“I wonder how much moolah this official wants.”

Our Slog (Ships Log) with a Satelite View

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Lots going on

Posted on Sunday Oct 22, 2006

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We are almost done with getting the boat ready. At the last minute, I traced a problem in our fresh water system down to a corroded pickup tube. Tomorrow we have to go on a hunt for some material to make a replacement. We still have to wire in our experimental water towed generator and while I?¢â??¬â??¢m doing that I?¢â??¬â??¢m going to finally wire in our solar panel now that we are happy with its location. Then we?¢â??¬â??¢ll have to finish off the to-do list, but each day we get closer.

The weather still isn?¢â??¬â??¢t cooperating yet. Since Hurricane Lane we?¢â??¬â??¢ve seen: Tropical Storm (TS) Miriam, Tropical Depression (TD) 2-C, TD 3-C, TS Norman, TS Olivia, TD 4-C and now TS Paul. Paul is expected to build into a hurricane and is currently predicted to make landfall about 100 miles from us. If you?¢â??¬â??¢re comparing this to my earlier prediction, you?¢â??¬â??¢ll see that I was off by a few storms since Hurricane Lane. We?¢â??¬â??¢ll just have to watch the weather, and our next destination is a good hurricane hideout. If you?¢â??¬â??¢re curious about Pacific Hurricanes, I?¢â??¬â??¢ve found a good summary on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Pacific_hurricane_season

Anyway, part of our philosophy of life is to leave a place better than you found it. It could be anything from picking up plastic debris from the water, to volunteering time to build/teach/help do something. Here in Mazatlan we?¢â??¬â??¢ve spent a lot of time trapping cats that have either been dumped here or born in the wild. In total we?¢â??¬â??¢ve helped about 20 of the 30 cats we?¢â??¬â??¢ve caught (in a humane trap of course) find happy homes for them to live in. Some of the others were sterilized and released. We have 2 more 6 week-old kittens to catch (they?¢â??¬â??¢re really tough!) which will bring our total to 30. The marina, some businesses and the cruisers have been helping us to recover our costs for getting the animals sterilized and adopted out. The first cat we tried to rescue this summer ended up joining the Sarana crew!

Here?¢â??¬â??¢s a picture of Jordan. She was six months old and pregnant when she found us. Now she?¢â??¬â??¢s about a year old and at least double in size.

We?¢â??¬â??¢re really looking forward to the peace and tranquility of hanging on the hook.

The "done" list

Posted on Friday Oct 6, 2006

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Sometimes the “to-do” list seems endless – it can even get depressing at times.  Since we’re getting ready to depart in a few weeks, we’ve been working extra hard and it seems like there’s not enough time.  So I went over the list of things we’ve accomplished so far and now I feel a little better.  I know I missed a few things but I thought I’d share the “done” list here.


Repaired broken dinghy wheel

Replaced 2 thru-deck fills

Emptied/Removed/Cleaned/Installed Fuel Tank

Installed new fuel fill hose for tank

Repaired/Painted manual bilge pump

Installed new filter system for drinking water

Designed/fabricated new dodger frame

Had new dodger and bimini made

Had new lycra suit made for Sherrell

Designed/fabricated water towed generator

Cleaned jerry cans

Removed/Cleaned Stove

Fiberglass/Painted area behind Stove

Polished Stainless Steel fittings

Sewed bag for surfboard

Sewed bag for anchor chain

Sewed 3 new pillows

Sewed bean bag pillow

Sewed covers for our new cockpit chairs

Cleaned/repaired fittings on toilet

Caught/Fixed/Released/Adopted 24 wild cats

Uninstalled electronics in event of lightening strike

Removed roller furling jib

Sanded/finished all external teak wood

Worked on two website design projects

Volunteer work for 3 websites

Added insulation to icebox

Added insulation to galley food lockers

Cleaned all shelves/teak oiled interior

Sorted books/DVD’s/CD’s

Designed new LED anchor light with more lights

Sherrell had gall bladder removed


Ok the last item wasn’t really on the list, but there’s no time like the present to deal with a medical problem that could become deadly like gall stones.  So if you’re counting, that’s 5 surgeries in 9 months for poor Sherrell – that’s a lifetimes worth.

