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February 22, 2007

Life in Barra de Navidad

Playing with the Barra Boys at Seamasters:
Seamasters

The duo of Tate and I has now become a trio. Brandon, another guitar player with a great voice who can also pull off some good leads, has joined the boats company for a few weeks. Naturally the amount of music that we've been playing hasn't decreased with Brandon's arrival. A typical day in Barra starts with coffee and breakfast on the boat sometime between 8-10 in the morning. Around noon/1 o'clock, we catch a water taxi into town and head to the Sands Hotel. We have a few drinks at the Sands, go swimming and play some music poolside. The Sands has been our main haunt for the last week and a half since we've been here. First they've got a bulkhead along the water for cruisers to tie up their dinghies when they come into town so it's the local cruiser hangout and the first place you come across when you come into town. Second they've got the great pool bar, where you can use the pool as long as you buy a drink. They've got the latenight Sand Bar that stays open after all the other bars in town close down. It often stays open until 6 in the morning. Finally, we've become friends with all the employees, so the Sands just feels like a home away from home. Continuing our day, we normally leave the Sands pool bar around sunset and go find someplace to get dinner, usually tacos or quesadillas. Then we either find a street corner or a bar to go play music in, lose track of time and when my voice is completely wrecked around 1 in the morning, we head back to the Sand Bar where we often play even more music, hopefully, but not usually, switch to drinking water and eventually catch a water taxi back to the boat around 3 or 4 in the morning. I'm not usually one to party this hard, but there's just something about this place. I loose complete track of time almost every night and the next thing you know, the sun is about ready to come up.

Poolside at the Sands (deserted due to the fact we're not playing):
SandsPoolside

Tate, Brandon, Sarah (from the Sand Bar) rented some of boards a while back and tried our luck at surfing. I'd tried to surf before up off Vancouver Island in March wearing a 9mm wet suit with hood. It was freezing, and there was no way to avoid the break when paddling out so you were beat up and exhausted by the time you got out into position to catch a wave. Surfing Barra is nothing like that. There's a nice defined break near the point of the breakwater, so you can paddle just a little further to the North of the break and be in clean water the entire time. It's also so much easier to paddle without a wet suit on, though the wax on the board did pull a number on my chest hair. In the end, Tate caught some really good rides, but Brandon, Sarah and I weren't able to stand up on any of the waves we caught in. It was still a lot of fun and I'm thinking of buy a used 9' long board here to keep with me on the boat.

Short video of us sailing in Tenacatita Bay(1.0MB)

Sarah and Brandon on the water taxi back to Barra:
SarahAndBrandon

Sarah has almost made our trio a quartet. She's a sailor, originally from Detroit, working at the Sand Bar for the Winter and then heading back to Colorado for the Summer. Sunday morning the four of us pulled up the hook here in Barra and took off for Tenacatita for a few days. Amazingly we had a light southerly and we were able to pull a spinnaker run the whole ten miles up to the outer anchorage. Tenacatita's outer anchorage is supposed to have good snorkeling, but the water was too churned up and the visibility was such that you had to get right in next to the reefs to see many fish. With a good surge from the swell, it was too dangerous to be that close to the reefs, so we had to abort the snorkeling mission and ended up playing spades late into the night. The wind picked up the next day and we had a lively sail around the bay until we went into the inner anchorage. The inner anchorage is more protected and very popular with crusiers. There were probably 40 boats there. After dropping the hook, we did a little dinghy maintenance. The rear compartment was leaking and more of the rail had spit off and needed to be fiberglassed. The anchorage was nice, but there's a big resort hotel across the bay that had a nightclub that was thumping music across the water at us deep into the night. In the morning, we had an early breakfast and crossed the surf into a tidal river that runs a couple of miles through the mangroves connecting the inner and outer bays. Tate and Brandon were hoping to find birds so we cut the motor and rowed against the gentle current up the river. Instead we found traffic. Apparently the river tour is popular with both crusiers and terrestrial tourists alike. We couldn't go 5 minutes without having an inflatable with a 15 horse or a panga with a 50 horse come screaming around the corner. Needless to say, the birds didn't stick around while all this was going on. We may try it again at the crack of dawn, instead of the crack of 10am if we stop back by Tenacatita on our way north. After we got back to the boat, we raised the hook and had another lively sail in 25-30 knots of wind back to Barra and anchored near our old spot in the lagoon. I was tired out and didn't feel like leaving the boat with a newly set hook in the soft mud and strong winds so I stayed on board while Tate, Brandon and Sarah took off back into town. I didn't realize that it was Fat Tuesday, so I completely missed Barra's Carnival festivities.

