Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Our Christmas Vacation

Off to deliver cookies
We spent our Christmas in La Paz and had a wonderful, crazy, time.

Steve and Ana were excellent hosts and we enjoyed every minute of our stay. There was always something going on, people to visit with, and plenty to eat and drink.

Our kind of place!

Party crowd!
We decided to throw a holiday party - a very big party - and invited everyone we knew.

They came! There was so much food and drink and so much to celebrate.

Barb and Bill - as sweet as they look!
We loved seeing our La Paz amigos again, plus a bunch of new cruisers from our old home port of Alameda.

We don't think there is anyone left in Alameda!

Cruisers Potluck
There is a lot going on in La Paz during the holidays. The local cruising community threw a Christmas Eve potluck and everyone showed. We made New Mexico posole and it was a big hit.

We should have made a double batch!

The gang at Tailhunters
A bunch of us decided to continue the party and headed to Tailhunters. It's Christmas Eve - why not?

As you can see, we had a blast.  So many stories - so little time.

Life is a beach!
Christmas day in the tropics, you got to head to the beach, so we did. We drove to Tecolote and enjoyed the sun, sand, cervezas, and lots of laughter.

Enjoying Christmas Day
Can't imagine a better way to spend Christmas Day or better company.

Back to Casa Ana for beef tenderloin and camotes for dinner, plus opening our gifts.  My best gift - Cleavage Coolers - hah!

Thanks Pam, I know I will appreciate them all the way across the South Pacific.

The Men
Our last night in La Paz was celebrated at Fern and Brian's beautiful home eating Turkey Buns - a new tradition for us. They were yummy and we didn't have to cook!

The Ladies
As you can see, a good time was had by all - especially the Ladies!

We were fortunate that the crews of Rainshadow and Sea Horse were sailing around La Paz and able to join us for the festivities. We had a wonderful time catching up with them and look forward to more.

Saying Goodbye to Sea Horse
Now, we are back in Maz and getting Moondance ready to sail away. Last big projects: exercising the new engine and getting our bottom painted. Then we are off to Banderas Bay and points South - yeah!

The challenge - saying Goodbye to family, friends, and places that we won't see for a very long time...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, and Joyeux Noel!

To our Family and Friends,

May your holidays sparkle and shine and the New Year bring you peace and happiness.

We will be celebrating the holidays with our amigos in La Paz, but we will be thinking of you all!

Love Carla and Doug

PS: Sorry - we just had to ham it a bit!

Monday, December 13, 2010

¡Tiempo del día de fiesta!

The holiday season has arrived in Mazatlan and we are enjoying it! The beautiful lights, decorations, and music - very festive.

If we weren't wearing shorts and flip flops and sitting in the sun, we just might think we were in the States - almost.

Daily, we think of our amigos up North as winter arrives (early) and are thankful we are in Maz - wish you were here too!

It is a very social time among the cruisers. Almost everyone (but us) sails south for warmer waters. So, there are lots of boats coming and going daily and we are always watching for old friends and making new ones.

We have been busy attending events and giving the newbies the grand tour of Maz. It has been our home for more than 3 months, so we consider ourselves to be experts (well kind of).

A couple of the highlights -

Queen Julie (s/v Itchen) invited several of us ladies over for a Christmas High Tea on her boat and we had a ball. Dressing up, wearing our bling, telling stories, and laughing, lots of laughing.

Attending the Nutcracker Ballet at the historic Angela Peralta Theatre. We enjoyed the ballet - especially the adorable mouse army - but the special treat was just sitting in the the beautiful old theatre and dining out at Mi Terreza with my hubby.

And, I got my first Christmas present - Doug installed my new wind generator and it works. What a gift!

Now, we can take advantage of the trade winds to help power Moondance all the way to the South Pacific.

Things are coming together!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Lots going on here in Maz!

It is a very social time and we are enjoying it - our calendar is full!

Thursday nights are Horseshoes at the Isla. Not many shoes thrown, but lots of cruisers eating and drinking, plus live music to entertain. As you can see, Doug is enjoying himself.

Everyday there are new cruisers sailing in and out of Maz. All heading south chasing warmer weather and water. It is getting a little chilly at night around here - we are such wimps!

A bunch of us crashed Linda Lee's for a wonderful dinner and it's cheap. Linda serves lunch and dinner on her garage patio. Take a left at the Comex store and bring your own beverages.

We hosted a Dock Party at Marina El Cid to meet some of the new people, plus it is a good reason to have a party. We had a very nice turnout and met lots of new people and ate lots of yummy treats.

The Old Mazatlan Art Walk happens the first Friday of the month and we had to check it out! The stores are open late and artists are showing their paintings and displaying their craftsmanship.

We didn't buy much, but enjoyed walking around the beautiful Plaza Machado area - our favorite. Just happened to find a parade and finished with dinner at Pizza Moreno - yum!

Rick and crew from Marine Services Mazatlan threw a party and invited all of the cruisers to join in. Fresh grilled tuna and cervezas were provided. Live music and lots of cruisers chowing down. The best bite - Tuna Balls - you will have to try them sometime!

Then down to the Malecon to watch the Festival de la Luz fireworks on the water - it was amazing. The Hotel Associations hosts the fireworks in celebration of the Pacific Marathon.

All of the main streets are blocked, so we had a very exciting taxi ride back - even included some driving on the sidewalks - oh my!

In between the fun stuff, we have been getting Moondance shipshape and enjoying it. No major projects, just general maintenance and all is going well.

We are definitely going to be ready for the South Pacific this year. We will start sailing south in January - yahoo!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving with the Family!

