Monday, November 28, 2011

Prevaricator, Me
By Michael

I'm not working only on the boat, I'm also working
on my appearance--going for the Dan Haggerty meets
Merlin Olsen look. The necklace was my birthday
gift from Frances. It has since fallen apart and
she has no interest in reconstructing it. (This is
okay by me as I don't think Dan Haggerty
wore a necklace.) 
I jumped up when he passed, “Senor!”

The slight, dark-skinned old man pulled over and stopped his cargo trike. I walked over and asked what flavors of ice cream he had. I ordered chocolate, one scoop. He held up a small plastic cup and said something. I nodded to indicate, “Yep, that’ll be fine.” He pushed it toward me more insistently and I realized he had asked me to hold the cup; he had only one arm and needed it free to scoop the homemade ice cream from his crude cooler.
His parting words to me were in English—clear, slow and deliberate: “Where—are—you—from?”

“Los Estados Unidos,” I said. He nodded seriously. I said goodbye and walked back to sit on the curb in front of the machine shop (the one building my new stainless steel water tanks), in an off-the-beaten-track part of Puerto Vallarta. My ice cream was already gone when he rode up to me.

He got off his bike and sat next to me, urgently thumbing through an English grammar book, written in Spanish. I welcomed the distraction as I was killing time. It took him quite a while, about two minutes, before he found the page he was looking for. I was eager to be the hero; he couldn’t possibly know that on this day, on this dusty little Mexican street, he’d sold ice cream to an English major who relishes talk of language and grammar.
I studied the page he had open, trying to anticipate his question. It looked like verb tense instruction.

“What—does—this—mean?” He pressed his thumb hard onto the page, underscoring a line of words in bold face, the same word in several tenses: nonplus, nonplused, nonplusses, nonplussing.
I felt a flush of panic. I smiled and nodded reassuringly, in spite of myself. I knew his question had nothing to do with grammar, but I started to answer a grammar question, hopefully. “Esta palabra aqui esta en muchas formas, para indica el tiempo, como futuro, presente, pasado, …”

“Si, si, claro…but—what—does—this—word—mean—nonplus?”

I’d been racking my brain for the past 30 seconds trying to answer the same question. I’ve read the word hundreds of times, probably understanding the context, but never the exact meaning. What a good word this was, nonplus, and I’d never made it my own. And I fancy myself a writer?
I don’t really know why what happened next, happened. But I began to define this word to the ice cream salesman in a desperate hope that in doing so, the meaning would somehow make itself known to me.

“Um, ok. Es como sorpresa, pero mal. Es como el siento de la persona cuando hay una sorpresa mal, pero la persona no esta enojado.”
The ice cream salesman asked for an example. I spoke and pantomimed one in Spanish, a lame example to match my completely incorrect definition, and he carefully repeated his understanding in English.

“I—ride—my—bicycle—on—the—street—and—lady—jump—in—front—of—me—and—a—big—surprise—and—I—turn—quick—and—I—not—happy—but—I—not—mad.   I—nonplused?”

Did I just say that?
While I really think I believed I could somehow divine a definition for that word as I spoke, it is pretty shameful that I didn’t retract at some point.


And that is it, that is the way it went down. Utterly nonplused, I lied to an elderly, disabled street vendor, probably a poet in his spare time, working hard to translate his work into English. Pretty shameful because he couldn’t possibly know that on this day, on this dusty little Mexican street, he’d sold ice cream to an English major who relishes talk of language and grammar and who doesn't really know the meaning of a common English word.

After touring Bumfuzzle a couple weeks back, we played
in one of the pools in Paradise. The girls enjoyed them-
selves like nobody's business. This is Frances zipping
down a slide, for the 25th time.