Tidal river in Tenacatita:
TenacatitaRiver

All the partying in Barra is taking it's toll:
TateTiarra

Jason and Beth, two more of Brandon's folk music playing friends, are flying into Mexico in about a week. We haven't decided where to meet them yet, but they wanted some “beach time.” So there's a good chance that we'll just stick around here for a while longer. We've already played at 6 of the bars here in town, have an invite for a 7th on Sunday and have two private parties to play at, so there's plenty of reason to stick around. Don't be surprised if the next blog post comes from Barra as well.


Tate's Thoughts

For the record, I tried to veto that picture of me wearing the crown but found that was not a possibility. Therefore, I must provide some context. On Tuesday, after a great day of sailing Brandon and I headed in to town to find that this particular Tuesday was of the obese kind, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras for all of you French speakers. We heard rumors of a parade and Brandon loves parades. I knew that because when he heard about it, he threw his fists in the air and shouted 'I love parades!' As we were walking the streets looking for the parade, a white horse carrying a timeless Mexican cowboy came into view like an apparition in the night. The horse was dancing a jig, 6/8 time to a 6 piece marching band which was wailing away. Where do you see these kinds of things? And where was the parade?

Dancing Horse Movie(1.1MB)

We pulled ourselves from the spectacle of the horse, confused perhaps, but excited about the evening ahead. It was about 10pm and we had wandered to the Zocalo where there was a haphazard celebration going on. It seemed as if people were having a festival but they didn't quite know why. There was no cohesiveness, no beads, no real debauchery... we were not in New Orleans. Cars began to pass, cars full of people... people drinking. Some of the cars were decorated, most were not. I ran over and got Brandon and Sarah, telling them that they should not miss the parade and we all rushed up curbside. One pickup was pulling a trailer and the trailer was full of dancing 13 year old girls. All kinds of people we knew were sitting in lawn chairs which were set up in the backs of pickups. Horns were honking, stereos blasting. It was different than a parade, it was more like a procession of madness. Apparently the procession had been going on for at least 5 hours and was to end up at a giant party at the centro deportivo... the soccer field.

Dancing 13 year olds:
DancingGirls

Many hours and scotches later we found the centro deportivo. Someone had put some serious effort into putting this together. Sarah, Brandon and I sat down next to some folks we knew and they welcomed us like old friends. Friends can be easy to make while traveling. There is an automatic connection between people living out similar dreams, nightmares, experiences. Hugo was there, China was smiling and laughing and dancing. Petra, the Queen of the Extranjeras (foreigners), was trying to avoid dancing and Mexican men were coming over to the table to take pictures of her, she was a star.

We were sitting and talking about nothing and everything and one glance around could tell you what point of the evening had arrived. The tables were a mess of beer cans, Modelo and Estrella, the 12 piece band was going strong and loud, and could it be??? There was Brandon and Sarah square dancing among the more rhythmically inclined revelers. An empty bottle of Tequila sat among the cans and no one regarded the time, what is time anyway? Petra did not want to wear her crown anymore and of course I wanted to wear it. You can see how flattering it was on me.

The scene was wild and came at you from every direction. Big stage, lights, lots of sound, lots of fun. In typical Barra fashion the night seemed to have no end, it was as if the world had become night and it was as normal to be walking the streets at 3am as 3pm. Soon it was back to the water taxi and out to Bodhran. Back to rest and sleep until the next day reveals itself.

February 12, 2007

Staying in Barra de Navidad

Barra de Navidad waterfront:
PreDeparture

Well Tate and I have kinda taken a shining to old Barra de Navidad. I think we're going to stick around here for a while. As usual, all it took was bringing our instruments into town. We set up on a street corner with our hat out, started playing and ended up making over $30 in tips. People also came up and dropped beers off for us while we were playing. If was a very fun night, but it also got us a paying gig the next night at a birthday party. The party ended at 10. 4 different bars and many beers and songs later we ended up finally getting into the dingy to head back out to Bodhran. Tate and I are just having too much fun playing music. I'm going to be sad when he takes off, but before then Brandon is coming down with a mandolin for a couple of weeks. So there's plenty of music left to be played. We've also been invited to play this weekend at Seamasters, one of the two main ex-pat/tourist bars in town.