More about Hurricane Lane

Posted on Tuesday Sep 19, 2006

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The flood waters have all dried up and much of the debris is gone. I saw some blubs on CNN about Mazatlan that made it sound worse than it could have been. If the catagory 3 had hit us directly, it would have been a real mess. There were only two or three fatalities in Mexico from Lane and they were related to flooding. There were lots of places where trees were knocked down.
Tree Down!
And a boat next to us was intent on saving his pet tree, much to the amusement of people on the dock. Tree Saved!
But all the boats were stripped and the hurricane was far enough away to make the conditions feel like a normal Pacific Northwest fall storm, but we were in shorts and it rained about 10x more.
Clear the decks
Hopefully the hurricane season winds down quickly. I'm predicting we'll see two more hurricanes and maybe one more depression/storm before the season's done.

Hurricane Lane - Category 3

Posted on Saturday Sep 16, 2006

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Everyone got down to business yesterday getting ready to get our asses kicked by Hurricane Lane. We totally stripped our boat and helped strip several other boats whose owners weren?¢â??¬â??¢t around. At 3:30am Lane turned more right and towards Mazatlan and to make things even happier, it built to a category 3 hurricane.

By about 4:30am we braved the flooded streets to get down to the marina and prep Sherrell?¢â??¬â??¢s dad?¢â??¬â??¢s office and put some more lines on the boat. By about 6:30am we realized we got a very lucky break. Lane continued past Mazatlan missing us by about 30 miles and making landfall north of us by about 60 miles.

Instead of 127 mph winds, we only saw about 45 mph and a TON of rain. I couldn?¢â??¬â??¢t even guess how many inches of rain we?¢â??¬â??¢re getting, everything is flooded. Amazingly we still have power and by 11am the winds have shifted and hopefully in a few more hours everything will settle down.

Some Independence Day for Mexico! Looks like we'll spend it cleaning up all the debris.

Petroglyphs -- schmetroglyphs

Posted on Monday Aug 14, 2006

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Ray & Jeannette wanted to do something fun for their day off. They thought a trip to see the petroglyphs would be a nice break from the monotony of work. And they were half-right.

The trip started out normal, but the summer rains had really bogged down the roads in some spots. We found one particularly hungry spot that ate the front-end of Ray?¢â??¬â??¢s mini-van, creating the rarely seen mini-van glyph.

We tried all sorts of things to get the car unstuck. It?¢â??¬â??¢s surprising how hard it is to dig with your bare hands, digging with a old spoon would have been faster. Oh why didn?¢â??¬â??¢t we have an old spoon?! The goop we were suck in was powerful. I even tried jacking up the front-end to get something solid under the tires but it would sink faster than I could work.

So we called the rescue team: Scott & Liz. While we waited for them to arrive, we washed off in the ocean and looked at the petroglyphs. When we returned to the car we found we?¢â??¬â??¢d created a traffic jam. Two Mexicans and I went about trying to free the mini-van glyph so they could get by in their car. All of our digging, rocking, pushing, shoving didn?¢â??¬â??¢t work. So they sent a kid off on a bicycle to find a guy with a 4x4 truck.

The truck arrived along with Scott and Liz. And Scott and Liz brought a backpacking shovel, which is basically a large spoon. After some more digging with the spoon, we made an attempt with the truck. Bam! The old rope broke. We doubled up the rope. Bzzzzz! The truck tires started spinning. After a few more attempts with the truck, we called in the heavy guns and tied the mini-van glyph to the Jeep. A little more digging here and there, then POP! Out came our monument leaving a massive trench scarring the road.

We waited until the other car passed through the muck successfully, then had a round of beer, killed 10,000 mosquitoes and hit the road back home ?¢â??¬â?? tired, muddy and hungry.

Maybe they should have just gone into the office? Maybe their idea of fun is a little wacked...?

Got to admit it's getting better

Posted on Sunday Aug 13, 2006

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Sherrell’s been doing so much better now the doctor expects her to be healed in about a week. Our friends Scott & Liz have just returned to their boat ‘Ocean Lady’ after a 2 month long drive through the U.S. visiting family.  With Sherrell feeling tons better, and their return, I should be getting some surfing in pretty soon – Woo hoo!


Today, we are driving about 1 hour North of Mazatlan with Sherrell’s dad and stepmom to see some petroglyphs.  They were carved into boulders leading down into the ocean thousands of years ago.  We have to time it for low tide to be able to see them all.  It’s also a beautiful drive along the coast, so we’re really looking forward to it.

