He that is far off shall die of the pestilence; and he that is near shall fall by the sword; and he that remaineth and is besieged shall die by the famine: thus will I accomplish my fury upon them. – God

Social distancing, self isolate, that’s what all the cool kids are doing, and they’re great new terms for the hip survivor of the apocalypse. The rules are changing so fast all we can do is guess what they’ll be tomorrow. “Get back to Canada! Get back to Canada you irresponsible bums” the internet hoards keep saying. But there’s no toilet paper in Canada and the airline isn’t answering the phone. Today after a few hours on hold I was informed that I need to watch the airline’s website to see when a repatriation flight will be leaving from Puerto Vallarta. “How much notice will we be given?” I ask “I don’t know, check in the morning and go to the airport if there’s a flight. “It’s a four or five hour drive to the airport.” “You better check in the morning then” “Oh good” I say. Comply with the constantly changing rules! Today we bought canned jalapenos and beans. Yum. And Michelob Ultra, 2.6 carbs and half the taste, but at least we won’t get too fat on our self isolating plan. “We need two days to get the boat ready before we go” Kirstyn tells me “Oh good” I say. Our drunk friend Evan stopped by today “I’m going to buy a house for $20,000 two hours south of here! And I’m going to steal back my motorcycle from the guy that stole it from me last year! And I got you an avacado and a propane regulator!” “Ok, have fun Evan” I say. Evan doesn’t know about the apocalypse yet, I’ve been waiting for him to have a moment of sobriety so I can tell him all about this new virus pandemic. Our neighbor walked past us on the way to the shower, can of Lysol held in front of him in the ready position “Can’t be too careful in these uncertain times” he says. I went to the hardware store looking for a ⅝ drill bit this morning. The guy behind the counter scratches his head “You know, not too many people buy a drill bit this size in this town, maybe I have it in a week?” “Huh, maybe I can find it in Tepic?” I ask. “You know, maybe you try Home Depot?” “Si, maybe I try Home Depot.” The guy didn’t look sick, but I noticed we were both careful not to breathe in each other’s direction. Can’t be too careful. At the grocery store, a mechanic parked his work truck by the curb and we awkwardly made small talk walking towards the store entrance while subtly keeping our distance. “You buying supplies?” He asks “Yeah, gotta prepare” I say “Get lots of beans and rice, it’s boring but you won’t die!” He says cheerfully. He makes a good point, the apocalypse isn’t supposed to be fun, I think to myself. I couldn’t help looking down the toilet paper isle as soon as I enter the store. I feel a mix of relief and gloating satisfaction when I see the fully stocked shelves. “Yes!” 

A Bastion of Sanity

Our intruder

Social media is shitshow. Formerly respected news agencies are all over whatever flavor of the day story every other news agency is all over. The comments sections are full of insane arguments, strangers blasting strangers in endless comment battles. 

Out of all this I’ve found one bright and shining beacon. A place where facts are dispensed in a polite and respectful manner. A place where please and thank you are the norm and not the exception. 

The Facebook Snake Identification Group is my new favorite place on the internet. Weird right? I’ve never been all that interested in snakes, but recently I found what turned out to be a young Boa Constrictor on my boat and joined the group to have the intruder identified. To my pleasant surprise, a fellow identified my snake in minutes, I thanked him and then the moderators closed the thread. I was stunned at what I saw. There was no dissent, no arguments, no discussion. I had my answer. But this isn’t how Facebook works! I was addicted and I’ve since become a fan of some of the snake experts in the group. Most of the photos posted are quickly identified and labeled as venomous and dangerous or nonvenomous and harmless, mildly venomous and not dangerous to humans… But sometimes a photo of a particularly exotic snake will be posted, one that’s difficult to identify. Those are my favorite. Usually what happens is one of the regular contributors will identify the genus and tag other experts who have more knowledge of that type of snake. Inevitably, one of those experts chimes in with the exact species. Then the thread is closed. How can this be happening on Facebook! This is exactly what I need out of the internet, but how do I find more of this? 

Yesterday I found a bug on my boat. Is this a baby cockroach I wondered? It was the perfect opportunity to join another group! After I was accepted to the bug identification group I scrolled through the posts, excited to see yet another bastion of polite and respectful discourse. What I found was completely disappointing. Lame spider jokes, misidentification, arguments. I left the group feeling disgusted. If I want crazy drunken arguments I can go to the pub and get in one anytime! At least I have my snake group.