Barra Lagoon:
PreDeparture

The only major draw back to Barra is the lagoon. It's a great anchorage, but you have to traverse narrow channel, then once you're into the lagoon there are lots of unmarked shoals to navigate through. We only grounded once, but I spent a lot of time cruising around with less than 3 feet of water under my keel. The other problem with the lagoon is that it's a 10 minute+ dinghy ride into town. Of course there is the marina, but I haven't bothered to check out what the prices are. It's across the channel from town, situated at the base of the nicest resort hotel I've seen in Mexico and packed to the gills with mega-yachts. So we just content ourselves with filling the outboard with gas every time we go to shore. Melaque, Tenacatita, and Chamela are all within one days sail from here, so we might move around a little bit, but I think that I'm done going south this year. From here I start making my way back north to San Carlos to haul the boat for the Summer. .

Barra Marina:
PreDeparture

February 8, 2007

Barra de Navidad

Leon (cool old washboard player), Tate and myself at Anna Bananas:
PreDeparture

We played the Superbowl party at Anna Bananas to rave reviews. I'm getting a lot more comfortable singing into a microphone. It's really was great how supportive people were in La Cruz, but we'd been there 9 days and even though we had made lots of good friends, it was time to be moving on. We took off from La Cruz towards Punta De Mita on Tuesday morning with the intention of checking out the local surf shops and trying to find a used long board for Tate and myself to play around on. The sun was out, we had a little wind, and we were making 5 knots with just the spinnaker up as we left the anchorage. When we got closer to Mita, we realized that there wasn't any swell running and, since we were having a nice sail, we decided to turn south for Cabo Corrientes and Zihuatanejo. The wind died down on us when we were rounding the cape, but that's also when I noticed that the hand line Colin had made for me was taut. I pulled it in to find a 20 plus pound Yellowfin Tuna hooked onto my lure. Actually, we're pretty sure it was a Yellowfin. It was missing the dorsal fin that my fish ID book said that the Yellowfin should have, but other than that it looks good. If any fish experts out there can correct me, I'd appreciate it. I'm still amazed at how easy it is to pull in even fairly big fish using the hand line. You just put on some gloves and hand over hand it in. Tate got it with the gaff, but I think that I could have just jerked him up over the side using the handline like I had with smaller fish.

Tate and what as close as we can id a Yellowfin Tuna:
PreDeparture

Here's the plate of fillets that our tuna yielded:
PreDeparture

Well the wind picked up a little after we caught the tuna and we had a great sail through the night. In the morning the wind was dead and our batteries we low due to running the fridge to keep the fish fresh, so we started motoring. The engine seemed really sluggish and we couldn't get up over 5 knots. We also couldn't get the engine up to my normal 1800 rpms. This could have been an engine problem, but could also be caused by barnacles on the prop and growth on the hull, both of which add a lot of resistance and can bog down an engine. I'm under doctor's orders to keep my toe dry, so Tate was kind enough to jump in the 80 degree water with a putty knife and go to town on my prop and hull. He spent a good 30 minutes trying to clean the hull in the swell, but when we tried motoring some more, we didn't notice too much difference. It didn't matter though, the wind was up, but I wanted to get the engine problems figured out before heading any further south, so we raised sail and set a course for Barra de Navidad. It was a great sail, but we quickly realized that we we're going to make it to Barra before dark. Tenatacita was 8 miles closer to us than Barra, and by hand steering the last 3 hours to make sure we stayed on the optimal course, we got into the outer anchorage in Tenatacita just as the sun was dipping below the horizon.

Coming into Tenatacita just as the sun was going down:
PreDeparture

Tenatacita looked like a great little spot, but we were there to do work. I'm sure that I'll do it up properly on my way north. Tate spent another hour this morning cleaning the hull and prop while I started troubleshooting the engine. I found a water leak in the top of the heat exchanger that explained why I've been losing coolant, but the transmission fluid looked fine and the stuffing box looked good. I'm not sure what else could be the problem, so I JB Welded up the heat exchanger and called it good. Once the JB Weld set, we fired up the engine and everything seemed fine. We raised the hook and motored off at 6.4 knots. That's good, that's really good, the only problem is that we had a 20 knot tail wind at the time, so I'm still not sure if everything is running properly, but it's amazing how much growth accumulated on the bottom while we were in La Cruz. Cleaning it off made a big difference sail down to Barra this afternoon, where we averaged over 6 knots all the way down.

We dropped the hook here in Barra in what Charlie's Charts describes as 2 fathoms of soft mud and mosquitoes. So far the bugs haven't been bad, but I'm not optimistic. Barra is one of the major cruiser hang outs, so Tate and I will stay here long enough to see what the attraction is. We're also going to stay here until I'm confident that I'm not having any engine problems. Hopefully the former will keep us here rather than the latter.

