Friday, July 31, 2015

Feelin' HOT HOT HOT


We've been living in the gorgeous mountains of Mexico for 6 weeks and as much fun as we're having (we truly are) we miss the water, daily family happy hours, fresh fish, gorgeous sunsets, always knowing the phase of the moon, being able to change scenery, and our boat! Leaving our boat in the Sea of Cortez is a catch-22. As much as we miss our boat and wish we were sailing, we know that had we stuck with our original plan to sail the Sea of Cortez all summer, we'd be hating life and probably each other. It's beyond insanely hot in the Sea of Cortez and although we don't consider ourselves weather wimps, we knew hauling out and heading to cooler weather was our best bet. 

Days before hauling out, I couldn't sleep. Something about hauling our boat out of the water and all of the preparation to leave a boat on the hard for 3 months had me anxious. Honestly, compared to those who haul their boats out for hurricane season where the humidity sucks, we had it easy. The Sonoran desert is hot and dry therefore we don't have to worry about things like mold growing while we're away from the boat. 

We chose to haul out at Marina Seca Guaymas (Gabriel's Yard). Nothing say's "we're having fun now"  like running aground just trying to bring the boat into the "channel". I've never been more on the verge of a heart attack. A few feet from the unmarked channel (when the channel is a whopping 9 feet deep you think they could mark the damn thing?!) and all 40,000 pounds of Terrapin is stuck. Jess and I were having a "Who can freak out more" contest, the jury is still out as to who won.  

The hit's just kept on coming! According to our coast guard documentation we draft 5.5 feet. In reality it's 7.5 feet after you've had the yard strap the boat and attempt to lift you up and fail. Holy Crapenoli! As if the 100+ degree weather, no sleep for a solid week and running aground wasn't enough......we had to get longer straps for Terrapin, add an additional 3 hours to the ordeal.  

What we thought was going to be maybe 3 hours ended up taking over 8 hours. By the end of the day, there wasn't enough alcohol. 

Enough of me blabbering about this hellacious experience....I'll spare you the details about climbing up the ladder of our boat on the hard, dealing with my insane fear of heights hoping like hell I wasn't going to urinate my shorts. 

Here's a video of Terrapin being hauled out and carried to her resting spot, where she'll wait for us till October. 







Sunday, July 26, 2015

48 hours of eye candy... Las Pozas

Who wants to hang out with hippies, hairless dogs and check out really cool things in the middle of the rainforest? We do! We heard that only a short 4.5 6 hours away was a sight not to be missed. We were all amazed at the constant changing topography while we drove east for most of the day. We drove first through fields of cacti past endless ocotillo, up through pastures, over the top of a cloud forest and back down into a rainforest covered with a thick canopy. We had hardly noticed that the road trip was taking the better part of our day. We drove through countless "cute" (this term has become very loose since living in Mexico) towns each with their own church and plaza.



Roadside animals we passed along the way

I love that these small towns in the middle of nowhere would have festive banners over the main road.

What would possibly lure us 6 hours from home? Las Pozas was created by the British surrealist Edward James to be a Garden of Eden in the middle of nowhere... he nailed it.  It is an array of surreal concrete sculpture, scattered through 80 acres of pristine rainforest. Part of the collection was the creation of pools that are fed by a large cascading waterfall.  Swimmers are welcome to enjoy themselves in the pools and enjoy the endless beauty.









In addition to the pools there are at least a half dozen other creations spread throughout the rainforest. Much of Las Pozas looks like creations as if  M.C. Escher and Gaudi had collaborated. 











Comparable to the stunning 6 hour drive and magnificent Las Pozas were our creative accommodations we chose only 300 meters from the site.  You didn't think we'd come all the way to the rainforest and stay in a Best Western! We chose to stay in another hippy dippy compound complete with tipis, cabanas and a "tree cabana".


One of the many tipis




We had rented what we thought was a tree house. Clearly things get lost in translation. The girls thought our Hobbit Hut (we all had to duck to get into the place) was cute. The place was cute until we woke up our first morning and noticed the arachnid monstrosity clinging to the inside wall. Yep, that's a tarantula. From then on, the Hobbit Hut was referred to as the Spider Shack or Shit Shack.


The rainforest brings with it many animals that fly and bite. You could just sit and watch the air move. One of the highlights were the fireflies, our girls went berzerk.  Actually, our girls loved collecting all the bugs, frogs, crickets and catching butterflies. 



Alice in Wonderland table made out of concrete.


                

Emma and her jumbo sized crickets,she had one on either end of a stick and started twirling them like a baton. Good thing our girls like bugs.

Don't look now Emma, you have a small tree frog on your nose. 



Oh yeah, hippies and hairless dogs... Having gone to college in Eugene, Oregon, its not like I needed another picture of a hippy. Not to mention, their hairless dogs freak me out, so no pictures of them either!
















Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mexico's Animal Whisperer needs your help!

Since Jessica was 18 months old a few things were already very clear about our daughter

- She leads with tremendous passion
- She was put on this Earth to be a veterinarian
Rupert and Jessica enjoying a bubble bath.


Jessica does not discriminate with her love for animals. Feathers, scales, claws, hairless, she loves them all. 


