Busy busy February! After our first guests left around Feb. 1st we took Vv into the marina for a much needed scrub down, water fill up, engine maintenance and thorough cleaning. (My best friend the shop vac only gets used when we have a dock to plug into shore power. When we do, dirt, dust and sand beware!) Before our second visitors arrived we plunged into Alaska summer job application madness, mostly with wildlife/whale watching tour boat companies but also some commercial fishing boats and the National Park Service. Cross your fingers we’ll score something great! We put away the resumes to play with Kristi and Caley, friends from Colorado who had only enough time off work for a five day visit. We made the most of it. Unfortunately, the only stormy torrential downpours we’ve had all winter occurred during those five days. Luckily they were good sports about it. We pulled out the foul weather gear and delighted in the warm rain and the brilliant rainbows.
The same day those two fantastic people flew home, my mom and her friend Mary arrived! Quickly dubbed “las abuelitas” (little grandmothers), we had a very fun time exploring Puerto Vallarta, whale watching at Las Tres Mariettas, happy hours at sunset on the boat, dinners with friends and meandering walks through La Cruz to the beach and beyond. My mom is two months into her total knee surgery recovery so we took it slow and they stayed on land instead of the boat. I’m so happy they could come down to see our world here! It was a very special two weeks. Adios mamasitas/abuelitas!
Now we’re chilling with new friends and preparing the boat for our next visitors: Rob’s mom and stepdad who arrive on Wednesday. After that Rob’s dad comes down and we’ll probably shanghai him to sail north up to the Sea of Cortez. I can’t believe it’s almost time to leave Banderas Bay already. But we want to have some time to explore the Sea in April before heading back to the States to see friends and family before our jobs start in May. (Assuming we have jobs…)
Apologies to anyone who had hoped to visit this season- we got booked up! Maybe next year you can find us somewhere warm. Otherwise hope to see you when we come through California and Port Townsend. Lots of love to all! More photos and stories soon. xoxo
In case you were wondering, our PTown friends Katie and Karyn passed the S/V Velella Velella Visitor Test with flying colors. Future visitors be warned- these two set a high bar! They learned the boat systems, washed all the dishes, were game for spending all day on the boat or all day on a bus or all day at the beach, never clogged the head and even helped scrub 3 weeks of mossy growth off 50 feet of anchor chain. Wow! Oh yah, and they were super awesome and fun to swim, snorkel, talk, eat tacos, get food poisoning and just enjoy catching up in a beautiful place together. But here, I’ll let them speak for themselves:
Karyn’s Story or The Best Vacation Ever!
Katie and I came to Mexico with two goals. Numero Uno: Hang out with Kai and Rob. Numero Dos: Get tans.
On both counts our trip was a major success. Over our ten day stay aboard Vellella Vellella, the four of us were largely inseparable as we ate, drank, played, and even lay in our (respective) own juices together. Aside from the night of horror (see Katie’s first-hand account below), other highlights included the ponga ride out to the Tres Marriettas Islas to snorkel. On both our ride out and back from the islands, we literally sat at sea level in the low boat, only 50 feet away from humpback whales. We saw large mamas and their babies breaching, seeming to put on a show just for us. We even came upon one giant whale laying on her back, slapping both her pectoral fins against the water in her ancient text message of “Call for a good time…”. The tanning came easy as the weather was warm and sunny almost everyday. Katie led the effort by falling asleep in the sun several times without sunscreen. We spent many days lying around the boat, lounging in our bikinis with coffee and Baileys in the AM, then switching to margaritas just before our afternoon dinghy trip to town for dinners at Silla Roja tacos. We also made room in our schedule for some solid beach time- at Sayulita and Punta Mita- two towns within 30 minute bus rides.
As I wake at dawn to the last day of my time in Mexico, I can honestly say the trip surpassed my wildest expectations. The widllife- from the humongous humpback whales to the indescribable plethora of phosphorescence, the views- sunrise to sunset to moonset, the food- 109 fish feast to homemade gluten free mac and cheese, and the unbeatable company- Kai, Rob and Katie- every moment has been a keeper.
