Puerto Escondido……Part 1

2008 June 10-26

Dear F&F,
Puerto Escondido is 18 miles south of Loreto, Mexico. In Spanish this means
\”hidden port\”. There are no docks only moorings, which are permanent anchors
that you tie your boat to. This system is common in Catalina\’s main harbors
so we are used to it. We had heard that when originally installed 2 years
ago, the moorings here were not made properly. The lines were inadequately
small & the chains to the cement anchor block were not secure. In strong
winds, boats had broken loose of these poorly made
moorings and were damaged. Since then they have upgraded the mooring
installation and are now safe. But many boaters are still leery due to
stories of problems in the past, so it is not very busy. Many cruisers do
not stay onboard in Mexico during the summer hurricane season. They will
dock their boat somewhere they consider safe & then go \”home\” if they have
another home. Those of us who are full time (not seasonal) cruisers move to
a non-hurricane region, like where we are now. Later in the season,
we will have to keep a close watch on potential hurricanes that can come up
into the \”Sea of Cortez\”. We had heard the diving was great in the Sea of
Cortez which is the inside of the Baja Peninsula. So despite the warnings of
it being hot hot hot all summer – here we are.

I only endured 2 days of heat before I flew out of Loreto to visit my family
in northern California. Scott stayed with Beach House. It had been 6 months
since I was in California. This was the longest span of time to not see my
Dad in many years. I was so happy that his dementia seemed just about the
same. He still knew me right away. He can still walk pretty far, has good
enough balance to step down into the ditch & enough flexibility to bend over
& pick up trash which is one of his main activities.
Otherwise he naps a lot & will randomly sing a gravelly rendition of
\”Amazing Grace\”. He remembered that I am the daughter from LA. He is
affectionate, polite, enjoys nature, lives in the moment and never
complains. We should all be like him. He will be 92 in November. I am
wrecked each time I say goodbye, never knowing if this is our last time

My sister Alberta & brother-in-law David, in wonderful Sebastopol, provide a
lovely \”home away from boat\” for me. I also got to see Karen & Ron in Santa
Rosa. Karen & I have been friends since 5th grade. I met Ella her first day
as a physical therapist about 20 yrs ago & always enjoy her & Leo\’s
treehouse-like home in the Guerneville Redwoods right on the Russian River.
I was very happy to finally have Karen & Ella meet each other, something
we\’d never been able to manage in my past trips. They both
agree that the fact that they still work can be so inconvenient!

As great as it was to see my friends & family it was really hard for me to
be apart from Scott. Most boating couples are extremely close or divorced.
He called me every night from the satellite phone, which besides being
expensive, he was running out of our pre-paid minutes over a weekend, so not
able to buy more. Conversations were brief & not very satisfying. When he
took our laptop computer to the harbor office, he could hear me on Skype
(internet phone) fine, but I could not hear him well enough
to have a functional conversation. Very frustrating. After being together
24/7 for the past 9 months I was having serious deprivation syndrome. Each
day was full so I tried to just stay in the moment, enjoying the people I
was with, knowing I would not see them again for a very long time. But still
it was hard. I am very glad that on our next trips we will be together.

Besides wanting to visit family & friends, the main purpose of my trip was
to bring a ton of boat stuff back with me. We had heard everyone gets the
\”green light\” coming through Loreto Customs & Immigration. (A Red Light
means that they go through all your belongings). There are so many things
that we need & have no means of getting here. With our residence visas we
are entitled to bring a certain amount of stuff for our \”residence\”.
Blessedly, the officials had no more interest in seeing my stuff
than I had in showing it to them. That was a relief!

Skye was kind enough to let me borrow her car to do my errands while she was
at work. This ensured we saw each other twice a day which was great. She is
a key member of our shore side support team and would join us onboard more
often if she didn\’t have to work so much. We are extremely proud of her hard
work & ambition in the business side of the entertainment industry. Bravely
following in her grandparents footsteps (Art who worked at Warner Bros TV
and Anne Nelson, still at CBS TV).

Scott\’s Aunt Barbara in the valley & PT friend Lori in Santa Monica provided
my LA \”homes away from boat\”. More key members of the Beach House support
staff. If you live in the LA area & didn\’t know I was in town, please
forgive me. It was absolutely impossible to see everyone I would have like
to in the short time I was there. Skye kept reminding me: \”Your life is a
vacation. This is a business trip.\” She was absolutely right.

