Welcome to our mid-life crisis! These are the chronicles of Laura and Patrick, their young son Jack, and their goofball Labrador Retriever named Evinrude (Rudy), as they travelled the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific coast of mainland Mexico in their catamaran. We went cruising in search of a change of pace, a closer knit family, and peace of mind. We found all three and more. The fun all started in October, 2008 and nearly four years later the Mexican adventure came to an end August 3rd, 2012. With our mid-life crisis cured in Mexico, we are excited to start a new adventure - life back in America.

Candeleros Chico

Candeleros Chico
Just another beautiful day at anchor on the Baja. 2010

Dolphins at play in the bow wake 2011

Dolphins at play in the bow wake  2011

Saturday, February 28, 2009

And they're here!

Yesterday we found out that our parts are here in Mazatlan! We are scheduled to be hauled out Monday morning. The repairs are supposed to take two days. We have struggled to come up with the best solution for where our family will live during the time the boat is in Malvina's boatyard. Having Rudy to accommodate adds many issues. We've decided the best solution is to stay on the boat in the yard with Rudy. Since the boatyard is a giant, desolate dust bowl, we will come back to El Cid for a couple days when we're all put back together, just to get cleaned up, provisioned and on our way south. Yippee!


Thursday, February 26, 2009

and waiting.....

We have had some emotional, exciting experiences in the last few days. Today our friends on Third Day (we met them in La Paz and they have been down south on the coast this last month) told us about a group that were bringing lunches out to the people who lived in the dump around Mazatlan. We were very excited to have the chance to come along and help.

We met at a church at nine this morning and helped assemble 300 lunches. They consisted of a ham and cheese sandwich, a bottle of water, an orange, and for the children some animal crackers, too. Then we hopped on a bus and took an hour ride out to the garbage dump. The further we went, the poorer the dwellings, until finally we were at the dump. You can imagine how huge the dump is for Mazatlan. There were probably about a hundred people we could see, rummaging through the garbage. Only adults are allowed in the dump now, since too many children have been killed by the trucks. The children stay down in their homes at the foot of the dump with a few mothers watching them. It is sad to say that there were not enough lunches for the adults working at the dump.

Then we boarded the bus and went to the children. We stopped at three different places to hand out lunches to the kids. They were so sweet, so excited. The fun of the bus coming and all these people there handing out lunches. It's a fun time for them. But it is even sadder to say that there were not enough lunches for all the kids who came running to the bus. There were many times during the day when I found myself fighting back tears. We are all so happy that we could be there, and just wish that we had found out about this service weeks ago.

Earlier in this week, when we anchored out to watch the fireworks, we had another sad, but exciting experience. In the little cove where we were anchored, a Risso's Dolphin swam right up to the shore. He had scratches down him face and was bleeding from cuts on his dorsal fin and tail fin. He was trying to beach himself, but someone who was there helped him swim back out. Then in the morning when we came back to the shore, we found him there, dead, in the shallows. It was so amazing to see such a beautiful creature up close. And so sad to see that he had not made it. The story is that he had gotten caught in a fisherman's net and had gotten his injuries then.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

and waiting......

The last week has been Mazatlan's Carnaval, its Mardi Gras celebration. This town of about 675,000 hosts an extra 300,000 to 400,000 thousand people. It's the third largest Lenten celebration in the world. The week has been full of different events. On Saturday night we anchored out off the old section of Mazatlan to watch the fireworks from our boat. None of us have ever seen so many explosions in one night. They reenacted a naval battle between France and Mexico which took place hundreds of years ago. Yesterday we watched the children's parade. It is the parade that is for the children, and performed by the children (mostly). Most of the floats carried children, and the bands were local teenager groups. It was a wonderful celebration and we enjoyed it a lot. There was another parade that started at night, but we were told by several locals that it really wasn't meant for children.....

On the Yanmar front... no parts yet. And gee, isn't tomorrow the 26th, the latest they were supposed to arrive and we were going to get hauled out?


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Who lives in a Pineapple under the Sea?

Yesterday we all went out SCUBA diving at Bird Island. First we had to go through the surf in a small Panga. The waves were so big the Panga would stand on end and then waves would crash over the bow. Once anchored we flipped off the boat backwards and sank down to the bottom. We saw stingrays, spider crabs, puffer fish, purple sea urchins and lots of tropical fish. We even got to puff the puffer and then pet him. Next time I go snorkeling I am going to grab a puffer! They are so cute they look and feel like a pineapple balloon when they puff up. They are only poisonous if you eat them. Which I did not.
Each wave caused a large underwater surge and sometimes it would smash me into the rocks. Visibility was horrible and you could barely see your hand in front of your face. At first my ears were hurting as I tried to clear them but after a while they felt better and it was fun again.
The day before Hector (my dive master) taught me a lot as we practiced in the pool. I learned how to use the equipment, and hand signals and how to clear my mask underwater. It was a piece of cake. Hector was a great guy.

I saw Patrick, Mr. Crabs, Mrs. Puff but never did see Spongebob!


