Friday, January 26, 2007
Cruisers or Loafers?
I've decided to play along with a group (Misery Loves Company) of knitters who are digging out their old, uncompleted knitting projects and get them either finished or unraveled. My MLC project is this Lopi Fair Isle sweater/coat for myself. How old is it? Well, I bought the yarn in October of 1998, BUT, I didn't allow myself to start it until I completed grad school in 2001.
So why has it been shoved into a bag and pushed to the back of the closet? 1)It was too hot in Sacramento to knit with wool in the summertime - especially when the knitting got so large - sitting on my lap. 2) I was still knitting fair isle work with one hand - and using the "lift each new yarn change from under the old yarn" method. Thus the yarns twisted horribly each row and had to be untwisted. Yuck! So much time wasted. 3)I lost the bag in the back of the closet and got too involved with other exciting projects. 4)I actually started the sleeves once, but discovered that I was using the wrong sized needles.
The yarn is beautiful Icelandic wool Lopi light weight, and I still love the colors and design, so I've decided to finish the sweater. So...I got going on a sleeve. What??? Where's the skein of black yarn??? I've lost one color!!!! I tore apart all of my yarn storage (hiding) areas and it is not to be found. So, I've ordered the yarn - can you believe that it is still available??!!! - and now have to wait until next summer to pick it up in the USA when I go to knitting camp and to visit my sons. Oh well... hopefully I will get the enthusiasm back up for this project then too.On the sock knitting front, I finished another pair of the "warmy socks" for my son, Brett and started the first pair for my nephew, Jon, who lives with Brett and my other son Ryan.
Plus, I taught a fellow cruiser how to knit!! Whooo hooo! Now I have someone to knit with on those balmy afternoons here in Mexico.
Speaking of which...we are STILL here in La Cruz and it's been 8 weeks now in the same place. Can we still be called "Cruisers" if we are anchored in one place for so long, or are we "Loafers"? Jonesy said "I don't care what we're called". Yeah. We do what we want - and we want to wait until our Mexican visas are in our hot little hands before we sail south. Perhaps next week - manana.
We had a visit from Jim (sailing vessel Pas Du Vache) who owns one of our sister boats, another Gulfstar Sailmaster 50 which is pretty rare as there were only 16 of these beauties ever built. So what do two guys do who have the same vessel? Well, inspect the inards of the boat and all the exciting systems hidden under the rear berth of course.
Knitting, loafing, and cruising on....
Friday, January 19, 2007
I finally finished the knitted sample of "Harry's Golf Vest" for the pattern photo. I took the picture on my hammock here in the new harbor in La Cruz, Mexico. It is very windy today so I had to clip it to the hammock so it wouldn't blow away while I took the photo. You gotta believe me, the neckline is really fine - it's just being blown open.
So I'll trot this off to the parcel service in Nuevo Vallarta next week when we go back to check up on our Mexican Resident Visas (again), so it will be on it's way to Montana. Hasta la Vista baby!
Well, we FINALLY got to see some iguanas! We went to old town Puerto Vallarta to do some shopping and looked up and voila! there was an iguana in the tree. A few steps later, and there was another one in a different tree. I thought that they were all supposed to be bright green, but these guys are the same color as the bark on the trees.
Well, we just finished an expensive repair on our boat. We had been experiencing lower and lower storage of charge in our batteries (two giant 4D Deep Cycle batteries). They just wouldn't charge up much, and then they discharged way too quickly. We had to run the generator three times a day just to keep the refrigerator running (and play on the computer a little bit). So, Jonesy did a lot of research and testing, and finally determined that we had one completely dead battery and the other was going downhill fast.
Okay - bad enough when you're in the US, but we are in Mexico and marine equipment is not readily available. Jonesy scoured the potential sources for batteries, and there were no 4D's anywhere. The next possiblility was four smaller, golf cart batteries. Okay, good idea. But, the only place that actually had these was asking almost $170 US dollars EACH!! Plus, how do you get these heavy suckers back to the boat over an hour away by bus?
Jonesy hired a local guy here (the same one that brings us purified water and gasoline for our dinghy) to drive him into town. First, they tried to find them cheaper in some of the little towns between us and Puerto Vallarta. No luck. So, they bit the bullet and bought them in Puerto Vallarta. Then, we had to hoist each battery, one at a time, out of the dinghy and up, up, up onto the deck by using the block and tackle we have for the dinghy engine.
First Step: Move the boat from the anchorage, into the calm of the harbor so the boat won't rock so much as we do the replacements. But, the harbor is under construction, and the other week a fellow boater hit a rock coming into the harbor and had to get hauled out for fiberglass repairs ($$$$). But, we timed our entrance for high tide and made a safe trip.
