welcome to our blog!

This blog tells the story of our 22-month sailing journey from Oakland, California, to Bristol, Rhode Island, aboard our beloved Bristol 32 sailboat, Ute. Please feel free to browse through the archives (partway down the sidebar to your left) to see pics and read stories of our adventures in North America and Central America . (Sorry the first 3 months of the trip are missing - they vanished somewhere in an internet cafe in Mexico - but all you're missing is CA, Baja and Western Mex).

If you're trying to track us down now that we're landlubbers, try us at uteatlarge at yahoo dot com. Thanks!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Puedo pagar con Disney Dollars?

ok, so Huatulco is weird. and a bit like Disneyland. Danny, we would have loved to have you stay longer but you're not missing anything in this particular port of call. Huatulco was founded - and I do mean founded from scratch, as in there was nothing here but jungle scrub - in the early 80's by the Mexican gov't as a sort of utopian model of sustainable development. 20-odd years later they are boasting about the enviromental sustainability awards, etc. that it has merited in recent years, but it seems to me to be at the expense of....soul? flavor? we could be anywhere. don't get me wrong - I´m all for ecologically sound development, having experienced the alternative ad nauseum - but is this the answer? really? I´m just not sure how I feel about it. makes you think - I'll give it that.

Knee-jerk liberal ranting aside, it's sort of fun to be back in a marina for a couple days. Being able to fill up water tanks from a spigot, and hose down the boat, are very special treats. There is even a power outlet to plug into! Whoa! That means we can get crazy and watch more than one movie in a night if we want to. And just the fact that we can do so, makes us want to. Ute has a whole new lease on life, having been rinsed only in dirty caustic seawater for the last few months. Fresh water is a whole different deal. When I saw how much hosing it took to make the runoff run clear, I understood why all of our clothes get dirty just from living on the boat....it's a sort of like if your patio furniture was what you sat on all the time, except you only hosed down the patio furniture once or twice a year. grime city.

I suppose it's sort of ironic that it's here in the (allegedly) environmentally sustainable port that we're spending water and power willy-nilly for the first time in our whole trip.... (I say allegedly because I haven´t noticed any place to pump out a holding tank, which strikes me as a pretty important part of keeping waterways ecologically balanced).

Anyway, we'll very likely set out to cross the Gulf on Wednesday morning. Where we next make landfall will depend heavily on how slammed we get in the crossing - if we get hit hard and we're tired we'll stop sooner, otherwise we'll try and plug through to EL Salvador. El Salvador! (You know you're traveling in a world conquered by Catholics when an entire country is named "The Savior"). We spent some quality time in gov't offices this morning getting all of our ducks in a row to check out of Mexico - looks like that won't be nearly as complicated as we'd thought it might be, which is great.

No news yet from Hebe.

To those of you who expressed interest in crewing for us through the Canal, now would be a great time to open up the dialogue about that....we can't yet pinpoint when that will be but we should start talking about it if you're serious and have the flexibility to travel on a couple weeks notice sometime between mid march and late april. we'll need a crew of five (minimum) to cross, and while we could hire locals when we get there, we want to give people we know & love first dibs. so - let's get this panama party started....

that's all for now. if we don´t internet tomorrow, then we may be offline for a couple weeks. Cheesr everybody! C&A

Friday, February 17, 2006

on the road again?

we're still in puerto angel.....but weather-willing we'll pull up the hook tomorrow and boogie on down to Huatulco. the word on the street is we'll have to break our no-marinas rule and actually tie up to a dock in Huatulco, but I guess it won´t kill us (it will feel weird though, after four months of anchoring!). We'll re-provision and otherwise prepare the boat for what will likely be our most challenging trip leg yet, the crossing of the Gulf of Tehuantepec (legendary for its gale-force winds nearly all the time: Beaufort 8 on average, building routinely to Beaufort 10). Once everything is battened down, restocked, reinforced, tied up, and tied down, we'll take the earliest weather window and scoot. (Hopefully the weather window will open sooner rather than later so we don´t have to spend too long in a pricey marina).

no more news on Hebe.....they're still working on the engine and weighing their options....we miss them so. The replacement part that Danny brought is installed, but somehow not aligning properly with the parts to which it attaches. even the mechanic is stumped. they agree that we should go on ahead as there is still plenty of time for them to catch up once they get their engine situation worked out. Good luck Tim and Ariel!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

We had a fun one here...I was too lazy to make Valentine's cookies so I decided pink & red banana-coconut bread would be just fine! mmmmm.