Critters of all shapes and sizes

Critters of all shapes and sizes

We’re back in Mexico at the lovely little town of San Blas, and critters are becoming a theme. Of course we’re reunited with T and Merl is here, but San Blas is famous for something even smaller. No-see-ums. These hungry little guys can feast on a drunken gringo if he forgets to take appropriate measures. That brings us to another critter, Senior Spider.

Senior Spider, Kirstyn and I have come to an arrangement. He builds his web in the mizzen shrouds each day, just high enough that Merl can pass under without ruining his work, and using us as the bait to lure those hungry no-see-ums into his trap. He can stay. We’ve also had mice on the boat, which brings me to our next guest, Senior Boa Constrictor.Sr Boa may have come for the mice, or possibly T, but either way, we decided not to keep him. One positive side effect of having Sr Boa aboard is that there’s been no sign of mice and T seems unaware of the danger lurking nearby. I think the snake was probably too small to get Merl. Of course termites and cockroaches are a constant battle as well, but we seem to have to them under control.

Bonny and Clyde strike again

This is a cautionary tale. I want to be really clear, I don’t condone stealing, breaking the law or any sort of crime. Kirstyn and I recently went on a Bonny and Clyde style crime spree. Minus the guns and violent death, but still, we did some things we’re not proud of. Well, maybe a little proudness, but we got caught, Which isn’t something to brag about. Nobody likes getting caught. I’m sure some of you have driven through the little town of Sparwood, in the southeast corner of British Columbia. They claim to have the biggest dumptruck in the world, and it is a big truck. Very big and green, and lots of tourists passing through take selfie’s in front of it. Just on a hunch, I grabbed the oil dipstick, and low and behold, there was a key there. The key for the world’s biggest truck! How could I possibly resist? What would you do if you had the keys to the world’s biggest truck? Well duh, you’d steal it too! Wouldn’t you? So Kirstyn and I took the truck. Surprisingly, it started on the first try, despite having been a tourist attraction for many years. “What should we do with the world’s biggest truck?” “Let’s go get the Vegreville egg!” Kirstyn was jumping into the life of crime with both feet. So we drove to Vegreville Alberta to steal the world’s biggest Easter egg with the world’s biggest truck. The drive there was uneventful, we played it cool and acted as if it was a normal thing to be driving the world’s largest truck through Calgary, we took a detour to Drumheller and checked out the dinosaurs, and man, it’s hard to find parking for that beast. When we got to Vegreville, we loaded up the egg. “What now?” We stared at each other for a moment, then Kirstyn had an idea “The Tisdale paperclip!” It made perfect sense, we already have the world’s biggest truck and the world’s biggest egg and everyone knows that the world’s biggest paperclip is in Tisdale Saskatchewan! I’m sure at this point you’re thinking, don’t do it! Quit while you’re ahead! But the criminal mind doesn’t think that way. To Tisdale! It went off without a hitch, but what next? We talked about Medicine Hat’s tipi and Moose Jaw’s Moose and Duncan has the hockey stick but the ferry is expensive. “Enderby has the world’s largest lawnmower” I suggest “meh” Kirstyn wasn’t impressed by yard maintenance tools. It needed to be bigger than just the biggest random thing that some small town hoped would attract the odd tourist, it needed to be… “Cawker Kansas!” “The world’s biggest ball of string!” We both hollered in unison. Of all the biggest things in the world that small towns had to offer, this was the gold standard, the creme de la creme and soon it would be ours. This would be our most difficult mission so far. We had to cross the most heavily guarded border in North America, aside from the one between Mexico and America. We’d also drawn some heat, the RCMP had put out an all points bulletin on the egg, and it wouldn’t be long before someone noticed the other thefts. So we ran the border at full speed, 27 miles per hour. And off to Kansas we went. By now we’d drawn some attention, we had a couple North Dakota troopers in hot persuit, but I lost them by tossing some donuts out the window. Anyway I don’t want to get into the details, but we’re out on bail facing some serious charges. So this is mostly a public service announcement and plea from the judge for leniency, kids, don’t do crime.

