Tuesday, December 28, 2010

closing of this blog, go visit Nanna's blog, where the Nomad is....(click down below)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

a pleasant pandemonium

a pleasant pandemonium...

Going shopping in Guaymas is all a discovery adventure in itself. The 20 minutes ride in a jolty city bus with its derelict gear box is a nice start to get us out of the more ”refine” and quite boring San Carlos. Guaymas is not an attractive town, not touristic at all, although certain efforts have been made on the waterfront to attract the guests of some lost cruise ships which venture once in a while in the Sea, on their way down from Alaska.
It was a big fishing harbor, still is and some factories and plants make it now an industrial city. Nothing historically important, but the city is set in a splendid bay.  Sonora with its desertic wild ranges has never been a big Spanish settlement to start with.

But precisely it is this chaotic feeling that appeals to us. The shops with their outrageous signboards, the sreaming loudspeakers playing popular local music on the pavement, the medical offices and lab side by side with tire shops, and tacos stands, the young and indolent crowd huddling on the side walks on this Christmas Eve, even the screech of the klaxons and the broken exhaust pipe of the derelict cars make all this mess likeable.. It is a view of Mexico, not disguised as the gringo colonized San Carlos is with its outrageous over bidding estates for wealthy retired americanos.

One has to forget the organized world, the over stocked department stores. Here, you have to know where and how to do your shopping. Of course, one can always go to the new Wal-Mart or Sam's Club with their outrageous prices and poor stocks (those two are the closest to San Carlos...for a reason).
We finally found the very well stocked and price wise very economical supermarket in the center of Guaymas after trying two others the previous weeks. And this a regal full of local products that I love to try out.

It is not the lack of shops, but it is impossible to find some electrical tools. Not willing to search for ever, we found what we needed (a battery powered drill) in a cash and go shop, a pawn shop. Those shops are quite numerous in town, all with no less than 3 employees plus a security guard for just a few items... Anyway it is a good buy.
We needed no more than three other different shops to find some thread, a little broom et some rugs... But now we know where things are.

We spent a full day to go shopping for a few items, not forgetting some food for our quiet Christmas dinner, but we came back happy from our little raid downtown. Despite the chaos, the native crowd is congenial, non agressive and cordial. No bawling and shouting at each other, no bad mood or rude gestures toward us the gringos, on the contrary.
The wind blew today and dusty Guaymas stick to our skin as we return to the yard where we unpack our goodies so hardly gathered...
If the drill was a good buy, the sewing machine bought from our host does not work, it a heavy duty old Paaf and so far Magnus has spent a day working on it. I have tons of sewing to do, pockets, leeclothes etc.. all prepared and cut to be sewn... It is a not only a disapointement but a great inconvenience to say the least....


Monday, December 6, 2010

A water hole

Nacapule Canyon 

Where there is water, there is life and that makes this North American desert wonderful. Water is flowing trapped under rocks and comes to the surface clear and cold. When summer rains and thunderstorms struck the water becomes furious and rushes down with tremendous forces forming through the ages deep canyons. It is where we can find some astonishing oasis like the one in Nacapule, just 5 miles from us. How many of those little oasis are hidden in the rugged mountains range ? Nobody knows but the wild life and some natives. Nacapule was discovered some 3000 years ago by a nomadic tribe of sonora. It is very accessible for a wonderful and energizing hike deep inside the red mountains.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The tribulation of buying a boat unseen...

Nanna's sister ship Southern Cross 35

If everything went well from the sale of Röde Orm to the long and tiring trip with its two border crossings, and the wonderful welcome of my friend, the rest had more or less a cold water shower feeling.. And without the hospitality of friends, the beautiful scenery and warm weather, we would have felt slightly taken aback.
Our expectations were perhaps too high, our excitement over powering the reality. The really simple lesson is to see before you act !!
The Union Polaris showed well from distance, but as soon as you look closely behind the glossy of the varnish we just realized that this boat has not been at sea for quite a long time, and revealed more problematic issues as the engine, the compatibility of a worm gear stirring with a windvane, some rotten spots that cleary states some leaks and some flimsy set up that could be a nonsense at sea. In short, we were disapointed. This boat is not quite ready to go to sea, and if the old Volvo is dying, what next ?
Did we make a big mistake ? Our enthusiasm suddendly dropped. A week had passed, we were technically homeless, boatless, boxless (this one sailing between Portugal and Vera Cruz...hopefully ) and in Mexico..
Nanna on the hard
We just went on to see more boats and... the first one we saw caught our eyes and our heart. Nothing flashy about it, a strong built 35 footer, sturdy and fully equipped. A Southern Cross (becoming soon Southern Comfort for Magnus !)35, built as Röde Orm is. price wise... well not a bargain as the other one, but the assurance of a sea worthy boat as soon as it is in the water. Nothing to add. So Nanna is a Southern Cross 35, nicknamed Southern Comfort by the Viking !!