New Google Map to Blog tool

I wrote a new PHP script to process our blog text and search for LAT and LONG data in the following format:

The tool will pull out the information, then post it to the map on the blog site.  This will allow us to post to our blog, with our current position while underway by just sending that simple text string.  The tool will read all the blog messages on this page and create points on the MAP with a hyperlink to each point.


Adopt me! And me and me and me and ...

Posted on Friday Aug 4, 2006

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I'm "Negrita" (Blacky) and I'm full of energy because I'm only 8 months old. I'd like a good home because the people who rescued me have a mean old cat that doesn't like me much. I just want to play and stay a long ways from that Vet who spayed me -- that was a bad time.

I have the longest tail on the planet and did I mention I need a home? Contact me through the website because I can travel the world.

Phew, I just gave birth to a healthy batch of 5 kitties -- and they all look like me! I was getting ready to hide somewhere when these crazy people grabbed me and hauled me off. Now instead of having my babies in the wild and fulfilling my dream of populating the planet, I fear they are going to spay me too. Any chance I could move in with you? I'm a little tired from taking care of the kids, but I'm super friendly and I love a good scratch behind the ears!

Finally we can see! The world looks a little blurry, but we're all feeling pretty good considering we're only about 2 weeks old.

We enjoy sleeping most of the time and a little snack every half hour is nice.

Any chance you could help spring us? Momma says we might get spayed or neutered, so we're all hoping to find a way out soon!

(Don't tell them but they're all going to get fixed! And they need homes!)

New News is Good News

Posted on Saturday Jul 29, 2006

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Sherrell’s feeling much better after seeking some natural remedies to eliminate the hematoma and scar tissue.  In the process we discovered some small stitches that were left behind from when Sherrell removed her own stitches.  We cleaned and flushed everything and the swelling is way down and the redness is almost gone.


The seasonal rains in Mazatlan were a little late this year, but they came in with a bang!  We had night where it POURED.  The streets were flooded and there was water everywhere.  The air was so crystal clear, Sherrell thought she spotted Hawaii!


Our rescued Orange cat we took to the vets had a litter of 5 kittens.  Five!  Now we are going to get her fixed (and her kittens) to re-release them.  It’s a small thing, but we’re doing what we can to help out.  By the way, the black cat we rescued is fully healed and ready to be adopted!  Any good homes out there?

Heat index of 143F and Sherrell

Posted on Saturday Jul 22, 2006

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Sometimes it feels like I’m melting. Then I see there’s a heat wave in the US and I think, maybe, just maybe they are hotter than me. Especially when I see that it is 110F somewhere, that’s hot.  It only gets to about 95 or so in Mazatlan. Then I started to look at the heat index. Today for example, it is 95F and 87% humidity in Mazatlan. When I compute the heat index it tells me the outside feels like 143F or 61C. By comparison in Sacramento it was 103F but only 7% humidity that’s a heat index of only about 104F (even if it was up to 40% humidity at 103F that’s only 116F). Maybe we are melting. Last summer in the Bay of LA, Mexico, things were much less humid and those hot days where it was 110F to 120F on land were about 10 degrees cooler on the water and with only 20% - 40% humidity. That sure beats a heat index of 143F.

Sherrell has been in a lot of pain and unable to really move around the boat without hurting herself more. So we’ve temporarily moved into her dad’s house while she recovers. Actually we’ve been here two weeks and I’m surprised they haven’t kicked us out yet. We’ve tried the advice of her doctor for 3 weeks now and it hasn’t been helping at all. Now we’re trying some natural homeopathic products and she’s finally not in pain all the time and things seem to be improving.  We’ve been using them for a week and she’s starting to feel better. With some luck she’ll be able to move back on board the boat soon.

I know a lot of people think we would be more comfortable in a house, but we really aren’t. Our boat has really become our home. We prefer staying in our boat to hotels, condos and other houses.  All of our food, clothes, entertainment, and personal items are there along with all of our memories. No to mention we enjoy living on the water, even if we are stuck in the marina for hurricane season. The main reason we need to be off the boat for Sherrell to heal is because she keeps using her arms too much and hurting herself. You do have to be a bit like a monkey on a boat and climb around a lot. There is also a lot of work we need to do and she’s not quite well enough to start it, but she tries anyway and over-does things.

On the plus side she’s feeling a lot better which lifts both of our moods, however things still aren’t right and we’ll definitely need another trip back to the doctors. Keep your fingers crossed for us!