Monday, January 31, 2011

How much does it cost to go cruising?

We’ve had lots of questions about how much money it costs to go cruising and the standard answer is “it depends.”  It really is different for everyone and in my experience, it costs as much as you have.  But I realize those kinds of answers don’t give future cruisers any clue as to what to expect out here, so I’m joining in with a few of my fellow cruisers and posting expenses.  I’m not going to post details (mainly because I don’t want anyone gasping at how much we spend on food – we like to eat), but I will post the totals for our first year and give you a few opinions.  In full disclosure, these are general figures…I don’t keep exact books but they’ll give you an idea give or take a few dollars.  If you want to see other cruiser expenses, you can check out Third Day’s blog or Hotspur on my links…they both post details.

Our total expenses for 2010 from May-December (we left at the end of April) were $19,875.  $3875 over our budget.  I mostly attribute this to two trips back to the states where we made some pretty large purchases for the boat – a new SSB Radio and antennae – and we rented a car.  In order to have full disclosure here, I will also say this total does not include our mail expenses as those go on my credit card and I’m just too lazy to look it up.  I’m guessing those were about $300.

Some insights to help breakdown the total…
  • We spent most of our budget on food and drinks, both eating out and on groceries.  This matches perfectly with how we spent our money on land…no surprises there.
  • The next highest item was boat parts.  As I’ve already pointed out, we made a few major purchases so that’s not surprising either.
  • Other categories that were more than a few hundred dollars… marina/mooring fees, transportation (we rented a car more than a few times), gas/fuel for the boat/dinghy, gifts and souvenirs, fishing licenses and lures, home schooling materials.
  • Categories that really didn’t make a dent in anything…internet, ice cream (yes, I track this separately out of sheer curiosity), laundry, entertainment, dinghy dock fees, clothes.

Overall, I’m not very surprised.  You hear a lot about expenses being high in the first year and then the more you get the hang of it, the less you spend.  We’re not off to a very good start for January but that’s because we’re getting ready to cross a big ocean and we’re probably going overboard in preparation.  But the way I figure it, we have a full 20 days out there were we spend nothing!

I hope this helps some future cruisers and if nothing else, satisfies any curiosities out there as to how we do this.  If anyone has specific questions, I’m always happy to answer those – just shoot me an email or leave a comment with your email address and I’ll get back to you.

By the way, I apologize for the lack of pictures.  I was going to take some pictures of our pesos...but we're all out :)  

Friday, January 28, 2011

Flag Etiquette

Apparently, you guys really like potlucks...  I think only about 5% of the folks out there really like me without my "filter" on so I'll take if off sparingly.  You'll find this post very polite.

One of my many administrative tasks this week is to figure out which courtesy flags we need before leaving Mexico.  Flag Etiquette is something Andy is pretty keen on (reasonably so after spending 21 years in the Navy), so I wanted to make sure I got it right.  We see a lot of boats around here who seem to do their own thing and it drives Andy nuts.  While looking up the various different flags I also found a pretty good article about etiquette and thought I would share it here for any other boaters who might be confused.  Flag Etiquette

Proper way to display home country flag and courtesy flag.  Canadian Flag on back (home country)
After looking through the list, I think we'll need about nine different flags.  There's a few I'm not sure about, but Andy wants to get them just in case.

Here in the PuertoVallarta area there is a lady, Sunseeker Annie, who makes courtesy flags and sells them to cruisers.  While I like to support local people, at first I thought she was extremely expensive.  But after looking around on the internet, Sunseeker Annie is pretty cheap.  Who knew those little bitty flags could be so expensive?  A lot of people choose to make their own.  For me, I would have to buy all of the fabric as I don't have any on board and then there's the grommets and reinforcement needed (we're pretty hard on flags) and then the actual act of sewing.  We all know how long it took me to sew those silly screens, right?  I think this is one of those areas where I'll just put in my order and let someone else do the work.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Potlucks, Potlucks, and more Potlucks

At the risk of alienating all of my fellow cruisers and never being invited to another potluck again, I’m going to write an opinion piece here…on potlucks. 

I hate them.  I always have and I hate them more now that we’re cruising.  I’ll start off by saying that I love the company, it’s the food I hate. I’ll add a tidbit about Andy and myself you may or may not know…we’re food snobs.

