Thursday, December 6, 2007


We wish all of our friends and family could enjoy this rustic little village before it becomes an overbuilt tourist attraction. It’s only about 50 miles north of bustling Puerto Vallarta making it inevitable that sooner or later big changes will come. We anchored bow and stern 250 feet off the sandy beach giving us a perfect view of the half dozen palapa restaurants tucked in under rows of palm trees. The hills around Chacala are thick with the intense green vegetation that one finds only in tropical locations. Although the water is not particularly clear it’s a pleasing green color and deliciously warm and inviting. The shore break is relatively mild and we had a good chance to practice our dinghy landings and so far nothing bad has happened, but stay tuned as we try our skills in more difficult locations. Other Ha-Ha participants have been arriving here so we’ve had a chance to renew earlier acquaintances and make some new ones. All hands agree this is a special place and we’re glad for the opportunity to spend a few days before moving on to Punta Mita where our soon to be finished condo is located. If all goes well we should be anchored in front of the condo around November 29.

Almost forgot! While enjoying an early afternoon beer in one of the Chacala palapas we noticed whales spouting not far off the anchorage so we quickly cleared up the bill and jumped into our dinghy for a closer view of these magnificent animals. (Check out the photos). What a treat…. We were cruising along no more than 125 feet away while four or maybe five humpback whales including what appeared to include juveniles cavorted with each other as they slowly made their way down the coast. Probably a once in a life time experience even for people like us who spend so much time on the water. Since we were low on fuel we could not stay as long as we wanted and headed back for Destiny otherwise you’d be reading about missing gringos out to sea in their little dinghy.

After four days we had to head to Punta Mita. Gilly had a bad infection in her elbow which needed professional treatment. Check out December 3rd's Lectronic Latitude...

To view larger pictures and captions, click on a photo... Also, check out the pictures of the whales..

Mazatlan to Chacala

Our next leg was a 140 mile overnight trip further south to a small anchorage off the village of Chacala. The weather forecast was good so we expected an uneventful trip. On the morning of November 24 we awoke to clear skies but as we were departing the marina black clouds appeared and soon the rain was coming down in buckets. As we approached the dreaded entrance to the harbor mentioned earlier, we soon saw what the guide books were talking about. Large swells coming in and breaking on the jetty but fortunately not yet across the entrance which is so narrow that turning back was not an option. John gunned the engine and Destiny bashed into the steep swells like a high performance Coast Guard vessel and we made out with our hearts pounding away like overworked jackhammers. It was sloppy in the relatively shallow water outside the harbor so we kept on heading out to sea as fast as possible. Once safely offshore we set a course straight for Chacala with Destiny rolling like crazy as we motor sailed with the large swells on our beam. The squalls let up during the day but as darkness approached they were back again with a vengeance accompanied but what appeared to be the whole Mexican shrimping fleet. We spent the night dodging the hard working fishermen and many times losing them to the rain squalls as they moved across our radar. Despite all of this we both managed to get reasonable sleep as we have confidence in each other and our equipment. At daybreak we found ourselves right on target 1.5 miles off Chacala.


The El Cid marina/hotel complex is a high end facility and we had access to the pool and other hotel amenities. The docks were clean and our neighbors were friendly so our 6 day stay was most enjoyable. Our next door neighbor, Tony, had a car and graciously agreed to show us around a city that he clearly enjoys. Mazatlan is known for shrimp so he took us to street vendor where we purchased 2 kilos of big shrimp (guess you’d call them prawns) and then on to a restaurant that cooked them for free and served $1.10 Pacifico beers. We met some other cruisers there and stuffed ourselves with all the shrimp we could eat. This is the kind of thing we’d heard about in Mexico but had not yet experienced. A few days later we took the bus to the Gigante supermarket where did some provisioning mostly for beer and to restock our seriously low wine cellar. In between we had Thanksgiving dinner at an annual affair held by the local cruising community. It was not all that we expected but we still had a good time. We enjoyed our stay in Mazatlan but it was not nearly long enough to see and do all the place has to offer so we’ll be back again at some point.

