Archive for January, 2008


Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Zihuatenejo with Vari in the foreground:

I’d been sitting in Barra for just too long. We were trying to wait for Dan and Ben on Ocean Lady to get up there before we took off, so I got a hold of Dan by email and arranged to meet up in Manzanillo (25 miles south of Barra.)  Off we went, leaving Barra mid-day in hopes of picking up the afternoon sea breeze. Unfortunately the wind was right on our nose the entire way so we motored for most of the trip. On the bright side, we did catch a good sized Jack Crevalle on the way into Manzanillo Bay. A descent eating fish, it made a great meal grilled with a heavily gingered teriyaki sauce and it was served with a mango salsa the next evening.

Me with the Jack Crevalle we caught on the way into Manzanillo:

We ended up hearing Dan on Ocean Lady on the radio, I think when they were passing by. They didn’t come into the anchorage off Las Hadas and we couldn’t reach the on the radio that night or the next morning, so we  pulled the hook and we were off for Zihuatenejo. We had great wind right out of Manzanillo and Tate pulled in a little Bonito that we threw back. Everything was great until this big fishing boat started closing on us. We were on a collision course, so I turned to go behind him, then he turned to meet me, so I turned to go in front of him and you got it, he turned to meet me. What the hell? Tate called him on the radio. It turns out that they were just bored and wanted to check us out. They also gave us a hard time for only doing 5 knots and offered us a tow all the way to Zihuatenejo. Tate fired back asking how much diesel they were burning and said that we were doing just fine. They ended up passing about 100 feet in front of us. Much too close for comfort when your 20 miles offshore.

Tate with the Bonito we caught on the way south:

Fish boat that got a bit too close for comfort 20 miles off Michoacan:

We alternated sailing on the morning and afternoon breezes while motoring through mid-day and the middle of the night all the way down. The second day, the breeze never really filled in, but neither did the swell, so we were happily making all of 2 knots when we came across a pod of dolphins and a school of Yellowfin feeding on some smaller bait-fish. It was just as the sun was going down and the light was horrible for pictures, but we were just ghosting along in a glassy smooth sea with dolphins surfacing and tuna jumping all around us for an hour. Then the dolphins had to kick it up a notch and started doing all sorts of flips and rolls right there off the boat while Tate and I just sat back and took it all in. We had a light headwind the rest of the night and spent most of it trying to make up the remaining 20 miles to Zihuatenejo. Not a bad way to spend an evening, but by this time I’d come down with a horrible head cold. It’s 80 degrees at night down here, I don’t know how I got such a bad cold, but we anchored up near Vari here in Zihuatenejo this morning and I promptly went to bed to try to lick the cold.  I ended up waking at one in the afternoon feeling worse than I did when I went to bed. Tate isn’t feeling that hot either, so we might just quarantine ourselves on the boat for a couple of days and try to shake these damn colds. We’re going to stick around through Sailfest next weekend and then start heading back towards Barra. Hopefully that’ll give us enough time to get well and still do this town up right.

Finally getting some pics up again

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

I know that I’ve been neglecting my photo albums page for a while now. Well I just got up the pics of my time here in Barra and am uploading the pics of my trip south as I write this post, hopefully they’ll be up and running in a bit. I’ll try to get around to putting up some of the Dutch Harbor pics up the next time I get a decent internet connection.

Here are the Barra pics:

And here are some from the way south:

Bout time to leave Barra

Friday, January 18th, 2008

Well somehow, I’ve spent a whole month here in Barra de Navidad again and it’s been fun, but it’s about time to get back on the water. Old Bodhran had some pretty clean fresh bottom paint when she came in here, but 30 days in the brackish, scummy water of the lagoon hasn’t treated her well. We did get her out for a day sail the other day along with all the girls from Quebec. The wind was light, but it sure was nice to be off the hook. Of course the 90 degree weather and the company didn’t hurt either.

Doing tequila shots after going for a swim:

Tate and the girls sailing in Bahia de Navidad:

We’ve played at Rey Momo a few more time with Julie and Gen and also had a great beach fire that went until 5am night before last. It’s hard to leave a town where we can go play music anywhere, practically any night we want and get free beer or more. On top of that new people come and go all the time, and we’re always meeting lots of good folk, but I need to sail someplace I haven’t been yet, and that’s further south. So we’ll probably leave on Sunday bound for Zihuatenejo and sail fest. I’m certain we’ll be back in Barra this season before I head off to the Marquesas.

