Sunday, 31 March 2013

day 2 - to grab and to hold

Out of sight of land, we are surrounded by boisterous seas that are in turn, an exquisite indigo blue, a rich royal blue, or a steely grey when clouds block the sun. Nyon is finally able to spread her wings - we find ourselves having to hold her back in these winds averaging15-25 knots. It's a question of adjusting the sails so the boat doesn't feel overpowered. When she's slightly underpowered, she's a much more comfortable ride.

That doesn't mean we have found our footing quite yet, or at least, not I. Waves come in different sizes, speeds, and at slightly different angles - there's a dip, a roll, a drop,two more rolls - it's like a wild dance, and no one knows what the next step will be. Some things we're both good at, is to grab at, lean on, and hang on to. After all, we learned those skills the hard way on our first offshore passage.

Otherwise, we have found our rhythm. Sleep in the warm sea berth is precious,meals are a focal point, and we find ourselves staring at the ocean, a lot. We have been listening to podcasts (TED Radio Hour, the Q, Quirks and Quarks...) and reading books that had been patiently waiting for us in the whirlwind that was getting ready for this journey. Life is back to the basics, and we're loving it.

Position: 21 03.591' N - 112 11.281' W
Distance in 24hrs: 122 nm
Heading: 243 T
Speed: 4.7

Saturday, 30 March 2013

day 1 - a study in contrasts

We untied the dock lines, waved goodbye to the S/V Pura Vida crew, and motored out of the channel. A nice breeze was blowing, so we raised our sails, turned off the engine, and pointed our bow southwest. Leaving, in the end, is that simple.

Early in our journey, the forecasted wind just disappeared. We went from sailing at a speed of 5.2 knots to moving at .9 knots, if that. And for hours, we crawled 3 nautical miles off the Spring Break beaches, the thumping loudspeakers echoing our sometimes loud frustration over the water.

This is also a part of what we signed up for. The waiting: we simply had to wait for the wind to return. I read somewhere, to forget fearing the big winds, and to ready ourselves for the doldrums - now they, will get under your skin. They will drive you crazy. You have to accept to be still. This is perhaps the best way to learn the art of patience. It seems the wind gods felt we needed this lesson early in our journey!

At around 0030, the wind came back with a vengeance: it rapidly built to 25 knots with gusts to 30, and was accompanied by big beam seas. Ah, okay. This is what we remember. With reefed sails, we began to fly, and bounce. While we fairly quickly acclimatize to the motion of the boat out on the big blue, the winds have now settled around the expected 15-20 knots. And as I look back at the fading outline of the Baja mountains, I think: We. Are. On. Our. Way!

Position: 22 12.920' N - 110 26.686' W
Distance: 74 nm
Heading: 243 T
Speed: 5.1 knots

Friday, 29 March 2013

goodbye mexico

Mexico, oh Mexico, you certainly have a special place in our hearts.

Thank you for welcoming us into your arms. Your dusty smells, your jungle lushness, your waters - a jewel-like turquoise. 

We loved your small villages your old cities; the friendly pangueros we met throughout the Sea – like the one who borrowed tools from us and came back with fresh fish in thanks later that day. From the shy but playful coyotes in the desert, to the fish we chased through the reefs.

We liked the little taco stands and tried to avoid your tourist spots. They’re not your fault, we know. They boost your economy. But we like hanging out with your people, not with caricatures. We have massacred your language trying to befriend you – the laughter and encouragement we received in our attempts made us try even harder. We didn’t so much like your storms, but we understand – you too, have to blow off some steam  once in a while.

The sun loves to shine on you, and your cacti, while seemingly unfriendly are so resilient. I admire their tenacity – they tough out the hard times, kind of like you do. We’ve seen your deserts sprout incredible splashes of green after a fine mist of rain, and we swam in your sparkling bioluminescence under starry skies – magic!

Not everything about you is beautiful. The garbage burning on the side of the road, the stray dogs we fell in love with but had to leave behind, the watered down Mexican tourist towns…

The gritty, the beautiful – they live side by side within your boundaries. In between, we found your loveliness, your uniqueness.

Yes, we will miss you.

Yet we hear the sweet call of an island far away, and we must go meet her – but don’t worry, we won’t forget you. 

Saturday, 23 March 2013

the race to the start line

Leaving La Paz in our wake
While it is a very small step, we have taken the first step of our journey. We have left La Paz for a nearby anchorage - we are taking a day to regroup, reassess and breathe. Since we decided we were crossing the Pacific - nearly 3 months ago, it's been a race to the finish line. Actually, it would be more appropriate to say it has been a race to the start line. 

Hauling up anchor
Photo courtesy of John (Time Piece)

Friends sending us off from
shore.So long Tom, Jeanne and Kevin!
While there are similarities to the hectic preparations for our first passage away from Canada, this time is different. We have a year and a half of full-time cruising under our belts. Some of the then unknowns are no longer unknowns to us. Yet we are not foolish enough to think that we know exactly what to expect from our upcoming voyage. As we mosey our way around the peninsula with a final stop in San Jose del Cabo to receive our zarpes (exit papers), we finally have some time to absorb what we are about to do. This is a big deal for us. And we want to savour it.