Believe it or not, I don't have any pictures of a potluck.
Here's the marina we're staying in.
First off, there’s never a theme.  You could have sushi sitting next to hot dogs and deviled eggs next to an enchilada casserole.  There is no rhyme or reason to it.  If you’re planning a potluck, pick a theme… Italian, Mexican, Bar-b-que, whatever.  Give people a direction.   No one likes to walk in the dark.

Inevitably, you will have more pasta salads and potato salads than you can count.  Now, I’m not criticizing those who bring these things…I too have brought pasta salad to more than one get together, I’m just pointing out that there are only so many dishes appropriate for a potluck.  Which leads me to my second issue…not many good dishes still taste good after they’ve been sitting around (which is why I hate buffets too, but that’s a totally different subject).  Take for instance the taquitos I made for one of our more recent potlucks.  I rolled up chilorio (a spicy easy to prepare meat here in Mexico) and cheese in some small tortillas and then fried them.  Add some salsa and they were very tasty.  But by the time I put those in a Tupperware container, got in the dinghy, went to the potluck (in our case we stopped by the showers first) and then set them on the table, they’re already cold and if they’re not cold, they’re soggy.  In our case, they were cold and soggy.  People still ate them but I’m not sure if it’s because they tasted good or because there wasn’t enough food and people were starving.

Number three reason I hate potlucks… some people can’t cook.  There, I said it.  They suck and they don’t know it.  I’m not talking about the people that know it and bring chips and dip.  To those folks, I salute you.  I’m talking about the people who really and truly think they can cook and sometimes it even looks like they can cook so you pile your plate with whatever it is only to find out that there’s no where you can spit it out without making a scene.  This has happened to me more than once on deserts.  Have you ever eaten one of those brownies that tastes like it has been in the oven since Easter?  You know what I mean.

Reason number four… some people have no scruples.  I think they hate potlucks as much as I do and are trying to poison us all to keep us from throwing another one.  I remember one potluck in San Diego at the dock where someone was bragging about bringing their leftovers from their dinner earlier in the week.  They just put it on a plate and heated it up.  I’m not talking about the dish that you made ahead of time (and maybe even threw in your freezer) because you’re busy.  I’m talking about the one someone has already stuck his/her fork in and decided they would eat the rest later (along with 20 other people).  It’s just gross.

I’m not sure if this is reason number five or just an extension of the other reasons but I always run out of ideas for potlucks.  Recently I even resorted to soliciting ideas on Facebook.  Some were helpful…  The last potluck I went to I just took watermelon.  Had more than 4 people shown up, it would have been very appropriate, but as it turned out we only had salad and watermelon.  Everyone had to run up to the store and buy some meat.

It wouldn’t be a fair post if I didn’t point out the good things about potlucks.  They are an inexpensive way of getting together with friends and not burdening one person with all of the work.  I appreciate that.  Occasionally, you will run across someone who has a really good recipe and you want to eat it again (that’s the way I found out about chilorio).  That’s the luck in the “potluck.”

Potlucks won’t go away and I won’t quit attending them.  I do enjoy the company and occasionally the food.  But the next time you attend a potluck (particularly if I'm invited), put a little thought into it and leave your leftovers in the fridge.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


The last few days have been a blur.  It started with pulling into the marina.  The swell in the anchorage was predicted to grow drastically (it's already bad), we were going to Costco to do some major provisioning (and didn't want to drag it back in the dinghy), and the boat needed a serious bath - Marina here we come.  So Thursday morning, I pulled us into the dock.  You did read that right... I pulled us in.  I have never docked the boat before so this was truly a monumental thing.  I'm not sure why I chose now to learn (there are no docks in the South Pacific), but the weather was right and my teacher was fantastic (he didn't yell at me once or even try to take over) and I landed her in there pretty good if I do say so myself.

We took the bus to the airport and rented a car and thus began our three day whirlwind.  Andy got his passport renewed (or at least the process started), we made two trips to Costco, bought a cable we needed for our Sailmail, and ended with a major trip to the Mega (large grocery store).  Why are we doing this now when we're not leaving for another month?  Well, a couple of reasons but the major one was that we just feel like we have so much to do we might as well get started.  It took us several hours to find a place for everything and we actually started an inventory so that we don't lose track of things - I didn't think I was going to do that but now I think we need it.

Attempting to organize... why do I look so happy?
Organized chaos.

