Recent Blogs

Dénouement - August 5, 2011 - Hual Out and Repairs

The final act for this play was to have Ironbarque halled, cleaned, bottom painted and minor touch ups done......Pictures Here

June 5th, 2011 Depart la Cruz for Ensenada

We sailed from La Cruz back to Ensenada via Cabos San Lucas and Bahia Tortuga.  The Baja Bash lived up to its name but Ironbarque was not concerned.....Pictures here

Sunday May 22 - May 30 Central Mexico

We had seen much of the western coast of Mexico but little of central Mexico. So we made our plans and hired a van. We drove the path of the Mexican War of Independence (1810-1821).

We added Ajijic as a first break on the long drive to Mexico City and because it was said to be so pretty. Ajijic sits on Lake Chapala in the State of Jalisco. The town is lively and has a thriving artists colony. ......More about Ajijic

Our next stop was to Ciudad Mexico. When you say, "We are going to Mexico", in Mexico, you do not need to add the clarifying "City". All roads lead to Mexico. There is way too much to see and do in Mexico. We took in museums, Chipultapec Fortres and La Casa Azul de Frida Kahlo .....More about Mexico city
Teotihuacan is just outside Mexico. You drive across a fertile hot plain and the pyramids rise out of the haze.....More about Teotihuacan
The home of one of the leaders of the War of Independence, San Miguel is perched on a steep hillside. It is charming with cobblestoned streets and architecture that reflects its colonial past. .....More about San Miguel de Allende
Guanajuato spills over and around several hills. Its older streets are subterranean in many places. The buildings remind me of Rennaisance Italy. It was here that the heads of the four leaders of the initial armed rebellion were put on display; one each at the corners of the granary (Alhondiga de Granaditas). Today, the University is thriving and the town is ecclectic in its tastes. While we were there, the festival of the troubadors was in full swing. ......More about Guanajuato
None of the leaders of the fight for independence were able to enjoy the fruits of their struggle. The worldy priest, Miguel Hidalgo, who was the spark that lit the flame in the War for Independence, was executed after being defrocked. After all, one cannot shoot a priest.  Dolores Hidalgo (in full: Dolores Hidalgo Cuna de la Independencia Nacional) is named in his honor. They sell every imagineable flavor of ice cream in the main square.  Try the squid and prawn; it is trully unique! .....More about Dolores Hidalgo

20°44'930 N 105°22'740 W

May 15- June 5 La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

The crew were really looking forward to their return to La Cruz. The Marina is well run and inviting to both boaters and the local community. The fish market and a boatyard are part of the complex. The festivals of the town spill into the marina and boaters are welcome to join in.

....Enjoyng Life in La Cruz

After the first week, except for Matt, we all came down with inffluenza and had a difficult two weeks of it but that passed. Be careful returning to land; it can kill you! None the less, the younger kids re-established contact with friends. There is a very active Kids Club at the marina that organized activities including a much enjoyed day trip to a stable.

.....Horse Riding in La Cruz

The Marina hosts social events for outside groups.  One of them was a dinner and show for the staff of an insurance company. The morning before, the boaters were given a preview of the acrobats that performed that night.  The act was booked via the folk of Kenta Anae and all done in the rigging of Kenta Anae.

.....Marina acrobats

Drew got down to school work. Matt by now had been accepted into and deferred entrance into Macquarie University. His future was set but he felt somewhat at a loose end with no boat duties. We decided that it would be a shame if we did not see some of inland Mexico so planned firstly a short trip to San Sebastian del Oeste and then a nine day trip to Mexico City and back (see above).

San Sebastian is an hillside mining town a few hours drive from La Cruz. Mining here dates back to colonial spanish times. We stayed in the Hacienda of the mine managers which is now a B&B; no electricity but running water and kerosene lamps.  The town itself is simple and romantic and largely unspoilt. They seem to have developed a tourist focused economy but maintained their traditional crafts and agrarian lifestyle. The curios offered to tourists are of high quality and original in design.  The town has electricity and running water yet the inhabitants have maintained its original style and clearly enjoy and active and properous community life. They brew a very good local tequila. Matt may now be too old for kid activities but he was happy to find out that the drinking age in Mexico is 18 years.

......San Sebatian del Oeste

Various Locations

April 19 - May 15 The West Coast of Mexico

Our trip up the coast was leisurely. We stopped first in Zihuatanejo. This is a beautiful bay where we spent three nights. Clare and I had a wonderful dinner at "La Casa que Chanta| (the house that sings). The kids visted the Playa Ropa (the beach of clothes) during the day. This is where the clothes from a pirate wrecked galleon were washed up on the beach centuries before.

After Z-what, we stopped at the nearby Isla Grande de Ixtapa which is a bustlng resort island during the day and a quiet and charming anchorage at night. All the tourists leave the island at sunset.  There is no electricity on the island so it is quiet and dark but for the beautiful full moon.

