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Second Cruising Season in Mexico

Below you will find all the Captain's Log entries from the second season in chronological order, just as they happened...


November 8,2004 La Paz (San Carlos to La Paz) The trip resumes

Hola Amigos y Familia,

We are finally underweigh, and loving it. There is a peace and tranquility associated with being on a vessel on a mission that is unlike any feeling I can name, except, in a small way, being on the road. The possibilities are limitless, the adventures are ahead, and one feels very alive.   It may have something to do with potential dangers, but that is just the thrill of the moment. In your heart you know there will probably just be boring mundane stuff going on, but you never really can foresee what might happen.

Anyway, we left San Carlos about noon Thursday, heavy hearted knowing we would miss our good friends Miff and Carol, and Sparky, who were supposed to show up that afternoon. We just had to take advantage of a great weather window, and we were already behind schedule for our planned trip to Puerto Vallarta. Daughter Lucy is showing up there Nov. 22, and we wanted to beat the Baja Ha Ha boats there to get a good slip.

So after topping off the fuel tanks, off we go, not really prepared, but who ever is. By not prepared, I mean we hadn’t really given the old boat a proper sea-trial, and if we had we probably would have noticed the alternator wasn’t charging the batteries. Oh well, we decided it wasn’t life threatening, and we continued on, knowing we could get help in La Paz. Of course it meant we had to hand steer, because the auto-pilot uses too much juice, and we couldn’t use the radar/chartplotter for the same reason. Or run the fridge fulltime. Despite all this, we had a great trip south, paralleling the 111th meridian to Agua Verde, a trip that lasted all night- about 20 some hours. When we arrived, we just powered up the new Honda 2000 generator, plugged it into the shore power outlet, and brought the batteries almost back to happy. We swam and rested up, and next morning took off south again for San Evaristo, about a 7 or 8 hour jaunt, then again got going in the morning for La Paz. We realized how spoiled we had become from relying on the autopilot and chartplotter, and rather reveled in our ease of switching back to the old fashioned ways of running a boat. We’re going to get things fixed, though. We’re not luddites or masochists, after all.

It was a happy arrival here to find Mike from Lifee P. Baker, as well as Paul and Paula from Lucky Dawg, Bob from Joggins, and Dick and Judy from Corazon all here. That’s the cruising life; you leave some friends behind, and meet others on your way.

We’re going to get new batteries and fix the alternator here, and then try to be gone as soon as possible for the next leg. I’ll update this as soon as we hit Puerto Vallarta.

Update November 21, Paradise Village Marina, (Puerto Vallarta):

It was an interesting passage from La Paz to Mazatlan.  You’ll get to read Barbie’s take on it in her First Mate’s Log, but here is mine…

We ended up spending a full week in La Paz because we decided to have our mail forwarded, and good friend John Higbie decided to come down and help crew for the crossing.  Mail got there Thursday and John, Friday.  So Saturday, with a generally favorable weather report (10-15 knot southerlies), we cast off and headed for the San Lorenzo Channel, a tricky 4 mile wide piece of water to navigate.  There are shoals on either side, as well as the middle, so we needed to find the magic buoy we needed to leave .25 mile to starboard.  A bit of a pucker for a first-timer like me, it was.  Once through, we set course for the north end of Isla Cerralvo, and then pointed right for Mazatlan.  It was supposed to be about a 48 hour crossing.

All was well until about an hour after sunset, the new moon night as dark as the inside of a cow.  The wind came up to 15-20 and suddenly things began to fly around below as building confused seas began knocking us around.  An angry Barbie popped her head out and accused me of trying to kill her as she napped in the aft cabin!

Anyway, we were glad we had reefed earlier, and began to sail more for comfort than speed, altering course when particularly big swells picked up our stern or appeared on our bow.  After awhile we were taking them mostly from the bow as they sorted to sort themselves out, and the wind became mostly southerly.  It wasn’t a fun night, but as the sky became lighter, things settled down and we began to make better speed.  We had a great sail all day, never using the engine at all and making an average of 6-6.5 knots on a beam reach under partly overcast skies.

