Alexa

Alexa. Thanks for your help, love, understanding, compassion and patience.

You are a BEAUTIFUL SPIRIT, and the world is a better place with you!!!

We miss you!

 

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“Racing” with S/V Seaward

Cat2Fold and I are on the water sailing every single day down here in Mexico. And, every time we go out, we are constantly looking for other sails to “race”. Never, ever have we had such a spirited competitor as when we sailed with S/V Seaward. An 82′ long and lean, powerful schooner! With about 15 people up on deck, they put out more effort to pass us than anyone else has ever done! Pulling more and more sails up from below decks to try and catch us as we sailed for well over an hour in a direction that neither of us were heading. Thanks for the fun Seaward!!!

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Pics from Bahia Tenacatita and Bahia Chamela

Bahia Tenacatita

pic from s/v Fluenta... traveling solo, playing guitar

pic from s/v Fluenta…
traveling solo, playing guitar


As I sit here on Cat2Fold watching yet another beautifully moist sunrise, at the surf spot in Bahia Chamela, I can’t help but feel like the luckiest person alive. I have lots of stories I need to catch up on since leaving Banderas Bay in early January…

Heading south with Alexa (whom needs a whole separate story of her own) we caught the tail of a sweet northerly that had us charging south, sailing directly downwind, surfing at speeds up to 12 knots. Unfortunately, the wind didn’t last all night, and by the wee hours of the morning, we found ourselves barely able to coast into Chamela. At sunrise, I did see another sail on the horizon. It was Bob on s/v Pantera. Bob left La Cruz several hours before us, but because of his lack of a motor (we motored about 20 minutes at one point to get into some fresh wind), and C2F’s unique ability to easily sail very deep downwind, we amazingly reached Chamela before him. Bob continued on towards Melaque (very slowly in nearly no wind) while Alexa and I sought the shelter of Isla San Pedro at the SE end of the bay. This is where one of my favorite surf break lies, Xametla. It is a pretty mellow, shallow sand bar break. Sometimes the way the swell wraps around the two tiny islands we are anchored behind, causes breaking waves to come toward the beach at two different angles. Where the waves come together, a large pyramidal, tongue like mound forms that can be quite exhilarating to try and ride! It really is the perfect paddle boarding spot to get ones groove on.
After spending the day surfing, and with Alexa’s time on board rapidly coming to an end, we hurried our way further south. Skipping the beautiful anchorage of Paraiso, and passing by the exclusive Careyes, we sailed another 25 miles south to Bahia Tenacatita.
There’s something about Bahia Tenacatita and the cute little town of La Manzanilla that just feels like home. There are three main anchorages within Tenacatita; the outer most is known as the Aquarium. It is well protected from the predominant winds, and very popular for its superb snorkeling. The beach, from what I understand, used to be a thriving little community of campers, homes, and beachside palapa restaurants. Unfortunately, 4 years ago (the year before I started coming down here), there was a land ownership dispute. Someone claimed older title to all of the peninsula that was the village of Tenacatita, and through the use of force (guns and bulldozers) reclaimed what was perceived to be old family land. Many, many Mexicans, Canadians, and Americans lost homes, businesses, and faith in the Mexican system. Now, the beach lay virtually barren, and even though I anchor quite regularly at the Aquarium, with armed thugs patrolling the area, my desire to step foot on their land is all but nil.
Further in the bay, in the most protected anchorage of them all, a gathering of boats resides through most of the winter months in a community setting unlike any other I’ve ever witnessed throughout all of western Mexico. In Tenacatita (which is what most cruisers now call this anchorage), there are many boats anchored that set there anchor in December, and don’t pull it up again until March/April. There are organized daily events, and once a week the Mayor (yes, there has been a “Mayor” here in the anchorage for over 20 years), hosts what is known as “The Mayor’s Raft-up”.
