November and December, 2015: Recommissioning and Taking Visitors Sailing!

After all our inland travels, Rick’s trip to San Francisco, the hurricane scare, and then rushing off to be with Bev in Michoacán for Noche de Muertos, we were ready to just get back to the boat and get her out sailing for the first time in more than six months! We finally got her out on November 16.

Finally getting Cool Change out sailing again

Finally getting Cool Change out sailing again

There were a few reasons why it took so long to recommision her, partly because we didn’t have all of our maintenance items finished. We were so grateful for Chava, our boat maintenance guy, because he has a number of skills, one of which is knowing how to prep and paint metal. The paint was starting to peel on the mast, which was starting to rust. Chava went up the mast and prepped the peeling spots and repainted them. Those spots included where the clevis pin goes through the mast to hold up the backstay. (Believe it our not, the cotter pin holding the clevis pin had been left out by Hansen Rigging in Alameda when they worked on our rigging before we left San Francisco. We didn’t discover it until we were in Puerto Vallarta. This is probably the most dangerous single piece of 50 cent equipment on the boat to be missing. The whole rig could have collapsed. But that is another story). Anyway, we needed to support the rig with a halyard in place of the backstay so Chava could paint the mast at the top, and that took some careful planning. Then, we had to contract with a local rigging guy to “tune” our rig on the water after Chava finished.

The mast repainted where the backstay clevis pin goes through the mast

The mast repainted where the backstay clevis pin goes through the mast

Rick also finished his stripping of varnish and recoating with Cetol for all the exterior wood, and I finally finished the complete cockpit cover for rain and bug protection while at anchor. We anticipate needing some bug protection when up in the Sea of Cortez this spring, if not sooner.

The complete cockpit cover I designed and sewed

The complete cockpit cover I designed and sewed

The cockpit cover, from the inside looking out

The cockpit cover, from the inside looking out

And as our stay at Paradise was nearing the end, we took some time to enjoy all it has to offer, including a lovely beach and gorgeous sunsets.

Enjoying one of our last sunsets alone together on Paradise Beach for a while

Enjoying one of our last sunsets alone together on Paradise Beach for a while

I will never tire of sunsets on Paradise Beach

I will never tire of sunsets on Paradise Beach

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Those people who actually hung out all summer down in the canal end of Paradise Village marina were very few, so we all became pretty close just because we were neighbors.

Casey, our neighbor who lives on his boat, with his newfound kitty, Gilligan.  Casey became a pretty close friend and we had some fun times together

Casey, our neighbor who lives on his boat, with his newfound kitty, Gilligan. Casey became a pretty close friend and we had some fun times together

Greg on his boat Cythera was also our neighbor.  We knew Greg since we were in sailing school together in San Francisco bay.  Poor Greg had many challenges with Cythera; here he is shown leaving Puerto Vallarta for a long-anticipated sail to the Carribean, but he got waylaid in Huatulco with engine problems.  I think he is still there.

Greg on his boat Cythera was also our neighbor. We knew Greg since we were in sailing school together in San Francisco bay. Poor Greg had many challenges with Cythera; here he is shown leaving Puerto Vallarta for a long-anticipated sail to the Carribean, but he got waylaid in Huatulco with engine problems. I think he is still there.

As the holidays approached, I felt a longing for family and friends. The darkest moment actually happened on Thanksgiving, when Rick and I found ourselves with near complete strangers at an expensive dinner put on by the Puerto Vallarta Yacht Club. Don’t let the name fool you – there are not many members of this yacht club who actually own a boat anymore, and they treat outsiders as if they themselves were an exclusive club although I really saw nothing to be exclusive about. Anyway, I don’t think anyone of the “insiders” even said hello to us. At least we had our neighboring boat owner Lou and his date to sit eith, or we would have been completely alone. Not the way to spend Thanksgiving, when you are used to spending it with family, and everyone on facebook is giving thanks for all the love they felt that day.

So it was really a welcome change when our family and friends started visiting us. Two days after Thanksgiving, as a last minute plan, Brian arrived, Rick’s longest friend, and the best man in our wedding. We enjoyed four full days and evenings with him, and stayed with him until our attention was diverted to the impending long-planned arrival of my sister Kim and her son Bob, who stayed for several funfilled days. Less than a week later, our son Dan and his partner Sarah arrived, we sailed out of Paradise and stayed in a fantastic open air accomodation in the remote village of Yelapa, followed by a sail over to another small town in Banderas Bay where there is a marina called La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. Here is a bit of the story of their visits in pictures:

Taking Brian sailing.  We saw a whale!