Boat things and boat plans and general boatiness

With Kirstyn and the new dog jetting back to Canada to seek employment, I find myself alone with my thoughts. Well, not entirely alone, there’s T, always present T. And Johan, my Swedish friend. So alone would be a slight exaggeration. Where do we find all these Swedish guys? If you’re lucky, you may spot Kirstyn roaming around Vancouver Island. She’s probably in Tofino or Lantzville or some such place at this very moment with a small grey dog in a small grey dog sweater. Leeroy isn’t coming, him and Brian have a routine that’s unbreakable. Meanwhile, my fearless crew and I continue the perilous journey north. Not too far north though. How could I return to BC? At this point it’s been so long I probably couldn’t even find the place! The mere thought of ending this journey and returning to BC to find a job with a dental plan almost makes me weep. Sorry Mom, maybe next year. So what are our plans? We need money, and not being geniuses, the only sure fire way of getting money that we’ve figured out is to get jobs. That’s why I will be returning to Canada temporarily, because there are people there that are willing to pay me to do stuff. But you don’t care about that, what you wanna know is where will our adventures take us after this brief interlude? I don’t know, and if I did know I wouldn’t tell because I’d probably change my mind. Will we roam Mexico forever? No, that would be silly, not that we’ve seen it all but we kinda got the gist of this place. Oh, and FYI, if the government ever takes away your drivers license, the State of Guerrero is handing them out to anyone with some pesos, so there’s no reason to be driving around without one. I’ve got two of them just because I didn’t like the picture on the first one. Let’s review the plan, make bank, fix some boat stuff that’s been neglected, then go do more fun stuff. And you were probably worried we weren’t gonna do more fun stuff, unless you’re my mom, then you were probably worried we were gonna do more fun stuff.

Over the past few weeks we’ve become aware of some of the prolific social media sailors that are out there. Wow, we seem old fashioned and quaint. We don’t even have a drone. How do we compete with that? All those free dive bikini shots and panoramic drone videos! I once climbed a hill to get a great shot of our boat in a beautiful, pristine anchorage with clear turquoise water… but you’ll have to take my word for it because my phone just doesn’t take great pictures. And man was I out of breath. They also have so many friends! Where do they get all those friends! I don’t think I remember ever meeting that many people. If I had that many friends, wow. So rather than take great videos and stunning photographs, and post YouTube videos (I always thought YouTube was for old guys to teach me how to clean a carburetor), I will be describing our glamorous life in intimate detail. Possibly more detail than you ever imagined. I know in the past there have been long stretches where I lost interest and posted nothing at all, or long stretches where everything I posted was lies, or fiction as I sometimes like to call it, but now I pledge my undying loyalty to this blog and you, my fans. Both of you. Hi Mom! That’s not true, I lied again. I’m not really sure my mom reads this.

Intimate detail, here we go. So yesterday, I was sensing that maybe Johan needed some time to be alone and contemplate some things, so I went to the beach, which as luck would have it has a palapa restaurant with cold beer and delicious fish. Whoa! How did that happen! So I had this wonderful dish where they wrap bacon around shrimp and cheese and then roll the whole thing up in a fish fillet and bake it in a creamy sauce. My waitress was very attentive, so I had an endless supply of ice cold beer… Too much detail? Shit.

Weevils add protein

The Heat

When we arrived in Puerto Vallarta back in October, it was hot. Sweating was a way of life and sleeping was difficult. But as Mexican ‘winter’ settled in, the temperature started to drop in the evening. For the past week the temperature hasn’t been dropping much at night and once again sleeping is a sweaty affair. Kirstyn has taken to sleeping outdoors the past few nights, taking full advantage of the slight breeze in the anchorage.

The Machine

The best time for getting some quality sleep is from 5 to 7 am when it’s at its coolest. If you’ve been to Zihuatanejo, you can probably picture the municipal pier and beach in front of town, and off to the NW there’s some cliffs covered in pastel houses and hotels. We’re anchored over there. Crazy thing that a luxury hotel would have someone running a very loud gas powered machine at 5:30 am. Kirstyn rolled around, trying to get as much airflow over her sweaty body as possible, listening to the machine rattle and sputter. At some point the belt came off, the machine gasped and died. Men yelling in Spanish. The cooling breeze dies. Kirstyn peels the bedsheet off her back and wipes her sweat drenched hair off her forehead. The men yell. Please don’t let them have a spare belt.

