Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Back Home!

Our Mexico log--2 years, 6,334
miles, and top speed of 14.1
When we last left off on this blog, Schatzi was southbound to La Paz to get ready for a yacht transport back to the Northwest. As we mentioned, we decided against trucking the boat home, and even more assuredly decided not to bash our way 2,000 miles up the West Coast, against the prevailing breeze, current and swell. We made arrangements to ship Schatzi on board the Star Lindesnes using Seven Star Yacht Transport for a very favorable price of $12,375. Then we rigged the boat for its transit, which means setting up the boat for a couple weeks of head on, gale force winds, taking off everything thing above decks, but gratefully leaving the mast upright. 

On June 1 we were ready to fly from La Paz to Hermosillo and then on San Carlos to pick
Salty, Lynne and a
Mexico Sunset
up our Nissan SUV and trailer. We arrived at the airport well in advance of our flight time, only to be told that we could not take Salty in the cabin unless he is a support dog, and that our collapsible carrier is too flimsy to put Salty in cargo. So, we watched that flight go off without us and headed back to our La Paz motel. Hmmm…What to do? . We could buy a carrier to use for one trip and pay to ship poor Salty as cargo—not a really good choice. OR… we could go on line, have Lynne take the test to show that Salty is required for Lynne’s emotional well-being (that’s easy), pay the $99… and Voila—Salty now became a certified ESA (Emotional Support Animal). Once again, we arrived at the airline ticket counter and now showed the ESA letter to the same nice airline
Loading the Star Lindesnes
agent. Oops, she says in Spanish—the letter is written in English. So Roger said, “No problema. Yo puede traducir la carta in Espanol” Then Roger proceeded to translate nearly all of the letter to the agent in Spanish. But what she really wanted to see was the word “psychologist or psychiatrist”. We then managed to convince her (enough) that the signer of the letter, an LMSW, is the type of professional who normally certifies ESA’s. Success! We boarded the flight and were on our way home!

From San Carlos it was a two-week land voyage home, including time with our family in Oxnard, California.  We arrived back home June 15, just in time for, not one, but two memorial services. On July 4 Roger got word that Schatzi would
Up and Aboard
load on July 6 and that he had permission to ride the ship to the Northwest. With no delay he dashed on down to La Paz and made arrangements to get Schatzi out to the Star Lindesnes. However, when Roger showed up on deck for his ride north, he learned that, while the yacht transport company had given permission for the trip, no one had told the shipping company. Since his name was not the shipping manifest, it became impossible for him to ride along. Nevertheless, Roger did get a chance to meet and have lunch with the ship’s officers, and get a tour of the ship, something that he always wanted to do. Then regretfully, Roger had to catch the next flight back to Seattle, where we waited for our ship to come in. What is normally a 10-day passage became a 26-day passage. This also unfortunately cut into our cruising time with Mark and Mary Haesloop who joined us for our Canadian cruise. Such is life waiting for the Banana Boat to arrive—or in our case for the bulk carrier, Star Lindesnes.

Ship's Officers at lunch
Back Home! Yes, we have now returned back home, finished with our extended coastal cruising for now. It has been 5 years, 24,000 sea miles and a heap of adventures since we slipped the lines in Seattle in April. 2014. We have cruised both coasts of North America (and the Great Lakes) as far as we want to go and have met enough new friends and experienced enough adventures to last a good part of our life time. We now begin another phase of our lives—perhaps a French barge canal, a jaunt to South America, maybe a hopping on board a supply ship in Polynesia, or even seeing the inside of our own country. First, we will be settling back onto our mundane Seattle life and catching up on old friendships. Then, who knows—it’s a big, exciting world out there, with lots left to do. To our
 Mexico Sunsets-Los Mejor!
friends still out there cruising, we dip our ensign to you. To our friends everywhere else, we thank you for following our adventures and for giving us a chance to stay connected to our world back home.

And, yes, it is good to be back home!