Cabo San Lucas to Los Frailes (The Friars) and Mazatlan

Before departing Cabo we needed to top off with diesel and water so we pulled up anchor and made our way into what must be the busiest Pemex fuel dock in all of Mexico. We managed to time our arrival with the return of sport fishing fleet from their daily expeditions out into the Pacific loaded with gringo fisherman. We found ourselves fighting for dock space during the local rush hour but somehow it all worked out and we got away without a scratch and ended up paying only $2.50 per gallon compared to the $4.25 we paid in San Diego for diesel. While heading back to the anchorage for one more night we realized that in all the commotion at the fuel dock we forgot to take on water. Neither one of us wanted to go through all of that again so we fired up the watermaker and made 44 gallons.

The next day was November 14 (our departure delayed due to Customs losing our paperwork) and so after 6 days we were happy to leave the hustle and bustle of Cabo with jet skis, speeding pangas and other craft creating constant noise and making Destiny into roller coaster. We motored about ¾ of the time in fine weather on our relatively short trip to Los Frailes. We arrived to find 10 other boats in a pristine and calm anchorage. We quickly sat back enjoyed the scenery and went into full “Cruiser Mode”. We would have stayed longer but we had a hard to get reservation for a slip at El Cid in Mazatlan so after only 2 days in Los Frailes we headed off on the 162 mile jaunt across the Sea of Cortez. We thoroughly enjoyed what was probably the best sail we’ve had since leaving San Francisco. We had 16-20 knots of wind on the beam all through the day and night and actually had to slow down the last few hours so that we would not arrive at Mazatlan before day break. Both our guide books told us there was a potentially dangerous entrance into the harbor that constantly silts up so we did not want to take any chances arriving in the dark with a large swell. Fortunately it calmed down just as we were arriving so our grand entrance was without any fanfare.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Baja Ha Ha - San Diego to Cabo San Lucas

Sorry for the long delay in posting anything to our blog. Through a combination of limited internet access and being busy doing whatever retired people do it just didn’t get done. We departed San Diego way back on October 28 in the company of 156 other boats on the first leg of the “Baja Ha-Ha” race/rally to Cabo San Lucas located at the tip of Baja California. Our first scheduled stop was Turtle Bay some 360 nautical miles from San Diego. The wind was almost non-existent until about 5 minutes before the 11:00 start and then filled nicely so we took off like a shot near the front of the fleet. Was a real thrill for us to look back on the fleet with Point Loma in the background. We were fortunate to have good winds all along the course enabling us to sail all the way for just over 2 days while most boats resorted to using their engines at some point.

With our hand trolling lines we caught two very nice yellow fin tuna (maguro for you sushi fans). Rod and John wrestled to subdue the fish and then Gilly did a great job of filleting them. Sashimi was soon the order of the day. We arrived at the small village of Turtle Bay after dark at 8:00 PM on October 31 and had to feel our way in using radar and some assistance from our fellow boats. The very important auto pilot died during our last night at sea, but fear not as “Mr. Fix Anything”, Rod Kidd, was able to trouble shoot the problem in Turtle Bay (broken magnet in the drive motor) and repair it while John stared on in amazement. Although it worked fine on the next two legs we decided to replace the whole unit so as to avoid any future problems. While this was going on Gilly was ashore passing out candy to the very cute village kids. These people have very little but could not have been more friendly and helpful to the 500+ gringos invading their village for 2 days. On the second day in Turtle Bay we were part of a large pot luck beach party for all the Ha Ha-ers, which was totally fun. Gave us a chance to talk to our new friends and catch up with people from the 4 other Encinal Yacht Club boats in the rally.

