3.27.2009

PAPAGALLO OR BUST










Hey All,

Tehuantepec fell through... there's nowhere to leave a boat there... I guess I should have driven.

Serious kiting potential there, however. I will be back.

Fortunately, it didn't blow the three days I was there... the boat would have gotten thrashed.

Three additional days and $90 in bullshit fees later, I am ready to cross the border out of Mexico... from Puerto Chiapas to the equally windy Gulf of Papagallo it is a mere 500 miles... should take about a week.

I sailed the last two nights and am too tired and hot to write... time to crash for 12 hours.

The dog is going to be pissed when we heave anchor tomorrow morning and go 285 miles to Marina Barilles, El Salvador.

Sometimes the whole boat thing is a bitch... at least I'm not paying for hotels... and I've got my skis with me.

Closer now to Peru than the USA, the SA winter is calling to me... but first the waves of Costa Rica.

I'm lonely, exhausted, scared and broke.

I'd come home if the prospects of falling back into American Culture didn't depress me worse than the thought of falling overboard and treading water until exhaustion-based release... about a horse a piece.

It could ALWAYS be worse.

Take care. I'll do the same.

Your Friend,

MAX

ps "Autopilot" Video

video

3.21.2009

The Tehuantepec Plan

I'm sailing East tomorrow until it's kiteable...somewhere between Punta Canejo and Punta Chipequa.

On Monday the gale is supposed to abate... so then I'll be sailing to Bahia Ventosa... from there, with luck, into the gigantic Lagoon.

I am hoping to anchor here where the pink arrow ends...

The lagoon is 35 miles E-W by 10 miles N-S. Big.

The little green circles are small villages... I may be hanging out in any of them.

I hope to explore the kiting in and around this lagoon for a month or more.

Odds are I'll do most of my kiting near the mouth.

There is no tourism there. Internet access is unlikely... but I'll be looking for it.

The dog is stoked...


... NOT to go.

She can sense that this is a bad idea and is a shit whenever we're headed back towards the boat.

She'd rather play until exhausted and then...

OUT.

I have to keep her sauced during long passages or she continually growls at me.

Me? I'm scared. Way too much can go wrong.

We could get blown out to sea, take on water, and sink.

We could run aground at the lagoon mouth and get pounded by swell.

We could get robbed (or worse) by opportunistic locals.

Shit, I could simply fall overboard. The dog wouldn't turn around. Nor the autopilot.

Worst of all, I could chicken out and gootch on through like the rest of theYACHTIES.

Unlikely.

But whether things go good or bad...

... it'll sure as shit be worth a story.

Max

INSPIRATION: KURT VONNEGUT


This is a kitesurfing trip, right?!?!

Sure. And more.

As the punchline goes, "Hold onto your hat. We could end up miles from here."

If I could stop spouting thoughts about societal collapse, peak oil, the fact that EVERYONE is brainwashed (me included), WWIII, and such maybe I'd actually get some support from the sponsors I brought on-board before this thing got started.

But I can't stop. There's too much on my mind that's gotta come out.

I haven't heard back from or gotten diddle from a corporate sponsor in months, anyway. DISOWN and DISTANCE is the proper action from a marketing standpoint.

Not that anyone is reading anyway.

Maybe I should learn to RAP. RAPPERS can get away with saying super crazy shit... folks just nod agreement to the beat.

Ya FEEL me?

The biggest influences on my life have been a loving family, a great education, endurance sports, Camp Olson YMCA, beautiful women, monkeying around in the mountains, and the books of Kurt Vonnegut. Now the sea is playing a big part. As is my dog.


Kites are a little too fragile to bet the farm on.

I first read "Slaughterhouse 5" in high school and only caught about 10% of its significance.....got hooked on Vonnegut and have since read everything he wrote at least twice.

When his last book "A Man Without A Country" came out, I had just dropped out of medical school and fled back to my mountain stronghold.

Feeling safe, with all those elk and buffalo grazing nearby.

For work, I was setting up banquets at the WORT and sleeping through shifts of overnight security at the gated community where Dick Cheney's house is.

For fun, I was tempting gravity in the Tetons.

I bought the overpriced hardcover 'cause I needed to hear something hopeful from the wisest source I knew... excluding sunsets.

I stayed awake only one night of security work...

