Ixtapa Marina & Cindy\’s Shopping Trip…..

Dear F&F,
January 26 – February 6, 2009

A couple of months ago we had emailed Ixtapa Marina (just 6 miles from Zihuatenejo) requesting a slip reservation. The harbormaster told us they would not have room. Knowing that things can change, Scott decided to hail them while we were getting diesel at the Ixtapa fuel dock. Lo & behold, they had lots of slips available & we are happy to take one. It is so much easier to do boat projects, get cleaned up, schlep groceries onboard etc. from a dock than when at anchor. So Zihuatenejo will just have to wait.

Boat washers descended upon us right there at the fuel dock & we signed up with one for the next morning. Always good to get the salt off after a long stretch at sea. There are many big, beautiful power boats in the marina. Mostly with crew, instead of owners, onboard. The owners of that type of boat just fly in once in a while. The hired captain & crew maintain the boat & move it to wherever the owner would like to visit it next.

It is a 15 minute walk to a small boat supply store, liquor store & row of outdoor cafes. We become \”regulars\” at Z-Pizza because they have free WiFi if you eat or drink something. We buy an internet access card from the supply store, but it only works (sometimes) on 1 laptop from the boat, with a very weak signal. Not good enough for our Skype internet telephone.

Our boat shopping list was growing long & it became apparent that it would be better to get some critical items sooner rather than later. The most substantial items being 2 autopilot parts, our new trampoline, shower sump pump and generator spare parts. Internet research showed that Alaska has nonstop flights daily to LAX from Ixtapa-Zihuatenejo airport. Knowing we are on a bit of a time clock to get down the coast to Central America, I did not delay booking my flight to LA for January 29.

As soon as the flight attendant announced we were allowed to turn on cell phones my job began. The first 2 messages were from Don at M & B wetsuits. He discovered that my measurements from 10 years ago were not in the Stolnitz file, he only found Scott\’s. I got great use out of the custom 5 mm wetsuit he made me, but am due for a new one & opted to get the 6.5 mm since I get cold so easily. I called his house & he agreed to measure me at his Lakewood shop in the morning. If he had the measurements Day #1, he felt he could finish the suit in time for me to take it back with me.

My LA Shore side Support Team helped from the minute I landed. Larry & Barbara Tenan graciously picked me up at LAX, despite the fact that my plane was 2 hours late. It was great to see these former patients, now friends. The extent of our visit was in the car from the airport to where I was staying in Santa Monica.

Lori Rubenstein once again generously shared her lovely Santa Monica guest house with me, including use of her car for 2 days. She was busy seeing patients and managing her PT office, completing the final class for her doctorate degree and attending meetings for the Anti-Defamation League leadership program. So we were somewhat ships passing in the night. Her affectionate kitty Mika was happy to see whoever came home first.

This was my first trip to California where I stayed in LA & did not fly up to see my No Cal family. I knew I would barely accomplish all I came for in a week, so the trip to Sonoma County would have to wait for our already scheduled visit in March. There were some pangs of guilt at not seeing my 92 year old father. But I have been mourning my loss of him for many years due to his dementia. Although still high functioning and very sweet-natured, in many ways he has already left us. Sister Alberta called my cell phone every day which is a rare luxury for us to be able to talk so often and with better-than-Skype connections.

My eye doctor kindly saw me without an appointment. I am \”of that age\” when reading goes to heck. He decreased the strength of my right eye contact so I can now read again without reading glasses. Hallelujah!

I was able to get an appointment to get my boobs squished (aka mammogram). One less thing to do in March.

I shipped the video camera housing out for repair, as well as a strobe for the still camera system.
I bought a new dive mask since I think I look like Zorro with my other one. You could not see my eyes that well. Being a frequent underwater model, it is important that my eyes can be seen.

Skye & I had 2 dinner dates and it was great to catch up. During our first visit she showed me photos from a recent trip to DC & Italy. A great way to spend her brief time on unemployment. Truly. I have always encouraged her to travel whenever she can.

Mike Lonnes is our sailing friend that does boat shopping for us & is our \”Ship To\” address. Our first rendezvous was at Redondo Marina Day #1 where he gave me the first 7 boxes. Juan, of Rainbow Canvas met us there & took our worn Sunbrella dinghy cover to use as a pattern for a new one. Mike had a job for him on his own boat so this connection worked out well.

My second meeting with Mike was on Day #6 in the West Marine parking lot – many more boxes. On the last night, after a final transfer of goods in the parking lot of our storage unit, he & Beth took me to dinner at Alejo\’s. Great to see both of them & eat lots of garlic!

I squeezed in a visit with my soon to be 100 year old former patient and friend Edith Robinson at her assisted living facility. I regret not having a video camera running as she told (& in some cases, re-told) her stories of working for the Nazis, escaping to England, and soliciting a sponsor to come to the US. Amazing stories that will be buried with her as she has kept no journals & has no close family. Her fianc was killed in the camps & she never found another love. She hoped I was the \”surprise\” that the facility promised her for her birthday gift Feb 25. I was touched & sad that I could not stay for her big day, but we had a lovely evening together & I pray she is still there the next time I return.
Friend Linda van Zeyl, volunteered to go on my Day #6 shopping run and helped me pack it all up back at Lori\’s. Don at M & B had my wetsuit finished a day early, so we buzzed down to Lakewood to pick it up. It fits perfectly, as I knew it would.

Packing is always an origami project. Two large hatch screens with plastic trim rings were simply too large to fit in any suitcase and I was already bringing the trampoline as a 3rd piece in its own box. So I stuffed my new wetsuit as padding between the 2 screens & shipped them via DHL to the harbor master in Huatulco (a soon and future stop on our way south). We did not want to risk them being held up in Mexico City customs, which would delay our departure from Ixtapa, so felt it best to send them to our next major port of call.
The rest of the packing went well. It was a huge help to have Linda keep the process moving along as I was inclined to stare at the large piles & feel overwhelmed. Little by little the boxes were emptied, the packing material stuffed into Linda\’s truck, and the suitcases filled with boat booty.
I even managed to tuck in a few Trader Joes fun items this time, not just vitamins. Dried cranberries, walnuts, flaxseed meal & chocolate covered pistachios to take back to Mexico.

After being on \”rations\” for 40 days I ate Japanese food, Thai food, Indian food, plus all the fruit & veggies I could lay my hands on.
I was gone 8 days & despite a hectic pace of \”hunting & gathering\”, I enjoyed it immensely. I have lived in So Cal since I was 18 years old & the Westside was home for 23 years. I\’m not sure if we will ever live in LA again, but it is sure great to visit. And there is nothing like a bit of time off the boat to make me eager to set sail. Being away from Scott is the worst part of these solo trips. Seeing his smiling face upon my return is the best part. Mission accomplished.

Scott & Cindy
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