Danny was nice enough to watch the boat for the night while the hubby and I splurged on a hotel room. (A whopping $14 for the nicest room in town). we stayed in this adorable ramshackle topsy turvy place that's sort of falling of the side of a cliff, but not in any immediate sort of way. The highlights were the open air shower with pink bouganvillea and cute resident frogs, and getting to go to bed straight from the shower without having to take a salty, sandy dinghy ride in between. ah, modern conveniences.....

around town in puerto angel

what a gorgeous port this is! funny to think that both our marina neighbor Darrin and my half brother Tom lived here at one time. Danny is sure that someone is going to mistake him for Darrin and beat him up for some unpaid debt, but knock on wood, no one's hassled him yet....

even though he's to modest to say so, we think danny is probably pretty proud that the arch he welded for us is holding up better than just about anything else on the boat. we're pretty proud of him. he got to enjoy the fruits of his labors when we climbed up the rungs and dove off the top of it into the warm ocean....

oh, and how 'bout the solar panel atop the dodger? finally got around to installing it in acapulco...a little boost for our power plant.

more pics....

swimming out of sight of land is the best part of being becalmed

Monday, February 13, 2006

Santa came to Zihuatanejo!!! (wearing way too much clothing)...thanks so much to everyone who sent goodies.....cheese...books....pump rebuild kits...linen....topping lift fixtures.....so much goodness...THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

the only scenic vista in acapulco worth posting...

I finally learned to do a triple braid eye splice in zihuat! so fun! thanks for the tutorial tim. spiffed up our anchor roade in the eleventh hour before leaving zihuat....

Angel update

Hi again from Puerto Angel everybody....at long last here's the Hebe update: they´re still in Zihuat, trying to coax the engine to run. They rented a car, met us in Acapulco, got the coveted replacement parts from Danny, zoomed back to Zihuat, installed them with the help of their friendly local mechanic and....found out there's some other pump that needs some TLC. major bummer. all is not lost, however - it´s entirely possible that. with the help of the (very capable) mechanic, they can fix the other problem, and if worse comes to worse, they can always cut their losses and buy an outboard, as they had the wisdom and foresight to have Danny bring down a Hebe-sized outboard motor mount, too (just in case).

So, please keep those fingers crossed - and hopefully they'll be 'on the road again' in no time. we miss them!!

on a lighter note, we're loving puerto angel, and having a guest is a blast. we had a beautiful run here - nice winds, just enough becalmed time to enjoy an open-ocean swim, lots of dolphins, and dozens of sea turtles!

I keep meaning to fire up the laptop and write up a 'real' update, but it's hard to find time when our days are filled with making sure danny gets the full mexico experience: snorkeling, beer, wiffle, aimless lying about, swimming, etc. etc.

I'm going to try and post a couple pics now...hopefully it will work!!

much love to all, CC & AC

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Puerto Angel

WE made it this morning to Puerto Angel. Great little anchorage and a nice town so far as all we have seen is the internet. We will post more later. A&C&D

Monday, February 06, 2006

Southbound Ute

This might be our last rendezvous with technology before we split town, so if nobody hears from us for a week or so it means we're bound for points south....Puerto Angel, perhaps, or possibly Puerto Escondido? Our buddy Danny (and a veritable Santa's sleigh of boat goodies) are slated to touch ground here in Acapulco tomorrow - we're sooooo excited!!!- and hopefully we can whisk him away and split town pretty quick. After all it is his vacation, so we wanna get him to some blue water that you can swim in without catching diseases or getting oil-slicked (Acapulco harbor does not offer this feature). The Pacificos are already on ice, eagerly awaiting his arrival...

Hebe is still kickin it in Zihuatanejo, but they're bussing it here tomorrow morning to pick up the Holy Grail - also known as a used Volvo MD7A fuel injector pump - from Danny. With a little luck they'll be able to cart it back to Zihuat, make it fit on their engine, and fire her up....and catch up with us somewhere south, sometime soon. cross your fingers for them!!

Bill sailed off into the sunset with a blonde skipper in a pink bikini. Go Bill!!! we'll update on that when we know more.....that dirty dog......!

In the meantime, be well and stay tuned. Photos coming soon. All our love, CC & AC

worth a thousand posts....

who´s the wanna-be preppy with the perm? that's right, yours truly has graced the shores of sunny Acapulco once before....exactly half my lifetime ago, when my Spanish class from Poynette, Wisconsin ventured south of the border in a flurry of hormones, sunburns, and not-so-latin flavor.....yikes! a million thanks to my mom for digging this gem out of the archives....

I think the pic pretty much says it all, but I must add that getting 17 years of distance on this experience has made me realize there's a special place in heaven for Spanish teachers that are willing to drag a couple dozen small-town mall-hair Wisconsin kids into the mayhem that is Mexico, all in the name of education. SeƱora Markgraf, here's to you....

Friday, February 03, 2006

we made it

to acapulco!!! and all is well. full report soon, just wanted to let people know. XOXO cora & allen