Archive for February, 2010

February, 2010: First, Larry parties in Mazatlan

Ports of Call | Posted by Admiral
Feb 28 2010


Larry went with Cecile and Leo of Chat de Mer to Mazatlan where they joined and watched the celebration of Carnaval.  You can see Chat de Mer in this picture, but I won’t trouble you with the how-to-find-it details.

They were joined much of the time by fun-loving fellow cruisers, Doug and Linda of Aquadesiac:



Doug and Linda went in search of a taco stand, and they met a guy named Ernesto who reassured them that it was OK to eat at a particular place – the food was very good.  So Doug and Linda struck up a conversation and friendship with this guy instantly (that’s how it works down here), and the next thing you know, they’ve been invited to Ernesto’s home for his wife’s birthday party.  Doug asked Larry to tag along, so off he went, never one to turn down an invitation to a party!

DSCN1732Here is Ernesto’s wife (Larry can’t remember her name) beginning the pinata pounding that is required at all birthday parties.

At Ernesto’s home, they all met a man named John who invited them to his home for a small gathering.  Ernesto did the cooking at John’s condo where Larry ate four helpings of shrimp ceviche!!  That’s Larry Zabel, non-fish eating person!  Also at John’s home, they met a neighbor and guest of John’s named Bob St. Claire.  Bob played for the SF 49er’s in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s and is in the Hall of Fame!  He signed his ‘49ers player’s card for Larry and several other guests.DSCN1764Left to right:  John, Bob, and Ernesto.

DSCN1762 View from John’s condo.

DSCN1767 The view from his condo at sunset.

Then our boy was off to enjoy a big-time street party.

DSCN1710 Street gate.

DSCN1753 The Tecate girls.

DSCN1744 Linda and friend Pat with a real party animal!

DSCN1755 Leo and Doug with the Bud Light girls!

DSCN1758 Our very own party animal in a special disguise!

DSCN1774 They paid for a buffet and bleacher-style seating for the parade.  Here are the desserts.  Droollll!

DSCN1780 DSCN1783

Colorful (if commercial) parade floats.  The parade went on for a while, past sunset:

DSCN1787  DSCN1789


DSCN1821 DSCN1817

The nighttime floats were not commercial.  There were a lot of religious themes.

Finally, it was all over.  Leo and Cecile were going on south, so Larry hopped on a ferry for the overnight return to La Paz:

  DSCN1824 DSCN1836 Leaving Mazatlan, Larry took a few pictures of the passing sights from his on-board suite.


DSCN1832A final shot of the anchorage he had stayed in during his stay.  The sailboat on the right is Doug and Linda’s Aquadesiac.

Upon his return to La Paz, Larry realized that Carnaval wasn’t over yet!  So, of course, he had to join the festivities here in La Paz:


This was more of a family affair, both in subject and execution:

P2150531 P2150530


But it was not without beauty and beast:

P2160003 P2160006

Larry says that the public threw “eggs” at the police car which were actually emptied shells filled with confetti!

P2160007 P2160014   One of our fellow cruisers was in the parade with her hula hoop.  She and her husband are cruising around the world with the plan of visiting and participating in all of the world’s major fiestas and celebrations!

 P2160035 P2160084

Above, a cock fight and warriors from centuries past.

Muggs’s trip home was much less exciting, but not without its moments.  One Friday night, she went with Larry’s mom, Elizabeth, E’s mom, Brady and Russell to her first-ever live ice hockey game in Stockton.  She snapped these phone-pics of Brady in a foam ice-hockey mask and #1 finger:

Brady hockey brady hocokey 3

Brady practiced basketball at the house across the street:

P1010016 P1010022 Then she watched him play goalie for his soccer team at a very nice, indoor soccer field:

P1010036 Brady is right in front of the goal, in yellow shoes.

There was a birthday celebration for Elizabeth’s mum:

P1010049 P1010051

Otherwise, I ran around taking care of various bits of personal business and spending money at West Marine like a wild thing.

