Travels from Jan. 1, 2000 to Jan. 15




I awoke Saturday morning, the tune of Auld Lang Syne being played near my ear.  I opened one eye, then the other - Nancy was holding a little, stuffed penguin wearing a red bow tie around its neck and on his head, a top hat with "Happy 2000" on the front.  My favorite Firstmate wearing a silly grin said, "Happy New Year, dear!"  Apparently she had purchased "Y2K" (the name she has dubbed him with) in Barra.  Y2K is the newest member to our "kids" menagerie: A bear which Mary had when she was a baby, a dog I won for Nancy at a fair, and a seal which we saved from the trash heap, when one of our kids moved out.  They sit on our bed in the forepeak, tucked in the "vee" at the point formed by the bolster pillows which line the bed.  They look out at us in the cabin . . . and Sassa loves to play with them when she comes to visit.  But they are our "kids", all four of them, now.  What a way to start life the first day of a whole new era.


We had slept in just a little and hadn't missed the 9am VHF Net.  There were some missing check-ins and many raspby voices.  The partying had taken its toll.  BUT no news of any Y2K disasters were reported.


I had turned on my GPSs - they both came up quickly.  Kiwi's clock was fine and he brought up Windows fine, so no problems there.  What!  Do you mean all this gloom and doom prediction was in error?  How about that.


The lagoon saw few dinghies leaving their mother-ships.  Few marina boats went to Barra.  It was rest up day in Cruiser Paradise.


Reliance finally departed south Monday morning.  Other boats were heading both north and south each day.  The holidays were over, it was time to return to the Gypsy life style, wondering at a whim.  But Nanjo had to wait.  As most of you know, Kiwi had picked up a computer virus.  I won't spend a lot of time discussing the problem.  It just took a lot of time.  First downloading an update to Kiwi's McAfee Virus Scan, which was too big to copy on to floppies.  Then lap-linking to one of the Internet cafe's systems to transfer the update, since Kiwi doesn't have a CD.  Then cleaning up the files found with the virus, only to have numerous reports come in after I sent the Christmas file.  This took up 5 days . . . and I still couldn't find the bug!


During that week I did get one more order of glucometer strips.  This was the only supply keeping us from leaving.  Friday evening, we dinked over to G-dock where a dock party had been organized.  As our contribution, Nancy made a layered bean dip.  Powerboaters and sailors mingled peacefully and respectfully.  Conversation covered engine problems, cruising plans, weather, family, food, New Year's Eve - the usual.  It was our group goodbye to the cruisers we had transited the Millenniums with.


Saturday we reserved for visiting Whirlwind to say goodbye.  They will be heading for the South Pacific in April.  That evening, Nancy and I went out for a farewell-to-Navidad dinner.  At first we had planned to go to a restaurant in Barra.  However, I had left my pack with my insulin on the boat.  After going back to get it, we opted to just go to one of the palapas in the lagoon.  There we checked menus and finally selected the one that interested us the most.  We tried to ask what kind of fish was in their selections.  Being unsuccessful, the waitress ushered a young man over.  He spoke some English.  Enough to answer our basic question: Dorado.  Nancy had hers in garlic sauce, mine was "la vera cruzana" (tomato-based sauce with bell peppers, onions and olives.  We also had a small bowl of camarone soup. The soup was a delight.  The fish was excellent.  A fine departure dinner!


Just before the camarone soup came, the mosquitoes arrived and I was slappin' and dancin'.  Quickly, the young man who had become our spokesman, rushed over with a bottle of repellent.  He joked that the mosquitoes don't affect Mexicans.  His remedy did the trick.  Just as Nancy was commenting to me that we should use one of the limes to clean the repellent off our hands, our friend appeared at our side with a bowl of water with a lime in it and a towel on his arm.  We washed up.  Later we were introduced to his brother who had a panga water taxi, and his nephew William Thomas, who was two years old and had a fancy hotrod toy car.  After being shy for a few minutes Willy found his way back to our table to show us all the special features it had. 


After the dishes were cleared away, we recognized we were the last customers at the restaurant.  We asked our friend when they closed.  "Somewhere between 6 and 7, but don't worry."  He then launched into telling us about the several times he visited San Francisco and how much he liked The Bay.  In particular, the "Clam Soup".  He talked on, more Spanish than English and we kept up just fine.  He was getting married in a few weeks and was taking his bride back to San Francisco for their honeymoon.  It was hard to stop talking to him.  He was happy, as were we.  We got back to Nanjo at 8pm.


Sunday we left the lagoon, Nancy at the helm.  We, no SHE, never had less than 5' of water under our keel.  It was a perfect run down the channel.  Whirlwind was topside as we passed, waving and wishing us well.  We went over to the anchorage off Melaque and began making water by 1030.  We had a good day for it, sunny and breezy - 5 1/2 hours of production.