Pedro, the bullfrog from our backyard
Piper, the bird we found on the beach and attempted to save while on an RV trip

We hadn't been in Mexico more than a few days before we started joking that Jessica had quickly become "Mexico's Next Animal Whisperer". Homeless animals (and there are plenty in Mexico) seem to seek her out, almost like Jessica is an animal beacon. There has yet to be a day that cats or dogs don't make their way over for some unconditional love and scratchin's. Inevitably it takes us a little longer to reach our destination as it takes time to love all those in need. It's not uncommon after eating out to watch Jessica pull a napkin out from her pocket with a small amount of meat she's hidden away to help feed a few hungry dogs.





 One of the many highlights from spending the summer in San Miguel De Allende is the amount of time Jessica gets to volunteer at the local animal shelter.  San Miguel's Sociedad Protectora de Animales (SPA)  has been operating for over 30 years and is the areas only no-kill animal shelter run completely on donations.  For Jessica's upcoming 12th birthday she wanted a way to help the many animals at the S.P.A.  After speaking with their Director, the S.P.A. has agreed to establish Jessica's Fund.

In addition to adoptions, the S.P.A. provides medical care not only for their shelter animals, but for injured and sick animals that are brought in. Each week, the S.P.A. encounters families who bring in their pets for veterinary care claiming they'll return to pick up their animal and pay for fees, only to not return. It's not that their pet is won't be able to make a recovery, but the costs involved that prevent them from coming back. Others bring in stray, injured animals they find and promise to adopt the animal pending medical care. Even though most of the time the costs of treatments or surgeries for these animals are not recovered, the S.P.A. has a promise to the well being of every animal and will perform any medical care treatment the animals need.
Puppies at the S.P.A.
In the Kitten Room at S.P.A.


All donations to Jessica's Fund will go directly to the S.P.A. to offset medical costs for surgeries and medical procedures performed pro-bono. Families will no longer have to make the tough decision to leave their beloved pet behind. Jessica's Fund will also help cover expenses associated with stray animals brought in needing medical care. Once medical care is received for these animals, the likelihood of them finding a permanent home is far greater. Additionally, by establishing a fund to offset these medical expenses, the S.P.A. will have more funds available for its normal day to day operating expenses.

Please help us in either donating to or spreading the word about Jessica's Fund.



Sunday, July 19, 2015

5 more reasons to love San Miguel De Allende

Festivals - It seems like every weekend in SMA there's a festival, an event to attend, always something to do. This weekend is the International Film Festival. SMA provides a stunning backdrop for any event.


Mariachis- Who doesn't love mariachis? Actually, I can think of a few people. Every weekend gaggles of mariachis stroll through SMA dressed in traditional attire.

                      


Fireworks - The Mexican people love their fireworks. There seems to be no real reason to fire off a few firecrackers. Day ends in "Y"?   Fantastic, lets blow shit up! 
Just this morning we were all awakened at 7am by firecrackers.

Lightening and Thunder Storms-  It's almost been one full month since we moved to SMA and we can only count 3 days without a spectacular lightning and thunder storm.

Consider your first sight of lightning or sound of thunder a 20-30 minute warning to find shelter. Ten minutes after your first lightning sight you can expect that the temperature will drop 5-8 degrees signaling you now have less than 10 minutes to seek a dry place to hide. On several occasions we were not swift enough to seek shelter and the skies opened up as we were literally sprinting to a dry place. Nothing gets a person running like having a downpour chase them down a street. We can actually hear the rain coming from hundreds of yards away. Better run fast!!

However, from a dry, safe place the everyday storm occurrence is a sight to see and only lasts about 30 minutes. 


Breakdancing - SMA has a vibrant group of breakdancers. On any given weekend they're out challenging each other with new tricks and moves. What we love most about this group is their ability to shoehorn themselves in to the middle of everything else going on. With their deafening PA system blaring, they could care less if 10 yards away a traditional Mexican dance class is being held. Friday night they had wedged themselves between the International Film Festival, thousands of visitors and strolling mariachi bands. 


Here's what all of the above mentioned looks like when put together on a single Friday night.



Thursday, July 16, 2015

COST TO CRUISE June 2015



As many of you know we hauled our boat out, bought Pepe the loser cruiser and headed to San Miguel De Allende to escape the heat and hurricanes. We expected June to a be a budget buster, which it was.  After we have sold Pepe in October we will post our net loss. 

Many people have asked about different types of insurance not showing up on our Cost to Cruise numbers. We do have insurance on our boat which we pay annually in January, we will post that cost as we pay it. We self-insure for health insurance, which means we do not have health insurance and currently pay all medical, dental and pharmacy fees out of pocket. I will be putting together a blog post soon about our healthcare experiences in Mexico and our expenditures associated to each procedure. 





As always we'd like to thank our "Buy us a Beer" donors. June was insanely hot and we may have drank a few more cold one's to keep us sane. Thank you!! We greatly appreciate it.

Nancy and Ral
John R.
Pop and Kaye
Mary Segars
Peter K.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Celebrating a Sweet Sixteen

Happiest of birthdays to our beloved Murphy. 16 years!! Hard to believe this cat has been with Phil and I for almost half our lives. Such a good thing he can't talk.

The girls enjoyed making him birthdays hats and gifts. 


                   


Murphy "enjoying" his new cat bed made out of an old shoe box