Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Update 11.26.08

Here we are again, several days over my weekly blog. Oh well, I’m a cruiser, what do you expect?! Haha… Actually, I haven’t been online much at all because I picked up a computer virus from another cruiser and have had a hell of a time getting rid of it! It was a very bad one and has taken me several days to clean it from both the laptop and desktop. It was transferred via my flash drive and disabled my antivirus, firewall, & windows updates…allowing other viruses to spread. It’s a huge bummer and I believe I have it about 99% but am calling in the help of a 12 year old boy in the Marina named Casey on S/V 4-PACK today for help.

The past couple weeks have been action packed, as always. There’s always something to do and it’s amazing that time has flown so quickly! Here we are, about 6 days away from our leaving Mazatlan and we will still be down to the wire on a few items.

We have spent the past couple weeks reuniting with a bunch of cruisers who have made it down here from spending the summer up in the Sea of Cortez – Pat & Barry on S/V Pacific Voyager, our sister ship. And some additional friends from Ventura, Wally & Linda on S/V Andanzas came into Mazatlan after cruising down the Baja Peninsula during the Baja Haha. We’ve spent a few evenings with them and have enjoyed playing ‘cruise director’ showing them around Mazatlan.

We hiked up to El Faro with Linda and her son & friend, David & Aly

and Pat & Barry from Pacific Voyager

We had a wonderful hike and even stopped for 2 geocaches on the way up the hill! No one in the group had even heard of geocaching so we explained it and while looking for one of the caches, Linda was the one who found it! The day was gorgeous – sunny & warm, temps in the upper 80’s with just enough breeze coming off of the ocean to keep us cool. We weren’t as lucky this time as the lighthouse keeper would not allow us up inside (there were too many tourists around as there were 3 cruise ships in the harbor and lots of people filtering through!) even after giving him a candy treat. Oh well, next time. But we enjoyed the view of Mazatlan and the cool breezes and then hiked back down. Oh, and FYI….it is 340 steps up to the top! Once we were back down, we decided to walk the malecon over to old town so that we could visit my favorite shop in Mazatlan, Nid Art. This is the place I’ve written about before that makes the fantastic leather art. We had asked the owners if they would make a small sailboat over the summer for us. They have been so busy opening up a pottery school, they had no time to make it but assured me if I came in on Friday, she would have something started for me. I can’t wait to see it. Wanna check it out? Go to

So we made our way through downtown & jumped on a bus back to the Marina. We had just exited the bus when Ally looked at David and asked “Do you have my purse?” You guessed it, she had left it on the bus. Oh NO! They took off down the street after the bus, luckily it goes down the street and makes a U-turn and comes along the same route back in front of the marina. They finally found the bus and the bus driver said one of the passengers had taken it, but he had the cell phone # for the person and gave it to Ally. Multiple calls later to the cell phone, no one answered. So finally, she gave up and called to cancel her credit cards. I didn’t mention that they were flying home that evening….and her I.D was inside. Luckily her passport was on the boat so she could still fly home. She was mostly bummed for losing the purse! (Which I can relate to as I had my purse stolen while in Channel Islands and could care less about the contents, just wanted the purse back!!) They flew back to the States and on the radio net the next morning, someone asked if anyone knew an Ally! Turns out, the guy who found the purse came to the Marina and was asking around to some of the cruisers to find her. One of the cruisers took his info and told him it was a cruiser and he should bring it to the office tomorrow morning. Amazingly, the fellow showed up in the morning and gave the purse over to the Marina office. Nothing appears to be taken and it was safely, without reward, returned. Another ‘random act of kindness’.

We have continued with our social calendar – Dominoes Pizza Tuesdays (today we had 27 people!), dinners out, and just visiting with fellow cruisers. Last Saturday we had a group that went up to the Hotel Freeman for sunset and then down to old town for ‘street potatoes’. Yumm… John & Debby Dye from Lovely Reta, Linda & Wally from Andanzas

Mike & Julie on Slacker

Pat & Barry on Pacific Voyager and ourselves had a wonderful evening. When we were on the top of the Holiday Inn watching the sunset, we all remarked how the ocean was calling us and we just can’t wait to get out on the hook again.