We departed Turtle Bay at 9:00 AM on November 3 for the 240 mile leg Bahia Santa Maria. We again had good wind which unfortunately didn’t last long enough and we ended up motoring for a total of 13 of the 37 hour leg but still had a another night arrival. We had a successful day fishing and this time it was 2 big yellow tail tuna (hamachi) which made up for the lack of wind and by now our catching and filleting skills were much improved when dealing with these great eating fish. Bahia Santa Maria is huge with an easy entrance so coming in at night was not much of a problem for us. The area is uninhabited save for a few small structures which we understand house some transient fishermen. Despite the remote location someone not associated with the Ha-Ha drives for many miles over dusty roads to put on a dinner for the fleet accompanied by a small rock band. Because of huge swells coming through the bay making beach landings difficult we decided to stay on the boat. Probably turned out to be a good decision as more than 70 people we unable to get off the beach before dark and were forced to spend the night ashore. We enjoyed a good night’s sleep and departed the next morning for the last 180 mile leg to Cabo San Lucas. By this time the weather had turned much warmer so our last night at sea was spent in shorts and t-shirts while moving down the course under a beautiful star filled sky with a good breeze directly behind us.
Unfortunately the wind starting dying around 3:00 AM and by 8:30 it was down to almost nothing so we started up the engine for the last 4 ½ hours to Cabo and arrived in the early afternoon to a beautiful setting. Because of movie filming, starring Adam Sandler, in a location where they didn’t want to see any boats we were forced to anchor in close proximity to other boats with jet skies, pangas, and para sailing boats speeding all around us. An unbelievable scene….. Despite all of the commotion and confusion around, we’ve enjoyed our stay in Cabo.

We bid farewell to our able crew of Rod and Peggy on November 11 and plan to leave here on November 13 for an anchorage called Los Frailes which is about 40 miles away. From there we will go to Mazatlan where we’ve arranged welcome space in a marina for 6 days and will spend Thanksgiving there before heading down to Puerto Vallarta.

To see larger photos and captions, click on one of the photos...


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dana Point to San Diego

We departed from Dana Point at 5:45 AM under clear skies and calm winds. As we headed out of the harbor we could see a large very dark cloud of smoke on the horizon. It took us about 2 hours to reach this cloud and once under it we could not see the sun and were constantly bombarded by ash and soot. Destiny’s light gray decks were soon layered with black. It took several hours for us to transit through this into something that was smoky but not quite so bad. While we were about 7 miles offshore, we picked up a passenger, a baby Warbler according to our Bird book. We think he was probably blown out to sea by the strong easterly winds and may not have made it were it not for our being there. He stayed with us for 2 to 3 hours and once the air cleared a little and we were closer to shore he was gone.

We were able to secure dock space at the very primo San Diego Yacht Club where we’ll stay until we depart for Mexico on Monday, October 29. We’ve already heard about SDYC members who lost their homes and everything in them to the devastating fires now happening in this area. We can wash the soot off the boat but their lives have been turned upside down for quite a while. Rod and Peggy Kidd will join us Friday and night and will be our welcome crew until we reach Cabo San Lucas. The four us have been talking about doing the Baja Ha-Ha rally/cruise for at least the last 5 years so it’s very exciting to know that we’ll actually be doing it. The next time your hear from us we should be somewhere in Mexico.

