Sunday, December 26, 2004

December 26, 2004 – No Snow for Christmas

Author: Scott and Pam

After arriving in Puerto Vallarta we had a week to get in the Christmas spirit, it really wasn’t happening while at sea. We went about shopping for gifts and planning Christmas dinner. On Christmas Eve we made a traditional dinner (sort of) and had Abe, Amy, Rhea and Stan over to the timeshare. There was no oven in the kitchen at the timeshare and the biggest turkey we could cook on any of our boats was ten pounds, so we opted for rotisserie chickens. It was a very fun evening, ending with a rousing game of Five Crowns, a new favorite card game. I looked around PV for a string of lights or some small Christmas decorations, but I really couldn’t find anything. It certainly is not like the US where there are isles of marked down decorations even before Christmas. Christmas Day is not the significant holiday in Mexico, the twelve days of Christmas is observed ending with the children receiving their presents on All Kings Day on January 6th. Our Charlie Brown Christmas tree was a small felt cutout hung on the door handle of the TV cabinet (Amy’s contribution), it was perfect. We spent Christmas Day with Abe and Amy opening presents, eating homemade chicken tacos (that is what you do with leftover rotisserie chicken), laying by the pool (that was a first) and playing cards. There was no hustle and bustle, cards to send, parties to attend or stress, it was a wonderful Christmas with the focus on our special life gifts.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Journal Entry – December 17, 2004 – Puerto Vallarta 20°39.1N 105°15.0W

Author: Scott and Pam

The last leg of this passage is here. The day started with another potential naked sighting, this time it was Scott taking a shower in the cockpit. Po’oino Roa left early leaving us alone in the anchorage. Half way through Scott’s shower he heard a boat round the bend and whoops from the occupants. It turned out to be our friends Nick and Nikki on Star Gazer. We found it funny and exciting we knew the only two boats we encountered at Isla Isabela. It is very difficult to feel alone while cruising, meeting new people seems to be part of every day. Pam is trying to keep a list of the people we meet and their boat names.

We left Isabela at 9:30 hoping for a nice beam reach to PV. The wind direction had changed overnight and it ended up being a combination of downwind sailing and motoring. It was another beautiful day. As mentioned, stopping at Isabela was part of the plan to arrive in PV on Saturday and during daylight. This allowed for a leisurely sail and no worries if we were only going 2 knots. The trip was pretty uneventful, but as we approached the mainland navigation considerations were staying the required 20 miles off of Isla Las Maria’s (the forbidden prison colony islands) and a channel between Punta Mita and Isla Las Tres Marieta’s (five-mile chain of three small islands). Our watch schedule didn’t work out quite as we planned and Scott ended up only getting three hours sleep all night. We approached PV as the sun was rising (see the scrapbook for the awesome sunrise picture). We made a plan to connect with Eleytheria during the Amigo net, but when we switched frequencies we could not hear one another, they are a couple days behind us. PV is in the state of Jalisco and a new time zone (CT) for us, we are now two hours ahead of CA and one hour ahead of the East Coast. Once in Banderas Bay we radioed Marina Vallarta, our planned destination to arrange for a slip. The “Paperman” responded and asked us to call back when we reached the breakwater (the entrance to the marina). The Paperman (in this case represented by Ceicilia) is an agency that helps with the port check in and out process and is also somehow associated with the marina office. Pam called back at the designated time with hopes of getting specific directions to our slip, M12. The directions given were, when you get to O dock there will be a big white boat named Lunacy, turn right. Then when you see Sea Hawk another big boat turn right again. Ok, the only dock letters we saw were A and E and a big white boat named Invader. Scott made two circles while we considered what to do. You really don’t want to turn down the wrong channel, then you are faced with turning around often in a very narrow dead end space. It would be a good time to mention the marina was very busy with traffic, at one point a power boat was coming at us and a panga driver decided he could also fit, Scott held his course. We were also attempting to communicate with each other using our walkie talkie’s, but the channel we always use had constant chatter. We couldn’t get a word in, so that plan was aborted. After the second circle Ceicilia called us on the radio and said she could see our mast and to continue coming straight and she would be on the dock at M12. When we finally found our slip there were four people on the dock to catch our lines, a very welcome sight. Paperman offered their check-in services, let’s see run all over PV for an entire day or pay a $20.00 fee, hmmmm. We discovered there was no power or water available for our slip. When we checked in at the office, she promised it would be fixed on Monday or we could move to I dock. Moving was not on our agenda, so we agreed Monday would be fine. Our batteries were fully charged and should be fine through the weekend. We went to breakfast and then back to the boat to set about our chores. Scott took a short nap, while Pam started the task of packing to spend three weeks off of the boat. We finished this task together and it felt like we packed half the boat, but the bases are for sure all covered. We left the boat around 3:30 and took a taxi to Villa del Palmar, the time share. The rest of the day we spent enjoying every opportunity to be in water, the Jacuzzi, pool, bathtub and shower. We ended the day by having dinner at Pipi’s, Scott’s discovery of the best guacamole and he is right. We are thrilled to be in Puerto Vallarta, it was our best passage so far and we are on a high. We will probably only post sporadic entries for the next three weeks while we are on land. It is our plan to leave PV on Jan. 11th and continue heading south.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Journal Entry – December 16, 2004 – 22°05N 106°25W, 0610