Every Friday at 5:15pm, the Mayor and his wife, Robert and Virginia, to of the cutest old hippies ever, go to an empty corner of the anchorage, anchor their dinghy, and all the other cruisers, usually couples, dinghy over and tie up to each other. Food to pass around, old books/movies to trade, and stories or music to share are all part of the evenings agenda. I finally made it to a few this year…
Being the “young”, single guy with dreadlocks and sailing a boat that is as non-conformist as it gets, showing up to a conservative, retiree potluck party has never been very high on my list. However, this year more than ever, I’ve started to realize that my story is interesting, and worth sharing. In fact some of these folks in there 60’s and 70’s really get a kick out of meeting young folks out on the water living the dream without a pension, retirement fund, or a plan for the future. Living life with passion, following ones bliss, and trusting that tomorrow will bring more health, happiness, and the necessary means to keep the dream alive, is a skillset in and of itself worthy of sharing with everyone I meet. So, amongst the myriad of retired engineers/pilots/teachers/lawyers/bearucrats/policemen/hippies/doctors/businessmen, I told my story, sang my songs, and otherwise earned my way into the hearts and minds of the more conservative end of the cruising fraternity. I think I left my biggest mark by showing up late to the Valentines day raft-up…only I showed up in Cat2Fold!
With the raft up anchored in about 9-10 feet of water, I did what not many other boats could even dream of doing (as if boats can dream…;)…
I tacked up through the fleet, working my way straight to the raft-up. As I got there, in virtually NO wind, I was able to sail a couple of circles around the group. Every dinghy there had a “couple” aboard and they were all telling the story of how they met. I told my story of meeting Cat2Fold online, falling in love instantly, yet taking over a year to finally commit to a life of adventure with her. I played a love song (Stand by Me) that most would recognize, while steering the boat with my feet. One couple untied there dinghy from the bunch and brought me over some of the food that had been passed around. I continued my evening sail into the sunset to go anchor alone next to a restaurant where I could bask in the sounds of a Cuban jazz band, playing a special Valentines day show.
The other anchorage within Bahia Tenacatita is at the cute little town of La Manzanilla. It is a bit exposed to the dominant weather and swell, but with C2F’s extra wide beam, the rolling is always kept to a minimum, so I stayed there a bunch. I was able to get a WiFi signal on board if I anchored close enough to the beach which was a very nice bonus. The town is filled with aging gringos, so luckily most of the Tiendas cater to the North American visitors. What that really means is one could find real half and half in stock, which can be a very hard to find commodity down in these parts.
Although C2F and I always seem to attract attention wherever we go, no where have I attracted more attention than in La Manzanilla. Every time I paddleboarded to the beach, I was surrounded by throngs of people all asking about the boat and myself. It didn’t stop there either, people were swimming out to C2F to get our story. Eventually, I befriended SO MANY folks, I started taking people out sailing. Something I had dreamed of doing ever since coupling up with C2F, and just as I had imagined, the boat is the PERFECT platform to take guests out on. Whether it was their first time sailing, or they were a ripe old salty dog, the magic carpet ride that C2F provides sailing around the warm, tropical waters of Bahia Tenacatita, had every person who came aboard smiling, claiming “best day EVER”, and going home dreaming of their own life on the high seas.
With or without guests, C2F and I sail nearly every single day. We sailed just about 1000 miles to get here, and then in the past month and a half, we commenced to sail another 800 miles in and around Bahia Tenacatita.
Although I’ll never be one of those types that drops the anchor and stays put for long periods of time, especially in a crowded, community organized anchorage, I have undeniably come to appreciate the warmth, the love, the beauty and the life found within the most unique cruising stopovers in all of Mexico…Viva Bahia Tenacatita!!!

