Friday, December 14, 2007


Holiday Mystery Gifts finale

Well, it's almost over for this year...the Holiday Mystery Gifts Yahoo! group will have our final pattern posting tomorrow (Saturday Dec. 15th). My contribution is this Trellis Fingerless Mitts pattern knit in Koigu wool and a couple of pairs of socks...Hot Air Balloons and Paw Prints & Hearts.

If you want any of the patterns - including Mindy's fantastic Christmas Pi Shawl Knitting Adventure then hurry over to the group!! All patterns will be deleted from the files section, but the group will remain open for sharing of photos and chatting. Plus, everyone is already signed up for NEXT YEAR! Mindy and I are working on a theme and will start designing patterns after the holidays (we need a rest and to do our own knitting!).

It's hard to believe that it's been two weeks since we arrived in Barra de Navidad. We've been so busy with socializing, exploring, chores, and relaxing. Busy with relaxing? Yep, it takes some effort to learn how to kick-back and relax.

These first photos were taken during our approach to Barra. First, you see the rocky outcroppings which create the small bay for Melaque (the rocky-Melaque anchorage).

The next photo is of the end of the sandbar ("barra") and one side of the jetty of the entrance to the harbor. In the 1500's the Spanish used this natural harbor to build the hulls of great wooden sailing ships that sailed off for the first Spanish exploration of the Philipines!
I'm sure that they must have had the same little greeters that we've had every time we've entered the harbor --- these little black & white tweeting birds!

They fly out and excitedly circle the boat, then a few hang out on the lifelines and sing. Cute? Yes, but they also want to nest in our boom so Jonesy got out the duct tape and sealed off both ends of the boom. No nesting on the Niki Wiki allowed.

Speaking of birds...we had a Roseate Spoonbill fly right by the boat the other day! These are very large birds and PINK like a flamingo!!! As we are anchored in a Mangrove lagoon, we have a perfect spot for bird-watching. In the evenings large flocks of Snowy Egrets fly by on their way to roost for the night and we can hear/see Great Blue Herons and Little Blue Herons too.

Here's a photo of a restaurant/bar out on an island in the Barra de Navidad harbor to show how flat it is in the harbor area. This place will be packed with vacationers in just a few days.

The first thing we do when we enter a new harbor is to "check in" with the Port Captain. The new laws in Mexico prevent them from collecting any money, but we still need to let them know that we are anchored in their jurisdiction. Just a nautical courtesy.

Next, we find the local "Lavanderia" to have our laundry done. Fresh water is too precious on a boat to waste it on laundry, and services are inexpensive in Mexico so out it goes. Same day service too! After a long day re-provisioning, socializing at our favorite outdoor cafe, we load up the dinghy and head back out to the lagoon anchorage. Those two bags - red and white on the seawall are our clean - ahhhhhh laundry.

BATTERIES - AGAIN Yes, again. Our batteries which we bought this time last year and had the massive re-engineering efforts to replace the old gel-cell batteries, have failed. These "deep-cycle" batteries are difficult to find in Mexico. Thank goodness a fellow yachtie here in the lagoon not only knew where to find them (Puerto Vallarta) but was hiring a taxi to take him on the US$150, 3+hour each way ride, for himself to go pick up a new dinghy engine. Whooo hooo! We gladly shared his taxi fee and he picked us up four brand new batteries (US$550).

Jonesy pulled up the salon floorboards, got out his tools and went at it. As this is the second time in one year that we have done this routine, we already knew how to lift the old batteries out, and lower the new ones down to the bilge - the tried-and-true block & tackle system. Here's a photo of a battery - in the canvas tote bag - making it's journey out the hatch in the ceiling.

to my step-father (my late mother's husband) on his recent marriage to Loreta (photo below of wedding in Singapore). May you both have many happy days.

Condolences... also to my step-father on the death of his youngest daughter, Mary Lou. Life sure is a rocky road filled with both highs and lows.

Block and tackle and fulcrums - you can move the world...

thanks for the update and all the stories...

work at relaxing indeed. I sat still for almost 2 hours tonight reading magazines and seed catalogues, but then got nervous...
Aah - hugs of both flavors to your step dad.

Laundry, water, lights - all those things are much more important than we realize sometimes.
Anyone who has lived through a winter Nor'easter knows how important water, light and laundry can be...

thinking warm thoughts on this cold day...
Sorry to hear about your stepfathers daughter... That is very sad to hear.
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