Tuesday, September 28, 2010

9/25/2010 - Crafts on the beach

Jake and I got to participate in a really cool activity today on the beach.  We got to dye some fabric!  There is a lady who cruises who has made her living dying fabric and she generously offered to show all of us cruisers how to do it.  Because it is how she makes her living, I’m going to leave out the details on the process, but we had a great time getting our hands dirty and socializing with everyone else.  We spent about 30 minutes actually dying the fabric and about 2 hours watching it dry!  Lukily Jake and the other kids had the water to help occupy their time.

One of the popular things for cruisers to do is revive some of their old clothes.  We haven’t been sailing long enough to have “old” clothes that needed dying so we decided to dye some fabric I had left over from making our curtains.  I think it turned out nice (even if Andy does think it resembles camoflauge).

For anyone who knows me personally and knows that I am not crafty, you will be shocked at my latest hobby.   Beading.  And I’m actually kind of good at it.  There are several ladies who have been doing this for years and they taught me how when we were in Santa Rosalia.  When I went home I bought some more supplies and have been going to town.  For now, this passes my time between reading books and homeschooling Jake.  Here are some of the bracelets I’ve made.  I’m starting on something new now…a tiny little bag.  It’s hard enough to get a decent vegetable around here so you can imagine how hard it is to find beads.  I’m not sure if this hobby will last longer than my supplies…we’ll see.

Monday, September 27, 2010

How do we stay in shape? Let me count the ways...

A common question is how do we stay in shape?  Our answer (and every other cruiser I know) usually goes like this… “We snorkel, swim, dive, hike, walk on the beach....there’s always something keeping us busy.  Pulling up the sails takes a lot of upper body strength!”

What that really means is that we barely move around enough to maintain our general size and we certainly don’t do enough to actually produce new muscle or slim down at all.

When I was home, I spent some time on facebook seeing all sorts of crazy people get in shape.  One of my best friends in VA just finished a half marathon.  Some friends from high school regularly ride 30+ miles on their bikes.  And an old friend from my college days just finished running 100 miles in 24 hours and he’s an Ironman!  I was inspired.  My inner voice began to get excited…”As soon as I get back to the boat, I’m getting in shape.  I used to run…not 100 miles, but I ran regularly.  I have no excuse… I have no job making me tired, my husband is home to watch the kid, and I have plenty of time on my hands.”

We pulled into La Mona and there is a very long beach perfect for exercising.  The first morning, I got up early (for me anyway) and went for a long walk on the beach.  I decided to start slow (i.e. not run).  I walked for an hour or so and then went back to the boat.  I swam around the boat a few times that afternoon.  Good start.

The next morning I woke up and my butt hurt.  I mentioned this to Andy as I was getting out of bed.  “That’s sad,” he said.  Yes, Yes it is.  So off I went.  I walked faster this time….priming myself for the run I was going to do the next day. 

This morning, just as I was about to get up, Jake crawls in bed with me and wants to cuddle.  Sure, just for a few minutes I tell myself.  An hour later, I get up and make scrambled eggs and potatoes.  No walking/running today.  Sometime today I have to get re-inspired (I can’t get on facebook out here) to get my sore tail up tomorrow to run.  But right now I think I hear Andy calling…. He’s got an upper body workout for me… one arm curls with a Tecate Light. J

Sunday, September 26, 2010

9/23/2010 - Party Party Party

We’ve had lots of activity going on lately.  Jake has had a few kids to play with.  He had a swim date on Ceilydh, birthday party on Third Day, and tonight is the full moon party here in La Mona.  The kids have been great.  Jake is by far the youngest and he’s the only boy under 12.  The girls have taken him under their wing and are careful to include him in everything they do.  They even volunteered to be his teacher one day!  He came out and said “Mommy, I’m tired.  TOO MUCH school.”  I think they progressed him all the way to first grade in that one afternoon.  At the birthday party he went to, they found out it was his birthday too (among 3 or 4 others) and a few of the girls put together little presents of candy and paper for him making him feel really special.  He even had presents and a cupcake with his name on it from Zada.

The full moon party tonight is the second one so far.  It’s a pretty neat concept…all of the boats in the area come and anchor in a predetermined spot (one with a lagoon).  On the day of the full moon, we all get our floaties and just when the tide is about to go out, we go inside the lagoon and ride our floaties out with the tide.  Some people get really into it and make their own floaties.  There are prizes given to the most creative.  After a little floating and a little swimming, everyone goes back to their boat and cleans up, naps, whatever so that we’re all rested for the potluck on the beach that evening.  We had a great time at the last one and Jake is counting down the hours until high tide today.

