Playing the Cruiser Waiting Game

Wether you spend a month waiting for a weather window in New Zealand, like many of our friends, or a month waiting in Tonga…it always seems like the next cruising season starts with delays. We have been back in the water since May 14th and had plans to spend a week getting the boat back in shape and provisioned, then take off for the southern island group of Hapaai before heading north to the Samoan islands. However, Palarran has had other plans. The first delay was waiting for some winch parts we had ordered over 2 months ago to arrive… apparently there was a mix up? We finally got the parts through customs….another tale all together…and got the winches up and running. Then toward the end of May we were getting ready to head out for a little shake down motor whenI notice water dripping from the raw water pump. CB took a look and realized the lip seal had dried out on us. Great….how were we going to find parts for a 33 year old Yanmar in Tonga!

We called around to the few mechanics and no luck…they advised trying the auto part store….yeah right. But sure as shit…the only automotive store in this part of Tonga had the exact water pump in stock…whaaat? Since a special press was needed to put it all back together, we had the shop fix the pump and were only out 200 TOP…or 100 US dollars…sweet!

The next day we provisioned with the assistance of my friends Tonga ride…thank you Julie Goss…and we were ready to go. The weather was good, the swell was low and the wind would actually allow us to sail south. CB went to shore to check out of the Port and we were all set to leave….NOT! As he was walking away from the dinghy he heard a loud pop followed by a rush of air…the faces of the two guys in front of him told him all was not well. As he turned around he observed a delapidated dinghy with a large hole in its side. Shiiiiit…I was on the boat stowing all our recently purchased food stuffs when I hear a dinghy approach…not my dinghy mind u. I look outside and there is CB in our friends dink…his face said it all.

Luckly one of the guys at The Boatyard, Alan, is a hypalon master and had the very special and expensive glue needed to fix a seam…unluckily, he was off to Hapaai (yep…where we wanted to go) for the next week….shiiiit! So, we borrowed a dinghy from a friend, again thank you Julie Goss, and headed out to the anchorages. We were unsure if our dinghy could actually be fixed and hemmed and hawed over what we would do…swimming to shore just isn’t a viable way to go. After a week we returned…this is now 3 weeks after we wanted to leave. That Monday morning the dude and his magic glue appeared and he WAS able to fix it…for how long…we know not…but it was holding air. Great….now we can go!

NOPE…the same high pressure system that was keeping everyone in New Zealand was creating crap weather here and we were stuck between the high and a low pressure system to the north. The swell was up to 9 feet with little timing inbetween, not to mention 30 knot winds and wind waves. We only had 60 miles to go…but it would have been awful. As we really have no schedule, we waited again.

Cool thing was, some friends of ours were hosting the guys from a Fox Sports fishing show called Stoked on Fishing who were filming for an episode or two on Tonga. We went and hung out in the anchorages with them and watched some very talented dudes fish and spear fish. They caught a ton of fish and we all had a blast partying on the giant catamaran and party platform.

It is now Wednesday and another weather window has appeared and in a few short hours we will leave to head south. All in all, when you are in a tropical paradise…having to stick around for an extra month is really no big deal!

Posted in Adventures, Big trips, Tawn | 2 Comments

Sayulita, Mexico Trip 2010.

Holy CRAP! What an awesome trip. Really, that just about sums it up.

Last winter Tawn, our buddy Danno (D-Lo Baggins) and I flew down to Mexico to meet up with our friend Scot and Angie for a long weekend in a small town called Sayulita. It about 30 miles north from Puerto Vallarta. We had such a great time in the short three days we were there, we decided that we would come back again this year for a week or longer. I’m so glad we did.

This year, we rented the same “condo” we did last year. The crew this time (Left to right in the pic below) was Kristi, Phil, Danno, Me and Tawn:

You can find all the picture we took following this link.

We rented surfboards for the week. And spent the days getting up early and surfing for a couple hours:

Then siestas in the hammocks, haning on in the deck and enjoying the view:

Then more surfing. We also did alot of exploring, hiking, scuba diving, sailing, and a lot of drinking:

All in all, we had a great, great time. Time to start planning the next trip!

Oh and this is my favorite picture of Tawn:

She will probably hate it and make me take it down, so enjoy it while it last.

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Finally!! I posted the photos from our Trip to Chile.

I really dropped the ball on this one. It’s been four months since our trip to Chile. I had meant to include a bit of a write up of the trip, but I just kept putting it off, until we get to now.

I uploaded all the pictures to our Flickr account. You can view the full collection of photos from the whole trip here.

I broke them up in to small sets, based roughly on the town or area we stayed in. I’ll break them down a little below. The order they are listed below is the order we visited them. Starting on October 9th and returning home on November 2nd 2009.

Sorry if this update is so short and not up to my usual witty standards. :P

Santiago: Link to pictures

Our first stop was the Capitol of Chile, and the largest city in the country (+5 million). We were completely exhausted after flying 13 hours from Seattle to Atlanta, then Atlanta to Santiago. But we took a bus from the airport to downtown and then jumped on the subway and explored the city. We did not really want to spend much time in Santiago. As in our view, big cities are big cities. But we did have 8 hours to kill before our bus south to Puerto Montt left.

We traveled from our home in Seattle to Puerto Montt, Chile. Which as the crow flies is a distance of over 6800 miles. But only actually walked probably less than a mile to get there!

  • Walk a hundred yards from our boat to the parking lot and into a car.
  • Get out of the car and walk another couple hundred yards into the Seattle airport and to the terminal.
  • Sit all the way to Atlanta, then walk from one terminal to another, a distance of another hundred yards or so.
  • Sit all the way to Chile, walk out to a shuttle bus, get off that bus and on to another and sit all, until we get to Puerto Montt.