After teaching myself to whip a line, I quickly did a half-dozen more.
Then I passed on my new-found knowledge to Windy. Next we need
to learn to splice.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In Deep
By Michael

The wide angle lens is very distorting. The shallow-looking cavity
where the floor is removed held two wedge-shaped water tanks
that are 50 gallons each. It took two days to get to this point.
Note the furniture suspended next to the mast. There is a solid
metal rod that runs parallel to the mast that passes through
the nice trim on this piece. It was easier to slide it up on the
rod than to remove either the trim or the rod. I have no
idea what this rod is for.
A close friend emailed the other day to say she was enjoying recent posts about boat work, but would really like to hear more about the girls and what they are up to. So anyway, I got the water tanks out, both sitting on the dock tonight. I didn't get them out in time to take them to the machine shop today, but that is the first thing on my agenda tomorrow morning.

I'm borrowing a car from Tim aboard Sababa. He has an old Hyundai he brought down from Arizona a couple of weeks ago. I figure I'll stick one tank at a time in the back and bungy the trunk lid down.

I'll know more tomorrow, but assuming the turnaround time on the tanks is one week, and assuming it takes me three days to reinstall them: I could complete this project by the first weekend in December. And if I can wrap up the chain plate and anchor roller projects in the interim, we could be out sailing that weekend!

Oh, Windy and the girls are probably going to head into Puerto Vallarta tomorrow to check out the new Happy Feet movie, a nice respite that will keep them off the boat while I paint the bilge with some special-purpose, toxic polyurethane paint.


This is how things looked at the end of day one. Note the shiny, still-unremoved,
stainless steel water tanks beneath the floor joists. Oh, and there is Frances
in her skivvies, trying to squeeze past the stack of tool boxes on the way
out of the head. Of course, since the holding tank had to come out to access
the water tanks, nobody is using the head today...nor tomorrow, nor the following day.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Polytheylene Water Tanks?
By Michael

The chain plate for the port aft lower stay. Again,
evidence of water penetrating the sealant at the
deck and running down behind the chain plate to
corrode the bolts and back face. I won't know
whether we'll have to replace this until I remove
it and polish it, looking for cracks and
extreme pitting.
Today the bedding compound around the chain plates for the upper stays is set. This means I can reattach these stays and detach the lower stays so I can remove and inspect those chain plates. I began removing wood trim to access the four chain plates for the lower stays. There is evidence of water leaking down these, just as there was on the chain plates for the upper stays. Accordingly, I removed additional trim to see if I could find additional leaks.
Yesterday, I began the water tank replacement project. I cleared out the storage spaces under the settees (both reorganizing a lot of stuff that needed to be reorganized, and finding a lot of things we will go ahead and try to sell at the marine swap meet tomorrow). I also removed all of the bungs in the floor that have to come out to remove the water tanks and I figured out how to disassemble the dinette. I am working at a pace to remove the tanks late Monday so that I can get them to the shop Tuesday morning (Monday is a big Mexican holiday, Dia de la Revolucion, commemorating the start of the Mexican revolution in 1910).
A couple folks commented and others emailed about our likely choice of stainless steel for replacing our problematic stainless steel water tanks. I failed to mention we did consider polyethylene tanks and we haven’t ruled them out. In fact, polyethylene was my first choice and before we realized the leaking was getting progressively worse, I figured we would live with the leaks until we got to San Diego, find a place that made custom polyethylene tanks, and replace our two tanks with these (I don’t think we can have these fabricated in Mexico and I don’t want to wait for large, custom tanks to be shipped to us here).
Bolts securing a deck fitting are shown here,
just forward of the chain plate pictured above.
The mold in this picture and the one above,
is likely caused by water slowly leaking
around these bolts and along the intersection
between the hull sides and deck underside.
More rebedding is in order. 
But about the time I realized we have to remedy this problem before we leave the dock, I learned more about polyethylene tanks. They can’t be built with traditional baffles. My understanding is that they are roto-molded and any baffles have to be part of the shape, which creates a lot of negative space that decreases holding capacity. The approach then is to use multiple small tanks, which is a poor compromise for a few reasons, including cost, potential leaks from additional fittings in difficult-to-access places, and additional mounting considerations (for example, whereby a single large tank may span two supports, multiple tanks may require additional supports). Another drawback is that polyethylene tanks cannot be glassed in, they must be secured using straps.
Our metal tanks are wedged shaped to take advantage of the interior hull space. One is starboard and one is port, mounted symmetrically. It is difficult to see how well they use the space (there is bilge area beneath them) until I remove them. It may be that we can use the existing space in a different and effective way with multiple, rectangular-shaped polyethylene tanks, but I doubt it.
Don’t get me wrong, were I building a boat from scratch, I would configure it to use off-the-shelf polyethylene tanks. They are non-toxic and will last forever. But given where we are and the configuration we are working with, I suspect we’ll see that is straightforward to repair our existing tanks (maybe cutting off and replacing the bottom, for example) and that they make good use of the available space. I think we will then reach a conclusion about the reason these failed and move forward with stainless steel. After all, the previous tanks were stainless and were not replaced until 30 years passed (and our neighbor in the marina, Cactus Tree, is a Mariner 31 with 40-year-old stainless steel water tanks). I’m convinced it is all about installing them properly, ensuring the exterior stays dry, and preventing anything caustic (including chorine) from corroding the tank. I hope I’m right.