Next Step: Remove the old batteries (130 pounds each!). How? Jonesy set up a block and tackle and we hoisted them up from the bilge and through an open hatch out to the deck. I (Terry) did the pulling on the line outside to hoist the batteries and Jonesy guided them out of the bilge. Who needs to pay for a gym? I'm building muscles everyday working on the boat (even if they are only my finger muscles some days from knitting).
Next Step: Lower the 4 new batteries (68 pounds each) down thru the hatch the same way. Finally, Jonesy worked fast and furiously making cables to connect the 4 batteries, removing an old battery charger that isn't even hooked up anymore, and getting everything back into working order. Ta-Da! Everything works beautifully now!! We are CHARGED and READY TO SAIL SOUTH!!! (well, when the visas are ready.....)
Monday, January 15, 2007
Up at Dawn
Here's the beautiful sunrise over the La Cruz anchorage looking towards Puerto Vallarta this morning - yep, we were both awake before the sun rose today. Why? Because we had an appointment at the Immigration Office at 9am to have our thumbprints added to our new FM3 Permanent Resident Visas. It's a long and unpredicatable bus ride to Puerto Vallarta, so we headed out early. Good thing, too. We were a mere 10 minutes early. Now we just have to wait a few more days for the completed documents.
So, the other day we made the trip by bus up to Punta de Mita - the famous surfing spot. No big whoop. We weren't too impressed and decided that this isn't a place that we'll visit again. But we did take the obligatory "Jonesy on the Beach" photo. The bus ride was interesting though, just 2 lanes winding along the coast through jungle at first, then into the windy bushy land of the point.
Before we left, we shopped a little at the weekly market in the streets of La Cruz. It was just everyday stuff - I was really hoping for some handicrafts, or handspun wool (yeah, right).
Oh! We're semi-famous for a day! Check out the 'Lectric Latitude Photo of the Day January 15th
And, I'll leave you with a photo of the entire yarn selection at WalMart in Puerto Vallarta!!! That's it!! If you want Red Heart ack!rilic in these few colors then you're in luck.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
How Cruisers at Anchor Take out the Garbage
So How do cruisers take out the Trash?
Step 1. Get yourself into the dinghy first, and have someone hand you the stinking trash.
Step 2. Drive the dinghy to the harbor - far, far away. See the shoreline in the distance? Yep, we're anchored a fairly good ways out.
Here's a picture looking back at our boat - that's us in the center of the photo.
Step 3. Drive the dinghy into the harbor, try to avoid running into any fishermen in pangas driving wildly out the harbor entrance, or the dredging pipes for the new marina construction. Also, avoid getting any boulders dumped on you from the cranes building the breakwater.
Step 4. Pull the dinghy out of the water
Step 5. Keep dragging the dinghy way up on shore above the high tide line. Sure, we have those wheels that drop down at the rear of the dinghy, but it still weighs a lot and the dinghy landing is uphill.
Step 6. Start walking along the construction road towards town. Admire the beautiful homes along what used to be the beach, but is now a construction zone for the new marina. Try to avoid the dump trucks, bulldozers, and steam rollers.
Step 7. Keep on walking. Almost there...Maybe if you're lucky you'll run into a fellow cruiser and have a little nautical chat. Admire the "lake" of harbor bottom goo that has been dredged up to make the new marina deeper and to raise the level of the land. Try not to notice the smell.
Step 8. Keep hiking - round the bend and up the hill to the first "real" road - a cobblestone & dirt track.
Step 9. Almost there!!! Don't stop now - keep moving guys, walk and talk.
Step 10. Deposit trash into can or stack neatly under the tarps. Check out who's sitting at Ana Bananas.
Nope, not done yet!!
Step 11. Pay 5 pesos (50 cents) "contribution" to Ana Banana's for the extra trash pick up. Thank goodness for folks like these that provide services for cruisers. We certainly don't mind paying to deposit our garbage - it's only fair. So we cheerfully drop the coins into the jar at the bar and say "Hi" to the always smiling Ana.
Heck as long as you're there, why not stop in at Ana Banana's for a beer, breakfast, a hamburger, or on special evenings listen to some live music and eat Ana's delicious BBQ rib dinner!!
And if you're a really cool cruiser, find a pen and sign your boat name on the wall.
Taking out the Garbage is no fun for anyone, but at least we get some good company and a beer at the end of this chore!
Knitting and sailing on.....
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Off task again
I am such a sucker for a new, quick little knitting project! My knitting guild in Sacramento has started a new program this year called "Lorna's Challenge of the Month" where Lorna Miser gives us a project that includes a technique that might be challenging for us. Yes - THAT Lorna Miser who founded Lorna's Laces yarns (since sold), and is currently designing knitting patterns.
