Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All Our Friends



To All our Friends




We send along our Very Best Wishes to all of you for a Wonderful Christmas Season remembering the Greatest Gift of all was His life for Ours.


 May your New Year be filled with the Joy & Happiness that comes from knowing the Maker of the Wind and the Waves.

 
From Papa Bear 'Gary', Mama Bear 'Kaija' & Baby Bear 'Doc'






Please view our special Christmas Greeting by clicking on the link below or copy and paste the address below into your Web browser's address line:

http://www.original-cards.com/pickup/dec23-christmas-604367412.html





Seasons Greetings and Merry Christmas 2009 from the Crew of KaijaSong


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El Cid Marina, Puerto Morelos, Mexico N20.49 W086.53 Dec 15 – 23 2009

This is a fine Marina located adjacent to the El Cid Resort here in Puerto Morelos. We visited here on our first trip south, just after they opened and decided it was a good place to sit and wait for our weather to go to Cuba. The angle of sail from here is slightly better than from Isla Mujeres it offers convenient amenities like laundry and power to help get things done. There is an ATM in the Hotel complex (US$) or you can take the 30 minute walk into Puerto Morelos. They now also offer mooring buoys (6). While it is close enough to Cancun for a quick daytrip, the town offers a completely different laid back feeling of an old Mexican village…which is exactly what it is. The staff at the Marina were very helpful, Doc enjoyed the long walks by the beach, and it was a great stop along the way. The rates here in the off season (June – Dec) are negotiable.


More details can be obtained from Armando – dock master at agutierrez@elcid.com.mx or www.elcid.com

Puerto Aventuras – N 20.29 W087.13 – Dec 11 – 14 2009


This is a great stop while traveling either way – to or from Belize.  The Marina sits in the middle of a large upscale residential complex.  There are stores a plenty, restaurants galore.  This is also home to a very successful dolphin breeding program.  They also have manatees and for a small fee, you too can feed them.  The marina is side tie or med tie and a very reasonable rate of $20 per day for sailboats.  You can contact the very helpful office manager “Gabby” in the office at


 One of the residents and restaurateurs we met was Gringo Dave.  He’s a real personality and runs a nice restaurant along the promenade.  Aside from his many business partners he enjoys the company of his two dogs, Yoda and Scruffy.


Our neighbours on the dock were Lani and Mads of m/v Dauntless.  We enjoyed spending time with them, had a lot ‘o  laughs and ate some good food.  The area surrounding the Marina offers a plethora of dining opportunities.  Besides owning their beautiful 80’ Lazarra Motor Yacht they also own our Sister ship – Corsair, and we thought we had enough to do owning one boat.  They spoiled Doc and made our stay in Puerto Adventuras a fun filled memory.  What fun we have meeting so many interesting people…It’s All Good!

Nov - Dec 13, 2009 - Utila to Lighthouse to Adventura to ?? N20.29 – W087.13 IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT…

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT…

I’ve always wanted to use that line…ok, read on…


Here's an excerpt from our latest adventures in the past month..

We were waiting for the immigration officer to arrive in Utila for our check-out and a weather window to leave for the first leg of our trip to Cuba, Lighthouse Reef, Belize.

..We had waited for the right conditions...they were good... winds 15 - 20 SE, swell 5 ft on the starboard quarter...we departed Utila on a beautiful warm day at 3pm with lots of time to head SW around the Cays before turning NW for the 78 mile leg to Lighthouse course 334, anticipated arrival 6 am.

...Kaija's watch...it’s 12:02 am,it's a beautiful star lit nite... reef in the main, reef in the headsail, doin 6 1/2 ... PERFECT...i'm down below, asleep...I am awakened by that shrill screaming of my name sending a wave of terror over me as I catapulted into the cockpit...hit by 42 kt squall and 80 degree wind shear up the butt and back in less than a minute.....bout took the rig down...totally out of control double suicide jibe...blew out traveler car, mainsheet...and vang so I had no control of the sail..I tried to start the engine to gain control - the solenoid froze up..sucked out all the power on the boat (did not know it was Solenoid at the time)...lost all power...lights, instruments... ...lost “Otto” (autopilot)...so dark I couldn't see the sails...flying blind holding the wheel ….that was in the first 60 seconds....the next hour was one hour from the dark side!

We are fine, the boat and rig took a tremendous beating and came out ticking...I’m convinced we could have lost the rig and would have if the boom had made contact with the stays...lucky for us, our beautiful stainless steel boomvang made contact with the corner of the granny rails at the mast and thwarted an almost sure disaster.

We've had a good rest and still loving the life...tho not so sure why in those wee moments of horror... and alas, altho my bones ache, nobody got hurt...the traveler car can be replaced...the vang...has a dogleg bend in it at least 1 1/2 inches, made by Mark Garhauer STILL WORKS......incredible!!!

I checked the rig, and amazingly strong, only needed to pop out a few rivets on the stack pack and a couple off the mainsheet blocks on the boom...but an easy fix today as the wind continues to blow 15-20 SE...perfect to take us north...

They say all's well that ends well and what doesn't kill ya makes you stronger...well, we are well and after the repairs we are stronger. It was the 1% sheer terror that accompanies the 99% sheer boredom...that is if you don't count all the 'fix it' time on the boat......cause it's always something!

