Sunday, January 17, 2016


 Its been a nice january so far.  El Nino conditions supposedly mean that there will be lots of swell coming to Mexico, but up until this month those promises were not coming through.  But January, that wonderful month of gift giving, seems to be providing with waves.  As a result, and in no way an apology to a certian Seattlite complainer, I have been delayed in my blogging.  Too much good waves and no time to write.
So, what have the Altairians been up to this month?  You might not ever have asked that question to yourself, but in my conceit I will show and tell you all about it.  First of all, the weather has finally begun to be more like the "normal" winter conditions, with a thermal wind every day and great sailing conditions.  The water is getting cooler now, so I am ususally cold when I am in the water, unless I am swimming hard (and surfing hard) the whole time.  Sitting around gets chilly.  A wetsuit is too warm though.  We've made some friends with other boats, and one such invited us to go for a walk from Sayulita (a touristy town to the north) to another town further up the coast.  We had a nice time walking on the beach,

 On the way we found a ton of little beautiful jellyfish-like thing, the Portugese Man of War .  They look so cute we thought we should give one a little kiss...  No we didn't.  They are really painful and toxic stingy, so we watched out where we walked.  I made a little video of one that is moving its sail around.  I guess the helmsman realized he was aground and tried to turn the boat, but needed to change sail during the process...

After a bit further walking we came upon the river that flows down through San Pancho, and explored the life around it.  There was a Green Kingfisher perched in the trees, watching for fishes...

 And some firework flowers, or whatever they are.  Also, but not pictured, there was a small flock of Whistling Ducks.  Not the Fulvus Whistling Ducks, but the Black Winged kind.  Still, I am closer than ever to finding my first Fulvus Whistling Duck.  I eagerly await the day.  I didn't get a good picture so that is why you don't get to see them.
 After the hike, a few days later, I was challenged to a sailing race!  The beautiful Shamaness and I took off on a 4 hour sailing race around some islands and back to the anchorage where we started.  I like that they are willing to do impromptu racing like this.  Shamaness is a much heavier boat, but also longer, than Altair, and consequently, in light air I would have the advantage, but in lots of wind she can go faster.  There was plenty of wind on this day, so I was nervous.  Also, there was a good amount of waves, and a heavier boat can take the waves better than poor little Altair.
Initially, I had a spinnaker up and we were running nearly the same speed, with Shamaness ahead by 100 yards.  The wind shifted and I had to change sails (which took me a few minutes by my self) so I fell further behind.  Then at the corner around the island I put the spinnaker up again and gained to near even, and then in changing sails for the upwind run lost about 400 yards.  For the long upwind leg I chose to go a bit lower to the wind and it paid off, and I won the race by 30 seconds.  It was marvelous.
And last night I had a campfire on the beach, to watch the sun go down and roast a little bit of sausage.  There is a lot to do down here that is nice and peaceful, including surfing.