From the island we made for Manzanilla and pulled into nearby Bahia Carrizal for the evening. Carrizal lies opposite Manzanilla and is uninhabited. It was a beautiful and quiet anchorage. The next morning we went around to Bahia Navidad hoping to stay in the marina but found the entrance channel too shallow for Ironbarque's 11 foot draft (3.3m). Despite the Marina's reassurances of "no problemas" the depth sounder said otherwise; the earlier tsunami has effected many channels with silt.

We travelled on and anchored in Bahia Tenacatita near Punta Chabasco. We made sure to avoid the infamous rock Boca de Ignuana. The palapa food on the beach was great. From Tenacatita, we moved northwest around Cabo Corrientes (the cape of currents) which failed to live up to its name. We made water after anchoring at the Tres Mariettas and then proceeded into La Cruz de Huanacaxtle.....link to more.

18°33' N
99°36' W

April 18, 2011 Taxco

Taxco is an ancient mining town in the hills east of Acapulco. It has undergone several booms since the arrival of the Spanish, the most recent in modern times with the help of William Spratling. It was a long day trip but well worth the visit......link to more.

16°50'240 N
99°54'230 W

April 16 - April 19, 2011 Acapulco

It was 2008 the last time we were in Acapulco.  Although the reports of violence were more frightening than before we say little that had changed. We stayed at the Club de Yates again and spent more time as tourists enjoying the cliff divers and Fort San Diego with its museum. ......link to more.
0°44'950 S
90°18'410 W

April 8 - April 16, 2011 Acapulco Bound

We awoke before dawn and left Puerto Ayora early on an overcast morning to be able to see Isla Darwin in daylight, the next day, as we journeyed north to Acapulco......link to more.
0°44'950 S
90°18'410 W

April 1 - April 8, 2011 Deja Vous et Repairez Vous

We had already spent our 20 days per annum of permitted visit time to the Galapagos. Thankfully, the damage to the rudder cables and other minor things crossed the threshold for an "emergency" stop. We had another seven days in Puerto Ayora before departing for Acapulco.....link to more.

16°31.770 S
97°31'600 W

March 15 - April 1, 2011: Southern Pacific

After the madening calm/squall pattern of the intertropical convergence zone we picked up robust southeasternly (20-25krts) winds and a southwesterly swell which made for a bumpy and unpleasant ride. We were just past half way to Easter Island and only a quarter of the way to Chile. The weather picked up to a 3m swell and 35 knots. This was nothing to particularly challenge Ironbarque as she is an immensely well built and seaworthy boat but a good foretaste of the remainder of the trip to Chile. We asked ourselves the obvious question "Are we having fun yet?" and since the answer was "no" decided to turn back towards the Galapagos. Coastal cruising was more fun......link to more.
0°44'950 S
90°18'410 W

March 12, 2011: Tsunamis

The Japanese earthquake was devestating. The tsunami is sent out across the Pacific Ocean was not. We were ordered from the harbor as a precaution but overall the effects were mild. Just two days later we departed for Rapa Nui....link to more.

0°44'950 S
90°18'410 W

Turtle Bay - Santa Cruz

Yes, they are the Galapagos tortoises but the bay is named after the seagoing variety that come into the bay. This is the largest white sand beach in the Galapagos. The islands are volcanic so many of the beaches have black or brown sand or simply crumbly rocks. This sand is the consistency of powdered sugar and the bay is home to varied wildlife that shows little fear of us. It is accessed via a walkway through the vegetation and it takes at least 30 minutes hot walking from Puerto Ayora to get there.. Surfers regularly lug their boards all this way for the fantastic surf.....link to more.
0°44'950 S
90°18'410 W

Visit to Bartolome

Our Zarpe permitted us to take the boat to only one island. While the big boys learnt to scuba dive, Clare and the two little ones took a guided tour across the Bartolome one of islands with an active volcano. If you have seen "Master and Commander" you have seen Bartolome. ....link to more.
0°44'950 S
90°18'410 W

Visit to Bellavista

We heard from Tuomo of a fabulous lunch to be had on Sundays, and only Sundays, up in Bellavista. Several families ran occassional restaurants. Tuomo recommended one and the experience turned out to be memorable.  We took a taxi up.....link to more.
0°44'950 S
90°18'410 W

February 22-March 15, 2011: Life on the Galapagos

It is all still pretty much here.  The finches, the tortoises, the flightless comorants, the seals, the marine iguanas and the blue footed boobies. Of course, in Darwin's day, SCUBA tours and pizzeria were not on the "things I did today" list. The Galapagos struggles to balance preservation of its unique flora and fauna with the demands of its rapidly expanding human population. Although there are now people who regard themselves as native Galapageans, there were no native people when the Beagle arrived. The "natives" are of mixed origin, including a sprinkling of Swiss and Germans amongst the Ecuadorians. Puerto Aroyo (named originally Academy Bay in honor of the US schooner Academy that initiated much of the modern scientific exploration of the Galapagos) is a bustling town with the intent of becoming a small city.....link to more.

