Mexico, Christmas 1996

In Mananaland, Marina Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico.

Latitude 20 deg. 40 min. North.

Longitude 105 deg. 15 min. West.


Ok, so turn up the heat to, say, 85 degrees, put on a Jimmy Buffett CD, blend up a batch of Margaritas, and try to get into the Holiday spirit. Now you know what WE’RE up against. Were hearing about two feet of snow on the East Coast, continuous storms on the West Coast, but the only hints of Christmas here are the carols in spanish in the supermercados. Christmas shopping? Manana!

We sailed out “the Gate” at 0 dark hundred on October 10th, and hit the left blinker about three miles out. No one saw it-it was too foggy. We broke out of the fog into a glorious sunrise near Half Moon Bay, and its just been getting better ever since! Maybe a collage of highlights will give you a taste of what the voyage has been like for us so far. Let’s see. . .

The California sun setting at Hearst Castle while we were anchored in San Simeon Bay. . . George’s college fraternity reunion in Santa Barbara-Tom and Guy ruined lunch during a daysail when they got seasick just as the sandwiches came out. . . The start of the Baja Ha Ha rally in San Diego-dressed in cow costumes-we were dubbed the “Moo Crew”. . . A pod of at least a thousand dolphins converging on “Moonshadow” as we rounded Isla Cedros. . . Mountain bike riding in the desert of Baja, near Turtle Bay, past the whorehouse outside of town. . . Blowing out the spinnaker on leg two of the race, Terry and George hauling it out of the drink in the middle of the night. . . Mai Tai, sitting on our lap, keeping us company on those long midnight watches. . . Sashimi in Bahia Santa Maria from dorado we caught just an hour earlier. . . Being thrown off the windsurfer 50 times in an hour. . . Swapping water for wine with the guys on “Aria”. . . Riding ATV’s like maniacs on Lighthouse Beach, near Cabo San Lucas. . . Macarena till you puke in Cabo. . . Too much mezcal at the “Trailer Park” restaurant. . . Patching three inner tubes while sailing after a killer mountain bike ride in Cabo. . . The man on the corner in La Paz with a typewriter who will type your documents for a few pesos (everything MUST be typed in Mexico!). . . Melt-in-your-mouth tortillas, hot off the press for a peso per half-kilo (15 cents a pound) in La Paz. . .The bureaucracy, frustratation and endless delays when dealing with Mexican Customs. . . “Buddy Boating” with our good friends Buddy and Ruth on “Annapurna”. . . Dinner and drinks for two at a good restaurant, $15 with tip. . . “Siesta” naps in the afternoons. . . Taking the watermaker apart and putting it back together 10 times to fix a leak. . . The incredible (sometimes gross) sights and smells of a Mexican mercado. . . Almost running over two whales while sailing across the Sea of Cortez. . . An underwater cave full of bugs (lobsters) and the ensuing feast that night at Isla Isabela. . . Chronic “food comas”. . . Sleeping on deck under the stars. . . Catching a baby boa constrictor and petting crocodiles on the “jungle ride” at San Blas. . . Huge manta rays jumping out of the water in Banderas Bay outside of Puerto Vallarta. . . Getting e-mail from friends and family back “home”. . .

The truth is, even a bad day of cruising is better than a good day of working.

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