The breeze died an hour or so before sunset, then the sky began to look a bit scary as the wind came up again.  We decided to go under a reefed mizzen and genoa (reefed to about 100%) and leave the main down for what we thought, correctly, would be an interesting night.  Sure enough, again we were very happy with our decision.  The seas weren’t anything like the previous night, and the wind wasn’t really much over 20 knots, but we began to transit through an ever increasing number of very active little cells with much electrical activity associated.  We were going about 7 knots or more, John was spotting squalls on the radar and trying to dodge them (with pretty good success), and then we came upon the mother of them all.  It was about 50 miles offshore from Mazatlan, about 60 miles long and 10 wide, stretching across our path like a giant wall, not moving at all.  We came across a ferry, sitting stationary, and decided they probably had the right idea.  From just after midnight until just before sunrise, we sailed north, south, east, tried heaving to (drifted too fast towards land) and generally stalled around watching the best lightening show any of us had ever seen.  That giant wall of cloud didn’t move an inch, and though we were a safe distance away, the bolts hitting the water looked like the size of redwood trees.  There would be 10-20 (or more) flashes in different areas up in the cloud every minute or so, then a huge bolt would hit the ocean.  We were not tempted to try to get through.  When we finally resumed our course into Mazatlan we only had one little 6 mile wide squall to deal with, 30+ knot winds, rain and lightening, but we came through it pretty quick and lucky.  We had jumper cables clipped to an upper shroud with the other end trailing in the water, but didn’t have to find out if that would ground us sufficiently.  As we entered El Cid marina about noon, a couple of other boats came in who had employed the same strategy.

After a couple of days enjoying the luxury resort at El Cid, Barbie seemed relaxed enough to continue our journey, so we headed out about noon Wednesday for the trip down the mainland coast to PV.  Again, Arabella kicked up her heels and flew along at 7+ knots all day and through most of the night.  We were glad the weather system was north of us, but still had some wind we could use.  We negotiated the tricky pass at Punta de Mita an hour before sunset, and were comfortably at anchor in time to watch the end of day show with boat drinks in the cockpit.

Friday morning we got underway about 0630, and made it into Paradise by 0930 or so.  It felt like coming home, walking into the yacht club and seeing friends we made last season.  John got to see some of the sights of Puerto Vallarta before flying out yesterday, and tomorrow my daughter Lucy comes.  Life is Good!

Hasta Banannas,

Mike, Barb, and Buddy

PS New pictures are up, check ‘em out.

12/27/04  Barra de Navidad, Jalisco, Mexico.  What a strange thing indeed to be in the tropics, thousands of miles from our old home, friends, and family, watching US news on cable TV complete with “home for the holidays” commercials, and trying not to feel homesick.  It’s not that we’re not having a great time with our good friends down here, we definitely are, but it still seems very odd.  Maybe if we didn’t have the cable TV…

Anyhow, we left Puerto Vallarta (PV) about the 12th or so, and took our time coming down to Ipala and then Chemela.  We arrived here in Barra on the 18th, after a great eight hour sail straight from Bahia Chamela.   The marina here at Isla Navidad has raised it’s already astronomical prices even higher, so we won’t be here too long, but it sure is luxurious here.  I went PV to get the car on Monday, and it has come in very handy for getting to Manzanillo for provisions, new batteries for Lana’s boat, etc.  We’re going to drive to Tenecatita today for a look around.  By the way, there is a whole story about getting the car down from San Carlos to PV, yet to be written, it was a real adventure.

Christmas Eve was great, beginning with a cruiser’s pot luck cocktail party at the Sands pool, then a family-type turkey dinner at the home of some local friends, then another late dinner (10:30) at the Sands for the owner’s family.  That one was really the first time we actually got much to eat, so it wasn’t like we pigged out all night!   It was also a very special treat to dine with “The Family”.  They are one of the families descended from one of a handful of fishermen who claimed land in what became the village now called Barra de Navidad.   We were the only cruisers invited to the table thanks to our good friend Lana who works for them and has become like a special daughter.

