Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Jonesy - Net Controller

One of the ways that the cruising community stays in touch with each other is through the daily "Net" over the VHF radio. Jonesy has been acting as the "Net Controller" - the man behind the mike who runs the show. In addition to the "check-ins" from all of the boats, there's a list of items that are covered each day.

He calls for vessels that can carry mail back to the US/Canada, anyone needing crew or wanting to crew, gives folks a chance to ask for assistance or to make general announcements that may interest the fleet.Last year we just listened to the Net and checked-in. But this year Jonesy is comfortable with being the controller. I guess it's the additional sea-miles he has behind him now.

While I was digging through some of my storage cubicles looking for the pewter clasps for the nordic baby sweater (which I haven't found yet), I came across 3 balls of yarn rubberbanded together. A hat! Yes! I had saved these for a fun hat. So I dropped all other knitting projects...you all know how that works...and began a new hat. The brim is a 2 x 2 rib knit with some soft novelty yarn held with a tweedy wool and is rolled up over itself twice! In other words, is 3 thicknesses around the ears. Then I used another color of tweedy wool for the crown.

Well, some of our boat repairs are done! Whoo hooo! It's always something - just like a house. so here's a photo of Jonesy working under the galley sink to repair the rolling-furler for the main sail. Yes - under the kitchen sink. That's how boats are, systems are crammed in every cubby.

So Dave, on the sailing vessel Baraka worked out a schematic for how this box of electrical crap dodads works. He had to take the box over to his boat and work on it for a full day. Well, remember Opal the boat cat that we had onboard all last summer? Well, she was not pleased apparently. So, when nobody was looking - that cranky old cat chewed up Dave's homework! So now we have this to put away for next time this system acts up.

Express Delivery:

Here's Dave from Baraka making a delivery to our boat this evening. What's in the canvas bag at his feet? Why is Jonesy smiling as he grabs the bag and makes a dash for the cockpit?

Because it is a PIZZA delivery!!! Fresh out of Jan's oven on Baraka!
Jan knows that I've been under the weather on my boat with a bad cold (germs from the tourists I'm sure!)...she could probably hear me hacking as we are anchored next to each other. Anyway, she took pity on Jonesy and baked him a pizza and had Dave deliver it right to our boat! Jonesy was in heaven. I can't eat wheat (gluten) so I don't do a lot of baking on board.

Aren't cruisers great peoples? THANK YOU JAN!

Photo: Jan out standing on Baraka in Zihuatanejo making sure the pizza gets delivered.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Have Sweater - Need Grandbaby

Finally - I re-finished the neckband on this little Dale of Norway sweater for a 6-month old baby in super soft, machine washable wool. What? I don't have grandchildren yet. Hmm...So here's the deal: Produce my first grandbaby and you will win this handknit baby sweater.

The pewter clasps are here somewhere...I've seen them since we've lived on the boat...just don't know where. I actually cleaned out a large storage cubby thinking that they were there. Nope. So many other places to look...

SHOPPING: We went into the central Mercado market with our friends the s.v. Baraka folks on Saturday to pick up some groceries and just look around. Saturday is the BIG shopping day for Mexican families and the markets where bustling with activity.

First, we had our mid-day meal at our favorite little food stall...a rich guisdo del dio or stew of the day with rice, beans, and freshly made tortillas - $30 pesos or about $2.50US each. Jonesy had the chicken with a mexican sauce of chopped tomatoes, onions, and chilies, and I wolfed down the beef cubes in a wonderful, smooth spicy chili sauce. Then it was back out to the streets to shop.
Would you buy a chicken out of an orange plastic cart? Well, at at least they haven't been sitting out in the ambient temperatures in the 90's for hours as in the chickens in the little stalls at themercado.
Each of these concrete block "cells" had a woman, a chopping block, a big knife, and a line of plucked chickens waiting to be purchased. No product differentiation - how do you choose? I gotta admit I haven't bought my chickens this way yet. I still go over to the Commercial Mexicana supermarket, and buy my meat in those nicely plastic wrapped styrofoam trays.

So, I needed fresh green chilies - those mild Anaheim/California/Ortega green chilies. Nope. Not in this part of Mexico. LOTS of green chilies, but not the right ones. LOTS of dried chilies, and plastic baggies filled with different types of dried beans. And, of course, the ususal Mexican dogs sleeping in the aisles. I figure that they must be happy if they can sleep right out in the open with all of the activity and food around.

As we were crossing one of the busy streets, we heard a loudspeaker. That's fairly common - trucks drive around town and make announcements over a loudspeaker - shrimp for sale, propane gas, pineapples, whatever. This one was saying something about children costing $10 pesos. As I'm in the market for children (grandbabies)...no...wait...that's not what they mean. It's the circus and they were announcing the admission price for kids. Dang.