January's challenge is this little
Fake Isle Hat by Amy King and is a free pattern on Mag Knits.com
So off I went to dig in my stash. Of course I have Noro Kureyon in my stash - what knitter doesn't? I used Noro Kureyon in an old colorway #18 that I bought years ago at a Stitches Market. For the contrasting color, I used a white Falkland Islands single ply wool, because the Kureyon is also a single plywool.
This is a great beginners 2-color knitting project because you can really just focus on the technique, rather than having to remember to change the background color every few rows. I'm working on a fairisle vest right now and I must have "cruiseheimers" or something because I keep forgetting to change background colors and have to tink, tink, tink back to the beginning of the round.B ut the best part? No weaving in of many, many yarn ends!! Whooohooo!
So now I have a hat to add to my "Cinderella Closet" - where Istore all the stuff I knit that doesn't have owners yet. He who fits it gets it. When someone comes along in the right size - they get the socks/hat/baby sweater/whatever. As this hat is kinda girly colored, it won't do for my two sons...but there's always future girlfriends! Here's a pic of the hat drying in the afternoon breeze on our ship's compass - just the right shape and size!
Now back to working on my "real" Fair Isle vest and cabled vest projects.
Jonesy has made some new friends on the beach. These two kids now help him bring the dinghy up about the high tide line and then take it back to the water when he's ready to come back to the boat. Of course, there's always a little tip involved! We love the fact that these kids are learning how to be entrepreneurs. They see an opportunity - and they go for it. Yeah, I know, Jonesy doesn't really need the help - except lately his toe has been sore so it has been a relief letting the bigger kid drag the dinghy. The little kid is just along to be cute! So...sometimes being cute does pay! Sigh, reminds me of our own two boys when they were little.
Agggghh! There's those beastly pelicans now - waiting on the breakwater for us to go by in our dinghy so they can fly over to our boat, sit, and poop on it! Go Away!! Hmmm...at least they keep good company with the Great Blue Heron you can see standing on one leg at the top of the rocks.
Okay, we're off to explore Punta de Mita today - a famous surfing spot a few miles from here. Another exciting Mexican bus trip!
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Hikuri is now a charming patio restaurant, with a silkscreening workshop and a Huichol indian art gallery/store. Jones bought a vibrant silkscreen t-shirt with Huichol artwork the other day. So what's the connection to these wheels? Seems that the owners made these to help the local Huichol indians spin the wool yarn faster for their weavings. It's a great story that you can check out here .
The weavings are absolutely beautiful as you can see by the photo! Of course, I see inspiration for colorwork knitting with the patterns and colors. Next summer, when we return to this area to hole up for the hurricane season, I plan to find out more about the Huichol weavings and yarn production. For now, we're just a few days away from traveling south again so we have to concentrate on boat repairs (I say "we" when y'all know it means "Jonesy").
Jonesy is repairing the aft head (again) as I write this blog. We had to go into town (Puerto Vallarta) yesterday and spend $160 US dollars on a new pump for it. This is after he has spent hours unclogging the exit hoses of seawater "crust" and whatever else. Poor guy!!! He changed the oil in the generator the other day, installed eyebolts for me to hang the new sunscreen drapes in the cockpit that I made, and took the propane tank into La Cruz to have it refilled. Chores - life is never without chores, we just have different ones than most other folks.
But we still have time to party! Here's a photo of us at Philo's with fellow cruisers Danny and Deborah of Cyclades a beautiful New Zealand built wood 48 foot ketch. Yeah, I'm knitting as usual.
And speaking of knitting (which I guess I always do) I found a thread & yarn shop (Hilo y Estambres) in the small town of Bucerias!!! No wool (lana). Just acrylic, nylon, and cotton. Plus everything is in dusty plastic bags behind the counter which is the norm at most traditional shops. Everything is so dusty because the roads aren't paved, so most merchandise is protected in plastic. Sure makes it hard to shop. Plus you have to ASK for what you want. Tough to do when we're struggling to learn more spanish.
I still have a tremendous stash of yarn on the boat so it's no biggie. The only real "problem" is trying to control myself from starting too many projects at the same time.
After a long day of knitting, it's time to curl up in my hammock for some quiet quality time - and watch for distant spouts from the whales in the bay.
Monday, January 01, 2007
Happy New Year!
Well, the dang pelicans managed to bend our wind indicator at the very top of our mast when they tried to sit there. True, I enjoy watching the pelicans fly and fish near our boat, but they are pests when they damage our our boat! They also sit up on the bow rail of our boat, pooping their fishy poop all over the boat. It's a little hard to see in the picture, but there are two of the beasts behind the hammock.
KNITTING: Due to a special request, I knit a scarf. A soft, 2x2 ribbed scarf made with some natural dark grey Rambouillet Wool from Wyoming. This wool is very fine micron and feels "like buttah" against the skin. This is undyed, natural dark "Blacksheep" wool. I think the requestor will like the idea that this is from a blacksheep. Very rogue you know.