Author: Scott and Pam

My second three hour watch is coming to an end. I just saw the first two boats we’ve seen in more than 24 hours. One appeared lit up like a Christmas tree, the other seemed to have almost no lights at all. I wonder where they are going? Here today, gone tomorrow would be an appropriate description of the wind. After our excellent day of sailing on Tuesday, we have had virtually no wind since early yesterday morning. It seems to be picking up and hopefully we can get back to sailing. We are now about 110 miles from Puerto Vallarta. We will. decide later today whether to stop at Isla Isabela for the night. We have too far to go to arrive during the day tomorrow, so we will come up with a plan for an early in the day arrival on Saturday. Scott woke up yesterday with a head cold, fortunately he doesn’t feel too badly. I started to teach him how to play cribbage. I look forward to playing again, it brings back fond memories of playing with my family. Fish report, the statistics of flying fish have increased on this trip. We found a fish in the cockpit yesterday morning. I may have heard him land in the night, but I am not sure. If he did come in for a landing while I was sitting in the companionway, he missed hitting me in the head by a few feet. I really hope that doesn’t happen. Minutes after Scott (I have decided it his job) threw that guy over, I came back out into the cockpit and could now smell fish. I looked on the portside catwalk to discover another one had just landed. There was also fish innards hanging from a reefing line, the fish was on the dog house. It really is pretty yucky, we decided we now need a daily dead fish patrol. It is time for my next nap and to listen to and check in on the Amigo Net on the SSB radio at 0700. Will today bring some wind?

Scott here, I am now on watch and taking over Pam’s journal entry. We have 25 miles to go until we reach Isla Isabela or we will fall off to a nice beam reach to PV. The wind has picked up (9 knots) and we may have a nice sailing day. When Pam wakes up (1030) we will make our decision on the itinerary. Good news, we were able to check in on the Amigo Net this morning with a strong signal. We have been plagued by faint transmission, but nothing that a manual and some fidgeting with the SSB radio couldn’t solve. I am feeling rather punky today, I hope this cold passes quickly, but at least it is just a nuisance and not debilitating.

Now it is 2200 and we made the decision to sail to Isla Isabela (20°50N 105°53W) and it turned out to be a great plan. We arrived at the island around 1430. There are two choices of anchorages here, on the south side near the bird observatory (Pam was not interested in anchoring anywhere near thousands of bird nests), and there is an anchorage on the east side near two giant rock spires that tower over 150’ tall. I guess we are building a reputation among the other cruising boats. As we pulled into the other anchorage there was another boat anchored and they quickly deployed their dinghy and drove over to say hello. It turned out to be Jerry from Po-oino Roa, and he was eager to give us tips on the best place to anchor. After anchoring Jerry confessed that when they saw us pull around the corner, Kathy was taking a shower in the cockpit and was naked. Jerry quickly grabbed the binoculars as said “no need to worry honey it’s just Tournesol and they are not going to see you”. We invited Jerry and Kathy over for a cocktail and snacks and agreed to meet in about an hour.

Once we were safely anchored and tidy, Pam and I jumped into the beautiful blue water for a swim, Pam got to try out her new lycra dive-skin. The water was a warm 82 degrees and crystal clear. Although we were anchored in sand, this was our first anchorage with coral and rocks and our boat sat over a coral head, but we still had at least 10’ of clearance. You could also hear our anchor chair rubbing on rocks somewhere near the anchor. After our swim we prepared for company. We did not have much in the way of appetizers, but we managed to put out nuts, cheese and crackers. Kathy and Jerry came over and we talked about our respective trips and where we were going next. Kathy brought fresh jicama in lime juice and canned sausages cooked in teriyaki sauce. They also brought us some of the fresh fish they had caught while staying at Isla Isabela. We can’t remember what kind it was, but it was a treat cooked on the BBQ. We finished our nice evening off by watching “Big” and getting a pretty good night’s sleep (we were both up several times checking on the anchor and our position).