Taking Brian sailing. We saw a whale!

Kim and Bob arriving at the Puerto Vallarta airport.

Kim and Bob arriving at the Puerto Vallarta airport.

The view from Kim and Bob's junior studio at Paradise.  For a tourist destination, Paradise is really quite fun and pretty reasonable.

The view from Kim and Bob’s junior studio at Paradise. For a tourist destination, Paradise is really quite fun and pretty reasonable.

The first night of their visit, we transported Kim and Bob in dinghys down to the Fajita Republic restaurant on the canal to enjoy some of the best mango margaritas around

The first night of their visit, we transported Kim and Bob in dinghys down to the Fajita Republic restaurant on the canal to enjoy some of the best mango margaritas around

We got Bob on the wheel of Cool Change after a few moments of instruction by Uncle Rick. Bob was a natural.

We got Bob on the wheel of Cool Change after a few moments of instruction by Uncle Rick. Bob was a natural.

Meanwhile, Kim and I enjoyed lounging on the forward deck

Meanwhile, Kim and I enjoyed lounging on the forward deck

Kim and I sailing

Kim and I sailing

We also had quite the full day in downtown Puerto Vallarta, including stopping for another version of a mango margarita in a restaurant along the Rio Cuale that borders the Romantic Zone

We also had quite the full day in downtown Puerto Vallarta, including stopping for another version of a mango margarita in a restaurant along the Rio Cuale that borders the Romantic Zone

Voladores de Papantla, de Oaxaca. Men from this tribe dressed in their indigenous attire, start at the top of the pole and unwind on ropes all the way down to the ground.  You can see many such performances throughout Mexico

Voladores de Papantla, de Oaxaca. Men from this tribe dressed in their indigenous attire, start at the top of the pole and unwind on ropes all the way down to the ground. You can see many such performances throughout Mexico

While walking the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta, we passed many beautiful sculptures.  The artist who designed this sculpture also sells small jewelry made by hand. One such piece we bought for our daughter Sarah, inscribed by the artist, for her birthday

While walking the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta, we passed many beautiful sculptures. The artist who designed this sculpture also sells small jewelry made by hand. One such piece we bought for our daughter Sarah, inscribed by the artist, for her birthday


While downtown, all of a sudden we found ourselves at the front of a parade! All week, the Church of the Virgin of Guadalupe was accepting parading visitors from all over the area, who were paying tribute to the Virgin in honor of her day on December 12.  This is a really big celebration in Mexico.

While downtown, all of a sudden we found ourselves at the front of a parade! All week, the Church of the Virgin of Guadalupe was accepting parading visitors from all over the area, who were paying tribute to the Virgin in honor of her day on December 12. This is a really big celebration in Mexico.

One of the many little girls dressed up as the Virgin of Guadalupe to reenact her role in Mexican Christianity

One of the many little girls dressed up as the Virgin of Guadalupe to reenact her role in Mexican Christianity


Kim, Bob and I enjoying the Malecon

Kim, Bob and I enjoying the Malecon

Our last night with Kim and Bob, we splurged on the Mexican Fiesta night at the hotel.  This picture was taken while still sober (it was all you can eat and drink, and the waiter was relentless in bringing more margaritas)

Our last night with Kim and Bob, we splurged on the Mexican Fiesta night at the hotel. This picture was taken while still sober (it was all you can eat and drink, and the waiter was relentless in bringing more margaritas)


By the end of the night, Uncle Rick was fearless.  He walked the round plank to try for the bottle of tequila in a basket at the end. Needless to say, he didn't make it, nor did anyone else. But he needed the refreshing dip!

By the end of the night, Uncle Rick was fearless. He walked the round plank to try for the bottle of tequila in a basket at the end. Needless to say, he didn’t make it, nor did anyone else. But he needed the refreshing dip!

Uncle Rick after he walked the plank

Uncle Rick after he walked the plank

We were so happy to have Bob and Kim come visit us so it was bittersweet to see them leave, but they managed to exhaust us all the same!

We were so happy to have Bob and Kim come visit us so it was bittersweet to see them leave, but they managed to exhaust us all the same!

On the heels of my sister's departure, our son Dan and his partner Sarah arrived. How excited we were to see them!

On the heels of my sister’s departure, our son Dan and his partner Sarah arrived. How excited we were to see them!