Tate's Thoughts on Night Sailing

At about 10:45pm I awoke to a flash of bright white light on my face. It was sudden but gone by the time I opened my eyes… what was that? There it was again, a big moon shining in through the ventilation hatch but only when our angle to the sky was just right. I could tell that we were still sailing along at a decent clip, the boat rocking to both the wind waves and a light swell. I’ve gotten used to the feel of the boat, a 6th sense which can, over the years, be cultivated into something as clear as taste or sight… the feel of the boat. I leave all that business to the captain, but I am aware of it.

The red light flips on above the galley. “11-o’clock, Tate”. It’s Jason and he is standing there in the galley, his rain pants on to stave off the dew that comes down thick out on deck. 11 o’clock… so it is, my sleep shift was from 8-11 but I had only slept for about 45 minutes of it. I pop up sprightly (not really) and pull my own rain pants over my shorts. I zip up a light windbreaker and put on a lifejacket. I promised my mom I would wear one… besides, if I fell off in the inky black sea… that would be bad. I grab a hat and pull it over my big, salty hair and rifle through the snack cabinet for a couple of candy bars. Sugar. Out on deck Jason is watching the sea.

I sit across the cockpit from him and he fills me in on the last few hours. Wind vane is steering pretty well, whisker pole is out and the sails are wing on wing, I should keep an eye on the wheel so the main doesn’t back fill, we don’t want any accidental jibes. No accidental jibes, got it. He continues, ‘we’ve been doing 4 to 4 ½ knots, comfortable sailing, have fun.’ Okay, see you at 2:00.

Jason had been sitting on the beanbag that we keep in the cockpit and it’s still nice and dry. The rest of the deck looks like it’s been hosed down recently… actually, it looks more like there is a thick dew on it. I move the beanbag to the aft of the wheel and survey the scene. The moon that had been beaconing through the hatch is high off to port and it creates a wide, shimmering lane that stretches across the sea toward the Mexican mainland, some 15 miles distant. The jib is stretched out to port and the main to starboard, wing on wing, thus making the most of the 10-knot tailwind. There are not many sounds, just the sea carrying the hull, the sound of the wind through the sails, the sounds of the stars, those that are not muted by the brightness of the moon.

And on through the night. I make minor adjustments to the sails and to the wind vane. Speed is not my goal but rather smoothness. Captain has that 6th sense and if all is not smooth I know he’ll just lie awake in his rack analyzing the feel of the boat. Maybe he does that anyway. I scan the water for dolphins, the trails they make through the phosphorescent water is unreal. Nothing. For some reason they always come visit during Jason’s watches. At two I step below and turn on the red light over the galley. “2-o’clock, Captain”. He reaches for his glasses. 2’oclock… so it is.

February 3, 2007

Going Pro

Playing with Philo and some of the La Cruz locals:
Pickin

That's right, Tate and I are now officially professional musicians. Let me back up a step or two. Tuesday night we decided to give La Cruz a chance. We'd been here a couple of days and had the impression that the town was absolutely dead. Previous experience has taught us that when we pull out our instruments, something good always happens, so we loaded Tate's Gold Tone and my Blueridge into the dinghy and headed to shore. Our first thought was to play in the little Zocalo down by the waterfront, but when we got there, there were just a few surly looking fellows lurking about and we decided that it wasn't the best place to hang out. So we head up the road to Philo's, a local ex-pat bar with a reputation for having live music. It turns out that Philo's is having movie night, but the place is dead. We did meet David, one of my neighbors from the anchorage, there and some of his friends told us about an open mic going on at Britannias. By this time we did have very high hopes, and Britannias didn't disappoint. There was a small crowd listening to Hawk singing some folk ballads and strumming his guitar. So we get up and start playing some tunes. Well 3 or 4 hours later we're still up there, the beers been free all night, and we've got 215 pesos in our tip jar (abour $23). There were never more than 10 people in the place all night, but one of them was Barry, who along with his wife Anna, own Anna Bananas, another ex-pat bar/restaurant in La Cruz. Barry wanted us to stick around until next Sunday and play the open mic at Anna Bananas, but we weren't sure that we wanted to stick around La Cruz that long. Then he offered us 500 pesos and said that he wanted to headline us. Well, for a couple of guys just screwing around playing for tips and beer, that was an offer too good to pass up so we agreed to stick around for the gig next Sunday. Then Mike, the guy who was running the music at Britannias, mentioned that he had a gig in Puerto Vallarta the next night and the guy that he normally plays with canceled. He said that we'd be doing him a favor if we'd play and that the band would split 1000 pesos plus tips three ways. So just like that we'd made the most we had ever made in tips and had two paying gigs lined up. Good things happen when you bring your instruments to town.