We are both back in La Paz now with crazy plans of maybe going sailing some day soon.  We shall see what we shall see!  First, we have some dental work to attend to.  We have found a great dentist down here – a woman whose physician-father sent her to high school in the Bay Area so that she would learn perfect English.  Last night, we went to a local place where a gringo band played great blues and classic rock.  Larry got himself a job helping with the sound at their next gig.  Right now, we are going to take the bikes and ride down the malecon to the ice cream parlor.  Adios!

February 27 Chilean Earthquake / Tsunami Stuff (UPDATED 2:53PM)

General, Ports of Call | Posted by Gilligan
Feb 27 2010

As everyone undoubtebly knows by know, Chile suffered a huge 8.8 earthquake this morning.  This earthquake generated at least one tsunami, and that tsunami is currently making its way through the Pacific.  The NOAA has issued tsunami advisories for the entire Pacific coast of California, which means that they are expecting strong currents and wave activity.  The activity should begin in the early afternoon (noonish for San Diego). 

We called Muggs this morning but were unable to reach her, most likely because they are busy getting ready for the strong currents that are probably heading their way.  A quick bit of math suggests that the currents won’t get to La Paz until just before noon at the earliest, so there’s no reason to worry about anything right now.

To be on the safe side, we sent Muggs an SMS letting her know that they’re on our minds, and asking that she let us know that they’re safe once the danger has passed. We will post a message on here the moment we hear from our intrepid adventurers.

In the meantime, it is probably a good idea to ask everyone to hold off on trying to reach them until after all the excitement has subsided (probably this evening). That way they can focus on getting ready and riding out any currents or waves, without any additional distractions. Stayed tuned to this site for news and updates as we get them, and please let us know if you hear anything about what’s going on down there.

Thank you,


***** UPDATE: 12:39PM PST********

Great News: I just received an SMS from Muggs stating that “Everything is fine. Not even a ripple. Website update soon.”

***** UPDATE: 2:53PM *******

I just ran across a blog post from another sailing couple in Baja. You can find the post at  Apparently, the only thing they noticed was a set of mini-tides, switching from flood to ebb repeatedly.

Quick Update

Ports of Call | Posted by Admiral
Feb 02 2010

I have just been reminded that I did not tell the story of fixing our starter.  It’s interesting only because it illustrates the way things work down here in the cruiser community.

Roger on Avalon came over one day and spent the afternoon taking the starter solenoid apart and putting it back together.  The rebuilt solenoid still didn’t work properly.  Roger knew the guy we bought the starter motor from last September in Oakland, and he called him.  He arranged for a replacement to be provided since it was determined that the original was faulty.  (The quick replacement was possible because Muggs was able to find the original purchase paperwork!)

A friend of ours from Grand Marina, who is cruising now, went home in January in order to bring his car back to Mexico.  John of Aventura picked up the new starter in Oakland and brought it to us about two weeks ago.  Larry installed it, and it worked first time, every time!  Muggs will return the original starter motor on her trip to California next week.

John on Aventura came to Mexico this year because he was talking with Larry in the marina, wondering what to do next in his life.  Larry suggested that he do the HaHa, and now he has an FM3 visa and is living the good life here in Mexico!

Hasta luego, mis amigos!

In La Paz, getting ready to “split” – PLUS waiting for the Oscar nominations

Ports of Call | Posted by Admiral
Feb 01 2010

Why waiting for the Oscar nominations, you ask – because, for the first time, and I am quite certain the only time, we have a (very small) personal connection.  There is a very good chance that Jeremy Renner will be nominated for Best Actor.  There is pretty much a 100% chance that the picture he was in this year, “The Hurt Locker”, and its director, Kathryn Bigelow, will be nominated for best picture and best director.

Jeremy Renner came to Modesto Junior College in the fall of 1990 and auditioned for the role of the Scarecrow in our production of “The Wizard of Oz”.  We cast him in the role, and the rest, as they say, is history.  My best friend, Elizabeth (Brady’s mom) was our Wicked Witch of the East with the green make-up.  Many more of you receiving e-mail messages regarding website updates were part of that production.  You know who you are. 