Mac from S/V Effie held a ‘beaders anonymous’ meeting and 8 women attended and learned how to do a DNA stitch using a super tiny needle, thread, & seed beads. There were half newbies (me included!) and half experts who brought along some of the most amazing pieces of jewelry that I’ve ever seen! I’m in process of making a bracelet. It is a job! So much detail! In the 3 hour class, I finished about two inches of the bracelet so I’ve got some work to do but it is something I’ve wanted to learn forever so I’m glad that I had the chance to meet these wonderful ladies. That’s one great part about cruising – participating with others and learning all kinds of fun stuff!

We’ve been doing a little bit of Geocaching this past week. Aside from the 2 we found while hiking up to El Faro, we found 5 others with Debbie from Lovely Reta in tow. She loved it! We even let her find one of our first ones – one no one had found before – making it a First to Find! The owners had left a 10 pesos coin inside as a bonus, she was thrilled! There are a total of 12 in the Mazatlan area and I hope to find some of the others before we leave!

The boat is ready – all of the projects are done (or done enough!) except for one tiny detail. Since we returned, our dinghy engine has been running sluggish. We have had trouble getting up on a plane and even at full throttle, we’ve been passed by people with much smaller engines! We had an engine service over the summer so we asked Rick from Cape Star to take a look again. His guys pulled the engine apart and discovered we had one injector that was plugged. What is it with these injectors?! So he tore it apart & cleaned it up, but when he was putting it back together, realized he needed a new gasket as well. Turns out, we didn’t have a spare on board. Of course! How that happens with all of the spares we do have, I’ll never know but I guess it’s bound to happen. And of course, there is not one to be found in Mazatlan. Yep, welcome to cruising in Mexico. So we are having them make one for us and we’re crossing our fingers it will work. He gives it a 90% success rating, so we’re hoping! It is supposed to be made tomorrow. In the meantime, we’re having two of them shipped down from the States, but they won’t be here for several days to a week and we’re leaving on Monday.

I guess I let the cat out of the bag! I’ve been reporting before that we are planning to leave on Dec 1st and head down to Huatulco and then working our way back North to leave the boat in Mazatlan for the summer. Hang on to your seat….we changed our minds! We’re still leaving on Monday, the 1st but our plan is now to just go out to Stone Island, right outside Mazatlan for a couple days to just get out of the Marina & get back into the groove of things, then continue to slide down South, stopping at all of the places we can until we get to Zihuatenejo. We may be in Barra de Navidad for Christmas, we may not. We’re just going to take it one day at a time and have a good time. Cruiser plans are as solid as writings in the sand at low tide – bound to be erased. And it’s nice to be so flexible, it’s less stressful that way! We removed all of the foil window coverings from the windows and the fans will disappear in the next day or so. It’s time to go cruising!!

OH! I almost forgot! We went to a Baseball game the other day, the Mazatlan Venados vs the Guasave Algodoneros.

Baseball here in Mexico is very popular and the games are much more than simply the game!

First, as soon as you enter the park, there are Pacifico, Coca Cola, Lala, and every other girl you can imagine dressed in super sparkly, super tight outfits to greet you at the entrance.
Of course all the men just adored that part. Then there’s about everything imaginable to eat here. The downstairs concourse was filled with vendors – tacos, sausage, sushi, chicken, hot dogs, etc. Once you are in your seat, there was a beer vendor with two buckets of ice cold beers in each section who is responsible for all of the beer sales in that section. You don’t even have to get out of your seat to get a beer! Just holler or signal and he will pour you a cold one for 15 pesos and pass it down the row. There were a lot of mascots during the game – the TelCel Shark (the local cell phone company), the Mazatlan mascot is a deer and he was so animated, it was almost more fun to watch him that it was to watch the game!

In fact, the game was a bit boring until the 7th inning. The Venados were down 0-2 and it didn’t look good. But one pop fly and a missed catch and they were caught up and then got the go ahead run to win the game. As soon as the inning was called, every kid in the stands, and many adults too, jumped over the side walls and onto the field to help the players celebrate. It was amazing. The evening was so much fun. There were about 30 cruisers who attended, but only 10 of us stayed around for the end of the game and the win! About 4 times during the game, after an inning was called and before the next one started, folks would run out along the fences & throw promotional items out. There were water bottles, t-shirts, key rings, baseballs, etc. I caught one of the water bottles – a promotion from Burger King (haha!) and allllmost caught one of the baseballs but it glanced off my hand and went behind me. Bummer!

