About Us

Welcome to our blog, describing our voyage aboard Bravo, a Kelly Peterson 46 sailboat with homeport in Seattle, Washington. We headed south in 2010, destined for Mexico and beyond. Cheers, Adam and Cindi


"As for me, I am tormented by an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts." -Herman Melville, 1844


Monday, December 27, 2010

White Christmas of a Different Kind!!

Greetings from Banderas Bay/Puerto Vallarta!  Yesterday we celebrated the holiday with a bit of body surfing on the white sandy beach.  No snow, but Santa landed by para sail down the beach from us.  A white Christmas for sure!   Good fun...

We arrived in Banderas Bay +/- one week ago.  It felt really great to complete the 300 mile crossing from Cabo...very light breezes saw us motoring perhaps 1/2 the way.  Sailing past Punta del Mita we were greeted by a flock of blue footed booby's...great fisher-birds, we really enjoyed their acrobatic dives.  Spent the first couple of days anchored out at La Cruz, a pretty little fishing village around 8 miles from PV.  Really enjoyed walking around, shopping at the little tiendas (tortilleria for fresh tortillas, mercado de pescados where the fisherman were unloading the freshest shrimp ever (except for those we catch ourselves in the Pacific NW!!!)  Nice little taco stands as well, with incredible marlin tacos for $1.00!!


After weighing anchor in La Cruz, we headed to Nuevo Vallarta, and checked into Paradise Village Marina to await the arrival of friends from Seattle, Rich, Laura, and Zach.  We took the bus to the airport (serenaded by a couple of entrepreneurial 13 year old kids singing for pesos.  The guys actually had pretty good sets o' pipes, and all on the bus seemed to enjoy the musical ride).  The bus is fun, and for 13 pesos, a great way to get around.

We packed a lot into the 3 day visit with R, L, and Z.  One day we went up into the mountains above PV for a fun zip line adventure.  Zach is a zip line guide on a course in Ketchikan during the summers, so he had a great rapport with their guides. 

R, Z, and Adam hired a local fishing boat for a day of fishing....let's see how the pro's do it!  The big difference from trolling off Bravo was the use of live bait.  We used small sardines that we bought, and also fished with small lures to catch larger bait fish, perhaps 8" long.  Trolled these without any luck, and finally decided to put some meat in the cooler...bottom fishing out by Los Marietas, at the mouth of Banderas Bay.  Like bottom fishing everywhere, it's always fun, and you never know what will be at the end of the line.  Caught a great variety of fish...pompano, trigger fish, spanish mackeral, snapper, grouper, and sea bass. 
Had a bet on the most fish and the largest....Adam ended up buying the "fru fru drink" of choice for Rich for most, and Zach for largest (nice pompano).  All in all, a fun day of fishing for the three of us, while Cindi and Laura had a relaxing day with a massage and beach time ashore.
Zach catching some zzzz's in the hammock on Bravo's foredeck

One night walking the beach, we saw some little turtles hatching, way up beach near the sidewalk.  They were walking away from the water, and their tracks showed that they had come a long way (in the wrong direction).  Before they hit the sidewalk and got squished, we decided to stage a bit of a turtle rescue, and scooped up a few of the little critters to help down to the ocean...god speed, lil' guys...you'll need it!!!

Now that our visitors have headed back to the soggy Pacific NW, it's time for us to start working on "the List", the list of projects that have been accumulating over the past 1500 miles coming down from San Diego.  Every cruising boat has such a List, and we definitely need to start to whittle it down.  The first one is to deal with is our electrical system.  Running both refer and freezer uses a fair bit of power, slightly more than the solar panels can keep up with.  Especially the freezer (we enjoy ice in our rum sundowners!!!)  When we're at anchor (typical), we just run the generator for an hour or 2 every few days.  Here in the marina, we have shore power available, so I plugged in.  The marina AC voltage read 131, a lot more than we typically see (110-115).  Can't see if that was the the cause, but we fried our inverter/battery charger.  Parts are no longer available to repair, and new ones are a big ticket item.  Happily, we have spare circuit boards in our spares department.  Will roll up our sleeves and dig into it later today.  With a lot of luck, one of the spare boards will have the burned out component(s), and we'll be able to charge the batteries again.  Also will be working on some rigging and sail repairs while here in PV. 

Plan is to spend two more days here at Paradise Village, then head out to explore other places in Banderas Bay for perhaps a couple of more weeks.  Probably spend New Years in La Cruz.

We're using the wifi at the local Starbucks (still no wifi aboard the boat, and our Banda Ancha card continues to stubbornly refuse to cooperate), so will put up a few photos from the past weeks sailing down from San Diego. 

FELIZ NAVIDAD to all!!!


