Archive for February, 2011

Cruisin’ in La Cruz

Ports of Call | Posted by Admiral
Feb 19 2011

Hola, amigos.  We are still here in Mexico, and it is time for another update on the cruising life.  When last heard from, we had a fiery celebration for Muggs’ birthday.  Now we are well into February, and you may be wondering what goes on.  Mostly not much, but it all adds up to about three and a half weeks!  We stayed in Mazatlan for a while, and one day there was an air show along the malecon (wide waterfront pedestrian walkway).  It attracted a large crowd of mostly Mexican families:

2011 mid-Feb 002The people are about twelve-deep on the malecon for about two miles along the beach.  It is not easy to see in this photo.  The airshow started with a six-man parachute drop from a mile or so behind this photo.  The wind pushed the parachuters to the south (where this photo is looking).  There was a small airplane that flew in circles AROUND the parachuters!  I have never seen anything quite like it.  You can barely see the parachuters in this photo, but they are there in and near the circle “painted” by the plane’s smoke:

2011 mid-Feb 006This next photo caught the best pattern of smoke:

2011 mid-Feb 005There was a trio of fighter planes – someone near us said ‘70’s era.  There was a first-class aerobatic plane, and there was a fly-by of some large, loud, fast turbo-prop planes.  (I call them turbo-props because they were fast.  I don’t really honestly know.)  All of this was too fast to get good pictures, so I finally gave up trying.  Later that day, our friend Ernesto posted pictures on his Facebook page.  I’m a little late keeping up!

While we were still in Mazatlan, we went out on a Friday night for an Art Walk.  This was a loosely organized walk through the Old Town area of Mazatlan where many artists keep homes and studios.  We visited about half a dozen studios filled with lovely and interesting art work.  Fortunately for us, not for the artists, there is no room on a boat for actually owning art work.  I did purchase a set of photo-cards of original collage art:

DSCN2788These were being sold to raise funds for a women’s shelter. 

The best part of the art walk was looking at and admiring all of the historic architecture in Old Town, both restored:

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2011 mid-Feb 035And unrestored:

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2011 mid-Feb 034I like this building with the beautiful flowering plant (maybe bougainvillea).  I wonder what restrictions the new owner of this building will have to meet!

There are very strict rules and regulations about what you can do with these properties when you repair and remodel them.  Apparently, you may even be required to replace old wiring with old-style wiring!  Sounds a little unreasonable to us (actually, a LOT unreasonable as in unsafe), but it is not our place to say.  This could also have been false information.  

After the art walk, our group went to dinner near the lovely Plazuela Machado.  After dinner, there was a parade billed as a preview to Carnaval.  This parade featured donkey-drawn carts with coolers full of beer.  Young people on the carts were handing out free beer!  I took a short video of this which I will forward to the Webmaster for insertion when he gets a chance. 

The parade also had stilt-walkers, beauty queens, and fire batons:

02-04-11_parade fire baton

This parade walked through the narrow streets you see in the photos above of the Historic District with the crowd joining in and becoming part of the parade.  About every three minutes or so, a single rocket-style firework was fired off at the back of the parade.  This made a huge sound, and I felt sorry for the donkeys!  (Or burros – I don’t know the difference.)

The following Sunday was Superbowl Sunday.  We walked over to a local watering hole which had the English-speaking broadcast playing.  After half-time, we walked back to our boat since it was cooling off a bit and we had been sitting outside.  Larry yelped at one point, and it turns out that he pulled a muscle on the bottom of his foot.  We don’t know how this happened, but it sure hurt like a son-of-a-gun.  We saw a doctor the next day.  This doctor took an X-ray and gave him a cortisone shot, but the pain seemed to get worse instead of better.  So a couple of days after that, we sought out a different doctor.  This guy seemed to understand the problem a lot better, and he gave Larry a different shot in three different places in the foot.  There are two spots of tendonitis and one pulled muscle.  This was all an interesting experience for a couple of reasons.  The X-ray which was taken on Monday was given to us, so we had it in hand when we visited the second doctor.  The second doctor didn’t need to do that again, but he did have to have us go downstairs to the pharmacy to get the drug for the injections.  Mexican doctors write prescriptions, but it is not the same as in the US.  The pad of paper they write on is not special (no doctor’s name or registration number), and the paper is not surrendered to the pharmacist.  So I went downstairs, filled the prescription and brought it back up to the doctor, and the doctor injected Larry’s foot.  It does feel better now, about 9 days later.  He limped on a cane for a while, but now he doesn’t seem to need it.

