Back Aboard Emma Jo in Mazatlan

August 20, 2012

After 5 weeks in Norway, with Ole working like a lumberjack felling trees, chopping kindling, ripping down a storm-damaged pier with his bare hands, and generally buffing up with physical exertion, I was laid up with a bad back, lending not much more than hanging curtains, keeping the place clean and Ole fed, and “oohing and aahing” at the displays of manly skill.

We got back to Mazatlan to find Emma Jo in fine shape, and Ole impressed with the galley refit and general state of the work. He, of course, had his own punch list of little things for Marine Services Mazatlan and Rick to touch up…but all in all, she’s looking like somebody cares about her.

Ole’s got just a couple of weeks here, then he’s off to work again. I’ll be alone on the dock, pretty much, until the cruisers start coming back south in early November.


Summer Travels in Norway — Hurtigruten

July 9, 2012

M/S Richard With, courtesy of

M/S Richard With, courtesy of

We joined the m/s Richard Witt, a coastal ferry, for just 48 hours…but it took us on a spectacular journey along the fjords and into Geirangerfjord, Alesund, and Trondheim, before letting us off on Nessna, a neighboring island to Ole’s home place on Gjaeroy.

After three weeks on the second-largest cruise ship in the world, the Richard Witt was a welcome change. While the food was fantastic, there wasn’t the sense of high-end luxury so much as comfortable, utilitarian transportation. We met people literally from all over the world…Spain to Mexico; Australia to France, the U.S…and even Norwegians who use the system to get from one place to the other. [Read more…]


June 1, 2012

Splash Day

Splash Day

After 10 weeks in the yard, getting the bottom stripped, barrier-coated, and painted…and the galley torn apart and rebuilt…and the master stateroom demolished to make way for high-tech water tank repair…and new wall coverings in the master stateroom and bath…and new non-skid on the main deck…and a brand new paint job on the blue trim…Emma Jo was launched and motored to her temporary home at Marina Mazatlan.

It went as smoothly as it should have after 10 weeks on the hard…the starting batteries were dead (which we discovered while in the slings in the lift and about to back out); the electrical system was screwed up, with switches in the wrong place and mislabeled; and the mysterious workings of the valves that control the freshwater system onboard led to just hooking up to shore water; and the galley finish work wasn’t finished. [Read more…]

Deconstructing Emma Jo

April 15, 2012
On the Hard, Mazatlan Marine Services
Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico

Demolition is always way easier (and much more fun) than actually fixing things, as the following photos will show.

Galley Chaos

Galley Chaos

Repainting Stripes

Repainting Stripes

First, we covered every conceivable (and some unconceivable) surface with drop cloths, cardboard, and duct tape.

Then, they ground off all the bottom paint, right down to the bare fiberglass, took off the blue stripes, cut out the patches of damaged fiberglass on the fly bridge, and ripped the non-skid off the entire main deck. Dust everywhere.

Next they tore out the galley – bare wood and gaping holes everywhere. [Read more…]

High and Dry…Let the Organized Chaos Begin!

March 24, 2012
Singlar Marina, Mazatlan

Emma Jo High and Dry

Emma Jo High and Dry

Here we are, high and dry, with the accompanying chaos.

Our Tuesday haulout didn’t go as planned, as the north winds kicked up and Miriam, the lift operator, plans methodically for a calm, stress-free haulout. At her recommendation we waited until Wednesday morning, which was perfect.

We entered the lift at 9:05 a.m., and were high and dry by 9:20, with guys armed with a pressure-washer at the ready. It’s the first time we’ve seen a travelift operated by remote control, and with a cute, petite woman at the command. She’s a pro, and doesn’t lift a finger unless everything is perfect.

It was also the first time we stayed aboard until the boat was supported by the sling – the travelift moved us forward, the guys organized a ladder at the front rail, and we just stepped off. Brilliant! [Read more…]

Spectacular Passage to Mazatlan — And a Welcome Reunion

March 17, 2012
Singlar Marina, Mazatlan, Sinaloa

Well I guess we paid our dues the other night rounding Cabo Corientes in that mess.