What a wonderful treat - having the Collins fly to Mazatlan to spend Thanksgiving with us!

Anessa, Eric, and Gavin were here a week and we had a wonderful time showing them all of our favorite haunts, plus found some new ones.

The weather was beautiful, so we spent a lot of time at the pools, the hot tub, and on the beach.

Gavin went from being a novice swimmer to showing no fear jumping off the high dive, exploring the caverns, body surfing, etc. Of course, the adults had to join in on the fun!

We decided to hike up to the El Faro Lighthouse. It is the 2nd highest operating lighthouse in the world and over 500 feet above sea level.

Quite a hike, but worth it - the scenery was amazing. Beautiful views no matter which way we looked.

The adults celebrated with cervezas at Puerto Viejo; Gavin celebrated with fresh coconut milk. As you can see, it was a big hit!

Mazatlan has miles and miles of beach and we explored most of it - using all kinds of transportation, plus hours of beach combing and dining at the beach bars.

Shrimp is in season and so tasty - we had to indulge daily with an assortment of yummy dishes.

What a treat for our family from the mountains of New Mexico!

We got a babysitter for Gavin one night and enjoyed a special dinner at Topolo - our favorite restaurant. We had a wonderful time (as you can see). Fernando and his team took excellent care of us, as usual.

Thanksgiving was celebrated with a day at the beach playing volleyball, body surfing, and flying kites.

Anessa and Doug cooked our "non-traditional dinner", which included a wonderful pork roast, sweet potatoes, rice and chocolate cake for dessert - all with the flavors of Mexico. Yummy!

We really enjoyed the Collins visit and were sorry (and sad) to see them leave today. We have all ready started to plan our next vacation together. Hawaii next year? Maybe...

Miss you guys all ready!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

It works, it really works...

Yup, that's Doug and our brand new Yanmar engine. It doesn't look like much from here, but she's a beaut.

It is a Yanmar 3JH5E and it:
  • has 10 more horsepower
  • it is smaller, lighter, quieter
  • and faster than a speeding bullet (just kidding on this one)
Pulling out and old engine and putting in a new one - who knew it could be this complicated?

But it was interesting to watch. On the old engine, everything had to be disconnected and dismantled. Then, the engine had to yanked from the engine room, and pulled out of the cabin (using the boom).

I made it sound easy, but it wasn't!

We missed all of the excitement when the new engine went in (we were okay with that).

When we returned from our summer vacation, the new engine was installed and ready for Doug to do his stuff - all the re-connecting and re-configuring.

Good thing Doug knows what he is doing, plus Bob (Total Yacht Works) is very knowledgeable and would stop by to provide his expertise and recommendations. It took them about 10 days before we got to turn the key on - and it worked. No black smoke and lots of RPM's - how exciting!

Doug has a few more things to finish up, and then we can start breaking in the new engine - 50 hours of motoring. Maybe we will do some fishing...

We have been very impressed by the installation and service we received from Total Yacht Works here in Maz. Thanks to Bob, Rafa, Julie, and Jesus - we appreciate everything you did for us!

I hope you never have to, but if you need engine work check them out.

South Pacific - here we come!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Good Times with our Amigos!

We were so fortunate, Fern and Brian (our amigos from La Paz) decided to pay us a visit over the weekend.

We had a wonderful time showing them Mazatlan!

There is a new Mexican airline that is very reasonable and that made the trip from La Paz affordable - Vivaerobus.

An hour flight across the Sea of Cortez and cheaper than an all night ferry ride.

Plus, finding a nice and reasonable place to stay - Bungalows Mar-Sol. We highly recommend both.

Fern and Brian weren't here long enough, but we were able to take them around to our favorite haunts - Topolos, El MontaLayo, Puerto Viejo, La Tertulia, Plaza Machado, and more.

They also loved Maz's transportation - quick, cheap, and exciting!

Plus, the girls got to do some shopping while the guys watched some football. What a weekend!

And the weather, just beautiful. No wonder they call it Paradise.

Thanks Fern and Brian for visiting us - we love you!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Back in Maz - finally

And just in time for a fiesta. How does that happen?

The Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration is to remember friends and family that have died. I know it doesn't sound like fun, but it was a hoot!

The celebration includes a callejoneada (parade) around the historic old town of Maz. Everyone gathers at the Plaza Machado waiting...

Then the bands start playing, fireworks explode, and dressed up donkeys are pulling wooden carts filled with kegs of beer. Now that is a party!

We all follow the donkey carts around the cobblestone streets jockeying to get our free cold beer. There is dancing and singing and dead people walking around.

The challenge: catching up with the beer cart and hanging on tight so you don't get run over!

Along the way, the parade stops at all of the shrines that families have created to celebrate their dead. They are all beautifully unique and colorful.

This shrine was created by some young travelers from the around the world and was in memory of John Lennon.

And amazing costumes - our pictures don't do it justice, but you get the idea.

So, if someone invites you to join in on the festivities, you gotta go!

Back on Moondance... well, it isn't near as much fun, but we are making progress. When we left in July, we had to prepare the boat for hurricane season - just in case.

So, the sails, the canvas, and everything on deck had to be stuffed below - mostly on our bunk - what a mess! But, we are getting things back in place.

While we were on our summer vacation, our new engine was installed - it isn't working yet, but it is installed.

Doug is wrapping up some projects associated with the new engine, modifying our charging system, and rebuilding our steering, and other fun stuff.

As soon as we get our alternators modified, I think we are going to fire up the engine - how exciting. Smaller and faster - we are going to be zooming to the South Pacific next Spring!

We really enjoyed our summer vacation and seeing all the friends and family, but it is sure nice to be back where it is warm!