Christmas was, like every day here, hot and sunny.  There were several choices for Christmas dinner, but we opted for the pig roast organized for cruisers at a local waterfront restaurant.  Listening to Christmas music under the spiral-lit palm trees, enjoying great company and delicious food, watching the moon rise over the lagoon, well, I hope you can imagine what a fun time we had.  Buddy had a good time later, chewing on pork bones loaded with tender meat.

So, I guess we’ll be here for New Year’s Eve before we take the boat to Tenecatita for a week or two, since we missed it on the way down. 

Next will be the sail to Zihua, can’t wait to see that place!

1/4/05 A short update to say we had such a great New Years Eve we both came down with the first cold (they call it el grippe here) we’ve had in as long as we can remember.  There’s a bug going around town and we’re far from alone.  Anyway, we’re hoping to still be out of here in the next day or two…

Some new pics are up...

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and all that good stuff!

Mike, Barb and Bud

2/1/05 In Zihuatanejo (at Last)

 And how sweet it is! 

First a little bit of catching up.  We did make it to Tenecatita for a week or so after New Years, getting over our colds and enjoying the special qualities of the place.  We headed back to Barra to refill water and fuel tanks, etc, thinking we’d be heading south forthwith, but a final e-plea from my sister Deb to hang around until she got there convinced us to stay a bit longer.  After all, how often do you have a chance to visit with a relative in an exotic foreign-type place?  There was also some business with our friend Roberto to finish in Tenecatita, so what the heck, we went back up there to wait for Deborah.  She and her friend Janey showed up a few days before their original ETA of the 20th, and I was able to meet them at the bus depot in Melaque with the van and drive them up to La Manzanilla, where we dropped Janey off at her place.  We put Deb up in a little hotel on the beach in Tenecatita, since the boat would have been a little uncomfortable for her, and had a great few days hanging with her, despite her grappling with the same cold that was going around everywhere.

So Saturday we headed back to Barra for one last water tank top-off, and Monday morning we finally set off South.  The first day we only went as far as Las Hades in Manzanillo Bay (where the Bo Derick/Dudley Moore classic movie “10” was filmed), only a three and a half hour run.  A beautiful place to anchor, well protected, and with free showers and pool to swim in (as long as we bought a $7 drink), made it hard to tear ourselves away until we promised each other we’d stop back on our way North.  We did have one fun little squall hit us our first night there-we were having dinner on the beach and this little puppy roared up out of nowhere and dumped about 3” of rain in about an hour and a half, with some good little gusts of wind as well.  Luckily I was able to get out to the boat in time to close the hatches before it got TOO wet below, and it sure did clean the decks nicely!

We departed Manzanillo for Zihua about 0930 Wednesday, unsure if we would stop along the way or push straight through.  We figured on about 36 hours for the passage, mas o menos, depending on boat speed, and all we really cared about was not trying to anchor in a strange spot after dark, besides getting Buddy to a potty stop before he ‘sploded, of course.

As it happened, we went straight through to Isla Grande, near Ixtapa, and arrived about 1700 Thursday, after a “pretty rolly but nice breeze” kind of a trip.  The anchorage was rather small, and there was a boat near the center named Shibui who offered to help us anchor bow and stern next to them.  Under the category of “dumbest stunts ever”, I handed him my stern anchor without checking the connection to the rode, and sure enough, the clevis pin that attached the chain to the swivel fell out after he dropped the hook from his dinghy.  I had been meaning to replace that rusted out cotter pin, and guess I misplaced that pesky “round tuit”.  Extremely nice guy that he is, Brian dove for the anchor the next morning and found it pretty quickly.  Thanks Brian!

So the next day we cruised the 3 miles into Zihua bay, and found lots of boats, including our friends Bob from Joggins, and Bob and Bev from Yemiah.  There had been 40-some registrations for Sailfest (we hear it’s Yachts and Yachts of Fun, and raises big bucks for the local indigenous kid’s school), and everybody was getting in the mood to party, starting with a dinghy raft-up the Friday we arrived.  These dinghy raft-ups are a cool deal.  One dinghy drops an anchor, and everybody else ties to them, hopefully forming circular type configuration like a big sunflower.  Everybody brings a hors d’ourves (sp????) and passes them around, along with books, movies, etc that are available for swap.  While this is going on, people introduce themselves and make little speeches about their plans and/or histories.  It can get a little hectic, but is lots of fun trying to balance food and drinks while listening to the stories.

