“Why do bad things always happen in the middle of the ocean in the pitch black night?”

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Glory of Marina Chahue

Posted on Friday Nov 19, 2010

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Well, here we are and change is ever present. The marina recently changed owners from one government tourism branch to a port authority branch. Good old mexican tax dollars seem to be pouring in because they are building like mad. Unfortunately we are right in the middle of it and covered with dirt. Notice the large rock pile at the top of our ramp. And since we are in the cheap area there is no running water or power for cleaning up. Oh the glory of it all.

Just to add to the image. This photo shows our walk to the civilized section of the marina where there is power, water and wifi internet. That dirt is the fine powered kind that turns into muck in the rainy season and choking brown fog during the dry season. The rock piles come and go via dump truck and backhoe and you can imagine the clouds of dirt that engulf our boat. The small building in the background used to be the old marina office, but now it has become the computer room for the people who can't get wifi on the boat (the canal dwellers like us), but bring something to sit on. It is also the shower room (outdoor showers) and the public bathroom.

They have added two new finger piers in a void that many years ago I tried unsuccessfully to talk the harbor master into letting us anchor in (imagine the cost savings...haha). They have also completely reinforced the sea wall all around the marina. And they build a "mega yacht" area that consists of a long concrete wall with no floating ties. I don't know anyone with a mega yacht, but I doubt they are going to tie to a concrete wall (with black rubber strips) that they are going to rub against in the serge and rise and fall of the tides.

Here's a better shot of the long wall on the far side for the richies. They installed a gate and a fence to keep the public away from the money people. I wonder how the tax payers feel about paying for that?

What else can I say? Oh, they have also been dredging the entrance and the area along the mega-yacht wall. So if you're headed here, keep an eye out for the added obstacles in the middle of the channel entrance. I don't think it is lit at night either. The sunlight was bad for this photo, but in it they have ropes and floats blocking the right side and they've added temporary pilings in the middle of the channel to assist in the dredging work.

Of course I'm a bit negative because we are ready to get going. This is a very pretty area and we have beautiful egrets, white herons, and several cool birds I don't recognize around us. The town is fantastic and the people are all friendly and quick to chat up a conversation or provide directions to some obscure shop that has just the thing we need.

It's a fun town and the marina rates in our cheap area have been good despite the extra challenges. (FYI--If you choose to stay in the cheap area, they have upped the short-term rates to prevent people from doing a quick in and out.)

This being the only the second dock we have been at in 3 years we don't have much of a recent comparison. It certainly was good for Sarana (and many other boats) during the hurricane season. However the perpetual travelers in us are itching to go again.

New RSS/Atom Feed Pages

Posted on Monday Nov 15, 2010

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If you are reading this blog with a feed reader (and there seems to be a lot of you doing this) then you'll need to update your links.

I've written my own tool for generating RSS and ATOM feeds because I didn't like blogger.com's. Now all the links will be correct and I've removed some of the non-compliant stuff so maybe it will work better. If you see any problems please let me know because I don't really read my own site :)

Atom feed: http://www.sailsarana.com/atom.xml
RSS Feed: http://www.sailsarana.com/rss.xml

Back on the Boat2

Posted on Wednesday Nov 10, 2010

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After what seemed like an eternity, we finally made it back to the boat. You might wonder what took us so long to post something about it since we've been back at the boat for about 10 days now. As you can imagine we had a lot of dirt and mold to clean up and piles of â??stuffâ? from the RV to sort out. Then once the space was livable again we started fixing things that were broken, cleaning and filling the water tanks and taking care of the engines.

Despite the serious construction going on around us in the canal things seem quiet and relaxed. The humidity has spiked and backed down again to the point where we have to use blankets at night (i.e. less than 70F).

We still have a few serious issues on the boat to fix before we can get back on the water, but just being back here with our simpler lives with no car and no television or obnoxious news is revitalizing. The cats literally collapsed in happiness when they returned. Jordan saw the boat and struggled out of my arms to leap on board. In fact Jordan probably can best describe how we felt without using any words:

Day of the DEAD

Posted on Wednesday Nov 10, 2010

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We've spent about a week now working on the boat and replacing parts that mysteriously broke in strange ways. There's been more steps forward than backwards so far and we're hopeful to get back out on the water by the end of the month.