I won't bore you with the details, but we're well on our way in terms of provisioning.  It's kind of nice to see all this food and know that we're going to be totally self sufficient out there... making our own water, electricity and having enough to feed everyone for well over 3 months (I know, a bit excessive - just like the # of pictures I've posted here of food).

Today I finished cleaning everything up and Andy is back to working on the boat.  Another few days to enjoy the marina!

Random Pictures

I just thought I would share some pictures of Jake over the past month or so...I know the grandparents will appreciate it :)

Jake and the other kids at the Pirate costume contest on movie night.
Getting into character

All this fun wears a kid out

Saturday, January 22, 2011

1/18/2011 - Spa Day

Today was a WONDERFUL day.  I got to go to the spa.  My friend Diane on Ceilydh is a travel writer and gets to do all kinds of cool things and then write about them.  Lucky me, she decided to write about the spa at the Mariott in Puerto Vallarta and invited me to go.

We were able to have full use of the hot tubs, sauna, steam room, showers, etc.  When it came time for our treatments, we both got a body scrub and a hot rock massage.  Have you ever had one of those?  I haven’t.  I have to say, I loved it.  I thought it was pretty strange when the lady put small hot rocks between my toes, wrapped them up and left them there…but when the massage was over and she started to take them out, I thought “Put back the rocks!! Put back the rocks!!  Please don’t let this be over!”  It was that good.  I really hated to see the day end.  Unfortunately, it ended with a bumpy bus ride back to La Cruz and totally negated any relaxation I had gained, but it was good all the same.

If someone were to ask me the one thing I miss more than anything (outside of family), I would say it’s my girl friends.  They are few and far between out here.  So a day with a friend, no kids, no husbands and it being all about us was absolutely great.  Diane wrote a nice post on her blog about our day as it relates to women in cruising for anyone interested...  Ceilydh Sets Sail: Cruiser Maintenance

Friday, January 21, 2011

1/17/2011 - Latest Update

NOTE:  apologies ahead of time…I’m very talkative today.

Notice the two alligator slides on either side of the tower.
The fun just keeps on coming… Yesterday, Jake was invited to our friend’s boat, Andiamo III.  They have moved from La Cruz to a marina close by called Paridise Village because they have some friends coming to stay with them and they wanted to be closer to them.  It’s one of those places where people joke that scared Americans go to see Mexico (no offense to Andiamo, they feel the same way).  Anyway, they invited Jake to come and play in the totally awesome pool (complete with alligator slide) and then spend the night with their kids Christian and Abigail.  Jake wasn’t too keen on spending the night yet so we decided to go for the day while Andy worked on the boat. 

After an hour or so on two different buses (I really hate the bus system here…it takes FOREVER to get anywhere), Jake and I had lunch at McDonald’s and ice cream before we called Andiamo on the radio.  Shockingly, they couldn’t hear us…our hand held radio is crap.  So we set about to find them.  Trying to get into Paradise Village without proper id is like trying to get onto a military base the day after 9/11(well, not that hard, but pretty darn close).   We just tried to look the part and after some well staged conversation between Jake and I about not being able to find his friends, spoken in front of sympathetic looking people who looked liked they missed their grandkids, a nice gentleman let us in the gate to the dock so we could continue our hunt.  We finally found Andiamo and surprised them in the middle of their lunch.

Jake, partaking in the paper airplane contest.
Once the kids were all dressed, we went to the pool and had a fabulous afternoon.  The kids swam and played games while Tami and I sipped white wine spritzers and had some much needed (at least for me) girl time.  The highlight of Jake’s day was probably going down the big alligator slide.  I had to go first to see how scary it was…against my better judgment I decided to take Jake down with me the second time.  I say against my better judgment because I hate water slides.  Absolutely hate them.  I’m not the best swimmer in the world and hate water up my nose, which is what always happens on those things.  I’m positive I must have had a bad experience at White Water at a young age and have just supressed that memory.  Like most of my worries, it was unfounded and we landed safely in the shallow pool at the bottom, both times (he made me do it twice).

Today, I really didn’t want to do anything.  It’s two o’clock and I’m still in my pajamas.  But I will say we have been pretty productive.  I cut Andy and Jake’s hair this morning (long overdue), then Jake and I had school.   He’s coming a long much better with this new math program we’re using (Mathucansee), recommended by an old high school friend (thanks Tina, if you’re reading this).  And by doing Math first, somehow he doesn’t mind the reading and writing so much afterwards. 
Yes, that's my purple shirt he's wearing.