The town of Zihua is a very special place, bigger than Barra, but with much of that same small-town charm.  It features lots of very good restaurants and bars, shops and galleries, all within easy walking distance.  There are also good service-type businesses here, a great marine store, laundry, and many internet places.  Rick’s Bar is a full service place with showers, laundry, internet, steak house (“cook yer own” excellent, huge, tender steaks) and of course, bar, featuring live music nightly.  Rick will also get your propane tanks filled, receive and send mail from/to the States, and is the headquarters for Sailfest, starting tomorrow.

We are looking forward to a fun few days of dinghy poker runs, pursuit-type sailboat races, a boat parade, seminars about sailing stuff, etc. with a few parties thrown in, of course.  Our good friend Katherine will arrive on the 7th, in time for the big Carnival celebration before Lent, and we can’t wait to see her and show her this Mexican playground for grownups we call the cruising life.

Still living the life we love and loving the life we live,

Mike, Barbie, and New Haircut Buddy

New Pics!

03/07/05   Back in Barra

Our month in Zihua went by like a blur, but I’ll try to remember a few high spots for the record!

Sailfest was a week of great fun and we cruisers raised over 40 grand for the local school for indigenous kids.  These kids speak only their Indian dialect and need to learn Spanish in order to be able to function in mainstream society.

Anyway, after Barb and I endured a grueling week of parties, revelry, sail parades and merriment, Katherine arrived on the 7th, and we began two weeks of fun with her.  One of the fund raising events of sailfest was an auction, and we had top bid for a three-day stay at Las Gatas Beach Club.  We decided to use it while Katherine was visiting, and had a great stay at the bungalow known as Hotel California.  It was rustic/funky but clean, had a separate bedroom, a comfortable living room with a bed for Katherine, and a kitchen which we didn’t use because the restaurant was so good.  The Beach Club proprietor,  Owen Lee, cooked  a great dinner for us one night and told us great stories about his career working with Jacques Cousteau, and lots about Zihuatenejo, his adopted home of some 38 years.  We really enjoyed our stay there, snorkeling was great, and it was a truly beautiful setting.

By the time Katherine left, both Barbie and I had acquired colds (from having too much fun, no doubt) and we decided to chill a bit.  There were a few boat chores to do, and the next thing we knew it was time to get going north again.  Of course, the weather decided to act up once we were ready to go, and we had to wait another week or so for things to calm down.  At least we thought it was calmed down by our early Saturday morning departure on May 5th.  It wasn’t the most pleasant trip from Zihua to Manzanillo, with lots of wind, waves and current right on the nose.  There were times we were slowed down to 2 knots or less instead of our usual 5 plus knots under power, and the trip up took about 6 hours longer than the 34 hours it took coming down.  It was a real relief to cruise into Manzanillo bay at 0130 Monday morning, after what amounted to a mini Baja Bash.  There was plenty of light from the hotels to anchor by, as we once again found shelter by Las Hades Resort.  After a day of R ‘n R and a great dinner at Karmina Palace Resort, we got up early and headed out for the last 17 miles to Barra. We enjoyed being able to make our normal speed again, for the first three hours or so, then got hammered by 25+ knots of wind as we got to the point just south of Barra.  Despite this we were patting ourselves on the back as we got into the harbor here for leaving as early as we did and making it most of the way here before it blew up. 

There were many friends waiting to greet us when we arrived, and once again it felt like coming home.  We’ll be here for a few days, then try to get the boat up to Puerto Vallarta in time to fly out on the 18th for sister Linda’s wedding party in Newport Beach on the 19th.  We’ll be a week in Southern California, then return to begin the trip up to the Sea of Cortez.


