Friday, September 28, 2007


Cruiser's Cruising Potluck

The Holiday Mystery Gifts knitalong group has begun! Twice a week, on Saturdays and Tuesdays, we will upload another set of knit and crochet projects. Remember these patterns are FREE only during the limited life of the group so sign up now! (this is known in the marketing texbooks as an "exploding offer" because if you don't buy it now, then the offer blows up and goes away).

Anyway, I've decided to post some photos of some of my contributions, but only after the pattern has been posted to the Holiday Mystery Gifts Yahoo! group. Just some teasers - more to come...

How crazy are cruisers about being out on the open water? VERY CRAZY! Seeing as most of us are working on our boats during the time that we are stuck in a marina for the hurricane season, we haven't had the pleasure of going out to sea.

So...a group of us got together and chartered a boat for our weekly potluck supper.
We had a wonderful 2 1/2 hour sunset cruise out in Banderas Bay with beautiful views of Puerto Vallarta and the lush, green mountains. The boat was an older fishing boat that has been recomissioned for charter groups. The food was excellent and plentiful - here's a picture of Jonesy waiting his turn in the salon while other cruisers scoop up the goodies in both the salon and the galley. Of course, I had to pose on the bow for a picture with the old part of Puerto Vallarta in the background.

The cruising company was the best! Good friends, new friends, lots of laughter, chatter, and even some quiet refection during the lovely sunset.

Ah...back at sea...

Monday, September 24, 2007


Baby Turtles!

Even though the temperatures were still in the high 80's at 7:30pm and it was humid-sticky, we took a walk along the beach here in Banderas Bay. Our goal was to go see the activities in the turtle nesting area about a mile up the beach - yeah, and get some exercise too. We've been such boat vegetables lately.

During the summer and early fall months, female Olive Ridley sea turtles crawl up the beach and bury their eggs. These magnificent beasts are so endangered that organizations patrol the beaches nightly, dig up the eggs, and take them to special hatching centers. There, they can mature without danger from humans, dogs, snakes, or other preditors. We've seen a couple of different species of turtles, just swimming along, during our cruising along this Pacific coast of Mexico.

Here's a picture of the manmade turtle nests. The volunteers place cones of metal screening over the nests for protection. Then, as the turtles hatch at night, they scoop them up, count them, then release them into the waters.
As we were there, we saw the sand move over a nest! Then a head popped out! Then a baby turtle - and then suddenly LOTS of baby turtles. A volunteer came over to do whatever he needs to do to get these little critters safely on their way to the big ocean. He let me hold a little guy - he was wriggling and was smooth and leathery. See all the little turtles here? So very cool!

So, I say we've been boat-veggies, and it really seems like that, hiding down in the boat with the air conditioning, but we have also been busy with upgrades and maintenance to the boat.
Also, I've been thinking up designs, knitting swatches and small items, and writing up knitting patterns for a new Yahoo! group Holiday Mystery Gifts . If you're looking for some new FREE patterns for holiday themed knits or gifts check out this new group.

With all the rain we've had this summer, we became very aware of the fact that our boat was leaking from down the mast. You see, the mast actually runs through my galley (kitchen) right through one of my counters and down into the bilge. Every morning there was a puddle of water on the counter - because it rains every night. So, off came the nasty, dirty, sun-damaged mast boot cover(seen lying on the deck in this picture). We found that the sealant had simply gotten old, so we (I say "we", I mean "Jonesy" for this icky, smelly, sticky part of the job) applied silicone sealant and reinstalled the rubber boot. This picture is where the mast runs through the decking - see how it is braced by all of these little "L" shaped pieces of wood. Anyway, a rubber boot goes over this - kinda like a gear-shift boot in a manual transmission car.

We (okay, now this means "Terry") sewed up a new sun-resistant boot cover from marine canvas, "Sunbrella", for the mast. Whooo hoooo! No more leaks and we're looking stylish! Speaking of styling - we had the canvas guy here in Puerto Vallarta make us some blue Sunbrella hatch covers, liferaft cover, and a shade for our 3 forward facing salon windows. Very inexpensive, and saved me a lot of work!!!

So, I'll leave you with this photo of a candy machine here in Mexico. It is not unusual. I've seen these items in many other vending machines.

Want a candy bar? How about some cookies? Or even some whole-grain healthy snacks? Great! Oh? You want cigarettes? Got that too!

Monday, September 10, 2007


Boca de Tomatlan

Boca de Tomatlan is a little village on the end of the busline (and road) running south around Banderas Bay. We picked up the local bus in Puerto Vallarta (50cents) and rode along the jungle cliffs by the sea for about a half hour. This south coast of the bay is sparsely populated, especially compared to the north shore where the condominium craze is in full swing.

The river runs down out of the jungle here into a small cove. Up the river is where the ecotourism trips to see the jungle canopy take place. We sat on the beach and enjoyed a fresh fish lunch, knit, and just relaxed in the steamy quiet. I had a commitment to finish up some socks for Socks for Soldiers so was happy to be able to sit and knit.

What a change from the cruising season last winter!! Everything now is bright green from the daily thunderstorms, and of course the humidity is high. But, as we keep telling each other, it's no worse than a summer day in Atlanta, Georgia and we survived many years of those!

There are very few tourists in the Puerto Vallarta / Banderas Bay area these summer months. Those that are here are Mexicans that have come down to the sea from the interior regions and higher altitudes. But the kids went back to school last month so the hotels and beachs are deserted.

Most of the Boca de Tomatlan villagers live on the far side of the river so they have to walk across this cable & wood slat swaying bridge to get to "town". Like so many other structures here in Mexico, this bridge was a little marginal - gaps between the boards, loose boards, thin & rotted boards, and who knows how reliable the cable structure is and there's a rushing river below. Oh well, we went for it anyway. Here's a pic of Jonesy picking his way back across to safety. As usual, there were a couple of Mexican dogs hanging out on the bridge. These dogs actually lifted
their heads and LOOKED at us. I've gotten used to most dogs just laying out on the sidewalk or street looking dead.
Too soon it was time to get back on the bus and head back to the boat before the

evening thunderstorm arrived.

Potluck Thursdays are one of the highlights of "cruising" (or lack thereof due to the hurricane threat) life here in the marina during the summer months. It's a chance to get out of hiding on your air-conditioned boat and chatting with fellow cruisers and a few folks who live in the condos at the marina. Usually there is a slight breeze by 6pm so the gathering takes place under the palapa hut by the jetty. There's always plenty of food - and save room for dessert!

Finished the leisure socks for SFS - made from two different balls of Opal sock yarn, one gray varigated, and a touch of red/white/and blue at the top of the cuff.

I'm focused these days on finishing up some of my many "works-in-progress". Having joined the new Ravelry website where I posted photos and descriptions of my unfinished projects. This has really brought it to my attention just how many of these forlorn, neglected knitting objects I have hiding in various secret spots on the boat.

Coconuts love to gather around our boat after the storms. Every day the marina workers scoop out the debris between our boat and the dock finger. After the coconuts fall from the trees, they get washed down the river from the heavy rains. Our marina is at the mouth of a river/estuary system so the coconuts float downstream, then get caught on our slip which is at a dead-end of the dock system.

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