Sanding away...
Andy has been busy for several days sanding, priming and painting the whole boat.  He’s doing a fantastic job but there is dust everywhere and the whole boat is a wreck (which is why cleaning is not on my list of things to do today…it would be a waste of time).

Painter's tape, primer, windows are out... lots of prep work.
The cockpit is a total mess...dust everywhere.

My next task was to check on our ditch bag and see what was in there.  A ditch bag, for those of you don’t know, is literally the bag you take with you if you have to “ditch” your boat.  While no one ever expects to have to do that, it’s a good idea to be prepared anyway.  I know all of my cruiser friends are thinking that’s the understatement of the year.  See, we went to a seminar the other night where the topic was being prepared.  Aside from scaring the bejesus out of most everyone, it also woke us up to realize we probably have some work to do.  We packed our ditch bag a while back so I had forgotten what was in there.  When I dumped it out and laid it all out, I think we’re only about halfway packed.  So, off I go to make more lists (and spend more $).

Around lunch time, Jake announced he was hungry (what’s with that kid?).  I looked around and we have nothing appetizing to a 5 year old.  No bread, no tortillas, no tostado chips.  So I gave him an apple and peanut butter to hold him over until I thought of something.  While we are in a place where I can just “go to the store,” it’s not that easy to do.  I have to lower the dinghy, drive 15 minutes or so (we’re at the very end of the anchorage) in rolly waters – from 1-5pm here it sucks – probably getting wet… park the dinghy, find someone to let me in/out of the dock gate, walk ½ mile – 1 mile depending on where I parked the dinghy to the store, buy vegetables, go to another store, buy meat, go to another store, buy drinks, pack them all in my backpack and/or additional bags I brought and walk the ½ mile or so back and do everything backwards again.  The other option would be to hop on the bus for an hour and go to the Mega grocery store, make sure I don’t buy too much as I have to carry it all and hop on the bus back, walk some more, dinghy back…you get the picture.  I didn’t want to do any of that today so I have made some quick bread to tide everyone over and am trying my darndest to get my husband to take us out to dinner.  There is supposed to be some “weather” this afternoon (20 knot wind) and he wants to stay on the boat for that…I’m hoping it doesn’t pan out or we’re all having popcorn for supper (again).  He’s out of beer though so I’m thinking things are in my favor…

Tomorrow I get to have another girl day with my friend Diane.  She is a travel writer and often gets some really cool perks providing that she does a review or an article for the said perk.  Tomorrow she is going to the spa and has graciously invited me to go with her.  I cannot tell you how happy this makes me…  It’s been over a year since I had a pedicure and the last massage I had was by a giant Russian with hairy knuckles at the YMCA in Norfolk!!  I have no idea what I’m going to get but I’m positive it will be fantastic.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

1/13/2011 - More kid fun

To continue on the kid theme… Jake has been having a blast with the other kid boats here.   Yesterday we had 5 kids over and all of their parents and I didn’t take one picture.  Nope, not one picture.  A lego bomb went on in the main salon while we grilled lunch outside and tried our best to avoid going inside.  We ended the day by all hopping in the dinghy and going to Tacos on the Street (still no pictures).  This is a little joint up in town that has $1 tacos and a fantastic flan (I hate flan but this one is really good).  $20 bucks later (how do we do that? Seriously, they were only a dollar and it was BYOB!) we headed home and an exhausted Jake fell right to sleep.

Today, while Jake and I attempted to catch up on his school work, Andy went to shore to go to Home Depot and ran into an old friend from the summer, Dan on s/v Dazzler.  When they got back, Dan came over and we took the dinghy in to eat pizza at this place on the beach right out from our boat.  The restaurant did some advertising the other day by bringing free pizza to all of the boats in the anchorage and a 30% off coupon.  So we thought we would give it a try. 

The place is gorgeous.  There is a beach there where Jake was going to play while we did the grown up chat thing, but since they had so few guests, the guy told us he could swim in their pool.  So Jake did a little resort crashing of his own (we didn’t bring out suits).  After some time, our friends from s/v Andiamo showed up with their kids and another party was  underway.

Las Palmas Resort & Spa in La Cruz
Christian, Jake and Abigail munching on fries between dips in the pool.
"watching the kids"

Tonight is movie night at the marina but we’re going to pass.   Too much fun for this old couple.  We’re going to curl up with some popcorn and legos and watch Horton Hears a Who.  