We also had a chance to meet some folks who follow our blog who were getting married down here in Bahia LA.  Congratulations to Mike and Stacy.  We really enjoyed meeting them and wish them all the best… and thanks for the margaritas!  Hopefully our paths will cross again some day. (By the way Mike, if you get a chance we would love a copy of the pictures you took!)

We’ve been really watching the weather lately.  Georgette just went through south of us.  Luckily it had lost most of it’s umph before it hit the sea, but it gave us cause to think about whether or not we should start heading south so early.  The jury is still out.   In the meantime, we’re checking routes, reading guide books and gathering information from fellow cruisers who have “been there, done that.”

Monday, September 20, 2010

More underwater photos

Andy got a few more photos ready... enjoy.

Swimming with the Sea Lions at Refugio

Andy and Jake trying to touch the whale shark

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Boat Living - Part 2

More opinions and answers to your questions....

What does Jake do for fun on the boat while underway?  The same thing he did on land.  Play, play, play.  He has legos, spaceships, books, submarines, airplanes, cars, trains.  I really thought we sold most of this stuff but I was wrong!  Our boat is regularly scattered with kid stuff.  He also likes to do crafts, cook and watch movies…after the movie, he reenacts whatever story was playing.  Mostly though, he just blows things up.  He has become a Star Wars freak ... making light sabors with play dough is his latest activity while underway.

How can you afford to do this?  It’s not as difficult as one might think.  We’ve met people out here on retirement checks, Social Security checks and some lucky souls who still make money from their investments.  We are able to fund our day to day living on Andy’s Navy retirement, using investments for emergencies and big purchases.   From our conversations with other cruisers, we appear to be lucky in this aspect and are not on as tight of a budget as most others (albeit an 80% a month pay cut for us – difficult for anyone, I imagine).  The cool thing is if you’re in a place and you see you’re blowing your budget….you leave and go to some island or cove where you can’t spend any money.  That’s been our method and so far we’ve come under budget each month (with the exception of August – spare parts and two weeks in the states blew that right out of the water).

How do you get your news?  We don’t.  I have no idea what’s going on in the world.  But if I do want to know, I can usually check the internet or ask someone else.  With out new SSB radio, we have been able to pick up BBC news if we really want to, but so far, we don’t want to.

What do you do when you run out of food?  We try not to let that happen.  No one has lost any weight so we’re good so far!  The thing we run out of the most is fresh vegetables, so we try to keep a number of canned and frozen items on hand.  Most of the small towns we go to sell at least eggs, tomatoes and avacados.  We also run out of bread quite frequently.  I’ve been able to make simple white bread, tortillas and the latest is Nan bread – our favorite so far.  For meat, we have one of those vacuum sealer/food saver things.  This has been invaluable.  When we find something good, we buy a lot and separate it and freeze it.  But the best part of running out of food is that we have a resident fisherman on board.  He’s a pro at spear fishing and we can almost always get something fresh for supper.  Gringos aren’t supposed to get clams, lobster, scallops or any other crustacean, so of course we don’t eat those fresh…ever… of course not. 

If you’re thinking about cruising and are curious as to what to bring on board with you, I would say to bring anything you just can’t live without.  For us, that means balsalmic vinegar, rice wine vinegar, wasabi, Jiff peanut butter, Israeli couscous, gnocci, good wine, and diet dr. pepper.  While I’ve been able to find some of this stuff along the way (vinegar, wasabi, mediocre wine), I didn’t want to chance it!  When it’s gone, it’s gone.  More than likely you’re going to want to eat like you eat at home.  We’ve tried some new things and being the adventurous eaters we are, I’m sure we’ll try some more.  But overall, we still cook and eat basically the same as always.

Stay tuned for part 3... technical questions.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

9/13/2010 - Jake turns 5 in Refugio!

We’ve been up in Refugio again for a few days and the big event was Jake turning 5!  Another birthday in Mexico, another party without kids.  Oh well.  I actually think he likes it better since he doesn’t have to compete with anyone for attention.  The benefit to us is that his expectations get lower every year.
This birthday started with chocolate chip pancakes and Gatorade.  After breakfast, Jake helped me mix and bake his birthday cake and make the icing.  He then proceeded to design his cake.  It was pretty extravagant.  He wanted a submarine shooting torpedos at an angler fish with a mini submarine escaping out the back.  Here’s what we ended up with…given my lack of talent for cake making and the materials we had to work with, I think it turned out ok (I know my friend Hunter is dying as she's looking at this.  She makes beautiful cakes...wish you were here!).