Roger, Lynne, and Salty
You can reach us at 206-755-4193 or email  And if you are so inclined, you can leave a comment at the end of this post.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Cruising the Sea of Cortes

Lynne at Bahia Salinas

2019 has been a year of contrasts. In January our transmission failed; February was spent finding the engine solution (and hosting Andy, Lorraine and Clark); March was a month of waiting for the replacement engine and transmission to arrive; April saw the engine installation and break in; and MAY—yes, May, we spent doing what brought us here to Mexico—cruising the Sea of  Cortes. The beaches in the Sea are among the best in Mexico, with some in white sand, others a variety of pebbles, and even some dressed out in pink rock formations. We think that May is the best time of the year to visit the Sea of Cortes, avoiding the windy, colder winter months and the hot, humid hurricane prone summer months.  The air temps push into the mid 80’s in daytime but nicely cool off to 65 at night
Our trusty Schatzi at anchor
. This along with 77-degree water temps, zero rain, and impossibly blue skies make for ideal cruising conditions. It is really surprising, therefore, that most other cruising sailors depart for the northern latitudes before May, leaving us with sparsely used, idyllic anchorages.

This part of Mexico is vary lightly inhabited and, in many places, completely deserted. There is the occasional pueblo such as Timbabiche or Agua Verde with 30 or more inhabitants. But mostly the coves and beaches are sitting waiting for us to use. Communicants are also sparse.
Fishermen tossing the net
Cruisers here are off the grid, except when in La Paz or Loreto. This is the one place when the weather reporting over our satellite phone was really helpful.

We timed our arrival in La Paz to give us time to prepare Schatzi for its yacht transport back to the Northwest. Initially the loading was scheduled in June, but this has now been delayed to the second week in July. Roger has asked to ride the yacht transport ship back to Victoria, and if this is accepted, he will fly back to la Paz to drive Schatzi to the ship; if not, a local dealer will make the delivery. In any event Schatzi is all dressed up and ready her 7-10 day sea voyage up the coast, the
Roger, Lynne & Salty at San Juanico
gentlemanly way to go. (Remember that gentlemen never sail to windward!), In our next (and final) posting for our Mexico wanderings, we will let you know how the final leg of this adventure goes!

Roger, Lynne, and Salty

You can reach us at 206-755-4193 or email  And if you are so inclined, you can leave a comment at the end of this post.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Sweet Sound of Diesel (and Someone's Birthday)

Engine Being Installed

On April 5, we heard our new diesel fire up for the first time—something like hearing a new born baby’s first cry, I suppose. It took a week and a half to fashion the motor mounts, change out the raw water-cooling hoses, invent a way to connect the exhaust, hook up the fuel lines, and attach the control panel. It was Mexican inventiveness at its best, but in the end it all worked. As we write this, we have had 85 flawless hours listening to our engine purr along when the breeze is contrary or too light for sailing. Sweet!

As we were settling back into the cruising life at La Cruz (just north of Puerto Vallarta), our
Birthday Girl
sailing friends Brent and Jill (from Queen Anne in Seattle) aboard Cayuse came by to get the blow by blow of the engine story. Along the way they mentioned that day, April 11, was Brent’s birthday—and we replied that it was Lynne’s birthday! So, we went out together and splurged on dinner at Masala’s. the best and only fine dining in La Cruz. Great salads, outrageously tasty filet’s, coffee flambé’ and then a super special flaming desert of ice cream pie. Feliz Cumpleanos, Brent and Lynne!!

As we write this post, we are anchored at Bahia Ballandra,
just north of La Paz and are beginning our journey through the Sea of Cortes islands. In some ways, these are the Mexican equivalent of our Desolation Sound—beautiful scenery, good protected anchorages, and reasonable distances between stops. Then throw in 80° water, blue skies, and the hospitable Mexican culture. We always enjoy our Northwest sailing, but this Mexican cruising has an allure all of its own.

Two days ago, we put down a deposit for a spot aboard a ship to send Schatzi back to the Northwest in June the civilized way. The trip north by a small boat can be treacherous, what with a south setting swell, current, and prevailing breeze. We will set up Schatzi for the transit at the end of May,
Bahia Balandra
and then fly to San Carlos to get our Xterra and trailer out of storage and head north. We should be back in Seattle in mid-June, and Schatzi should arrive in Victoria some time about July 1. As this all comes together, we will send you another post and let you know how our swansong Sea of Cortes cruise goes and how the return plans are falling into place, We look forward to seeking all of you as we swallow the anchor and pull to a close our five year sailing odyssey.

