Monthly Archives: February 2015

“Now for something completely different” Act Two: SV Insouciant

All cruisers have unique stories AND some stories just strike us as even more unique than most.  Take two aerial acrobats, Zoe from France and Canadia Keeley; mix in Captain Nate; add a portable, but very large, collapsible trapeze and pour them all into a Hans Christian 36 and you have sv Insousciant.  Zoe and Keeley, performers for Cirque de Soleil and other aerial troops, have formed a roving duo that supplements its cruising kitty with shows at marinas, restaurants and malls along their way.  We were fortunate enough to catch the pair’s dress rehearsal at Marina Chiapas, Mexico before Insouciant heads to French Polynesia.

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Keeley, to the left; Zoe to the right.

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     Don’t try this at home.

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Or this!

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And especially not this!!!

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Nate holds the props.

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The whole bundle of fun fits into this 36 foot package; some assembly required.

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Hello, El Salvador

If leaving Mexico tugged at our hearts, entering El Salvador got the adrenaline pumping again.  Bahia Jaltepeque, our port of entry, is guarded by a sand bar, which can only be entered at high tide with the help of a local pilot.  We arrived outside the sand bar in early afternoon.  The next high tide was after sunset, too late to safely enter.  With late afternoon thermals building the seas we sailed offshore for an hour waiting for calmer conditions.  The next morning we arose before sunrise to ready Elizabeth Jean for her rendezvous with Rogelio, the pilot provided by Bahia del Sol, and Bill, organizer of the El Salvador’s Cruisers Rally.

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Marck Santee, out for a sunset beach walk, shot this picture of Elizabeth Jean anchored beyond the surf break.  We met Marck the next day after crossing the bar.

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Thirteen hours later, Elizabeth Jean catches a wave to begin her entry.  Photo credit El Salvador Cruisers Rally.

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Photo credit El Salvador Cruisers rally.

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Oh, baby! Oh, baby!  Photo credit: El Salvador Cruisers Rally.

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Our depth gauge showed 10 feet of water under our keel.  Photo credit: El Salvador Cruisers’ Rally

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Eric, Nancy Israel, and Captain Lal.  Happy to be in El Salvador.

A short time later, Bill one of the Rally organizers walked us around to help us check in with immigration and then gave us a tour of the estuary.  While we were too early to formally be part of the rally, Bill and Jean treated us as if we were Rally members.  For more information about the rally see the following link:

http://elsalvadorrally.com/Home_Page.php

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“What we like about you” Part 3

Mexico, it’s Elizabeth Jean again.  People here are beginning to wonder.   They see us off with our computer and suspect, correctly, we are on the internet.  So, it is time for us to let go and move on.  Before we do, one more thing we like about you.

Thing 6: Your people.

From Ensenda to Chiapas and all parts in between, your people welcomed us.  We felt at home and safe roaming remote fishing villages, exploring small towns, and navigating large cities.  When we spoke our limited (but now enlarged) Spanish, you encouraged us.  On inland tours, your experts shared their pride in and passion for you.  In sum, your people opened their homes and lives to us.  We will remember them and you, Mexico, fondly until we return.

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In Zincantan, la Senora teaches Dominique from Meridian how to use the loom.

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Making tamales in Yelapa.

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Buying fish in San Evaristo, Sea of Cortez

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Sharing photographs in Agua Verde, Sea of Cortez.

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Sharing the night on the Day of the Dead, Nuevo Vallarta

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Sunrise Volcanoes: A Haiku

Seven volcanoes studded our chart on the coast along our route from Chiapas, Mexico to Bahia del Sol, El Salvador.  Sunrise often provided our best opportunity to see them, silhouetted against the sky.

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Loom abeam against pink skies,

Heralding the dawn.

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“What we like about you” Part 2

Ah Mexico, it’s been a few short days and our memories of our time with you are still strong.  So, here are few more things we like about you.

Thing 3: Your bountiful food and refreshing drink

Our time with you was a veritable feast.  Some days we could pluck breakfast from our porch, or strike a deal with a friendly fishermen.  Margaritas cooled us down and your coffee warmed us up.

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Bananas hanging out our door at Yelapa.

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Eight AAA batteries bought us these tasty crustaceans in a remote Baja anchorage.

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The Tronconnes fruit and vegetable truck brought your bounty to our table.

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Guacamole and octopus salad while waiting for favorable winds in the Sea of Cortez.

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La Manzanilla raw bar.

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We could count on your coffee being fresh and flavorful.  Photo credit: Beth Laschever.

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To you, Mexico.

Thing 4: The anchorages and marinas

Whether we were out on the hook, or tied up at dock, we appreciated the many safe harbors along your coast.  Our ability to rest, provision, and recreate as we traveled greatly enhanced our experience.

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La Cruz anchorage at sunset.

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Paradise village.  Elizabeth Jean’s secure summer home.

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Elizabeth Jean snugly anchored in Ensenada Carrizal; great snorkeling a dinghy ride away.

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Las Hadas Anchorage.

Thing 4: Your expatriots

You have charmed other foreigners before us.  Some now permanently enjoy your warm embrace.  These transplants have added texture and talent to our Mexican experience.

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Morning sun lights the Sky Temple in Yelapa, Judith Roth’s labor of love.

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A previous post sang our praise to Aruna and Wayland and their many contributions to La Cruz.

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Mechanic, Jack Tinsley, a Canadian transplant, gently taps Perkins in Paradise Village, keeping him well tuned.  John Pounders, a skilled electrician, helped us decommission Elizabeth Jean for the summer.  He is passing on his skills to his local assistant Julio.

