Tuesday, April 17, 2007


No Stinkin Yarn Darning Needle

We have been safely anchored back in the Barra de Navidad lagoon for 3 days now. What a relief it is to have a quiet place to stay for a few weeks.

Since our last blog entry, we have endured monster swells/waves at our Las Hadas anchorage and massive holiday crowds at the next anchorage (Santiago). Yet, we have also made some wonderful new cruising friends and are enjoying some rather cool weather with temps in the 60's at night and 70's during the day. Jonesy has been wearing sweatshirts and pants!!!

Last week we were in the tiny anchorage by the Las Hadas Hotel in Manzanillo. Remember the giant swells/waves we encountered on our trip north last week? Well, they got bigger, and bigger. The forecast was for a high of 9 feet - that is a swell at sea of 9 feet all along the Central American Pacific coast. As these swells approach the shallow waters near land they rise up and become giant waves. We (and several other vessels) figured that this anchorage would be relatively calm.

But, that wasn't the case this time. The swells rolled into Las Hadas and grew into giant green waves. We looked up from the Niki Wiki to face a wall of green water at least 15 feet high. See this picture? The brown stuff is the foam from the waves washing way up onshore above the normal sand and high tide line, and washing the earth back into the sea. I took this picture about an hour before we fled in terror to Santiago. Don't be fooled by the flat seas - this was taken between "sets" of swells. See the breakwater in the distance by the fuel tank? The waves eventually broke over the top of the breakwater about two hours after I took the picture. Also, they broke along the shoreline of hotels and one wave washed up and over the rooftop of a restaurant that was sitting up high on top of a jetty/breakwater! This seafoam wasn't a nice green like the color that some yarns are with this name- it was yucky brown! I'll never think of seafoam the same way again.

This is just part of cruising. We watch the weather and seas forecasts, listen to the shortwave radio cruising nets each day, talk to other cruisers and locals, read our "cruising guides" and make the best decisions with the information we have available. We are close to nature - both serene and violent - and we get to experience it up close.

On our short trip (1 hour) over to Santiago to escape the waves, we motored through debris that included lots of floating coconuts. These fall from the trees and hang out way up on shore until big waves come along and wash them out to sea to travel to distant shores and sprout into new coconut trees. Very cool.
The bay of Santiago faces the ocean from a different direction and we were able to get ourselves nestled up against a big mountain which protected us from the swells. Our friends on the sailing vessel Cyclades were already anchored there and enjoying the "good watching". The "good watching" was the massive crowds of Easter holiday week (Semana Santa) vactioners who were crowded along the beach under a mile long line of beach umbrellas. This

holiday crowd could be seen at all the beach towns along the coast! This is the biggest holiday of the year for Mexican families. Of course, after we rested up for a day, we joined them!

As luck would have it, a new boat arrived into the bay and it was being crewed by friends and past marina-mates of Cyclades! That too is cruising - you never know who is going to show up. With much hooting and hollering, Jim, Heather, Ariel and AC (formerly known as Allen) sailed into the anchorage. They are on their way to Puerto Rico!

We all went to shore and enjoyed snacks and beverages at one of the palapa restaurants on the beach. There sure was some "good watching" of the vacationers. Also as luck would have it, AC is expecting a new granddaughter this week and I was working on a orphan pair of baby socks. Baby "Avery" now has some handknit socks coming her way with grandpa AC!

Knitting Content: So there I was on the beach, knitting up these tiny socks and drinking Mexican beers. But I didn't have a yarn darning needle with me to weave the toes up with the Kitchner stitch! AC was leaving the next day to sail south and I was going north. What to do? I really wanted to finish these up right then and there. So I thought about it. Yep, "thinking knitter" ala Elizabeth Zimmerman - or maybe it was the beer. So, okay. What happens to the yarn when I weave those toe stitches? Can I duplicate the path with knitting needles? The answer is a big fat YES!!! Here's how:

Get it? In other words reverse your knit and purl insertations from the usual Kitchner instructions, wrap, and pull yarn thru. Other than that it is exactly the same process as weaving with a yarn darning needle with the same results!!! Whooo hoooo! Yarn darning needle freedom!!!

Wow! You and Jonesy look AMAZING! This new life really shows on your faces!!!!
Glad you're safe! The yarn-darning-without-a-needle looks like a technique to share at 2.75 this summer! (See you there!!!)
We had a great time meeting you in Bahia Santiago! It was a great 3 days for all of us. "Guavi" is now in Hualtulco about to cross the T-pec. I am back at work (oh yipee...) and caught a cold right when I got back. Wish I was still with all of you...
I've read through all of your posts and your blog is WONDERFUL! P.S. I mailed your documentation paperwork. Enjoy! Heather "Meerkat"
I am really enjoying reading about your adventures.

I don't know how you receive mail, but I found my copy of Selbuvotter in the mailbox this week. Great book. I can't wait to knit some of the gloves and mittens.
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