Monday, January 31, 2011

We are moving forward - crossing the Gulf of Tehuantepec

Clarity is such a wonderful thing. We are 100% sure of our choice to continue into uncharted waters. When looking and digging deep into the reasons to stay in Mexico, we quickly saw it was for the comfort and safety of knowing where we were going. After going round and round on what to do - stay in Mexico - or cross into Central America- it became clear when we remembered what it was we were seeking on this journey. Why did we set out on this two year venture?..........To find a new way of being, and for the challenge and adventure of it all. We have certainly had plenty of adventure since leaving our dock in Ventura. Staying in Mexico, now that we are really comfortable here, would be the easy thing to do. When did easy ever get you anywhere? It is the hard stuff, the struggles, the finding yourself in uncomfortable situations, the facing of your fears, and the challenges we face, or in this case.....invite, that net us growth. Growth is what this journey is about for us. So on we will head when the weather window presents itself. According to our Mexico boating guide, crossing the Gulf of Tehuantepec will be a challenge. Direct from our book:
" A Tehuantepec gale is capable of blowing a 120 foot coastal freighter 300 miles off shore, so imagine what it does to our little boats. Cruising boats that get caught to far out when a gale SUDDENLY starts, are blown way off shore by overpowering wind ( 60 KNOTS) into very big seas, sometimes breaking windows, hatches and rigging, even capsizing and sinking. " we are strapping down the kayacks, the paddle board, the surf board, and stowing things away in prepreation for this wild ride. It is a 2 to 3 day crossing, and we plan to hug the coast, going just one mile off shore. This will require careful navigation and constant attention. Our brother in-law, Steve, arrived yesterday and is ready to take this on with us. Having extra crew will be so great on a passage like this. Plenty of boats make this passage and are just fine, so knowing this does give me a little peace of mind. Once we make the crossing we have one more quick stop in Puerto Madero, Mexico. We check out of the country here, and we will be certain to have a cocktail or two, after cheating death once again. From here - on to El Salvador. We plan to make this a rest stop only. While we have an extra set of hands on board, we will book on down to Costa Rica so we can frolic with the monkeys and do some serious hikes in the rain forests. So for now we wait. Wait for the right weather window. As of today - it looks like we will be here until Tuesday of next week. A T-Pecker ( as it is lovingly called in these parts) is about to blow.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Oaxaca (wah-hah- kah) road trip

Or rather bus trip.......We originally thought it was a 6 hour bus ride, but learned the hard way that it is a 9 hour bus ride from Hualtulco to Oaxaca. Was it worth it? I would travel for two days on a bus to visit this beautiful city. Traveling by bus also gives you the opportunity to see Mexico, and how most of the people live. While they are very poor, they are very rich in community and connection to one another. We passed many families and the children all had very big smiles on their faces. We stayed in an amazing B&B right in the heart of town. Las Bugambilias is charming and extremely inviting. Each room even had a yoga mat in it! (Thank you Barb for this recommendation) The breakfast each morning was outstanding, and the staff is so loving and helpful. There is a great restaurant on the premisis, La Olla, which offers Organic juices and fresh food. My favorite was the beet, spinach, cactus, carrot, parsley, and flax seed juice. It was so good we ate there three times, not including the breakfast each morning. We stayed in the two room suite, so Jack had his own room, with ummmmm cable Tv. Jack quickly found a cartoon channel in english and was a very happy boy! Although he really didn't watch it for long, and even made the comment that we shouldn't get tv when we get back home because there are way cooler things to do (wow). On our first day here we met a lovely couple, Suzanna and David, from Idaho Falls.......where our brother inlaw Steve Is flying in from on Sunday to join us for awhile. It is a small small world. We shared a cab with them to the ruins at Monte Alban, and once there shared a tour guide as well. These ruins were a sight to see. These photos do not even do this place justice. The following day we hired a taxi to take us to see a few of the local artists. Our first stop was the knife maker, Angel Aguilar, he hand makes knives from recycled materials, and showed us step by step how it is done. It is a lost art form and he is one of the few men still making knives this way. (read Jacks blog for more info on his experience ) We also visited a very famous and wealthy wood carver, Jacobo Angeles. He has pieces in museums all over the world, and travels extensively to art shows and universities. He gave us a personal demonstration and offered Jack the opportunity to carve or paint. Jack, having just bought a sharp knife, choose the carving option. With the help of one of Jacobos carvers, he turned a copal tree branch into an iguana. Jacobo saw how excited Jack was, and loved the fact that he was so interested in his art, that he invited Jack to come live with his family for a summer and learn this craft, and his culture. He was completely serious, and we are actually seriously considering sending him when he is 12. This is how Mexico is. Mi casa es tu casa (my home is your home) is not just a saying. We extended the invite back, offering for any of his family members to come stay with us in exchange. We made several other stops as well on our artistic journey, visiting the home of Dona Rosa, a famous potter, and stoped in a small Zapotec village, where the women were weaving, like they have for thousands of years. It was a magical day. Did I mention the city of Oaxaca has 28 16th century churches????? Every block had a church on it that took my breath away. I could live here, open up a yoga studio, and be very very happy. We didn't get a chance to visit all the artists, who by the way, you go to their homes to see them in action, not a gallery. They often offer you food, or something to drink. There are also 6 museums, which we didn't have time for. So it looks like we will be revisiting the city of Oaxaco, and I highly recommend that you travel to this city as well! Art, history, world class food, fresh mountain air, jaw dropping architecture, great people, I can not wait to return.
- BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, January 24, 2011

