Thursday, May 31, 2007


Last Day at Anchor this Cruising Season

Today is the last day that we will be out on the hook. Tomorrow morning we will motor over to Paradise Village Marina in Nuevo Vallarta for five months in a slip - hoping that the hurricanes will go elsewhere this summer.

In the last 7 months, we have been tied to a dock for only 9 days and that was last November in Mazatlan. We are so ready to have running water, internet, cable TV, fresh water swimming pools, laundry facilities, and electricity!!! Whooo hoooo! I took this pic of the birds just sitting out on perches over at the marina yesterday. It's really a beautiful facility.

So, here in La Cruz, we have mostly just been just boat veggies - reading, knitting, playing computer games, watching the sea life, wind waves, and sunsets. We've had a pod of small whales hunting thru the anchorage the past week, and Jonesy saw a giant whale too. I've just been knitting various projects for the Sacramento knitting guild - 10ea 7x7 squares for a lap robe project, and a doll blanket for another project. Oh, and of course, I'm still plugging away on another pair of Big Black Socks for soldiers - one sock done and down to the foot on the matching second sock.

When we went into the little town yesterday, the fishermen were unloading a hugh catch of red snappers. They load them up into a couple of trucks, pack them with ice, and off they go to the restaurants for good eating.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Tagged! I'm It!

I've never participated in a chain letters, and I usually ignore the bloggers version called "tagging", but this time I'm going to play. Roberta, aka Krafty1 has tagged me to divulge 7 Random Facts about Me

The Rules: Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write in their blogs the 7 facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and to read your blog. Here are my facts:

1) drumroll please...My first original design has been published in the summer issue of Janet Szabo's Twist and Turns Newsletter for Lovers of Cable Knitting! It is "Harry's Golf Vest" that I designed for my dad several months ago. I've known about this for a long time, but kept it a secret until today. See my sidebar for a picture.

2) I don't like chocolate. Nope, it tastes like, well, dirt. Give me vanilla, nuts, lemon flavored goodies, but don't ruin it by adding chocolate. This hasn't always been the case. I used to be a chocolaholic, but after chemotherapy 15 years ago I can't stand the stuff.

3) I knit socks for soldiers. This is from the gal whose picture was in Time Magazine back in the '60's at a peaceful anti-Vietnam War protest. Yep, I'm holding up a candle at the nightime peace march looking angelic (ha ha).

4) Got Curl! Oh yeah, I've always had straight hair, but now that I'm down here in tropical Mexico with the high humidity my hair is curling. I am so thrilled - check out the photo I had Jonesy take yesterday of my ponytail. I was the goofy kid in 1st grade who wanted to look like Shirley Temple so I wore foam rubber curlers in my hair all night the day before "picture day" at school. Nobody combed my hair in the morning, so I have these tight little blobs of hair all over my head. Jesh. By my high school years, straight hair was the hot fashion, so I was finally in style.

5) I'm a 15 year breast cancer survivor. Big, bad agressive form of cancer that had spread to my lymph nodes. Big, bad agressive treatment and I'm still alive. Somebody has to make up that small statistical percentage that survives despite the dire prognosis - why me? I really don't know. Certainly not because I had a good attitude!!! 'Cuz I sure didn't!

6) I've sat onstage while Jimi Hendrix and The Cream (Eric Clapton) played.

7) I've lived in California, Hawaii, Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, and now Mexico.

So I've played along with the "tag" by listing 7 facts about me, but that's as far as I'll go with this. If you really, really want to play on your blog just go ahead and do it. Yeah, I'm breaking the rules again.

So, the picture at the top of this blog entry...What is it? Where is it? Hint: it has something to do with knitting. Recognize it?

Monday, May 21, 2007


Like I Need a Sign...

Sign on the beach at Barra de Navidad, Mexico:

Okay...I understand the part about it being prohibited to toss trash, and to throw or toss fish waste, but to defecate? I mean, am I really going to poop on this public beach? As you can see from the picture of Jonesy above, this is the scenic walkway at the end of the sandspit (barra).

