Heading South…

Sitting at anchor in a town called Cuastecomate (or Secret Anchorage), as we slowly work our way South to Zihuatenejo, “Mexican time” is starting to take over.
Minutes turn into hours.
Hours turn into days.
As the days lazily turn into weeks, I’m finding it hard to stay motivated to keep the blog up to date…
So here is my attempt at recapping the past month…

Having the kids aboard for two weeks in December was the highlight of our trip so far. Between taking part in all the local sailing events, seeing whales and dolphins by the pound, hanging out with kid friends of old (Indigo from Teton Valley) and new (Shandro and Matero from s/v Kenta Anae), sailing to every possible anchorage within Banderas Bay, and last but not least, enjoying the amazing pools and beaches in and around Paradise Village Marina, Georgie and Beo were treated to a life seldom experienced by most 5 and 7 year olds.
In fact visiting with full time live aboard families, and witnessing just how well behaved, organized, disciplined, inquisitive, and intriguing these kids can be, helps me to more readily digest my decision to live aboard C2F in Mexico for 1/2 the year even if my kids are only “allowed” to come aboard for 2-two week visits throughout the 6 months. I strongly feel that I have more to offer them on board the boat than I do by going through the motions of being an “every-other-weekend-Dad” living in the same remote mountain valley, offering the same mountain life that the Mom is already quite capable of offering. Unfortunately two weeks is nowhere near long enough to truly experience “life aboard”. I can only hope that in the years to come, the value of this alternative life will be recognized, and longer visits will not only be allowed, but appreciated.
After the kids flew home, Deidre and I spent another couple nights in La Cruz picking up our freshly re-repaired drifter sail, then participating in one other “around the cans” race. We were glad to have our big front sail back in action due to more light winds that plagued most of the racing events we had already partaken in. During this races’ upwind leg, we tried something we had never done before, we flew a headsail on each mast! With the jib pulling on the windward mast and the drifter pulling on the leeward, both mainsails up fully, sheeted in tight, we were able to pull the strings into all the right spots to get some magical apparent wind created. We were ghosting up the coast, catching up to the fleet (our starts still need ALOT of work), while everyone else appeared to be stopped! We still need to get pics of the 4 sails up at once. The race came to a sad conclusion when we discovered that the turn around mark was stolen!!! (later to be found that it had been returned to the yacht club by a concerned fisherman)
The next morning, we sailed out to Punta de Mita, and in typical cruisers style, we changed our minds once again and decided to head south. At 11:30am we sailed through all the boats in the anchorage that we knew, said “hi/bye”, and turned around and sailed out of Banderas Bay, around Cabo Corrientes through the night en route to Bahia Chamela. With a full moon shining bright, we enjoyed a perfectly aligned swell to our direction of travel that made our 100 mile passage a surf session nirvana for many hours on end. Early on in the evening, while comfortably surfing at speeds ranging from 8-11 knots, a large wave caught up to us at the same time as a little puff came and we raced off down the face of the wave. The acceleration sent me back on my heels. The surf lasted for nearly a minute and we reached a top speed of 13.5 knots! It was exhilarating and nerve wracking all wrapped up into one…like a pig in a blanket.
We found ourselves staying in Bahia Chamela for a little over a week. With overly friendly fellow cruisers and locals, crystal clear warm waters, a long beach to run and play on, and 3 solid days of rain (it NEVER rains in this part of Mexico during this season), our decision to stay for that long was much easier to make. Our next stop, Paraiso, was only a few miles down the coast. We spent the night by ourselves in the “unreccommended” northern lobe. The next day we enjoyed a nice paddleboard session, a walk on shore, and some not-so-good snorkeling that was due to bad visibility from the fairly large (and getting larger) swells. When the wind picked up, I no longer felt like we were in a safe anchorage. At 3:30 pm, we made the decision to up anchor and sail the 21 miles south to Bahia Tenacatita.
Motoring out of the anchorage was as intense as it gets. Navigating through rocks and reefs within spitting distance of the boat, we battled a 17-20 knot headwind directly into 10+ foot swell that was our only way out to sea. Once out far enough, I raised the mainsails with double reefs placed in each sail, we turned downwind and entered the world of calm, smooth sailing. It’s hard to describe with words how much more pleasant downwind sailing is compared to upwind sailing (or motoring). So, with two mainsails the size of largish windsurfer sails, we sailed between 8-10 knots, with no stress, all the way to Tenacatita.
In Tenacatita, we anchored in true multihull fashion by setting a stern anchor up on the beach. By this I mean I stepped off the back of C2F in 3′ of water and walked the stern anchor up onto the beach. Nothing like being able to walk to shore from the boat if you want to! Tenacatita has a somewhat organized community of cruisers including its own self appointed Mayor. Some folks obviously appreciate this, others can’t stand it. We participated in the swim to shore, then a game of bocci ball on the beach. It was OK fun, but we didn’t do it again.
After a couple of days in Tenacatita, we enjoyed another brisk downwind sail to Cuastecomate. “The Secret Anchorage”, is virtually invisible from boats traveling north or south along this jagged and rocky section of the Gold Coast. Only once deep into the bay does the hidden anchorage reveal itself. A cute little town, with a short walk to provisions and some great snorkeling make it easy for us to stay longer than planned. One more day here, then our journey south continues.

Whales, Iguanas & Belly Flops

Banderas Bay Blast Day #3

Day #2 of the Banderas Bay Blast!

