Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bahia de Tortugas

Hi All!

We got into Turtle Bay on Sunday. After leaving Ensenada we had a bit of a scare when we tried to anchor at Islas Todos Santos and found th aquaculture had spread into the anchorage. Fortunately we had Darren on the bow scouting and he saw the submerged lines that we were running over in time for me to throw it into reverse quickly and thread us back out of the cove!!! With adrenalin pumping we decided to just sail south and not anchor that night. After a beautiful sunset and a few more hours of sailing we were both hit with Montezuma´s revenge. Soon, we were both below, weak and vying for the head so we hove to and waited it out.  The wind got so light that at one point we made a whopping 5 miles in 24 hours. Finally we had drifted close enough to Punta Colnett that we decided to put on the motor for a half hour so we could just go anchor and rest. After a few days rest we had recovered and the wind returned so we headed south again in our vain search for WARM.

We had a nice sail down to Bahia de Tortugas with just a bit of gusts and a few steep waves. It´s been nice here and we have met some great people and rumor is that it will be warm at Mag Bay this coming Saturday!!!!!! Hoping to leave tomorrow to head that direction. Probably no internet til Cabo or Puerto Vallerta so no worries if you don´t hear from us for a week or two.
More whales!

Jodi and Darren

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Leaving Ensenada

We just returned from the Christmas Bazaar in the plaza out front of the Marina here where there were lots of good treats, neat crafts and some cute kids doing their dance routines on the stage. Unfortunately my battery ran out for the little couples in their suits and long full dresses doing low bows and curtsies.

We are in the process of packing up to leave Ensenada in a few minutes and it may be 3 weeks or so before we are near wifi again so no worries if you don't hear from us. The rough plan is to head down the Baja coast and probably only make 1 or 2 stops (depending on weather) so we can get to where it's reaaally warm! We had originally planned to make several stops down the coast including San Carlos, but since it is so late it is getting cold and the guys at Solosports are gone for the season anyhow we are probably not going to stop til Turtle Bay or Scorpion Bay where we will take a break and maybe get some surfing in. From there we will head for either Cabo or possibly straight over to Puerto Vallarta and should be able to get wifi in one of those bigger cities.

We miss you and hope you had a great Thanksgiving!
Jodi and Darren
s/v Gratitouille

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
We have sooo much to be thankful for but the most important are our wonderful friends and families that make our lives not only worthwhile, but amazing. As we recently saw on a greeting card...

Thank you to all of you who make our lives so fabulous!

We finally made it out of the states and arrived this morning in Ensenada, Mexico! Light winds and a determination not to motor meant it took a little more than a day longer than planned to get here from San Diego. So for Thanksgiving we checked in with the marina (no overnight anchoring allowed here) then made our rounds to check into the country. The first 11 are in or just outside the same building but you have to stand in line again every time you go back to a window, 12 is 6 blocks down the street and 13 is on the way back to the marina.

Look! It's Mexico!
1. Migracion for tourist card application
2. Bank to pay for tourist card
3. Migracion for tourist card stamp
4. Port Captain to check the boat and crew into the country
Good morning Ensenada!
5. Port Capitain, next window to pay port entry fee on boat
6. Copy shop outside to make copies
7. Bank to pay for Temporary Import Permit for boat
8. Customs to press the button - green light - yay!!
9.Fisheries to apply for mandatory fishing licenses for everyone on board since we have fishing gear
10. Bank to pay for fishing licenses
11. Fisheries to receive fishing licenses
12. Buy Mexican boat insurance
13. Celebrate by each having a shrimp taco and ceviche for Thanksgiving feast with mariachi band!
14. Back to the boat for a quick nap to catch up on 2 days of watches

Since we can't anchor here we won't stay long but are enjoying our first taste(s) of Mexico!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

WOW (Still in the States)

Wow, Has it really been a month since we last posted?? As you may have noticed we haven't had much luck in finding wifi in southern CA. The few times we have gotten online in the last month we have spent the time doing such fun things as paying bills and spending ridiculous amounts of time dealing with the health reimbursement plan people who don't seem to speak the same language as the equally wonderful health insurance plan people. Needless to say, they are not my favorite (unlike smiling!).