...the night I read and digested "A Man Without A Country".

Vonnegut had given up hope, lost his sense of humor, and it all spun from his view of the inevitability of our self-destruction.

"The good earth: we could have saved it but were too cheap and lazy."


I believe he is fundamentally right.

So now I'm saying the same thing.

Relax, though. It's probably in my head.

"Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly; Man got to sit and wonder, 'Why, why, why?' Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land; Man got to tell himself he understand."

I'm going sailing.

MAX


Wyoming Snowkite Action

Wayne Philips, 2009 Wyoming Father of the Year (and snowkiter)



Will Taggart, Double Kitelooping Lunatic


Sometimes I wish I'd stayed home.

Here's Wayne breaking a line about 40 feet up...good thing the snow's so fluffy in the J HOLE.


TOUR DEL GHETTO

Stuck, bored, I'm getting my post on. Folks have been interested in seeing my tight whip, so here's a modge podge virtual tour of Sin Fin.

The name is illegible. This opens many loopholes much wider. Thanks Nate from Dakine... it all worked out for the best.

Culinary Dream Machine.


Dink, partially deflated for storage.


Generating Juice.

I keep the forepeak almost empty so it's nice and light.

Food compliments of JR.


I've got about 3 weeks worth for the lagoons of Tehuantepec.

Starboard fishing rig.

Ceiling decoration.

These batteries kick ass.

Crucial knowledge.

Big books.

Anyone need a stereo? Cheap.

The other 1/3 of my library.


My 6 Horse Team.

Honda 9.9... best $400 I ever spent.

On the dock for the first time since San Diego.

Board and ski storage.

Anchors at the ready... fuel for Honda 9.9 and Merc 25

The tarp helps keep things cooler than the dodger alone.

I took down all the lifelines and replaced them with climbing ropes... much better... much safer.

I hate to flaunt my yacht's opulence but it must, occassionally, be done.

MAX

3.20.2009

TICK TICK TICK TICK...

BOOM!

1250 miles since leaving La Paz, I'm officially in El Golfo de Tehuantepec. I rounded Punta Angel at dawn and am now headed NE. Salina Cruz, portal to the monster nuker lagoons, is a mere 100 miles away.


If Mexico looks like a stomach, I am currently entering the small intestine. Dramatic, wild coastline with vaporous mountains looming.

Fun Tehuantepec Wind Facts:

Average wind speed 24/7/365: 14.3 knots!

Gale Days Annually (sustained 34 knots or more): 140! I wish I had the 3.5m Cabrinha from Big Winds Kite School.

Maximum Annual Wind Speed: 70 knots!

November, December, and January have the most Gale Days... about 20 each.

February, March, and April generally register about 12 Gale Days... with an average wind speed of about 17.5 knots.

June and September are the least windy months although there is still a 10 knot average... and hurricanes are spawned here in the Gulf regularly.

70% of the time, the wind is from the N. For the sake of anchoring, I hope it doesn't blow hard from elsewhere.

All these numbers are from Salina Cruz. Along the 50 mile stretch of lagoon it'll be windier.

Here's a few fun Tehuantepec quotes from Captain John Rains' MexWX: Mexican Weather for Boaters.

"Tehuantepec gales have overwhelmed and blown ships as large as a 120' coastal freighter 300 miles off shore. Each year, some sportfishers or cruising boats get caught too far out and are blown way off shore by overpowering wind (60 knots) into very big seas, sometimes breaking windows, hatches and rigging, even capsizing and sinking. The lucky ones are rescued.

and another

"When a gale is blowing, we parallel this beach with as little as 30' of water under the keel, staying in a narrow margin (.25 of a mile or less) of lee between the beach and the windline. Because there's no fetch, the sea surface is almost flat, whipped by miniature waves and white streaks, and sand may dust our decks. Yet travel remains blessedly smooth. The only exceptions... are two lagoon entrances with one or two mile outer shoals breaking dramatically during gales."

The sandbars at those lagoon entrances should be some of the most interesting kiting. The current RIPS in while the wind NUKES out... with 10 miles of fetch upwind, I can hardly imagine the chaos of swells and breakers that forms. Factor in a typical spring swell from the SW slamming into it all and things get real interesting.

