“Where did the dinghy go?”

Our Slog (Ships Log) with a Satelite View

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Barra, Visitors and Slog Readers

Posted on Wednesday Dec 6, 2006

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Our friends on Tara and Willow arrived a couple of days ago. They managed to sail all the way into the estuary. Unfortunatly we haven't really had much opportunty to spend much time with them because our plans and schedules never seem to match up. They are already getting ready to head further south, so maybe we'll catch up with them later in the year.

I've been impatiently waiting for the surf to come up in Barra, but there seems to be no signs of life. It's a strange wave that only appears during low tide and it's pretty mushy. In the meantime we've been entertaining Sheila on the boat. She's enjoying all the bird life and being immersed in nature, because we're surrounded by it on all sides in this lagoon. And there are only 5 other boats here right now. During the height of the season they'll pack in 50 to 80 boats. We'll move on before
the crowds get that big.

We also want to say thanks to all the people who write us and tell us that we've helped inspire them. It's a surprise to us because we're just out here doing our thing wondering if anyone really reads this stuff as it seems our friends and family often don't find time to check out our Slog. So it's great to know that people are enjoying our experiences vicariously and are poised to set out to make some of their own! It's great hearing from all of you!

Just keep sailing!

Barra Rocks

As if we were in some cheesy commercial, we both said, "This is pretty much the best anchorage in Mexico" at the same time. We settled back in 8 feet of flat calm water and breathed a sigh of relief. The lagoon in Barra keeps out all the bouncy wind waves and totally blocks the ocean swell. To top it off there are two small towns for provisions and there's a Canadian who runs a French Bakery and deliveries his pricey goodies directly to your boat. Oh yeah, and there is a nice little surf break right outside of the lagoon. I don't think many places are better than Barra.

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Posted on Thursday Nov 30, 2006

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This post contains a GPS location. Click here to see it on the map.

This leg would best be described as a 22 hour wild ride. We had winds from 20-25 knots most of the way and with a double reefed main and about 1/4 of the genoa out we surfed and rolled our way down the coast at 5 to 6 knots. The waves were pretty big, but nothing was coming on board the boat so it was a dry ride.

Our main reason for spending the day here is the snorkeling in Chamela is fantastic. In fact the first thing I saw when I dove down to the rocks was a 4 foot long eel just sitting there looking at me. There's coral, lots of fish and the visibility is about 15 feet.

We arrived at 8:30 am, slept until 2pm and now we are getting ready to depart to Barra in the morning where we'll meet Sherrell's mom. I wish my underwater camera's battery was working, if it was I might try to squeeze in another day here.

By the way the google map you're seeing at the top of this page is much more accurate than our nautical charts, which show us anchored about 1 mile inside land.

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Thanks Giving

Posted on Saturday Nov 25, 2006

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That stupid hurricane Sergio finally burnt itself out without doing anyone any damage. Hurricane season is officially over in a week, but everything seems to finally be changing back to the normal winter patterns. The late season hurricane was pretty unusual and it kept our friends from meeting us at Punta de Mita for Thanks Giving, so we're having it today! Five boats worth of people! After sitting alone for almost a week it's nice to have some friends nearby. We plan to head further south in about 4 or 5 days, assuming the weather permits. We have to get to Barra de Navidad to meet Sherrell's mom whose going to stay on the boat for about 10 days.

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Stopping Entropy

Posted on Friday Nov 17, 2006

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We’re finally getting ahead of the game.  After stripping the carburetor for the 11th time on the beach, cleaning the fuel tank and using some nasty chemical called Power-Tune, our outboard runs better than it EVER did even when it was new.  We also found the source of our low battery bank problem – a loose cable. Phew!  The final problem that’s been plaguing us is the new in-line water filter we installed on our fresh water tanks.  While it was supposed to be a low-pressure charcoal filter, it has slowly stopped working and only allowing a dribble of water when we pump it with the foot pump.  After a lot of experimenting we decided just to swap the filter out even though it was almost new.  Surprise!  The new filter works 10x better than the previous on ever did.  Weird, but hopefully fixed.


