Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Good Byes, Hellos, Good Byes and Hellos

Baja Ha-Ha crew Jeff and Annie had to return to Sacramento but took with them some memories they'll long remember.  Two short days later, we were on a plane to San Diego.

Another wedding in the family, Debbie's birthday, and Thanksgiving gave us a chance to catch up again with family and friends.

This old friend can barely hear, but with her 15th birthday just around the corner, she's looking pretty good.

We detoured just a bit from the regular route to John's Dad's house in Grant's Pass, flying to Portland instead where with John's brother and sister-in-law, Steve and Wendy, we enjoyed a couple of days wondering south...

...and tasting wine through the Willamette Valley where they grow delicious Pinot in abundance.

We finally arrived at Dad's beautiful home on the Rogue River, to find John's other brother Bill and his wife Karen were already checked-in.  

Being guys, the guys started a project.

  In this picture, John is either holding a seminar on how to turn a screwdriver, or being thoroughly supervised, or both?
The girls shopped and cooked...

...took walks in the neighborhood...

...and...went out to a dive bar and slammed down tequila shooters?

 Well, the times, they are a changin', but that's probably a different blog.  Anyway, the food was delicious and the project turned out pretty darn nice.  

We built a stage over existing steps so Dad can negotiate the route from his bedroom at one end of the house, to the kitchen at the other (this route goes through two time zones) without going down and up any stairs.  

At the end of each day, we gathered in Dad's pub for some laughs and lots of stories, old and new.

Then it was time for Thanksgiving dinner around the dining table where there'a always great conversation.

Back in Southern California, we had more time with family who moved Christmas celebrations to early December so we could enjoy seeing everyone before our return to Moonshadow.

After saying goodbyes (again), we hit the ground running back in hectic La Cruz.  The cab ride from the airport is about 35 minutes... just long enough to realize we're back where things are, well, different.

 No, seriously, it was hectic.  We had to get Moonshadow ready for the Banderas Bay Blast which roughly translates to an opening party put on by the tourist bureau and our marina to show appreciation to the visiting cruisers, followed by three days of racing among cruising boats to benefit local school children... 

Moonshadow cruised to the middle of the fleet on her way to Punta Mita
... and parties every night.

Punta Mita is the ideal place for a yacht and surf club...

...they have a protected anchorage for yachts and they have ideal waves for paddle board surfing.

But the club has an old tradition where new members are swatted by the Commodore as initiation.  

They never explained this tradition to Deb when she agreed to serve, but she seemed to adjust to the swing of things right away.

Next morning, we were treated to a performance by local school children.

These are the youngsters for whom all this racing is meant to raise needed money for extravagant things like pencils.

They were adorable!

But then it was off to the races, this time a downwind run from Punta Mita to Nueva Vallarta.  A big part of the racing on that third day was about getting a panga ride from the morning brunch ashore back to the our 15 anchored boats and then get the anchor and sails up before our start time. 

 We were all winners who got to enjoy a beautiful spinnaker run accompanied by playful whales.

What a great way to return to life in paradise.  We're getting right in the groove.