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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April 22, 2015-Earth Day

Bird Watching

Several events were planned in La Cruz for Earth Day 2015 and we tried to participate in all of them. We had a busy day.

To start off with, we joined the La Cruz Birders for a bird watch hike around the area. It was our first bird watch hike but the group were experts and they had done the same route on Earth Day previously and they were really interested to see the state of wild birds in our community this year. We sighted over 50 species compared to 35 from last year. Sadly, it was felt that the construction for the new highway just outside of town has driven many birds out of their natural habitat and into the urban area, accounting for the increase, and probably many of them were stressed by the displacement. I have to say that I found the photography challenging, but I got a few shots and we enjoyed the walk.

By 9:30 we had shifted over to the beach for the annual beach clean-up. Some two dozen members of the cruising community hit the beaches armed with large garbage sacks, scouring the shorelines for any inorganic matter. The interesting result was that very little trash was found. La Cruz’s beaches are pretty clean.

In the afternoon we turned Wings into a garbage scow as we set sail in the Bay with several other boats to pick up floating trash. We took a contingent of kids but even with their keen eyesight and a competitive urge to get more junk than any of the other boats, again, we found very little.

Bay Clean Up

Apparently the problem of garbage, primarily plastic, which plagues the world’s ocean and which we have seen firsthand, doesn’t start in Bandaras Bay. That evening I reminded the group of cruisers who collected around the bonfire on the beach to reflect on the day’s activities about how lucky we were to live in a such a beautiful place and as cruisers, many of us whom will soon depart for the far corners of the globe in our boats, we can and should spread the word about caring for our oceans to other places, and that we might hope someday, through our efforts and the efforts of others, to find all of the world’s oceans as clean as Bandaras Bay.

After picking up what trash we could find the young crew on Wings turned to the sheets and we got on the wind and had a boisterous sail back up to Punta Blanca before we turned downwind and headed for the barn, not getting home until 6:00PM. One maneuver we tried, successfully it seems, was to drop all of our sails at once when we arrived at the entrance to the marina. As we neared the marina I assigned all of my young crew to positions on the halyards and decks and told them we would sail at full speed in perfect trim until I gave the word, then we would turn up into the wind and quickly drop the main and jib together, in a demonstration of seamanship that would impress their friends on the other boats.

Judy pointed out later that in 28 some years we have never before tried that maneuver and she wondered why I would subject our young crew to such an experiment, a question to which I had no answer, but everyone did their part and I’d say we looked rather smart doing it.

Anyhow we ended Earth Day at the bonfire on the beach where everyone told of the day’s adventures and we all agreed that Earth Day 2015, was good.

Click here for more photos.

MORE BIRDS-We have lots more bird photos, click here
to see the list of blog posts with birds featured in them.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huanacaxtle

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

April 18, 2015-Dash to the Border

Revision (Why? Oh, I don't know, just 'cause)

wingssail-fredrick roswold
Our route (Green, the other colors represent other driving trips we've taken)

With a solid “chunk” the car door closed and we started the engine. We had to go to Texas on an immigration run so we were back in the Chrysler and off on an 11 day trip, first to Texas, then Florida, then back to Texas, and finally, back to La Cruz. Texas? Why Texas? Well, we had to get back to the US to apply for Mexican residency and Texas is the closest border. But anyhow, why then, Florida? That hardly seems on the way.

Once we got to McAllen Texas we found out we had to wait five days for interview appointments. OK, what do you do in McAllen Texas for five days? Go to Florida. After all, we were already half way there and Judy’s sisters live in Florida. So off we went eastward at a mad pace, and arrived in Pensacola a day and a half later.

Maybe I should explain the “mad pace”. Pretty much the same as when we travel by boat, when I get on the road I want to cover some ground. I drive fast and we don’t stop. We drove for as many as eleven hours a day and we pushed hard. Speed limits are advisory. The point is: how fast can I go without getting a ticket or killing us? (Pretty fast, Judy less so). Stops for gas and lunches are short. It helps when the roads are straight and traffic is light, which it was for most of this trip. And we did cover ground: on this trip we covered about 3800 miles in roughly six days of driving. There were a few hours stuck in traffic in some of the cities (mostly in Texas) and on the Pacific side of Mexico, some curvy roads which slowed us considerably. Oh, there was a day of really heavy torrential rains in Louisiana and Mississippi and a couple of times traffic stopped completely in that rain.

Still, it was fast, and fun and the visit in Pensacola was very nice and we loved being with family for a few days; sisters and hubbies doing fine and kids growing up, but we had appointments back in Texas, so we hopped back in the car and sped off again. This time we were westbound, and it took a day and a half to get back to McAllen, rain and all, where we got our applications submitted and approved. Then we were back into the car one more time and we sped off again at another mad pace and arrived back in La Cruz in another day and a half.

The only problem with this kind of travel is that we don’t get to act like tourists. We miss some of the nice historic cities and other vistas we could see if we slowed down or made little detours. If you can’t see it from the highway, we don’t see it. Sometimes we’ll stop for photos, but on this trip we didn't stop much, not even to take photographs. Lots of time the weather wasn’t conducive for photos, and on some of the most scenic highways there weren’t many places to pull over, but mostly it was my need for speed; I just wanted to keep going. So I can live with that I guess, but there is not too much to show for all this driving (except the much needed resident permits).

I will mention that we did see some spectacular sights, such as the new Mazatlan to Durango highway and the city of Monterrey situated in a valley surrounded rugged mountains, and lots of desert. And we did get some shots one evening in Guadalajara.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Next time we'll take it easy and stop to smell the roses.

Click here to see a couple other photos.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huanacaxtle

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Thursday, April 02, 2015

April 2, 2015-A Good Day Sailing

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Sky and White Sails

We just went out for an afternoon sail in the stunning Bandaras Bay and we had over 20 knots of breeze and flat water. Perfect conditions. It went well.

This was our first sail since the regatta, and our first sail by ourselves since December. No crew today, just Fred & Judy.

We headed out through the anchorage, turned into the wind and set the number 4 jib and the Dacron main . We went up wind for an hour. We made a couple of tacks. We adjusted the sheets and halyards and marked the settings. We hit 7.15 upwind in 24 knots, and sailed high as we did it.

We drank a beer, then changed to tequila. The combination of good wind, warm Mexico air, and flat water, to say nothing of the tequila, was just right.

The sun got low on the horizon and we turned back towards home and put on the auto pilot.

Judy said, "Watch the wind for the northerly shift, don't want an accidental jibe with the autopilot on."

We're starting to know the bay.

We saw a boat set with racing sails luffing into the wind and dropping their sails on deck and then go into the marina ahead of us, and we saw another, setting a big genoa, come charging out, heading downwind toward Vallarta with a bone in their teeth. There is some sailing on this bay.

We returned to the slip, as we often have before, wind-burned and flushed, and with maybe a bit too much tequila in our belly, and with what seems like acres of sail dumped all over the deck; we have chaos onboard, but we're happy.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Acres of Sails

It was a good day's sail and we'll fold these bloody sails when we get in.

This is a good place to be.

Click here for more photos.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huanacaxtle

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