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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Nowhere to go but up.

Sometimes when you're at your lowest it's easier to reach your highest. Our friend Ryan on Godspeed was suffering. Everything was going wrong for him. He was trapped in a lonely dirty port a ruthless victim of Murphy's Law and at the mercy of a conniving worthless mechanic. Even the little town conspired against him by refusing to accept his dollars just to buy a little beer. You see when Ryan left us almost three weeks ago he was bound for El Salvador so he unloaded all his pesos prior to his departure. But the world conspiring against him as it was drove him back into a tiny Mexican port devoid of pesos and hope.

Two weeks and about $700 dollars later, very little of that was spent on beer mind you, Ryan was beginning to think things couldn't get worse. We talked with him on the SSB to try to cheer him up a little and reassure him we would be there to help out soon. But it wasn't until a 37 foot boat called Sonrisa (means smile) shared the anchorage with him that his luck changed and an incredible story unfolded.

The owners on Sonrisa from Kansas wanted to go home. Mexico is a long ways from Kansas and I doubt Dorothy ever went that far. So Ryan being of a similar melancholy mindset invited them to dinner on Godspeed. So after shopping for food at the one place he found that would take US dollars, he returned to the anchorage where the guys on Sonrisa waved him over to see if he'd prefer to cook on their boat. Ryan was impressed with the space on their 37 foot Endeavour sloop. The owners again mentioned their desire to just go home and how they've been discussing what to do with the boat. After a pregnant pause Sonrisa's captain smiled at Ryan and said, "With your permission I'd like to give you this boat."

I think we're going to have to change Ryan's name to Sonrisa, because he can't stop smiling.

Isn't that the best story you've heard all year? (See the photo of beautiful Sonrisa below)

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Back on the Boat

We just got back to the boat a couple of days ago and busted butt on boat chores (changing oil, climbing the mast, etc.) so we could return to the quiet anchorage. But we’ve just got to tell you more about Oaxaca (“wah-HA-kah”). We stayed at this place called “Casa Raab” where they had 40 acres of land, 5 dogs, 4 cats, 4 burros, a horse and 3 parrots. When we unpacked our beasts from our 2 cars and added a dog and 4 cats to the mix, they blended right in. Even Jordan and Jezebel reluctantly made some new friends. The Casa Raab folks also rescue strays and find them homes after some much needed TLC. Needless to say Scott and Liz found an adorable new crew member, “Lilly Mae”.

We had a great time at Casa Raab. We learned first hand how Mezcal is made by helping to dig up the cooked “pinas” and prep them for fermentation. We enjoyed lounging by the pool and taking walks around the property and playing with all the animals. And I also got to try my hand at playing the “Washtub Base” while Scott and Tony played guitar.

As I mentioned earlier we went to the Monte Alban ruins which date back about 500 BC to 1600 AD and we also went to see some other ruins, “Dainzu”, which date back even earlier. You can see Liz and Sherrell checking out the Dainzu sports arena where they played a game which seemed a little similar to soccer.

There are TONS of unexplored ruins dotting the hills and valleys. I suppose if you were an archeologist with some spare funding you could probably make some fantastic discoveries. And the city has some great architecture like the European-style cathedrals.

Now that we are back at anchor and have the boat in good to go condition, we’re going to explore some of the bays a little more and let Lilly Mae get used to life on Ocean Lady before we cross the Tehuantepec in a week or so. When we find some time we’ll post a story about Southern Mexico on the homepage. I’ve got some beautiful panoramic photos and some good underwater shots that just need to be seen.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

In Oaxaca

We packed up the cats and together with Ocean Lady we took two rental cars and drove to Oaxaca. Perhaps you might have heard of this place on the news due to their riots and the Canadian reporter that was killed. Well, that scared off the regular tourists, leaving the place to hardy travelers.
Oaxaca has a very rich and old culture with lots of ruins and amazing artwork. When we find some time, we'll post some photos and tell you about our time here. It's been really fantastic and the place we are staying in allows us to bring all 4 of our cats and a dog. In fact there's a even bigger surprise as Ocean Lady has a new crew member! More on all that later!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Bahia Jicaral

After saying good by to Willow and Tara who headed out for their long trek to Costa Rica, we sucked it up and headed out on a grueling passage to Isla Cacaluta about 4 miles from the town. There's a massive beach that obviously gets pummeled in the summer by hurricane waves because the beach is practically a 30 foot wall of sand. We found some nice coral there, and walked the beach and the park checking out all the animals. But the wind switched and the second night was too rough to sleep.

So another tough 4 miles and we joined up with Godspeed, Get Lost and Ocean Lady in Jicaral. The coral here is really good and there's quite a few small types of tropical fish. Luck for you, Ocean Lady had an underwater little camera, so we'll soon be able to post some photos of 50% of the world we've never been able to show you before.

The water here in the Hualtulco area is amazingly clear. I can easily see the anchor at 25 feet down and the snorkeling has been some of the best we've had in Mexico -- on par with our secret spots in Isla Angel de la Guardia in the northern Sea of Cortez.

Last night we had a beach barbecue under the full moon. It was a nice mellow night and we wondered how our friends were doing sailing their boats along the lonely stretch of Guatamala heading south as we sipped cold beer and listened to music.

{GMST}15|41.791|N|96|13.848|W|Amazing snorkeling.|Jicaral{GEND}

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