After a cozy night on Cool Change with the four of us on the day they arrived, we sailed over to Yelapa the next day and enjoyed a few moments to relax in their new digs for the next three nights

After a cozy night on Cool Change with the four of us on the day they arrived, we sailed over to Yelapa the next day and enjoyed a few moments to relax in their new digs for the next three nights

Dan and Sarah's bed

Dan and Sarah’s bed

I love how tender and kind Dan and Sara are to one another

I love how tender and kind Dan and Sara are to one another

The other side of the 1,000 square foot accomodations, where Rick and I slept

The other side of the 1,000 square foot accomodations, where Rick and I slept

The next day we took a 4 hour round trip hike up to the remote waterfall. Wherever you found a dog or cat, you found Dan giving it some love

The next day we took a 4 hour round trip hike up to the remote waterfall. Wherever you found a dog or cat, you found Dan giving it some love

The path to the waterfall was shared with horses and mules

The path to the waterfall was shared with horses and mules

Sarah and Dan at the waterfall

Sarah and Dan at the waterfall

Sailing back from Yelapa to La Cruz, Dan steered most of the way while Sara kept her eyes on the horizon

Sailing back from Yelapa to La Cruz, Dan steered most of the way while Sara kept her eyes on the horizon

Enjoying the outdoor patio at their new digs in La Cruz, a beachfront bungalow called Simply Bacu

Enjoying the outdoor patio at their new digs in La Cruz, a beachfront bungalow called Simply Bacu

Sara and Dan with the coconuts the groundskeeper cut off the palm tree for them

Sara and Dan with the coconuts the groundskeeper cut off the palm tree for them

Colorful iguanas adorn trees everywhere

Colorful iguanas adorn trees everywhere

Seeing one of our favorite bands, called Travelling Band, at one of the many music venues in La Cruz.

Seeing one of our favorite bands, called Travelling Band, at one of the many music venues in La Cruz.

The famous Traveling Band drum solo

The famous Traveling Band drum solo


It was really sad for me to say goodbye.  I don't think Dan will ever know how crazy about him I am, and I am so glad he found Sara. And it meant so much to both Rick and I that they took the time out of their extremely busy lives to come see how we live.

It was really sad for me to say goodbye. I don’t think Dan will ever know how crazy about him I am, and I am so glad he found Sara. And it meant so much to both Rick and I that they took the time out of their extremely busy lives to come see how we live.

After Dan and Sarah left and we came back for air, we spent Christmas eve at a little local German restaurant, and Christmas day calling family. Now we are wandering the streets of La Cruz, catching glimpses of things we will cherish from this little town, and picking up last minute supplies before we sail away.

The free form dancers and bands at the Sunday market in La Cruz.  We will miss this eclectic scene

The free form dancers and bands at the Sunday market in La Cruz. We will miss this eclectic scene

The German singers at the Black Forest Restaurant.  They sing flamenco!

The German singers at the Black Forest Restaurant. They sing flamenco!

Dancers who have had a few too many at the Ballena Blanca bar.  Fun fun fun

Dancers who have had a few too many at the Ballena Blanca bar. Fun fun fun

The fishing fleet outisde the fish market at La Cruz.  Fresh fish daily, 365 days per year.

The fishing fleet outisde the fish market at La Cruz. Fresh fish daily, 365 days per year.

The kids' juice table at the cruisers swap meet.  The kids make more money than anyone selling any of their "treasures of the bilge," and the kids' profits go to a local orphanage

The kids’ juice table at the cruisers swap meet. The kids make more money than anyone selling any of their “treasures of the bilge,” and the kids’ profits go to a local orphanage

If the weather cooperates, and we have been watching it carefully for the best “weather window,” we will check out of La Cruz marina and port captain tomorrow, Tuesday, and sail up to Punta de Mita, just a few hour sail, to spend the night on anchor. The next morning early, we plan to round Cabo Corrientes, which means Cape of Currents! It is the Mexican version of Point Conception in California, where the coast changes direction and the wind and currents go all which ways, making for a challenging ride at times. Hopefully we are picking a time that wont be too challenging. After all, our rapid response sailing skills are a little rusty!

After that, we plan on mosying down the coast at a turtle’s pace, to make it the 300 miles or so to Zihuatenejo by the beginning of March for the International Guitar Fest. Most of the places we will stop have no marinas so we will be anchored out. Our long-distance wifi antenna broke due to weather damage, so we probably won’t be picking up much wifi and I therefore won’t have much opportunity to blog. But stay tuned, I hope to have some fun adventures to report soon!

In the meantime, Happy New Year from Cindy and Rick!

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