Eleanor proudly displaying the doll she made for me for my
43rd birthday. She enjoys sewing and proudly keeps
her own sewing kit in a tupperware container.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

By Michael

2007 picture showing the marina
construction nearly complete
On one of the last days of October, Windy and I sat in our beach chairs at dusk on the small beach adjacent to the marina. It is a picturesque spot, maybe a five-minute walk from our boat. The surf is usually very small here, in the lee of Punta de Mita. The girls like that the water is shallow for hundreds of feet. The view of nearly the entire Banderas Bay is magnificent.
Our little strip of beach is only three-years-old, created during construction of Marina Riviera Nayarit. This development forever changed the character and geography of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, a fishing-based pueblo founded in the 1930s. I was here in 1997, anchored out in our last boat. Today the town is busier and seems more prosperous. But gone forever is the little crescent-shaped beach littered with fishermen’s pangas, cruisers’ dinghies, and plastic tables and chairs of waterside bars and eateries. In fact, the sense of a distinct bay is gone with the marina breakwater redefining the coastline.
An older gringo walked in from the surf. He had a large, vertical scar in the middle of his chest, like my grandfather had. He chatted with a Mexican family before he walked by us and stopped to introduce himself. We gave him our abbreviated story and he gave us his.
Older Gringo is a local, an ex-pat who has lived in La Cruz for a long time. We went back and forth with names of people we know who live nearby, both of us trying to reach a common understanding of where in town his house is located.
Profligate pulled in a couple of days ago. This
63-foot cat is a working boat owned by the
publisher of Latitude 38. You can read their
recent take on La Cruz here.
“Ah, and so you were one of the homeowners up in arms over the building of the marina, because it changed your beach front property into one that fronts the parking lot behind the fish market?”
“Yes and no,” he replied. He said that his house was thusly affected, and that his neighbors each ponied up hundreds of dollars every month to pay the lawyers who fought the proposed development tooth-and-nail. He said they were all ex-pats like him. He said most have moved on. He said his view is very different, that he didn’t join the fight against the development.
I think I raised my eyebrows at this point, both surprised and perplexed.
“Even though I own property here, and even though I am here for a very long time, I am a guest in this country.” He added that just as he has no right to vote in a Mexican election, he has no right trying to alter the course of development in this community. “I am a guest,” he repeated.*
I thought of the old Hotel Punta Chivato (now called the Hotel Posada de las Flores). In the 1980s, an Oregon couple took their turn in the storied ownership history of the famous spot on Mexico’s Baja peninsula, near Mulege. They put everything they had into the place. As their restoration was nearly complete, the Mexico ejido system forced them to surrender the property when it was deemed communal land. (This system was subsequently eliminated in the early 1990s when NAFTA passed, in a Mexican bid to quell anxious foreign investors.) Surely that couple understood the risks of their foreign investment, or should have. I wondered if Old Gringo had been in their shoes, would he have fought the confiscation of his property?
Probably not. I reasoned that the scar on Old Gringo’s chest is a manifestation of a previous, stress-filled life. I imagined that his seeming Zen-like passivity and perspective is deliberate, a healthy, post-surgery change in attitude.
I thought about myself and whether I’d made any similar changes since we left D.C. I don’t think I am a stressed out individual (not in that life nor in this life), but Windy reminds me regularly that I don’t slow down, that I always have to be working on something. It is sometimes maddening to me that she is not stressed about all of the things on the perpetual To-Do list that lives in my head. I’m almost always anxious about getting things done according to the timelines we impose.
Old Gringo would probably remind me that we started cruising June 3, more than five months ago, and that the time for timelines is passed, and that this is our new life, that I need to slow down and enjoy it, not focusing on what it will be, but enjoying what is--just as I imagined I would all of those years I sat in a cubicle dreaming of just this. I think he would be exactly right on that point.
* I am cognizant that I am a guest in Mexico. Even when I’m frustrated by inefficiencies characteristic of the Mexican way of doing some things, I try and mimic the attitudes of the Mexicans around me, no matter how absurd it seems. For example, I recently made a trip to Home Depot with a two-foot piece of dirty, torn hose in-hand, hoping to find a replacement. I knew I could not walk through that front door with my hose before a security guard at the entrance put a small sticker on it that he initialed, indicating the hose is not store merchandise. Absurd as that would seem in the U.S., here it is reality, in several stores. So with a bunch of people clustered around the guard at the entrance on this day, I waited my turn to have a small, initialed sticker put on a piece of hose that looked like trash. Of course, the flip side is that some things are extremely efficient, such as getting a part welded or just about any other transaction with a tradesperson.

