Friday, November 07, 2008


Okay - that was just for practice...

DAY 1 - Nov. 1st
After checking out at the Port Captain's office, and paying our final electricity bill to the marina, we eased the Niki Wiki out of her berth, and out into Banderas Bay to begin the big adventure. Ahhhh...fresh sea breezes greeted us as we motored across the bay to anchor off of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. Guess what Nov. 1st brings in Mexico? Day of the Dead! It's fiesta time and time to honor dead children and saints (dead adults are the next day). Families put up altars with flowers and candy skulls - here's a picture of one. We just relaxed on the boat - I knit. Here's the finally completed "Snuggle Time Baby Blanket" that is one of the free patterns on the Holiday Mystery Gifts Yahoo group this year.

The second day at the anchorage was for a complete systems check on the boat. We had to make sure everything was working. Hmmm...the solar panels weren't putting out enough amps. Maybe they were dirty? Ooops! There went the long pole with the boat brush overboard. Bye brush. The breeze hung around all day and night. True, it was warm - about 80 degrees, but felt so delicious! The night warmed up even more - 87 degrees, but was thankfully very quiet.
Seeing as I had yarn leftover from the Snuggle Time Baby Blanket, I designed and knit this matching hat!

At the crack of dawn we hoisted anchor and headed out. We waved a tearful goodbye to the folks on the sailing vessel Coastal Passage and said our good-byes on the Banderas Bay Radio Net of cruisers. The early morning temperature was 79 degrees and we could see the lightning in a distant thunderstorm off of Punta de Mita. Soon, we were rounding the dangerous tip of Cabo Corrientes (Cape Currents) with it's notorious winds and waves. That day it was only slightly breezy. A pod of dolphins swam alongside us for a while, boobie birds flew around us and we saw an occasional butterfly. I knit on my "Guernsey Pullover" a good part of the day as we sailed along with the wind at our backs.

Soon, it was night-time and time for Jonesy to go to bed and for me to take over the helm. The wind was getting fickle - coming from behind us at different angles. The main sail couldn't decide which side to stay on and was jibbing (slapping itself to the other side) way too often. Jonesy got up to check it out and that is when it happened... Main Sail Failure! With a lound BOOM and a long RIIIIIIIPPPP the main sail tore itself in half!

There we were, 80 miles south of Puerto Vallarta, along a deserted, dark stretch of coastline with 2 pieces of sail billowing about the center of the boat. Jonesy grabbed the sail pieces, I pushed the button and we pulled the 2 pieces into the mast. Now what do we do? We're headed south into a part of the world that doesn't have much support services for sailboats. We started the engine and made the tough decision to turn around and go back to Puerto Vallarta - to La Cruz - to PV Sailing and Mike who could repair our sail.

By the next morning we were back around the dangerous Cabo Corrientes, another 80 miles, and arrived at the La Cruz anchorage in the afternoon much to the surprise of our friends.

Our cruising friends helped to untangle the mess of the sail. John from the sailing vessel Batu went up the mast and Terry from Coastal Passage steadied the raw seam. Jonesy tossed the sail pieces into the dinghy and we zoomed over to the La Cruz marina. After tying up the dink, we hauled the sail up the stairs to Mike at PV Sailing's new repair loft. Wouldn't that be a cool place to work? Under a thatched roof palapa in the sea breezes?

Thankfully, the sail tore along a seam - the fabric is still strong - but the thread used for the seams failed. What? After only 26 years? Oh well. We dodged a bullet here - and several thousand dollars and weeks of delay if we had to buy a new sail.

In the meantime, we've enjoyed a few additional days of the great company of good friends.

Here's Jonesy telling the tail of the Main Sail to the gang at Ana Banana's - a favorite cruiser's hangout here in La Cruz. Only a few years ago, this little restaurant was on the beach of the bay. Then along came the new marina Nayarit. Now, there is a pile of sand in front of the restaurant instead of beach - and a marina beyond that. In a few years, there will be a condominium complex built on that pile of sand. That's progress. That's why we need to cruise south and see Central America while it is still unspoiled.
Our sail is repaired and re-installed. We're out to dinner at Philo's Bar and Music Studio right now enjoying the free WiFi. Tomorrow & Sunday we will rest. Then, at dawn on Monday (or Tuesday) we will try again.
This first time was just for practice. Now we will REALLY sail south.

Whew! That was a jaunt and a half! Glad you're safe and sound.
Wow! I'm so glad you're ok and the damage wasn't something major.
Do you need a crew memeber? My 25 yr old daughter is between crew jobs right now. Land locked in No. Texas waiting on the next job... She'll work for food and stamps in her passport!!!! And I just taught her to knit! She's been stewing on private yachts for about a year now. Good cook and excellent cleaner... she goes by Varnishmonkey if that tells you anything... loves to sand, clean and varnish.
Boy, I'm glad you two are okay, too! Glad the practice is out of the way. ;) A couple more days with good friends and you can be on your way....safely.
We miss you in Holiday Mystery Gift Along!
Wow.. love that hat and baby blanket!!
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