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Journal Entry – December 14, 2004 – Good Bye La Paz

Author: Pam

We left La Paz yesterday for Puerto Vallarta our next destination in Mexico. Yesterday was uneventful. It was a beautiful warm and sunny day, with no wind what so ever. We motored the entire way to Bahia de los Muertos. We arrived at 2100 and anchored for the night. We try to avoid anchoring at night usually, but we knew we would be arriving after dark and we were comfortable with our knowledge of the anchorage from our previous visit. We left Muertos this morning at 1030 and have made excellent time all day. It was another beautiful sunny day and wind has not been a problem. It has been blowing 15-20 knots, with waves of 9-12 feet. We have been traveling at an average speed of 6.5 kts all day, which is excellent progress. Today was our best sailing day since the beginning of our trip over two months ago. We both spent a lot of time at the helm, it was great sailing practice. For entertainment we played a modified version of a game we learned during sailing class. The waves were providing a great surfing opportunity; the challenge was to hit the highest speed. Pam won with 11 knots, a number we had never seen on this boat. We hove to for two and a half hours and made baked chicken and rice for dinner. It was bumpy due to the waves and there was a bit of spilling, but nothing serious. The trip to Puerto Vallarta from La Paz is 383 miles, we are currently 262 miles away. We will arrive on Friday or Saturday. We will be staying in PV for three weeks on land at Scott’s timeshare. We will berth the boat at the downtown marina, there isn’t any where to anchor at the present in PV. We will spend time at the boat working on various projects. We are looking forward to sleeping in a bed that is not moving and endless showers. We are also looking forward to the holidays and to visits from our friends, Andy, Patti, Mike and Randy over the next three weeks. We plan to leave PV on January 11th and head towards Zihautanejo.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Journal Entry – December 13, 2004 – Tournesol’s Face Lift

Author: Pam

During our three week stay in La Paz one boat project after another seemed to present itself. The first order of business was to reconsider how we had organized the storage areas on the boat and to take on the overwhelming task of reclaiming the v-berth. As a side note, during our original packing plan we had decided to bring the v-berth mattress, but with no plans of sleeping on it any time soon. After more than a month of sleeping on the settees, Scott decided we should reclaim the v-berth. It would be difficult to describe how overwhelming this idea was initially, but consider that the v-berth is our largest storage area and we had taken full advantage of this. Long story short, we emptied almost every storage area on the boat and started over again. The goal also included more knowledge of what we needed more access to under way. We unburied the mattress to find it had begun to mold, nothing a bleach bath and a day in the sun couldn’t cure. The mold added fuel to our determination. Much to our surprise we found a home for everything and slept in the v-berth for most of our stay in La Paz. The boat feels in much better order than when we first left, but I am sure there will be more fine tuning as we go.

The next project happened after a man came by the boat one morning and told us he charged $10.00 an hour for varnish work. We had planned to begin refinishing all of the exterior wood in Puerto Vallarta, but who wouldn’t consider this offer. So, after getting a bid and a promise the work could be completed by our departure date in six days, we hired Havier on a handshake (not the original person, we never saw him again). Over a four day period on a sporadic basis the wood was sanded down to remove all of the Cetol that had turned an unsightly orange. We were sure we would not use Cetol again after removing it and seeing the natural beauty of the wood. However, after much debate about Cetol vs. varnish, Cetol won. Cetol will better withstand the sunny hot climates we plan to visit. It is also easier to maintain, it wears from the outside in, where varnish wears from the inside out. We should therefore be able to maintain the Cetol with light sanding and one new coat. Back to the accomplishment of the project, we soon found hiring Havier meant hiring everyone and their brother. In the end we were not sure how many people worked on sanding, but on Saturday morning when there was still half of the boat to sand, we woke up to find four people going to town, including a boy no more than ten. The deadline was extended one more day, due to the addition of the handrails and hatches, otherwise all was on schedule. We paid $3500.00 pesos for this work, which included the Cetol. We have since learned it is not uncommon to make $7.00 a day, but we are still in awe of how this money was shared amongst the at least eight people involved. The wood looks beautiful after four coats of Cetol and we are thrilled to have a better starting point for maintenance.

