Sailing Vessel Warrior

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Saturday December 1, 2007

Did a taste test on the Chili first thing this morning, made some final adjustments and declared it bonza mate. Melissa and Michelle headed on over to the yacht club to set up our display table. Robin stayed behind to continue working on the engine, well that was his excuse anyway. Chili Cookoff Day usually drags out roughly 80 participants, some restaurants, some cruisers. Each entry cooks up an enormous pot of chili and the roaming public buys tickets to taste your chili. Those who garner the most tickets win the chili cookoff. In Zihua when we did this, people also got to vote on best chili which seemed a little better organized but nevertheless it's a lot of fun. We decided to call our chili Kangaroo Chili. The reactions were priceless. Some were too afraid to try it. Others said it was the best chili they'd ever tasted. One guy stole the show though by absolutely refusing to believe it was kangaroo. He stormed off muttering under his breath. Man no sense of humor whatsoever! We had a ton of fun and our entire pot of chili disappeared. We thought we'd have plenty of leftovers but they even scraped the pot clean.

Monday December 3, 2007

We dragged Melissa to Fajita Bananas this evening as reward for her working hard today. We gave her one choice on the menu - Molcajete! She was a little sceptical knowing Michelle likes to introduce her to all manner of weird foods but she acquiesced and was plesantly surprised to find herself enjoying it. Molcajete is served in a lava bowl, heated to boiling point, and is a kind of like a mixture between fajitas and stew. It comes with a choice of meat (usually chicken or beef), then other ingredients are added, the most noted being mexican white cheese which has a high melting point and nopales (cactus). It's truly delicious.

Tuesday December 4, 2007

Today the girls braved the fabric store. I know you all are thinking what's so hard about a fabric store but in Mexico nothing is ever simple. This fabric store is the biggest in Puerto Vallarta but the organization (which is the same no matter where you go in Mexico) is something you just have to experience to believe. First the entire store is broken up into sections. You have numerous fabric sections, then the cotton, button, elastic, ribbon section, the pay counter, and the section where you collect your goods. Each time you want fabric you have to stand in line and the line invariably consists of at least 15 to 20 people. If you happen to need fabric from two different parts of the store well guess what, you get to stand in line numerous times. You don't get to walk around with your fabric, it gets whisked away and you are presented with a docket. Forget about trying to pattern match buttons, bias binding, etc. You have to hope for the best that you've selected the right accessories. Selecting cotton, elastic etc is the longest line. It consists of around 40 people. Melissa was in shock after the first two hours. She couldn't believe just how long it could take to work your way around one store. Finally you get to stand in line to pay, and then you get to stand in line to collect your goods. Collecting your goods consists of them searching through hundreds of bags which are perched on counters, chairs, floor and not in any order whatsover. If you have bought five items you can guarantee not one is situated next to another. Pure comedy.

We stopped in at a couple more shops after that and arrived home totally exhausted. Cooked dinner on the boat tonight. Wonderful homecooked food. In the middle of dinner Stormcat called and asked us out. We decided to join them for a few after dinner drinks, a pleasant way to end the day.

Friday December 7, 2007

This long weekend (Friday through Sunday) we're taking time out to have some fun and go sailing. Today is Day 1 of the Banderas Bay Blast. The event is the brainchild of Richard Spindler (of Latitude 38 renown) and one of the Vallarta Yacht Club Directors, Mike Danielson. The Blast consists of three one-day races interrupted by three (or more) evening parties.

The first leg today was from Paradise Village to La Cruz. We chased Destiny all the way across the bay then overtook her within the last five minutes. It helped that they made a tactical error in the end mistaking the finishing bouy. So we won the first day's event but came in second on handicap. Warrior has one mean ass handicap. If only they realize she is now in the hands of novices and not racing veterans. Manager of the new marina at La Cruz, Christian Mancebo, provided free docking for all participants and hosted a dockside welcome party. This marina is so new it's still not completed and the party was held in amongst the workers still contruction various sections. Only in Mexico! This was followed by a migration to Philos for some great food, music and dancing, which lasted well into the warm tropical night.