Read about Beo in ‘Lectronic Latitude’

First day of the Banderas Bay Blast!

 

Beo & G have arrived in Puerto Vallarta!

Mountain biking in Fruita, CO and nearby Utah…

Sitting inside my office today trying to get motivated to type out a new blog update has been made slightly easier by the presence of snow and cold winds. With fires blazing and thinking cap on, I’ll commence to recall the last few days with Cat2Fold on the Sea… but, not before sharing with you the latest… here’s a little video my daughter, Georgie and I, put together about our mountain biking trip to the desert SW.

We spent 10 days on the road, camping and riding bikes. Camping and riding bikes. Camping and riding bikes…

I’ve gotta say that I am absolutely blown away at how well Beo and Georgie are doing on their bikes. At 4 years old, Beo is sporting a full suspension, 12 speed, Scott mountain bike. He can’t quite twist the Gripshift to switch gears down into lower gears yet, but I’m sure it won’t be long.

 

 

Reunited and it feels so good

24 hours, 3 taxis, and 3 buses, is all you need to get from San Carlos to Puerto Vallarta. Phew!

All is well here on Cat2Fold! Her beard (which grew mighty long!) is currently being shaved and polished. I’m gonna hang here at the marina a couple more nights so I can get a few electronic things soldered here on Monday. Until then I’ve got other work to do and hopefully I’ll get some spirited day sailing in this afternoon and tomorrow…

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Mexico by Bus

I’m 3 hours into my 24 hour+ bus ride through Mexico. Although this bus is extremely comfortable, with reclining seats, restrooms, movies (in Spanish), and a wifi connection (still not sure how this is done…), my 6’7″ frame is already starting to feel a bit stiff and constricted. My last beer that I brought aboard in my briefcase is now fully warm, but I’ll enjoy it anyway. There are no accessory outlets to charge any electronic devices that I can see, so I’m sure I’ll be out of juice well before reaching my destination.
Yesterday I drove my truck and boat trailer from Tucson, Az to San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico. Along the way I was lucky enough to learn some cultural lessons…Mexican styley;
1) While trying to navigate my way to San Carlos, I learned early on in the drive that my new iPad GPS system didn’t work. I was gonna have to find my way there using only road signs. About halfway through the drive, I decided a couple of beers and some chips would be good… MISTAKE!!!
In Hermosillo, at dusk I was trying to cross three lanes of traffic from the left side of the road to the right so as not to miss a turn I needed to make. Pulling a 35′ long, triple axle trailer did not make this move very easy. With my blinker on, I slowly made my way to the right side of the road, with a federali following very close behind. I’m pretty sure I didn’t break any law, but the cop thought so… then he smelled the beer. He wanted me to follow him to the station. He was talking about a $4000 peso fine. I was nervous and apologetic. Darkness was enveloping us and I needed to get to San Carlos which was still over an hour away. So, I opened my wallet, and emptied the contents into his greedy little hands. $1900 pesos and $11 USD later and this cop was my personal escort to the next turn.
Driving in Mexico at night is not highly recommended. Not so much for fear of a hijacking, or anything, but just because the roads are full of potholes and livestock which are next to impossible to see. My reason for not getting to San Carlos before dark was multifaceted, but due in large part to an extremely long delay at immigrations. Turns out that if you have a trailerable boat, and you want to temporarily import that boat into Mexico, you had better bring the boat and trailer together. So now I find out that my plan to leave the boat on the trailer in San Carlos can not happen without driving the boat up to Nogales immigration (5-6 hours) first, changing the two separate import permits (the boat is good for ten years, the trailer only six months), then I can drive them back to San Carlos. …That ain’t happening. Cat2Fold is gonna come back to Idaho for the summer (I’m pretty sure anyway).

In the next few days I’m gonna try and sit down and write some about the Banderas Bay area and what Deidre and I did during our time there. Cat2Fold has been sitting idle for nearly three weeks in the warm, crocodile filled waters of the Nuevo Vallarta river estuary, while Deidre and I traveled back to the Tetons. When I arrive, I’m sure she will have grown a beard so thick and nasty it will virtually be its own ecosystem! I am not looking forward to that particular job!
Although the high country in and around Jackson Hole has been having an extremely lackluster snow year, we still managed to get some decent skiing in. I hiked up Mt. Glory twice, and Deidre and I even skied Taylor Mt. Hiking and skiing up over 10,000 feet after spending nearly 4 months at sea level hanging out on my boat comes with some challenges, however, Dre and I did just fine!
While we were home it snowed plenty to whet our powder appetites, however my main reason for going home was not the powder, it was to hang out with my AMAZING kids!!!
Georgie (6) and Beo (4) are doing so many activities, it is really amazing! They are both learning to ski race. I got to watch Georgie do her first one! She did Awesome! Although Beo is too young to enter any races, he is skiing (training) with kids that are several years older than him. I also towed him up a popular backcountry trail (Coal Creek) several times and skied it together along with Cora, my 13 year old dog. I am SO proud of both of them! We also did some X-C skiing, ice skating, snow ball fighting, wrestling, and many other fun things. Georgie and Beo are the only reason I am not selling everything I own, jumping on Cat2Fold, and sailing off into the distance, chasing sunsets.
I’m now nearly 5 hours into this Bus ride and I am gonna upload a few pics and call it a night…

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