Sunday, May 30, 2010 | Author: Jacob
In another truly 'once-in-a-lifetime' sort of happening we (along with the crew of Hello World and Sarah from Monkey Nutz) headed over to the Deportivo Corona to watch some sweet Lucha Libre action. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint: beer by the bag, hot dogs, overweight dudes in spandex sequins and masks. A good time for the whole family.

The view from the bleachers.

Those onboard the sailing vessel Pisces have allegiance to only one luchador: La Parka. The above video (from some other higher-budget event) will help you understand.

And that's why you never stop to argue with the ref.

Friday, May 28, 2010 | Author: Julia
If you're one of the many cruisers who for whatever reason do not have a fridge/freezer onboard (like us), after about a week away from a market meals become a test of creativity.

Here's my current favorite recipe that requires only two fresh ingredients: garlic and onion.

Chicken Cacciatore with barely any fresh ingredients:
(many thanks to Shawn from Tao for making this for us last year, and providing the recipe for this new favorite on Pisces)

-Chop and saute a couple cloves of garlic and a medium onion in a pot
-Add: 1 can diced tomatoes (not drained), 2 cans chicken and 1 or 2 can mushrooms (drained)
-Spices: A generous splash of white wine, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, any other Italian herbs you have
-Add: Green olives
-Simmer until rice is done.

This makes enough for dinner and then lunch the next day.

If anyone else has a particularly good recipe for cans and long lasting veggies (onions, garlic, potatoes, cabbage etc.etc.) please leave a comment with the recipe!

Monday, May 24, 2010 | Author: Julia
Today I got an email from my mother-in-law informing me that I had received my AARP membership card in the mail. According to their website I am now eligible for a 20% discount at Denny's, AND I can join their online interactive workshop for inspirational tips on how write my memoir.

30 is apparently the new 50.

Thanks AARP!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010 | Author: Jacob
One of the oft-repeated pieces of cruiser advice is to always do the 'stingray shuffle' when you are walking in shallow water. Stingrays nestle down into the sand becoming invisible, just waiting to be stepped on by the unsuspecting swimmer. By shuffling your feet along the bottom you are supposedly able to clear your path of any hiding stingrays. Unfortunately, it turns out this is not 100% effective. Take the case where you happen to shuffle up on a stingray whose barb is pointed at you, and instead of shuffling into his body (sending him gliding safely off) you bump his business end sending him lashing away.

Well, that's how our lovely hike ended today, after we decided to avoid about a half-mile of scrambling over rocky hills by wading through several hundred yards of crystal-clear warm chest-deep water. I managed to shuffle right into the sharp end of a stingray, who flicked his barb, cutting me on the side of my middle-toe (not exactly sure how he managed that). The pain was shocking, and it literally knocked me off my feet, soaking the backpack I had been carrying on my head. It was really remarkable how much pain those little guys inflict, and as I stumbled out of the water, my whole body was shaking and I could barely put any weight on my foot. All this within the span of about 60 seconds. I was able to limp along another hundred yards or so, until Julia was able to get back with the dinghy and rush me back to Pisces. At this point my whole leg was aching, and my upper leg had begun twitching periodically. Oh yeah, most of my toe turned a nice color purple too. That was encouraging.

We got back to the boat and realized that although we were well prepared with medicine, we had slacked a bit on staying organized with the 'how-to' guides. Thankfully we were able to dig out "The Waterlover's Guide to Marine Medicine' by Paul G. Gill, Jr., M.D. It's really a great book, and following the treatment guidelines in it we were able to quickly get the pain down to a manageable amount and get everything cleaned up. One of the nice things about this particular book is that in addition to the clear step-by-step guides to treating everything from Bristleworm Rash to Toothache is that Dr. Gill doesn't hesitate to sprinkle in some nice descriptive adjectives ('stings cause immediate, agonizing, pulsating, or burning pain') as well as a good helping of anecdotes to help lighten the treatment-crisis mood. Take this one prefacing the section on stingrays:

'While exploring Chesapeake Bay, Captain John Smith hopped out of a boat barefoot onto a stingray, which had the temerity to stick its dart into his leg. It was a foolish act on the part of the fish, for Smith was no common man. Instead of trying to get clear of it, Smith held it to the bottom with his foot, drew his hanger, hacked the fish to pieces and ate several collops raw. - from Horace Beck, Folklore and the Sea

Nice. So not only am I in agonizing, pulsating, pain, but now I get to read about this guy killing and eating the offending stingray and compare that to my reaction which was basically to yelp loudly while getting knocked on my ass. Anyway, so far everything looks fine, the swelling seems to be going down quickly, the pain is very manageable now, and the purple color is quickly receding. It'll probably be a swimming-free few days for me though while I let my toe (and pride) recover.