Maybe I'll stay on the beach... maybe I'llbe kiting with a lifejacket... maybe a waterproof backpack with radio, food, water, etc. Vamos a veer.

There is supposedly a Frenchman kiter in Tehuantepec already. I hope we meet up for mutual safety. I hope we're on the same page too.

Having a kitebuddy besides my dog would be fucking great. Self-landing in over 25 knots is too dangerous. Pulling the release sucks.

I repaired the 25hp MERC motor. With that, my dink is a bonafied rescue craft... within major limits... no good without a driver.

I'm stuck south of the real fun for a day or two or three. Noone plans on sailing into wind like this... today's QUIKSCAT image for Tehuantepec.

NUKING.

Gleefully preparing for a lull,

MAX

PS Yesterday, sailing, I saw about a dozen sea snakes...peed on one of em'... the black and yellow ones... deadly poisonous and agggressive. Also, about 500 sea turtles. Nature rules! Remember?

UN PARAISO SALVAJE

This is a good story.

Lagunas De Chacahua es un PARAISO SALVAJE.

A savage paradise. I still hardly believe it exists. It does.

I found it on Google Earth... hell of a wave breaking... lots of thatched roofs... no roads in or out.

Getting there was a breeze. I left Z-WHAT-A-SHIT-HOLE and went right around ACAPULCO... found cloudless, windy days. Both nights, dolphins played phosphorescently around my boat as I sailed perfect seas.

Anchored, I paddle to shore with the dog on my surfboard because there's no landing the dink here... hell of a wave over the lagoon's mouth and big shorepound everywhere else.

I go surfing. Get thrashed. Held down. Spit out. Again and again. It is wonderful getting tossed by some small section of one of GOD'S GREAT CIRCLES. I love feeling small.

My first night in town NORWEGIAN surfers and CANADIAN swingers feed me and get me drunk on cerveza INDIO. I brought a goodsized YELLOWTAIL to the party but it never got COOKED. No, I didn't swing. I was too drunk to swing... too tired from surfing and two sleepless nights of sailing to even consider the proposal.

The NORWEGIANS are brilliant gents... informed stony conversationalists... fluent in English, and Spanish. One resembles my better-looking twin. He has a strong, windswept native woman tattooed on his back. The other has a BIRKIEBEINER tat in the same spot.

True Vikings. They slay waves. Entice native ladies. All the while sporting shitgrins. Why not?!

They love my SWEDISHNESS and crack a joke that resonates with my unpractical approach to life. Maybe I'm genetically predisposed to backasswardsness.

HOW MANY SWEDES DOES IT TAKE TO SCREW IN A LIGHTBULB?
how many?
ONE HUNDRED AND ONE.
ONE TO HOLD THE LIGHTBULB.
ONE HUNDRED TO TURN THE HOUSE.

I crashed hard in a hammock swinging lazily under a thatched palapa.


The next morning, I'm going climbing. A big half-black half-native woman makes me eat watermelon with her. It's so stereotypical I can't help but giggle during our conversation.

She is intrigued by my voyage and reasons for undertaking it. Everone I talk to is. This gives me hope that I'm doing something worthwhile. As does the fact that total strangers instinctively seem to be taking care of me.

Later that day REY!, the self-proclaimed KING of Chacahua offers me a job and a place to live... more on this later... that's when the story gets good.

CHACAHUA was founded by escaped slaves. Half native, half black population... most folks are an interesting mix. Some of the happiest, healthiest people I've ever seen live here.

Three times, I shit you not, I've been stopped mid-stride, mid-sentence, mid-thought by mindshatteringly beatiful women.

They just stroll around in bikinis and skirts and such. Some of those beautiful women are local. Some are surfers and "ecoturistas" from Spain, Italy, Norway and such.

None of the natives speak a lick of English. Not even REY!.

No internet.

One phone. When someone gets a call, the recipient's name is broadcast over town via loudspeaker.

No pavement. No foundations. Fuck, hardly concrete or stone a wall here.

Just raw wood palapas covered with palm fronds. Cool, shady palapas slung with hammocks.

Inviting hammocks... take a load off... lie down for a decade or two. Mañana. Salgamos mañana.

Why do I instantly love it here? Well, lets see.

Perfect Wave. Consistent. It tempts me to stay... really learn to surf. AND KITE THE SHIT OUT OF THAT BEAUT IF IT EVER BLOWS HERE.

