Saturday, December 25, 2010


Being away from family and friends is the awlful part of cruising. 

Merry Christmas Stacy, Kurt, Kevin, Lani, Don, Peggy, Nancy. 

Merry Christmas to all our friends.

Judy, Paul, Kris

Thursday, December 23, 2010



Several years ago we bought a modest unit in this development. Construction had just started.  When we made our initial deposit it was little more then a hole in the ground  We were wrapped up in pre 2008 thoughts: "There is a limited amount of beach front property, if we wait, we will be priced out." So we anted up. Times have changed, and like the stock market, condo prices plummeted. Unlike the market however, Mexican real estate is still in the dumps.

Last week, while we were in the business office getting a property tax statement, a sales person approached us and offered a "fantastic" deal on upgrading from our two bedrooms to a three bedroom unit. We checked the unit out and fell in love with it. Bad mistake! But before deciding to make an offer, we talked with several other owners who had upgraded. They all said the asking price was only a starting point. The developer would negotiate. Cool! We figured a price that would work for us, only about 10% below the asking price. All we had to do was make the offer, they would gladly accept, and we could take possession.

We began decorating the place in our minds, deciding which bedroom would be the den, how we would change the kitchen, where furniture would go, and so on. We had already moved into the place. Not a good mental frame of mind before starting to negotiate.

Unfortunately, when we met the sales manager, there was no flexibility in the asking price. Take it or leave it.  We planned on paying with money from our 401k.  The withdrawal would be taxed as ordinary income.  The asking price and the tax burden made the deal impossible for us, so we had to walk out empty handed. For a spoiled Baby Boomer,  not getting what I wanted so badly was frustrating.

I wish we had never started that day dream. The crash back to reality was bruising.

Oh well.

Monday, December 20, 2010


I love these guys.  They are the ugly ducklings of sea birds, until they get airborne.  The huge bills that appear so ungainly on land are in perfect proportion with thier graceful wings.  Once airborne they are transformed.

Thier fishing technique does not look healthy.  They will soar about, sometimes quite high, then peal left or right and plunge into the sea at high speed.  We have heard they suffer eye damage on occasion.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Our son Kris is visiting us thru the end of the year, and Buster, our lost cat, is back home. 

Our search for Buster took a turn for the better Friday night when we dropped the dingy in the water and searched the shore in front of homes built along a network of channels that connect with the marina.  And we found him walking along the stone breakwater, but scared him away with our spotlight and over enthusiastic calls.  Having seen and lost him, we spent a distressed hour searching through yards, half expecting to be confronted by security guards or alarmed homeowners, before finding him again hiding in a dark corner under a tarp covering a kayak.  He started howling when he heard me calling, but was so freaked out that it took several minutes of pleading to convince him to come out.  He circled me several times, the circles becoming smaller and smaller, until he ended up rubbing up against my legs.  I grabbed him up and dashed away from the house.

He was only a few hundred yards away from the boat, and could have been home under his own power by walking along the breakwater for ten minutes or so.  Any normal cat with an IQ of 5 or 6 would have been home the first night, but we are beginning to think 19 year old Buster might have Alzhiemers.

Kris is visiting Mexico for the first time, and is very happy to have left winter in Seattle.  We hope to do some trips into town and around Bandares Bay while he is here.  Maybe throw in a canopy ride, and visit a time share presentation.  Yahoo!

A little more on Guanajuato. 

Churches.  There are more per capita here then anyplace I've been.  More even then Ballard.  But unlike the humble churchs the Norweigens built in Ballard, Guanajuato churches are palaces built, in my biased opinion, more to glorify the builders then God.  While these worthies constructed grand temples, populating the alter reredos, with armies of stone angels, saints and dieties, hundreds of feet below the church foundations, an army of peasants struggled and died in the hard Mexican rock, extracting the silver ore that paid for the splendor above.

Yeah, I've got an attitude about this.  I was Catholic once, attending Catholic High School and Catholic College long enough to come across the commandment "Love your neighbor as yourself."  I think this means taking care of the poor is more beneficial to one's soul then building stone idols.







Thursday, December 16, 2010



Arriving home last night from our trip to Guanajuato, we immediately knew something was wrong when Merideth, our boat and cat sitter, responded with a dispondant "OK" when asked how things were going.  It was Buster.  He had wandered off Sunday evening and as of Wednesday night has not come home.  He is either having a great time ashore, or has gotten himself lost.  Being a very old fellow we doubt he could party this long, so we're pretty sure he has gone lost.

There is some hope though, he has been spotted in the neighborhood ajoining the marina.  We have posted signs and will go out looking again tonight. 

We miss him.  Coming home we were looking forward to the evening listening to his complaints about us being gone so long, and then having him happily settling in between us in the V-berth.

Guanajuato was wonderful.  It is an old silver mining town, having produced vast amounts starting in the 17th century with production continuing into the early twentieth.  Some of the money managed to stay at home, and was invested in building a beautiful European style town, with a church on practically every street, some rivaling the splendor of the best of the old country.  We hope to return again.



While I play with the blog, Judy is off on a Costco run with Sue and Gary, former cruisers, who stopped by the boat several days ago.  One of the greatest benefits cruising offers is the chance to meet such wonderful people.  When she gets back we are off to the airport to say goodbye to Jerry and Randi our travelling companions, who are returning to winter in Seattle.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Yea, finally got a connection.  We are staying with friends who are linked up.

We are moored in Marina Vallarta, just north of downtown Puerto Vallarta.  They have no wifi.  There is a network available at outrageous rates.  We have been trying to get set up with internet thru TelCel, the Mexican equivalent of Verizon, but after three visits to the office, we are still waiting for them to complete the process.

We are going inland for a couple days, and hopefully TelCel will have gotten us set up by the the time we get back. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I'm a worry-wart.  I worry about everything.  If we're going on vacation I worry about getting to the airport on time, then I worry about getting into the shortest security line, then I worry that all the overhead bins will be full and we will have to share the seat with our carry-ons, then I worry that we are taking off to close behind the previous jet, and we will be driven into the ground by his wake turbulence.  I worry when I see other jet traffic in the air. I worry our checked bags will not arrive with us.  If we are travelling to Mexico I worry about getting into the shortest immigration line, getting a red light at customs and having our bags searched. I worry about paying to much for the cab ride, that our rooms will not be on the ocean side of the hotel, about where to go for dinner and on and on.....And all the while Judy is not worried about a thing.  This worries me.


The day before this picture, while we were motoring in light air, our engine temprature guage shot up to the top of the scale.  We thought our motor was overheating so we shut it down and did not use it, even though the winds were very light and we had a hard time keeping the boat moving.  As we were approaching Cabo the winds picked up and I started to hand stear because the autopilot was not handling the beam seas well.  I was worried about holding the line that would get us around the Cape.  It was going to be dark when we arrived, so I was worried about that.  The sea bottom off Cabo San Lucas comes up to anchoring depth very close to the beach.  So I was worried about coming in close to the surf in the dark, without an engine, under sail, and dropping the hook without running over any innocents splashing in the surf.

I am worried that I worry to much.  I have talked with my good friend Gale, and eminent mental health consultant about this, I have offered him a week in paradise with us in exchange for a week of psychotherapy.  I 'm worried he won't take me up on it.

We are off to Puerto Vallarta this morning.  Its some 280 miles away.  I hope I can find it.