Katie’s Story or The Most Horrific Night of My Life
Saturday ended like most of the other days, hanging out on the boat into the evening until I got too tired to keep my eyes open. As I slipped away to my cosy bed in the cockpit under the stars, I listened to the others talking for a few minutes before falling sound asleep. I slept great until I was awakened by Rob rushing up the companionway ladder and out on deck. It was then that I realized that both Kai and Karyn were on deck too. And they weren’t gazing at the stars, nor admiring the phospherescense, nor checking to see if the anchor was dragging. Oh no, to my horror I realized they were simultaneously regurgitating their past few meals. My first thought was to wonder what did they do after I went to bed, did they finish off the bottle of tequila? Pretty annoyed I asked in a not so sensitive way “What is going on out here?!” “Puking and sh*#$^@!” was all Karyn replied. As Rob rushed past me again this time on his way to the head he asked how I was feeling. I felt fine and told him so. “Good luck!” he said and slammed the head door behind him.
Still a bit confused I heard Karyn and Kai discussing what we had eaten that day. My mind began to race. Food poisoning?!? But we had all eaten the same things! If they were all sick then it was only a matter of time until I joined them. My stomach began to churn and anxiety overwhelmed me. As my friends fought the violent battle with whatever evil thing they had consumed I patiently waited for my turn to come. After a particularly unpleasant bout from Kai, I heard her ask how it was possible for it to come out of her nose. “It’s okay,” Rob comforted her, “I’ve puked through my nose before too.” He was lying but it seemed to make her feel better. According to Karyn, this was an extremely personal experience and I knew there was nothing I could do to ease their misery. I focused on staying present in case they needed me.
Needing to drown out the sound of the horror and chaos that was happening around me, I put on my headphones and tried to go to a happy place. I noticed Orion overhead and watched him work his way slowly toward the horizon as my friends rushed back and forth from the deck to the head and back again, sometimes clambering over me in their haste to get to the side of the boat. After several very long hours, things began to quiet down. Karyn, whose water bottle had clunked on each ladder step every time she rushed up on deck was nestled in her bunk, water bottle clutched tightly in her hands. Rob was hidden under a mound of blankets on the port deck, tucked between the gas tanks, and Kai was curled up with the anchor up forward. Relief swept over me as I realized that I had somehow escaped with my stomach contents still in place. I drifted peacefully off to sleep and awoke feeling refreshed. As I headed below to use the head I bumped into Kai and asked if she was feeling any better. “I suppose there is some improvement” she said weakly and crawled back into bed.
Midmorning no one was stirring and I realized I had a very heavy burden to bear. Someone had to maintain the integrity of this vacation so I quickly fixed myself a bloody mary and toasted my own good health. I had the whole boat to myself while everyone slept off the previous night’s events and after a few more bloody marys I found myself practicing my belly dancing moves in the kitchen to one of Rob’s mix cds. I was getting pretty good when Kai informed me that the disk was skipping and we had heard it three times already and it was time to turn it off. Sensing that everyone was feeling a bit better, I decided to whip up a batch of gluten free pancakes to fill their empty stomachs. Karyn, who was tired of laying around in her own juices took a quick swim and ate a few and Rob cautiously ate a bite. A few hours later we laughed about the whole thing and tried to figure out what sort of creature could cause such pandemonium on a body. Was it an insect? Bacteria? Kai’s fever was still raging until the evening. “My body is trying to burn these f-ers out,” she declared. We also tried to figure out why I didn’t get sick. Was it because I gave my beans to Karyn? Or because I didn’t eat the tortillas? Was it because I have no wisdom teeth and am more evolved? Rob said I wasn’t human and then blamed my corn-fed dairy-eating Wisconsin upbringing. Kai thought it was just luck. I guess we will never know!
Thanks K and K for an awesome, epic, unforgettable for so many reasons visit! We’d puke with you any time.
Kai and Rob