Life Aboard in Barra

12/13/14
Today I was awakened by a bird calling from what seemed to be our rigging.  It was a chirring followed by a few twittering notes that sound like a tiny bell. It sounded familiar but I couldn't recall who it was.  I could smell that Gene has made a cup of coffee.  I got up on my hands and knees and turned to go backwards out the raised V-berth, feeling with my toes for the step placed half-way from the berth to the floor.  I say, "Good morning to Gene as I pass and go up the steps to the hatch. I slide the mosquito screen off as I pop my head out the hatch to scan for the bird. I realize it is not coming from our boat, but from the boat in the next slip.  I am in my thread bare night gown and there are people on the quay.  I go back down to throw on some clothes, knowing that the bird will leave before I finish fumbling around. As I pass Gene again he asks if I want him to put coffee water on for me. Yes, please, I say on my way out the hatch.  I can't see the bird from anywhere on the finger so I walk out to the dock and go to the other side of my neighbor's boat and follow the sound up the mast to their spreaders. There is a Tropical Kingbird chattering away.  That's why it sounded familiar. This has been a very common bird since sailing into the 'New World'.  The last bit of bell like twitter is what was familiar.  I can't recall hearing the sort of grating chirring before. Probably have.  As I am saying good morning to TK, I hear another bell sound.  This one I have no problem identifying.  Like Pavlov's subject, I head for the boat and my wallet. Back out on the dock, I peer down the channel, ready to wave down the most dangerous vessel on the seven seas; Belen, The French Baker's panga.
Emerik, the French Baker has a small ship's bell that he rings when he enters the marina.  Cruisers are well conditioned to respond.  When we first arrived in Barra and chatted with others, we were asked questions about our travels and what was most dangerous always came up.  We talked about the tsunami in Thailand and the pirates off Aden.  One of the cruisers said that the most dangerous thing in Mexio was the French Baker. She was right.
Today I take a Jalapeno baguette and a ham quiche tart. I take the tart because he doesn't have ham and cheese croissants today. The almond croissants are killer, but I am in the mood for something savory rather than sweet today.

Plain, Almond and Chocolate Croissants and Cinnamon Raisin Rolls
Dessert.  The Orange tart is wicked.
Emerik has a delightful personality and it would be a pleasure to start the day with a conversation even if it didn't come with a reward.
Back aboard Peregrine I brew my coffee and savor my savory.

Z-town Revisited

March 17, 2014 (Not posted until December 12, 2014)
Happy Birthday, Mikey!! Love You!
Z-Town really hasn't changed much in 13 years. The biggest change for us was the absence of "Rick's Bar", but we knew it was gone before we sailed in.  It's too bad, Rick was a great help, his place was lively and the hub for sailors. 
For your meandering and shopping convenience--shade.
click on photos to enlarge
Still delicious after all these years.
Thank heavens this place was still here. I know the sign says 'House of Pozole', but all the cruisers (and pretty sure locals, too) refer to the place as, 'Any Tamale'.

Huevos Divorciados (Divorced Eggs):  Red and Green salsas over eggs--yum.
Shrimp Tacos
The Fat Mermaid was still here.

The Circle Is Unbroken

                                    Around the World in 4,748 Days.  Woo-Hoo!!
This post is written by Gene because he got tired of waiting for me to post:

After a slow slog from Huatulco to Acapulco, 250 nautical miles in just over three days, Peregrine rested up for the last dash to close the loop in Zihuatanejo.  We spent two nights on a mooring just off the Acapulco yacht club, fueled up by dinghy and jerry jug from a nearby Pemex station (conveniently on the waterfront) and beered up from a nearby OXXO (sort of a Mexican version of 7/11).

With no wind, we motored out of Acapulco Bay and, voila, the next afternoon motored into Zihuatanejo Bay.  Gene counted down the exact moment we crossed our outbound path...1535 hours (that's 3:35P.M. to all of us not attuned to military timekeeping) on March 10, 2014.  We had done it !! We finished our circumnavigation!  We had left Z-Town on April 1, 2001 (stopped for a few days at Ixtapa Marina, right next door for fuel and supplies) to cross the pond to the Marquesas.  Now, 13 years later we were back.  We anchored in the same vicinity as we had back in 2001, and immediately got on the VHF radio to tell the world (or at least the world within a few miles radio range) what we had done. 
We both were really elated...not many sailors would put up with the stuff we did.
Just like she knew where she was going, Peregrine sails into Zihuatanejo.
The next morning on the cruisers' net we checked in, casually bragging about our arrival and accomplishment.  We got back "Cheers, Peregrine" from our Chiapas/Huatulco friends Dave and Sally on Hopalong and Roy and Winona on Saucy Lady.  We also got a "Congratulations, Peregrine" from Bob on Viva.  We had last seen Bob on his previous Viva in 2001 in Manzanillo, where he, Philo on Cherokee Sprit and Peregrine buddy boated from Banderas Bay.  That is the great thing about cruising...seeing old (and not so old) friends in new places.