Entering the marina was drama in itself. Michelle had checked and double checked with Mike Danielson with regards the depth of water in the marina. Mike assured her that there was plenty of water, 15 feet, at the entrance and inside, no problem, and that he also has a 9 foot draft like Warrior. Michelle was doubtful, remembering how shallow it was the year before when Chetak anchored inside. However they insisted it had been dredged and there was no problem. So we arrive and enter the marina and almost had a heart attack watching the depth gauge read 10 feet, 9.9 feet, 9.6 feet, 9.2 feet... oh shit.. and suddenly we´re back in 11 feet. Oh boy. Anyway half an hour later Mike enters the Marina on a brand new Jboat and grounds out on a rock. Two waves then catch him sideways and he´s solidly stuck. Profligate came to the rescue taking a halyard from the Jboat and kedging him off the rock and into the marina channel where he promptly gets stuck again. Not good. We will certainly make sure to exit on a high tide tomorrow.

Saturday December 8, 2007

Day 2 of the Banderas Bay Blast. The second leg today was a flat water beat into winds approaching 20 knots from La Cruz to Punta Mita, the northernmost point of entry into Banderas Bay. We started the race well crossing the lines within 8 seconds of the official start (hey that's pretty damn good for us) and went hairing towards the first point. Then we got to tack, and discovered there was a good deal of wind. It was the first time we'd raced with full sails up in 20knots and it was a thrilling ride healed at 30 degrees. Melissa turned a little green wondering if we were going to tip over. Warrior looked so good she made it into the Latitude 38 magazine. We tried to judge just when to tack to race up towards Punta Mita without running aground in shallow water. The funny part we heard later was others were following us saying to themselves if Warrior can't head up there yet then we can't as she has a reputation for heading high into the wind. If only they knew we really don't know squat LOL. Anyway was a lot of fun, we slightly misjudged it on account the wind swung once we began approaching Punta Mita which required two more quick tacks. We came in second today but due to the hefty handicap we didn't get a place. Was a very fun race nevertheless. There was no nice marina this evening so we pulled in and dropped the hook. The surf was wild so pangas were ordered so we didn't have to brave a very wet landing. The panga drivers were amazing and very skilled. They were attempting some very serious waves especially leaving shore to deliver us back to our boats, with the pangas going airborne over quite a few waves. Glad we didn't have to dinghy in ourselves.

The world famous virtual (yes it's not an official yacht club) Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club (aka Margaritas Restaurant) was the host for tonights party. Vallarta Yacht Club member and Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club Commodora, Eugenie Russell, welcomed sailors and pirates alike by signing them up for the one dollar lifetime membership plan. Over $2500 was raised for local student charities by Tea Lady, Ronnie, Eugenie and others.

Sunday December 9, 2007

Another action packed day. The final leg this Sunday was started after a brunch at the new Swimmers Restaurant, who also helped with the panga shuttle service in from and out to the anchorage. The 13nm sail back from Punta Mita to the Vallarta Yacht Club was a dream sail with 12 to 15 knots of breeze aft and blue 80 degree waters teaming with whales, dolphins, turtles and colorful spinnakers. Destiny, our shadow, kept us company the entire way again today and again we just pipped them at the finish line. They were such great sports and their boat sailed like a dream with a very competent crew. We just got lucky as we could point that much higher and therefore didn't get caught by the late wind shift at the finish line. A herd of large catamarans, which were vying for the big trophy, cut thru the fleet in immaculate style flying enormous spinnakers. They were competing for the coveted Pirates Cup Trophy. This was to be kept in the trophy case of the winners yacht club. This year the Cup goes to the Vallarta Yacht Club as Dave Crows' Humu Humu edged out Richard Spindler's Profligate, which represented Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club.

We crossed the finish line and high tailed it back to Marina Vallarta, docked the boat, got dressed, grabbed our shower gear and caught a taxi back to yacht club at Paradise Village. The fiesta sported spaghetti night at the yacht club. Mega people turned out for the event. We ended up taking 2nd placing overall on corrected time. Good old Warrior. She's still got what it takes and probably could have won if she'd been in accomplished hands. She puts up with us graciously.

All in all, over 30 boats and more than 150 pirates and people participated in the fun weekend adventure.

Monday December 10, 2007

Robin began work on the sump. Mel got her hands dirty helping him. Michelle went ooey gooey and plonked herself down in front of the sewing machine to begin the task of making fitted sheets and bedspreads for odd sized bunks. If only her mother could see her now. Both these tasks would consume most of the week.