Road trip to Puerto Escondido

Hualtuco is the perfect place to get off the boat and see inland Mexico. We rented our first car and drove up the coast to Puerto Escondido. This is the anchorage we drifted at a few weeks back. It was just a 2 hour drive from here. We found a sweet place to stay with an ocean view for just 700 pesos a night. This is $57 U.S. dollars. It was right in the heart of town. We walked to dinner and found a great pizzeria. Jack ordered a pepsi, and it came in a bottle! He was very impressed. There was also a local art walk, and we bought a few things from the local artists. My favorite piece was from a man who must have been over 80 years old. He hand carves these beautiful designs on gords. The cost for this beautiful hand carved one of a kind trinket? 30 pesos..... so only $2.50 U.S. I was tempted to give him more..... On our way up the coast we stopped at the Tortuga Sanctuary, which was fantastic. They rehabilitate sick, and hurt turtles, then send them back out into the ocean. Tomorrow we head by bus for a six hour ride to the city of Oaxaco. We plan to spend sometime here exploring the ruins and the beautiful Zapoteca people. It is nice to get off the boat for awhile, but I am craving the wind and the sea and starting to go through withdrawal. We are not sure what our plan is yet when we return from Oaxaco. Will we head back towards Mexico or cross the Tehuantepec into Central America? Thank you for your loving e-mails and blog comments. I am open and trusting that what ever we decide will be the right thing. It is just not clear yet, so I am waiting for that clarity. If it doesn't come....then it will be time to flip a coin and really let fate have her way.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bahia Huatulco

I am in love with the churches of Mexico. This one is within walking distance of the Marina we are currently calling home. La Crucecita hosts the most beautiful church I have seen yet. The art work, and vibrant colors are stunning beyond words. Actually I am in love with all of Mexico. We are on the fence in this moment. Considering if we should continue forward, or reverse our steps and spend our time really getting to know Mexico. We have booked on down the coast at a rather fast pace, just tasting little bites of places. It would be nice to sink our teeth in and really get the whole flavor. While we are here in Huatulco, we plan to take our first inland trip to the city of Oaxaco. The Zapotecas colonized it and their decendants still live in this state. There are many Archeological sites and temple ruins to explore. The local art is rumored to be fantastic too. We also just met a great family on S/V Whatcha Gonna Do. They have a son, Harrison, who is Jacks age and in the same grade and they also have an older daughter, Danielle. Harrison and Jack bonded quick and are spending every waking moment with each other. They even did their school work together today. Harrison is also following the Calvert program. We have not seen any other kid boats in soooo long. It is great to have a friend for Jack.....and a friend for me again too! They were originally on the same path as us, heading to Central America, but have decided to enjoy the cruising grounds of Mexico and make this their turn around point. We are so tempted to do the same. If we move forward, this is our last stop in Mexico. From here we make a two day, give or take , crossing into El Salvador, then onto Costa Rica, and finally Panama. It is a lot of miles to cover in a very short time. Our awesome brother inlaw Steve is flying in from Idaho Falls to help us crew, so what ever we decided, we'll have extra hands on board to help us out. Not a bad situation to be in.....both choices are great options to be toiling over. What to do.....What to do....... on our way back to Heaven on Earth to snorkel with our new friends is what we are going to do in this is just a quick 30 minute dinghy ride from our Marina.