In the meantime Sherrell had the opportunity to experience the Day of the Dead (Nov 2) in classic Oaxaca style. Several cruisers who have been in this area for a while have learned about a small town nearby called Santa Maria de Huatulco which has large chaotic graveyard. Any other description besides chaotic wouldn't fit this place. Graves are haphazardly placed forcing visitors to twist, wind and step on many sites just to try to pass through the yard. Some were elaborate and some were just piles of dirt.

The Day of the Dead is a day to celebrate the lives of the dead and not necessarily their death. Family and friends come from all over to gather, have some food and light some candles. Often graves are elaborately decorated. Everyone hangs out at the grave surrounded by marigolds, candles, and other ornaments and talk about all the good times they had together. To elevate the festive atmosphere there was even a wondering Mariachi band willing to play on demand for a little coin.

Ahhh back in Mexico

Posted on Saturday Oct 23, 2010

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We've been in Mazatlan for almost a week now and already had the pleasure of going to a dock party (our first in about 5 years as docks are few and far between). Now we are gearing up to store the RV, load everything into a TINY car (cats too!) and drive ourselves to Guadalajara to meet friends and do Sherrell's 5 year milestone checkup (and celebrate her b-day). After that we're continuing to drive our little rental car another 800 miles down to the boat and get it back into shape.

It's great to be back in Mexico and we're excited to see our friends and return to the boat!

I promise to sort through our photos from Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Arizona soon and post them. Really we'll get to it, what else are we busy doing?

Here's a teaser photo of us on a cliff in Zion. You can dangle your feet off the edge and watch the dots of buses straight below drive underneath them 1000's of feet down.

Traveling the US

Posted on Saturday Oct 2, 2010

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Since internet access is almost impossible to find, I'll have to just give a brief update.

We toured Kuna, Idaho. All I can say is I have seen the future and it is grim. Can you say sprawl? The tiny town I grew up in now has a 4 lane road leading to it and the town is overrun with development communities. It's a mess. Strip malls are everywhere for as far as the eye can see in Boise.

Well, anyway, we went to Craters of the moon, where it SNOWED on us. Our heater and solar panel broke. If that wasn't enough the window which I've tried to fix twice now, leaked onto my side of the bed again. So there we were with low batteries, no heater and a wet bed in below freezing temperatures. Good times! Oh to top it off at the same time, the fridge decided to konk out for 3 days allowing everything to slowly melt before I discovered the problem caused by dust in one of the jets.

The heater turned out to be related to having a low battery because the free solar panel (it was damaged by lightening) someone gave me finally quit working. It was so cold that we were immediately thinking of canceling the rest of the trip and heading back to Mexico. Fortunately I patched everything back together and we were underway again but relying on the engine only for charging the battery (which sucks).

We hiked like mad in Yellow Stone! We went everywhere looking for elusive wolfs, bears and moose. I think we saw just about every other animal in Yellow Stone except those three....

The Tetons where fabulous and we discovered a trail off Jenny lake which was probably one of the best hikes we've done! Again no moose....

We also went to Wasatch mountain in Utah where the fall colors where mind boggling.

Then we went to Escalante, Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon, Vermilion Cliffs, and now Sedona. Pretty soon we'll be in Phoenix and then Mexico.

In total after leaving Seattle we've probably hiked about 150 miles of trails and taken almost 700 photos. We'll post some when we have time to sort them out. Right now internet access is very scarce and so we probably won't post again until we are in Mexico.

Seaya Seattle

Posted on Thursday Sep 2, 2010

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We had a great time seeing family and friends here in Seattle. There's no doubt we ate the WTM's weight in food during this past month. There are so many good places to eat: South Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, Mediterranean, Ethiopian, Italian... I think I'm making myself hungry.

Anyway it was great being here again seeing everyone and trying to stay warm in the 45F nights. However we're off to the next leg of our trip and headed East to Idaho, Yellow Stone, and the Tetons.

We are going to miss everyone. Thanks for all the good times and good food! Don't forget you're welcome to come see us too.

Who doesn't like videos of forests, lakes, glaciers and snow?

Posted on Thursday Aug 12, 2010

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I know it has been a while. But there is just so much good stuff to sort through, edit and post. Life has been very busy seeing friends and family. You'll have to forgive me if these videos are a bit rough. I slapped them together with duct tape and swear words. Unfortunately I still haven't had time to go through all the Yosemite and Tahoe material, which creates a large 3 week gap in this little on-line show. Nonetheless, I will try to bring part of our trip to life for you.