On top of that joy we both got really sick. It started with Jodi waking up one morning with the world spinning (no alcohol involved). We tried some seasick medicine  - even though we weren't in a particularly rolly anchorage we thought we'd give it a try. Two days later and still feeling like I was a kaleidescope where my outer body is the cylinder and my guts were the colorful little bits inside being rolled around by a really rambunctious kid and we looked for other possibilities. Darren asked if my sinuses were hurting. Well, a little, but I always have some sinus thing going on as I haven't cleared out the river nose from leaving Hood River - we've been hoping to get to warm water and have a few surf sessions clean me out. Maybe it did seem a little worse than normal...we tried some decongestant and some saline rinses and a day later I finally stopped spinning! On the up side, I developed some new muscles from clinging to the bed in an effort not to roll off while we were in flat, calm water.

A couple of days later we were in the midst of putting back together the boat as we had torn it apart to rearrange all the lockers just before I was bed-ridden and Darren came down with some awful cold thing that knocked him flat. You know it was a doozy since he just about never gets sick enough that he's flat in bed and can't even read. I was feeling better so I was able to turn the tables and take care of him. A couple of days later he was feeling less miserable and able to get up and about and I was hit with the same thing that he had! Argh!

So, we are still in San Diego despite having planned to be in Mexico by now and we haven't even been able to visit with family in the last two weeks as we didn't want to infect anyone. We are on the mend now so hopefully we will get all our projects done and be able to see the cousins in the next few days.

We are hoping to get back to the library tomorrow to be able to fill you in on all of the FUN stuff we did before we became infected like meeting Tracy at Anacapa and racing him to Newport Beach, visiting with cousin Bill and Lynn and seeing C. at his waterpolo meet! In the meantime, we are still in the states so feel free to call and say hi.

Jodi and Darren
s/v Gratitouille

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday E!

We are thinking of you and hope you are having a fabulous birthday! We wish we were there to give you hugs and love and sing in person. We miss your snuggles and laughter, your sense of adventure, your giant heart and, well, just all of you!
A couple of days ago a seal swam with us as we were dinghying out to the boat.

And today a couple of Risso's Dolphins stopped by the boat as we were getting ready to go and said to say Happy Birthday to you!

Be sure and eat a bowl of cotton candy ice cream for us. We love you!

Also a day early Happy Birthday to Uncle Earl, Ryan and Jade!

Lots of LOVE,
Aunt Jodi and Uncle Darren

Where To Next?

Honestly, we aren’t sure. Some possibilities include San Simeone (most likely given the forecast), Morro Bay and Avila –or we might just go straight to the northen Channel Islands in an attempt to meet our good friend Jacqui while she is visiting Southern California.
Darren rows Harry and Susan back to Pebble Beach
Regardless of where we end up, it is with great reluctance that we leave our little home in Stillwater Cove at Pebble Beach, CA today. Since we first dropped anchor in Monterrey ten and a half days ago (seems like yesterday) we have enjoyed the distinct privilege of getting to know Harry and Susan Rogers better while enjoying their generous hospitality. In addition to knowing the physical needs of a traveler such as hot showers, laundry and a car ride to get supplies, they opened their home and hearts to us and shared their delightful and generous friends with us over delicious meals as well.
We’ll share more details (when we get wifi again) of this wonderful area and it’s great people along with our adventures in San Francisco with family Robert and Sandy Schilling and Brittanee (Lincoln) Aubock.
For now, a quick THANK YOU to Harry and Susan, Michael, Marilyn, Trish, Charlie, Dierdre, Philip, Amanda, Peter, Bill and Rita  and of course, to Cameron who made it all possible by Facebooking her folks that they were getting guests! Hope your birthday in Bali was as full of wonderful surprises as our stay here has been.

Jodi and Darren Craig
s/v Gratitouille

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Gifts Fit For a King

-Written Sept 2nd
Spoiler alert: I probably shouldn’t have given away the thesaurus as I seem to be running out of synonyms for HUGE!

We are anchored just off the cute little town of Bandon, OR and I’m sitting in the cockpit of Gratitouille with only a layer or two over my long johns! The sun has burned off the worst of the clouds making it warm where the cabin protects me from the freshening SW breeze. After an orange and one of Darren’s delicious hard boiled eggs for breakfast I am enjoying a dessert of a cup of hot chocolate and the thought of yet another meal of giant Dungeness crab. Although we didn’t net any keepers last night after we anchored out, in the first ½ hour since Darren threw the ring out this morning there is already a huge specimen in our holding bucket. All he needs is a friend (or three) to join him and we will continue our streak of crab feasts on the OR coast. We have yet to land a tuna but the good mojo of Boater Bob the Dungeness Crab King of Newport must have rubbed off on us as we have enjoyed and shared over 13 big crabs in the past 2 weeks. We threw back most of the little rock crabs.