This is Dona Mari, a fixture here at the marina. She spends her days recovering
aluminum cans from the marina recycling bins and then pulling them into town
in her cart. Here she is sitting doing needlepoint. This is the first time I've seen
her resting, at the marina or in town. She seemed pleased to have her picture
taken, but I could not get her to smile to save my life. The reason may not be
that she is hiding poor dental work, as there are other possible reasons.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

By Michael

Our brand new RuleMate 2000 GPH bilge pump is wet and
corroded inside. Check out that circuit board! It was defective
in that the wire grommet wasn't properly seated. West Marine
says I can return it for store credit when we're in the States
next summer. Ironically, if the pump hadn't been submerged
in the water from our leaking tanks, we may not have
discovered this problem until we really needed the pump.
A lot has been happening around here lately and yet we are still in the same place and our prospects for getting out of here by the end of November are tentative. There are three things holding us back: chain plates, port lights, and water tanks.
The Chain Plates
I installed and bedded (sealed) the two new chain plates for the upper stays. The bedding compound I used is a popular 3M product called 5200, a polyurethane sealant with astounding adhesive properties. In fact, it adheres so well that ten years from now—when I go to remove and inspect these plates—I will likely curse myself for using this stuff. But no water must get into the joint, not a drop. Stainless steel, generally immune to the rusting and corrosion that plagues other iron-containing alloys, is subject to crevice corrosion and pitting corrosion. Both of these types of corrosion are apparent on the chain plates we removed.
Of course, corrosion weakens the metal. As I explained in recent posts (here and here), this could be really bad.
So pretty, I hate to re-install the teak
trim that hides it.
In our case, water found its way through the existing bedding compound, through gaps probably only a few micrometers wide. Some of that water remained in the crevice where the chain plate passes through the deck, and some found its way further down, behind the chain plate. In both cases, this water sat stagnant and over a long period of time broke down the oxide film that stainless steel needs to remain corrosion free.
I am going to wait five more days for the 5200 to set before I attach the new upper stays. At this point, I will remove all four of the chain plates for the lower stays. (I can’t remove the lowers sooner because they are holding up the mast while the uppers are not attached.) If the lowers are okay, I will reinstall them. If they are corroded too, we will wait for new ones to be fabricated.
The Port Lights
We can sail away without installing the port lights. But I don’t want to. The existing port lights don’t open and you can’t see through them as they are opaque. The new port lights are beautiful stainless works of art that provide additional visibility and ventilation. Installing them at the dock will be easier than doing so at anchor and the sooner we get them installed, the sooner we clear these boxes out of the cabin. Windy isn’t as adamant about doing this before we leave, so we’ll see.