Monday, May 17, 2010 | Author: Julia
After some of the best snorkeling we've ever done at Muertos we decided to take advantage of the Easterly breeze and head through the Cerralvo channel and see where we ended up. We had a beautiful day of sailing, got to fly our new-to-us drifter wing on wing with the new-to-us/loaner pole (thanks Estrella-pictures coming when we have internet!)

As we meandered our way through the Lorenzo Channel we spied a boat beating towards us, and it turned out to be our friends on Hello World, headed toward Ballandra for a weekend of fun with their friend Casey who flew in for a visit from Ohio! So we took the opportunity to have a quick photo session of each other's boats, and headed into the anchorage for a long overdue reunion.

When we've been at Ballandra before, it's been on the rolly side, but the Easterly winds combined with the evening Southerlies make this the perfect anchorage, and we've been taking advantage of the ideal conditions to hike ashore, sail Pesky, and snorkel right off the boat. Sadly Hello World had to head back into La Paz today to return Casey to Ohio, and so we're left with the anchorage all to ourselves!

Lat 24 19' N, Long 110 20' W

Thursday, May 13, 2010 | Author: Jacob
That's right folks, this is officially your last chance to visit the good ship Pisces here in Mexico. We'll be here through the end of the month, hanging in the general vicinity of La Paz, enjoying white sand beaches, sun, water so clear you can see 30+ feet in it, snorkeling, hiking, fishing...doesn't get much better than this.

Drop us an email and we'll give you the full details on how to book your last minute vacation in paradise.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 | Author: Jacob

We completed the crossing from Mazatlan to Muertos last night, arriving at about midnight after a 41hr trip covering 200nm. We had a great time, with some of the best flat-water sailing (and a bit of motoring) that we've had in the last two years. Only slight hiccup was a failed raw-water impeller (that keeps cooling water flowing for the engine). We love Alpha-Beta (our Beta Marine Engine) but have had a few minor problems with the raw water system including impellers failing at a bit higher than normal rates (this one had <40 hrs on it) and a failed raw water pump (that was quickly replaced under warranty).

About halfway across we started picking up stowaway birds, first a small robin type bird, looking a bit bedraggled, and then a boobie looking more lazy than anything else. We drew the line when two other boobies started circling and looking interested in joining, and kept it down to two passengers who rode with us for most of a full day until we dropped anchor. The boobie in particular wouldn't be moved from his selected perch, even when I started gently shoving his tail feathers.

I was reading in the sea-berth off watch when I felt that weird vibe that someone was watching me...

Lat 23 59' N, Long 109 50' W
Saturday, May 08, 2010 | Author: Julia

Friday, May 07, 2010 | Author: Julia
The streets are lined with colorful buildings and secret gardens.

The Old Harbor where we are anchored shares the channel with the commercial port. Here's me and Pesky sharing the road with Carnival Splendor.

The view from the top: Mazatlan as seen from the lighthouse that guards the entrance to the harbor.

The bar entrance doesn't leave much room for wiggling around in the channel, at least for vessels of this size.

Pisces nestled into the anchorage. Note the La Paz ferry on the far side, they've been loading semi trucks all day and just steamed out.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010 | Author: Jacob
We are in Mazatlan, after a primarily motor-boat trip up from Mantanchen (on a side note, how do you spell the name of that bay? every different guide book seems to have it different...Matachen, Mantachen, Mantanchen, etc.).

Pretty uneventful trip of about 125 nautical miles, calm seas, clear skies, and now we are in the anchorage here at Mazatlan...if you've ever been here before then you know exactly the scent that is floating downwind to us. We'll probably be here for a few days, then back over to Baja where we can swim and try to avoid sewage treatment plants.

Today's sunrise, about 20 miles out of Mazatlan.

Lat 23 11' N, Long 106 25' W
Sunday, May 02, 2010 | Author: Julia
Yesterday we made the 55 mile hop from Punta Mita to Matanchen Bay, arriving a couple of hours before sunset. I have a soft spot for Matanchen Bay, despite the mediocre reviews it receives from the cruising guides. It's large wide open bay (a plus for me, a definite negative if it happens to be blowing from the South), and every time we've come here a pod of dolphins has come by to check us out. Oh and there are plenty of palm trees, which makes me feel like I'm really livin' the cruisin' life.

Tuba music wafts gently from the palapas under the palm trees

San Blas is the more protected anchorage just around the corner, up in an estuary. However, we decided to give the bar crossing a miss yesterday when we went up to take a look at the conditions and watched waves breaking across the entrance. We'd recently watched this video of another cruiser attempting to cross the bar, and were motivated to take the conservative approach and head towards the wide open Matanchen.

This is all anchorage. Just my style.

Lat 21 31' N, Long 105 14' W