The Bots

We all see those tailored adds popping up on Facebook or wherever we do the internet these days. They know what you looked at and show you adds for similar things. Sometimes it seems like your phone is listening to conversations. The hand cream I mentioned I liked but had never actually typed started popping up in ads. Later someone I was chatting with mentioned the name of a Mexican discount airline and I immediately start getting ads for that company on Facebook. Conspiracy worthy stuff, but I’ve never actually bought anything from an ad on Facebook and they seem to have it wrong more than they get it right. During the US election I was getting ads for candidates in Missouri. I get ads telling me they can help me immigrate to Canada. All this tells me that while Facebook has gotten really good at gathering information, they have no clue how to use that information to benefit their advertisers. The hell Facebook, if you’re gonna watch my every move, at least show me a product I might find useful.

The Delivery

There’s a great service here in Zihua. Beer, fuel, water, ice, it all shows up at your boat the next morning, it’s like Amazon but it’s just three super stoned Mexican dudes in a boat. Excellent customer service, five stars for them if they ever go on trip advisor.

The Restaurant

We had dinner at a restaurant on Playa la Ropa. Standard Mexican seafood palapa menu, not bad. But they have an excellent view of the mangrove swamp and the crocodiles in the swamp. We didn’t bring Merl.

Last Chance

We’re going home soon, so if you haven’t visited us in Mexico, it’s almost too late. Almost.

New Dog

Way back in October or maybe September, Kirstyn started talking about getting a new dog. There was a lot of talk about puppies. I voiced my opinion that we already have a perfectly good dog with no major defects so why would we be talking about puppies? Armed with the knowledge that fifty percent of us wanted a new dog, not to replace our current dog but intended to be complementary to him, Kirstyn made the decision to acquire a puppy. Normally I prefer to be part of the decision making process, but I gotta admit, dogs are very affordable in Mexico, they’re practically everywhere, you could in theory, just scoop one up off the street on your way home from the store. But Kirstyn had some specific qualities she was looking for. She wanted a dog that would fill in the gaps in Leeroy’s skillset. She wanted a dog that’s scruffy and cuddly and small enough that it can’t use brute strength to escape her cuddles and snuggles the way Leeroy sometimes does. So we got a new dog from a rescue place near Guadalajara. He was $125 Canadian which covered his veterinary care and shots. He was delivered to us in Puerto Vallarta by a nice old couple that was already going that way and when we got him he was wearing a small blue baseball cap. He also appeared to be starving to death and was missing patches of fur. His breath smelled awful and he was terrified of everything. We decided that he needed a name because ‘new dog’ wasn’t gonna cut it over the long term. We got him on the 24th of November and decided to call him Merlin because his white eyebrows and whiskers made him look like an old wizard. Since then we’ve been calling him Merl and he’s slowly gotten healthier, bigger and so much more energetic. Merl is working out really well so far. Sure, there’s been a few puke incidents and a couple of pee incidents but that’s all fairly normal for a new dog. So far, Merl has learned to sit, lay down and occasionally come when we call. His favourite place is the beach even though there are sometimes scary humans and dogs there. He’s still quite scruffy and snuggly, so Kirstyn’s pretty happy with his skillset. He shares a few of Leeroy’s skills as well such as digging and swimming, so they’ll be able to do fun things together when they meet up back in Canada. Merl also seems to be a very fast runner. We think that he may be part coyote because he has very long orange legs. He’s easily able to outrun all the little dogs at the beach and we haven’t met any big dogs that seem quick enough to keep up to him. I have seen a few big dogs that look fast on recent beach visits but none of them seemed interested in racing a scruffy long legged puppy. Anyway, that’s our current dog situation.

Progress Update!

As usual, I try to make informative blog posts full of factual information so that our families know what we’re up to and where to claim our bodies should we meet an untimely end. In the past I’ve held back our most recent location information in the hope that it makes it a little harder for our stalkers to find us. But today I’m gonna make it easy.

