Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Fall in Mexico

First, further apologies regarding our trip down.  We spent a delightful two days with our friends, Mary Lee and Jerry and did not take a single picture.  An additional apology to my Uncle John and Wanda who have moved to Phoenix.  I failed to take my camera when I visited them.  I will do better on the way back north.  But on to our life in Mexico...

We settled in to our new condo.  What a beautiful view of the Bay of Banderas  from our deck!  Vallarta is lovely.

Our first guests, Deb and Ralph, settled in for the bridge tournament but Deb had the rule of balance - I balance my bridge time with my pool time!

And from the deck we can provide unfettered supervision of the city.  A vocation that Doug relishes each morning as he critiques the new pier construction.

Our big trip with Deb and Ralph was to a colonial village named San Sebastion del Oeste which is a charming high mountain village that was Spanish mining town.  We discovered one of the finest Italian restaurants ever - que rico!

Our next guest was Jan's cousin, Rina, who was born in Everett but has lived in Turkey for the past 12 years.       Jan visited Rina in Turkey where they had a time.  How fun it was to have her with us.  Jan and Rina took one day and took the boat to Yelapa which is a land locked village on the south side of the Bay of Banderas.
It was a haven for draft dodgers and stoned musicians in the 1970's.

Rina and I hiked to the falls which Doug and I failed to find in our three day stay.

  And we had lunch on the beach.

The three of us drove to a village that is less than 50 miles away but takes 2 1/2 hours by car.  Is it any wonder that we were the only gringos in town?

A few days after Rina returned to the states.  We were joined by Doug's lovely daughter, Shari and grandson, Jude.  Fun times ahead!

Happy Holidays to each and every one of you!  May you be blessed in the new year!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Family and Friends in the Shoulder Season

Given that we are ex-pats with 5 months in Canada and 6 months in Mexico we savor our shoulder season time as an opportunity to connect with our family and friends.  This blog is dedicated to our family and friends and comes with a sincere apology to Denise and John Grosse with whom we had a wonderful visit in Gilbert and left without taking a single picture.  Our deepest apologies!

Seth and Meghan have darling identical twin girls, Rory and Abby.  I am struggling with Doug's picture organization and can't find our most recent photos but you can that they look a bit  like their mommie.

Our first journey was to Jan's old digs - Manson.  We had a wonderful dinner with our Maria and her family.  
Maria and her sisters are excellent cooks and we combined a seafood and traditional Mexican dinner.  It was wonderful.

Nicki and Bob won the great hat contest at Bob and Kathryn's dinner which was a wonderful international affair with the addition of Kristina's sister Kirsten and her husband Chewy from Sweden.  Driving a tractor at harvest is one of Chewy's bucket list items which can be arranged in Manson in the fall.

We can never pass up the opportunity to love on Wendy and Kuzi's beautiful girls who informed us that they are Caucinese (part Caucasian and part Chinese).

Thank you sister, Kathy, for the lovely evening and the opportunity to spend time with my dear friend, Jan.  A wonderful visit.

 Doug;s Aunt Nell was said to be the prettiest girl in North Dakota and I've heard that there were a lot of men that came a courting.  The Shirl Larson family resembles Nell's family in Susie and David.

We had a wonderful visit with our dear friends, Jim and Masa, in San Francisco.  Jim and Jan have known one another and been friends for over 50 years!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bella Bella Vacation Photos

My cousin, Jodi, is a graphic designer with a beautiful artistic eye.  She graciously has provided access to her Shutterfly link.  There are some wonderful pictures of Kynoch and other areas.  Thank you, Jodi!

You may need to cut and paste the link!

Wild Guests

We would like to introduce you to some of wildest guests:

Lone wolf

This beautiful and healthy sea wolf visited the shore close to our boat.  Wolves howl and growl but do not bark.  She seems to be from the same pack as the others.  Colors can vary among packs.
Small wolf pack dining at the low water buffet.
Red Fur Crab?  Box Crab?

We caught two of these ladies in our prawn traps.  We believe them to be either Red Fur Crabs or a Box Crab.  Neither are very common so identification was difficult for us.  What do you think?