The real problem facing us now is Hurricane Sergio, which recently was down graded to a Storm.  It was the most powerful hurricane ever recorded this late in the season and there hasn’t been 2 named storm in Nov. since 1961.  We made reservations at the local marina in case we need to seek shelter.  But now that entropy is decreased on Sarana, it has to increase for Sergio, right?  I don’t know, I never liked thermodynamics.

La Cruz de Huanaxtle

Posted on Wednesday Nov 15, 2006

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This post contains a GPS location. Click here to see it on the map.

We’re anchored off the larger town where they’re scurrying to build another fancy marina for the gringos.  It’s quite a construction with a large breakwater.  There’s lots of live music here and some good places to eat and we have some shore-side friends here from last year.


I got the outboard running only to have the sheer pin break or fall out or something.  It’s a mystery because we haven’t hit anything.  And in truth the engine only runs with the choke 2/3rds of the way on.  So I need to find some powerful chemicals to try to show this Honda who’s the boss.


Punta de Mita

Oh yeah the surf's here!  The bad side is we've been stuck trying to fix things and find parts.  We spent the whole day looking for a spark plug which included 2 hours on the bus.


We really like the anchorage here and there's only a couple of other boats nearby so it feels pretty peaceful.  But my arms are going to look like popeye's from all the rowing if we can't get this stupid outboard going.  I guess stripping down the carburetor 7 times, changing the plug and cussing a lot isn't going to do the trick.  We're going to have to consult someone else for some help on this one.  It seems to have fuel, spark, compression and air, it's only lacking mojo.





"All of us are travelers lost
our tickets arranged at a cost
unknown but beyond our means.
This odd itinerary of scenes
--enigmatic, strange, unreal--
leaves us unsure how to feel.
No postmortem journey is rife
with more mystery than life."
--The book of Counted Sorrows

I read that passage and it just seems to fit the strange journey we've had this past year. At least the scenery in Chacala is superficially beautiful and the anchorage is calm today. We're heading to Punta de Mita early tomorrow morning. Our little plastic boat is anchored in a beautiful little cove and we're overjoyed to be free again.

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Casting off

Posted on Wednesday Nov 1, 2006

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We’ve spent a lot of time wondering if we would even see the day we were able to set sail again.  There were times when things seemed very bleak and our sailing future seemed impossible.  But despite all the setbacks, Sherrell has really bounced back strong and there seems to be no stopping her.  We recently had a full checkup with the oncologist and he was happy to see all the progress Sherrell made over the summer and gave her a clean bill of health.


Now that we’re wrapping up the last of our projects:  sewing a rain-catcher, a waterproof cover for the towed generator, a new hatch cover, mending some clothes.  We put the sails back on the boat, provisioned our dry goods, loaded up on diesel, cleaned the decks and ordered some parts for Sherrell’s mom to carry down in Dec.  We’re itching to go.  Just some more laundry, some more provisioning, a few errands and we’re off this Saturday.


Depending on the swells we’ll try to stop at Isla Isabela and we’ll probably go to Manachen Bay again to do some warm up surfing in the southerly swells so I’ll have a chance to get back in shape before Punta de Mita where the other surfers are congregating for Thanksgiving Day.  With our new HF setup, we’ll be able to post our position and what’s going on from anywhere!  Stay tuned!


By the way, I did some web work for http://www.probillfish.com which is a sport fishing charter company that has a good environmental policy and I really liked the owner.  If you like sport fishing, check them out.  Also, I did an overhaul of http://www.marina-mazatlan.com adding some new features to their site.  Too bad the marina was recently sold to a new owner who is probably going to replace our beloved harbor master Antonio.  We’ll keep our fingers crossed for him and the staff!


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.