Hello Family and Friends,
It’s been a ridiculously long time since we have sat down to write a blog. It seems that every time we would have a few hours to write, we fill it with something else – a bike ride or a dinghy excursion, a boat project, skyping family and friends, a road trip inland. But we have now sailed south out of Mexico and in to Guatemala and there are too many images and reflections of Mexico to go unshared.
Since our last blog as we were leaving Mazatlan, we have sailed another 1200 nautical miles of Pacific Mexico. We had two lovely weeks with our daughter Ellian for 150 of those miles. We have seen endless sun and sand, amazing birds, crocodiles and iguanas, jumping fish and flying fish, hundreds of whales and giant sea turtles, thousands of dolphins; snorkeled and swam with turtles and sea lions and fantastic fish of many colors; maneuvered our dinghy through lagoons teeming with greenery and wildlife; traveled inland over 9000’ passes through stunningly beautiful mountains and jungles on rather terrifying roads; and sipped on margaritas of assorted fruit flavors in brilliant sunsets.
We’ve attended rodeos, parades, and festivals that seem to be themed on drag queens, cowboys, and mariachi bands; attended a Russian State Ballet performance; walked through 2500 year old ruins that once housed 24,000 people; were awed in a very unsettling way by beautiful Catholic churches with walls and carvings of real gold; and relaxed in town plazas teeming with people of all ages enjoying the evening with their families and friends. And we have sat for many many hours in the cockpit, alternating 3-hour watches as we sail through 3 and 4 night passages, twitching to get our bodies active again.
Above all, we have experienced the wonderful warmth and friendliness of the Mexican people, their much more relaxed approach to life, the overarching sense of family and children (unfortunately, way too many to be sustainable, but still so refreshing to see such family closeness and caring and the cheeky energy of the children); public transportation systems (for every community from the largest cities to the smallest pueblos at the end of a 10-km dirt road) that are inexpensive and work incredibly well, negating the need for a car or 2 or 3 for every family as we North Americans are so addicted to; a massive boom in highway construction to link communities, promote tourism, and provide jobs; simple but very effective systems of shading and promoting breezeways that work so much better than air-conditioning; and many other signs of a country and culture that work very well in many ways. We could learn much from Mexico.
We are now awaiting the arrival of “Carlos the trucker,” who will load Chirpy on to his low-bed and truck her to Rio Dulce on the Caribbean side of Guatemala. From there, we fly to Britain on March 21st for 5 weeks for Paul’s brother Dave’s wedding to Gail, and of course for the national holiday of Paul’s birthday, and for Laura’s sisters and mom Adriatic cruise in April. We’ll arrive back on Chirpy in late April to sail her up the coast of Belize and the Yucatan and on up to North Carolina by the beginning of hurricane season in June. And, finally, back to Brisco for 9 months or so to give Chirpy and us a rest, see our family and friends, and get back on the trail in the mountains.
So, goodbye Pacific Mexico. It’s not likely we will sail here again, although we are already planning a kayak trip in the Sea of Cortez. As always, the journey excites as we embark on another stage of life’s adventures.
Popeye and Olive Oil
PS Did we mention that we haven't seen a drop of rain since Los Angeles in October?