Moon Jellyfish
This Moon Jellyfish sits in a cloud reflecting calm sea.  Moon Jellyfish are slightly toxic sea cleaners.  We have seen them in schools of thousands.
Sea Otter

Sea Otters are opportunistic and grow in proportion to the supply of food.  They can grow to 60+ pounds.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Worst Fishing in 30 Years

It is widely reported to be the worst year for Central Coast fishing in the past 30 years and we would agree. It was not a year for catch and release for Chinook salmon.  We fretted a bit about Doug's son, Ron, coming up to poor fishing since he so loves to fish but it turned out to be a very good trip.

Ron and his friend, Lisa, joined us August 25th.  The weather was calm and the seas were bountiful.  Our first task was to prawn which is hard, hard work.  Ron and Lisa learned how to prawn and took home two limits of nice, big prawns.

A beautiful black bear greeted us when we entered a favorite anchorage.  This curtailed talk of berry picking for Ron and Lisa.

Ron and Doug may not have caught Chinook salmon the next day but the coho and ling cod were plentiful!

And the elusive halibut showed up for Ron which was very nice.

And Ron caught the biggest Coho that we know of in the Shearwater area - whopping 18 lb!

It was a wonderful trip and we were reminded that Chinook are not the only fish in the sea!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Jan's Black Box Birthday

 Lyrics to When I'm Sixty-Four have been echoing through my head for days now.  I have been moping about.    Being 64 is simply turning one year older.  There are no exciting benefits.  No big getting to draw retirement...nothing special.

Doug, in his way tried to cheer me up a bit with birthday hints.  We seldom do birthday gifts for one another but this year he said I was getting a present and it was coming in a BLACK BOX.  Even I know that Tiffany uses blue boxes but I wasn't sure about Cartier.  That doesn't sound quite right.  Why would he buy me jewelry to wear in the wilds of Canada?  Quite a puzzle but it distracted me from the Will you still need me?  Will you still feed me when I'm Sixty-Four?

And then came my birthday morning.  I sprung out of bed to find my present and there it was in the promised black box.  It was too big to be jewelry and too small to be a vacuum cleaner.  Carefully I opened the lid and WOW!

Not every girl gets a gold Islander knuckle buster salmon reel for her birthday!  Better than Cartier for certain.

PS  For those of you who are neither old nor Beatles fans here are the lyrics to When I'm Sixty-Four.

When I get older losing my hair,
Many years from now,
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine?

If I'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door,
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four?

oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oooo
You'll be older too, (ah ah ah ah ah)
And if you say the word,
I could stay with you.

I could be handy mending a fuse
When your lights have gone.
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride.

Doing the garden, digging the weeds,
Who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four?

Every summer we can rent a cottage
In the Isle of Wight, if it's not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera, Chuck, and Dave

Send me a postcard, drop me a line,
Stating point of view.
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, Wasting Away.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Family Resemblances

Jodi and Jan in St. Louis
People often tell me that I resemble my mother's Icelandic family.  I didn't think I much resembled Dad's family until I reconnected several years ago with my cousin, Jodi Hendrickson (Cline) who is my dad's youngest brother's daughter.  When Jodi was six Uncle Russ accepted a job in St. Louis and I have seen Jodi once in the past forty-five years.

Although Doug and I have a hard time coming up with positives about Shari and Ryan and baby grandson, Jude, living in Indianapolis, I must say that reconnecting with Jodi is great.  Doug and I so liked Jodi and her husband, Tim, that we invited them to visit us on the boat.  This was Tim's first trip to the Northwest and neither had been to the wilds of Canada to hang out on a boat.  What fun planning that trip.

Prawning in Codville Lagoon
On our first night we had the traditional all-the-Dungeness-you-can-eat meal and then we had to start seriously foraging for food.  Our first stop was Codville where we introduced Tim and Jodi to prawning and crabbing.

Coho and Ling

Both Jodi and Tim turned out to be fine fisher people and we had great fun fishing.

Twenty-four Pounder
And then Tim caught a nice Chinook salmon.

And then it was time to sight see so we took the fishing boat to Kynoch which is also known as Fjordland.  It is splendid with towering black granite cliffs and beautiful waterfalls.

It was with sadness that we took them to the plane but I am quite sure that it will not be 45 years between visits.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dale Larson Original Mugs
Unlike our friend, Mel, who is at sea fishing by 4:00 AM we usually take a more leisurely approach. Often we set to sea by 8:30 or 9:00 with a second cup of coffee.   Our  mugs were made by the current president of the American Association of Woodturners who is Doug's most talented brother, Dale.  In our new fishing boat we can stay out of the rain and wait for the reel to sing. 
Doug with a 42 lb Tyee Salmon

And sing it did!  This fish is tied for the largest caught this year in the Shearwater area. 