Wednesday December 12, 2007

Work, work and more work. We won't bore you with the details. We hiked into Daquiri Dicks in the Romantic Zone tonight to meet up with Pete off Adelweiss III and his guest crew, Eilene and Ollie. It was the evening before Mother of Guadalupe celebrations and the entire town was crowded, and wouldn't you know it the buses decided not to run into the Romantic district so we had a couple of miles hike to the restuarant. We were a wee bit late but forgiven. After dinner Pete dragged us down to Andales, a hopping bar with crazy music and crazier people. He somehow coaxed Mel onto a donkey for a picture. She was gracious enough to humor him with the request, totally unsuspecting of what was in store for her. Next thing she knows she's being led into the middle of the bar on the donkey. You never did see anyone turn as red as she did. Everyone started shouting at her and she was completely startled. What she didn't realise was that if you ride the donkey into the bar you're sposed to remove your top. She was completely mortified later on when we told her the story. She was good though and took it all as a good prank although I think the crowd were a little disappointed they didn't get the extra show. To be honest we didn't know those crazy rules either lol.

Friday December 14, 2007

Dipstick adventures. Robin had trouble removing the dipstick chamber which had to be done in order to work on the sump. It had completely seized in place. When he went to connect it back up it snapped so off to the weld shop with it. They brought it back today and when he went to reinstall it he broke the welding. So back to the shop it goes again. I won't bore you all describing his temperament :D

Saturday December 15, 2007

Today Michelle repaired the Staysail bag - a small tear. Then she made a cover for the lifesling, the old one having almost completely disintegrated. Robin started work on the raw water pump which has been leaking. Tonight Brandos, one of the local establishments, was having a birthday party so we of course attended since some of the beer was free. While enjoying the festivities Dave, one of the more interesting local yokels, invited us to La Iguana next Wednesday to participate in his TV show. Yes we get to star in an episode of wait for it.. Turista loco... The Crazy Tourist. We'll fit right in! Jade and entourage should be here by then so we'll drag them along also.

Sunday December 16, 2007

Michelle finally got some more work done on the website today. Hopefully it will be up for Christmas. We noticed today that we've finally made a considerable dent in the todo list. Hydraulic backstay has been fixed. The blower which exhausts the engine compartment has been reinstalled. SSB Radio installed and a complete electrical cupboard overhaul done in the process. The Rudder has been fixed. Solar panels installed. Sump has new seals. Toilet has been fixed yet again! Windlass has had an overhaul and seals replaced. Rear speakers installed in the cockpit so we now have music outside. That was essential honest! Fans have been installed in the saloon area even though it's 60 degrees and frigid at the moment. Time to head south. A new ignition switch has replaced the faulty one. A whisker pole has been commissioned. Dinghy wheels have been fixed. We have a solid bimini frame and a new bimini cover complete with side shadecloth to keep out the sun. Cockpit cushions have been added for comfort. The saloon has new cushion covers. Staysail bag has been repaired. The lifesling has sunprotection so that it won't deteriorate. Mold/Mildew in the front bunk area has been eradicated for now at least. That is one serious ongoing chore! We have the mold in the saloon area beat but the front area still gets an outbreak occasionally. Michelle has lights in her clothes locker so she can see at night. The saloon has new LED lighting. We have a placard over the fuel pump so that any twit can operate it. Well maybe not Michelle. The GPS has been fixed. Fitted sheets and beadspreads have been made. And a myriad of smaller chores to boot. We're getting there. We still have another 28 chores to go before we head on south. We're working hard to get everything done and find a wee bit of time to play and enjoy ourselves. Having Mel here has been a huge help. She's been working hard and seems to be enjoying herself. We'll use and abuse her as long as she can take it.

Monday December 17, 2007

Robin, as mentioned before, has been having dipstick dramas the last couple of days. Well to cut a long story short, the second weld failed. So he had it rewelded and it broke again for the third time. Hopefully he will get something sorted out as Geoff and Jade arrive tomorrow for 10days holidays. At first we thought only Jade was going to make it but Geoff had a conference cancellation and thus has decided to grace us with his presence as well. Will be a very crowded boat for the next couple of weeks although Warriorcan sleep nine.