So here comes the circus wagon - with a full grown male and 2 females LIONS. Right out there in the street! Kinda scary after that tiger escape in San Francisco recently and sad for the animals.

After a while, we walked back to the cruisers' hangout here in Zihuatanejo, Rick's Bar, passing these colorful hammocks hanging on the side of a building. Nope, don't need one - got mine already. We just socialized for a couple of hours. I knit too (duh!). Then it was back to the boat for all of us.

Dave (s.v. Baraka) kayaked out to his stern anchor line to check out the damage caused the night before from a motor boat running into it in the dark. That's Dave in the foreground. I knit.

Friday, January 18, 2008


The new look...

This is Dave. Dave is a cruiser. A long-time cruiser with many sea miles. Dave is the pet of Opal the boat-cat who we had as our guest this past summer onboard the Niki Wiki.

Dave is onboard helping Jonesy to diagnose the electrical problem with our in-mast mainsail roller furling sysytem.

Hmmm...Dave has the same colors in his hair as Terry. Terry cut off her ponytail a month ago. See Terry attach the ponytail to Dave's hat. See Dave get really, really "cool". Dave is planning to use this hat to fool all of his future boat guests.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Bobby Award Nomination!

Yes! I've been nominated for a 2007 Bobby Award on the knitting website Ravelry in the Most Unusual Project catagory for my Theatre Popcorn Box Hooter Heaters! What an honor! Here's a photo of just how becoming these babies can be when worn by the appropriate model. So if you're a Ravelry member - go vote! and vote often!

More Afghan Squares
Well you can see what I've been knitting lately - more designs for 7x7" squares for my guild's charity program. I've had a great time exploring slip-stitch patterns in my stitch dictionaries. All of the 2-color squares you see here are knit with 1 color of yarn at a time. Very, very easy.

The hardest part is to establish the pattern and border to get to a 7" square measurement, and I'm doing it in 2 different gauges to accomodate the wide variety of supposedly worsted weight yarns available and knitters' tensions.

My favorite so far is the charcoal and cream striped pattern (photo to the left). Jonesy's favorite is the red and cream ladders pattern (photo to the right). I thought it took 12 squares to make a laprobe, but I was just informed that it takes 20 - heck, that's just more designing fun for me.

Other than that, I've been steadily working on my "Land and Sea" Gansey sweater and my latest Socks for Soldiers leisure socks.

With all of the passage-making/cruising we have done this past week I have had plenty of time to knit. I even knit at night during my "watch" at the helm with the help of an LED headlamp. See? Here's a photo of the Land and Sea sleeve. Yep, it was really dark out at sea this time...no moon, no stars because it was slightly overcast.

The Passage South
We had a great little trip from Barra de Navidad to Santiago Bay where we walked/bus rode into town to do some reprovisioning. In Santiago, we picked up another couple of boats for the longer, overnight trip farther south.

And so it was, the 3 sailing vessels hoisted anchor, raised the sails, started their massive engines and set off to sea. No, not the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria, but the Niki Wiki, Baraka, and Enchantress. The sun rose over the coal-burning power plant in nearby Manzanillo as the passage makers headed around the point. Dodging the heavy freighter commercial traffic of the Manzanillo port (see photo off of our stern below), we encountered cool temperatures - 67 degrees and enough wind to fill the sails.

As the rag tag fleet buddy boats sailed on we were joined by more vessels: The Merry Rowe's, Cyrno, and La Sierna. At sunset, we two front runners, encountered a Mexican Navy vessel, and, once again, we (and the Merry Rowe's family) were boarded for a "routine inspection". Enchantress sailed by us during our inspection - taking the lead - sneaky, very sneaky.

The night was was boring, boring, boring. Nothing to see at all. Because Niki Wiki was out in front of the pack and I had the radar set to forward-looking, the screen was totally devoid of any blips; no pangas, no freigters...nothing. And the chart plotter, which looks a lot like a video game, was pretty boring too with just straight, deserted, coastline. I even took pictures of the chart plotter and the instruments I have to watch - yep, it was that much of a non-event which is actually a good thing.

What I did do is smell all sorts of odd stuff - cows at pasture, coffee roasting, and wet dog. Whatever was going on along the coast sure put out some strange odors.

So I knit. As I came across little pieces of vegetative matter (VM) or grass in the rustic yarn I was using (Cottage Craft) I would pick them out with my tweezers and throw them out to sea. Or so I thought. In the morning I discovered that these bits of grass & red yarn lint had simply gone back over my shoulder and floated down into the rear hatch and into our berth! Jonesy said he had dreams of it raining grass, yeah right.

Our next anchoring stop was scenic Isla Grande where we snorkeled for a couple of days with our buddy boating friends and then headed over here to Zihuatanejo Bay. Check out this photo we took in Santiago on Playa Miramar - do you think the Corona Beer distributor has a lot of influence here??

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