And then there is prawning which is hard work and not as much fun but oh, so tasty.  First, you find the right habitat and then you drop the pots in about 500 feet of water and then you pull them up (a job in itself) and then you de-head all those prawns.

Debra with Prawn Bounty

And then you have lunch.

Prawn and Basil Pizza created by Doug and Jan

And then you fish some more.

Ralph with a Beautiful Catch

And then you eat dinner.

Deb and Ralph with Jan's Paella

And the next day you start all over again only taking time out to eat the leftovers!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Skidding in Broadside

 "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming...WOW!  What a ride!"  Melvin Trotter

And we skid on..

It seems that no place so serene, with such alpen glow could turn ugly so quickly.  Our Captain is a safe soul, always checking charts and resources to ensure that we avoid danger.  So exited Nakwakto Rapids  spending  the night at the end of Slingsby Channet in this lovely anchorage.

We woke at dawn and the Captain checked the winds for it can be dangerous to exit Slingby on a large ebb with a strong west wind.  We had a good sized ebb but the winds were light from the southeast.  No problem...and then it got nasty.  West winds may add but a strong ebb alone is enough to create standing waves with no place to go but ahead.  It was a task for an experienced captain and Doug did wonderfully well but we vowed to never exit Slingby on any kind of an ebb.

And we headed north to capture some large prawns and a big octopus in Kildit Sound.

This one we kept and Doug cooked it (OUSIDE)! and Doug has big chef plans for later.   We also found sea cucumbers in Kildit which he eyed hungrily but we decided to save that delectable treat for Debra and Ralph.

In the spring we bought a fishing boat and named it the Osprey.  Fishing from the dink was becoming somewhat of a chore and embarrassment - kind of like driving a riding lawn mower in a pack of Harley Davidsons.   But a problem soon became apparent.  The fishing boat did not know how to fish.  Day after day back and forth with only a piece of bull kelp to show for our efforts.  Doug was becoming seriously depressed and began muttering about bringing the dink north.  The Osprey had no desire to be relegated to the dusty storage unit and rallied forth.

On the first day it found two halibut (the larger is 46 lbs):

On the second day it was a 42 lb salmon - the biggest caught this year in the Shearwater area:

And for good measure the Osprey found us a sea otter to watch.

 What a ride!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

From Then to Now

It seems impossible that we have not blogged since leaving Canada last fall.  It has been a delightful and busy winter.  Shortly after making the trek south to Olympia, we packed our bags for Mexico for a trip with Doug's sister, Debra and brother-in-law, Ralph.  First stop was Mexico City.  It took us no time to acclimate and we traveled everywhere on the subway.  (We were never afraid and had no difficulties what-so-ever).We visited Teotichacan which is an Aztec ruin north of Mexico City as well as Xochomilco which is the historical agricultural area that supplied the Azteca capitol.  Xochomilco now is a maze of waterways and plant nurseries. We spent the day aboard a private boat, the Maria Isabel, being poled through the canals.   The next day we were joined in Mexico City by our good friends, Denise and Jim Brennan.

After  fun days in the city seeing the Folklorico Ballet and the National Museum of Anthropology we headed to Valle de Bravo, a cultural heritage town to the south. Thanks to Debra's friendships we rented a lovely lakeside villa (sleeps 16).  There we joined the most wealthy Mexicans and had our first experience at hang gliding.

After a short week Jim and Denise returned to the states we flew on to Puerto Vallarta for a bridge tournament.

It wasn't long before Doug and Jan realized that they had truly fallen in love with Vallara. 

It could have been the spectacular sunsets over Banderas Bay.

Or it could have been the visitors like Maria after her visit with her mom.
Or it could have been the Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe where each village pays homage to the Patron Saint of Mexico in a 12 day fiesta.
Or it could have Mardi Gras with characters like Bill.

Or maybe the warm ocean waters.

Or maybe the wonderful friends that we made through the months
 we spent there.

So a slight change of plans.  On the boat in Canada for five months and then Vallarta for six months.  Life is Good and we are blessed.