Anyway, when Larry and I heard about this movie last summer, we went to see it.  We agree with all of the many-starred reviews that this is a terrific movie.  Jeremy’s performance and Bigelow’s direction are both stunning.  If you haven’t seen it, you must make a point of buying a copy of the DVD of “The Hurt Locker”.  My favorite scene – in the desert, taking out the snipers.  Fun fact – Kathryn Bigelow is the ex-wife of James Cameron, the director of this year’s Big Movie “Avatar”.  I would put the odds at better than good that she will take the director’s award while his movie gets the best picture nod.  The director and movie wins are usually for the same movie, but money talks in Hollywood.  “Avatar” is taking it in by the bucketload.

So, back to La Paz, Larry will be leaving in the next couple of days for points east.  He is going to Mazatlan on a boat called Chat de Mer.  We have spent a bit of time recently with the Skipper and First Mate, Leo and Cecile, and they are adding much fun to our lives here in La Paz.  The trip to Mazatlan is timed to coincide with Carnaval, Feb. 11-16.  Larry will return on a different boat, Carefree II, since Chat de Mer will continue cruising south on the mainland of Mexico.

Cecile and I joined a group that traveled to Todos Santos on Saturday.  TS is on the Pacific side of Baja, about an hour’s drive away.  The migrating whales are sometimes visible from the beaches there, and we got lucky.  There was a whale that spent over 45 minutes near the surf line, blowing and swimming, a little spy-hopping, and once rolling in a wave parallel to the beach.  Of course, I got not a single bit of evidence of this on film, but I took lots of pictures of the surf!

todos santos 010

todos santos 023

This gorgeous beach is only accessible by dirt track with 4-wheel drive.  The route is not marked.

Earlier, the group had lunch at the Hotel California.  This beautiful hotel and restaurant is nicer than anything we saw in Cabo:

todos santos 008

Silvie from Puddytat took the picture:

todos santos 009 I just had to put her picture in here, because she was such great fun all day long with great stories and lots of laughs.  This lady was born and raised in, and carries a passport issued by, Zimbabwe.  Many of her stories explained, from a very personal point of view, what it was like to live in a country run by scary people.  Cecile, myself, and Sylvie spent the late afternoon on our own, browsing through the galleries and art shops at leisure.  We also found the best ice cream in Baja.  It was so delicious and creamy that we went back again later and had some more!

Sometime during the afternoon, we stopped at the bus station and purchased tickets for a 7:00 pm return bus.  Then we called my husband, who spent the day with Leo, skipper of Chat de Mer, and told them they had a few hours before they had to send the dancing girls away – LOL!  On the bus ride home, we saw the second half of a missable movie called “Wild America”.  It caught my eye, though, because a Ryan PT-22 airplane figured prominently in the drama.  This is a primary trainer from WWII.  My father owned one of these planes  for about 10 years in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s.  The movie brought back a lot of fond memories.  When we were first married, Larry used to ride in that plane with my dad when he (my dad) competed in “spot landing” contests at fly-ins.  They took first place more than once, as I recall, mostly due to all the weight Larry added!  It made putting the plane down in a specific spot a lot easier!

Earlier last week, Larry had already visited TS when another friend here, Roger on Avalon, took his wife, Jean, to the airport near Cabo.  They asked us to come along because I have a Costco card (yes, Elizabeth, I finally have my own card!) and they didn’t.  The only Costco store down here in southern Baja is in Cabo, so we did a Costco run last week after delivering Jean to the airport.  Then on the way back to La Paz, we stopped in TS for lunch and a quick look around.  We had lunch at Hotel California that day, too:

l drinking at hotel californiaKind of a funny picture of a funny guy!  (Actually, this is a cellphone picture.)

Three musicians on the roof:

three musicians Metal sculptures!

Last but not least, Muggs had a birthday, so we went out to dinner with friends, Donna and Greg of Magic Carpet.  They helped us out by taking this picture:

l and m birthday Note that Larry is wearing a jacket!  It’s a little cool in the evenings, sometimes.  You see that I am NOT wearing a jacket, and we were both comfortable.

I fly to California on Saturday for a two week visit with a busy calendar.  I hope to see many of you then.