 3 men boarded our boat. The non-smiling fellow with the automatic rifle went up to the bow and stood watch(?!). After a lot of sign language, mutulated Spanish & English and the use of a dictionary, we signed some papers stating that we were "voluntarily" allowing inspection. Do you think we had a choice. I mean, here we were all alone out in the ocean - and they had guns.

While I chatted with a nice young navy guy, the older man took Brett down below to "inspect" the boat. They were only gone about 5 minutes, then came back up all smiles. No problemo! They called back the little boat (which had found and boarded a cabin cruiser nearby) and off they went. We resumed our travels, shaken and still confused, but mighty glad to be moving again.

Sorry no photos. Didn't think this was a Kodak moment if you know what I mean. We found out later while at Isla Isabella that they had boarded one of our fellow cruisers' boat the next day and spent one and a half hours going thru their galley herbs & spices, touching their underpanties, and researching their medicine cabinet. Eeeew. So I guess we were "lucky"?

Isla Isabela
Above is a pic of Jonesy relaxing on the deck of the Niki Wiki with the island to the left and the pinnacles off the bow. This was a fabulous anchorage as the island is a National Wildlife Preserve of Mexico. The only way to get there is by private boat. Because this is a nesting area for the Frigate Bird, Blue-Footed Booby, and Brown Booby birds, the island has been featured by Jacques Cousteau. The number of birds was AMAZING!! You could see a constant "cloud" of wings hovering above the scrub trees. Plus, the snorkeling was incredible - the water was clear and warm. I saw angel fish, a beautiful yellow speckled moray eel, bright yellow striped fish, and several different kinds of puffer fish. There were also some little, about 2" long BRIGHT blue fish hiding among the coral.

Also, here's the "water clarity foot foto" - it's about 25 feet deep and the dark spots are the rocks on the bottom. We could even see our anchor on the bottom when we snorkeled! Also, here's a pic of me trying to get up the ladder on the back of the boat after a long snorkeling session. Giggling under water sure is tiring!!!

The anchor chain kept dragging against the rocks which was really noisy and more than a little un-nerving so after playing here for a couple of days, we sailed off towards the Mexican mainland again.

After an overnight sail/motoring trek we arrived in the early morning at the small village of Chacala. Oh my! It was like sailing into a little slice of heaven! The jungle comes right down to the edge of the water and coconut palms line the beach. This is a beach resort for the Mexican folks who live inland. Apparently, the week of Easter this place is jumping. But, while we were there it was very quiet. I had never seen a bromeliad growing in a tree before - those beautiful flowering plants that live ON other plants in tropical regions (not parasitic).

Blogger is having problems with pictures today, so I'll post more later from Chacala. These are a photo of the "panga" fishing boats, and the main street of Chacala behind the restaurant "palapas" that line the beachfront.

After a couple of days in Chacala it was time to move on down the Mexican Pacific Coast as we had to put our son, Brett, on a plane back to the states from Puerto Vallarta on Dec. 5th. We did a short sail to Punta Mita at the tip of Banderas Bay - and a one night anchorage with no shore excursions. Then, a 2 hour hop here to La Cruz, where we'll stay for about 5 weeks. The hammock has been rehung, and the knitting continues...

Sunday, December 03, 2006


The Knitting continues...

First...the important stuff...I finished the dang knit lacy tank top that I started 4 years ago! Somehow, it got put in a closet with other knitting stuff and hid for years until we got ready to sell the house and move. Then, voila! there it was - and I only had a part of one front half, and the edgings to finish.

So, I set to work - if you can call if work. I plopped myself in the hammock on the bow of the boat and knit. Whooo Hooo! Another UFO crossed off the list! We were anchored in the small village of Chacala just north of Puerto Vallarta.

This is a "Classic Elite" pattern called "9018 Premiere Vest" and is knit wth "Premiere which is a 50% Pima Cotton and 50% Tencel blend.

The breeze blows thru the tiny holes in the lace so it is very comfortable to wear in this 80+ degree heat here in Mexico.

So, we are now in La Cruz, Mexico. We came in this morning and will be anchored here for maybe a month or so. We will be riding the local bus (yippee!) tomorrow into Puerto Vallarta to check out the airport and shopping areas. More later on the wonderful sights and adventures we had on the trip down here from Mazatlan - the boarding of our vessel by the Mexican Navy, the snorkeling and blue-footed booby birds in Isla Isabella, and the quiet tropical setting of Chacala.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?