Tuesday December 18, 2007

Geoff and Jade arrive late this afternoon after just over an hour's delay in the flights. We had drinks on the boat, went to Victor's for dinner then the guys decided to fix the engine. Yes they're insane but that's not the half of it. Around one o'clock in the wee am hours, when all looked as though it was fixed, they decided to test the fix. So ropes were cast off, and off they go into the dark, dropping anchor off the city front about an hour later, well satisfied with themselves. Everyone except Mel slept peacefully through this entire event. Then they go to bed and Michelle figures she'd better at least keep anchor watch. We only have 8 more days to survive these lunatic friends.

Wednesday December 19, 2007

Well we're famous. Last night we were part of the cast featuring in a TV show called Turista Loco. Tonight was the taping of the 3rd show and one really has to wonder how this show will ever survive. There's no way it can survive. It started off being quite painful just to sit and watch the shananigans but a slight shift in attitude and we ended up reluctantly having fun. The plan for the show is simply to have tourists crazy enough to attend such an event, do punishingly daft pranks on stage which is all being captured on camera. Geoff and Melissa got to burst balloons without using their hands. Robin and Michelle had to shift ice cubes from one pant leg to the other. Jade got to yodel and oh what a yodel it was. Thankfully the drinks were free or one wonders how anyone could have endured such an event. Stand by for upcoming video clips from the show.

Thursday December 20, 2007

We headed on out today and plan to spend the next few days visiting different anchorages around Banderas Bay. Todays destination was Yelapa a beautiful little bay we had visited last year on our way down south. Since then they have added mooring balls so it's a lot nicer to stop overnight without having to worry about stern anchors pulling out. We arrived late afternoon, sat out on the boat with a refreshing cocktail, and enjoyed some great steaks. We'll explore ashore in the morning.

Friday December 21, 2007

We dinghied ashore fairly early this morning and had breakfast at the first cafe we stumbled across, situated at the top of the jetty. Damned good site for a cafe. We climbed to Yelapa waterfall after breakfast, then hiked around the hillside village's cobble streets and down along the beach and then headed back to the boat. We dropped the mooring line, and headed out destination Corrales. Plans changed however as the wind wasn't cooperating thus we course for Punta Mita. This would work well as the guys had planned a diving trip for tomorrow out at the Tres Marietas Islands. Punta Mita would be much closer to the dive sight and thus we don't have to make such an early start. We arrived in good time but all elected to stay aboard except Geoff who needed to find an ATM machine. Melissa cooked an awesome dinner and we retired fairly early and in good cheer.

Saturday December 22, 2007

Tres Marietas which we hadn't visited before. Dropped the hook near the orange balls and the guys got organized for diving. Geoff decided to fish this morning and met with great success catching us breakfast. Geoff and Melissa braved the water and went snorkeling and finally caught another fish which gave us 4 total. The water was cold but clear and Geoff got to use a hawaiin sling for the first time ever, an impressive feat for a boy who has almost done everything before.

Midday with no dive guys turning up we decided to make a run back across to Corrales, the anchorage we'd heard about just around the corner form Corrientes. We arrived late afternoon to find the water was incredibly deep, just 60 feet offshore. As we're 50feet in length we didn't feel like plonking our rear end on the beach which by this time had become a fairly rough lee shore. So we turned around and headed back across to La Cruz de Haunacastle which would have been our next stop tomorrow. We finally arrived around 2am in the morning and promptly fell into a coma. It had been quite a long day. The sealife over the last couple of days has been fairly good with numerous sightings of whales sprouting water plumes high into the air and giving us a tail salute.

Sunday December 23, 2007

This morning everyone went ashore except Robin who seemed to need a rest after having numerious people around him constantly chattering nonstop. We scouted out around La Cruz then headed over to Philo's for a few refreshing margheritas. A few hours seemed to disappear in chitchat and we decided it was time to collect Robin. On the way back to the boat we discovered Anna Bananas was in full swing with live music. An executive decision was reached and Geoff was sent to fetch Robin while everyone else filed into Annas. It was an action packed event. We ordered some snacks while waiting for the boys and which Mel and Jade managed to scoff whilst Michelle was catching up with the goss from various cruisers who had dropped by. The guys turned up, we ordered more food then retreated out back to the beach sand dune, or what used to be the beach but which is now just a left over sand dune in front of the new marina. This too will disappear very shortly with the new waterfront development set to begin early next year. The music was great and we whiled away a good few hours dancing and merry making. Finally we called it quits and headed back to the dinghy which was tied up at Lorrie's boat at the marina. We made a wee bit of noise which brought Lorrie out and which resulted in an invite aboard for a couple of tequila shots. You can imagine how we needed those at this time of night. But boys being boys, they never know when to stop. So another hour passed in frivolity, enjoying the company of Lorrie and her daughter. We finally made it back at some unearthly hour of the morning and promptly fell asleep. Glad the weather wasn't rough and no anchor watches were needed.