Sweetening the deal is surreal seaside granite bouldering. Juggy. Incredible, difficult cave too. There are even trad routes waiting to be done there... I got the gear.

Also tempts an incredible chain of gigantic lagoons... perfect for anchoring and sailing in... but watch out for crocs.


The natives pull much of their sustenance from that lagoon and the assortment of fruit trees in the area. Don't get me wrong, you can get delicious Mexican Nacho Doritos here too... spicier than home. 40oz beers are a buck and a quarter.

Likewise appealing is the lack of vehicles or roads. Everyone walks around on sand paths. See, getting here includes a half hour high speed panga ride through the lagoons... unless you sail.

Any DIRTBAGS looking for an affordable SPRING TRIP need look no further. Bring your own board. Good luck finding it... it's about 40 miles W of Puerto Escondido.


Bring money too. Learn from my mistakes.

Few boats stop here in Chacahua. When REY! discovered I was "EL CAPITAN!" he had to take me around town showing me off. I met just about everyone including two of those mindshatterers.

It was a must that I stay at his house that night. We had two CORONAS and WEED for breakfast... where he offered me a job.

The job? Helping out at his sister's amazing restaurant... best fried fish I've EVER had... right in front of the break.

I can teach kiting here.

I can run sailboat charters here.

I can surf every day.

I can love some native girl and stack some cash and be gone in a month.

And through it all, I've got REY!s protection at my back.

See, "rey" means king. And REY! is the KING of Chacahua. No doubt there.

I learned from MUERTOS it's not good to work for someone who fancies themself a king... but I'm fucking broke. Destitute. $35 to my name.

And, whaddya know, REY!s got some skrilla... a gorgeous stained glass window in his house... carries half the town on his shoulders too. The local boy who made good.

How?

Peddling fish? Nope.

Tourism? Hardly.

He informs me.

Northern Columbia is only 1400 bluewater miles away. You'd have to be damn unlucky to run into anyone out there. Taking a panga there and back takes some fucking COJONES, though.

Skeptically, I agree to work. I have to. I'm broke. I can't afford to feed my dog.

REY! and I seal the deal by kneeling in front of a gigantic Jesus portrait. He's sporting the crown of thorns and is quite agonized. Above his head.

"PERDONELOS, DIOS. NO SABEN LO QUE HACEN.

FORGIVE THEM LORD. THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO.


I had a moment there, prostrate before Jesus.

I considered actually fogiving MACK for ripping me off. Did for a second. Then didn't.

See, I revoked MACK's forgiveness right there in front of ol' Jesus because, on account of his deciet, I'd just sworn myself into the service of an aging Mexican thug with CARTE BLANCHE.

There are no authorities in Chacahua. See, REY! is the KING. Really.

I was the only boat in the bay... hardly a bay... WAY TOO EXPOSED... I could see the fucking GALAPAGOS from here if I was a bit taller. And all of Central America... way too exposed.


My anchor had already drug 200 feet closer to shore. I gotta get into that lagoon if I'm gonna work here.

Getting out of the swell, wind, and chop and into that beautiful lagoon requires motoring through the skinny, sketchy, shallow barra. That perfect wave breaks right across it. On a 1m swell it's breaking overhead. 2 to 2.5 m.

The pangueros blast through fearlessly with their 48-75 hp outboards. I can plane through in the dink with my 1984 Honda 9.9 if I time the tide and sets right. Getting SIN FIN in with her 6 hp motor will take a bit more tact and a lot of luck.

Doable on a very calm day, no doubt... but when will it be calm. More importantly, how can I ppossibly get back out with hurricane season coming.

But REY! insists, and hey, its REY!

I'm along for the ride for 24 hours until one of REY!'s underling's disrespect shakes my sensibilities.

They don't want me. They don't care about me. Right now, I'm a novelty. Soon I'll be more of a mark than I already am. I'll get robbed and scammed and run out of town penniless... or worse.

Maybe REY! wants a YATE so he can ply the waters of the lagoon like a true KING. He practically demands I bring it into the lagoon. He's obsessed with getting it into the lagoon.

Once it's in, very rarely could I ever get back out... especially with bigger swell guaranteed for the next few months... then hurricane season.