On our trip north from Tahoe we went to Lassen. While we only spent 4 days there, it was magical place with volcanoes, hydrothermal vents and TONS of snow.

After hiking Lassen we spent a night at Crater Lake, which was like a refugee camp. The snow covered campground had Fourth of July hopefuls screaming at each other, swatting large mosquitoes, draining mud from their sites with sticks, shivering inside their cars and trying to heat food over flames that had the life sucked out of them by the cold. We of course were warm and dry in the WTM.

We worked our way up the coast to the Olympic National Rain Forest. Exploring the southern end of the park is something we had never done and the trails, rivers, and mountains were breathtaking. And I mean that in the cheesy sense of the word as well as tough to climb in places. Our photos don't do it justice. This video shows some of the sites along the way.

Last but not least: Mount Baker. Skiing is the only time I've been in this park, and we both thought it would be a good time to see more and take Sherrell's mom with us. She did great hiking around and again we saw lots of snow and ice. This time we even had classic lightening squalls complete with tropical style downpours.

I hope you enjoy the videos. I hope perl jam, foo fighters and underground don't mind me using some of their tunes either....

I will post some stuff from Tahoe and Yosemite, but even I don't know when that will happen.

Our updates are oh so slow.

Posted on Thursday Jul 8, 2010

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Internet access in the US is a little harder to find on a regular basis because everyone has it in their house.... Anyway let's recap.

Tahoe was a blast. Then we spent 4 days in Lassen National park. We tried to get to the summit, but the road was still closed. There was probably 20' of snow still up there in many places. We hiked up the road to where the road crews were still clearing the peak. It was an amazing place with some FANTASTIC volcanoes. This park had everything and we were entranced. So we decided to check out the other parts of the park: Devil's Kitchen full of hydrothermal vents, Boiling Springs Lake, a HUGE volcanic cinder cone, "Fantastic Lava Fields", and on and on.

After hiking there we went to Crater Lake where the lake was fogged in, the campsites were still under 2 feet of snow and the private company running the camp ground in the public park (a bad idea) was charging $26/night almost double the norm. It probably costs a lot to rename the crapper a "Comfort Station".

From there we went to hike at WATSON FALLS, which was beautiful NW-style hiking. Green mosses and ferns and waterfalls dominated the trail. And from there we visited our friends in Salem and Tualitan where we did more hiking, beer tasting and watched the Timbers play soccer. Did I mention vegan donuts?

So where are we now? Well we are on the Oregon coast where we camped at Cape Lookout and toured the area around Tillamook including Sand Lake a bizarre place.

Now we are on the road to Long Beach and the Olympic Forest. We literally have 10,000 pictures from our trip but no time to post them right now...sorry! Stay tuned.

Leaving Tahoe

Posted on Sunday Jun 27, 2010

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Our sailing friends on Desiderata gave us their luxury cabin for a week while they traveled and all we had to do was play with their cat. Not a bad deal because their cool cabin is about a block from the lake and is surrounded by monster trees. They gave us some good hiking tips and let us use their bikes.

The only downside is at times the temperature is in the low 30's! We've been trying to get used to actually being cold, but the freezing part is asking too much. We did a lot of hiking and a friend from when we used to work at moto came to visit too. One of the hikes we did together had a great panoramic view of Tahoe.

We also hiked through some snow fields, but that alien substance was a bit too cold for our tropical blood.
What is this stuff?

After enjoying "our" vacation home we hung out for a few more days to visit with everyone and we did some more hikes. One of them was up to a nice lake where even Hopper went swimming.
Eagle Lake
Hopper cools down

We also got watch some fun baseball games, went out for dinner and spent a lot of time swapping stories because we haven't seen them for almost two years. While we are still stuck in cruising mode, they have adapted well to modern life again and are having a great time living next to the lake, skiing all winter and hiking the forests in the summer. We even went to the beach together like old times, just no surfing and the water felt refrigerated. Despite their best antics they couldn't sucker us into that ice water.
Come on in! The water's nice!

Now it's time to say goodbye (yet again) and hit the road. We are headed towards a place called Lassen National Park (most of which is still closed due to snow) to see what we can find there.