It’s the eve of another year, and we’re ready to party like it’s 1999. We’ve arrived in the lovely Bahia Tenacatita, yet another picturesque bay with long golden sand beaches and palm trees swaying gently in the tropical breeze. I haven’t wore a shirt in over a week and the water is warm and clear. Mexican holiday goers are roaming the beaches, kicking soccer balls and screaming with joy as they get towed around the bay on giant inflatable bananas. Sailboat cruisers are tossing bocce balls on the beach and the crocodiles in the river are eagerly waiting for a dog or small child to get too close to the waters edge.

Our last stop before Tenacatita was the gorgeous Bahia Chamela with the tiny town of Punta Perula in the northwest corner of the bay. We had one small setback at Punta Perula. Imagine yourself landing on a golden sand beach in a tiny dinghy so you can enjoy a cold beverage and some delicious fresh fish at a beach palapa. Wonderful, then imagine the surf crashing on that beach and flipping your tiny boat, end over end, with you and your belongings and small dog in the boat. Your outboard motor still running, upside down. As you pop up and gather your wits, your motor sputters and dies as sea water intrudes the various areas that normally only contain oil and gasoline. I love going to the beach! One minor setback. Near the middle and south of the bay are several small islands, one small “secret” beach, invisible from the mainland, stands out above all beaches we’ve visited this season. Boats shuttle holidayers back and forth all day, but at night, that little beach is just for us. Firewood is plentiful and the sand is soft and inviting. Surf breaks onto the beach from two sides, washing over a sand bar, but not the death surf mentioned earlier. Kirstyn and I make love in the firelight with the warm crystal clear Pacific Ocean washing over us. I made that last part up, you don’t wanna get too much sand in your bits, ouch. There’s also some great snorkeling around those islands, various corals and fishes doing the stuff that fishes and corals do. On our departure a northwesterly breeze carried us to La Manzanilla saving our valuable pesos for beer rather than wastefully going into our fuel tank.

I hope you all have a wonderful 2019, much love from Kirstyn and Jerin.

Bye bye Banderas

After what seems like an extraordinary amount of time spent in the bay of Banderas, we’ve finally moved on. It’s been great, but the time came and now we’re moving south and east toward the next great spot. Here are some assorted tales of our time in PV.

The neighbours

Greg and Mellisa have been anchored near us in La Cruz for a couple weeks. I’ve never spoken to Greg and Mellisa, I nod hello when we pass each other, but that’s the extent of our relationship. I know their names because Kirstyn had one brief conversation with them at the dinghy dock. They’re easily recognized in the anchorage because their dinghy motor is painted in yellow and black stripes like a bumblebee. This morning, while Kirstyn and I were enjoying our morning coffee, four Mexican men left Greg and Mellisa’s boat in their bumblebee dinghy. A while later Greg returned to his boat alone. Obviously we’re gonna speculate. Did those four men spend the night on Greg and Mellisa’s boat? The only theory I can come up with that seems at all plausible, is that Greg and Mellisa had hosted an all night, cocaine fuelled sex party. Greg probably filmed while Mellisa got wild with the four guests. Mellisa whipped them, beat them, fucked them and sucked them, all the while yelling “make America great again!” And “build the wall!” Like a sex crazed maniac. I could be mistaken, but I think that’s what happened.

