Passage notes: Bahias de Huatulco (Bahia Sacrificios) to Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Passage notes: Bahias de Huatulco (Bahia Sacrificios) to Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Nothing short of perfection. After a moderately rolly night at Bahia Sacrificios and general feelings of restlessness, we are eager to get back out on the water. We find ourselves craving time at sea where options are limited, where we move slowly through the world, where a day is satisfying even when we can’t recount what, in particular, we did, where time is full without filling it.

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December 2014: cruising budget

December 2014: cruising budget

The cruising costs for December were about $832. Just a few annotations!

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December 2014: month in review

December 2014: month in review

Following two action-packed months, December was fairly low-key...for me at least. Jeff, however, was a slave to his computer. In an effort to keep every available option open to us upon our return home, Jeff is throwing grad school in the mix of possible future trajectories. Consequently, Jeff busied himself with grad school applications and prep for the GREs, which turned into full-time work for a couple weeks. Marina Chiapas was a perfect place to get this done since internet and electricity were easy to come by. I continued work on some academic journal articles I've been researching/writing and also helped Marina Chiapas update their website. The highlight for me was spending hours in the office with the marina managers Enrique and Memo, who have an uncanny ability to entertain. 

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Passage notes: Puerto Chiapas to Bahias de Huatulco, Mexico

Passage notes: Puerto Chiapas to Bahias de Huatulco, Mexico

At noon the navy and port captain visit the boat to issue our Zarpe and do the dog sniffing test. No issues with paperwork and the dog is too preoccupied with Tack's food to do a thorough inspection. The inspection starts the clock. We have two hours to get out of here.

At 2:00pm, after a flurry of activity to get ready (mostly internet related) we try to fire up the engine and discover that our starter battery is dead and dessicated. The guys in the office have been trying to convince us to stick around forever, or maybe just through Christmas. They might get their wish. 

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All is not lost, but all is not well: one sailor's perspective on The Ocean is Broken

All is not lost, but all is not well: one sailor's perspective on The Ocean is Broken

It’s been over a year since the viral article, The Ocean is Broken, caused waves in online forums and across the blogosphere. The article details Ivan McFadyen’s encounter with a polluted, seemingly lifeless ocean on a recent ocean crossing between Australia and Japan on his sailboat. He contrasts this with previous crossings where life seemed to be bubbling forth from the depths, plentiful and animated. His conclusion? The ocean is broken.

For nearly a year I've been looking at the ocean through the lens of that question: Is the ocean really broken?

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November 2014: month in review

November 2014: month in review

This month, in its entirety, was pretty flippin' fantastic. The high highlights were our stopover at Isla Montuosa and our incredible passage from Western Panama to Southern Mexico. Isla Montuosa was on our Panama "bucket list" and we were enchanted by her shores before we even set foot on them. We played and relaxed on her beaches and prepared for the long journey ahead. The passage to Mexico was our longest to date, which had us both a bit anxious, but once we got into a rhythm, it was bliss. I think we might be hooked. I'm hard pressed to think of a low...maybe eating skipjack for two meals in a row? Though, that is a pretty high low.

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November 2014: cruising budget

The total expenses for November were $1372. A few annotations:

  • Gas & Fuel: We filled the tanks for our trip up north!
  • Transportation: In preparation for our long passage, we took two taxis to transport lots of food, propane, etc. I also went on a last minute trip back to Boca Chica to retrieve something I accidentally left behind!
  • Moorage: We spent some time back on a dock. More expensive than free!
  • Adventure: This category includes the costs to check in to Mexico. Mexican liability insurance was the largest portion of this expense.

Welcome to Isla Montuosa: clothing optional

Welcome to Isla Montuosa: clothing optional

I am going to take advantage of the fact that we have good, fast internet and upload pictures of our "circumnavigation" of Isla Montuosa. Let's go a visual journey together, shall we?

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The jury rigger's essential toolkit

The jury rigger's essential toolkit

What you come to find, sailing long distances on an old sailboat, is you live in a machine in constant motion that's always breaking down. No matter how new, expensive, or trusted your brand of boat, entropy cannot be escaped for long at sea. Sometimes you need one of those in-between pieces. Or the specialty replacement part that's an ocean away and costs more than you can stomach spending anyhow. If you want to stay on the move, it pays to invest in a little bag of tricks that will keep you equipped to respond to misfortune.