My DICK wants me to stay. Mindshatteringly beautiful, they are.

My STOMACH wants me to stay. I'm starving on my boat. Whereas, whatever I want, whenever I want at the restaurant. DANK FOOD.

Even my HEART wants me to stay. These people have been so nice to me. The boat is so lonely.

BUT, I GOT BOKU SHIT TO DO AND TEHUANTEPEC IS CALLING.

And Hurricane season is coming.

And the local mutts are bad influences on MAESTRA.

And I already have a conflict stewing with a local hothead dipshit.

Plus, after getting fucked in MUERTOS my trust is shot on lawless work.

And REY! is riding the white horse.

Hell, looking around, this town is about 20% crackhead.

So I hatch my bounce.

REY! senses it and protests. I grab the pooch and jump in the dink to shouts.

The dink was at REY!'s private dock, see.

Maybe it's just paranoia screaming. I don't know.

Regardless, I gotta get the fuck out of this lagoon. Now.

No food on the boat. It doesn't matter. I gotta go.

Tide puking out. Half-low. A heavy current and 1 meter swell colliding. Beastly chop continually with a 4-6 foot peeler every so often. Fuck it.

I rip the cover off the motor so I can plane. The 1984 Honda 9.9 has airflow issues.

I get up speed and hold the dog down as I brace for the chop.

I clear a few smoothly but then things get bumpy. I barely clear a breaker and the spray drenches the uncovered motor.

It skips, sputters. I throttle down. It runs. Sputters. Runs. Barely. Creeping now, through this shitstorm I can see the next set coming.

Motor dies. Pull. Pull. Pull. Ohh, fuck.

A 5 second eternity ensues.

Any wave is gonna chuck me violently into the granite jetty. Game over for the dink and the dog and maybe even me.

I look at my options, spy a half-empty waterbottle in the dink. Dump it on and around the sparkplugs. Substituting a saltwater bath with a fresh.

Chemical intuition... just reread Feynmann's 6 Easy Pieces.

Pull. Thank GOD. Fucking FLOOR it.

Just clear the first of the set as it lips, head down the line and over the next two... and I'm GONE.

DOG smiling over the BOW as we skip with the chop.

Three minutes later the dink is stowed and I'm heaving my anchor line.

I fled like my life depended on it.

Cuz it would have. Maybe not for a week. Maybe not a month. Maybe that night.

If somebody didn't get me, something would have. Too financially and emotionally vulnerable for a spot like that.

I've lost my excessive gullibility and trust.

Lessons learned are money in the bank, right?

Theoretically, but not practically.

If you read my blog, donate some money. Every little bit helps.

The smugger you are the dumber you are.

Noone likes to be gawked at. Everyone loves to know they matter to some small respect.

MAD RESPECT TO JR JENKINS, SOLE DONOR TO EL VIAJE SIN FIN SINCE I STARTED ASKING FOR HELP.

And that's that.

MAX

INSPIRATION: Leo Dickinson, Kiting Pioneer (Among Other Things)

The hand of fate brought a very inspiring person into my life last year in Patagonia...


LEO DICKINSON, underappreciated ADVENTURE DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER.

Leo, an 18 year old Brit captured in a 65 year olds body, has organized and documented incredible adventures in mountaineering, cave diving, ballooning, sky diving, naked sky diving, base jumping, and so forth.

He has always been about 30 years ahead of the curve of culture... killing it, so to speak... and documenting it in film decades before the YOUTUBE generation.

He climbed mountains all over the world. Big, tough fucking mountains.

He base jumped with PEREGRINE FALCONS in the name of SCIENCE (but mostly FUN).

He orchestrated and filmed the world record all female naked skydive.

He took a hot air balloon over the top of EVEREST. Why the hell not?!

He taught Richard Branson, the Virgin billionaire, how to skydive... found him a marginal student.

And, though noone knows it, LEO PIONEERED SNOWKITING...

BACKCOUNTRY SNOWKITING...

EXPEDITION SNOWKITING.

To my knowledge, ALL of KITING.

Here's how.

In the early 1970's Leo organized and led a trip to the South Patagonia Ice Cap. Taking a break between attempts to scale Cerro Torre, Leo set his sights on LAUTARO, a monsterous volcano jutting from a SEA of GLACIER.