We met Bob as we were tying up to the dock in Newport after a lumpy 2 day run from Ilwaco. Most of the crew hadn’t even left the cockpit yet when Bob yelled over to Darren, “Welcome to Newport, do you like crab?” “Well, yeah.” Darren replied, still a bit dazed from long shifts and the newly discovered bright disc in the sky (rumor is it’s called a sun?). Bob proceeded to regale Darren with a tale of a full dock crab feast he had hosted the night before as he waved him over to see his holding trap crawling with HUGE Dungeness crabs.  When Darren got back to our boat he pulled me aside to let me know that Bob was going to cook us up 2 crabs for breakfast in a short while! Ever mindful of the budget and mindful that we weren’t in Hood River anymore, I asked how much he would expect to be paid but Darren hadn’t broached the subject with him and said we’d ask later. We went back to the gear exchange between our boat and John and Sonya’s van and lots of hugs and kisses and “I love you” with them and the kids.

After they drove away, Bob called us over and asked if we were ready for a crab breakfast. Darren asked him if we could offer him anything in return and Bob replied, “Just a thank you will do.”  Darren counteroffered with “How about a thank you and a smile?” (smiling is our favorite!). Bob picked a couple of crab out of his holding trap, cleaned them, threw them in the pot and told us to come back in 10 minutes. We returned to 2 piping hot crab and even melted butter to go with them! We tore into the crabs as if we hadn’t eaten in days and after a couple of bites, Darren lifted a piece of crab to cheers me with and said, “NOW we are cruising!”.  Definitely more like the vision I had been dreaming of.

Over the next 26 hours we had a chance to spend a little time getting to know this generous soul (his generosity reminds us of a certain someone back home) as he brought us 2 more crab for supper and invited us to join him to check his pots the next morning. We nearly turned him down as the only plan we had for the next morning was to sleep as late as possible before getting started on yet more boat projects. Knowing he was leaving at noon we couldn’t resist the opportunity to hang out with this character and share his joy in catching crabs and sharing them. So we set the alarm for 7 am and took turns going out to check Bob’s pots for a few hours which gave me just enough time to whip up a batch of chocolate chip oatmeal cookies to send with Bob for his drive home. We were rewarded with 5 more ginormous crabs to share with the other boats on the dock, plenty of the line he was getting rid of to set up our own crab ring and the reminder that even though we have left the comfort of our friends back home, there are characters such as Bob waiting everywhere we go to become new friends. Fitting gifts from a King, no?
Boater Bob the Crab King of Newport
To our old friends: Though we miss you dearly, we hope we bring you joy in the new friends we introduce you to along the way.

Jodi and Darren
s/v Gratitouille

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Newport to ???

Finally there was a small opening of wind so we packed up, pulled anchor and set out for Coos Bay or Bandon depending on the weather - which ended up not really cooperating with more crisscrossed seas and dying wind.
Breaking out the Norvane!
We did get to see more whales including really cool breaches, huge bioluminescent patches so bright they would make the sails glow green sometimes, sharks AND a puffin (goodbye arctic puffin)! We motored for the last few hours so we could go to Bandon instead of Coos Bay as it looked like a more fun town. Boy, are we glad we did as Bandon is great - cute little waterfront area and enough candy samples to satisfy the hungriest elf!
This one's for you Daryl!
 We got up to the library for some reliable wifi to start posting (finally!). We closed the place down and one of the librarians offered us a ride back down to the waterfront so we could row back out to the boat for supper. We didn’t catch her name, but if you know the librarian with the alphabet on her Belgian glasses, we love her!

We also made it over to the Facerock Creamery to try out their cheese and ended up not being able to resist a Basque cheese and a coconut(!) cheese from Holland from their imported offerings. We also succumbed to their ice cream counter (serving Umpqua ice cream) where we were treated to the biggest child size ice cream cone ever! Thank goodness we only ordered one as the $1.50 splurge probably sported nearly a pint of ice cream - Darren thinks it was as big as my head. Unfortunately we didn’t think to take a picture to document to enormity of it til after we had enjoyed some of it. And we thought Mike’s was the bomb!

