Monday, September 27, 2010


We arrived in Guadalajara by plane at 6am, Sunday, having flown past a dramatic electrical storm about an hour out of this great city. Exhausted after 24 hours of wakefulness, we were deposited by taxi outside Casa Vilasanta, and knocked and knocked until the great hand-carved doors were opened by a sleepy clerk.

After five hours sleep, we rose to explore. Sundays, the city bars motor vehicles from Juarez, a wide avenue. We walked there via the cathedral Templo Expiatorio, (Temple of Atonement), peeking inside and being riveted by the gloriously lit interior - rows of French stained glass filtering sunlight into the sanctuary.

Juarez was happily occupied by thousands of bicyclists, skaters and pedestrians, comfortably spread out and moving at a Sunday pace. We had breakfast at a cafe then walked along the avenue, marveling at the old Catholic structures and browsing market stalls. George is delighted with the warmth of the Guadalajaran people, who pour into the parks to hula-hoop, picnic, dance and visit. These people know how to live.

That evening, having provisioned, we cooked "hamburger sopas" (which were tasty) then toured our posada's rooftop, which is set up for lounging. We balanced ourselves on a chair (both of us, George's arms around me) and I snapped a photo of the sun setting behind the cathedral. Caution: there is romance in the air here.

We took an evening walk to the cathedral to hear the bells, and arrived as evening mass was letting out. Hundreds and hundreds of people were inside the cathedral and hundreds more were on the plaza outside, mingling, vending, and even ballroom dancing - about a dozen couples, some of them dressed to the nines. We sat by the fountain, and laughed when we noticed the neon crosses installed atop the cathedral, an edifice built in 1897. Then we walked back home in search of sleep.

Sadly, sleep had decided to take the night off and spend time among the cars and dogs near our posada. Ah well, as George say, "It's a good thing we're young!"

Celeste began school today. She's in a class of eleven (several of whom are here at Casa Vilasanta), hailing from The Netherlands, Germany, St. Lucia and The States. The school lives up to our expectations: well-organized, student-centered, demanding and intensive. She observed two live classes in the late afternoon and begins teaching Thursday.

Buenos Noches!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


We arrived in Ensenada at 4:30p.m. the 20th, having left San Diego's town dock power under at 6:15a.m., same day. The seas were rolling and the sky overcast. We took two hour watches, the first watch being most notable for beam seas and for the fleet of large, private fishing vessels that raced past as we left the town dock, sending us rolling like Weebles. Wolfgang suffered confusion and nausea, and I empathized with the latter.

We entered Mexican waters around 8:00a.m. All was quiet. Off Rosarita were tugs on a mooring, and two container ships, one being from Panama.

By the second watch the cats had settled in, and by the fourth they were napping. I was wakened during the third when the wind picked up and George decided to set the sails. Unfortunately, the main winch gave out (probably needs new pauls). We headed back on course under power, glad to be basking in sunshine and traversing blue waters.

We always monitor VHF-16 while underway, but yesterday was the first MayDay we've encountered. Three men in a small vessel radioed in distress: their vessel was taking on water through a hole in the stern and they were unable to keep ahead of it by bailing or bilge. They estimated they had 20 minutes before sinking. The U.S. Coast Guard out of San Diego picked up the call and kept them active on 16, gathering information -- ages, descriptions, country of vessel registration -- and instructing (don life jackets; take your flares if you have to get in the water). A harbor patrol boat dispatched from the port nearest the distressed vessel's location. We headed in their direction as well, and arrived just as the Coast Guard helicopter left. The men had been taken aboard the harbor patrol vessel, the waterlogged boat abandoned.

We continued on our way. With the sunshine, the trip went fast. Soon we saw the massive flag that marks Nava Bajal and the entrance to Cruiseport Marina. To our surprise, the Washington State Ferry Nisqually was at the entrance to our new homeport! It had been brought here in hopes the large seal/sea lion populations would opt to lounge on it. That didn't take, so it is being disassembled. Nevertheless, it was a nice reminder of our original home.

Our welcome has been warm. We were greeted by cruisers from Federal Way and Arizona, and by the time we had rowed back and forth from the showers we also had met people from Seattle, and Whidbey Island.

It's going to be a good trip.