Hasta Next Time,

Mike, Barb, and of course the Buddmeister

04/14/05  Home (again) in Paradise

 It seems like we’re destined to live in Paradise, the way we keep ending up here.  We arrived in Banderas Bay early on the 4th, after an all night run north from Chamela.  We did that to avoid lumpy seas and big winds around Cabo Corrientes, and the strategy worked perfectly.  We had an ocean surface smooth enough to see star trails.

To back up a bit, we opted to keep the boat in Barra and drive up to Puerto Vallarta on the 18th, when it was time to catch our flight to LAX for sister Linda’s wedding party.  Piper put on a great Saint Paddy’s day feed on the 17th, and there were great fireworks and celebrations in Melaque for what they call San Patricio, a week of revelry in those parts. 

We had a great time at Linda’s party on the 19th, then, after a fun early Easter family get together at Barb’s Mom’s, I went to Channel Islands and Santa Barbara to take care of some business.  Barb stayed at her Mom’s recovering from a flu relapse.  When we returned to PV on the 24th, it was too late for the bus to Barra, no rooms available due to Easter week, so we cabbed it back to Barra!  Only 1500 pesos for a fun ride that got us back to the boat before midnight was definitely worth it.

A quick week of farewells and last minute details, and we were gone from Barra to Tenecatita by noon March 30.  There was a fine Southerly breeze and we actually got to sail for a change, beam reaching at 6+ knots all the way.  It was tempting to just continue north, believe me, but we had some things to take care of in Tenecatita so we stopped.  The southerly continued for a few days, so when we pulled out on Saturday the 2nd, we still had a beam reach all the way to Chamela.  We spent the night and left at 1700 Sunday, which brings us back to where we started this narrative.

As for the future, the plan has changed a bit, or (actually) reverted to the old plan, which was to leave the boat here in Paradise this summer.  The timing of getting Lana’s boat to Lazaro Cardenas has pushed everything back a bit far to make sense trying to do the Sea of Cortez again, and we decided we’d “been there, done that” anyway.  Fact is, we’ve been bombing around quite a bit this season, and both decided it wasn’t such a bad idea just to chill and take care of some projects on the boat, maybe do a bit of inland exploration in the van, and just smell the roses some.

We figure by the third week of June we’ll be ready to head north, so we’ll be looking forward to seeing all you family and friends by July.  I’m planning on Yachats by the 4th, Country Fair the next weekend, then a fun rest of the summer in Oregon.  Barb will be spending some time with her friends and family in Southern California at some point as well.

See ya’ll then!

 Hasta Luego,

Mike, Barb and the Bud man

More From Paradise (Village Marina, that is) 05/06/05

Ahoy and Howdy,

We are really enjoying having a chance to just chill a bit and get the boat in shape.  The (12.5´) Puffer is in the water, tied up behind Arabella, and she´s fun to bomb around the harbor on.

Helped Lana move her boat from Barra to Lazaro Cardenas in late April.  That was a pretty mellow 48 hour trip, lots of sailing due to a "slight" engine overheating problem.  At one point she was wondering if we´d make it in time to get the paperwork done before boarding the Dockwise ship, but we fired up the engine and ran all night to make it in time.  Engine didn´t boil over until we were right there. 

It was very interesting loading the Cooper 41 Courageous II aboard the giant ocean-going drydock they call Dockwise.  They partially sink the ship so you drive on, with divers swimming around placing blocking under the boats.  Then they raise the big ship up, and actually weld the supports to the deck before getting underway.  The whole process takes about a day.  For about 10K, Lana´s boat got a nice ride to Vancouver BC from pretty far south in Mexico.

Made it back to Puerto Vallarta in time to celebrate my birthday with the wife unit, and we partied for about a week!  My big present to myself was a night in the resort here at Paradise Village, ocean view studio was only about $100 with the discount you get for being in the marina.  I really enjoyed the tub!  Until you cruise for awhile you never appreciate little things like being able to use lots of water and actually lie down in it!

Finally got the watermaker installed this week, almost done anyway.  Been hauling it around all season in a locker due to inability to decide where in the heck to put it.  Finally decided under the galley sink made the most sense because all the plumbing is right there, and it´s small enough (a PUR 40) to fit pretty easily.  Now that´s done I can move on to more fun stuff!

