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Sunday, April 23, 2017

April 23, 2017-Morning Ritual

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Waiting for the sun

The daylight awakens me and it starts my morning ritual.

When the ports and skylight over my bed turn into purple blue rectangles and the surroundings in my cabin change from soft dim shadows to solids my day begins and I slip out of my bunk without awakening Judy and I turn on a flame under a pot of yesterday’s coffee.

I pull on my jeans and a warm shirt for I know that even in Mexico it will still be chilly at 8:00 AM in April.

With my favorite starbuck’s cup filled with steaming joe I go on deck and watch the sun rise.

I shift the solar panels to face the rising sun and I sip my coffee and see the day begin.

When the sun’s rays on the panels are generating enough electricity and my cup is empty I go below and turn on the computer.

The world’s news stories flash across my screen, and I look for mail and messages. I read whatever interests me and relax in the quiet of the morning.

When Judy stirs I go to the galley and make a new pot of coffee so it will be fresh for her.

That is how we do it at anchor. At sea I choose a watch schedule so that I am on watch when the sun comes up and my ritual then is similar: I want my first cup of coffee in my hand when I go on deck to watch the sun rise.

Judy, on the other hand, gets her best sleep when the sun comes up, so this works for both of us.

We are now in Barra de Navidad, anchored in the lagoon, and life here is peaceful.

Things are going well for us on the boat, the systems are all working. One very good development has been the electricity situation. For the first time ever, in thirty years, we are nearly self sufficient electrically without using shore power or running the engine. The combination of bright sunlight from 9:00 AM until after 6:00 PM gives us over 90 amp-hours of daily power. The fact that we change the angles of the panels in the morning and afternoons to get the most out of the sun’s rays helps. The cool air and water that surround us keep the boat cool and the refrigerator electrical load down and this helps as do our efficient LCD lights. We’ve also been more careful to turn off devices when not in use and we’ve refurbished some of the wiring and serviced the batteries. It all helps, apparently. The bottom line is that rather than running the engine for an hour or more each day, we get by with 30 minutes or less, or we can skip it entirely.

One thing we haven’t done much of is swimming. The water in the lagoon is not clean and we don’t want to go into it, and in the other anchorages it has been cold. This has been a surprise to us. We did take a trip to the “Aquarium” while we were at Tenacatita, and we were glad we had our shorty wet suits. What we didn’t have was any underwater photo capability, which we have never had, and we decided this year that we will solve that void before we cruise next year. I don’t know what we will get but next cruise we’ll have some sort of camera for underwater shots.

Next week we have the chore ahead of us of taking a bus ride to Vallarta to attend to a visa issue. We’d hoped to put this off until our return to La Cruz in June but it was just too impossible. Well, maybe we could have worked out something locally but the logistics and red tape were daunting. So we’ll park the boat in the Barra Marina and spend a few days going to Puerto Vallarta and getting everything handled.

Now day is nearly over and the shadows grow long and the evening activities begin.

Since I have fixed the stereo’s outside speakers and put a bunch of music on thumbdrives so I don’t have to run the computer to play music, and I have some ice in the freezer and some good scotch whiskey, I am looking forward to lighting the BBQ, which is my nightly job, my peaceful joy, and my other private ritual. Judy has defrosted a steak and it is time to cook. I go on deck again and watch the sun fade away, listening to some blues, sipping my whiskey, and I think about the day as the steak sizzles.

The cruising life for us is good, it is mostly very peaceful and quiet, and we love it.

Drinks at the bar with John and Elinor

Click here for more photos.

Click here for shots from the snorkel trip.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Barra de Navidad

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Wednesday, April 05, 2017

April 2, 2017-Tenacatita

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Tenacatita River Trip

Wings rolls gently to the swell at anchor in Tenacatita. Music plays softly on the outside speakers. The sun is bright but the breeze is cool and the air is clear. It is a grand day in Tenacatita.

This is one of the good days.

This cruise was supposed to be sort of a vacation; find some peaceful places, find some beautiful places, places where the water is clear and the birds sing in the morning, and relax. Days like this morning in Tenacatita.

The problem has been that we've had too few of those days.

For one, we've been dealing with boat problems. Some problems, like the broken head bolt, which we fixed miraculously in a few hours after worrying about it forever, went rather smoothly. The toilet problem was also solved in a straightforward manner due to the fact that we've done it many times before, so that turned out OK too. Still, it was a dreadful morning when we realized that the toilet needed work, that day. We hate that job. On the other hand, the battery charging problem was tough and chewed up about five days in which we worked on every sort of wiring issue we could find, changed out the regulators for the spares (which had problems of their own), and even created a jerry-rigged solution. In the end we ordered a new part which cost a few hundred dollars, only to find, in the end, we didn't need it. The problem was a bad temperature sensor, which we disconnected.

Did I mention the inflatable dingy which won't keep the air in or the water out? Well, we had that too.

So, we've been working on boat problems for most of the last three weeks.

Oh, then there was the Mexican Immigration issue which popped up and which has us anxious as hell in fear that they will deport us or something. Maybe we've solved that issue, we're not sure, but it all weighed down on us when we should have been relaxing.

So, in actuality, we've been stressed out. Sometimes it seems like cruising is not so easy. Maybe not even worth it.

But we're here, and we'll persevere.

Back to today. We are anchored in Tenacatita with twelve other boats, most of whom we know. I enjoy being here with them. They are generally fine looking boats manned by young and enthusiastic crews, all of whom seem to love sailing, which is a happy change from the usual cruisers crowds we find in Mexico who apparently have little interest sailing and rarely put sails up. But the sailors on these boats here in Tenacatita do like to sail and the boats show it. These boats are trim and clear and when they come or go they do it under sail.

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Luna Azul beats out of the bay

We also had had some fun ashore. Yesterday we took a dingy cruise up the river to the lagoon and there we went snorkeling in the "aquarium" like 19 years ago and it is still a great place for looking at colorful fish. We spotted a big octopus swimming and looking at us. The river trip itself is great fun too and I ran it full throttle sliding through the narrow, jungle covered, channel until Judy brought some sense to the situation and convinced me to slow down. Same thing she did 19 years ago.

Today I see a sloop sailing hull down on the far side of the bay. When I put the binoculars on it the I see in the foreground the curvature of the earth and the swells which rise and fall in my view. I can't make out what boat it is but it is a nice sight on starboard tack and making steady progress along the shoreline and out of the bay.

Now Luna Azul, the pretty S&S ketch flying an Australian flag, is getting underway; they have the main and mizzen up while they get the anchor aboard, then they fall off and the sails fill and they make their way out of the bay as well.

So it is a nice day for sailing and several boats are taking advantage of the conditions.

Stan and Sally Honey's beautiful Cal40 Illusion lies at anchor nearby. I've been meaning to go over and say hello, and I do, but it is late in the day and I pause for only a brief time next to their side to chat. It is good to see them; world class sailors.

The next morning Cat-2-Fold, Scavenger, and Shawnigan all leave, all under sail, and after that Illusion follows.

And we like to sail too, so probably, if the breeze looks nice, we will also.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Underway from Tenacatita

Click here for more images.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Tenacatita

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