0°44'950 S
90°18'410 W

February 22, 2011: Isla Santa Cruz de Galapagos

We made a relatively fast passage, all told, from the Puerto Vallarta to the Galapagos. There were frustrating days of no wind and then blissful 200+nm days with Ironbarque romping along on a calm sea. We stood well off shore and made use of the Tehuantepec and Papaguyou gales to speed our passage....link to more.
20°37'390 N 105°18'380 W

February 7-9, 2011: La Cruz to PV

We spent the last two days out in the Bahia Banderas practicing sail handling and man overboard skills in preparation for our relatively long next leg to the Galapagos. We had to check out from Mexico in Puerto Vallarta, La Cruz is too small a port to host immigration and customs.....link to more.
20°44'930 N 105°22'740 W

Early February, 2011: Last days in La Cruz

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle was supposed to be a two day stop on the way to Puerto Vallarta. We loved the place and stayed a little bit longer than planned...link to more.
20°44'930 N 105°22'740 W

January 28, 2011: Fiesta de La Madre Supremo

We celebrate these festival each year with much gusto. This year we celebrated it gustissimo....link to more.
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January 25, 2011: Visit to the Three Little Marias

The Isla Tres Marietas lie at the mouth of Bahia Banderas. Wind and waves have riddled them with caves and created waterways through their structure. ....link to more.
20°44'930 N 105°22'740 W

January 25, 2011: Life in La Cruz

It was suddenly the end of January almost. We replaced batteries, serviced equipment and enjoyed the very effective, if somewhat bone shaking, local buses....link to more.
20°44'930 N 105°22'740 W

January 5, 2011: La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

We left Isla Isabela to witness a grey whale slapping its tail, we kept clear, and completed our crossing of the Gulf of California. Under full stars we entered Bahia de Banderas. The night passage was beautiful with a strong phospheresence in the sea; as the dolphins danced they provided glowing trails. La Cruz, which we entered on the advice of Theo, turned out to be a delightful town sufficiently close to Puerto Vallarta to allow us to pick up batteries but sufficiently far away to be free of the "let's party" ethos of the main port ...link to more

21°50'520 N 105°52'880 W

January 3, 2011: Isla Isabela

We continue down the western coast of Mexico. Isla Isabela is a bird santuary which is actually named after our daughter or perhaps a past spanish queen or someone equally wonderful. The yellow footed boobies are quite fearless; it is just as well they are not locally regarded as delicious. I could have nabbed this one with my hat ...link to more

23°16'170 N 106°27'330 W

24°32'790 N 110°23'360 W

December 24, 2010: Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico

09:30 hrs - arrived Marina Mazatlan

We travelled then to Mazatlan, via Ensenada El Cardonel on Isla Partida, crossing the Gulf of California in time for Christmas and New Year. Clare's pages for this time:

....Christmas In Mazatlan

.....Christmas New Year Mazatlan

24°13'026 N 110°18'234 W

November 20, 2010: La Paz, BC, Mexico

21:15 hrs - arrived Marina Costa Baja, La Paz. With her deep keel, Ironbarque can just fit into only one other marina in La Paz, and that only at highest of tides so Marina Costa Baja it was. Costa Baja is a bit pricey but well laid out, deep and well maintained. The adjacent resort offers several good restaurants, a small store for essentials and a laundry.

We spent time in La Paz taking care of a minor surgery for Bella and getting the injectors (finally) fixed and soring out the water maker/water filters and pump.

27°12'120 N 114°58'580 W

November 16, 2010: Bahia Tortuga, BC, Mexico

The journey down the west coast of the Baja Penninsula is typically an easy one and ours was no exception.  Wind and waves both push you down the coast. The hurricane season is officially over by November. The air temperature in is cold at night but the sun is warm during the day. We stopped in Turtle Bay but then pressed on to La Paz to fit with Uncle Wal's schedule.....link to more
31°51'310 N 116°37'270 W

November 14, 2010: Departing Ensenada

We then re-entered Mexico in Ensenada thereby resetting the exit date on our visas. This gave us 180 days to transit out of Mexico.

November 11, 2010: San Diego - Leaving the USA

Our stay in San Diego was brief.  We sold our car (aka TACO by the kids) and put final things in storage. We then exited the USA.

32°42'570 N 117°14'090 W

November 3, 2010: San Diego - The Start of the Trip

We decided to simplify our departure by coming up to San Diego. The idea was to sell the car and take care of final things such as wills and the simple act of getting more pages put into my passport. It turned out not to be that simple....link to more

The view from the boat in the morning.

October 30, 2010: Sailing on Bahia Todos Santas

So on Saturday, October 30, we set woke early and prepared for sea. With Sergio Quinonez Leyva and Ryan (Pete's grandson) aboard for the day, we set sail on Bahia Todos Santos (All Saints Bay).....link to more