Thanksgiving today and we are invited for a party ! By the way, I had the great pleasure to see some friends I left behind three years ago. It was almost like coming back home. But how many homes do I have ? !!
Oh and did I mention Magnus first encounter with a tarentula (young one) and a scorpion, in the room ? and the nightly howls of coyotes ? Pretty exotic for a Viking !

Friday, October 29, 2010

hasta luego misty river, good bye Röde Orm

We left the secure cocoon of the river, leaving behind good friends, and knowing it is a place we can always come back and find peace and beauty. It was also our last ride with Röde Orm, and soon we will have to say our good byes to the good friend and safe home she has been. 
Double nostalgia, but also the thrill of discovering something new, for me it will be the new Nanna, for Magnus, he will discover the Sea of Cortez.  But before, we have one week to deal with all the logistics.... And that, it is not fun !!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

getting ready for the big move... or backtracking...


Moving from house to boat, done it. Moving from house to house done it. Moving from house to storage done it too. Moving from boat to boat, about to do it and to make the game more thrilling, from one continent to the other some 12 thousand kms apart, and all of those above in less than 3 years. Though considering my former experiences the last 25 years, nothing abnormal. Though this time it is quite unsettling when we have to rely on a ship freight to send our personnal stuff. We will be in our next home that we will discover too... before anything we sent by ship arrive and who knows when and in which shape will it arrive ?
Anyway, Röde Orm will change hand as we leave to take over Nanna. Everything went swithly and smootly so far and not one month after we came back from North, everything with Röde Orm was concluded.
But most unsettling for me is that I am crossing back my own tracks to the place where I decided to start over a new phase of my agited life. Because of all places, Nanna is in San Carlos, Mexico. Having friends there helped and was also a deciding factor when the newly named Nanna was chosen as the one to replace Röde Orm. Now that we do not have land base, Röde Orm feels a little bit too narrow and crowded for long term cruising. Nanna with its 36 ft will seem a very big boat to us.

It was a perfect sail today as we went back to the river from Faro to prepare our stuff to be sent via ship freight, meaning building a big box. A warm summery breeze shoved us downwind on a beautiful flat sea. 4.5 knots was the perfect speed just enough to arrive before dusk in the mouth of the river. We realized that was one of the very last sail with Röde Orm and that surely brought a lot of nostalgia.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

return to the beautiful river

Some sailors at the end of their wandering life or the dreamers still dreaming the faraway edens end up here on the shores of the Guadiana. The charm of this river winding between virgin lands and beautiful hills at the back doors of Portugal and Andalucia is such that some anchors get sucked in the mud for ever: Lot of boats sailed their last miles here to the point of no return, still pulling on their chain as dogs on their leash turning their nose to the upcoming tides still hoping to go for a last ride. And after all, they still could do it, the Ocean is so close, just one tide away !
Abandonned patches of land let to grow back to the wild lost on the river shore far from anything are as much mirages for those ready to bury their anchors. They attrack them as lost atolls in the Pacific do for intrepid sailors. Everyone who experienced this river let one self dream about little acres of land on the shore of the Guadiana, far from the noisy crowd of the resort cities of the coast but close enough to enjoy certain advantages they offer.
Some succeed in buying a few acres of wild land, no longer proper for the local meagre agriculture. There is not, and there will not be any electricity or sewage, it is at the mercy of the floods which are still highly possible despite dams up river. But nothing stop them, not even the prohibition to build anything permanent or the lack of proper close by roads, or even good trails. Used to the minimalistic way of life on boats, they see themselves as new robinsons, happy to live under the shed of thousand year old olive trees, prolific fig trees and generous grenade trees, hidden from anyone. Their solitude and tranquility are guaranteed as Portugal and Spain are declaring the Guadiana shores as a natural preserve. Even if that means to many the impossibility to ever built anything else than shelters (there is no lack of bamboos !).

helping land friends to little project, some cement job to  make a permanent mooring for their boat.
So to not intrude on them and respect this place that harbored safely Röde Orm for 3 months, I will say no more and I will leave the bells of the 3 churches between San Lucar and Alcoutim respond to each other across the always lively water of the beautiful river