Barry wanted to promote us a bit for this Sunday and needed us to come up with a band name. So Tate and I start trying to come up with something that doesn't suck. Unfortunately we're better at coming up with band names that do suck, but upon reflection I think that we did all right. We were trying to come up with nautical names, but they were all too cheesy so we tried to come up with something based on our experiences. Up in the Sea of Cortez we spent of bit of time pinned down by weather and stuck inside the boat for days at a time. We mainly played music and read to pass the time. I also was trying to think of one of the things I miss most from back home that might make a good band name and then it hit me.....Cabin Fever. So we went by Barry's and told him that we'd be calling ourselves 'Cabin Fever' now and not just Tate & Jason and then caught the bus into Puerto Vallarta.

We barely made our gig in PV on time. We had forgotten about the time zone change between La Cruz and Puerto Vallarta. We were playing at a bar in old town PV called Miguelitos. Mike had a previous engagement and wouldn't be able to make it for an hour, so Tate and I showed up on our own. When we came in it was like a reverse Blues Brother moment. Gino, the owner, saw the banjo and asked us what kind of music we played, obviously worried that we didn't play their normal Classic Rock and Jimmy Buffet covers. I don't think he was happy with our reply that “we play both kinds of music....County and Western.” The crowd wasn't bad at the beginning. There was a big table of 8 from Minnesota that liked what we were doing. Unfortunately, being Midwesterners, they had to be in bed by 10:30 along with another group from Michigan who liked us. After they cleared out we basically were playing to the staff for an hour, and they were not impressed. It was all a bit awkward until Big Jack, a rather spirited ex-pat, came in right before closing time. We played “Yes I Guess They Ought To Name a Drink After You” by John Prine and Big Jack thought that we were singing about him. After that we played “Mountain Dew”, a trad number about moonshine. We had the guy hooked, which was good Jack and his girlfriend being the only people in the bar. Closing time came around and he ended up giving us a 300 peso tip, which also happed to be our only tip of the night. I was happy that the gig was over. It didn't go all that well, but hey, it was Tate and my first paying show and there's plenty of room to go up from there. After Miguelitos closed, we all went down the road to Roxy's to catch a blues band that was still playing and finally ended up back in La Cruz pushing the dinghy through the surf a little after 3:00 in the morning.

I should have been in a coma for most of the next day, but around 7am, Matt and April's boat was hit by a panga setting off a very trying couple of days for Tate, but I'll let him tell you about that below.

The day after found Tate still dealing with local officials. I took the opportunity to get the propane tank filled, and to tote 40 gallons of water through the construction zone of a marina to replenish the forward water tank. We had met Rusty, one of the local pickers here, and Tate should have been finishing up with the Port Capitan, so I decided to bring Tate's banjo and my guitar into shore. The idea was to pick with Rusty for a while and then go up to Philo's and see if we could play a set or two. The tide was way out exposing some nasty rocks that we'd had to pull the dinghy over a few times already. Well when I hopped out of the dink and started pulling it over the rocks, one of the small rocks gave way and sent my foot underneath another rather sharp rock nicely slicing the length of my second toe. I looked down and could tell right away that stitches were going to be in order. First I had to pull the dinghy up 150' of beach to get to the high tide line, then I had to walk a half mile to Rusty's place all the while dripping a trail of bright red blood while carrying my guitar and Tate's heavy ass banjo. I used the hose by Anna Bananas to rinse out the wound, while Rusty rounded up some paper towels and a couple of band-aids. Rusty also borrowed a car and located a doctor in La Cruz, so after wrapping up my toe as well as I could, we took off up the road. We found Tate along the way and loaded him in the back of the car. When we got to the doctor's office, he was out and wouldn't be back for half a hour, which in Mexico means that he might not be back until tomorrow. Rusty left to return the car and Tate and I decided to play some music. As usual, there were lots of interested locals and a very confused looking doctor when he showed up 45 minutes later. The doc damn near broke the syringe off in my toe, and was working with just a florescent bulb in a light fixture across the room. Fortunately I had my flashlight with me, so Tate held in on my toe while the doctor put in four stitches and gave me a prescription for anti-biotics to stave off infection. Afterwards, we picked for a while with Rusty in his apartment and then went off to Philo's for another night of free food and beer after we played a 5 song set with his band.