We had nice enough weather that Darren put the finishing touches on the new dinghy sail rig and took it for a test! It's great! Thanks to Jim, James and Charlie for your help, supplies and tools to help us realize this part of our dream! We have a great little commuter now.

After craving pizza for several weeks, we broke down and splurged on a pizza from Angelo’s Italy near the waterfront and - yummm – boy was that a treat! Darren also continued to catch us crab - we saved them up and ate eight in one day! I think three large dungeoness is my limit.

Bandon also has a great waterfront area with art, places to sit and things for kids to climb on, a huge boardwalk, a glass enclosed picnic area for blustery days and a crabbing dock! Did we happen to mention how much we love this town?

Many of the shops had free wifi and several of our posts came to you from Coastal Mist where we had some tasty Mayan Drinking chocolate. Oh, the sacrifices we make to post for you! Seriously though, if you are in the neighborhood stop in and say hi to these friendly people and, of course, you’ll have to try some chocolate while you’re there – you poor thing.

Why yes we are, thank you!

Jodi & Darren
s/v Gratitouille

Are We There Yet?

Spoiler alert - Written on yet another rainy day in Newport. Skip it if you are in the mood for light and sunny. Otherwise you may want a handkerchief.

"So, does it feel real yet?", Melissa asked.
Well, yes and no. Newport is the first place we've been since we left Hood River a couple of weeks ago that we've never been to by boat. Also, the Ilwaco-Newport passage was our first offshore since we brought the boat from Seattle a year and a half ago. Having the responsibility of caring for four other people besides Darren and my self in an environment that, although I have read about it a lot, is still new to me.
People giving us huge Dungeoness crab or inviting us for a tuna feast certainly didn't happen in Hood River - there it was salmon, cherries and other inland treats! And yet, when I spend a good portion of the day below decks working on another boat project we could easily be back home in Hood River. And when I have to wear my beanie to bed because it is so cold, we could be in the van again, camping out in Newport for another surf weekend. Of course now we don't have to get in the car and go back to work on Mon.
But what truely drives home the reality that we are on our way are the tears that course down my face as I watch her walk down the dock.
Away from us - for who knows how long.
So does it feel real yet?
Yes, yes it does.

Jodi & Darren
s/v Gratitouille

Friday, September 27, 2013


Newport greeted us with a bang as we docked to a sunny day, an offer of crab from boater Bob before we were even finished tying up  (more on Boater Bob the Crab King and crabs later) and blue skies for the afternoon! We spent a couple of days in the Newport Marina enjoying resting, doing boat projects, meeting great people and making new friends including the crews from Palarran (mighty tuna fishers - thank you for the feast!), O'Hana, Orca and more!  Tawn of Palarran wowed us with her many iterations of tuna delicacies and we contributed some Dungeness crabs from the bounty Bob had shared with us. O’Hana and Palarran left on Wed just before Orca arrived, we hope to see them all again along the way.

Melissa & Jodi w/their new boards!
We also had much needed visits from old friends Melissa and Brad. Melissa joined us for our first kite session of the adventure and Brad joined the three of us later that evening . We had the last 2 crab from Bob and some rock crabs that Darren had caught as appetizers for our taco supper. The next morning Melissa took us out to breakfast (thank you!) and the three of us went for the first surf session of the trip at our old standby, Agate Beach. Melissa’s departure later that day prompted another tough “see you later” (I don’t do “goodbye”)

Darren finally gets to use the blue board!


After Melissa left we went out and anchored in the bay to wait for the north wind to come back, which ended up taking another week. In between fog and rain we enjoyed some of our regular haunts of Newport such as the farmer’s market, the library and of course the candy shops of the bay front. We also enjoyed some new treats including copious amounts of giant Dungeness, a walk over the bridge, the great bus system with free passes from the marina, lavender jellyfish and sparkly baitfish!
Crab master D

Our favorite new gem is Mai’s Asian Market just east of the Route 20 and 101 intersection on the south side of Rte. 20. We have Kathryn and Koji, our new friends from Orca, to thank for this discovery. If you are in Newport be sure to stop in and tell Mai that Darren and Jodi from the sailboat say hi (full disclosure – no, we aren’t sponsored, but we really enjoyed her and Mai loves the idea of travelling by boat and she will warm right up to you).

Thanks for all the pix Melissa!
We also celebrated our wedding anniversary while in Newport. Four years of wedded bliss, bliss, bliss!