Passage down to Cabo was mostly mellow...here we're going very "cruizy", southing under spinnaker alone!!!

Fruits and veges here are fantastic....Here's a typical breakfast, including monster payaya and banana fruit salad.
Anchored in Turtle Bay, we took on fuel by barge...easy!!!
Turtle Bay was a sleepy little fishing town...I think this guy has caught his last fish!!!
The shrine of the sacred power meter...
Emily and Cindi, enjoying life at Bahia Santa Maria, a beautiful spot.
Swimming in Bahia Santa Maria, Bravo in the background.....(only thing missing is a couple of Corona's in the foreground!!)
A nice hike along the Bahia beach...outside of Baja is a true desert landscape
Emily enjoying hammock time at sea.

Somehow this pix just seemed to pair nicely with the previous one!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cabo update

It's been a busy few days since our last post. We had a great 2 day passage from Bahia Santa Maria to Cabo San Lucas. Mix of motoring and sailing, but a mellow trip. Arrival in Cabo was a real culture shock after working our way down the remote west coast of the Baja. Yikes, the place is like sailing into an amusement park...jet skis, para sailors, ultra lights, cruise ships (3 anchored in the bay at one time!), pangas, sport fisherman, etc. The only things missing were cruising sailors like us. And we quickly found out the reason: the place is EXPENSIVE! As an example, we often figure on paying $1.00/foot for a guest slip in a marina. Sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less. That works out to around 50 bucks/night for Bravo. At the marina in Cabo, it was $186, and that's US dollars, not pesos!!! Reputed to be the most expensive marina in North America, if not the world!!! We did it for our first night, as we needed access to the port captain office and immigration to check into Mexico. The other 2 nights we anchored out. (Even then, as we were getting ready to leave Cabo, an official looking panga w/ 5 uniformed folks pulled up to us with our bill for ANCHORING!!! $11 USD!!! Unbelievable.

Cabo itself was exceedingly tourist oriented, especially for the hours when the cruise ships disgorged their hordes. From kids hawking chiclets, to guys offering their iguanas up for photo ops, it really had pretty little appeal. You get the picture.

A couple of events stood out. First, do you remember that our recent attempt at a beach landing of our dinghy resulted in a swamping?? Well, we seem to have perfected our technique...we now know how to do a complete flip!!! Yup, we hit the beach near our anchorage, and a little wave combined with extremely steep beach created a monster undertow. Flipped us like an I-Hop buttermilk cake!!! Damage report: one soggy cell phone (now deceased), one pair prescription sunglasses (probably look better on the next wearer than me, but he'll have nasty headaches!!), and one very water cooled outboard motor. Happily 2 pangas were passing by and their crews jumped into the surf to help us flip the dink back over, and tow us back out to Bravo. We pulled the sparkplugs out, emptied the cylinders of their salty juices, and got it fired back up. An hour or 2 of lubing and cleaning, and hopefully we'll be good as new.

We also said our goodbyes to our wonderful crew, friend Emily Hawken, who had to fly back to the soggy Pacific NW. The night before she left, she was looking for her visa, and noted it missing. So we retraced our steps to the port captain's office, who had them last. He only had kept bank receipts showing payment for the visas, so we had to trek back to immigration. Turns out the guy there remembered us (after a 2 hour wait), and had our visas waiting for us...he had evidently forgotten to give them to us 2 days prior. We've since learned that this dance is common, and typically known as the "immigration shuffle".

Left Cabo yesterday morning. Sunny skies, 80 degrees, and even a bit of breeze. Sailed for much of the day before the wind died for most of the night. Came up this morning, right on the beam, so we're on a delightful broad reach aiming right at Puerto Vallarta, still around 130 miles to the SE.

Fishing report: Hasn't been too hot, though not due to lack of trying. Caught one skipjack tuna (pretty nasty, dark red meat), and got a beautiful 3' yellowtail tuna to the boat before it threw the hook while we were trying to gaff it. I did manage to pick up a "fighting belt" in Cabo, handy to anchor the butt end of the rod while fighting these fish...should do wonders to protect the fisherman's cojones.

Again, sorry for the lack of photos these days. These posts are all coming through the ham radio link, and it can only handle texts. We bought a "Banda Ancha" card in Cabo. It's a broadband cell internet card for the laptop. Unfortunately, after a 2 hour wait while they "discussed with Tijuana", they said due to a "network problem" the card will remain kaput for a couple of days...whatever!!! Photos are coming...

All in all, feels fantastic to be in Mexico at last!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bahia Santa Maria...now we're talkin' !!!