Roy and Winona's daughter had come down, staying in a condo on shore.  They invited us to a dinner party at the condo a few days hence.  We gladly accepted, but had to beg a ride ashore with Dave and Sally because our outboard was being repaired, and it was too far to row a heavy inflatable to the beach landing in town.

We four hopped in a taxi and rode to the condo with a stop at the super market for some wine.  Strange, because Dave and Sally don't drink, but they bought two bottles of Champagne that Sally insisted must be of a certain kind.  As it turned out, the dinner party was not a regular one, but a special one in our honor.  Wow, what a surprise!  The certain kind of Champagne was for the bottle type...Sally used a sabre to open the bottles with a great whack from the sword, aiming the tops away from civilization off the balcony.  The bottle broke cleanly at the neck, right below the ridge defining the cork area...how cool is that!  Thanks to Roy and Winona  and to Dave and Sally and to Winona's daugher for hosting the dinner and introducing us to arrachera.

Read Gene's letter to Latitude 38 telling of our completion:

http://www.latitude38.com/changes/Changes05-14.html#peregrine


Another Day In Paradise

March 1, 2014
Gene sampling the Mescals.
It's already March!  This morning, Gene and I decided Tuesday would be a good day to sail away from Hualtulco.  Not long after that, Jane aboard the trawler, Misty Michael, told us that today was the organic vegetable market in the public square in Santa Cruz.  The inhabitants of Misty Michael have been here for five years and are a great source of info.  Gene and I decided to check it out.  What a great morning.  It is so nice here.  I know I keep saying that, but it is true!  As we were sitting at an outdoor table in the shade of a ficus tree eating our tamales, Gene said, "Well, we could always sail back here after going to Zihuatenejo."  Gene NEVER goes backward.  Well, apparently, hardly ever.
There is a café in the middle of the square and I was really craving tamales.  They just happened to have them.  I got a chicken mole tamale and Gene got a chilorio tamale.  I will post about chilorio another time. I had a Jimaica and Gene had a Modelo Negro on tap. Yummy!  If I hadn't wanted a tamale so badly, I would have tried out this artist/chef's creations:
The meat in the flour tacos was fish.  Gene said it was ceviche. This guy's creations looked really beautiful and good, with the exception of the grasshoppers (but opinions are just that).
 Fried Grasshoppers are part of the local cuisine.  Gene tried some when we first arrived, but I admit to not being adventurous and gave them a pass.
We walked around the town a bit and went to the playa (beach).  We bought three heads of fancy lettuces, a bunch of basil, a jar of Chipotle Mermalade, and a pound of organic Tehuantepec coffee.
Steps to Juanitas's Café, a popular place to eat.
Below:  View of the square from Juanita's balcony.
Beachmobile
One of the restaurants on the beach.
Really don't want to leave on Tuesday, but a cruiser's life is made up of tough decisions.

Adios, Luna, Thanks for all the Shrimp

February 28, 2014 
Luis and Andres
So, last night, Gene and I take the mosquito coil and matches and head up to Luna, one of two restaurants in the marina; and it was dark upstairs where the dining goes on. Some ladies were downstairs cleaning out the kitchen. I asked what was happening and they said the restaurant was out of business.  What?  We were just here on the 24th! We were really sorry to hear this.  I've been meaning to write about Luna for some time; hence the photos.  It was a restaurant we really enjoyed and it was three minutes walk from the boat.  The three guys who worked there were great. Ramon was the chef, Luis was the waiter and Andres was the bartender and music selector. A few times when we were there, Canadian expats came to patron the place because of these guys.  Apparently, they all used to work at a place nearby that is no longer in business and the customers liked them enough to follow them. A brief word about Canadian expats. There are a LOT of Canadians down here, eh. Most live half the year here and half the year at home. Probably more here than in the entire province of Manitoba. OK, that may be an exaggeration, Northwest Territories for sure. Well wouldn't you be in sunny, warm Hualtulco instead of 45 degrees below zero in Yellowknife? 
 