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Passage notes: Isla Montuosa, Panama to Puerto Chiapas, Mexico

Passage notes: Isla Montuosa, Panama to Puerto Chiapas, Mexico

Day 5 – November 19

Try to record it all before it fizzles. So many thoughts pay me a visit while I’m sitting here on watch, but I rarely write them down. So many observations, words roaming around in my head. We have been on passage now for four days – just finished our fourth night…beginning our fifth day. I want to get some of this down on paper before we climb through the jaws of the Papagallo to be masticated and spit out somewhere near the Gulf of Fonseca.

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Passage notes: Puerto Mutis to Isla Montuosa, Panama

Passage notes: Puerto Mutis to Isla Montuosa, Panama

Wow, I can't believe we're actually doing this. This passage marks the beginning of our ~900 mile trip back up to Mexico and our ~4000 mile trip back home. Isla Montuosa, a deserted island about 40 miles off the coast of Western Panama is our first destination. A shakedown cruise, if you will, to get back into the flow and fix anything that needs fixing before we start the long haul. Plus, we can't pass up the opportunity to spend time on a very private, very beautiful deserted tropical island. After all, that is kinda why we're out here on a boat. Don't want to leave that dessert uneaten!

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Ciao, Panama

Ciao, Panama

Day 4. Saturday. Halloween. It's a Northwest rain with solid light gray skies. The green jungle trees outside the hatch look textured by the white noise of falling water. The island we're anchored to belongs to a billionaire with celebrity friends, if that sort of thing excites you. Apparently Britney Spears walked around nearby Bahia Honda once, and there is good reason to believe that Mick Jagger has enjoyed the view. Not much is going on aboard Serenity this afternoon, which is a blessed break in the activity of the past week. The trip home has started.

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They put the good in goodbye

They put the good in goodbye

We just left Boca Chica and the nostalgia is already overwhelming. I've written and rewritten this post in my head at least forty times but I can't quite find the words to express how deeply we came to love this place and how difficult it is to leave.

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October 2014: cruising budget

The total expenses for October were $1150. Not too shabby. A couple annotations:

  • Transportation: Some of these transportation costs probably belong in the adventure category...
  • Shopping: Bought some new clothes to replace our stained sailing duds.
  • Adventure: Trip to Panama .to help our friend through the Panama Canal!
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October 2014: month in review

October 2014: month in review

I'm have a supremely hard time accepting that October is already over. Time is moving far too quickly for my liking because October/November straddle cruising seasons - hurricane season and rainy season are coming to a close - and that means it is really time to start the trip back home. October was PACKED probably because we knew our time was finite and there were so many things we still wanted to do! I made a feeble attempt to sell my wares (greeting cards featuring my photography) at the local market in Boquete - something I had vowed to do at the beginning of the month. Our friends were my primary customers and were much better about pimping my product than I was.

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The deadly trifecta: how we kill cockroaches on our sailboat

The deadly trifecta: how we kill cockroaches on our sailboat

Cockroaches are pretty much a fact of life down here. You can try as hard as humanly possible to keep them off of your boat, but if you're sailing anywhere south of the border...they will likely be a foregone conclusion. I tell you this because we have cockroaches again. BUT (silver lining) they are remarkably respectful cockroaches. They are rarely in our living space and they tend to prefer the areas immediately around the cockpit (get it?). Nonetheless, I am pretty anti-cockroach. Despite my name, this boat simply isn't big enough for us to live together harmoniously . 

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Warm beer woes: how we came to live without our refrigerator in the tropics

In our final months of preparation for this trip, before eventual shove off, Jeff somehow managed to fry our refrigerator during a tinkering session. I took this as a sign. 

Let's try to live without the fridge. I seem to recall proposing to Jeff enthusiastically.

Since I'm generally the go-to person for food, Jeff was willing to defer this decision to me. Okay. If you think we can do it. He responded, with some hesitation.

Thus commenced my ill fated attempt to live without a refrigerator, at a marina, with a readily available ice machine (which really should have made it a gimme).

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Two truths and a lie: brief notes from solitude

Caves and deserts are important features in hermit myths. They represent an interior space, surrounded by desolation, which echoes the surroundings of the vessel of our minds, evoking an experience of being alone inside your thoughts. As a person who knows what it is to multitask too far and stretch one's mind until sheer, I have fantasized about eliminating extraneous thought and reducing the voices in my head (let's not get excited, you have them too. right?) to one, perhaps even none.

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September 2014: cruising budget

The total spending for September was $1491. A couple annotations:

  • Shopping - One word - Amazon.
  • Adventure - My expenses during my trip back to the US are lumped into this category.

The only reason we stayed on budget this month is because Jeff was leading a spartan existence aboard Serenity.

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