Arrived at Santa Maria the night before last at 1 a.m. in a pea soup fog...the bay is very large, perhaps 3 mi x 11 mi, and only about 3 other boats here, so anchoring by radar was no problem. Had a mixed bag of sailing conditions to get here from Turtle Bay, around 230 miles to the north. Seas were quite lumpy, so at times was like being in a washing machine, especially when the wind was not quite strong enough to keep the sails full in the 6-8 foot swell that was running. Sails slatted hard at times, and we broke a couple of fittings, including the outhaul at the end of the boom. All was either repairable underway or we could jury rig, and we're good to go again. That seems to be a familiar theme...they say the definition of cruising is getting to fix your boat in exotic places, and I guess we're beginning!!!

This bay is beautiful. White sandy beach around most of the bay, with rocky coves on the north. We're anchored at the north end, for a bit of protection from the prevailing wind. Yesterday we spent catching up on sleep, reading, and general sloth and relaxation...sweet!!! We had planned on leaving last night at midnight for Cabo, but decided that this place was so nice we'd spend today here as well.

Dropped the dinghy in the water this morning to go exploring. Thought a little hike ashore sounded good. One of the guidebooks describes the beach as "a surf landing requiring care and skill." Always up for a challenge when the gauntlet is thrown, we decided this was right up our alley. Well...let's just say we have a bit of work to do to get our dinghy surf skills fully developed!!! On the way in, we took a small wave over the transom, getting us fully soaked. No worries, though, the water was warm, and we landed without further incident. The one bummer was that Emily's camera now has water sloshing about in it...don't think that will "buff out"!!!

We went for a bit of a hike, had a good swim, and lay about on the hot rocks for a while, before coming back out to Bravo. The take-off from the beach got our attention, but was pretty painless. The solar shower felt good, then lunch and it's now nap time!!! A tough day!!!

We'll leave at 5 a.m. for Cabo. Should be around 30 hours or so, and we want to be sure to arrive with daylight.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Arriba!!!

Arrived in Turtle Bay last night at 11. Had a wonderful sail down from San Diego, took around 60 hours. Had good breeze at our backs most of way, 12-25 kn. A few minor glitches, like losing the shackle pin at the genoa tack (TWICE!), after never losing a shackle in previous 8 years!!), caused a small minor tear in the luff tape. We just put one wrap on the furler, no worries. No fish caught, though we had one bite, came off before I could get the rod out of the holder.

Warmed up today, over 70 and sunny, nice to wear shorts after living in fleece since Seattle! (San Diego was in the 40's at night!)

Ruben from Anabelle's Fuel Service pulled alongside us today in a fuel panga and delivered 26 gals of diesel while we're at anchor, for $3/gal. Sweet!!! Even took our basura (garbage) for us!!!

After breakfast, we went off in the dinghy to explore. Got a tour of the town by a guy here waiting for repair work to be done on the boat he's crewing on. After a week here, Eric knew the place well (not that there's TOO much to discover). We had a fun walk about the town to check things out. Our report: the Pacificos were cold at Enrique's, and the burrito's fresh and tasty (and the Pacificos also cold!!) at the Morocco. Turtle Bay is a hard scrabble little town, with dirt streets and not a lot of industry evident to replace the tuna cannery that shut down a number of years ago. Over 100 miles of dirt road from the paved highway, it doesn't see a lot of tourists except the "yatistas". But it was a great immersion into Mexico, and felt good to get out and walk after a few days of sailing.

Got back to Bravo late in the afternoon, to some boat chores and repairs. All going very well.

Will likely head south tomorrow, to Bahia Santa Maria, near Magdalena Bay, about 220 miles to the south.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Let's get this party started!!!

Bravo left the dock in San Diego at around 8 this morning, now in Mexico, heading south toward the land where the butter melts!!! YEE HAH!!! (But sure not there yet, temp has been in the 40's at night in San Diego.....brrrrrr the next couple of night's watches will be chilly)

The past couple of weeks have been extremely hectic...packing the house up, moving all into either our storage locker, good will, dump, or, when lucky, eBay. Cindi had her last day of work on 11/30, and we were on the plane for San Diego in the morning of 12/2, after a midnight moving wrap-up the night before.

Friend Emily joined us in SD on 12/3 for the sail to Cabo San Lucas, and we spent the past couple of days provisioning, stowing gear and food, and trying to remember where everything was. But it's all good, and felt great to finally get underway.

Just before crossing the imaginary border into Mexico, a US customs boat pulled along side to grill us a bit. Apparently the answers jived with his computer screen, as he finally let us go w/ a wave. No worries.

Looking for breeze, winds finally came up. Now at 18kn, we're boogey-ing south at around 8 knots...sweet! Especially nice to shut down the engine. Fishing line is out, hoping for a bite for sushi by dinner!!! Next stop will be Turtle Bay, about 300 miles to the south.