Catalina to Dana Point

We departed Cherry Cove on October 16 for the 12 mile trip along the beautiful Catalina coastline to Avalon. Our trolling lines were out but no luck catching anything from the sea, but we did see 3 magnificent bald eagles soaring above the steep cliffs. We understand they were reintroduced to Catalina 10 years ago and the population is now growing. Despite the town being overrun by 2,000 people off a cruise ship anchored just off the harbor, we had a delightful time in Avalon and departed the next morning for Newport Beach. Although small craft warnings were in effect when we cast off we never saw more than 20 knots of wind which died out to nothing about halfway through our trip. After motoring for an hour the wind came up again allowing us an easy sail for the last 6 miles. The harbor department in Newport has moorings available for $5.00 a night so we soon had our humble Destiny comfortably tied up while we gawked at the gorgeous multimillion dollar homes along the shoreline. The next evening we had dinner with Leslie and Dennis Power former northern California residents and Encinal YC members who, two years ago, made the move to southern California which has all of sudden made a lot of sense to us. Our friends David and Anneke Dury were visiting Newport and kindly made berthing arrangements for us. After one night on a mooring we had a much sought after slip right in the heart of Newport. We enjoyed a lovely dinner with them and the next day they joined us for the short 12 mile trip to the spectacular Dana Point Marina with little wind to push us along but made up for by good company and beautiful scenery. John’s college friend Doug McAdam and his wife Diana joined us Sunday afternoon in beautiful weather which turned ugly later that night with strong Santa Ana (offshore) winds. Large areas of southern California are now engulfed in flames and Destiny is completely covered in dirt (inside and out) but so far no ash. We plan to make the 53 mile trip to San Diego on October 23 and according to news reports the area is covered in smoke from the terrible fires. Stay tuned for the next episode and we’ll let you know how it goes.

To view larger photos and captions, click on photos.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


October 2 we motored (no wind) 20 miles from Catalina to Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club in the port of Los Angeles. We encountered a lovely facility with friendly, helpful members and a secure place to leave Destiny right in front of their club. Since our TV had died and one of our almost new toilets was not working, we rented a car and spent Wednesday taking care of those items. The next day we dropped our rental car at LAX and flew to Colorado Springs. We spent a very busy 5 days with the Dickman family and loved every minute of it. Even though we saw Brynn and Callie in early June, they both had grown and matured so much that it was hard to believe. They are non-stop activity and that does not even include their current ballet, tap dancing and ice skating lessons. Lots of fun for us be part of their lives if even for only a few days. John mentioned to Hillary that the tires on her car were not wearing evenly which combined with some other issues made to her take to the internet to find a new car. Before we departed there was a sporty red 5 speed Mazda in the driveway! After sad goodbyes at the airport we flew back to L.A. provisioned the boat, installed our new TV and headed back to Catalina. Even though it, “Never rains in southern California” it’s rained on us twice but it’s like a free wash down for the boat so we don’t care. Next week we’ll head to Avalon which is only 12 miles away for two days and then start moving to San Diego. We love retirement!

Double click on the photos to see larger size and captions...

Monday, October 1, 2007

Catalina Island

We are nearing the end of our 17 day stay at beautiful Cherry Cove and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The weather has not been as warm as we had hoped and we even experienced a very unseasonable two days of rain, but overall it’s been lovely. We hiked, swam in the clear somewhat chilly water, read our books and made new friends along the way. Gilly has enjoyed paddling all around the cove in her little red kayak. We have watched the cove fill up with boats on the weekend and then empty out during the week making us more grateful than ever for retirement. We have been “off the grid” since leaving Santa Barbara on September 12 giving us the opportunity to further test our systems. By using our diesel generator and solar panels we have produced our own electrical power which in turn has enabled us to make water and keep the fridge and freezer running. We’ve had great meals and most all the comforts of home so no real hardship for us. Several days ago the generator pooped out, but between helpful advice from Liem who installed it last January and our own trouble shooting we were able to get it running smoothly again. Tomorrow (Oct 2) we depart for San Pedro where we’ll stash Destiny for a week while we visit Scott, Hillary and the grandkids in Colorado Springs. We then plan another visit to Catalina before making our way to San Diego with several stops along the way. We will leave San Diego for Mexico on October 29 in the company of about 160 other boats as part of a race/rally called the Baha Ha-Ha.