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More fun in La Cruz

Making a puffer fish in the sand
In between boat projects, the crew here on Savannah has been managing to have some fun!  After two or three months of playing with mommy and daddy, Jake has finally found some other boat kids to hang out with.  One little girl in particular has become his new best friend.  Her name is Pari.  He got to play with Pari all day yesterday and he woke up this morning to tell Andy and I that he doesn't want to leave here...ever.  At least not until Pari does.  She even likes Star Wars!

Feeding their dinosaurs by the pool.
We went through the boat the other day and gathered all of the excess stuff that just takes up space and took it to the Swap meet yesterday.  A boat swap meet is kind of like a yard sale on land.  Everyone brings their junk and lays it out and hopes someone else will think it's a treasure.  We did pretty good...utilizing the same philosophy we always had with our yard sales (make it dirt cheap, the point is to get rid of it, not make $$), we found a good home for everything.  Nothing came back on the boat and we made $200 in the process.

Jake pulling Bosun in the dock cart.  I'm not sure who was entertaining who here.

After the swap meet we took the kids and went to the beach.  While the kids played we said good bye again to our good friends on Ulalena (over a few margaritas) as they're heading south to explore more of Mexico's mainland.  We're hoping we're still here when they pass back through in a few months to return to the sea.  We also said hello to our friends on Ceilydh as they have just arrived from LaPaz.  They'll be doing the puddle jump at the same time as us when we cross over to the South Pacific.  And finally, we spent time with new friends from Katrina Liana and Safety Cat, hoping to get to know each other even better.  As you can tell, we're really enjoying La Cruz.  It's the first place where we're not itching to move on.  There are lots of young people, it's close to a big city (Puerto Vallarta), yet it still has the small town charm we've grown accustomed to.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

1/7/2011 - Back on the hook

Going back in the water with a fresh coat of bottom paint.

Well, we’re back in the water and I have to say, overall, we are very pleased.  We were hauled out, hydro-blasted, prepped and painted and back in the water in 2 ½ days (give or take a few hours).  The folks at La Cruz Shipyard were extremely professional, pleasant to work with and thorough in their work.  While I still think it was slightly overpriced, the more quotes we got and the more people we talk to, I think it’s just the way of life down here.  Economy goes bad or there’s an excessive amount of gringo’s around, prices get raised.  My only complaint is that on our way out of the travel lift basin, our starboard bow got hung in the sling (it wasn’t lowered enough) and caused our stern to push into the concrete.  There was a worker right there with his foot on our boat looking like he was going to fended us off, but for whatever reason watched us hit it instead.  To be fair, I should have been fending us off as well so the gash we have on the starboard side is my fault, but he was RIGHT THERE….I’m just saying.

Look on the bottom white part and you can barely see the gash with my name on it (at least that's what I keep telling Andy).
We’re back in the anchorage now.  I’m typing and reading, trying not to take my seasick pills.  Seriously, this is a rolly anchorage.  I think the marina made me soft.  Jake has settled back in with his toys and of course, his STAR WARS movies.  Andy is making rounds of the boat trying to decide what to get rid of (hopefully) in the upcoming swap meet on Sunday.  Life back to normal in our freshly painted boat.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

1/5/2011 - Savannah on the hard...again.

Things are turning good for us here…no more whining.  We’ve been talking with the boat yard here in La Cruz and after a little haggling, we finally got to a reasonable price to haul us out and paint our bottom.  Apparently, they really want to show that they’re willing to work with cruisers and we’re the test case.
Waiting for Savannah...
We pulled in at 9:00 this morning and they were all ready for us (very unexpected by us, but very appreciated).  We pulled into the lift, threw some lines around and up we went.  We were able to get off the boat before they pulled us totally up, but the whole process didn’t take more than 20 minutes.  They immediately started hydro-blasting the bottom and so the day began.
We’re expected to be back in the water by Friday. 

In the meantime, we’re in no rush.  I’ll explain.  We looked and looked yesterday for a place to stay for a few days.  Finding a room here isn’t like finding a hotel online.  I can’t get on the internet and Google it.  No, we have to do it the old fashioned way…walk around and ask. 

Our first option was a room behind a bar here, Philo’s.  Literally, behind the bar.  It was $400 pesos/night (roughly $38) but we would have to put up with the noise until who knows what time at night.