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From France, by way of British Columbia, this baker delivers sweet pleasure in Barra de Navidad.

Thing 5: Your cruising community.

Fellow cruisers, who have made Mexico a temporary or more permanent home, enriched our time with you.  Morning coffee often accompanies the VHF radio check in with the local cruisers net.  Need weather?  Listen to the net.  A boat part?  Check the net.  Some fun?  The net has it.  Single side ban radio allowed us to more remotely connect with cruisers underway.  Every new anchorage brought new friends with whom to share our adventure.

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Eulalie with solo circumnavigator Jean Socrates in La Paz.

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Cruisers sharing Lal’s birthday in Barra de Navidad.

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Fellow Seahawks fans; sharing the joy of victory and the agony of defeat.

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“Off we go sailing on Elizabeth Jean” (Willi O. Ferron)

Our good friend Nancy Israel is on board and when the sniffer dog clears us for departure we will sing the chanty, created for us by Willi O. Ferron (a.k.a Bill Ferron), and cast off for new lands.  We hope you will join us in song and that you all are pursuing your own dreams.

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The sniffer dog checks us in to Chiapas and is the last step to clear us out of Mexico.

The Tale of the Elizabeth Jean

A Sea Chanty, Toast and Bon Voyage

by Willi O. Ferron

I’ll tell you the tale of the Elizabeth Jean,

As fine of a sloop as you’ve ever seen,

Her lines are all coiled and her decks are clean,

And the amperes are flowing from her solar machine.

 

So off we go sailing on the Elizabeth Jean,

We run with the tides, and we’re chasing the breeze,

We count all our blessings (whatever that means),

And thank the Almighty, we’re livin’ our dream.

 

She’s all in ship shape, and ready to sail,

Out through the Straits, and around Neah Bay,

Past Long Beach, Astoria and Manzanitia too,

‘Til she finds California, no home port will do.

 

So off we go sailing on the Elizabeth Jean,

We run with the tides, and we’re chasing the breeze,

We count all our blessings (whatever that means),

And thank the Almighty, we’re livin’ our dream.

 

So why does a man, head off to sea?

It’s been asked o’r the years, but it’s still a mystery,

Is it the smell of the salt?  Or the call of the breeze?

Or perhaps just the smile of a lass named ‘Lalie.

 

So off we go sailing on the Elizabeth Jean,

We run with the tides, and we’re chasing the breeze,

We count all our blessings (whatever that means),

And thank the Almighty, we’re livin’ our dream.

 

And what can you say about good Captain Lal,

She can chart any course, find any port of call,

She’ll take on the waves, and master the crew,

And if you’re out of rum, Irish whiskey will do.

 

So off we go sailing on the Elizabeth Jean,

We run with the tides, and we’re chasing the breeze,

We count all our blessings (whatever that means),

And thank the Almighty, we’re livin’ our dream.

So as our dear friends head south down the coast,

Pick up your glass and join in this toast,

“Hoist up the mainsail,” “Jibe ho!” “Hard Alee”

Here’s to lovers, and dreamers, Eric and ‘Lalie

So off we go sailing on the Elizabeth Jean,

We run with the tides, and we’re chasing the breeze,

We count all our blessings (whatever that means),

And thank the Almighty, we’re livin’ our dream.

So when you look up at the stars in the sky,

Feel the sun on your back, or salt-spray in your eyes,

Think of the Tale of the Elizabeth Jean,

And remember it’s never too late for your dream.

 

So off we go sailing on the Elizabeth Jean,

We run with the tides, and we’re chasing the breeze,

We count all our blessings (whatever that means),

And thank the Almighty, we’re livin’ our dream.

 

 

 

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“What [we] like about you” (The Romantics) Part 1

Mexico, what can we say.  It’s been a great 13 months.  Quite frankly, we didn’t think it would last this long, but your charms seduced us.  Now it’s time for us to move on.  And the rumors are true, we are leaving you for another country–El Salvador.  Let us begin by reassuring you, it’s not you.  It’s us.  At heart we are rovers.  As we sail off, we want to celebrate what we had together and, well,  what we like about you.

Thing 1:  It’s physical.

We have known just how big you are; however, we did not fully appreciate how long your coastline really is.  We logged thousands of miles traveling from Ensenada to Chiapas, including an extensive detour into the Sea of Cortez.  Your varied physical charms also captivated us.  From desert mountains, to tropical beaches, to active volcanoes, beautiful vistas met us at every turn.  And did I mention the ocean?  The Pacific Ocean lives up to its reputation as being peaceful (as long as we paid attention to our weather forecasts).  Finally, your weather–particularly the sunshine– is a wonder, especially after decades in the Pacific Northwest.

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Mexico es muy grande.

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Desert mountains ring the sea of Cortez.

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 The Pacific in a calm mood; sun.

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Colima volcanoes.  Photo credit: Beth Laschever.

Thing 2: Your flora and fauna

Flowers, cactus and palm trees, whales, turtles, pelicans, porpoises, cacique birds, flying manta rays, monkeys and iguanas.  Oh my!  Your wildlife kept us alert and the Albatross busy.

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Baja cactus and the Lal.

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Yelapa flowers.

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Pelicans.

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Tortoise rescue.

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Reef fish in Ensenada Carrizal.  Photo credit: Beth Laschever

Thing 3: Your history, culture, and arts

Mayan temples, centuries-old churches, artisan crafts and more celebrations than we could have imagined dazzled us.

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Palenque

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San Cristobal

 

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Hand woven table runners in Zincantan

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Bringing in the New Year.  Photo credit: Beth Laschever

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