Monday, May 14, 2018

Welcome Aboard!

Cinnabar is in the water! After 2.5 weeks of hot, sweaty, dirty labor we (Tom, Sylvia and Rob) are now floating in an anchorage near the boatyard. 

While working on the boat we were fortunate enough to stay in a nearby bungalow where we would wait out the morning showers before heading to the boatyard.

No wonder the garden is so green.

On the day that we splashed Cinnabar we moved out of the bungalow and onto the boat.

It's always a little nerve-wracking to lift the boat over the water and gently put her in, but it all went off without a hitch.

With Rob (SHINDIG) on board for a couple of weeks I've noticed one or two changes on the boat. When I opened the coffee/tea cupboard the first morning this is what I saw.

No, Rob does not have a shot of Don Julio with his morning coffee, but he does like to keep it handy.

Did I say changes? I meant to say improvements. 

Welcome aboard Rob!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

What We Did On Our Southern Hemisphere Summer Vacation

It's been a while, so if you've got the time to catch up get comfy, grab a cold one and read on...

NOVEMBER: We put CINNABAR away in the Raiatea Carenage for the second year in a row.

CINNABAR next to her pal SHINDIG. (Left, blue bottom and red outboard, on which we sailed across the Pacific in 2017. No not that little boat sitting on cans!)

We flew home to the USA for a quick visit with family and friends and to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday.

Summer in the Southern Hemisphere is winter in the Northern; we were too used to tropical temps and it was way too cold for us in CA, so...

DECEMBER: We drove down to Baja, MX and stopped in Bahia Concepcion along the way to enjoy Christmas with the McGuire/Matatyaou/Hudnut families. It was a fun combination of Christian and Jewish holiday with matzoh ball soup, roast turkey, traditional sides, and homemade Challah bread. So good!

On Boxing Day (Dec 26) we drove to La Paz to move into our spiffy apartment (nicknamed Funkytown) and reconnect with our ex-dock neighbors Manny and Lola.

With bay area pals Lou and Mary (visiting La Paz), and neighbors Lola and Manny

Tom drove to Scorpion Bay to meet up with the McGuire group for a surfing adventure while I stayed in La Paz to hang out with friends.

Kelston and Tom hangin' loose in Scorpion Bay.

The nice, long rides were enjoyed by all including Asaf and his kids, a first for them in Baja.

JANUARY: We went to Cabo for a week to enjoy a life of luxury with our good friends the Beltons. Huge thanks to Heather, Wynn, Ava and Kellen for the deluxe accommodations. 

Toe-side view of our complex, not too shabby!

Tom takes Kellen and Ava for a kayak, our complex in the background.

Hanging out with Long John Silver in Cabo, aaaargh!

We decided one week was not enough so they made plans to visit us in La Paz during the kids' spring break in February.

LA VENTANA: Tom started his kiting vacation, yay!! And did a lot of downwinders with his friends from Oregon Nigel and Brenda, and their kids Fred and Joules.

View from Tom's GoPro with friend Nigel in the distance.

An extra activity: Tom reconnected with a couple of cyclists he'd met when he was surfing in Scorpion Bay and one day they rode from La Paz to La Ventana.

Michelle and Mike, from NY state, were off-road cycling from San Diego to Cabo.

SHINDIG: Rob and Nancy came to La Ventana for six weeks and had a slew of friends parade down for mini-vacations. We spent a few days with them in La Ventana, and after Tom, Rob, Nancy and their friends (Josh and Ralph) went kiting for the day, Josh gave everyone salsa lessons. It was a shindig!

L to R Joules and Fred, Brenda with teacher Josh, Nancy (SHINDIG) and Ralph. 

FEBRUARY: Girlfriends Dina and Claire came to visit for a long weekend. They timed it perfectly with Carnaval where we overdid the Margaritas and then recovered at beautiful Tecolote beach.

A perfect day in Tecolote with Sylvia, Claire and Dina.

The Beltons returned to Baja and we had a wonderful week of beaches, shell-collecting and touring around La Paz. 

Kellen and Wynn enjoying a game of chess.

Ava gets into the local art.

Many more visits to La Ventana.

Post-kiting hanging out with friends at Brenda and Nigel's place. Rob (SHINDIG), Brenda, Ralph, Nigel, Sue (visiting Rob and Nancy).

MARCH: Our friends Sally and Stan invited us to transit the Panama Canal with them and their friend Kerry aboard their Cal 40 ILLUSION. We couldn't resist so we made arrangements to travel from La Paz to Panama City. Not knowing much about Panama we were surprised to discover that Panama City is a huge metropolis! 

Sally, Sylvia and Tom enjoying Panama City

In order to transit the narrow isthmus in Panama one must begin at sea level, transit through the first sets of locks up to Gatun Lake which is 85 ft (26M) above sea level, and then through the last set of locks back down to sea level. 
We spent a couple of days preparing Illusion... 

Kerry and Stan sort through the humongous dock lines that were provided for the journey.