La Paz to Isla Isabella to Matachen Bay

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In La Paz, we anchored in the Mogote next to the new Marina (which, by the way, had quite a few catamarans inside that piqued my interest…including the brand new Chris White A47 with the twin Mastfoil rig (AWESOME!), a Chris White 57, and a Switch 51, but to name a few). Once ashore we were able to find our friends on board s/v Heavy Metal. Georgie and Beo were thrilled to be able to hang out with Zion and Hunter and play with the incredible amount of electronic gadgetry they have aboard.
We also rendezvoused with Alexa, our now infamous “nanny”, whose help and support through the next few legs of our trip will prove to be indispensable.
After stocking up on food, water, gas, and social time on land, Cat2Fold, Heavy Metal, Destiny, and Ayla May set sail for Isla Isabel, 315 miles South of La Paz. This would be the kids longest sail to date and Alexa’s first sail of her life. Our passage ended up taking nearly 60 hours and everyone on board had a GREAT time!
On day one, leaving La Paz, the sailing was fantastic. The wind was blowing in the high teens and although the seas were a bit lumpy giving all the monohullers a bit of rolly-polly grief, we sailed for the first 36 hours straight, and loved it! Once our speed dropped below 1 knot for more than 20 minutes, we decided it was time to start motoring, one motor at a time, and we continued to motor for the next 24 or so hours continuously. It was SO calm, the ocean looked like a mirror, and there were turtles hanging out everywhere. It’s amazing to see so many turtles with dry shells and many of them being used by various birds as their own private islands.
We arrived at Isla Isabel about an hour after sunset. The anchorage was already quite full with Cat2Fold being the 10th boat to drop the hook. I motored into my spot very slowly, but with the help of s/v Heavy Metal’s 1 billion candlepower light, we felt comfortable squeezing our way in, especially in such calm conditions.
The next morning Georgie, Beo and I went snorkeling, and I can honestly say, there is no better way to go snorkeling than holding the hands of my 8 year old daughter, and 6 year old son. They absolutely LOVED IT! Later in the day, we went to the beach. Alexa, Georgie, and Hunter spent most of their time collecting shells and things, and Beo, Zion, and I spent most of our time playing soccer….just what the doctor ordered after a 315 mile passage on a sailboat!
After the beach party, all the neighboring boats went aboard s/v Destiny for an evening dinner party. Destiny is an 85-90 year old, 85 foot long wooden schooner. She has a long and rich history. At one point she was owned by Howard Hughes. With the kids playing games on the expansive deck and two little puppies to help entertain them, it was a very nice gathering for all with good food, good drinks and good and company.
The winds were blowing nicely, and in a great direction to give us a beam reach all the way to Mantachen Bay, 41 miles distant, during and after the party. However, we all decided to leave early in the morning. I was a bit afraid we’d loose the favorable winds we were experiencing that evening, and my sneaking suspicion proved correct. We all trickled out of the anchorage pretty early, with winds on our noses that were light and getting lighter. Again, after sailing more than half way there nicely, our speed dropped and dropped, and once below one knot, we decided it time to fire up a motor and get there.
With both motors running, we were able to catch the occasional wave and surf our way into the bay occasionally topping 10 knots.
Upon our arrival, Georgie and Beo couldn’t wait to get to Heavy Metal so they both jumped off Cat2Fold and swam over before we even set our anchor.

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Getting My Kids!!!

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I’m sitting on board SW Airlines, flight 1902, a Boeing 737 flying from Phoenix, AZ to SLC, UT. As is often said in the sailing community…there is nothing like going to weather at 500mph!!!
I arrived in Phoenix after a 7.5 hour drive from San Carlos, SON, Mexico. Cat2Fold is safely tied to a dock in Marina San Carlos. Once in SLC I get rewarded for all this time working on the boat, and all the time and money spent traveling to and fro, by getting my kids, Georgie and Beo for nearly a full month!!! I’d like to publicly thank their Mom, Georgie Stanley, for allowing me (and the kids) this wonderful opportunity to be together for such a long time.
Once reunited with the kiddos in SLC, we will board another plane back to Phoenix, jump in my truck and drive as far south as we feel. I don’t think we can drive all the way to San Carlos without too much driving in the darkness, plus it will be nice to split up the long drive after a series of flights. So, we may find a hotel in Tucson, or we may drive all the way to Nogales (the border) before stopping…not really sure yet.
I’m very excited to get back together with G & B. I left Teton Valley a little over 3 weeks ago. It’s amazing how much growth goes on in three weeks time, both physically and mentally. When the Charette family reaches San Carlos and Cat2Fold, we have 3.5 weeks to accomplish our ambitious plan of sailing all the way to Puerto Vallarta via the Baja peninsula. As the crow flys, PV is just over 500 miles away from San Carlos. Our planned route of sailing over to the Baja, down its east coast, then back across the Sea of Cortez to Banderas Bay is going to add some mileage, but it is a safer route with less nights spent out at sea, and is generally the route most cruisers who frequent this part of Mexico choose to travel. Whether northbound or southbound.
Unfortunately, having checked the weather forecast before leaving San Carlos, I know a strong norther will be blowing down the sea delaying our departure (unless the forecast changes) to Wednesday or possibly even Thursday of this week. With winds forecast to be in the 40 knot range, there is no way in hell I would go out there attempting a crossing. Especially having such precious cargo on board…;)
I want nothing but fond memories of this trip for B & G. Memories of life and death survival conditions…No Thank You!!!
We are supposed to meet up with our “Hot Nanny” in La Paz this next Sunday. Not sure if we’ll be there on time, but regardless, she seems to be a real trooper, and is ready to find some place to crash for as long as necessary before we meet up. I am looking forward to the help and support entertaining the kids as we spend many days on board sailing the boat to far off places. The kids have never sailed any real distance before, and certainly never overnight.
Could I do it alone? I’m sure I could.
But, in the end, I think this arrangement will be safer and far more enjoyable for everyone on board.
I’m hoping the weather will allow us to depart La Paz as soon as we are ready. Already, the San Carlos area has cooled significantly. La Paz will be no different. The warm waters of Banderas Bay, with whales breeding, awesome sailing, and other kid/family boats abound are calling…