This place is becoming a ghost town since so many boats have left to go back North or to the Sea of Cortez, but Hans and Allie from Xanadu are still around, anchored over in La Cruz, and there are several others who live here year round.  Last weekend we had a music day starting at Ana Banana´s with a jam session and ending at Costa Azul Adventure Resort with great blues from the Where´s Jimmy Blues Band.

The rig is being changed on Independence, Sparky´s old boat down the dock from us.  The parts arrived yesterday.

That´s about all I can think of, hope you are all fine and happy, and we´ll be looking forward to heading north in a month and a week or so.

Some New Pics

Fair Winds,

Mike, Barb, and new haircut Bud

Preparing to Abandon Ship

06/04/05   It´s been a relaxing, yet productive month.  Luckily, our location here at Paradise Village lets us enjoy the daily cooling breeze, so we haven´t had to use our new air conditioner.  We´ve tried to accomplish at least one task a day, the normal cruiser goal here in this hot climate.  Sometimes it´s a big one, like removing the hot water heater from deep in the bowels of the engine room, and sometimes it´s a small one, like washing the boat or cleaning the stainless.  We did take a couple of car trips down to Barra to visit and see friends.  We´re buying a half interest in a lot in Tenecatita from our friend Roberto Daniels.  Perhaps next season we´ll build a sculpture studio/palapa on it!

The water heater was a project I´d been putting off for quite a long time.  We knew it was leaking since last season, and finally got the fresh water lines disconnected this season.  Though it isn´t really too crucial having hot water in this climate, it isn´t good to defer maintenance of any kind on a boat because things begin to pile up.

Turns out the tank indeed had a crack in the bottom (it looks like a miniature aluminum beer keg) and the welder said it wasn´t worth trying to weld since the whole thing was thin from years of corrosion and electrolysis.  One more thing we need to pick up when we make our trip north.

Speaking of trips north, it´s getting close to D- day, and we are having a hard time coming to grips with it.  We know there are preparations to make, etc., but we are swimming in the waters of de Nile.  Leaving the boat here seems less scary somehow than leaving it in San Carlos, maybe since we know so many people here and are comfortable that friends will come to the aid of the boat should she need it. 

So we took the car into the shop the other day and got the air conditioner working, along with the electric door locks and a couple of other minor problems, so at least the car is ready for the trip.  We´ll leave the Puffer here, and have decided to return sooner than we had planned, like August, so we can experience the wet season and get more things done on the boat.  Next season we plan to venture much further south, like Panama or Equador, so we want Arabella to be as prepared as possible.

So if all goes well, we´ll be starting north about the 13th or so, and try to be in Riverside by the 18th so we can help my Aunt Helen celebrate her 100th birthday.  She´s my father´s last living sibling since Aunt Roselle died recently, and we really do want to be there for her century party.

So it´s going to be a quick visit to the old US of A this time, but we´ll try to make the most of it.  Looking forward to seeing everybody!

Hasta Luego,

Mike, Barb, and The Buddster

A few new pics

Landcruisers in Yachats, Oregon  Log entry 07/02/05

 After a busy few days getting the boat ready and sorting out what we needed to take back to the States, we finally drove away from Puerto Vallarta Tuesday June 14th.  It took three days to get back, with stops in Mazatlan, San Carlos, and Blythe, California.  What extreme culture shock it was, crossing the border!  There were immediate things we liked, such as being able to converse with everyone we met, and things we disliked, like dealing with some attitudes we had almost forgotten about.  Overall, it felt good to be in the States, though.

Aunt Helen looked great at her 100th birthday party, and it was great to see all the family members there.  Nice visits with Barb´s daughter Kelli and sister Randa followed, then we saw good friends Linda and Louise, and my sisters Deb and Linda as well.  Barb´s mom was our last stop in LA, then we headed to up Ventura for a couple of days where John had us set up at the Pierpont Inn.  For Barb´s birthday on the 24th, we went to a fun backyard cookout at Barb´s niece Lisa´s, where her brother Alfie did culinary magic over a firepit.  It was all great, but we were a bit “socialed out” and ready for a break by the time we reached Cachuma Lake and set up camp out on the end of a peninsula, which we had all to ourselves. 