We had an awesome in the right place at the right time experience. One morning there was a boat parked at the fuel dock that looked a bit like Tournesol from a distance. When we approached the boat we found someone working on the roller furler on the bow, so we asked if it was his boat and the make. He was not the owner, but he was a rigger, and that was something we were in need of. Scott described the problem with our boom and asked if he could take a look. He knew exactly what the problem was and said he could fix it, but not until next Tuesday (it was Saturday). We said that would be great. The next thing we knew he was on the boat, determined a solution and decided to just take care of it. The boom needed to be removed from the gooseneck, then the four bolts attaching the boom to the gooseneck had to be drilled out, and larger bolts with nylocks needed to be drilled and tapped. In a little less than an hour the problem was fixed and his fee was $45.00. Wow! We highly recommend Jeffery from Dawn’s Rigging.

Next enters Chui. We learned early on during our stay in La Paz that Chui is the man to see about canvas covers. Tournesol is now decked out in green sunbrella with new covers for the outboard motor, BBQ, aft hatch, life raft, a winch cover replacement and a bag for the dinghy and our second head sail. Again, the cost of his labor is astounding. We would have paid five times what he charged us for these hand made items. Now dealing with Chui is a completely different story, he shows up when he wants, usually refuses to speak English though he lived in the states for years and speaks great English, and never really lets you know if and when the work will be done.

We were very satisfied with all of the above and ready to leave La Paz when one morning at breakfast Bob (an acquaintance Abe had made) mentioned the guy who does his canvas and upholstery work. Somehow this lead to Bob offering to take us to meet Rafael to discuss the possibility of getting our settee cushions recovered (you see there was an issue months ago that involved tomato soup). The next thing we knew we were in the car with one of our cushions and off to a fabric store. We chose a fabric and headed over to Rafael’s shop. Yes, he could take on the job and committed to deliver them on Saturday, which was in four days. This would extend our stay again, but it was worth it. He quoted and charged us $1500.00 pesos (approximately $135.00), this included fabric and labor. The cushions arrived on Friday and they look absolutely beautiful. We will post a picture in the scrapbook soon.

Since we had a few extra days we finished off our stay by giving Tournesol her much needed bath. This included polishing all of the chrome in the cockpit, waxing the green stripe and many other small details. She looks beautiful, is well organized and even more ready for her trip around the world. Scott also gave the engine an oil change and performed regular maintenance.

At last we are ready to go, but not so fast. On the “net” on Saturday morning a cruiser announced during swaps and trades he had two solar panels for trade for coconuts (you can not sell anything over the VHF radio). We contacted Bill on Shazam. He came over and described exactly what we had decided we wanted to add to the boat to generate more natural power. We got so distracted by considering the solar panels we forgot to check out (you can not leave a port without checking out with Port Capitain). Once we remembered around 4:00 pm the office was closed. Our plan to leave on Sunday was postponed until Monday morning, but we are now leaving with two additional 50 watt solar panels. Mounting the solar panels will be one of our projects during our stay in Puerto Vallarta. More later on how we use solar energy.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Journal Entry – December 8, 2004 – Our Pause in La Paz

Author: Pam

After anchoring for two nights in the Virtual Marina a slip became available at Marina de La Paz. We eagerly seized the opportunity to be at a dock and out of the wild notherlies (winds up to 40 knots) that had kicked up and was causing those anchored to be on guard. We had been warned about the La Paz Waltz, because of the strong current and wind patterns the anchored boats tend to move in different directions and can come within feet of each other (they say and sometimes kiss, but hopefully not too hard), it is advised to give your boat twice the room you would ordinarily when anchoring. Our second night anchored we returned to Tournesol from shore with Abe and Amy to find Fiesta (a very large powerboat) dragging it’s anchor and only ten feet off of our bow. We quickly pulled the hook and moved a healthy distance away from the beast and everyone else. We learned later Fiesta has a reputation for dragging anchor and only has a 45 pound CQR with 20’ of chain for ground tackle. We experienced many more days of northerlies while in La Paz, but safely tied up at the dock. All be it, we had one of the rockiest slips at the end of the marina, it was like being at home in Pier 39. The best thing about our slip (besides being on land and near showers) was the proximity to the fuel dock just a few feet away, we didn’t have to move an inch to get fuel. This was a nice bonus, any chance to not have to park at a dock is fine by us.