Our second option was a bungalow on the beach.  It had a kitchen, pool, patio, courtyard, the works…but it was $130/night + tax  +$15 for the kid.  As tempting as that sounded, we vowed to keep looking.

I walked a little out of town where all of the nice condos are.  I looked and looked, walked and walked.  I was about to give up when I saw a gringo lady standing on her balcony. 
“You don’t rent rooms, do you?”
“No, sorry.”
A man was standing beside her and hollered down…”How long?”
After a quick exchange, he gave me directions and sent me up the street to find Bub and Ladonna at Casa Cardinal.  “Tell them Sandy sent you!”
“Thank you!”
I rang the bell and a nice looking older gentleman came out.  I told him my “friend” Sandy said he might have a room to rent.  15 minutes and a big hug later I was walking back to the boat with two sets of keys. 

Casa Cardinal is very nice.  It’s owned by a nice couple from Kansas.  They live on the bottom and they have two one bedroom apartments for rent on the second floor.  They’re fully furnished and have air conditioning and a small kitchen.  In the back there is a heated pool we can use anytime we like!  They even have a washer and dryer we can use.  All for how much?  Hold your seats….$30/night.  I KNOW!!!  That’s what I said.  So, we’re all tucked into Casa Cardinal and have already used the pool.  I’m sure we’ll end up paying them more than that as I just feel like I should.  If Philo can get almost $40/night for one room, these folks can surely get at least that.  Not to knock Philo’s…it’s a nice room, but, really…

When we’re back in the water, we’ll have one big check mark on our list of things to do before heading south.  What a relief...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The best laid plans...

Where we're NOT going... :(

What’s that quote?  “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”
I knew as soon as I wrote our plans on paper, something would change.  As they say, the only certain thing in life is change, right?  Our plan was to leave here in March and go to the Galapagos.  In order to get to the Galapagos, you have to get a cruising permit called an Autographo.   This is a lengthy process and can be frustrating.  I started talking to agents in the Galapagos in early December.  I had done my research ahead of time and through Google translate, had written all of my letters in Spanish and thought things were going pretty good.  We had talked to two agents and had chosen one with a good reputation.  He had very clearly laid out all of the requirements… or so I thought.

Earlier this week, I sent him all of our paperwork to actually get the process started.  The response I got was that it was now not possible to get an autographo unless we paid $200 per person, per day.  It was like I was talking to another person entirely.  I went back and forth with him, even sending his original email that stated this charge was for bigger yachts and he did not intend to charge us.  No luck.  He’s standing his ground.  I checked on a discussion board that I frequent and others are getting similar answers.

What does this mean for us?  Well, it looks like we’re going to head straight to the Marquesas.  It’s a huge disappointment.  Especially for Andy.  It’s been a lifelong dream for him and being an underwater photographer, he was really excited.  But I let him make the decision and he decided to bypass it.  There are still ways we could go, but it would be wildly expensive and/or we wouldn’t get to see very much. 

Every dark side has a sunny side and this one does too.  We will be saving at least $1000 (I estimate double that) AND about 1700 nautical miles.  It’s almost 1300 miles there from Puerto Vallarta and it’s 3000 from the Galapagos to the Marquesas.  By leaving from PV and going straight to the Marquesas, we only have to go 2600 miles… still a lot, but now week's less time.  All of these #’s are estimates of course…by now you probably know I’m not real precise, more of a big picture kind of person (I put this disclaimer in here for all of the cruisers reading who know exactly how many miles it is and are correcting me to their spouses).

This doesn’t change any of our preparations we have to do, so I’m still stressing and planning and planning and stressing.  I did my reconnaissance mission at Costco yesterday, pricing things out.  It took some serious restraint not to buy everything I wanted (especially those chocolate covered raisins and that huge tenderloin).

Another huge disappointment (the same day we got our email from the Galapagos) was that our boat is too wide for the lift where we planned to haul out.  So now we have to try and negotiate with the ridiculously overpriced boat yard here in La Cruz.  Instead of the $1200 or so we planned, they’re wanting $3000 (there goes that savings I spoke of earlier). 

I seriously almost posted a paypal “Buy us a beer” button on the blog at the end of that day!  But we’re now over the whining (it ends with this post) and moving along with our new plans and whatever the new year brings.

Which brings me to today… it’s New Year’s eve.  No big plans here, but we hope everyone has a fun, safe and Happy New Year!