After a series of events, that included cruising around in a RAV4 with the host of a popular Guadalajara television news show, we ended up at a house in Puerto Vallarta with a bunch of ladies from Winnipeg. Our cell phone is out of data, so we used the house wifi to get an Uber some time around midnight. Kirstyn plugged the info into the phone app and soon our car arrived. As we drove away, we of course lost our wifi signal and assumed we were headed toward whatever destination Kirstyn had originally plugged into the app. Our driver looked at his phone repeatedly and seemed a little confused, possibly even worried, but didn’t voice any concerns and continued driving. There was tension in the car, we took a bunch of turns, we seemed to be heading toward a part of town I’d never been to. The driver didn’t look at us. No one spoke. Crazy thoughts were going through my head. I peaked over at the driver’s phone showing us on the Uber map. We were nowhere near the ocean. The driver kept looking at the map. I was getting worried. Is this it? Are we being kidnaped by a Mexican cartel? Should we jump out of the car at a stoplight? How would I let Kirstyn know, she was sitting directly behind me. Are we going to a bar one of the ladies told Kirstyn about? Shit, shit, shit. The driver seemed to be avoiding looking at me. We were driving through residential streets. There were no other cars on there road. The driver noticed me looking at his phone, he turned the screen so I couldn’t see, but I knew we were getting close to the destination marked on the map. Fuck, where are we going? Finally the driver looked at me. He looks worried, he’s sweating even with the air conditioner on. He points to a sprawling complex with a security guard at the gate, some sort of institution that tourists probably don’t visit at midnight. “You go here?” He asks. I turn and look at Kirstyn “this isn’t the malecon” she says. Definitely not the malecon. The driver still looks worried “this is the address” he tells me “we made a mistake, could you take us to the malecon?” He thinks, I ask “quanto?” He thinks for a moment. “Ninety pesos” he tells me “si” there’s still tension in the car. “Lo siento” I tell the driver. He laughs “no problem!” He says. No more tension, we drive 20 minutes in the opposite direction to the malecon. When we’re out of the car Kirstyn says “I thought we were fucked” “So did I and I think the driver thought we were about to carjack him.” Not getting kidnaped might be the best thing that’s happened to us all week.

After spending the afternoon enjoying some beverages on the boat with Mary and Ilene, we decided to take them up on their offer of a ride to town. We went to the dollar beer place in Nuevo Vallarta in the hope of finding Cristobal, who’s phone has been out of service for a few days. Sure enough, he was drinking beer at a park bench with a few of his coworkers. He introduced me to one guy but the other guy, who was very drunk, was busy making out with an equally drunk woman. We scampered back over to the bar, which had run out of beer. The waiter told us he could sell us dollar margaritas so we were still in business. After a few of those, Cristobal asked if we want to get some… and made the universal smoking gesture. We headed to the taxi stand, negotiated, $200 pesos. “You sure?” I ask “yeah, we got to pay him good.” Cristobal told me. We drive to an Oxxo about 5 blocks away. “You shouldn’t come with me” Cristobal tells me in the car. A moment later “put on this hat so they think you’re Mexican.” He hands me a white ball cap. Even through the haze of all day drinking, I can see that Cristobal is very drunk, so I put on the hat, backwards, and follow him down a dimly lit street. Our cab waits at the Oxxo. Nobody could possibly see through my disguise. We round a corner and see a man standing in the street. Another man sits on a bench hidden in the shadows. Cristobal speaks to the man in the street in a hushed voice. I try to act casual and don’t speak. After we round the corner heading back to the Oxxo Cristobal tells me “that was close, he didn’t believe you were Mexican but I told him you’re from Monterrey.” “What would have happened if he didn’t believe you?” “We would’ve had to pay the gringo price.” Back at Cristobal’s boat, he asked me how much I paid the taxi driver. “$200” I tell him. “Are you crazy!” “You said $200!” “I did? Shit, I’m drunk”

Have you ever seen a giant manta wray? I’m not talking about a large manta wray, this is the real deal. Sometimes those guys wingtips stick out of the water when they’re at the surface. It kinda looks like two sharks swimming side by side with their dorsal fins out of the water. Imagine if jaws had a twin brother and they cruised around together eating townsfolk and tourists. A seasoned veteran like myself wouldn’t make that mistake, but I can see how you could think that’s what you’re looking at. Going for a morning swim is a key part of my hygiene and fitness routine, so the sight of two fins cruising past the boat was slightly unnerving. I got in the dinghy to check him out, got up real close, and he was somewhat larger than our little boat. This totally ruined my morning swim, remember that crocodile guy? Crikey! Didn’t he get stabbed through the heart by one of those things? Sarah claims it was some other seagoing critter, but I’m not taking any risks this early in the morning.

Maybe you’re aware that it gets hot in Puerto Vallarta, and sometimes I sweat a bit. I also have a great tan, like an athlete. That’s why I drink a fair bit of Gatorade. Gatorade isn’t cheap my friends, and that’s why I buy the flavour crystals and make it myself. It comes in three flavours here, green orange and red. But red is scarce, almost to the point that it’s a luxury item. I found one can of red at the La Comer store a few weeks ago. Very luxurious.