In this picture, you can see the pitting corrosion on the back of the old chain plate and in the
background, the rust staining on the fiberglass against which the plate was held for 33 years.
Water Tanks
They leak, both of them, a lot. We have decided to replace them here in Banderas Bay. This will be a big and disruptive project. These leaking stainless steel tanks are actually replacements of the originals. These were made in San Carlos, Mexico in 2008 using a thicker wall to prevent just the problem we are having now. Apparently, either the metal used was flawed or an inferior grade or the tanks were installed in such a way that crevice corrosion, pitting corrosion, or some form of electrolysis attacked them. Interestingly, I don't see any evidence of rust staining in the bilge where the water runs out from under these tanks.
Once they are out, we will have a better idea of what is causing the leaking. To get them out, I’ll remove the dinette, the flooring in the main part of the cabin, the holding tank, the floor joists, and finally the tanks. The floor joists are attached to the hull beneath the settees with fiberglass tabbing. The tanks are glassed to structural members down low. I will cut all of this away and then learn all about glass and epoxy when I put them back in.
We strongly considered two other options for storing potable water aboard: building integrated fiberglass/epoxy tanks and using flexible water tanks. Though each promises a less disruptive solution to our problem, neither matches the permanent (in theory), non-toxic solution of new stainless steel tanks.
I don’t have an estimate from him yet, but I was very impressed last week when I visited the machine shop of Hilario Gonzalez in Puerto Vallarta. Several people have recommended several machine shops around the Bay, but Gonzalez’s name came from a few independent sources I trust. He will likely make our new tanks.

I will write more about this project as it progresses. I start tomorrow.

There is no promise I could not have exacted from Eleanor and Frances in exchange
for letting them have one of these pups. Unfortunately, the answer was no.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

10 Things That Surprised Me About Mexico
By Michael

    This was the price of avocados at a local market
    after prices started to come down. Note
    the recent decrease here from 65 to 64 pesos
    (about $5.50 USD at the then exchange rate)
    per kilo. They were at 79 pesos when we
    arrived and today they sell for 16!
  1. Vegetarian-friendly taco stands
    At one time or another, every Mexico cruiser’s blog waxes poetic about the ubiquitous Mexican taco stand. They write about the best tasting fish tacos, ever. They rate their favorite carne asada taco stands. They talk about chicken street tacos so good, they return over and over again even after suffering bouts of stomach and intestinal distress that can be absolutely traced back to said stand. With only these references, a vegetarian is likely to conclude that taco stands offer nothing for them but an empty tortilla. Nobody talks about the glorious bean or cheese tacos that can often be had at the same stands. Glorious tacos they are, stuffed to the gills with fresh cilantro, salsa Mexicana, finely shredded cabbage, pink pickled onions, and a slab of queso blanco—for about 8 pesos (65 cents).

