They are so personal, and boaters work so hard to find a way to identify themselves through the one or two words they put on the side of their boat. I like the name Page One – the owners are avid readers, and love the feeling of adventure they get when they open up a new book and start to read. No Regrets were the last words the boat owner heard from the parched lips of his dying father. I like the nod given to our Latin American neighbors through the names Perfecto, Mucho Gusto, and Adios Pantalones. We saw a nice looking fishing boat named Fortuna – is it named for the Latin word for fortune, or does it really mean FOR TUNA? Anticipation needs to meet with Relief; Freezing Rain needs to hook up with Overheated. Perhaps Bad Kitty might have something in common with Nasty Habit. We have had total strangers call us on the radio to tell us they really like the name of our boat. We haven’t seen another one named Ruby Slippers. We’ve named our dinghy Toto.
Every morning at 8:00 there is a cruiser’s net on the VHF radio. There is a moderator, who announces the different topics of the half-hour program: weather, sightings (cleverly called Bay Watch), comings and goings, swaps and trades, etc. The cruisers will come in when they are interested in a particular topic and give information or announce upcoming events, etc. Cruisers seem to live for this net; it is their lifeline to other people who are doing what they are doing. I get the sneaking suspicion that a lot of these people landed in La Paz, or wherever, and haven’t left in 5 or 6 years. Their only connection to the world of sailing is their morning dose of the net. When someone does something particularly noteworthy, or has a birthday, the moderator will say, “Let’s give some clicks to so-and-so for his good deed.” Everyone listening will click their hand microphones for a minute or so in applause for the amazing feat that was reported. Kind of silly, huh?
We had a nice few days in the islands off of La Paz – there are several good anchorages and some great snorkel spots. We went with two other boats that we have become good friends with – there are 8 kids between the ages of 9 and 15. We anchored close to each other, and had dinner together every night – mostly on our boat. It’s amazing that we can comfortably feed 14 people on this boat. Molly and Jessie are learning about “compressed” friendships – you meet someone, become fast, close friends, play hard, then you have to leave them after a couple of weeks, with promises to stay in touch forever. It was difficult for them to leave the gang from Pythagoras and Hakuna Matata. We hope to see them again on some semi-deserted island in the South Pacific.
The control box went kaput on our auto pilot, so we spent 60 hours crossing the Sea of Cortez steering by hand. I felt like Joshua Slocum, or maybe Columbus. It was kind of fun to steer by the stars. I would position the handle of the big dipper right in the middle of the V made from the flagpole and the backstay, and that kept a perfect course through my watches. Jim caught a 4-foot Dorado and Molly and Jessie pulled in a Sierra Mackerel. Jim also caught about a one-hundred pound striped Marlin on a regular fishing pole, but that fish jumped up in the air, looked at our little boat and flimsy pole, shook his head and flipped the hook right out of his mouth. He was not going to put up with the likes of us.
We are in warm, sunny Puerto Vallarta. We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of my sister Jami and her family, who will be here through December 26. I’m equally excited to spend a little time in the condo they have rented, that I’m sure has large amounts of hot water, a big fridge, a pool, and a washer and dryer! We plan to go for a couple of day sails to some nearby islands for some Christmas snorkeling.
There is a huge, very fancy hotel here, with a Mayan/jungle theme. They have a small zoo right out front, with two very large tigers, some monkeys and birds. We were very sad about the tigers; although their small cages were clean, they looked very sad and bored. We asked the harbormaster at the marina about them and he said, “Tigers won’t mate if they are unhappy, and there have been 36 tigers born in captivity here at this hotel.” We felt a lot better about the whole situation.
We are still having challenges with our e-mail. I have discovered that a whole bunch of e-mails that I thought I had sent did not actually go. So, if you have e-mailed and feel ignored, please know that we are working on the problem.
Some new pictures in the Media Gallery -Merry Christmas to all of you! I’m sorry about the terrible weather in the northwest, and promise to take a dip in the 90 degree water here in your honor…