Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Ham radio, waterfalls and surf.

What do the ham radio, waterfalls and surf have to do with one another? Nothing actually.  I just thought I would catch you up on the latest and those things are what stick in my mind.

As for the ham radio, Marne had her triumphant debut as the net controller for the morning Sonrisa net on the ham radio.  As such she was responsible to check in cruisers from Baja to the south of Mexico along the Pacific coast that rely on the net to pass on important information, obtain weather and check in with their current locations and conditions.  She did a stellar job!  I remember the first time I did it, I was so nervous.  All of these pro ham nerds out there listening to my every mistake and probably critiquing me in the silence of their own boat.  It is a bit daunting at first.  However, Marne came through with flying colors and afterward said that she actually had fun.

Here in Tenacatita friends of ours Marc and Dee on the catamaran "SpeakEasy" told us of a really cool hike up the canyon southeast of La Manzanilla that leads you up a dry riverbed and then eventually leads you to a beautiful box canyon where a crystal clear, cool water stream flows over the massive rocks and down the canyon through the dense jungle.  The trail is not marked and there were several "choices" that we came to along the way but after a few failed attempts following dead ends in one direction or another, we arrived at "Nirvana" spot.  A small waterfall of maybe 15' poured into a gorgeous aqua green pool of water that was about the size of a large swimming pool and about 12' deep.  It was amazing and SO worth the hike!  Thanks S/V SpeakEasy for the great tip!  It will definitely be visited again when we pass through here next season.  Usually our pictures come out great but honestly, this time they really don't do the place justice.

As for surfing, we have had a pretty big swell rolling through the anchorage here in Tenacatita for the last two days.  Yesterday we got out the boards and headed in to grab a few waves.  The shape was not spectacular but was still super fun.  We have been waiting for decent surf for over a month now and it was fun to get the boards wet run some water past the fins.  This morning the swells were even bigger so I paddled out for about an hour.  I caught a couple of super short waves but they were mostly "closed out" and were not nearly as fun as yesterday.

All is well onboard. Ciao for now.

SV Liahona
Bret, Marne and Sydney

Monday, January 11, 2016

Then and now. Las Hadas resort, Manzanillo Mexico.

I came across a few pics from back in 1980 aboard my dad's 42' Westsail, the Liahona when we were here at Las Hadas resort. We tried to take similar pictures to show you the similarities and differences that 35 years has had on this magical place.  Without further ado, enjoy the then and now!


2016 - the hill on the left filled up a little.



The following pictures are not of Las Hadas but were taken during the time we were anchored there.

 Dad, Mom and Jess Padilla

Rob Conlogue and me at the Padilla's home in Guadalajara

Rob doing some reading in Surfer magazine below decks on Pop's Liahona, 1980

That's our walk through the past.  Great memories then and now!  Live for today because yesterday is gone and all you have left are pics.  Ciao for now.

SV Liahona
Bret and Marne

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Las Hadas Hotel, Manzanillo. Just like the old days.

This afternoon we decided to change the scenery in the front yard so we pulled anchor and headed the short 4 miles across the bay here in Manzanillo.  There was a very nice, gentle breeze so we decided to practice our skills, go old school (in the days before the combustion engine) and sail off the anchor.  I pulled the anchor as Marne manned the helm and it went off perfectly.  Just as the anchor set into the bow sprit Marne used the tiny bit of forward momentum to turn the boat off the wind and after securing the anchor on the bow we quickly rolled out the drifter and quietly sailed out of the anchorage.  It felt great.  We didn't hear the rumble of the diesel until we needed it to set the anchor and secure the boat for the night after we had arrived at our destination.  I love sailing point to point using only the power of the wind.  It is so peaceful and I always find myself in my happy place during those times.

Here on the other side of Manzanillo bay we anchored in front of the world famous Las Hadas hotel.  If you haven't heard of it, Google it.  It is quiet, calm and beautiful.  There are only two other boats anchored here with us. As we went ashore and walked around the hotel grounds it reminded me of my last visit here in 1980 aboard my dad's Liahona, his 1979 Westsail 42'.  I am sure that a lot has changed as far as the surroundings but the hotel itself looks just like I remembered it back in the day.  The beautiful white, castle like buildings, gorgeous pools, palm trees and a private beach are a vacationers paradise.

I remember back then that we pretended to be hotel guests and crashed the pools all day. We felt like rich celebrities.  Also being in the pools was probably the first fresh water bath we had in months.  We still bathe in the ocean 95% of the time but having a water maker aboard, we do get a fresh water rinse after bathing.  Back then there was no marina here in Las Hadas so we sailed over to the main port of Manzanillo where my dad topped off the tanks paying around 15-20 cents a gallon for diesel.  Tomorrow, when fill up with diesel we will be paying a bit more, around $4.50/gallon.

Being here reminds me of so many things and I often find myself thinking back on the life changing trip that I had with my parents on their Liahona spending a little over a year aboard traveling from southern California south along the Pacific coastline, through the Panama canal and then north along the inside of the Caribbean through Central America.  It was an amazing trip and little did I know then that it would plant a small seed that would lay dormant for more than 30 years before sprouting deep in my soul the desire to return to the ocean.  Thank you mom and dad.  I think of you with gratitude every single day.

SV Liahona
Bret and Marne

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Mellow in Melaque.

We sailed into Melaque yesterday.  Actually we motored into Melaque because there was absolutely no wind.  However, about 40 minutes after we arrived a nice 12-15 knot breeze came blowing in from the northwest.  We should have waited an hour or two before we left Tenacatita but it is what it is and here we are in this nice little town that sits between Barra de Navidad and Tenacatita.  The bay is protected by a beautiful rocky reef that extends out to the southwest from the long, coarse sandy beach that stretches all the way down to Barra.  The beaches are lined with palapa restaurants and small hotels. The beach as well as the quaint streets just off of the beach front are crowded with people, mostly wealthy Mexicans that have come here to celebrate the new year.

Today we went ashore with a bag full of laundry and and empty sack to be filled with a few groceries that we are low on.  As we landed the dinghy on the steep sandy beach carefully navigating between two larger swells a Mexican guy came down to the water's edge, rolled up the pant legs of his jeans and helped us drag the dinghy up the steep shore to dry sand above the high tide mark.  A typical showing of Latin generosity.  Most likely had we been doing the same thing somewhere in southern California we would have struggled to drag the dinghy up the beach, just me and Marne, while the vacationers sat on their towels and watched us labor to get the dinghy ashore.  One of the many reasons we love the Mexican people and their beautiful country.

After picking up the laundry we meandered back to the boat, splurged by having some ice in our water and played some rummy cube.  It is pretty warm here with the high today just reaching 100 degrees and the water a very comfortable 81 degrees. The humidity has hovered around 80 percent for the last few days so it feels hotter than it really is.

As I sat in the shaded comfort of the cockpit I looked toward the masses of people on the beach and watched as the pelicans, gulls and other birds were busy flying high above the water looking for fish then diving speedily down into the water to try to capture some food.  Even with the noise and crowded beach, it is peaceful, calm and beautiful.  We are indeed grateful for the experience and all that we are able to enjoy.  Until next time.

SV Liahona
Bret and Marne