Monday December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Australia. Headed back to Puerto Vallarta around Midday and as there wasn't much wind it was a slow, peaceful glide across the bay. On return we found our hose missing so Jade got out of swobbing the decks. We figure Pancho has put it away for safe keeping. Tonight we are heading out to the Red Cabbage for some great authentic Mexican fare. Michelle's favorite is a chili relleno with a difference. It's covered in a creamy crushed walnut sauce and decorated with pomegranate seeds. It was apparently a special dish designed for kings, but we discovered there are numerous other yarns about how the dish came into existence.

Tuesday December 25, 2007

We had a wonderful relaxing Christmas Day. Robin cooked a roast lamb on the barbie, Melissa kept us all well watered, we sat out on the back of the boat and simply vegged whilst the meat cooked. The trimmings were delicious and we all sat around wallowing in satiation.

Wednesday December 26, 2007

Geoff and Robin departed early this morning and left the rest of the mottley crew to slowly rise and shine. Michelle had booked all the girls in to have a pedicure of which said appointment we managed to keep at High Noon. We grabbed a glass of white wine and sat relaxing at the spa while various nubile women raced around doing odd things to one's feet. After all of us had twinkle toes we retired to a courtyard restuarant overlooking the Marina and had a quick bite to eat before heading back to the boat. The rest of the gang had emerged and the boys gave their account of a fairly miserable diving trip in seriously cold water with virtually no visibility. What a shame. We all had a wee rest then it was off to dinner at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants before retiring early. The boat won't seem the same tomorrow after all the rabble leaves :D

Thursday December 27, 2007

All our visitors left this morning at some ungodly hour. Michelle opened one eyeball long enough to give them a hug goodbye and promptly passed out again. At least that's the way she remembers it. The remainder of the day was spent trying to make sense of the disorganization on board the boat and reorganize our thoughts about what needs to be done over the next few weeks. Other than New Year's Eve, the partying is over.

Friday December 28, 2007

One lot of revellers leave and another lot arrive. Richard and Karen from Chessiedid a wonderful surprise visit and will be here for a couple of days before driving south to Oaxaca. So of course we had to get together for lunch and a chat, do a Sams Club (think Mexican Costco) run since they have a Sam's card, and organize dinner for tomorrow night. Some work is getting done inspite of the partying. Honest!

Saturday December 29, 2007

We decided on the Tapas restaurant in Bucerius for dinner this evening and hopefully it will help alleviate the memories of the last painful dinner we had together at the Tequila Cave. Afterwards we will retreat upstairs to the cafe on the roof which does the most decadent desserts you ever did see.

Sunday December 30, 2007

Robin did some work on the fuel this morning, Michelle had a lazy morning. Girls have all the fun. Around 1pm we headed out to Nuevo Vallarta to spend the afternoon with Richard and Karen lazing around the pool. That evening Karen cooked us a wonderful dinner and we again said our farewells. We will see them again, they just can't stay away.

Monday December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve. Already. We've been here in Puerto Vallarta over two months now and feel as though there's no end in sight. We have planned to fly out to Miami for a few days to collect some more items such as dive gear which Geoff is kindly putting together, a hooker...(that would be a breathing appartus for underwater guys!), Michelle's vacuum sealer which she's been opining for so she can store a gazillion bags of fresh coffee and have it stay fresh, and some much needed binoculars. Should be interesting trying to get all this back through customs.

This afternoon we are headed back over to La Cruz anchorage to hang out with the gang from Southern Bell, Sweet Loraine, Lovely Rita and a few other boats. We've decided to have a poker tournament and try to beat Crazy Dave who always seems to end up winning. Should be a fun evening. Happy New Year to everyone.

On the way over we were treated to quite the show. Three whales began breaching, two adults but the show stealer was the baby copying the adults. It's the first time we've seen whales come right out of the water. The show went on for a good 20 minutes. We thought we were going to lose Melissa over the side of the boat she was so excited. What a great New Year's gift.