Monthly Archives: November 2014

“They call the wind Mariah” (Allan J. Lerner)

“Away out here they’ve got a name for wind,” but it ain’t Mariah.  Nope.  The big winds–we/re talking tropical storms here–have names that start with the letter A and run through the alphabet until the last big storm of the year.   The indigenous people of Mexico called these winds Hurakons, after “a great spirit who commanded the east wind.” Spanish explorers adopted the word.  This year’s storms began with Amanda.  Vance blew through last week.  Winnie will be next, if another storm south of us organizes itself to tropical storm strength.

We chose Banderas Bay for Elizabeth Jean‘s first hurricane season because of its reputation as a protected hurricane hole.  As we traveled this summer it seemed as if our friends were following the hurricanes as much, or more, than we were.  Every time a hurricane went through we heard from folks concerned for  Elizabeth Jean‘s safety.  To date (knock wood) she has weathered the season’s storms.  Other areas on our path were not so lucky.  Odile hammered Cabo San Lucas, La Paz and other spots in the Sea of Cortez.  Fifteen people died during the hurricane.  One, a man named Gunther, was a familiar voice to us.  He frequently moderated the La Paz cruisers net, which we listened to while we were in the Sea of Cortez.  He is reported to have gone down with his boat anchored in La Paz harbor.


The wind called Odile, Category 4 hurricane approaching Cabo San Lucas on September 14, 20114.

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“The dead return once again to become part of the family” (La Ofrenda)

As our last post noted, we arrived at the Nuevo Vallarta malecon in time for the traditional Day of the Dead celebration.    As was explained to us, the dead return and walk among us.  Rather than a scary thing, their presence is intended to allow us to have them among us again each year for a short time.


The colors contrast with the black and white face paint.


Stunning detail.


Black is the new black on Dia de los Muertos.


Families erect altars to celebrate their loved ones.  An altar often contains the loved ones’ pictures, favorite foods and beverages, flowers, candles and incense and other items the dead enjoyed in life.



Lal and friend.


Cross dressing is part of the custom (for reasons we don’t fully understand).

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“More blogging, less flogging” (Jeff Garrity)

We begin our second season of cruising with our friend Jeff Garrity’s instructions to Captain Lal as our watch words.  We have spent the time since our October 1 return to Banderas Bay combining the business of recommissioning Elizabeth Jean with enjoying the area’s many pleasures.  The captain prepared a ten page to-do list that kept us on task with a minimum of lashing.  When the heat became too much, we retired to the Paradise Village pool for two for one happy hour drinks.  The ocean’s bath tub like temperature and generally calm waters often soothed our bodies and souls after a day of work.  We also took time to enjoy events such as the Banderas Bay fishing tournament and traditional Day of the Dead celebration.  In less than two weeks, we will welcome our friend Scott Vokey who will help us sail to the Manzanillo area.  We will stay there through Christmas, joined by the real Elizabeth and Jean for the holidays.  Beginning in the New Year we will make our way south to and through Central America.  Our goal is to transit the Panama Canal in late spring.

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 Captain Lal going up the mast to inspect equipment, fastenings, and other assorted nautical items.


All looks well below.

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Mechanic Jack Tinsley instructs Eric on the proper way to pound (er I mean tap) on Perkins’ injectors to loosen them for a tune up.


Eric threading the needle before beginning his canvas work projects, which included new covers for the windlass and outboard motor.

Rigging the jib

Lal bends on the jib.

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One of the marina’s tigers licks her lips, apparently happy to see us again.


This newly hatched turtle was certainly glad to meet Eulalie who found the tortoise heading AWAY from the water.  Lal carefully collected the little one and helped it find the ocean.


We found this tortuga on a La Cruz side street.

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Banderas Bay is home to many national and international competitions.  Mid-October is time for the fishing tournament.

19LaCruz. (5)

Mike Danielson, the local North Sails representative memorializes the winning catches by dabbing them with paint . . .

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 and transferring their images to cloth.  Here, the award winning Dorado.

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Each Sunday, fire dancers welcome the new crop of resort guests to Paradise Village.

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A sunset swim after checking off items off some items on the to-do lists; surf casters try their luck beyond the surf break.

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Speaking of sunsets and fishing, this seaside sculpture welcomed us in Bucerias, a nearby town where we dined with new found friend Caroline Moore, who teaches English at the local university.


After tuning up our outboard motor, we put Schooner (our dinghy) through her paces and ended up at Nuevo Vallarta’s Day of the Dead celebration.  Stay tuned for our next blog for more on this celebration.

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