To see larger view of the slideshow and the captions, double click on the photo.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Our Punta Mita Condo - update

Our Punta Mita condo, "El Farito" (Spanish for "Little lighthouse"), is finally starting to look like a real building that could actually be occupied by someone other than the workers who are constructing it. Located on the beach about 45 minutes northwest of Puerta Vallarta on beautiful Banderas Bay the place is scheduled to be completed around he end of November. The interior is well on the way to completion with contstruction on the pool, hot tub and palapa soon to commence. We anticipate arriving at Punta Mita via the water route about the time it's done. Right now we don't have any place to stick the boat while we take possession and furnish it but something will work out. After all, we're not on any kind of schedule. Check out the most recent photos sent by the builder.

To view photos and captions, click on the photos.

Monterey to Catalina Island

Since our first attempt to leave Monterey was less than successful we decided to try again at 10:00 PM, Friday, September 7 and to head for Morro Bay which is about 20 miles further than our original destination of San Simeon. This time we had no headwinds and unfortunately no wind at all so it was motor sail all the way. Although we’ve done a number of overnight trips on other people’s boats this was a first for us on our own. Everything went well on a beautiful star lit moonless night with the Milky Way shining brightly above. At one point our trusty Yanmar diesel engine began to sound like it was not happy with the fuel filter so we switched to another and all else was fine for the rest of the trip.

The clear weather enabled us to see the famous Morro Rock from some distance away and we arrived at the harbor entrance at 3:00 PM under calm conditions. We took on fuel from a dock clearly designed for commercial vessels only with Gilly doing a great job of keeping Destiny from getting scratched up while John tried to wrestle with a filler hose big enough for the Queen Mary II. We then proceeded to the Morro Bay YC where we enjoyed showers and later a super fish and chips dinner at one of the nearby restaurants. A great night’s sleep for both of us that night.

Morro Bay to Santa Barbara
We departed Morro Bay on September 9 at 3:00PM hoping for the right amount of northwesterly breeze to help push us along but it was not meant to be, so it was another fantastically beautiful night of motoring under a brightly lit sky. Gilly saw a number of whales just before sunset including a full out of the water breach. During the night we both saw a number of dolphin shooting toward the boat leaving a big phosphorescent trail. Really looked like torpedoes coming right for us. We rounded the very famous Pt. Conception at midnight in only 4 knots of wind and then headed east for Santa Barbara arriving there at 8:00 AM and secured a slip in the marina . Four other boats scheduled to participate with us in the Baja Ha-Ha were already there so we quickly made friends with them.

John discovered a damaged belt on the engine and further found that our spares were a bit too large. He made a trip to Pep Boys to secure proper replacements. Since it was his birthday Gilly treated him to a great dinner at Chuck’s Steak House located right a the marina. The next day we provisioned the boat and generally enjoyed just being in Santa Barbara which has a lovely climate and overall atmosphere.

Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz Island
On September 12 we departed Santa Barbara at noon in calm conditions headed to Pelican Bay which is just over 20 miles away. Ever since John was a boy he’d heard nothing but great things about Santa Cruz Island so our expectations were quite high. We’d heard about “Windy Lane” which must be transited on the way to the island so we started out with a reefed main and were prepared to reef our new big jib if the wind started to howl. The wind did build to 31 knots so we were flying along at 8.3 knots with the jib reefed to about 80% and it did not abate until we were within a quarter mile of the island. We found that Pelican Bay was crowded with only a few boats and the anchoring looked difficult so we headed east to Prisoner’s Harbor just a short distance away. It was lovely when we arrived and easily anchored under a cliff to the west so we could enjoy a cocktail and pat ourselves on the back for surviving “Windy Lane”. Unfortunately during the night it became very rolly so we scratched Prisoner’s off our list of places we want to revisit.