We have spent our days in La Paz very busy working on boat projects, more on this in a separate journal entry and eating it seems. Our first lunch was at Super Taco, a street taco stand listed in the Lonely Planet travel guide. They only have fish, but it is everything from octopus to clams. After you get your tacos, which consist of your tortilla and fish of choice you finish them off with over ten choices of toppings, i.e. salsas, onion combinations, cabbage, cucumbers, guacamole (and don’t forget the hot sauce)… Basically by the time you are done, you can barely pick it up, much less fit it in your mouth. See the Scrapbook for a photo of Abe and his creations. Also, after you have stuffed your tacos and yourself you have spent less than $10.00.

As mentioned on Thanksgiving we discovered La Fuente (the fountain), the local ice cream shop. We have visited frequently (there are pros and cons to this), but it is unbelievably delicious ice cream and a fun way to spend time with friends. La Fuente is located on the Malecon (waterfront street). We have been watching as they have spent days stringing electrical wire attached to Christmas lights from one palm tree to the next. No need for Christmas trees here.

Then there are the cheeseburgers and chicken tacos at the Racing Club. Fortunately it has not been open every day, I think Scott is becoming addicted to both. The owner is American and a former cruiser who has settled in La Paz, he certainly knows what makes a good cheeseburger and has mastered one of the best chicken tacos Scott has ever eaten. We have also shopped at CCC, one of the grocery stores and cooked dinner on the boat a number of times, sharing fun evenings with Abe and Amy and John and Joanne from Western Grace. It seems we have a great appreciation for food when we are on land, this will not be true for some of the more remote places we will visit during our adventure.

Playing cards and watching movies with Abe and Amy has occupied many evenings. They taught us how to play Five Crowns, a very fun (and for someone who will remain nameless) competitive card game. One night we went to the Racing Club for the famous burgers and tacos, Monday night football and a rousing game of 31 (another card game). Another evening was spent at the Racing Club listening to the local cruisers jam and meeting new friends (yes there were more cheeseburgers and tacos consumed). We have also discovered the local mall, with a 15 cinema theater. We have seen several movies so far. Thank goodness Abe speaks fluent Spanish, he translated the movie description and helped to make sure the movie being shown was in English. We did buy tickets for “The Eye”, to find out moments later it was a Chinese film with Spanish subtitles, that would have been interesting. We have also had several “movie nights” on Eleytheria. Abe and Amy brought a collection of over 200 DVD’s and share the same enthusiasm for movies. Since we have no room for movies on board, we are thrilled to have a DVD connection, at least for now while we all travel around Mexico. As you can see Abe and Amy have been popping up a lot in the Journal entries. La Paz has offered a wonderful opportunity to get to know them better and spend endless silly times together. We are thrilled our paths have crossed and look forward to a long and lasting friendship.

The cruising community gets very involved in supporting the local communities, especially the children. We learned the government only pays for education up to the sixth grade in Mexico, after that it is the family’s responsibility. This combined with learning about a community just outside of La Paz where everyone lives in houses built from tar paper and other items found at the dump, with no running water and only one electricity line that most people can not afford, certainly makes you wonder how much education these children will receive. One cruiser was organizing a Christmas celebration for this community and was collecting toys, we donated a soccer ball. The other event we attended was Sebasta (auction). It was a live (in English & Spanish) and silent auction with a raffle, small flea market and bake sale thrown in. Most of the items auctioned off were used boating equipment. There wasn’t anything we needed, but Scott contributed by eating his way through the bake sale and discovering the hot dogs and beer. Coincidently Abe and Amy won a gift certificate for four double scoops of ice cream from nowhere other than La Fuente. Now, who could they possibly share that with?

One morning we were visited by Robin, he had just arrived as crew on Necton a power boat from Newport Beach that coincidently was berthed right off of our stern. He wanted to say hi and to let us know he had sailed on Tournesol in attempt to participate in the Trans Pac with the previous owner. As a side note, they did not make it to Hawaii, they were becalmed for four days and had to turn back due to the constraints of their schedule. On another day, we met Fred on the dock and within minutes found out he knew all about us from Arnstein our sailing instructor. He and his wife Jane had sailed to La Paz aboard Merry Dolphin and it turned out Fred had been one of Arnstein’s sailing instructors at Club Nautique in CA. We are finding the world really is small after all.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Journal Entry – December 1, 2004 – Critters

