Sunday, November 7, 2010

Our beautiful grandkids on Halloween!!!

As reported by Hillary, Fancy Nancy and a Ballerina Fairy ready to tackle the neighborhood on Halloween.

Brynn and Callie - Thanksgiving 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Family departed Mexico for Colorado Springs in mid-June. Scott drove their overloaded Jeep while Hillary and the girls took the easy way by air. They seemed happy to be leaving behind the difficulties of living in Mexico in exchange for the good life in Colorado. We're confident that having us close by was not one of those difficulites ;-)

Our next task was to get ready for our own trip to America. We loaded up the Blazer with items The Family could not squeeze into their car which included one of Hillary's rescue dogs. Hillary was vigilant right to the end of her time in Mexico finding dogs that needed help. She arranged for training and adoption through a program run by the Colorado prison system and we provided the delivery service. We ended up bonding with this sweet dog but had no way to keep her.

Shortly after arriving in Colorado we flew to Chicago for a weekend with our friends Bill and Bonnie Nurre. The plan was for John to fly on a vintage World War II B-25 aircraft which would have been very cool except for mechanical problems that cancelled the flight.... Oh well, we had a good time anyway. The next weekend we flew to Charlotte to see Nick and Natalie for a planned drive to Charleston, SC. Charming city and lots of fun.

Once back in Colorado Springs we shopped for items that are hard to find in Mexico (read Gilly's Asian spices) and best of all were involved with the Brynn and Callie's activities. Brynn's participation in the City and State swim meets was a big highlight. She made us all proud and John felt like he was back in the days when Nick and Hillary were doing the same thing. Outstanding 3 week stay with The Family.

We departed Colorado Springs in early August headed for Alameda via Sedona, Grand Canyon, the Four Corners, Hoover Dam and Las Vegas. Beautiful drive and everything was perfect except for Vegas which was a little much for us.

Our friends Chuck and Cathy put us up in their lovely Alameda home for 10 days. We spent several days tossing out and consolidating our stored items and in time we'll hopefully get down to nothing. While doing this we caught up with friends and did our best to stay warm.

In mid August we departed the Bay Area for Punta Mita and along the way stayed with our friends Jo and Michael Gilliam in Rancho Mirage where it was plenty warm. Our subsequent trip through Nogales and on down to Punta Mita was uneventful. This despite all the negative news about the dangers of travelling through Mexico.

Two days after arriving at our condo the skies opened up with non-stop rain. Fortunately we had no damage but roads were washed out, bridges collapsed and homes destroyed. The ever resourceful Mexican people have rallied back from most of this.

We've been working to prepare Destiny for the upcoming cruising season. Our ambitious plans (for us) include cruising the Mexican Gold Coast and the Sea of Cortez and then going to southern California for the summer before sailing back to Mexico in November, 2011. We'll let you know how it goes.

Still loving retirment!

Click on photo to view album

From Mexico to the States and back....

Updated photos of our condo in Mexico
Our condo in Mexico

Monday, June 7, 2010

January to May 2010

2010 has been quite different from our Mexico experience of the past two years when we spent considerable time on Destiny cruising the Mexican "Gold Coast" and up into the beautiful Sea of Cortez. John's daughter, Hillary, and family have been living in the nearby community of San Pancho since last August and we've been fortunate to spend spend a good deal of time with them. We've bonded with the grand kids in a way that would otherwise not be possible from some distance away.

We simply call the four of them "The Family" probably because they represent to us what the nuclear family is all about. Mom, dad and two young kids living together more or less harmoniously. How does a family like this living the American dream in Colorado Springs give it all up to spend almost a year in Mexico (rhetorical question). We're not talking about moving to a beach front condo in relatively affluent Punt Mita where we are lucky enough to live, but rather to a modest home in a real Mexican working class neighborhood. Their street is narrow, dusty and comes complete with all the sounds that make up Mexico. Endlessly loud music blaring from the neighbor across the street who must singlehandedly keep Corona in business, roosters that do much more than crow in the early morning, a constant parade of noisy trucks selling everything from donuts to dishware, stray dogs at the front door looking for food and water and it all goes on and on....

Imagine Scott, who was able to get permission from HP to work remotely for one year, having to endure this noise while involved in constant conference calls. He became an expert at using the mute button so his colleagues would not think he was just partying in Mexico. And then there is Hillary who dearly loves animals..... How could she not bring in these strays to make a better life for them?? And then there is 7 year old Brynn and 5 year old Callie attending a Spanish speaking school and having to make a new set of friends from another culture.