Monday, February 16, 2009

and waiting......

The great thing is that there are a lot of fun things to do in Mazatlan and we haven't even scratched the surface. Yesterday we rode the bus into the Old Town section. Our main objective was to take in the cliff diver show. We were not disappointed. We met Chuey who works with the diver, making sure he gets tips for his dive. For about $20 US, Chiki Garcia will hurl himself off the perch which is about 150 feet up in to water that is about 6.5 feet deep, depending on the wave. The pool he dives into is affected by surf and surrounded by rocks. It's scary just climbing up to the launch spot - it's scarier climbing down, but better than jumping. Chiki invited Jack and Patrick up to the top to be with him as he jumped. It was really amazing.

Later that day we strolled through the beautiful historic center, Plaza Machado. And then back to the Central Market for tamales and fruit. The Central Market is a hoot to stroll through. It's a large, high ceilinged shed-like building that covers an entire city block. Take Pike Place Market, get rid of the art, triple the size, add a bunch of pig's heads for sale along with other unidentifiable parts of animals, lots of fruit and clothing, and you've got the picture.

Yesterday, back at the pool Jack amazed us by diving off the waterfall, just like Grampa. His diving skills are really improving with daily practice. Patrick did a front flip off the waterfall, also just like Grampa. Ouch!

We know we've been here a long time because we now look forward to the bingo game every day at 2 by the hot pool. Patrick won a prize on his first game and now he's hooked. He keeps saying that he's looking for black socks to wear with his sandals. Look out Grandma!


Friday, February 13, 2009

and waiting.....

This is just a little update. We found out yesterday that the parts will be here on or around the 26th of February. Two weeks from the day they were ordered! Just over five weeks from the day that our boat was pulled and diagnosed! Let's hope they arrive on time and that the repair goes smoothly. At this rate, we may not have time to go further south, before we should be heading north for spring in the Sea.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

and waiting.....

This week we have tried to do some new things. We went to the aquarium and saw a great sea lion show. There were lots of tropical fish, sea turtles, sharks and coral to look at. There were also large crocodiles in pens outside. Unlike zoos in America, the Mexicans expect you to have some common sense. You could easily stick your fingers inside the pens to touch the crocs, or even climb in with them - but only if you were an idiot. They looked scary just sitting there two feet away behind a fence. At the sea lion show, mothers were bringing their babies up to the sea lions and having them touch the animals before the trainers were even there. It's a very different way of doing things for us lawsuit-wary Americans.

Also, the surf has been up and we have been boogie boarding almost every day. On Saturday, we took our boat out to practice our sailing skills and safety maneuvers like heaving to, man overboard, and reefing the main. It was a great day. We caught a fish, saw some dolphins up close and had a great time watching the commercial shrimp boats deploy their nets.

We have enjoyed a very nice response from people around America since the article in Cruising World online. Thanks for all the kind words. We have really appreciated the feedback!

On the Yanmar front, as of this morning, we have been told that all necessary parts have been ordered. We are told that we will find out tomorrow when the parts will show up. Yanmar has agreed to send us one complete sail drive to replace the one that had sea water in the oil, and the parts to fix the other one. When the parts arrive, a haul out will be scheduled and we will be out of the water for about two days. So all and all, our warrantied repair in Mazatlan will have cost us five to six weeks out of our cruising time. Its very expensive to be sitting in the Marina El Cid for so long. This engine breakdown is a very frustrating and expensive lesson in patience. We hope to have more exciting things to blog about some day.....


Thursday, February 5, 2009

and waiting......

Our life just keeps getting better. Yesterday we found out that our story has been published on Cruising World by Herb McCormick. The link is http://www.cruisingworld.com/cruising-life/living-aboard/it-took-them-just-a-minute-to-buy-the-boat-and-head-south-1000069046.html ,

On the Yanmar front, we have heard a few squeaks and mutterings, but no resolution. Seems that the only man at Yanmar who could make a decision was on vacation all last week. Uh huh. We will be here at least another two weeks at this rate. Yanmar wants to just send us parts of the sail drive and not the whole new thing like the dealer here says we need. The dealer feels that we will just be needing another haul out in a few months if they aren't replaced. Talks are still ongoing.

Meanwhile, the relentless sun, playing in the waves on the sugar sand beach, endless happy hours, morning coffee in the hot tub, hours at the luxurious pool continue on.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

and waiting.....

Colin and Sharon on Mama Bird have just left the dock, headed to points south. We hope to be catching up with them, and Sunbaby and Third Day to name a few once we get fixed and on our way again.

Before she left, Sharon gave Patrick a lesson on how to cut my hair. Sharon was the one who first gave me the short "pixie" do in La Paz, so I was very excited to have her teach Patrick. Thankfully she was there to fix his first attempt. I have promised to email her the picture from his next attempt when there is no one there to fix it. I laughed for about five minutes when I first saw myself in the mirror. Patrick looked a little offended while he watched me practicing how to tie a scarf on my head attractively.

Hopefully tomorrow we will hear something from Yanmar.