The Canadian dollar being on par with the ozzie dollar made life that much more bearable and enjoyable. So a big thanks to Gary and Jeanine for allowing us to stay for several days — a fantastic location.
Finally a night in Denver at the Crawford hotel and a sumptuous meal with our ever generous host Chad McWinney — the meal at Stoic and Genuine, as last time, unforgettable — thanks Chad!!
Back in La Paz, with a pretty warm September — as I am writing this Hurricane Newton is some 24 hours away so the decks on Sonrisa looking very clean.
Hopefully the 20 odd lines holding Sonrisa tight will be enough. We managed to get out to Espiritu Santo Island most weekends for cooler times and the busy school days.
A few days to prepare Sonrisa for cyclone season — a very bare yacht with all sails, halyards, covers off.
We found a good home for Peluchie our family cat for the last 18 months, with 2 months away now and then the 5 month trip to Tasmania in November it was just too complicated to keep him on Sonrisa — a very sad day when he left.
Our first stop in Seattle was to Denny and Rennies, our cruising friends from Columbia several years ago — such a warm welcome.
His first unaccompanied flight, we were so proud of him as he set off. An interesting time for Huon also as this was the first instance when they have been separated — in the end the parents stressing more than the boys!
As we did last year, a magic several days down at Stretch Island in Southern Puget Sound, July 4 th fireworks, kayaking, crabbing etc with Huon happily being a shadow to 3 older boys — now one of a pack taking on all the fashions and actions of the older boys.
Plenty of activities in Seattle over the next 6 weeks along with a pleasant offer to stay in their house in Vancouver from other cruising friends we met in Costa Rica in , Gary and Jeanine from High 5 — they are taking their yacht down to La Paz, and Costa Baja Marina over the summer.
Just the odd other yacht floating around. Two weeks just getting back into the cruising mode as we are now tied to the marina most of the time.
The highlight was the diving with seals at Isla Los Islotes, where the seals where very happy to perform for the camera with an apple as a toy.
A really wonderful trip with excellent weather. Last weekend we visited La Duna for an evening with several of our local Mexican families.
This rustic and very environmentally friendly resort provides a magic location just to chill and chat for the children and adults that went very late into the evening.
February was rather quite, school runs, Mel studying all rather domestic. I popped down to Barra Navidad, south of Puerto Vallarta to bring Princess 1 back to La Paz, as expected on the nose most of the way so, double the time taken to get down there, some 3 days for some miles much of the time at around 7 knots.
A few days later to Cabo San Lucas so she could be hauled out for her yearly maintenance. We had a magnificent week with our dear friends from Monaco, Poala, Antoine and Daniel their 6 year old son.
Our new old two car family made arrangements easy. Mel was also busy for a few days helping arrange provisions for a couple of large yachts, something we might consider more of later on.
Finally we actually had some of that thing called work. Princess Two in the Caribbean was within days without a crew — Mel biting the bullet, agreed to come along for 4 weeks to cook.
Leaving the boys for such a time was a very big decision, but with our delightful La Paz friends and children Igor and Daniella we could feel they were in very safe hands.
Princess Two was in St Thomas the US Virgin Islands, the first demonstration trip was cancelled and the second charter with guest from Mexico city is best not talked about we did our best in trying conditions with untrained crew — the fact that the two Mexican crew were left tips and the 3 Anglo Saxons were not says it all — funny to experience a little discrimination on our side, makes one respect what other non-white Anglo Saxon cultures have to deal with.
Our taxi driver, Sobers, providing me with several hours of laughs as we went shopping for parts and food. With 4 crew for the mile trip from St Thomas to the Bahamas a couple of long nights, made longer by the 10 minute departure in the Turks and Caicos of the rather useless South African stewardess.
Now in Hurricane Hole Marina for the last day of a very quick two day hand over to the 4 new crew.
Cipriano, our hard working and delightful Mexican mariner will stay until the boat heads to Florida in April. Looking forward to being back on Sonrisa with the boys and Peluchie for the normal Easter cruise.
As with last year we headed out to Playa Bonanza for a family week over Christmas. Clear sunny, blue skies, a magic empty beach and just a few other yachts around made for a delightful and relaxing time.
Trips to see the de commissioned aircraft carrier Midway and a trip to the expansive San Diego Zoo were the touristy highlights. Our Friends Alex and Dariella sold us their old Mitsubishi Montero, which will deal with the Mexican roads and crazy traffic much better than the aging Subaru.
By train we headed north for a few days to Santa Barbara to see our old friends Kevin and Carolyn — what a magic house they have near the beach, with many Asian touches from their house in Bali.
We all had fun in this tranquil town, Mel particularly enjoying the shopping! After getting the Montero serviced we cruised down to La Paz via Mexico Highway 1 in sections worse than our country road to Bream Creek in Tasmania very dangerous and really a poor excuse for a highway.
Three nights along the way in San Quintin, San Ignacio and Loreto were magic, each hotel having plenty of character and hospitality.
The boys finally got back to school a week late but the travels more than made up for it, though they did seem to spend most of their time watching videos or on the Kindle.
A rather quiet few months during autumn, such a quick change from the hot summer. Daylight saving has finished, so dark mornings are over and the evenings are considerably longer, delightful to lie back on a cool evening with a good book.
I, unfortunately, was doing something rather strange — working. Thankfully only a few short trips involved as I would not last any longer!
The boys continue to progress well at school, their Spanish well ahead of mine. For Christmas we will head out to anchor for a week, very quiet and relaxing away from the, already, overwhelming commercial shit.
Our 6 monthly visa run will be up to San Diego to stay with good friends and hopefully buy a larger, newer car. After this we plan to spend a week, driving back to La Paz taking in the length of Baja California, generally looking forward to the wine country up North.
As we head into October, the high humidity and heat are slowly dissipating, thankfully. Still no cyclones, even with the high water temperatures, perhaps we will be lucky this year.
We finally managed this during the middle of September. While off the grid they have a good solar set up with 3 backup generators — all of which do not work.
The trip from La Paz was delayed by an hour as it was raining, and continued to do so for the whole weekend — really very different to the normal long hours of sunshine.
A different mentality to say the least. Kale had asked me if I could look at the generators, not easy to do without any suitable tools at the house, so it looks like a few visits during the week to see what the problems are, along with light fixing, general tidying up, etc.
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