A must see video of their not-so-quiet street... Make sure your sound is up.

The Serenity of Calle Nueva Galicia from Hillary Dickman on Vimeo.

You might ask, "How did they handle all of this?" They did it with absolute flying colors! They all adjusted as necessary to their new life style and will soon go back to Colorado with a wealth knowledge about Mexico and the unique culture that makes up this most interesting of countries. And, they will carry back a new appreciation for what they have in America.

What about us?? We've been able to bond with the grand kids and enjoy special time with Scott and Hillary. Had they not decided to move to Mexico for 11 months none of this would have been possible. We can resume the cruising life style next year knowing that we were blessed by the presence.

Check out the photos to give you some idea of what we have been doing since we returned to Mexico at the end of October.

Double click on picture then click slideshow....


Monday, January 4, 2010

June '09 to January '10 - A catch-up.

Here it is at the beginning of 2010 and we have not posted ANYTHING to our blog since last June. Shame on us as we try to bring you up to date on our various happenings as briefly as possible.

We decided to spend most of the hot and humid summer in Punta Mita to see what it was all about. By the end of June we were experiencing afternoon and night time thunder showers accompanied by spectacular lightning displays. For two people from coastal California where this kind of thing rarely happens, we were in awe of mother nature's awesome power. There were nights when we would be out on our deck at 2:00 AM mesmerized by what we were seeing. Truly spectacular especially compared to the benign and very pleasant winter time weather in this part of Mexico. Fortunately our condo home has great cross ventilation, so for the most part we were comfortable during the day with just the overhead fans churning away. We did finally get to the point where we fired up our bedroom air-con at night. Oh, what a treat to be under a blanket when the rest of our place was hot and steamy!

We made a quick trip to Colorado Springs at the end of July to pick up the grand kids and fly them to Mexico in anticipation of Scott and Hillary arriving by car for their 11 month stay. We said goodbye to them in their Jeep Cherokee loaded down with a dog, two cats, a year's supply of dog food and various household and kitchen items. There was barely enough room for the two of them, but they squeezed in and made record time to their new home in San Pancho which is close to our Punta Mita condo. A real treat for us to have them near by and we've taken full advantage of it.

We flew out of Puerto Vallarta on September 12 headed for the Bay Area where we had much to do before embarking on our 31 day cruise to Australia. We had doctors' appointments, friends to see, boat parts to buy, upgrades to our Alameda condo as well transporting our storage container to a new facility. After three years our fantastic tenant was moving out presenting us with another challenge. Our good friends, Lance and Sue Bateman, were ready to find new housing, and to our good fortune, they settled on our Alameda condo. We love the place and are thrilled to have them living there. We managed to get in one EYC cruise out with Jeff and Adrienne aboard "Bon Voyage" which was over the top fun. This gave us the opportunity to visit many of our friends and renew our appreciation for being part of Encinal Yacht Club.

After our hectic time in the Bay Area we boarded the magnificent "Star Princess" for our long awaited 31 day cruise to Australia. We can't begin to cover everything we did, but suffice to say it was fantastic to be on a vessel where we didn't have to do night watches, tackle mechanical problems, prepare and clean up meals, worry about the weather, etc, etc. We had lovely accommodations, great food, super entertainment and we quickly morphed into a totally relaxed mode. Our itinerary included two stops in Hawaii, three in French Polynesia, both Samoa's, Fiji, and four stops in New Zealand before arriving in Sydney. There were several times when we looked out of our stateroom window and thanked whoever was listening that we were not out there on our Destiny in those nasty conditions. A 109,000 ton 950 foot stabilized ship is quite different than a 42' sailboat. They both go on the water but that's the only thing they have in common.

Our long time friend, Lyn Cuttriss, met us on the dock in Sydney and graciously hosted us for four days. We both love Sydney and it was a treat to once again visit what we believe to be one of the world's great cities.

We flew back to San Francisco and spent 3 more hectic days before arriving back in Punta Mita on Halloween. The next day we got Destiny out of "mothballs" and moved her to the close by marina in La Cruz. Other than minor damage from hurricane Rick, we found her to be in surprisingly good shape.

Our next big event was Thanksgiving when we stuffed 29 people into our condo for a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. This is our favorite holiday and having so many friends and family here to celebrate with us made it even more special.