Our sailor friend Mike was kind enough to agree to let us ship stuff we
needed to his business mailbox. He had been emailing us that it was
accumulating to quite a large pile of boxes. Despite his warning I was still
stunned when he met me in the parking lot of our LA storage unit. The back
of his SUV was FILLED bottom to top, front to back with boxes. I was driving
Skye\’s Honda Accord. It was obvious there was no way I was going to be able
to fit all that stuff into her car. So we opened everything
& sorted what I would take now & what I could leave in storage for the next
trip. After an hour I had a Honda full of boat stuff & Mike had a truck full
of boxes & packing materials. Thank you Mike! We appreciate your generous
help. And thank you Beth (Mike\’s wife), for putting up with all our crap in
your garage…

A few random examples of the goodies I came back with:
*Spare fin straps – Scott had broke one & we only had 1 spare. Yes he has a
spare pair of fins, but his primary ones are better.
*Software – a program called Lightroom to help with photo editing. Now that
we are diving more he will be getting more into underwater photography which
is his passion.
*Spare O-rings for underwater camera & video with accompanying grease. Not
good to let your O-rings dry out.
*1 ft x 2 ft plastic hatch – fits under the helm, ours got a crack & leaks
in water.
*Rebuild kit for our shower sump pump. Our shower drain is below the
waterline of the boat, so the water has to be pumped up & out. Fortunately
this arrived just in time as the rubber parts broke.
*Spare control panel for our watermakers.
*Spare refrigerator door handle. Keep in mind that this boat is only 4 years
old. We have already replaced the door handle TWICE! You could live in a
house with 10 kids for 20 years & never break a refrigerator door handle. It
is bizarre how expensive, yet unreliable boat stuff is.
*50 ft of stereo speaker wire & small speakers so we can get music in our
bedroom through the 12 volt stereo & not have to run the inverter which
takes more battery power.
*20 ft of coated cable to use with our dinghy anchor. Line can get chafed
through on rocks or coral. This will be stronger.
*Back-up Skype headset – our other back up was doinky & broke. If our
primary one breaks we would be out of luck without a spare.
*Current HAM radio licenses. Scott renewed ours online & they were mailed to
Tracy who runs our mail service in Washington & pays our bills. She sent
them to LA friend Mike who held everything for my arrival.
*Cleaning product for the vinyl headliner which is everywhere except the
bathrooms. The vinyl is susceptible to sun damage even though interior.
*Cleaner & polisher (helps get rid of small scratches) for the plastic
windows. We can\’t use windex, it ruins the finish.
*Coolmax t-shirts & tanks for both of us. Cotton holds moisture. Coolmax is
much better in hot climate. We will give away most of our cotton stuff.
*Favorite type of sunscreen – Neutrogena dry touch for sensitive skin.
*Assorted DVDs
*2 bottom & 1 top king size sheet. I am a thrasher & had ripped up 1 bottom
sheet. The first night I returned I shredded the other old bottom sheet!
*A year supply of my contact lenses, after I saw my eye doctor & he said he
thinks my prescription will be stable for at least that long.
*Seasick meds, valium, sleep meds (helps keep boating fun).
*Malaria meds (won\’t need these until further afield, but have to start
stocking up). My pharmacists said I\’m his favorite customer. Not sure, but
it may have something to do with me spending $500 every time I see him…
*Assorted bug sprays from very toxic DEET (which my dermatologist said to
only use on clothing, not skin) to Avon Skin So Soft body oil which has
*Biggest single item: our HAM radio which we had shipped from Mazatlan via
DHL ($150 postage & insurance) to Washington state for repair after it
abruptly stopped working for no known reason. We had the company that fixed
it send it to our friend Shea in San Diego for bench testing. Shea sent it
to friend Mike in LA who gave it to me. Its 3 components filled up half of a
mid-size suitcase & weighed 20 lbs. Without the radio onboard for 2 months
we had no free way to send & receive email. We had to
use the Iridium satellite phone, using pre-paid minutes ($1.25/min). The HAM
radio is also our free source of weather charts from NOAA (National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Association) & the way we check in to various boating
networks. We are very happy to have it back & only pray it doesn\’t go on the
fritz again. Not an item that we carry a spare of.

I was prepared to pay the overweight baggage charge at LAX. Skye dropped me
plenty early and the sweet baggage ladies didn\’t want to take my money. They
kept shooing me away to the side so I could re-shuffle the weight of my bags
to get under the 50 lb limit. It took me 3 tries! It was annoying, but
became a challenge. My carry on weighed more than a large dog, but no one
was weighing that, so I just rolled it on. And was oh so happy to let them
check it at the jetway since the plane was a little
tiny 1 seater-aisle-2 seater. No room in the overhead bins or under seat
areas for more than a daypack or large purse. Yippee! I was onboard, soon to
see Scott & had all precious cargo – success!

While I was away, Scott met & dove with Terry of \”Manta\”. Terry has been
living on his trimaran & diving out of this area for 27 years! Former Navy
Seal, very sweet, fun guy, likes to catch seafood. There were 4 lobsters in
the freezer when I got home – yum! We are excited to tag along with Terry
this summer, learning all the cool dive sites. Not many cruisers are scuba
divers. Terry is happy to meet like-minded folk. And we are so thrilled to
have a personal tour guide of this area. We are using
Puerto Escondido as \”home base\” and plan to take 1-2 week dive trips out to
the many islands within 20 miles of here.

Scott & I had a very happy reunion at the Loreto airport and I got the
\”green light\”. Scott unpacked my bags like it was Christmas and was very
proud of all I managed to schlep. The \”what we still need\” list began
immediately. Which led to our decision to DRIVE to San Diego July 16. See
the next Web Post…
That\’s all for now. Don\’t forget, you can write us at whatever email
addresses we have given you or always at this one…[email protected]
KIT (keep in touch),
Scott and Cindy…..Puerto Escondido, Mexico