Our 185-mile passage north to Mazatlan was … dare I say … spectacular. We had little to no wind, with the anemometer showing between 9 and 11 knots relative and subtracting our speed of around 7 knots we can safely say we saw less than 6 knots of real wind the whole 25 hours.

And with that little wind, the sea was almost mirror-calm with little cat’s paws raking the surface every now and then and a gentle swell of 0 to 2 feet most of the way.

During the night we passed two sailboats heading in our direction, giving me practice at identifying targets on the radar at night and verifying what running lights on a sailboat’s spreaders look like. The radio was quiet.

Whales Approaching Mazatlan

Whales Approaching Mazatlan

The icing on the cake was a sighting of humpback whales just after sunrise, a mother and calf feeding not 100 yards off our starboard side. When they sounded, I ran for the camera and hoped they would appear again for a picture…and as luck would have it, they surfaced and blew about 50 yards off the port side.

I could get used to that – but probably shouldn’t. [Read more…]

Leaving La Cruz and Banderas Bay

March 16, 2012

We spent a pleasant four days at the marina in La Cruz, and Ole was in pig heaven wandering around the downtown chandlery Zaragosa Marine, saving me thousands of dollars by not buying everything that caught his fancy.

The bus system makes all kinds of sense here – for 16 pesos, the equivalent of a dollar and a half, we were able to take a 45-minute trip into town for supplies, lunch, and a much-needed haircut. Neither of us has been here since the mid-80s, and the development is astounding.

And we’ve thoroughly enjoyed the company of Daneen and Andy on Rose, dining at the marina restaurant, hosting them for baccalao, and passing “jam night” at the famous Philo’s restaurant complete with falling-off-the-bone bbq ribs and some great amateur (and closet professional) musicians entertaining us until just after midnight. [Read more…]

Well, THAT Was Fun…

March 13, 2012
Marina Riviera Nayarit, La Cruz
Banderas Bay

When we left Chamela last Monday morning, we saw the only “hole” in the weather around Cabo Corientes would occur between 6:00 and 10:00 pm, when the winds would theoretically die down to less than 15 knots.  The forecast for the rest of the week was 20-25 knots for days.

We timed our departure accordingly, leaving Chamela just before 8:00 a.m. to travel with a few sailboats toward the Cape. The late morning hours were fine – certainly 5-7 foot swells, and apparent wind from 15-20 knots. I made lunch…then it all went horribly wrong.

[Read more…]

Dolphins for Breakfast — and a Raft-Up Dinner

March 10, 2011
Bahia Tenacatita

Sailboat in the Moonlight at Tenacatita

Tenacatita Neighbor in the Moonlight

What a wonderful few days it’s been here at Bahia Tenacatita, just over 30 miles northwest of Manzanillo. As far as anchorages go, this is one of our top 5 so far.  We’re snug as a bug behind Punta Chubasco and nestled among about 15 other boats (most of them with sticks). Afternoon breezes have come up, nothing past 10-15 knots, and at night, the wind lays down nicely and leaves us with a gentle “wrap-around” swell – just enough to rock us to sleep.

Both mornings have featured company for breakfast – dolphins feeding among the anchored boats. Way too unpredictable to snap a photo, so you’ll just have to take our word for it. [Read more…]

Anchoring in “Pudding”…

March 6, 2012

Morning in Barra Lagoon

Morning in Barra Lagoon

Barra de Navidad is one of those magical places we dreamt about when we took off from Florida over 5 years ago. It’s a large, sheltered, shallow lagoon behind a long, crescent-shaped beach, offering protection from swell, lots of entertainment from the fishermen and competing seabirds, and a sweet little town well worth exploring.

French Baker

French Bakery Delivered to Your Swimstep

We woke this morning to mirror-calm water, a spectacular sunrise, and fishermen casting large circular nets inthe shallows. During the second cup of coffee, we were offered an offbeat treat: fresh-baked French pastry delivered right to our swim step with a hearty, authentic “Bonjour, masseur/dames.” (Cue Homer Simpson voice…yummmmm). [Read more…]