  2. Few cruising catamarans
    Been to the big boat shows on the east or west coast of the U.S. lately? Read any of the mainstream sailing magazines over the past few years? Maybe you are under the impression, like me, that the cruising monohull is nearly dead, displaced (pardon the pun) by seas and ports brimming with non-heeling, big-windowed catamarans. This ain’t the case in Banderas Bay. I have seen only a handful of multihulls since we arrived, and none occupied. Anecdotally, among the cruising families whose blogs are linked on this site, the mono-to-multi ratio is 11-7.

  3. Few boat parts available
    I knew coming that boat parts are expensive in Mexico, but I wasn’t prepared for how scarce they are. Those white rail clamps used to mount solar panels and such? I can’t find them anywhere. Non-silicone-based caulks are in short supply and very difficult to find. There are stores that sell Ancor wire, but common sizes are out-of-stock and replenishment can take weeks. Need 12-2 cable in the next couple of weeks? Make due with 14-2 or 10-2. Same story with 1/2-inch reinforced hose. It may be that inventories are kept low during the off-season.

  4. Oxxo is everywhere
    When a Starbucks opens its doors across the block from another Starbucks, people mock the coffee empire. These same folks have not seen an Oxxo convenience store in Mexico. In fact, nobody has ever seen a single Oxxo store in Mexico because if you are standing in sight of one, you can’t help but see another, or several others. These stores resemble U.S. 7-11 stores and are owned by the richest man on earth, Carlos Slim.

  5. Here an Oxxo, there an Oxxo, everywhere an Oxxo.
  6. Guns are everywhere
    I’ve travelled Mexico since the 1980s and am used to seeing young Mexican men in military uniforms carrying M-16s. But this is usually at airports and other points of entry. Walking the streets of a Mexican town, these sightings were rare. This time, about a dozen years since my last visit, big automatic guns are everywhere. They’re carried by the Federales as well as local police and private security. Here at the marina, my girls regularly walk by men carrying Uzis. I think the change is related to the internal war on narcotics-related violence. Television commercials and billboards selling the effectiveness of the government’s efforts to keep the people safe, are prevalent.

  7. No lime juice
    Limes are cheap and plentiful. Every small store sells 14 types of manual juicers. But it will take a day of shopping and some luck to come across a bottle of plain lime juice. Of course, this anomaly is actually a lesson: if I’m so desperate for a margarita, I need to let go of my expedience-trumps-all U.S. mentality and squeeze some limes—it’ll make a better margarita anyway.

  8. Avocados can be expensive
    This one was a shock. When we arrived, avocados could not be had anyplace for less than about 79 pesos per kilo. At the then exchange rate, this was more expensive than the avocados we could buy at Trader Joes in D.C….and those were imported from Mexico. They’ve steadily decreased in price since we arrived and everyone says it is a normal seasonal price fluctuation, go figure. (Note: just bought some yesterday for 16 pesos per kilo, prices have dropped dramatically.) Also, the BBC has another take.

  9. Left turns on the roadway
    In the U.S., we are trained to watch for oncoming traffic as we make left turns across their path. In Mexico, the stakes are doubled because left turns are made from a far right lane, so you’re crossing traffic moving in the same direction as well as oncoming traffic. Accordingly, left turns are made only at intersections and only with a green arrow. In addition to this being disconcerting, it also means doing a lot of backtracking. To visit a store on the opposite side of the highway, you have to know where it is in advance so that you can get in a far right lane (separated by a median from the center lanes) and at the first intersection past the store, make a u-turn and head back the other direction.

  10. Pico de gallo ain't pico de gallo
    What we are all trained to refer to in the U.S. as pico de gallo (the fresh mix of chopped tomato, onion, cilantro, and chile) is here called salsa Mexicana. Here, pico de gallo is a mix of fruits, including mango, with chile powder on them. Once this was explained to me, I understood why in every supermarket, I was always directed to a collection of plastic containers on ice, all filled only with chopped fruit. Though I've heard this may be a regional thing, that maybe outside the states of Jalisco and Nayarit, pico de gallo really means pico de gallo.

