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Friday, November 09, 2012

Mazatlan Homecoming

Here's a summary of the past three weeks since my return to John, Ziggy, and Nakia. The donkey cart parade really deserves its own entry, but hopefully the Mazatlan photo album at my Picasa link will tell the whole story! Here are just a few of those photos:

In Plaza Machado waiting for the beer carts

Julie and her sister made up as Katrinas

Canela the donkey pulling a beer cart

Arriving in Mazatlan from Seattle I was almost last off the plane. My seat was in the middle of the aircraft and they opened front and back doors so I had to wait for both directions to  clear first. That meant I was almost last in the Immigration line which everyone felt was moving much slower than normal. I finally went on through to baggage claim where I saw a huge line of people already waiting to go through the x-ray machine. By the time I finished changing into cooler clothes in the bathroom I
was dead last in the x-ray/Customs line. Then of course they wanted to open my boxes. Two officials opened the two smallest boxes, found nothing of interest, and let me go without opening the third big one (they didn't even bother with my carry on).

Nakia looks beautiful. Ziggy's already nipped my finger (not hard). AC is blasting. Life is good!

We worked non-stop today to put away everything I unpacked last night. I was pretty surprised that I managed to get all the boxes emptied yesterday and into piles for sorting today. I put things away in two main lockers and cleaned out a couple more and John took care of sorting out the items destined for the ditch and first-aid kits, and his tool area.

John had the AC on when we arrived from the airport yesterday to help me make the transition, but we didn't use it today. He'll probably zap the boat with some cool air when we go up to shower later and then let it run during the first part of the night.

This morning I managed to have a cup of coffee before the sun was up over the buildings. There was an osprey on the mast of a boat across from us and three white pelicans flying around the banks of the channel. Very pretty.

It's a relief to find I'm not going through any post-Seattle-summer, claustrophobic boat adjustment period at all this year. I love the different pace of life which is still relaxed, but there are so many things to do. And I've always enjoyed cleaning and puttering so I'm happy keeping busy with that.

Got up this morning and actually felt cold for the first time! Humid last night and a breeze this morning make it downright chilly - at least until the sun starts heating things up again.

Yesterday we had a good afternoon at the beach (Playa Bruja) with John's friend Yarnell, after an early morning bicycle ride on the malecon. Between that and our evening out celebrating Sherrell's birthday on Saturday, it was a good weekend. Now it's back to work.

We've decided to stay an extra 10 days in the marina. We had talked about going in and anchoring at the Old Harbor, but it's gotten a bad reputation for theft and we don't feel like taking the risk. So it will be nice to hang out here for a little while longer before we go out on the hook again.

The weather has definitely cooled off at night and we haven't been running the AC for days. I'm hoping John will go ahead and get it off the boat, but he's a little leery of cutting the umbilical cord just yet!

Today we spent a few hours getting the boat cleaned up. John had washed the boat before I arrived and it was already getting filthy, probably dirt from the nearby road.

When we thought we were moving to the Old Harbor tomorrow we invited Yarnell and Sonia to come along for the ride, including a stop at Deer Island. Yarnell was John's summer buddy and Sonia is his local squeeze. She has always wanted to go out on a sailboat so we're fulfilling that fantasy for her. We can anchor out at the island and dinghy in to the beach for a swim.

We're not doing anything for Halloween tonight but tomorrow night (if we're not burned out from a day in the sun) we're supposed to go in to Plaza Machado for the uniquely Mazatlan tradition of chasing four beer carts which are pulled by donkeys followed by crowds of people trying to get their cups refilled (all for free). We think this was started by Pacifico (which has a brewery here).

We had a great day out sailing with Yarnell and Sonia. We motor sailed out around both islands trying to catch a fish (nothing) and then headed in to anchor in 10' off the beach. We sat and ate lunch before they hopped in the dinghy, and I swam into the beach. I couldn't believe how warm the water was when I got in. It was almost like bath water - but that won't last too much longer. I looked for shells and then joined them in the shade of a palapa. Back out to the boat and we were actually able to sail the short distance back to the harbor entrance. Sonia kept thanking us for making her dream come true, and she obviously enjoyed herself, which makes all the work getting things ready for today worthwhile.

Sonia and Yarnell enjoying a day sail on Nakia

Late in the afternoon yesterday John suggested a walk along the length of the Malecon (beach walkway). We took a bus to the beginning of it, walked a long way down it, and caught a bus back just after a beautiful sunset. Even though it got very hazy the day before, the sun burned through just as it dipped into the horizon. Early this morning we rode the same area of the Malecon for about an hour with Sarana on bicycles. This afternoon I read and John rode his bike out to Playa Bruja with Yarnell. I opted not to go this time since they mostly sit and drink beer and I thought John could use some "guy time." We certainly have been getting our exercise!

The weather has been cloudy and downright humid (92%) the past few days. It's been pretty uncomfortable and John is regretting giving our AC unit away Tuesday night. He has a local friend who was in need of AC and it was a freebie for us (it had been stored in a dock box unclaimed for several years), so it was good karma to pass it on to her.

We had a fun afternoon out at a beach bar/restaurant called El Canoa Wednesday afternoon with Sarana and Magic Places. We went there to listen to a band that John had seen a few times over the summer. They played covers of rock guitar music. The music itself wasn't all that danceable but they were good musicians and it was an open air beach bar with a romantic sunset behind one of the islands. Plus it's always fun being out with friends doing something different for a change!

We're departing the marina tomorrow to make our way to Banderas Bay for Christmas. We'll hang out at the islands here until we start itching to move on, and then we'll slowly head south with possible stops at Isabela, San Blas, and Chacala. I'm really looking forward to getting back out on the water. I'm sure it will take quite a bit of adjusting for the two "boys" who are giving up a lot of their freedom. John will miss his bicycle and unlimited internet, and Ziggy will miss his nighttime comings and goings on the dock. Hopefully we'll all settle in and get used to the new routine without too many withdrawal pains!