Slightly psychodelic pic of Justin’s encore performance of All Along the Watch Tower finishing off the night at Rey Momo:

Cabin Fever and the Banana Chicks

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Old T got in Sunday night and it’s been a whirlwind of activity ever since. I wasn’t sure when he’d be getting into Barra, so I waited out on Bodhran most of the afternoon figuring that he’d just take the water taxi out when he got here. Once the sun was almost down and Tate still hadn’t arrived, I slung my guit-fiddle on my back and took off to town to try and find him. I figured that he’d either be hanging out at the Sand Bar or would swinging by there looking for me when he got into town, so I went right from the water taxi dock, started towards the Sands and made it all of 100 feet before I saw a lanky fellow striding down the street with 2 backpacks and a banjo case in his hands. We went to the Sand Bar to have some beers and catch up. It’d been since we met up in Joshua Tree NP on my way north last year, but of course the instruments came out after about 10 minutes. Afterwards we went up to Mexico Lindo for some Chorizo Quesadillas. As luck would have it we didn’t even have to have our instruments out to meet up with a group of 7 French Canadian girls, 2 of whom are in a country band back in Quebec……good things just happen when you bring music with you to town. We all decided to meet up at Rey Momo the next day and Tate and I went back out to Bodhran to pick some more and work out some of the 20 or more new songs I’ve learned since last year.

The next day started somewhere around the crack of 11 when we finished coffee and breakfast, grabbed my board and went into town to catch some a little surf. It was a bit bigger than most of the days that I’ve been out there so far and it was really crowded, but I got up 3 times and caught my second ever wave all the way into the beach. We came back into town that night, picked for a bit in front of our favorite liquor store across from Seamasters and then started playing to an empty house at Rey Momo. It was a Monday and things were slow, but wouldn’t you know it, within about 20 minutes people started trickling in. Then we noticed Justin and a few of the other regulars up on the balcony with us looking across the street at something. The gaggle of Quebecois cuties were line dancing to us across the street in front of the pizza joint. After that, the party was on! Julie plays rhythm guitar and Gen plays bass and they both sing in a band called Madam Moustache back in Quebec. The rest of the girls weren’t afraid to sing either. We played to a packed house until well after closing time alternating between our songs and theirs, which were classic country tunes and other French folk songs. By the end of the night we got Justin up to sing a few with us too. Afterwards we all went down the Sand Bar where the group kinda fell apart and Tate and I ended up making our way back out Bodhran about 2:30 in the morning, but not before being invited to dinner at the house the Banana Chicks were staying in out in the Barrio. Oh yeah, apparently the Quebecois girls all went out together on one of the big inflatable banana lookin things that pangas pull around out in the bay their first day in town. Since then they’ve been dubbed the Banana Chicks.

Tate playing with Gen singing, Julie playing my Blueridge and the rest of the Banana Chicks filling in the rest of the vocals at Rey Momo:

So the next day was spent doing some domestic chores, sewing awnings and banjo cases and dinking into the Pemex dock with water jugs to fill up the water tanks. We strolled into town with our instruments and kept running into people we’d met last year or who’d seen us the night before. It was great, almost like we were home again. Both Tate and I are pretty nomadic these days, but somehow we’re part of the community here. We got to the girls house and sat down to a dinner of an 18 avocado guacamole, fresh salsas, fish and rice, and hot dogs. Somehow we kinda ignored the hot dogs a bit and mainly chowed on this huge bowl of guac. Of course we again spent most of the night playing music under their palapa.

Getting the Sailrite sewing machine ready to sew some leather chafe guards on my awning:

Tate giving Julie banjo lessons at their enormous house out in the Barrio:

Yesterday was a little break from playing music. We got the girls together and went over to Colomilla to hike up to the top of the hill above the Grand Bay. We took a wrong turn, had to walk an extra mile or so until we got back to where we could make it right and lost half the party, but the rest of us persevered and made it to the top of the hill, though I doubt that anyone had been on the trail since we were last year. Parts of it were pretty overgrown, but a good time was had by all who made it and we settled into some well deserved cervezas at Fortinos and then Pipers when we got back to town.

Bushwhacking to the top of the hill above the Grand Bay:

Myself, Marie-lou, Marie-clair and Julie at the top of the hill:

So Tate and I have been discussing when we might leave Barra and make our way down to Manzanillo, but we’re having too much fun right here, and there’s no sense in leaving when the going is good. So we’re sticking around for a while longer. Oh yeah, Cabin Fever and the Banana Chicks are playing Rey Momo tonight. Gotta make some music while there’s music to be made.

New clean cut dew

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

My new clean cut dew:

Well I just dropped about 5lbs in an hour at the local hair salon. I was getting a bit tired of the long hair getting caught on things all the time and wanted to shorten it up a bit. After all it’d been well over a year since my last hair cut, but I don’t think that the they’re too used to cutting curly hair down here and I forgot to mention that she needed to leave it 3 times the length that I wanted in order to leave the final length that I wanted. So now I’ve got the shortest hair that I’ve had since I got out of the army, about 2/3rds shorter than I wanted. We’ll see if I can get used to it.

Loading up the dink with it’s daily payload to head to the surf break:

Also on the surf note, I rode my first wave all the way into the beach the other day and caught most of the waves that I tried for. I finally starting to get this surfing thing down.