  11. A strong Mexican middle class
    This fact really challenges perceptions and images of Mexico many of us are exposed to in the U.S. Having watched Mexican films and knowing Mexicans, I was consciously aware there is a Mexican middle class, but most of my time in-country prior to this was spent in the smaller towns of Baja, another world altogether. So I don't think my subconscious had reconciled what I knew with what I'd mostly seen. As a result, I was surprised by it when we arrived. I wrote all about it in this post.

It is difficult to see, but there are two thru hull valves in this picture and 28 below-
the-waterline hose clamps. The large thru hull valve (white handle) controls the head discharge
(2 hose clamps). The smaller thru hull valve (sliver of yellow handle visible in center of the
picture) was used for head sink dischage, head intake, and head sump pump discharge
(26 hose clamps). I re-plumbed all of this. By re-routing the sump discharge to an above-
the-waterline thru hull and attaching a bronze T fitting directly to the valve,
I reduced to four the number of hose clamps on hoses coming from the smaller valve .

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

La Ofrenda And Halloween
By Michael

A big part of the Mexican celebration for Dia de los Muertos
is the ofrenda. This offering to a deceased person
(usually a family member) is usually in the form of an altar.
This year at the marina lounge, the cruisers in residence
made an altar that honored many dearly departed.
It is hard to believe the holiday is come and gone. When we arrived September 1, it seemed totally within reason that we too would be here and gone by this time.
Not even close.
Frances honored her late Grandpa Bill. The can
of beer is for him. Unfortunately, I would bet our
boat he never drank a can of Pacifico in his life,
but it is the thought that counts.
 I am knee deep in getting the outboards running, the dinghy patched, a couple additional coats of varnish applied (so that we don't lose the work we did), and readying ourselves for the biggest project of them all: removing the water tanks and then replacing them (more about this in a separate post). I am waiting for our new chain plates and anchor roller to be fabricated  (so I can then remove the other chain plates). Our new port lights still sit in their boxes.
Strike knee deep, we are neck deep. But we paid for our slip only through the end of November; hopefully we will be ready to sail away at that time (and at the new winter slip rates, we had better be ready to depart).
Things are starting to buzz here at the marina and in La Cruz. Hatches shut tight on boats dormant since we arrived, are now open New faces keep popping up on the docks and at the yacht club. Store fronts in town that looked as though they were shuttered for years, are now bright, cheery, and alive. More people are milling about. The first boat flying a 2011 Ha-Ha burgee sailed in yesterday. The farmers' markets are back up and running. The first cruisers' swap meet is on the calendar (November 19).
The change reminds me of D.C. after a winter of windows shut tight and faces of the few pedestrians wrapped in scarves. Suddenly one weekend it seems everyone is outside bustling, the sound of lawnmowers vibrates the air, and the smell of fresh cut grass amplifies the notion that things have awakened.
The trick-or-treaters of Marina Riviera Nayarit 2011: (left to right) Christian of Andiamo III as a
zombie, Abby of Andiamo III as the summer fairy, Shandro of Kenta Anae as King Peter, Frances of
Del Viento as a ghost, Matero of Kenta Anae as Little Red Riding Hood, and Eleanor of
Del Viento as the evil queen of the dead.
For treats, all of the kids walked the docks and visted boats with either an anchor light or spreader lights on, identifying them as per official Halloween nautical custom.


Cruisers again hosted the orphans from nearby Bucerias for a holiday party.
Here Eleanor and Frances are engaged in a game of Pato, Pato, Ganso (or
duck, duck, goose). Musical chairs is another favorite of this crowd.

Eleanor instructing a couple of the boys on the fine points of making masks.

Tami of Andiamo III (standing) and Terry of Ulalena (sitting) working with the cruiser
kids to make this Rice Crispy, marshmallow, food coloring, gummi worm thing they
called sushi...yuck...but all the kids at the party loved it.
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