 For lunch he was treated to a bottomless plate of pb&j and cheesy poofs.  At 2:00 Mr. Scott and Ms. Terri came over for the showing of Return of the Jedi (I know, he’s only 5, but once you start them on Star Wars you can’t go back).  This was a special showing because it’s a movie bought in Mexico and only works on our computer as opposed to our dvd player (i.e. a whole different set of cables running to the tv).  Since mom and dad are lazy, we rarely watch it.
Following the movie, Jake was treated to his favorite meal of spaghetti and meatballs, complete with the meatballs!  The night ended with chocolate cake and presents, of which Jake was completely surprised since he thought he got all of his presents at Gigi’s house.

So here we sit the day after, trying to decide where to go next.  Andy hurt his back a few days ago so we’re in no hurry…I want to make sure he has enough time to really get better. 
It’s getting that time where we need to start thinking about heading south and making our way out of Mexico.  This is where it gets scary for me.  I’ve gotten quite comfortable here in the Sea of Cortez.  I won’t say I love it (It’s very dry…. all of my east coast buddies will understand when I say I need to see something GREEN), but I’m comfortable.  Once we start heading south, we have to step into the unknown again.  New cultures, new anchorages, new boats, new rules.  It’s exciting and intimidating all at the same time.  Someone called me brave a few weeks ago and said I must not be scared of anything.  I laughed at that.  I’m scared of EVERYTHING….I just do it anyway.

In a few more days we’ll take the long way back around Isla Angel de la Guardia to Bahia LA to check email one more time and get more food (we eat a lot, huh?).  Then I think we’re off to the mainland.  Anyone heading to Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, etc over the winter?  Drop us a line, maybe we’ll meet you there.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

More pictures from Bahia Los Angeles

Here are some more pictures I noticed I hadn't shared from the area... enjoy.  

Always shooting or blowing something up.

Jake's new friend Herman, congratulating him on finding gold!

Zada and Jake playing at the local museum on Herman's gold mining contribution.

We're back....and we're even.

Jake and I have just returned from a two week trip to California where we renewed our Visas, picked up some extra parts and got some much needed Target time.  My wonderful mother drove us back to Mexico on Friday and spent the weekend with us.  We had the car loaded down praying for the green light at the border.  I actually felt nauseaous at the thought of getting inspected with all of the equipment (not to mention the wine – I was a little over my 1 liter per person limit) I had in the car.  I let out an audible sigh of relief, did a happy dance as much as possible while driving and promptly got lost in Tijuana…added 30 minutes to our 9 our drive.
Jake getting a haircut from Ms. Nicole

Jake having a "smackdown" with Mr. Eric

While we were gone, Andy went back to Refugio and dove with the sea lions.  He took over 700 pictures!  He was able to get some really good ones of the pups and a few of the bulls. 

After a few hours of getting reacquainted with each other he confessed that we’re now even.  I asked “Even for what?”
“I lost the dinghy while you were gone…..but I got it back!”
Lots of laughing filled the air….followed by more laughing….then finally,  “How did you do that?”
Evidently he and Scott went exploring on the beach in Los Rocos and he did put the anchor out.  It appears he didn’t tie a very good knot (unforgivable, right?  He’s retired Navy!).  When they came back, there was a nice big anchor stuck in the beach with no boat.  Luckily, our friends on Puttytat saw it drifting by and grabbed it, so they saved the day.
The next day, we were out at a different anchorage with a lagoon and we were floating out with the tide when, unfortunately, Andy became even with me once again.  He got stung by a stingray.  And…..he was shuffling his feet!  We went back to the boat and promptly stuck his foot in some hot water and started the drill. 

I won’t tell you it was a little bitty stingray the size of a pancake, or I needed a magnifying glass to see the hole to put ointment on it….because that would be mean and just untrue.  I will instead tell you that I have the most hardcore man in the fleet!  He didn’t even cry.  He got over the sting in record breaking time (not because it was so small but because he was hardcore) and promptly returned to his job as Captain and leading the crew.

We’re off today for a few weeks.  We desperately need to get out of the crowd and go spend some time together.  That’s amazing isn’t it?  After all these months 24/7, we actually still like each other.