Given the lengthy approach (50 miles of almost virgin forest, rock, and glacier), unpredictable weather, and weight of gear at the time, LEO decided being airdropped onto the Ice Cap made the most sense.

With the help of sponsors LEO organized, they shipped dozens of surplus parachutes to Patagonia and made an agreement with the Chilean military to be airdropped near the base of LAUTARO.

The military chickened out, so LEO and his two companions humped well over 1000 pounds of gear (including two enormous SLEDGES and a fabricated metal BOX TENT) up onto the icecap.

And one, seemingly useless, PARACHUTE. Leo insisted.

It took them three weeks.

They spent another 50 days on the ICE battling cold, wind, and snow. Known for its horrible and unpredictable weather, most of the time they huddled in their tent, waiting out whiteout conditions.

I've been there. When the sun comes out, it's heaven.


See! That's why I'm sailing back.

80-90% of the time it is a frozen HELL. You need ski goggles, all your clothes, and a line back to the tent just to drop the kids off at the pool...

...well, icerink. Windy fucking endless icerink.

They had no chance of rescue. No GPS for a zero viz sneak between crevasses and down mountainsides. If things went wrong... the tent gets ripped asunder by the wind... someone breaks a leg... they were all alone. Total isolation.

Who'd rescue them? The Chilean military?!

When the weather allowed they pulled their heavy sledges North and succeeded in their climb of Lautaro.

Getting home proved a much easier undertaking thanks to Leo's insistence they bring a parachute.

Harnessing the prevailing winds Leo rode atop the sledges like some Dirtbag Santa. His gift? A portal into of the future. A glimpse of the amazing potential for snow, wind, and kites.

See, Leo sat atop the sledge and directed his two buddies as they "steered" the kite. They each had on skis and managed lines to direct the whole conflagration left or right as needed.

They did five days worth of trudging in one carefree morning.

Leo's still at it. Check him out at Adventure Archive.

LEO means LION. RESPECT!

Max

SKID PAD CONTEST

Its nice to see my friends are living well these days.

Simon is skiing Kashmir.

Jiggy, Alaska.

Countless others, getting after it in the J Hole and God only knows where else.

Sharif has been living "slopeside at Jackson Hole" for the last several seasons.... in a shitty little toy teepee on one of the bunny slopes. Check it...



Vote for his video, "Teton TeePee" and he'll win something $2400 in schwag from Cloudveil.

All the other entries suck. Don't even bother with them. Just vote for "Teton TeePee".

Then , if my boat sinks and I somehow get back home, he'll be able to lend me some ski clothes...

MAX

Kitemasters Clinic Went Off!

If you need any more reasons to visit La Ventana next year, you can find them here...

3.11.2009

Barra to Zihuatenejo

Somewhere on the spectrum between panic and boredom lies "fun". On a boat like mine you have to be pretty carefree (sic negligent) to have any fun at all.

The last stretch pretty much sucked.

Too swelly for autopilot so I was stuck on the tiller most of the time.

I snagged a seaturtle while fishing, setting it free without getting bit or hurting it worse was a challenge.

I almost got run down by a frieghter outside Lazaro Cardenas.

Now, once again, I'm surrounded predominantly by FAT AMERICANS and the FAT MEXICANS trying to make a buck off them.

Barra Navidad to Zihautanejo... 230 miles in 65 odd hours.

Z-what? Another tourist trap tanking out... like the others, it has local color.

I went to 4 different surf shops looking for wax. None had wax. Only one actually sold surfboards. Classic.

I'm across the street eating burritos de camaron, laughing at the ridiculous owner of the equally ridiculous Jungle Bar.

He rolled up on a custom DIRTBIKE. Currently sweeping out last night's cigarettes to Steel Pulse, whistling like a beautiful bird at any remotely decent piece off ass.

Supposedly some of the most beautiful women in Mexico live here. I'm too zombie-eyed from sleep deprivation to notice. Too broke to paint the town, even if I felt so inclined.

One meal. Dog food. His and hers Frontline (flea and tick medicine... for Maestra and I). 5 gallons of gas. 2 liters of orange fanta. Some cookies. Some fruit. And back out we go.

The Punta Gatos break would kite like a dream... if it gets enough wind... right now, barely kiteable... not strong enough for a fast, rocky break going with the wind.