Eventually, we decided to leave Mazatlan and bypass San Blas and Isla Isabela, two usual stops between Mazatlan and Banderas Bay.  We wanted to see more of Mexico before we have to head back north later this spring, and this is our only chance.  We will be returning to California in early April in order to help Larry’s friend Joel with his boat.  For now, we are in La Cruz in the north part of Banderas Bay where it is generally sunny and warm.  Each afternoon, there is a sea breeze which can kick up white caps and make the dinghy ride exciting and wet.  But this breeze always settles down by early evening, and the nights are quiet if sometimes rolly.

Here in La Cruz, we were fortunate to see a pair of circus acts performed by a French cruising couple on their boat.  This couple is cruising with their two children and partly paying their way doing these performances.  They use the rigging of the boat in many and unusual ways:

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2011 mid-Feb 050They used each other as counter-balances, and end this section with him “sitting” on her!  It is done for comedic effect, and is a very fun show.  They used what I would call sheer curtains – the filmy cloth you see is about eight to ten feet wide and probably 80-100 feet long.  It was rigged through a halyard and hauled up to the top of the mast where it draped to the deck from both sides of the halyard connection.  This drape is used in the manner that I have seen at the circus where it is wound around feet and ankles, sometimes knees (as you see here – look closely), and the acrobat twirls and spins using a great amount of strength to hold themselves and sometimes a partner in mid-air, then “falling” downward one twirl at a time.  Very impressive.  The story is that the husband has a history in the circus, and his wife is very strong and athletic.  So he coached her to do these things with him, and voila, they have a show!  Later in the evening, after sunset, they did another show with a romantic flavor.  I didn’t get any pictures of this, but it was also very good.

We met up with our buddy boat, Aquadesiac, finally.  Doug and Linda were in the marina here at La Cruz after returning home from a month at home to fix their house and visit family.  The house was severely damaged by a water-pipe leak, and Linda’s family lives literally all over the country.  So they had a lot going on!  They are back in Mexico now and warm and happy to be here:

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Their crewman Leo rejoined them and brought a friend – Flori:

2011 mid-Feb 077Linda and I went to market on Wednesday:

2011 mid-Feb 076Back on Aquadesiac, a newly-built seat was installed for Linda:

2011 mid-Feb 078It’s not obvious here, but the seat attaches to the end-frame of the table, and there is a support piece below.  This allows Linda easy back-and-forth access to her galley and her guests.  She was thrilled!  Boat life is all in the details.  (Thanks again to Keith Rogers who remodeled a step for us that makes our stateroom much easier to live in!)

2011 mid-Feb 073A pair of common grackles on the boat in the next slip.

2011 mid-Feb 052Scott of Scott Free playing the guitar after a hamburger feast on Aquadesiac.  (Tucker the dog and Monica of Scott Free in the foreground.)

The happy skipper, even if he is on another guy’s boat:

2011 mid-Feb 084For now, we are waiting for canvas repair work to be delivered.  We are having a three-part windshield built to help with visibility when the dew point is low as it always seems to be here.  If we can open the center section, maybe we can cool off the interior of the windshield and clear up the “window”!  Or at least have easier access to the front for wipe-downs.  We will return to Mazatlan at the end of the week and give our next report from Carnaval!