We have been working on getting our FM3’s, an immigration document that looks a lot like a passport that will allow us to stay in Mexico for 1 year instead of the tourist card that expires in 6 months. The submission process is pretty painless – take photos, make copies of your passport, complete the application forms and schedule your appointment to pick up the finished product. We were assured by everyone involved that the appointments would be scheduled 2 weeks later so we waited until two and a half weeks out to submit the paperwork. And of course, Murphy stepped in and the appointment was scheduled for December 4th – 4 days after we were hoping to leave! Doh! We went down to immigration with Elvira from the Marina and talked to them (read – begged!) to get an earlier appointment, which is scheduled for Friday, the 28th. After we get our FM3’s, we have to take them and the temporary import permit for the Jeep to Customs to get the permit extended to match our FM3’s. Sounds easy! Our only issue is that our appointment is at noon at immigration, and customs closes at 2pm! It will be a race to get everything done and we’re hoping Murphy is no where to be found today.

Our cushions are super clean and beautiful since the zippers and new foam was installed. I ended up taking the cushions up to the drycleaner and they removed the covers and drycleaned them for only 35 pesos each. We have dealt with our Fishing Licenses, although it was not as easy as it was supposed to be. It’s a nice easy process – go online, fill out the application, print two pieces of paper, take them to the bank, get your receipt, go back online and enter the code from the receipt and print the license. Simple! Mine worked without a hitch, printed beautifully. Michael’s…..not so much. The code just would not work! I tried & tried, took it up to the office and Elvira tried & tried! Well, long story short, they misspelled Michael’s name on the bank receipt and since it does not match, won’t work! We went back to the bank but since it was days later, they could not fix it and suggested we call the Conapesca office, but no one could help. So we are keeping our payment receipt and our application on Michael and if we are asked, will attempt to explain! We went to have some maintenance items taken care of in the last few days as well – haircuts & teeth cleanings! What a deal on a cleaning – only 350 pesos! Michael has been busy with the Thanksgiving Dinner preparations. There are lots of things to work out & coordinate and he’s doing a fantastic job. And of course we have been provisioning & stocking the freezer. We found some great frozen lasagna meals at Sam’s club which is an incredible find in Mexico, we stocked up on some meats from Henderson’s which is the best place for frozen meat we have found here (they flash freeze it & vacuum seal it in the U.S. and bring it down), cheeses, & misc items we know we won’t find further down the road.

I have some more cruising blogs & websites for you to check out!
Mike & Julie on S/V Slacker is
Linda & Wally on S/V Andanzas is
Joe & Deb on S/V Pacific Jade is
Terry & Vicki on S/V Tenacity is
Steve & Gig on S/V Charlotte Alane is
Dawn & Tom on S/V Warm Rain is
Patrick & Susan on S/V Perpetua is

Oh, I have to tell you how much fun some of the cruisers are here. As everywhere, there are several ‘jokesters’ and there are several here. One story that I have to tell you though is about “Jean Claude”. In the middle of one of the morning nets, someone (I won’t name names!) came interrupted the net with a very thick French accent and said he was just coming into Marina Mazatlan, was sick of cruising and was selling everything on his boat, including his boat for very cheap! Things like a dinghy for $50, including the engine, watermakers, lines, canvas, etc. All of the things a cruiser is on the lookout for! Even his boat he was going to sell for $500. He said to come to dock 5 in Marina Mazatlan and it was first come, first sold! What you should know about Marina Mazatlan is the numbering sequence is off – there’s dock 3, 4, 6, 7, 8….but no dock 5! Of course, he caught some cruisers hook, line, & sinker and there were even several boaters who were calling on the radio “Where is dock 5?”….. There were people from the other marina who even hopped in their dinghies and zoomed over here….all looking for dock 5 and “Jean Claude”. It was a classic. People are still looking for “Jean Claude” and all of the items he was selling. No one tells those people that there is no “Jean Claude” and it was all an elaborate joke. Haha…!!
Lots more exciting things to come! Stay posted...


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