Since returning to Mexico we've been spending a good deal of time with Scott, Hillary and the grand kids as we want to take advantage of the limited time they'll be here while the grand kids hopefully pick up Spanish. We won't be doing any real cruising this season, but Destiny will be standing by ready to enjoy it all once again in 2010/2011.

We wish everyone a happy and prosperous 2010.

To view full size and read the captions, double click on a photo...

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Back in Punta Mita...

We've been back to our Punta Mita condo for several weeks after completing our second season of cruising the west coast of Mexico. Hurricane season runs May 15 through October 31 and brings with it warmer more humid weather along with frequent afternoon and evening thunder showers producing sometimes dramatic lightning. Since it's generally not a good time to be on the water we have Destiny safely tied up in La Cruz. Near the end of July we'll move her to the even safer venue of Paradise Village in case we experience some really nasty weather.
Our last posting had us still in the Sea of Cortez getting ready for an overnight crossing to Mazatlan where the boat was scheduled to be hauled before coming on home to Banderas Bay. We were able to get in a little sailing but motored most of the 170 odd miles without incident except for an alternator that kept overcharging the batteries. We disconnected the alternator which temporarily solved the problem enabling us to keep going. We arrived in Mazatlan on a Friday morning for our scheduled haul out on Monday. The boat yard and marina are all in the same complex complete with amenities like swimming pool, hot tub, very clean bathroom and shower facilities, WIFI and laundry room. We stayed on Destiny while she was out of the water and took full advantage of what the place had to offer. We, like most other boaters, dread the time out of the water but this was a fun and enjoyable experience. We partied with other cruisers at pot lucks and movie nights, and had a chance to further explore much of what Mazatlan has to offer. Best of all the work done to the boat was excellent and reasonably priced.

Mexico has a huge shrimping industry with Mazatlan at its center. On two occasions when the boat was hauled out we bought shrimp from a street vendor, and then took it to a nearby restaurant where they boil the shrimp for free and the beers are $1.00. The restaurant will prepare the shrimp in many other styles for around $3.00. Our favorite is sauteed in butter and garlic which is so yummy. It's a true Mexican setting with loud music no tourists around to spoil the ambience.

Being somewhat anxious to get home we decided to blast back to Banderas Bay without stopping somewhere along the way. We got in some good off wind sailing during the day and saw no other vessel traffic at night. In the early morning as we were approaching Punta Mita and Banderas Bay a series of nasty looking thunder storms materialized in front of us but dissipated as we started to make our way around them. All and all a good trip without incident.

Two weeks after returning, our friends David & Susan Sherrill arrived for an 9 day stay. We introduced them to the area around Punta Mita and then took off on Destiny for Chacala which is one of our favorite anchorages 35 miles to the north. Luckily we had a breeze out of the south so for much of the way we flew the spinnaker in ideal conditions. We caught our first dorado (mahi mahi), a fish that has alluded us since coming to Mexico, so it was sashimi later that afternoon.

Unfortunately, the anchorage at Chacala is open to the south so that afternoon and evening felt like we were on a floating trampoline. The next day things calmed down and with water in the mid 80's we kept jumping in and out. Our next stop was Guayabitos 7 miles down the coast where we understand 3,000 bikers visited the weekend before. That must have done in the place as we could not find anything open for dinner, so back on the boat Gilly and Susan put together a fantastic dish that will likely never be reproduced. Our trip home home in normal NW winds was another good one and we caught a second and larger dorado supplying our protein requirements the next few days. Who could ask for more??

We had planned to drive the Sherrill's into Vallarta but our Blazer decided to have an electrical problem which took a couple of days to sort out. It's such a shame as they were stuck swimming and surfing in front of the condo but somehow they adapted. We had a wonderful time with them and hopefully they'll come back for another visit. Soon after they left the weather got nasty so their timing was perfect.

During this past cruising season we went as far south as Manzanillo and subsequently well into the magnificent Sea of Cortez. We visited 22 different anchorages and overall covered about 2,000 miles. Not impressive when compared to what many others do, but certainly was a wonderful experience for us and we look forward to doing more of the same in the coming years. Right now we'd love to be enjoying the summer on San Francisco Bay where we have so many great friends and memories. Someday it will happen but for now we're happy having Destiny domiciled here.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


There are six slideshows - sorry, way too many photos, but difficult to edit. All have such good memories. Hopefully, you can go through one or two and come back another day and go through the rest. They are in date order from when we came back from the south in March to now. You can click on the slideshow to control the speed, then when finished either close or click gillyfoy's gallery to view another.