Roger, Lynne, and Salty

You can reach us at 206-755-4193 or email  And if you are so inclined, you can leave a comment at the end of this post.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Waiting Game

The old engine (barely) comes out

For us, March was a month of waiting. Our transmission died on January 24. It then took us a month to determine the extent of the problem, get good advice, and to send in the wire transfer to order up a replacement transmission, lower unit and (reluctantly) a new engine. From then (February 21), it was mostly delays due to doing business in Mexico. First, there is the time to do a wire transfer (3 days); then the Volvo warehouse in Tennessee takes time to assemble the motor package and ship it out (up to 14 days); time to ship to the border (3 days); time to go through customs (2 days); and time to ship from the border to Puerto Vallarta (8 days). In total, what we were told would take four days took four weeks. However, the motor, transmission, and lower unit did arrive last weekend. On Tuesday we
The new engine (easily) goes in
hauled out Schatzi, had the old engine and transmission removed, lifted the new engine aboard, installed the new transmission, and splashed back down.  Right now, we are waiting for the motor mounts to be fashioned and for the fuel, electrical and exhaust to be connected.

What do you do while waiting? Well, make more lemonade, of course! Roger was able to race three days on board a speedy J 130 sailboat, Sirocco, taking second in class in the Banderas Bay Regatta (Thank you, Lee and Cathy!). We had a couple get togethers with our friends visiting from Seattle--Bill and Kathleen Elmer and Bob and Sally Munn. Our new friends from
Sightseeing in Guadalajara
Tsawwassen, Fred and Audrie Davies, sauntered off to the Botanical Gardens for lunch and flower sniffing. Then there was the sightseeing trip to Guadalajara, seeing the classic colonial city and its surrounding pueblos. We also visited Tequila (yes, there is a town named Tequila and they grow and distill the stuff there), seeing a picturesque country distillery. And once the new engine was in the boat, we celebrated with a splurge dinner with Steve and Peggy Leonard to Las Carmelita’s restaurant, high above Puerto Vallarta, watching the sun settle over the horizon. So, we have managed to intersperse the waiting with quite a number of side adventures, many of which we would not have done, but for the delay in getting the engine.

Any day now we expect to be powering around again. From here we head back north into
Sunset at Las Carmelita's
the Sea of Cortes, for some of the best cruising Mexico has to offer. We will be reporting back on our return to sail boating (with power) in our next posting. Meanwhile, we send greetings from Mexico to all of our friends and readers,

Roger, Lynne, and Salty

You can reach us at 206-755-4193 or email  And if you are so inclined, you can leave a comment at the end of this post.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Butterflies, Family, and a New Trannie

El Jefe means "The Boss"
I wonder which of us it refers to?

A few weeks ago, we reported that our transmission had packed it in, but that we were adjusting plans to see Mexico’s famous Monarch Butterfly migration and host a visit from Andy, Lorraine and Clark. Since then there have been developments on all three of these happenings, all positive.

First, the transmission. Our engine consultants—Larry, the parts manager at Coastal in Seattle; Mark, our engine mechanic in Seattle for thirty years; Steve, our sailing friend for forty years and all-around boat genius; and Greg, the Volvo dealer in Puerto Vallarta—ALL said that as long as we were replacing the transmission and lower unit, we should also replace the (older but working perfectly fine)
Mariposa Monarca
diesel engine. It seems that one is dollars ahead by buying a transmission and an engine as a package deal. Also, they said that there might be a market for our used engine, but of course, there are no guarantees. So, we now have a transmission AND a diesel engine coming from Tennessee to Puerto Vallarta.

Which left us with the minor challenge of delivering our engine-less sailboat 150 miles from Tentacatitas to Barra de Navidad to Puerto Vallarta. The first 14-mile leg from Tentacatitas to Barra was a glorious spinnaker romp, one of our best sails in Mexico. The next one, returning to Tentacatitas, began with difficulty in
Millions of Butterflies
negotiating the narrow entrance from Barra with an underpowered dinghy pushing us into a stiff head wind, but once clear of the entrance, we had a delightful beat and close reach on to Tentacatitas. The remaining legs to Chemela (29 miles), Ipala (51 miles) and on into PV (45 miles) were a mix of fun sailing and (mostly) being towed by our angels, Steve and Peggy on Flyer. We coasted into our slip in PV yesterday and are certainly relieved to be tied up where Schatzi can be hauled out of the water and the engine re-power done.

Now for the fun stuff. Every year, from December through February, millions of Monarch Butterflies flutter from Southern Canada and northern US to the tops of the interior
Steve and his Butterfly
mountains in Mexico. Imagine yourself in one of those butterfly cages at the zoo with a few dozen butterflies flying about. Now remove the cage, mosey on up to 10,500’ elevation and add a million or so butterflies--and you can experience this most incredible gathering. Scientists are baffled why or how they do it, but every year they come, filling the air, covering the trees and meeting up with other butterflies to make little butterflies. It is right up there with an African safari for a jaw dropping experience. The drive to the butterfly reserve was long (9 1/2 hours), but seeing the high Central Mexican plateau and the authentic rural Mexican pueblos simply added to the adventure.