Prisoners to Smugglers
On September 13 we departed Prisoners for Smugglers on the SE corner of the island hoping for an anchorage with much better conditions than we were leaving behind. The wind still had not laid down from the day before and since we knew our trip would be way off the wind, we sailed with just a reefed main and had a fast trip to our next destination. Smugglers proved to be a much better anchorage and quickly filled up with other boats including two of our new Ha-Ha friends. In the late afternoon the wind started to come up off the hills built to a steady 27 knots with gusts to 30. A great way to test our new oversized anchor and it came through like a champ. Fortunately by 10:00 PM the wind died down to about 15 knots so we scrapped our anchor watch rotation which could have gone on all night. We’ve had enough of Santa Cruz Island which we still think must a nice place but so far it has eluded us. We plan an early morning departure for Cherry Cove, Catalina Island which is only 62 miles away.

Santa Cruz Island to Catalina Island
We departed Smugglers for Cherry Cove as planned at 5:00 AM on September 15. Since we were anxious to leave it wasn’t difficult to get up and underway. The sun rose to clear skies with good visibility but no wind so our trusty Yanmar pushed us along at 7 knots but right into a ¾ knot current. For a long while it seemed like we were back dealing with the currents in S.F. Bay. About half way through our 10 hour trip the fog closed in to ¼ mile visibility. As we approached Catalina we never saw it except on the radar right where it was suppose to be. We arrived at Cherry Cove to find bright sunshine and perfectly clear emerald green water. A true delight to be back to the same location where John spent so much time during his youth. We plan to stay here relaxing until early October when we’ll fly back to Colorado Springs to see Scott, Hillary and the grandkids. In the meantime we’ll be using our solar panels and small generator to make power for our water-maker and other goodies on board, and enjoying the true delights of this island paradise that is so close to one of the world’s major population centers.

To view each photo and captions, double click on a photo.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Our Departure

After several hectic weeks of making our final preparations to leave and saying very difficult "Good byes" to friends who are so special to us, we cast off our dock lines at 0800 on September 1 and headed for Half Moon Bay. Since we were part of 18 Encinal Yacht Club boats going to the same location for the Labor Day holiday it meant further extending our "Good Byes". We think most people were happy to see us finally get out of town. The weather in HMB was uncharacteristically nice with sunshine being the order of the day instead of the normal gray gloom.

After two great evenings of good food and libation we were ready to set off for Santa Cruz which is normally about a 6-7 hour passage. The first three hours were dull motor sailing but then things got much livelier with winds from behind at 30 knots and gusting higher. Even loaded down with our extensive cruising gear, Destiny has never gone so fast through the water with both of us hanging on to our romping home. We arrived safely at Santa Cruz to find Jeff, Adrienne and Ina waving at us from the jetty. Since Mike Pernitzke also sailed down from HMB on Nova it was once again party time. We departed Santa Cruz on Wednesday, September 5 for Monterey. The wind filled in nicely at 13-14 knots from the port quarter making for a very pleasant sail. We celebrated the Wednesday night races at the Monterey Peninsula YC with Mike and Ina and Paul and Ann, from Annalise, with plans to leave at 0400 Thursday morning for San Simeon which is about 90 miles away. We had what we thought were our final good byes and Mike cast us off on schedule. As soon as we were out of the harbor the engine began to overheat and John soon found enough cabbage like seaweed in the raw water intake to make a nice salad. With the engine again running smoothly we encountered building wind and sea conditions right in our face, so after two hours we decided it was wise to head back to Monterey. We later found that three other boats including a very large and sturdy power boat enroute from Alaska to L.A. also made the same decision.

Weather permitting we plan to leave at midnight Friday for San Simeon. In the meantime there are worse places to be stuck than Monterey.

We want to give a special thanks to our friends who have given us lovely cards and been so gracious with numerous offers of places to stay when we are back visiting. It's difficult to express how much all of this means to us. We are just beginning huge change in life style and right now we're taking it one day at a time to see what develops.