On a nuker day you could take some amazing pictures there...

Punta Gatos, Bahia Zihuatenejo, Consequential Left.

So from here, it's 300 miles on to Puerto Escondido, one of the best surf beaches in the world. I'll be there for a night or two unless the surf is really great...

Acapulco is somewhere en route... I'm hoping to blink and miss it.

After Escondido its only a day or two more to SALINA CRUZ and TEHUANTEPEC.

I sure fucking hope to make it.

MAX

3.10.2009

NAVIDAD TRES


I had Christmas UNO in MUERTOS.
We watched SOUTHPARK and ate tacos.

I had Christmas DOS with my family during the Birkie.
It was excellent.

Now, it's Navidad numero TRES for the winter.
Geographically.
Spiritually... a rebirth.

Greetings from gorgeous Barra Navidad,Jalisco, Mexico.
Barra, for short.
Christmas Bay, the gringos call it.

There were shipyards here in the 1560s. Over 400 years ago folks sailed from here to the S Pacific islands.

It's about 1/3 of the way to TEHUANTEPEC. So far, SO good.

It's got a nice lagoon anchorage...


...and a big bay with consistent waves and (occassionally) kiteable wind.


The seabreeze hits 10-12 every afternoon so a little common N flow and it's game on.

It's a quirky little beach town that's a lot of fun. There's a ridiculously opulent empty hotel like this...


...sharing the same lagoon with this.


Tourism is down but noone is stressing or stealing.

Everything I've encountered since leaving Muertos tells me bailing was the right move.
It's nice to be out of the desert.
Geographically.
Spiritually.

Every morning I slackline until my efforts knock down enough coconuts for the day.

I'm writing from a chair at Popeye's Bar overlooking a perfect little break.

Yesterday it blew onshore like stink and the wavekiting was good.
Launching from an anchored dinghy provided the best access to the goods... so that's what I did.

Today it's gently offshore and four friends are sniping the odd set.
Me? I'm having a beer to cool off... then I'll go join them... at low tide it'll be better.

Three little bronze surfer girls just asked me where Pavel, Jay, and Arthur are.
I said they were having a heated argument regarding varnishes. Just kidding, I miss you guys.
OUTKAST, catch up! BAJA is and isn't MEXICO.

Trust me. Barra won't disappoint.
It trumps La Paz in all aspects of BOATBUMMING.

I also miss Derek and Caroline from Dragon Era and Glenn from VindSang.
And Mauricio from Osho Sushi... and El Jefe Loco from Carlos and Charlies.

In the week I've been here I've made way too many friends. I guess I'll end up missing them when I pull out tomorrow or the next day.

One of the unexpected joys of cruising is meeting people about as WHACKED as you are.
One old crazy lost his dog and has been threatening to torch his boat, "go down like a captain".
It's a beautiful boat.
Then there's Kak and Chris, "young lovers" whose only problem is having TWO sailboats.
Tristan and Mindy have the sickest 1964 MSK 33 catamaran. If I hadn't gotten screwed at Muertos I'd be looking for a boat just like theirs.

So many friendly folks, I haven't paid for or made a dinner in a week... every night a meal materializes. I just have to be findable.

Hell, there's even a windsurfer here.


Yes, Barra is RAD. But further SOUTH, the surfing and kiting will get even better.

I'm awaiting a motor repair by JESUS, outboard mechanic and god-fearing high school physics teacher. He sips cerveza while tweaking motors and clearly knows his shit.

Once the Merc 25 is up and running again, I can either sell it or use it to mob around between BREAKS and ANCHORAGES.

I'll probably hold onto it until PANAMA. After talking with Mitch, who wrote the book on Panama's Darian Gap, I'll find a decent price there.

All I gotta avoid is this.


And watch out for whales. During the crossing, I almost hit asleeping one. Late night, moonless, the phosphorescence showed how close a call it was.

Just finished rereading Vonnegut's tragic "MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY" and all the WALLY LAMB novels my mom gave me.

Listening to Ancient King, Midnite, RATM, and such.

Maestra is throwing sand at the computer. It's time to go.

I'm sailing (hopefully) tonight. Will anchor off Pasquales to surf tomorrow day and then keep going.

My next major stop is close to this.


MAX