Monday morning, after the Net, we raised anchor and headed around Cabeza Navidad for the first time in over two months.  A breeze was fresh, giving us a reach directly toward where we needed to go.  Since we were only going 10 miles, Nanjo just used her jib.  As we rounded the last point of land before turning into Bahia Tenacatita, we hooked a gill net, its milk-carton float following us off the port stern quarter.  We tacked and stalled the boat momentarily, then returned to the original tack.  The float couldn't be seen anymore and our speed was back up.  Luckily, it must have just been pressed around the keel and not in the prop.


We pulled into the outer Tenacatita anchorage around 1330 in about 15kts of wind.  There were two other boats there, both familiar to us: Peg O My Heart, a "stinkpot" and La Rafale, a "ragbagger", buddy-boating (?).  Their crews were heading in to the beach in their dinks, so we got a "read" on where and how to land.  Later that afternoon, we contacted both crews and had the necessary info passed to us.  Where the best diving was and which palapa had the best fish roll.


Over the next few days, boats left and boats came.  Some we knew, some we didn't.  One, Itchy Feet (dink's name - Desenex) dropped in for a day to find the phone in a little town down the road, Rebelcito and look for tiendas.  Upon their return, they advised us the walk was about three kilometers and good produce was found.  We were invited to go to a restaurant with them that evening, but Nancy had planned a special birthday dinner for me. 


Yeah.  It was the 12th of January, the 57th one I have witnessed . . . Unless you want to count that first one at Bradbury Heights in Washington, D.C.  Nancy began with a breakfast of sourdough pancakes, using the sourdough starter given to us by Reliance. She included a few strips of bacon she had saved from Melaque.  Nummy!  Later, dinner was the smoked pork chops which are as close to ham as you can get (I like ham)! That night we ate sugar-free licorice (a b-day gift from Sassa and her Mommie) and played dominoes.


Between breakfast and dinner, we planned to try the snorkeling in close to a cove in the area indicated as THE spot for the best diving.  First though, we made water for 3 hours.  Eventually, in the early afternoon, we headed over for our dive. Leaving the dink on a little sandy beach, we enjoyed a shallow-water excursion.  Most of the fish there were the small, colorful kinds.  However, there was a huge school of sardine-like fish just  hanging out in the dive area.  It was fun to dive down and position myself in the middle of the school, fish everywhere I looked.  Nancy prefers shallow water dives.  She can see small fish and stillbe able to stand up when she wants.  We swam through the coral heads and over the sandy areas for almost an hour.


Back at Nanjo, we had showers using some of the water I made before we left for the dive.  The solar shower had the temperature up to about 100 degrees after sitting in the sun about 3 hours.  I used my birthday towel for the first time, Nancy's gift, a Mexico souvenir from Barra.  My body salt free and comfortable, I relaxed with the current novel I had been reading and turned pages the rest of the afternoon.


On the 15th, we pulled out the smallest anchor we have (13 lbs.) and rigged it as a dink anchor for our deep-water dive that day.  We headed out to the line of rocks farthest out toward the Pacific, where La Rafale said the better diving was.  The anchor held the inflatable in 20 feet of water on the backside of the rocks, protecting it from the swells.  We swam toward the line of rocks.  There were larger fish.  Some easy to see with their beautiful colorations, others whose colors allowed them to blend in to their surroundings.  Nancy enjoyed the dive.  It was the first time I have seen her in this water depth, at ease, for many years.  I dove deeper for better visibility and to see things hiding in the rocks and coral.  The current was fairly substantial between the rocks, tiring us out more quickly.  The water was cooler too.  Since I had been in the water, cleaning the barnacles off Nanjo's shaft before the recreational dive, I was ready to get back in the sun.  We had picked a warm sunny day, about 90 degrees.


Back at Nanjo, Nancy volunteered to scrub the brown "skirt" off the water line.  She was enjoying the water still.  Accompanied by the many 8 - 12" fish using the shade of Nanjo's hull, she brushed off the remnants of Bahia Navidad.  One particular fish hung at her arm, inspecting her progress throughout.  We wondered if it was the same fish that almost fought with my scraper to get at the barnacles that came off the shaft.  I would scrape some and he would be right there munchin' down.  I'd scrape again - he ate again. He was hyper, I was running out of air.


We decided to head north the next day, the 16th.  But after a fun day in the water, we wanted to have the famous Fish Roll of Tenacatita.  We had been advised which restaurant had the best one and we had invited Gymnopedies, a Canadian boat, to go with us.  The fish roll is a small "log" of some kind of white fish, breaded and covered with an almond cream sauce.  We all had it.  There was nothing left on our plates.  The restaurant turned off the lights when we left.  We were the last ones again . . . and they never encouraged us to leave.  No, "Can I get you anything else?", no leaving the check on the table.  The four of us jabbered for some time after eating dinner, before asking, "La cuenta, por favor."


We thoroughly enjoyed the week we spent at the outer anchorage.  The note in Charley's Charts suggesting it was good only in calm seas, is a little overly cautious from our experience.  No boat there ever used a flopper stopper and the rock-and-roll was minuscule.  The inner anchorage averaged 20 boats, has bugs that bite, has only one palapa, diving is poor, and . . . has giant manta rays that steal sailboats when their owners are on the beach.


But that one is for the next e-mail . . .


Crew of Nanjo