The Morning Net Controller
Then a week later, our son Andy and his family of Lorraine and Clark, came and stayed at the hotel next to our marina. Swimming, tennis, snorkeling, soaking up the Mexican culture—it was all great. One the fun moments came on the boater’s morning net. Each morning, the boaters listen in on VHF channel 22 to hear boating news, announcements, weather and so forth. Our radio net is led by a volunteer net controller. On the day Roger did the net, no one stepped up to be the controller for the following day. So…nine-year old Clark became the guest controller for the day. He did magnificently and was the hit of the boating community! Perhaps there is a future in radio for the lad??

This brings us back to PV, where we hope to get the new engine/transmission installed this
Andy, Lorraine and Clark
week. Greg is confident he can get the job done and we are ever so hopeful that the job will go smoothly. Break a plate and wish us luck and we will tell you how it goes in our next posting.

Roger, Lynne, and Salty
You can reach us at 206-755-4193 or email

Sunday, February 3, 2019

When you have lemons--Make lemonade

At anchor in Bahia Tenacatita

When we last posted to our blog, we said we would next be writing about sun kissed, balmy, paradisiacal beach locations in coastal Mexico. And so it began. First it was 3 days at Chemala, a teeny village 100 miles south of Puerto Vallarta, with some of the best snorkeling we have seen in Mexico. Then it was on to one of our all-time favorites, Tenacatita, where we spent 7 days doing the jungle estuary tour, playing bocce ball, and living the beach life. The question was: what would happen first—run out of water (we have a two-week supply) or fill up the holding tank. It turned out that the holding tank filled up first.

That is when life changed. When we turned on the engine to motor out to dump, the engine let out a grinding, screeching noise and there was no movement ahead or astern. So, in
View from the restaurant
very light wind, we sailed out of the harbor, dumped the tank, and (to the amusement of the other cruisers present) sailed back to our anchor spot, hitting it within 5’ of where had been anchored before. The following day, we sailed (again, sans engine) 14 miles to the nearest marina at Barra de Navidad. Thankfully, Steve and Peggy were there to give us a tow through the narrow marina entrance and on into the docks.

Once securely tied up, we dove into the engine to see WHAT had happened. At first, we thought it might have been the drive plate, the connection between the transmission and the engine and a relatively east fix. But such was not the case. The spindle from the transmission was burred over. Upon further investigation, a local mechanic
Under Tow
determined that it probably was simply worn transmission gears. However, another development quickly came to light. Our transmission model is no longer supported by Volvo and we would need to replace the entire transmission. Further, since we have a sail drive, this means lifting the boat out of the water. The nearest boat yard is 150 miles north at Puerto Vallarta and it is to there that we will need to go (without the assistance of the engine; however, doable, since, after all, this IS a sailboat!).

Which gets us to lemons.

Andy, Lorraine and Clark have time off for Presidents Day. So, while we wait for a
The bunged up transmission spindle
transmission to be shipped from the US to Puerto Vallarta, they will be joining us here at the marina/resort on February 15-19. And then there are the butterflies. In the mountains of interior Mexico millions of monarch butterflies gather on their winter journey from the US and Canada, one of the most magnificent migrations in the entire animal kingdom. Using our down time here at the marina (after all, Schatzi is not going anywhere for a while), we are planning to drive up the mountains February 6-9 to see these butterflies in person. It was not our original plan, but here we go! We will have more to report in our next posting.

Boating pundits say that cruising is nothing but doing boat repairs in exotic locations and that certainly seems to be true for us, for now. These pundits also stress the need to be flexible when cruising, and we are certainly finding that to be true as well. Yes, cruising is
Marina Barra de Navidad
If you have to be stuck--this is good
a great life—or at least 90% great! We will let you know how all of this turns out in our next edition as we go down the boater’s highway. If you would like, please do send us an email to tell us of your lives and adventures, while we are off making lemonade,

Roger, Lynne, and Salty
You can reach us at 206-755-4193 or email

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Three Mexico Cities--All Different

PV Malecon

In the last month and one half, we have cruised to many secluded beaches and coves, but we have also visited the three largest Mexican cities we see while on the Pacific coast of Mexico. All three are fun, all the are colorful, all three are safe, and we like them all. Here is the run down.