On our way!
Photo courtesy of John (Time Piece)

Note: For a different view of our departure, check out SV Eagle's March 22/13 post:

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

the "i'm-too-tired-to-think-of-a-title" post

It's that time - the crunch, the scramble, the whirlwind that is planning for the biggest passage we've ever attempted. I wish I had witty things to write, but my brain is full of paperwork, errands, the big jigsaw puzzle that is stowing on a boat with almost no stowage space, and boat jobs that seem to multiply, oh and the last minute jobs that really shouldn't have been last minute... All for a good cause, all for a good cause.

"Where is that... [fill in the blank]"

Hand-stitching a new zipper on the dodger. What you
 don't see are the choppy waves and the 25 knot winds.

Sometimes jobs arise that weren't on the to-do list.
We call those, Nyon's diva moments...

Hamming it up with our provisions - by the end of the day I
just wanted them gone!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

on solid ground

A tiny Nyon in a new favourite anchorage
Mezteño (Isla San Espiritu)

Crystal clear waters and sunshine:
A perfect recipe for your morning coffee
I love living on the water. I also love exploring on land. Rick is the water-baby aboard Nyon: he can easily spend days without so much as putting a toe on dry ground. Oh, he'll get off the boat, and even the dinghy - to float into his favourite world, under the sea. 

I love being afloat, but landlocked mysteries always bring me to shore sooner or later. I need both worlds. While anchored in Mezteño, Dana and I stole away to explore ashore. We decided we'd follow the arroyo and see how far it would take us - eventually looking up the cliffside, one of us suggested we scale up to the top and see what's what. The other agreed, and off we went. 

Looking up the arroyo
Dana learned that plants can be mean in the desert, or at least a little needy with their thorns. We were both scratched and bloody by the time we returned to the boat, tired too. A combination of climbing and heat for a few hours can do that. Yet we both had goofy grins on our faces. The desert, however harsh - is a beautiful and fascinating place.

Can they see me? Can they see me?
Finding beauty in small splashes of colour
The secret passage, Dana the explorer
leads us to the top of the cliff

Kindred spirits reunited

Mother Nature's art offering
Photo courtesy of Dana

Thorns, beautiful thorns (from a distance, that is)
Photo courtesy of Dana

Thursday, 7 March 2013

when love comes to town

Nyon loves visitors. Perhaps that's because the kinds of visitors we've had the fortune of receiving aboard our old boat are pretty special. They become what we affectionately refer to as our bonus crew. In actuality, they lose their visitor status within short order. That's because they're willing to participate in the day to day activities - staying aboard Nyon is only partly a holiday, a little bit of a work placement, and an endurance and adaptability test that includes a whole lot of laughter. That's why we like having bonus crew on our boat. They are a part of the family. They lug provisions with us, they help with projects, they explore and discover with us, and they don't mind turning into temporary hippies for a while.

A rock is conquered! Dana rejoices

We had one such bonus crew join us these past 10 days. Dana is definitely family as far as we're concerned. The way she dives into the foray,  it's like she's always been here. Plus, she brings with her treats from home, stories about our peeps, (you're right Bjarne, I do use that word a lot...), and is particulary generous with my favourite kind of hugs: that is, bear-hugs.

If we could, we'd kidnap her and take her to the South Pacific with us. Alas, it is not to be. Instead, we thank our lucky stars that we have a handful of very special people in our lives who haven't forgotten us as we've sailed away from our home country. And once in a while, when we're lucky, one, or two, or three of them come to see us, wherever we are. They remind us how precious lifelong friendships truly are. Thanks for the love Dana, we'll miss you, and I know Nyon will too, especially the stainless steel!


Exploring Mezteño
Rick dives in for a "refreshing" dip

A visit at the sea lion rookery

Making a new friend -
We always have time to make new friends,
whether they're human or not

Happy times

Friday, 1 March 2013

a rainbow of a month

My 9 year old niece: herself  work of art
as she helps out in the garden
February can be described as the colourful month. It was filled with the bright colours of Carnaval, dashes of a partial family reunion, mixed with a colourful blur of errands, topped up with shades of dust and stainless steel on Nyon. February was when our "Divide and Conquer Mission" took place. I left Rick and Mexico behind for 2 weeks - San Diego was where we could procure some much needed supplies. The bonus? I got to see my sister and her family, and my mom flew in from Canada. It was wonderful to be surrounded by a whole lot of family love while I wrapped my mind around my next adventure. Rick experienced Carnaval mostly from a distance. Busy with projects, he made it to one of the three parades.

At the end of February, we were happily reunited, ready to tackle more projects together. Finally, our lovely friend Dana joined us aboard Nyon for a bit of work and play. All in all, a vibrant month!

Rick's view was a little more monochromatic

Luckily, he got to enjoy some colourful floats
The La Paz sky at sunset
Connecting with Patricia and Thomas (Patricia,my nieces'
Spanish teacher has become a friend) - Thanks sis, for
introducing us!
Dana, soaking in the Mexican sun after escaping
the Pacific Northwest greys


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