All told, we could not have walked more than a mile. Not sure why I find this so interesting?

Puerto Montt: Click here for pictures

After sleeping most of the overnight trip from Santiago to Puerto Montt (11 hours) on the most comfortable bus in the world, we showed up in Puerto Montt around 10am. We spent the next two days exploring the town and getting used to the way things worked here.  This process actually took longer than a few days. But we had to start somewhere.

Isle Chiloe: Click here for pictures

We rented a car in Puerto Montt for a week and drove all over this large island. The largest island in Chile, maybe even South America. We stayed in a number of little towns, Quellon, Castro, Ancud. And visited many others. By the time we turned in this little rental, I sorta felt bad. We drove the shit out of that thing. And I think that the car was actually the guys personal car that he rented to us. Not some random rental car. It was a little expensive, renting cars anywhere in Chile is. But we thought this would be the best way to see the most of the island.

Puerto Varas: Click here for pictures

After leaving the island, we drove to a town named Puerto Varas, which is north of Puerto Montt about 15 miles. The town sits on the southern tip of a large lake named Lago Llanquihue (pronounced Yankeeway). Very cool little city with a heavy german influence.

Mount Osorno: Click here for photos

Still having the car, we drove east from Puerto Varas to hike around a very large, very active volcano named Mount Osorno. The volcano was covered in clouds most of the day, but just as we were about to turn back, the clouds cleared and we got some awesome photos.

Frutillar: Click here for photos

This was another very small town on the shore of Lago Llanquihue, again very heavily influenced by german immigrants.

Valdivia: Click here for photos

After returning the rental car, we started taking the buses everywhere. It is very cheap and they go everywhere. For the longer trips we took the more comfortable buses with the larger bus companies. (Pullman, Turbus). And would take the local buses for trips around town or to closer towns. Valdivia is on the coast. We visited a few old forts that protected the city from pirates way back in the day and also stopped off at the Kuntsman brewery for dinner and some local beer.

We also saw what had to be the largest freaking sea lion in the world.

San Baralocia, Argentina: Click here for photos

When we came down here we had just over 3 weeks total. And no schedule or plan. So, for what ever reason, we decided to take a bus from Valdivia to San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina. We figured, we were all the way down here, might as well take a visit to Argentina. Bariloche is a ski town and much more touristy than the other places we’d visited so far. But it was a very cool town. And as you can see from the pictures, the modeled themselves after a typical swiss alps villages. Again, heavy on the german/swiss influences here.

Osorno: Click here for photos

Prior to our trip down, Tawn had been email back and forth with a british couple that had sailed from Britian down here to Chile 15 years ago. They had sold their boat and bought a chunk of land and started a ranch/b & b. We had planned on stopping there for a few days to meet them and visit. But the guy was going through some medical stuff and they were up in Santiago. They thought they would be home while we were there, but were unsure of the dates. So we started moving in their direction and visiting towns and areas along the way in case we could setup a visit.

It turned out we never did get to meet them.

Pucon: Click here for photos

This town was a very cool town. Sitting on the shore of a large lake. It reminded me a lot of a mountain town in Colorado. A lot of outdoor tourism goes on here. Just about anything you can imagine. White water rafting, kayaking, mt biking, hiking, horse back riding, motor cycle tours, zip lines. They had it all here. We rented some mountain bikes and took a ride on day and took a bus tour up to some natural hot springs on another day.

You probaly also notice we have a lot of pictures of random dogs. Chile loves their street dogs. Every town has a crap load of them. They are all friendly, dirty as hell, but very well fed. Some are owned by people and some seem to just belong to a certain neighborhood. Out of all the street dogs, we liked the ones here in Pucon the best. Not sure why.

Constitution: Click here for photos

Leaving Pucon, we decided that since we were running out of time. We would head north and visit some towns in the famous wine regoin of Chile. This would also get us a little closer to Santiago, so we would not have to take a huge 11 hour bus ride again.

We decided on going to a town called Talca. To me the funniest thing about this town, was people kept asking us why we came to Talca. They could tell we were americans. I guess Talca was not high on the list of tourist spots in Chile. On our first day in Talca we jumped on a crowded bus and headed to the Town of Constitucion. Which is on the coast. Sort of a small coastal town, and we really had no idea what to expect. But after walking around abit, we found these very cool caves and a HUGE rock outcropping.

We were told to take the train back. We did, that in and of it’self was a very interesting ride. When we saw the train, I thought it was an old piece of shit and kept wondering when the real train would show up. We sat in the back and the lady checking tickets kept coming back and yelling at me for opening the back door of the train to take pictures.

Talca: Click here for photos

As I mentioned, the main reason we went to Talca, was to visit some of the wineries. But it turned out that the day we were there was  national holiday and all the wineries were closed. Booo!

So on our second to last day in Chile, we jumped on a bus and went out to a national park and went for a hike.

We jumped on a (nice) train the next day to Santiago. We wandered around town checking things out before jumping on our flight that night.

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Next Stop Chile!!

In about 24 hours we will be getting on a plane and headed south to Chile.

The first leg is leaving from Seattle around noon to Atlanta Georgia. Then a overnight 10 hour flight from Atlanta to Santiago, Chile. Then on a bus for a 12 hour ride down to a town called Puerto Montt. From there, we have no plans. No reservations. Just 3 weeks in which to hangout and see what it is we can in that short amount of time. Most likely will be renting a car.

I plan to update the site at least a couple times while we are down there. But I”m not taking my laptop. So, it will be short sweet updates from my phone as we can find Wifi. Most pictures till we get back will be phone pictures.

See you when we get back.

Posted in Adventures, CB, Chile, Tawn | Leave a comment