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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Happy Birthday to Linda

February 9, 2005
Barra de Navidad, Colima Coast (19� 11' N 104� 40' W, about 90 miles south of Puerto Vallarta)

Looking back on our Blog reports I see I forgot to mention a problem we started having with our notebook computer. Specifically, the 't' key has completely stopped working. Reading through this post I'm sure you notice that there are several 't's present so I bet you're wondering how these are being generated if the key itself isn't doing it. Well, until recently it was necessary to find a 't' in a previous post and copy it so that every time you want a 't' you could then paste it. Very slow, also very confusing. I can't tell you how many times I typed 'Ctrl-t' instead of 'Ctrl-v' to paste. The former does nothing and ends up with a lot of extra typing. However, we recently purchased an external USB keyboard (a 'teclado' in espa�ol). This is no small feat let me tell you, it required trips to no less then eight computer stores and in the end we ended up paying about $25 USD for a keyboard which we can't return if there are any problems. It seems 'warrantee repair' doesn't translate well into espa�ol. It's not all down side though, as I'm sure you have noticed, the keyboard is 'in Spanish' and has great keys like �, �, �, and �. �Muy bueno, no? Hopefully when we get back to the states we can get a replacement keyboard for the notebook so we can get back to being 'self contained'.

Remember my description of getting into the Barra Lagoon. Well day before yesterday there was an excellent example of what can happen when you don't pay attention to what you're doing. A sailboat ran aground at the entrance to the lagoon and got pretty stuck. Now there are good times to run aground and there are bad times. This was a bad time. The tide was falling, and not only that the low tide was the lowest tide all month. So not only were they stuck for over 6 hours, they were also heeled over at about 30 degrees when the tide was at its lowest. Finally, about a half hour before sunset they put out a call on the radio that they were ready to get off the sand bar. About six dinghies responded and commenced pushing the boat sideways off the bar. It seemed to me a little early to be pushing so hard, but the owner was anxious to get anchored in the lagoon before sundown and he was also worried that the wind would pin him on the sand bar even after high tide. Anyway, with 75 horse power of dinghy outboards pushing it didn't take long for the boat to come free, and then it was just a matter of collecting the anchors they'd set before they went aground again. My advice: If you go aground on a falling tide and intend to wait for higher water make sure to set your anchor out in deep water.

Linda and I have a new hobby, we're net controllers on the Wednesday edition of the Amigo Net. The Amigo Net is a High Frequency Single Sideband (HF/SSB) radio net that meets daily on a frequency of 8122 kHz. I run the net, which means asking other boats to 'check-in' on the net, and facilitate boats contacting each other. Also we spend all morning taking down notes at lightning speed. The net also has weather which is given by a man named Don in Oxnard CA. He spends about eight hours a day preparing weather forecasts for western Baja, the Sea of Cortez and south to Panama. He transmits his forecast to the Amigo Net and it's the net controller's job (me on Wednesday) to copy it all down. Today this process involved about 30 minutes of rapid fire typing - the weather is a complicated thing. In spite of the nerve wracking work we're enjoying having something productive to do with our time.

We went out to celebrate Linda's birthday last night. It was just the two of us and we had Italian food if you can believe it. I had a great pasta with shrimp and pesto sauce, and Linda had pizza. About half way though dinner some friends wandered by in the street below the second floor balcony where we were seated, and when they found out it was Linda's birthday dinner they stopped to sing 'Happy Birthday'. We topped the evening with a trip to the Thrifty Ice Cream shop, yes the same as the Thrifty drug store complete with the cylindrical ice cream scoop. Linda had two small scoops, one of black cherry and the other mango. I had two Thrifty sized scoops, one black cherry and the other chocolate brownie. Barra de Navidad is so civilized...