Thursday, April 12, 2012

As we write this, we are gliding swiftly under sail across an incrediblyblue sea under brilliant sunshine. The winds are fairly light but "BlueRodeo" is moving along at about seven knots and giving us a smooth ride.We have finally had time to reflect a little on the days leading up to ourdeparture from La Cruz and wanted to say a bit more about the process ofprovisioning and preparing for an extended voyage. The last few days in LaCruz were very hectic. Provisioning for 3-6 months was quite a chore,especially without a car! While Mark devoted most of his time to boatprojects and verifying that all of "Blue Rodeo's" systems were workingproperly, Anne made numerous trips to various stores and markets topurchase all of the food and supplies we would need. This was certainlynot one-stop-shopping and involved transportation via buses, taxis and anoccasional lift from friends with cars. Some of the meat we needed waspurchased at the last minute from Costco in Puerto Vallarta but Annediscovered a great resource in a store in nearby Bucerias called Carnesdel Mundo (Meats of the World). They will commercially seal and freezeany meats you order from them. That is especially attractive since ourfreezer has a hard time freezing a lot of items all at once. Most of thecrews leaving for the South Pacific ("Puddle Jumpers") placed large ordersfrom them and, like us, took advantage of delivery to the docks. Theeveryday items were bought at Mega, Walmart and Costco. Anne typicallytook a bus to these businesses, shopped, and, depending on the size of herloads, either took the bus or a taxi back to the marina. Back aboard, herdays were spent trying to stow the items and log their location on paperso we could find them at a later date. On most boats, the luxury of alarge pantry does not exist so we all have to get creative. It is oftenhard to remember under which floor board we have hidden a food item. Shealso spent quite a bit of time vacuum sealing items including even toiletpaper and paper towels to reduce their bulk. The last items on ourshopping list were fresh fruits and vegetables. Fortunately, every weekon Tuesday and Friday in La Cruz, a vegetable warehouse behind popularPhilo's bar and restaurant opens to the public with an ample supply offreshly picked produce. All the local restauranteurs and shop owners showup to buy in bulk. The night before our departure, we took one of themarina's dock carts to the warehouse with us to insure we could carry allwe needed back to the boat. For those of you reading this unfamiliar withboats and long voyages, rest assured that we are far better off than theseafarers of old but making produce last requires significant effort. Forinstance, here are a few examples: Limes and celery were wrapped inaluminum foil, carrots were wrapped in paper towels and put in "GreenBags". Bananas went in the fridge. A net hammock was strung across thegalley celing to keep fruit from getting bruised. Crates filled withcabbage, potatoes, yams and chaote squash were stowed wherever they wouldfit, hopefully in cool shady places. Onions and garlic had to be cratedand kept separate from the others of they cause premature ripening. Itwas quite a daunting task to clean up the produce and stow it where wewouldn't be tripping over it all of the time, a task not totally completeduntil we had been underway for several days. Before casting off our dock lines, we did manage to squeeze in some lastminute socializing. In addition to get-togethers with other "PuddleJumpers", we had breakfast one morning with Dennis and Linda of the sailboat "Rapture". They live in Mexico year round and operate a chiropracticbusiness in La Cruz. Based on their medical backgrounds and tropicalsailing experience, they were a great source of medical and first aidinformation for us. We also attended several musical performances in ourlast few days but, as departure time drew near, we had to limit oursocializing and focus to the most important tasks. While not on a strictschedule, we found ourselves exhausted and crabby trying to take advantageof the next forecasted, good weather window.On Friday the 29th we officially cleared out of the Mexico. To do so, wemotored to the harbor at Nuevo Vallarta with two fellow PPJ'ers, tied upto the transient dock and checked in with the Port Captain. We presentedour personal and boat papers and forms were filled-out to obtain our Zarpe(exit papers). Next, we had to wait aboard to boat to be inspected byofficials from Immigration followed by another trip to the Port Captain'soffice to complete paper work. With the clearing-out process complete, wereturned to the marina for last minute preparations. Finally, on theevening on March 31st, with a group of well-wishers dockside, we untiedour lines and motored slowly out of the harbor. Even though, we wouldstop for several days of SCUBA diving at the Revillagegedos Islands, thiswas the beginning of our grand South Pacific crossing adventure. Years ofplanning and anticipation had come to fruition....we are underway toparadise.

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