To view each photo and captions, double click on the photos.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Our Honeymoon

The newlyweds took a week off to recover from the wedding festivities before heading off to Alaska on June 10 aboard the beautiful Dawn Princess. John was not that excited about going to Alaska (said it was too cold), but Gilly had been talking about going there for what seems like forever. It turned out to be a fantastic 10 day experience with great food and service aboard the ship and beautiful scenery. Our favorite part of any cruise is being at sea, and fortunately it's a long way from San Francisco to Alaska so we had almost 3 days on aboard before reaching Sitka. Although we brought along plenty of alcohol and mixers, we realized that we forgot bloody mary mix so we needed to find a store in Sitka to satisfy our morning cravings. I guess they don't do bloody mary's there because the only thing we could find was small cans of spicy V-8 juice which worked out just fine. Problem solved

Our next stop was Juneau where the fun really began as we did a "Zip Line" adventure. We'd never heard of zip line until our friends Bill and Carol Blackburn told us how much fun they'd had doing this on a recent trip to Kauai. A zip line basically consists of cables strung between trees and you go "Zipping" along from tree to tree after being fitted with a body harness that's attached to rollers running on the cables. A simple concept that we're told started in the Costa Rican jungle where supplies were moved by zip lines over small valleys. Then someone got the bright idea that riding on the cable would be more fun than moving supplies. We did a total of nine zips with the longest almost 900 feet and at times we were 180 feet off the ground. We're told that you can reach speeds up to 35 mph. We had two guides and 6 other people in our group and all of them had a blast. The tour also included a jet boat ride to the zip line venue as well as going across two suspension bridges and repelling to the ground from the last tree. We then enjoyed our only dinner off the ship at a local watering hole in Juneau and spent the whole meal reliving our earlier experience.

Our next stop was Skagway where we wondered from bar to bar. Gilly could not stay out of the many jewelry stores that populate all of these small towns catering to tourists. She ended up with very nice whale's tale earrings and pendant which fortunately satisfied her need for further shopping. Skagway is a nice clean little town and we very much enjoyed our brief stay.

At 5:00 am the morning after leaving Skagway, we entered the Tracy Arm Fjord, it was an amazing experience to see the skill involved in maneuvering a huge ship through a relatively narrow fjord filled with some rather large icebergs.

Because the ship is required to visit a foreign port before returning to San Francisco, our last very brief stop was in Victoria, BC. We had a lovely walk into town bought some post cards for the grandkids and headed back to the ship. Victoria has grown considerably since our last visit but still retains a charm that we both enjoy. Our Canadian friends Doug and Teresa are building a home on one of the Gulf Islands which is not far from Victoria so we hope to spend more time there when we're away from Mexico.

Our trip down the coast was delightful with a bit of sunshine, the wind behind us and the ship doing a steady 20 knots. We didn't want to get off but alas it was time to return to the real world and continue the preparations for our own voyage south to warmer digs.

Our June 2 Wedding

There were many people who thought it would never happen, but all of them were proven wrong when we got married on an overcast day in June. The outdoor ceremony and indoor reception all took place at Encinal Yacht Club where we've enjoyed so many good times with our boating friends. It was the perfect venue to say our vows and then celebrate the joy both of us felt on this very special day. The actual wedding party itself might have been the world's smallest considering the number of people attending, but John's son, Nick, and Gilly's long time very good friend, JoAnne, were the perfect people for us. Having John's daughter, Hillary, do a very special reading made sure there were few dry eyes on that overcast day.

We were a bit overwhelmed by the number of people attending and the distance some of them travelled to reach Alameda. Without them it would not have been the same very festive event that it turned out to be despite the gloomy weather. Actually our photographer said the weather made for great picture taking so even that was in our favor. Many people have told us they shed tears of joy during the ceremony so it's good to know that we were not the only ones with laughter bringing on tears.

Gilly's lady friends were so very helpful in decorating the dinner tables and building the beautiful arbor under which we were married as well as decorating Destiny for the occasion. Without their help EYC would not have been the same perfect wedding venue. Several of our boating friends brought their boats to the club complete with decorative signal flags. The club staff and new chef provided outstanding service and a great meal for all to enjoy. The band was so outstanding that most everyone was up dancing away as soon as the bride and groom were finally finished with the traditional first dance.