Dave the pilot, who hails from some undisclosed location near Niagara Falls Ontario, likes to have the odd rum and coke at an establishment we’ve been frequenting. Dave spent most of his career flying passenger jets for airlines in Africa and South America. After a bunch of beers, I mentioned my admiration for the Boeing 747. Dave grabbed a book off his living room bookshelf, a handbook for big jet pilots circa 1970 something. Dave has flown everything from Twin Otters and DC-3’s up to 747’s. He’s delivered a Twin Otter from Newfoundland to Europe with bladder tanks in the back full of fuel. Dave never saw UFO’s. He’s turning 80 years old and has a young Mexican girlfriend. Cheers Dave.

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

We call it La Cruz because pronouncing names incorrectly embarrasses us for some unknown reason. Routine is setting in. Sometimes we go to the grocery store, dinghy to the marina, try to evade the security guy that charges us $40 pesos to use the dock, walk to the bus stop, ride to the Chedraui on the far side of Buserias. Someone told us you need to watch the cashiers there or they don’t give you the sale prices. We went to the Mega yesterday instead. I caught an ear infection, after swimming under the boat back in the swampy estuary at Nuevo Vallarta. Some sort of swamp bacteria got in my ear, the doctor told me the infection is in both ears and I’m on antibiotics. Someone told us the doctor has a twin brother who’s also a doctor at that clinic but doesn’t speak English. Patients show up and wonder why this guy they saw last week doesn’t remember them and only speaks Spanish. The antibiotics seem to be working and the swelling goes down a little each day but I’m still deaf in my left ear. I can chew food again, which is nice. I only got about half the barnacles off the bottom of the boat before my ear ruined my plans. I read somewhere that there’s a dengue fever outbreak here, so I guess I should be happy I don’t have that, although it’s probably a great weight loss plan. In the evening we’ve been gong to the beach for a swim. Last night we met two Hungarian ladies that live in Vancouver and are staying at the hotel we’ve been swimming in front of. It looks like the nicest place on this stretch of beach. They said it’s really nice. We discussed some politics and stuff and the one lady assured me that the Canadian government is still better than the Soviets, despite the cost of car insurance. It’s not been as hot here as when we first arrived, Nuevo was sweltering and breezeless, La Cruz has been a lot nicer and the temperature has been more tolerable. Anyone who’s watched the Walking Dead will know the character Rick, who’s always a disgusting sweaty mess. That’s how we felt in Nuevo, minus the zombies. The timeshare hawkers keep trying to get us to go to their presentations. They promise either $150 or $200 US. We don’t qualify, they want married couples and they check to make sure you have the same address on your ID, we don’t. They also want people staying at a hotel that are in town less than a few weeks. The guy yesterday promised we’d get paid anyway but I don’t think I believe him enough to risk sitting through a timeshare sales pitch. The money would be nice but is it worth the risk? We recovered our dinghy with new green fabric, so from now on when the marina security guy asks our boat name I’m gonna say ‘barco verde.’ Overall La Cruz is treating us well, it’s kinda like a smaller, more rustic version of Bucerias, which many many Canadians know well, and I’ve heard it called B.C.rias, which is a little unfair because there are plenty of Albertans and Saskatchetoonians as well. There’s usually live music at one of the drinking establishments in La Cruz and the beaches are almost deserted. We’re planning on going to the Sunday market and I’m seriously considering getting a lobster at the fish market. It’s an extravagant expenditure that I’ll need to ponder. Our neighbourhood seems a little clique, everyone seems to know everyone else already and we’re the newcomers who have no friends. We also have a generator making us electricity, which makes us unpopular with some of the fancy solar powered people who shun us for our noisy, environmentally unfriendly ways, so we hang out at the fringe of the anchorage and occasionally moon our neighbours as they cruise from boat to boat socializing. We haven’t been to Puerto Vallarta yet, it seems daunting but I think Cristobal wants to go do some drinking in the city one of these days and we’ll have fun once we’re there. It’s just so…. and the buses quit running earlier than you’d think. We could defeat the whole system by taking our dinghy, its only 12 miles, but that creates a new set of issues like where do we park it? And will we get run over in the dark by a cruise ship. Ouch! Last time we went to PV We got drunk and Kirstyn got a tattoo, so we should probably do it again