After a great sleep we broke camp and headed out into the Santa Ynez valley for a few hours of wine tasting, then a hot tub at Sycamore Springs, and finally found a nice dog-friendly motel at Moonstone Cove, near Cambria.  Barb kept saying “That was a really nice day!” and it really was. 

Next we decided to take a small detour over to Lake Tahoe and see our friends Dale and Jane, where we had a wonderful visit.  Thursday we had a classic “tourist day” with Jane including a ride on the paddlewheeler and a trip up the gondola at Heavenly Valley.  Bummer that Dale had to work!

Amazingly enough, we drove all the way here from Tahoe in one swell 12 hour foop, doable only because I-5 is such a fast road.

We´re hoping Katherine can fix us up with a sweet spot to buy and call home somewhere around Yachats.  We´ll keep ya posted.

Fair winds,

Mike, Barb and Buddog

Establishing a Land Base in Yachats 

Log Entry 08/10/05

It´s been an interesting month or so since we arrived here in Oregon.  What was that old Chinese curse, “may you live in interesting times.” ?

Anyway, I happened to pick up a Sunday paper from Portland, and there was a tiny ad for a house for sale by owner in Yachats: ocean view, an acre, new septic, 200K.  Well now. The 200K part was a bit more than I was thinking of spending, but compared to what is available around these parts, it seemed like a deal.  So I enlisted the aid of dear friend and local real estate agent Katherine, who perhaps was a bit disappointed she didn´t have a listing that appealed to us, but if so, concealed it well and agreed to represent us.

Long and short of it is, we´re signing tomorrow, and have already been camping out at the house.

Continued 9/1/05… So we´ve been a bit busy…

The first order of business was the bathroom.  The tub had a quarter inch gap between it and the wall behind it and on the back end, and no shower, perhaps a good thing considering the potential water damage that would have occurred.  The new plastic coated masonite surround may look a bit like an amateur installed it (´cus I did), but it works.

Next we rented a drum sander and attacked the old growth fir flooring throughout the house, and the years of dirt and grime sanded off to reveal very nice grain and color.  I then flew down to SoCal to pick up our belongings from storage and load them onto a U-Haul (with much appreciated help from friends Sparky, Jim Conti, and John Higbie) and drove back while Barbie applied five coats of Verithane.  The transformation was incredible. 

We still were camping in the unfinished downstairs portion of the house for a few more days while good buddy and supremely talented Buck installed underlayment and vinyl in the kitchen and bathroom, as well as apply texture to the living room walls and ceiling.  After coats of primer and paint, it looked like a whole different house inside.

We´re now finally moved in, and enjoying the homey feel that we´ve been working so hard to achieve.  We´ll never run out of projects here, and there are still a few pressing problems, but we´ll get those handled in the next month or so remaining before we return to Arabella in Puerto Vallarta, and the rest will wait until we come home in June next year.  Fortunately Katherine has found short term renters who will keep the house safe while we´re gone, which was always a factor I´d worried about.

The phone line is supposed to go in next week, and if luck is with us, the DSL at the same time, so perhaps the webcaptain can maintain his site in a more timely manner! 

Update 9/19/05  Today was a memorable day because we finally got our DSL line installed.  Buck is just finishing up the tile backsplashes in the kitchen, and we are about done with this summer´s projects to get the house up to speed.  This month we´ve added a glass door for the shower, fixed the leaky rain gutter problem, added cabinets and counters in the kitchen, put in a washer and dryer, and finished moving in, among other things.  Next Saturday is the housewarming/farewell/Buck´s Birthday Party, then we´ll be packing up and heading for warmer latitudes.  Can´t wait to get back to our floating home in Puerto Vallarta for another season of cruising in Mexico.  It will be nice to have a land home to return to next June, however, and more projects to keep us out of trouble!

Fair Winds,

The Yachats Fulmors

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