Author: Pam

We have encountered enough critters (dead & alive) to merit a journal entry dedicated to the sorted challenges. I am sure critters will become a thread woven throughout this adventure, unfortunately. As you know, much to my dismay we had two bird visitors on board, including disturbing my beauty sleep. Since then we found a small dead fellow on the bow, he had an unfortunate crash into a shroud. On another bird note, the dominant bird in Mexico seems to be huge pelicans. They are the size of puppies and stare at you as you pass by at eye level in the dinghy. This of course always makes me wish our 4 horse power motor could go just a bit faster. Then there are the birds that make a daily game of target practice for every surface and item on deck on your boat. I spent the entire day cleaning bird _ _ _ _ off of everything in the cockpit today. So, how many points do you think they get for multiple shots at the narrow rail, I am sure it must be more points for the cushions, they are much harder to clean.

Fish? We do not have any gear or licenses yet. This may come later, we haven’t found what we are looking for and well than there is the matter of the idea of Scott cleaning fish anywhere on the boat. As I have said, fish innards, blood and Scott could be a messy prospect. I rather like the idea of buying fresh fish from the fisherman along the way already filleted. We’ll see. Then there is the dead fish factor. We have now found two small dead fish on deck. One was definitely a flying fish, the other was not identifiable. I am sure we will have more flying fish stories, but we have now seen our first one all be it dead. What happened there, a fish with wings. They are REALLY weird looking. We understand they can cause quite a mess if they fly on board full speed into a surface. Yuck, I am not looking forward to that day. On another dead fish note, in Muertos I stepped on a dead puffer fish on the beach. Ok, that was like stepping on a dead porcupine. He was not big, but of course he was puffed up at death, he must have been scared. There was a big (14 inches) puffer fish swimming around the boat the other day, his portrait will be in the scrapbook as soon as Scott has time to transfer some pictures. Apparently, they are edible, but the preparation is very difficult. Not one I plan to learn, they are really ugly and I can/t imagine very tasty. The other night as we were going to sleep we were surrounded by a sound like the snap, crackle, pop of rice krispies somewhere in or on the boat. Ok, what is that? I asked Scott if he heard it, but I was not willing to say my first thought out loud. It sounded like a thousand cock roaches in the walls. Mind you we don’t really have walls, but in the moment that thought was lost. After some detective work and breath holding on both our parts, we determined it was the little fish swimming around the hull. We are not sure if they are killing their prey, eating off of the hull, slapping their bodies or eating rice krispies, but we really don’t care as long as it is not bugs.

Bugs? As mentioned in the last journal entry cock roaches are a big problem on boats. So far, as far as we know we have no new roommates. We have been given the “secret recipe” from a woman who cleaned boats and they apparently never had roaches. The recipe is a combination of sweet cream (yum) and boric acid (oh no). You mix this concoction into a paste the consistency of toothpaste and then put it I am not sure where yet. We have the ingredients and we will be putting up the barriers soon. In the meantime, when we go shopping it is a much more complicated process to put the groceries away. No cardboard is allowed on board, cock roaches love cardboard houses. Last night Scott sat out on the dock and copied the directions for boxed deserts on to index cards so we could throw the boxes away. While he was doing that, I was down below washing all of the vegetables in a bleach solution and rebagging them for storage. We are both hoping we don’t have an epidemic of cock roaches, but we also have been advised it is a huge challenge.

The other big bug challenge would be those that bite. While in Muertos Scott was attacked either by No Seeums or Sand Fleas, we are not sure which since we didn’t
seeum. At any rate, he got more than two hundred bites in one evening. He is allergic to many bites at once and was miserable for several days. The up side, the Lap Paz bugs don’t seem interested in him, but they love me. The back of both of my legs is chewed to pieces. Once again, we are not sure this time if they are no seeums or mosquitoes. At any rate, they itch like the dickens and don’t seem to want to go away.

Finally are the before mentioned Jelly Fish who apparently love me. They are not my friends. I got stung in Muertos several times. I have not been swimming since. However, there is a woman in La Paz who makes tailored lycra dive skins. We now both own one and I look forward to going swimming with some protection. There are at least two kinds of jelly fish. The clear ones and the string of black pearls. The black pearls wrap themselves around whatever limb they encounter, i.e. your forearm, which means multiple quite painful stings. Though vinegar helps (we have been told you can pee on the stings, though this had not been tried yet), it is still quite uncomfortable for several days.

Needless to say the last few weeks we have had many critter encounters.