Well, the bathrooms do cost 3 pesos (about 28cents) to use so maybe this sign is necessary. But what about urinating? Is that okay? This is Mexico afterall.

I've taken a break from "serious" knitting to whip up a few community service projects for my Sacramento knitting guild. Seeing as I'm taking a trip to the states this summer, I thought it would be a good opportunity to deliver some goodies - and have fun creating designs as I knit. So, here's a batch of chemo caps I knit last week.

Jonesy's favorites are the hats with the large cable against the garter stitch background. This was a design challenge for me. Because the row gauge between the garter areas and the cable are so different, I had to add short rows. Then, I had to figure out how to hide the wrap in garter stitch - especially on the lefthand side of the cable. This involves twisting both the wrap and the wrapped stitch. But it's all worth it as the cable stands out like a rope.

The yarns are from Germany that my S-dad brought back for me last year. They are cakes of yarn that were made from many different small yarns plied together. Very interesting, tweedy combinations.

Back in Tenacatita, I tried out a West Marine brand inflatable kayak. Many cruisers use kayaks to get to shore rather than the more cumbersome dinghys. This baby was super easy to maneuver and lightweight enough that I could get one of these on and off Niki Wiki by myself!

It's still the dry season down here in Mexico - no rain since we've been here in October. The natural landscape is tinder-dry, gray, and dull. But there are some plants blooming in the residential areas so I got this photo of this great bloom.

After 7 months of "on the hook" living at anchorages, in 2 weeks we are going the last hour of cruising over to Paradise Village Marina in Nuevo Vallarta for the summer. Fresh running water, electricity, still water, 3 swimming pools, no wet dinghy rides, reliable internet...ah...yes, but we'll miss the sunsets, the quiet, and the ocean breezes.
Knitting on... and on.....

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Great Passage

What a great passage we had this time!! We had waited in Barra de Navidad for a weather window and when it came - off we went! The seas and wind were calm for the most part and the stars were outstanding. We buddy-boated with Jan & Dave on the sailing vessel Baraka who are very experienced cruisers having done a 4-year stint from Washington state all the way to Turkey.

First stop was Tenacatita Bay for a few days of rest. The resident dolphin named Chip by the cruisers was there to greet us and kept us company swimming by the boat continuously. Then northward to Chamela Bay while the weather forecast continued for lighter conditions. The picture above is Jonesy anchoring between the southern islands (Isla Colorado & Isla Pasavera) in Chamela Bay. The afternoon sea breezes were coming out of the south so the usual anchorage had windwaves & whitecaps - not a good anchorage - so we ducked between these two islands where it was much calmer. After Jonesy took a nap (and I knit) - we headed back out to sea for the overnight passage to Banderas Bay - around the notorious Cabo Corrientes (Cape Currents).

The forecast for light winds and low swells proved to be correct. At 2am, in the dead of night, Jonesy just happened to be looking at the engine temperature gauge when the temp suddenly started to rise. Crap! He throttled back the engine (which woke me up down below snuggled in the bunk), then shut it off. Now what???

Instantly he went into his auto racing "Unscheduled Pit Stop" mode. He leaped into the salon, the floor hatches flew off and he jumped down into the bilge where our big blue Perkins engine resides. Ah ha! The fan belt was broken!! And Yes! We had a spare!!! No problemo for this ex-mechanic. With much clatter, tools were produced and the belt changed. Go! Go! Go! I started up the engine and we continued on our trek. (I think Jonesy actually enjoyed the excitement and lightening fast repair - yes, I could hear him chuckling down in the berth as he fell asleep and I took the night watch.

We like to travel offshore by several miles, keeping plenty of "sea-space" between us and the hazards of the rocks and beaches. Engine failure is a good reason to take this precaution.

Ah...fine dining the Mexican street food way. Now that we're back in the Banderas Bay area, we've been riding the bus into Puerto Vallarta to shop. We discovered this great local market (mercado) and this dynamite little taco place about a block behind Sam's Club & WalMart. For less than $50 pesos (about $4.80US) we each get 2 tacos filled with chicken, marinated beef, or carnitas, a drink, and all the condiments we want.