The vast majority of the time, Gene and I eat aboard Peregrine. We usually like what we cook better than what we can get out, but as I've mentioned, we've been lazy since we've been in Hualtulco.  It was so easy to go up and have dinner at Luna.  Ramon made a great surf and turf of beef filet and camarones mojo de ajo (garlic shrimp).  If he had asparagus he would make that for me.  The steak was always perfect. Unfortunately, we didn't go enough.  Well, to be honest, even if we'd gone everyday, I think Luna would have gone out of business anyway.  There just didn't seem to be enough people here to support a restaurant.  As we stood at the counter trying to find out from the ladies cleaning the place out what happened, the owner walked up.  We told him we were really sorry to see the place close.  He said he was too, but he had issues with Fonatur.   Fonatur is the National Fund for Tourism Development.  I will let you read about it yourself if you are interested.
The Luna.  Kitchen downstairs, dining up.
Ramon at work.
Just a few nights ago:
Melissa and David of Apsaras at the ends, Holly and Mike of Wanuskewin in the middle.
Both couples are headed south. Mike and Holly are gone already.  They were in the 2012 Baja Ha-Ha and  Melissa and David were in the 2013 Ha-Ha. For you non-sailors, the Baja Ha-Ha is a cruisers rally that has been going on for years.  It's organized by the sailing magazine, Latitude 38.  Gene and I were in the Ha-Ha 2000 where we took second in our class, thank-you very much! 
Here is a link to the last Ha-Ha:  http://www.baja-haha.com/

A Departure Date From Hulatulco Is Set

The park across the street from the marina.

February 22, 2014

Last week the marina was nearly full because the week before that quite a few boasts had arrived. Most were going south and were waiting for a weather window to cross the Gulf of Tehuatepec. The window opened Monday and by Wednesday, the place seemed deserted. It reminded me that we should be on our way. I have said to Gene a few times that we needed to think about leaving. The response was that we had to get this or that done and that was as far as the conversation went. Neither one of us said, “OK, let’s do this today and that tomorrow.” Instead, I went for bird walks and played Fate on the computer. Gene played Texas Hold ‘Em on the computer and walked the docks meeting people and gleaning bits of information about what others were doing. We both took walks to the grocery. Yesterday, I said, “Time is slipping away. We need to set a date.” Gene said the marina was prepaid to March 6th. I said, “OK, that’s the date.” He said, “ Or before depending on conditions.” So, we will leave the week of March 1st sometime. We really don’t have all that much to do, it’s just easy here and we are too comfortable to leave. Neither one us care for overnighters, but Gene really dislikes them. Yes, we have crossed 3 oceans and about 5 seas, but that’s different. You get in a rhythm when you live like that for long stretches and you don’t have traffic. Sailing close to shore and making short passages is more tiring and stressful for me. I think the biggest reason Gene is happy to veg out here is avoiding the overnighters.

When we leave, we have about a four day non-stop trip to Zihuatenejo. Gene thinks that we should stop in Alcapulco for fuel and that would mean only a two day trip (if all goes well). We could get sleep and fuel and then another two day trip to Z-town and the completion of the circumnavitgation. I really don’t want to stop in Alcapulco, but if we don’t fuel up there, we will be completely out of fuel when we get to Z-town. There is a dock in Alcapulco and fueling would be easy. In Z-town, we would have to jerry jug the fuel, and that is a pain when you have to fill the whole tank. So, I have to agree with Gene; a stop in Alcapulco is necessary.

Magpie Jays taking a bath in a fountain.
 

Life is Slow and Warm in Hualtulco

February 22, 2014

I have been out birding nearly every day since arriving and am really enjoying being here. Life is slow and quiet. In the morning the air is warm and perfect and my walks are so nice. As the day progresses it gets a bit hot. I was out pretty late in the day yesterday and the blaring sun heated the resins in the herbaceous plants growing on the bluffs above the sea. The breezes that tried to keep me cool carried waves of wonderful scents. Mother Nature’s aromatherapy can't be beat and it's free.

I could see this place turning into a Black Hole. By that I mean a place that pulls you in and holds you far beyond the time you had intended to stay. We've hit a few Black Holes on this little trip around the world.  I could stay here for a few years if:
1. We weren't only 350 nm away from finishing the circumnavigation.
2. The wifi signal consistently reached the boat.
3. The showers had hot water and were in an enclosed building.

The draw of the place is such that I think I could even overlook those minor issues if I didn't really want to get home and be a live-ashore like normal people.
Partially out door, cold water showers.
We may have a carbon footprint the size of a one year old as far as our daily consumption of fuel, electricity and water are concerned, but like most people, we generate way too much trash. We use plastic grocery bags as our trash bags and it needs to be taken out daily.  Gene said he almost had a heart attack taking the trash up a few days ago. 
Behind the marina office and restaurants is the Deposito De Basura (trash deposit).  You take your trash and deposit it in the walled in area.  Gene stepped just inside and flushed a Black Vulture.  Both of them scared the crap out of each other.  I don't think I need to tell even non-birders that Black Vultures are not small birds.
There aren't coin operated machines at the marina (or in town as far as I know).  One must use a laundry service.  We had laundry, but the laundress hadn't shown up since we came back.  I needed a few things muy pronto so I got the washing maching aboard Peregrine set up.  First photo is of the wash & rinse cycles. Second photo is the agitator.