Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Australia and Mexico trips - Jan and Feb 2007 - Plus work done on our boat and the QMII arriving in San Francisco - check it out...

We started out 2007 with a trip to Australia. John had a meeting in Sydney and Gilly came down to join him after first spending a few days with her friend Lyn Cuttriss and daughter Katie. They toured around Sydney and had an all around great time. Once the meeting was over John was also able to join the three girls for a bit more sight seeing before we flew down to Melbourne. We rented a car at the airport and John mastered driving on the left a bit faster than our trip downunder two years ago. At least the windshield wipers didn't come on quite so often this time when signaling for turns. We spent two fun days with Gilly's childhood friend Carmen, husband Francois with visits from their kids Steve and Robyn. We then drove further east into the Gippsland area where we spent two nights at Helena at Parnassus which is a lovely B&B type facility that does weddings and other special events. The proprietors, Val and Helena took wonderful care of us with outstanding meals and fantastic wine. It was then back up to Sydney for one more fun filled day before heading back home.

(Click on the caption under each photo to view the slideshow)

Destiny's upgrades

While we were away in Australia "Destiny" was having some major work done which included installing a new generator, water maker, hot water heater and inverter. All this plus a few electrical upgrades, new sails and new standing rigging (thanks Doug Darling!). We are doing this as part of our ongoing preparations to make the boat ready for our upcoming extended trip to Mexico. Completing this big job took about 10 days longer than we originally anticipated so we found ourselves "homeless" after our 13 hour flight from Sydney. We ended up spending four nights in hotels followed by a delightful stay with our good friends George and Maxine for several nights and then one night with more good friends, Chuck and Cathy before we could get back to our floating home. We really appreciate their combined hospitality!

Once we got "Destiny" put back together it was a real treat to admire the tremendous amount of work done by Liem Dao who is a true craftsman in every sense of the word. We could not be more happy with the work he did which we know will serve us well in our upcoming adventures.

The arrival of QM 2 into SF Bay:

On February 4 we joined our friends Doug and Teresa Darling on their boat to watch the arrival of the Queen Mary 2 into San Francisco bay. It was quite an event. Here are some photos.

Our trip to Mexico on Freedom:

On February 9 we flew to Zihuatanejo to meet our friends David and Anneke Dury for a fun filled week aboard their lovely boat "Freedom". This was our second time with them in Mexico and made us even more anxious to head south with "Destiny". While anchored in Zihuatanejo we ran into former EYC members Jo and Doug Levitt who are now enjoying their second year cruising in Mexico. We're nothing but jealous about how much they seem to be enjoying the cruising life style. We ran into a few hours of sloppy weather during an overnight passage from Zihuatanejo to Santiago where our one day stay was perfect. We enjoyed an inexpensive palapa lunch on the beach in Santiago and admired the lovely beach front homes while trying to walk off some of our lunch. The next day we took off for a day trip to Tenacatita and had a couple of adventures along the way. David had been told to look out for several-mile long fishing lines laid out along this part of the coast and marked only by empty plastic water bottles. It wasn't long before we spotted one and could not find the end so we cut the small line and went through (David had also been told this was OK to do). A bit further up the coast we found another line but we were near the end so went around it. Soon after the wind built to around 25 knots which would have made it almost impossible to spot these long-lines.

We arrived at beautiful Tenacatita and found the large anchorage loaded with boats. It took us a few attempts to get "Freedom" anchored in a spot where we were not on top of our new neighbors. After settling in we spotted Stan on "Why Knot" who was our former neighbor at Marina Village. We launched the dink and had a nice visit with him. We also introduced ourselves to fellow Catalina 42 Mark I owners Dave and Donna Bolding who are spending their first year cruising in Mexico. They invited us aboard and we helped them get rid of a few Pacifico's while draining as much knowledge from them as possible.

The next day we took the short 10 mile run back down to Barra de Navidad which is an absolutely delightful setting. David arranged for a slip in the marina which is right next to the most beautiful hotel either one of us had ever seen. As marina tenants we were able to use the hotel facilities including a pool complex that's difficult to adequately describe so I won't try. The small town of Barra de Navidad is a short water taxi (read panga) ride from the marina. Very cute town with nifty restaurants and numerous little shops. We had two great dinners there and generally just hung around the marina and hotel complex admiring some very large sail and power yachts. There were many more "normal" sailboats anchored in a close by lagoon which is probably where we will be spending more time next year than in the marina.

Onto Puerto Vallarta/Punta de Mita to check on our condo:

On Friday, February 16 we said goodbye to David and Anneke thanking them for a super week and boarded a bus for the 5 hour ride to Puerto Vallarta. The bus trip was easy and included two American movies with Spanish subtitles. Since most of the passengers were Americans and Canadians I don't think the subtitles were really used. We were picked up by our friends Jane and Jerry Hinsdale at the very attractive Puerto Vallarta bus terminal (honest!) who were kind enough to take us Punta Mita to check out the progress of our beach front condo.