LA PAZ, located near the bottom of the Baja California peninsula, is the capital of Baja California Sur and is largely a resort town. As with all three cities, good, varied, and inexpensive restaurants abound, making eating out a highlight of each day. Another feature of each city is their Malecon, the seawall walk way that goes on for several miles. It is a gathering place for locals and tourists alike is a great place for an evening stroll. It also is where you can find a
Chuck and Chris in Mazatlan
number of pieces of monumental sculptures, many dealing with the sea, some festive, some a bit quirky. It is like having Fremont’s “Waiting for the Interurban” a dozen times over.

MAZATLAN is the oldest established city of the three, having been a gathering place for native Americans for millennia, then a port for the Spanish, dating back to 1545, and then a fishing center. As with all three of these cities, there is an Old Town, a compact few dozen blocks exuding colonial charm. Then there is urban sprawl, Mexican style, that extends for a couple miles along the shore and inland. Hotels dominate the beaches
Salty's 7th Birthday
and behind them are commercial districts and residential areas that vary from middle class to struggling.
In Mazatlán we had the pleasure of meeting up with Chuck and Chris Cox, two friends from our church in Magnolia. They took us to their lovely condo atop a hill in Old Town and we saw how two gringos live ashore in Mexico, at least when they live in Mexico for a month or two a year. Chuck is also our Mazatlán restaurant advisor and found the restaurant where we celebrated our 49th anniversary. Chuck and Chris spend quite a bit of time looking out at the sea, but had never seen Mazatlán FROM the sea. So, we untied Schatzi and took them on
Christmas Time at Oxnard
a tour around the bay, including a stop at one of the islands in the harbor. It was a great day—both for the seasoned mariners and for the established gringos.

Mazatlán also is a good place to leave the boat, which we did to journey north to Oxnard, California to be with our family for Christmas. Kevin and Christian drove down to join us at Andy and Lorraine’s home, to have Christmas with our grandson Clark. While in Oxnard, we had the evening electric boat tour (there is nothing like a boat trip while on vacation from a boat trip!), dinner at the Pacific Corinthian yacht Club, hiking the hills behind Oxnard, great dining a la Chef Christian, and fun with the family.

Our 49th Anniversary
PUERTO VALLARTA is perhaps the best known of the three cities since it is a favorite American tourist destination. For us it marked the beginning of the Tropics, complete with warmer (did I say hot) air, very swimmable water and humidity. Several communities string along the shoreline of 20 mile by 15-mile Banderas Bay, with PV at the south and Bucerias, La Cruz and Punta Mita at the north. La Cruz has become the yachting center, with the marina most welcoming to boaters and the location we spend the most time.

While at La Cruz, we noted that quite a few other Seattle Yacht Club friends were in town. There is a tradition among SYC members that began with a green painted electrical box on our dock at Port Madison. When a number of boats had tied up, someone would announce
Green Box in Bucerias
a “Green Box”, and about 5 PM everyone would bring an hors d’oeuvre and a beverage of their choice to an afternoon hors d’oeuvre party. Well, we decided to hold a Green Box in Puerto Vallarta. Due to conflicts it overflowed to two nights. On Sunday night, seven of us met up for dinner at the No Way Jose restaurant, a favorite, offering Mexican dining specialties. At dinner were yours truly, Steve and Peggy Leonard (down from Seattle on their boat), Tom and Mary Ann Liebert (part time PV residents) and Dore Anderson (a full time PV resident and lifetime sailor). The following afternoon the actual Green Box was held at the Bucerias condo rented by Denis and Pam Thomas, joined again by us, Steve and Peggy Leonard, good friend Fred Roswold, and the Gifford family—Jamie. Behan, Niall, Siobhan, and Mairen, accompanied by their film crew. The Gifford Clan has recently completed sailing around the world and this week were being filmed by a movie company from Montreal, doing a documentary on how a family sails for ten years with three teen and pre-teen age children.

That’s about it for cities. We are sending out this blog from Bahia Chamela, a lovely, teensy fishing village with a superb beach, Next posting we will talk about quiet seaside hideaways—the main reason to visit the Pacific seashore of Mexico.

Here’s to wishing you a Nuevo Prospero Ano,

Roger, Lynne, and Salty

You can reach us at 206-755-4193 or email