We are truly blessed to have so many good friends and it was wonderful for us to be able to share our wedding day with most all of them. Hillary put it in the right perspective two months before the wedding when she said to John, "Dad, this is a once in a life time experience when you and Gilly can bring together family and friends from all walks of your lives to celebrate with you. When people get to be your age (that hurt a little) they rarely, if ever, get the chance to do this. You and Gilly will cherish this day forever." Not that we ever really doubted it, but it turns out that she was absolutely right. We had a fantastic time and there's nothing better than having been able to share it with those people that mean the most to us.

Our photographer posted all our wedding photos on her website - there are a lot of pictures in 14 separate galleries. You can look at them on:

Friday, June 8, 2007

Our New Genoa

We finally got to check out our new genoa jib over the Memorial Day holiday. We actually ordered it last December but the sailmaker built something that was outside of our original specification. After trying to talk us into taking something we didn't want they agreed to make a new one for us and we love it. Unfortunately all this took a bit of time but the sail looks beautiful and it should help move the boat along in the generally lighter winds of southern California and Mexico. Check out the photos and also the brief video of the boat sailing along in the south part of S.F. Bay in 16 knots of wind."

"In other news our good friend, Rod Kidd, will soon be installing our single side band radio (SSB). This will allow us to communicate over much longer distances than our current VHF radio, and we can also send and receive email while at sea or in a secluded anchorage where there is no WIFI or internet cafe. Should be a great tool for us to keep in touch with family and friends as well as an added measure of safety should we need it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Our new mainsail

As part of the process to ready Destiny for our upcoming cruise we splurged with the purchase of a new main and jib. There are still some outstanding issues with the jib so we don't have it, but we had a chance to try out the new main last Saturday and it looks great. John also got himself soaked making some adjustments to our new standing rigging. We were out in the middle of the Bay near Alcatraz with a good breeze when a couple of ferry wakes got John while he was on the leeward rail fumbling around with some tools. No photos are available to chronicle this event and no audio which is fortunate because he wasn't very happy.

Click on any of the below shown photos to see a slideshow...

Our cool new main

Friday, March 16, 2007

Long weekend in Colorado

We're not sure how this is going to help us prepare for retirement or our extended cruise to Mexico, but we spent a delightful weekend in Colorado with John's daughter Hillary and family. We flew to Denver on March 8 rented a car and drove to a condo in Keystone ski area just off I70. For those of you have never done this, I70 goes up to 11,150 ft elevation and through the Eisenhower tunnel at the summit. A spectacular engineering marvel amid beautiful mountain scenery. On our flight home we were able to look down at it from 34,000 feet. Spectacular.

Because Hillary had discount lift tickets at Copper Mountain, the next day we drove for there some great skiing. The weather was perfect and the runs were super for us old folks, and more importantly, we were able to witness little 2 year old Callie's first time on skis. She was so relaxed that on her second run down the hill in between her dad Scott's legs she slept the whole way! Four year old Brynn now looks just like the other little kids you see whizzing down the mountain sans poles having a great time. A few years from now the Dickman's will be a true Colorado skiing family spending the better part of the winter on the slopes. I know mom and dad cannot wait for this.

On Saturday we spent a couple of hours ice skating on a 5 acre lake in Keystone which was an easy walk from our condo. Not as much fun as skiing but since it was free we got over it. That evening we took a two stage gondola ride to a fantastic mountain top restaurant specializing in fondue to celebrate Callie's big 2nd birthday. Good food, good wine and lots of laughs with the family.

We left the snow and cold on Sunday arriving home to "Destiny" sitting in 82 degree weather wondering where we had been. This weekend we plan to try out our new sails and we'll let you know how it goes.

Our weekend in Colorado

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.