Life on the boat is always affording an adventure like the one we shared on US Thankgiving in the company of two other vessels, a turkey with all the trimmings and more deserts than should be allowed at one time. It was another Dark and Stormy night…and with a break in the weather we took off for the turkey and promptly ran out of gas. We were .sittin out a Norther.. it had been blowin like stink all day...white water sideways... along with s/v Knotts Gypsy crew Dave and Nora...English and Scots...funny...anyway...during a wee break in the downpour, we make a run for it...pick them up and head to third boat South of Reality, Byron and Denise, who have the turkey...half way there, the engine quit and the squall returned....the four of us ended up on a deserted small island (Diamond Cay) a private island (for sale 1.3) standing in the water up to our knees, soaked with downpour...doing jumping jacks in a squall trying to signal our friends with the turkey to come save us...it took a while, but what a lot of laughs and fun was had by all…We surely gave Thanks for so many things but especially the good friends we’ve met along the way.

Man o man...what a life!

Meanwhile, after departing Lighthouse Reef we had one of the best sails in our five years afloat. The breeze was fresh at 15 – 20 knots out of the Southeast with a slightly following sea. We left after a hearty breakfast at 10 am in good light to see our way thru the reef, and after the first 70 miles we were on the west side of Chincharro Bank when the current kicked in. For the next 30 miles we got a push of a knot, then it picked up to 2 and we were doing a very comfortable 8 – 9 knots over the bottom…all thru a starlit nite (with sails reefed and a preventer in place) we covered the 200 miles to Puerto Adventura in 27 hrs.

We have had three fun days eating out and watching the dolphins play and shopping in this mega complex of beautiful condos and yachts here in the harbour basin. We are now tucked safely Puerto Adventura, what a place...

We depart here tomorrow and continue our journey to Cuba and all them lobster waiting to come home for dinner :o)

We have been given the chance to live our dream and we are, Life is good, and we give thanks each day to our God in Heaven for his wonderful grace and mercy.

We send along our very Best Wishes to all of you for a Wonderful Christmas Season remembering the greatest gift of all was the gift of His life for ours. May you have a New Year filled with much joy and happiness.

Kaija & Denise’s Great Copan Escape Nov 20 – Nov25 Copan, Honduras.

This was a girl’s trip away from the boys and boat chores for a few days of girly fun in the sun exploring a visit to the past of Mayan Culture.


Kaija and Denise (of S/v South of Reality) provisioned up for the boys and headed off on their Great Copan Escape.


The trip started early in the morning from Utila via the local little ferry to La Ceiba
Then we were boarded on the luxury Hedman Alas Bus Line – you can purchase first class seats for $5 more – one way trip was $30. They give you large seats, food and beverages.


This was a girl’s trip away from the boat and boat ‘duties’ for a few days of girl stuff and Denise and I had looked forward to this getaway adventure and were in heaven for this trip. We saw groves of palm trees, for palm oil, orchards of oranges, fields of peppers, and all were being picked manually and then carted off by ox powered wagons.


The town of Copan Ruinas is small and beautiful, the people generous.
During the end of corn season, end of November, the children of a small village near Copan sell dolls made of the corn husk. The colours are all natural and hand died.
All the money goes back to the one village to help their local economy. The dolls were about $1 to $2 each and the children smiled a lot.
One side trip took us to the Hot Springs about 2 hours from Copan. The scenery was beautiful and the water was hot. One of the pools even had natural mud to give yourself a facial. The Hot springs were an all day visit to enjoy the water, as well as some of the Mayan replicas put into place.



For further information on the bus line go to www.hedmanalas.com or info @hedmanalas.com.

Twisted Tanya’s



If you are looking for a great place to stay – this is it.
2 blocks for the City Square, in the heart of everything
She has a restaurant on the second floor, great and reasonable food, and offers a tour guide service -  par none.  One stop shopping here.

We stayed in a room just off the courtyard and had our own Keys to get in and out of the complex.  There is TV, movies, shower (hot), one double bed, and warm hospitality.  You may be visited by her two wonderful dogs, San Deigo and Lolla.
For further info, go to www.twistedtanya.com, or phone at 504-651-4182

Bird Sanctuary


Here you will find a great many tropical birds that have been rescued, donated or bred in captivity.  It is a wonderful program and they are looking for mates for the GREEN Macaws that they have.  I had never even heard of Green Macaws – but they are gorgeous.  The funds come from people visiting, buying souvenirs, and also they grow the coffee beans for Miramundo coffee here.  It is picked, roasted and packaged on site.
Juan was our tour guide and a wealth of knowledge.

More information is available at www.macawmountain.com


Transportation in Copan


We did our in town travel with Gustav, our Tut-Tut driver (Tut- Tut 04). He was always there when he said he would be and was even willing to drive us all the way back to San Pedro Sula. That would have made milk shakes of us or if you remember that old commercial with the lady on the treadmill with the belt around her to shake things loose, that is how it was. The roads were original cobble stone and no stop signs. One stop that we made was to Hacienda San Lucas. We had met the owners’ son and daughter-in-law and their son Yax the day before at the Hot Springs. This is a unique bed and breakfast with a great view of the entire valley. You can get further details at www.haciendasanlucas.com.

The Hierogylphic Stairway

Its 63 steps and two thousand glyphs tell the history of the royal house of Copan. The stairway is the site of the longest known text of ancient Mayan civilization

Copan Ruins




The site is one of the largest in Central America and the pieces that have been unearthed and preserved are wonders not to be missed.  The site has also built a museum for some of the pieces and to give you the history here.  One unique piece is the Rosa Lila, it is located under Temple 16 and represents the best preserved stucco building in the Maya civilization.  It is replicated in the Museum at the archeological site.


Altar Q, right hand picture, depicts the 16 members of the Copan Dynasty.
The ball court, bottom picture, is the second largest found in Central America.  This game was a 3000 year old Mesoamerican sport that may have originated with Olmecs and thought to symbolize a struggle between day and night deities or the battle between the gods in the sky and the lords of the underworld.


More information is available at  www.copanruins.com