Pic of my bloody toe, I didn't thumbnail this one as most of you probably don't want to see it:
BloodyToe

Tomorrow is Superbowl Sunday and Cabin Fever is the headline act over at Anna Bananas for the party. This will be our second official paying gig. Hopefully it'll go better than the last. Then on Monday or Tuesday we're planning on leaving for points further south. We might just make it all the way to Zihuatenejo on the next leg.

Tate's Thoughts

Sometimes in life the opportunity presents itself to really help someone out. Often times that opportunity is skirted because of circumstances... you're hung over, you're tired, maybe you just don't want to get involved. The other morning some very worried voices came on the VHF radio, it was about 7:00am and I had been sleeping for all of three hours. It seemed that a local fishing boat, a 22-foot Panga had slammed into a sailboat which was at anchor and the situation was serious. The party on the radio was looking for someone who spoke Spanish and could help them out with translating. I thought I could do it but I didn't answer the call because I was hung over, tired and I just didn't want to get involved. Another call came out to all the boats in La Cruz, even to the boats in the marina in Puerto Vallarta. There were at least 40 boats in the anchorage and there were no replies from the bilingual members of the crowd, if there were any. Someone called back and said that the Port Captain spoke English. Perhaps I was off the hook but I wrestled with my conscience, got up off the couch that is my bed here aboard Bodhran, and called back to the vessel 'Sonadora'. Someone replied that they were en route to the Port Captains office. I went back to sleep.

Nine-thirty rolls around and there is a hard knock on the side of the boat. It's David Swingle off of S/V Shoot the Moon and he has come to get me because these folks off Sonadora need a translator. I throw on a hat and some sunglasses and greet the day. He zips me into the Port Captains office where there are a bunch of cruisers and a bunch of Mexicans and a lot of confusion. I listen for awhile and soon I ask the Port Captain in Spanish to clarify what was going on.. He did this, relief in his eyes that I could communicate with him in Spanish for he had only a very basic understanding of English.
There seemed to be a lifting of tension in the room and people began to disperse. I was introduced to Matt and April who are in there late 20's, originally from Colorado. They are living their dream out here aboard their 36-foot Catalina, been married a year, and now this dream has hit a road block. They were thrust into the Mexican legal system and didn't fully understand what was being said. No one was speaking slow, people were nervous and maybe in shock. Official interpreters are not allowed to talk about what they translate with 3rd parties but I am not an official interpreter. Here's what had happened:

Just before dawn a panga with 4 Mexican tourists and 2 crew members headed off through a congested anchorage, opened up their twin 115 horse motors thinking that they had safely cleared the boats and slammed into the bow of the aforementioned Catalina. Big damage on both boats but neither sank, injuries on the fishing boat and now they are trying to work out the next step there in the Port Capitan's office. One man in his 60's has left in an ambulance to Puerto Vallarta and is later rushed to Guadalajara where he is in critical condition, perhaps not breathing on his own, but details are sketchy. The fishermen are saying that the sailboat had no anchor light on, the sailboat thinks there light was on but they weren't sure... their point is that the panga was going way too fast... we spend a solid 10 hours wrapped in discussions, giving statements, going to some mafia-esque government official in the next town over, giving more statements, signing things, copying passports, taking pictures, tears welling up in eyes-- I am literally in the middle of this fiasco.
.
No one involved in this situation was used to working with an interpreter and seeing as I am not actually an interpreter things were a little awkward. The conversations in Spanish were going fast and without pause and I had no time to translate sentence by sentence. I'd tell April and Matt what the conversation was about and when they'd say something I'd give that back in Spanish and soon I was right on the same page with them, working my way into the discussions as if I were them. That was strange. Soon the folks in Spanish were talking to me as if I were the one on the sailboat and that was not what I wanted... hey, how did I get into this?

Two full days of bureaucracy and high emotion, very little food, almost no coffee. The statements from both parties have now been submitted and maybe the square wheels in Mexico City are beginning to turn... I doubt it. Sonadora can't leave La Cruz until this is figured out. Their boat did not get impounded by shady government officials toting semi-automatic weapons which would have been terrible. They understand what has been said and written and they have to play the waiting game now. Hopefully my work is done, work that I was happy to do. As I said, sometimes the opportunity presents itself to really help someone out. When you take on that challenge and put yourself out there great things can happen, sometimes you meet people that you will never forget, perhaps you make friendships that last forever.