...and then pre-sunrise one morning left the dock and motored to the mouth of the river to wait for our guides. 

The Advisor and his assistant were brought out to ILLUSION on a tender.
We spent the entire day transiting the locks. Sailboats get to squeeze in with big container or cruise ships.

Illusion motors into place behind a container ship. Sally and Panama ex-pat Dave have sent their lines to the professiosnal line handlers.

The Panama Canal professionals take our lines and walk us through the locks.

At one point we had to tie up next to a tugboat. This is why we were provided gigantic fenders.

The lock has filled and the gates open to let us exit at a higher altitude.

It was an exciting and fascinating experience to be in the Pacific Ocean in the a.m. and then the Atlantic Ocean that night. 

We approach the Atlantic Ocean at sunset.

Once we got Illusion comfortably settled at Shelter Bay Marina we spent the next few days touring the area...

Sylvia, Kerry, Sally and Stan enjoy the Shelter Bay Marina facilities.

...and traveling back to Panama City visiting museums along the way and learning all about the engineering marvel that is the Panama Canal. 

Land tour on the way back to Panama City to catch our flight home.

Fun Fascinating Panama Canal Facts:
This is truly a wonder of modern (industrial age) engineering. Every curious person should find the chance to do the transit (and visit the excellent related museums).

· The French tried and failed to build the canal in the 1880s (squandered about $350 M).

· The USA built the canal from 1904 to 1914 and succeeded mostly via mosquito eradication (malaria and yellow fever control), bigger and more efficient machinery and building processes, and less mismanagement thanks to Teddy Roosevelt and a military chief engineer's efforts.

· About 92 countries contributed workers to the canal building effort, but most came from the West Indies in the Caribbean.

· About 14,000 ships per year transit the canal (about a 1 million total since opening).

· The USA operated the canal until 1999 when the Panamanians took over control. The US operated the canal as break-even/not for profit. The Panamanians make about $5B per year.

· Transit fees cost up to $1,000,000 USD for one ship, or about $1,500 for a small sailboat. The cheapest fee ($0.36 (cents) was for a guy who SWAM the canal in 1928. The average fee is about $54,000 per ship.

· The Panamanians built a 3rd lane on the outer 2 locks from 2006 to 2016 to handle extra-large ships.

· The canal runs mostly In the North-South direction; cutting across the mostly East-West Panamanian Isthmus. The canal waterway is about 48 nm long.

· About 36,000 people total died building the canal (French and US efforts)

APRIL: Sadly, it was time to wrap up our vacation in La Paz and prepare to head home. All in all Tom was able to get 34 days of kiting under his belt. We said our last goodbyes...

Final La Paz sunset with neighbors and good friends.

...and rendezvoused with our La Ventana friend Nigel and his three dogs to caravan back to the border. We spent several outstanding nights camping at beaches on the Pacific and Sea of Cortez sides of Baja, lollylagging as much as possible to delay our entrance into the USA.

Nigel and Tom review the route. We did a lot of off-roading and exploring.

We stopped in a remote fishing village on the Pacific side and purchased a filleted halibut for $10.

We crossed the Baja and in Gonzaga Bay in the Sea of Cortez Tom and Nigel dug a bucket full of clams.
Happily cooking the fresh clams which were outstanding.

Nigel, Tom and the dogs enjoy coffee and kibble.

We crossed the border and bid farewell to Nigel who planned to drive north many more hours than we did. Our plans to camp near Joshua Tree were thwarted by a huge wind event and dust storm. We wisely decided to motel it for the night and the next day we were pummeled by wind and dust as we drove north.

Sylvia and Teddy (Ava forgot her Teddy!) getting blown in 50 mph winds.
Emerging from the dust storm that enveloped the Tundra. We had to drive very slowly.

We had one week in the SF Bay Area to take care of business. We put the Tundra away and somehow managed to fit all of our luggage which was the carry-ons, three 49.9# bags and one 7' long batten wrapped in Sunbrella disguised as a fishing pole, into our Uber and made it to the airport EARLY for a change. All the luggage was accepted with no extra charge. We only had to change planes 2 more times and we wondered if all our luggage would actually show up at our destination.

April 23: After changing planes at LAX and a red-eye to Tahiti we arrived in Papeete. And so did all of our luggage! We re-checked all luggage to Raiatea and only had to pay $19 for our excess luggage. We were told our "fishing pole" was too long but in typical French Poly fashion they shrugged and took it anyway. It all arrived in Raiatea and miraculously fit easily into our rented Fiat Panda.

And that is where we are now, back in the Carenage (boatyard) working hard to get Cinnabar back into the water. Our friend Rob from SHINDIG is here to check on his on boat and then join us on a mini-vacation. He's been a godsend.

We're working on the problems we knew about and, as usual, the "new" problems that surprised us upon our arrival. But at least Cinnabar was dry and non-mildewy on the inside, an improvement over last year. 

More later, but in the meanwhile here is a bonus question. A cold one of your choice to whoever can correctly identify this boat project...