These street tables are "family style" - other folks come and sit with you. Plus, we get the entertainment of all the foot traffic around this bustling market.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


He Got a Job!!

Another One Rides the Bus
Yep, our new college grad kid got himself a job with the FAA in Los Angeles! Whoo hoooo! Sure, we tried to talk him into a longer stay on the Niki Wiki cruising with us, but what 23-year old wants to hang with the parental units anyway? Even on a sailboat on the Mexican goldcoast, that just isn't happening. Anyway, we're very proud of Brett. help him relocate to Southern California - where the rents are sky-high we sent him a small check (loan). Not so easy to do when you're in a remote town in Mexico. It meant we had to figure out how to catch a long-distance bus to Manzanillo/Santiago to get to an express courier service (nobody trusts the Mexican postal system). Take a look at the photo of Jonesy on the deluxe - First Class bus we rode through the back country. Not bad, huh? So much nicer than the rickety old local buses with the hard plastic seats and holes in the floor. And the best part was that the 45 minute ride cost us only $70 pesos (about $6.75 US) each ROUNDTRIP!

MLC - Misery Loves Company, update:
I've started the first sleeve for my Lopi fairisle coat which I already have the body done. This project has fermented (mellowed? aged?) in my stash partially completed for almost 10 years. But I have made the self-committment to have it finished before we get to Puerto Vallarta at the end of this month. It's strictly a boat project - not a travel project as it is worsted weight wool. My little travel bag has leftover sock yarn in it for knitting up baby socks as we sit in the sidewalk cafes here.
Oh! I just purchased a download of a wonderful new little Glove knitting booklet which I highly recommend. Sure, I have lots of glove patterns and instructions in my knitting library, but what I found unique in this booklet - and the whole reason I ordered it - was that it shows pictures of poorly fitting gloves and describes the problem and how to prevent it. The author,Nanette Blanchard has several other knitting booklets available here: Lulu - Nanette Blanchard I have a GIANT bag of KnitPicks Palette yarn leftover from a fair isle class I taught so I'm excited to get going on some fair isle gloves. Yeah, I know, I don't need them here in the tropics, but I DO have friends and family in some cold places.

I'll leave you with a great carved wood door we found here in Barra de Navidad and a close up of some aquatic plants we saw when we hiked along the lagoon between Melaque and Barra de Navidad last week.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Oh So Close...

All the regular knitting is done, the steeks have been crocheted and cut and I've picked up an armhole and 1/2 of the front edge of the Grass Creek Park Vest. But that's all I can do as I've now run out of a different color of yarn. Luckily, it is NOT one of the newly discontinued colors by J&S so I'll be putting in my order from Schoolhouse Press - and of course add a few more balls of yarn as long as I'm paying for shipping! I'm really pleased with the finished edges of the steeks (1st detail photo from right side of fabric) and how it tucks itself inside after I've picked up the ribbing stitches (2nd detail photo from wrong side of vest).

So now I have to wait until July to finish this baby up - that's when I'll be back in the states and can pick up the yarn. Gotta get this done before knitting camp and I'll have 10 days to do it - no problem!

Here's a pic of what you get when you buy a drink from a street vendor here in Mexico - "Bag-o-Beverage". Even the little kids have mastered walking and drinking from baggies.

We went over to Melaque to walk along the beach yesterday with a couple of new cruising friends - Dave & Jan from Baraka out of Seattle, WA. The most interesting thing we saw was a new cobblestone road being built. No asphalt - just labor intensive cobblestones. We don't know why, but there is always a long, straight line of cobblestones running done the length of the roads. Go figure.

So, we're just hanging out, loafing, reading, and knitting. Well, that's me - Jonesy spent 3 hours scraping barnacles off of the dinghy again. Nasty job! I did the dishes. I felt guilty because it wasn't exactly an equal distribution of chores so I whipped up a chicken & spaghetti dinner for him too! I know the way to a man's heart...
Well, I'll leave you with photos of a wonderful handpainted mural we found at the Sunset Bar &

Restaurant here in Barra de Navidad painted by Laurel Wallis.

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