Archive for April, 2007

Back in Mexico, Again.

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

Cruise Ships Cozumel Mexico

[Glittering lights from FIVE cruise liners.]

We’re back in Mexico again folks! Nearly a year after we exited Huatulco, going south, in an entirely different ocean…

Entering Bahia de la Assension was great fun, “Nine…eight…WHATS THAT DARK SPOT AHEAD OF US??? ARE WE OKAY? Eight…eight… SEVEN!!!! SHIT how shallow is it going to get? Fuckit, I’m going left. CAN I GO LEFT?” Joshua stood on the foredeck with the special sunglasses and assured me that we were not going to die in seven feet of water and that dark spot was just grass and to just chill out. Thusly we grumpily dropped anchor in the middle of a very large shallow bay with about a million miles of fetch in the face of a norther. Joy.

Joshua promptly sacked out the moment the anchor bridle was in place and I wandered around the boat gathering strewn crap from the outside and expunging pools of salt water from the inside. About thirty minutes after we got settled, the norther hit with 30+ knots of wind kicking up gnarly foaming windwaves. Our shade structure fwapped and generally looked pathetic and the boat bounced madly. But the anchor was well set in nice white sand in ten feet of water and we had about a zillion feet of scope out so DO YOUR WORST NORTH WIND.

We had been making overnight passages since Guanaja with a stop at Lighthouse reef. Conditions have been mostly uncomfortable with large and confused seas. The current, wind direction (keeps changing), and swell direction are always different and I’m guessing that’s what has been making things icky. Nights were notable for strange flickering lights in an otherwise totally clear starry sky. At first we just thought that our eyes were bugging out a little but it turned out that both of us were seeing the flickering lights so we decided that it must be some sort of lighting. “Harmless upper atmosphere lightning,” Joshua declared. I found it eerie, sort of an innocent precursor to something more ominous. The calm before the storm. Dolphins before the hurricane. White Russians before the karaoke.

The norther lasted almost exactly 24 hours and as soon as the wind shifted more east, we tacked back out of the bay for an overnighter to Cozumel (or Isla Mujeres if we made good time and passed Cozumel before it got light). But we did not make good time and it was an uncomfortable trip; we tacked back and forth the entire way and neither of us got any sleep. After 20 hours we had only covered some fifty (linear) miles though we had plenty of wind and a supposedly favorable current. Seas were just chop and bleah and wind was uggh and—oh, did I mention we blew our main and have been sailing on jib only since the Chinchorro banks? Even if we had mainsail capability, I probably would have wanted it down to keep sail area minimal in the strong gusty winds. The next day, late the next day, we were pleased as punch to pull into the clear waters off Cozumel and anchor just upwind of FIVE cruise liners, each about the size of a small planet. We paddled ashore and strolled amongst the modern.

Reviewing our photographs of Cozumel, it seems we didn’t really take many sweeping panoramas of, you know, Mexico or whatever. Rather we took photos like this:

Topes. Road Sign. Cozumel Mexico

Or this:

Hotel Courtyard. Cozumel, Mexico

We ate tacos, drank refrigerated beers, and visited a large grocery store, where we walked the aisles gazing at all the shiny products, then bought limes and poblanos. The next morning we pulled anchor and headed for Isla Mujeres (called ‘Izla’—rhymes with ‘id’ and then ‘luh’—by the local cruiser VHFers), a day in which the wind maxed out at perhaps three knots and the chop was nauseating. We would have been happier to stay put but there was supposedly another norther on the way in less than 24 hours and Cozumel offered zero protection, so we unleashed the fifteen horses and slogged our way onward.


Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

Isla Providencia, Colombia

[Approaching Isla Providencia from the SE]

Enough people have asked us about the website (how to and stuff) that we’re pretty remiss in not having a general about page.

Dreamhost: The site is hosted by Dreamhost. There are many free blogging sites, but if you want complete control, no ads, your own email domain and stuff like that you need a real hosting service. We have the very generous sister-of-a-founder plan which isn’t generally available, but even for you it’ll be less than $10 a month. With 500GB of disk included that’s cheaper than buying a hard drive and they’ll keep it backed up for you. Use the dreamhost promo code “TimeMachine97” and get up to $97 off1. Woohoo.

WordPress: The blog software itself is WordPress 2.3.1. It’s licensed under the GNU public license (that means it’s free and open source). Dreamhost has a handy installer that does most of the setup work for you.

Spam Karma 2: A handy plug-in for WordPress that keeps the comment spam at bay. It’s also GNU and it works unbelievably well. If only email spam filtering worked this good. If your comments don’t show up this is probably why. Try rephrasing without using the words “hot teen sex.”

Subscribe2: Another GNU plug-in for WordPress. This is what sends out new post emails to all of you on the subscription list.

Creative Commons: Everything on the site is published under a Creative Commons License. This means you can use the material for almost any non-commercial purpose (including derivative works) without getting permission. We definitely appreciate hearing about how you use it. We know pictures and articles have been used for various club newsletters and classroom activities. You need permission only if your publication has a cover price, contains ads, or is promotional material of some kind. Read the legaleze if you care.

Photos: We both take photos and usually don’t keep track of who takes which. Unless it’s a picture of a cow, in which case you can be pretty sure I took it. We use a Canon S2 IS and a Canon SD600 digital elph. We’ve had many digital cameras over the years and these are far and above the best. We like to have a pocket camera and a big camera. There is a direct correlation between lens diameter and photo quality that you can’t get around. The weight of the big camera allows you to take better pictures especially in low light or at high zoom. Moment of Inertia… A heavier object is easier to hold still. Also, the image stabilizer on the S2 is the cat’s ass. However, we usually don’t like to carry a big camera around populated areas. Hence the smaller auxiliary camera.

Who: The people from Latitude 38 pointed out that we don’t identify ourselves anywhere on the site except for vague references. We are Cheyenne Weil and Joshua Coxwell; from Oregon (more or less). Cheyenne is a jeweler and an artist. You can see her work at When employment is necessary, Cheyenne does graphic design, writing and editing. I find itinerant labor developing software. We both graduated from the University of Oregon (Russian and Physics, respectively).

1The dreamhost promo code TimeMachine97 gives $97 off if prepaying 1yr or more and $51 off if paying monthly. This is the maxium possible discount we can offer in the dreamhost promo code program.

One Horn

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

One horned Cow. Isla Providencia, Colombia

Isla Providencia, Colombia

I like cows. Looking back you will see many pictures of cows with bovine expressions all their own; wary but hopeful. Not like sheep. I hate sheep with glazed glaucous eyes like they can’t even see. No pictures of creepy sheep.

Blue Lizard

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

Blue Lizard. Isla Providencia, Colombia

Isla Providencia, Colombia

These lizards abound on the island. This creature seems to be unknown to science (or at least the internet). I can find zero information even on massive lizard fetish sites. One site even claims that “the worlds only blue lizard is threatened with extinction.” I thought for sure it would be it but no. That blue lizard (an anole) is totally different and from Isla Gorgona (ironically also Colombia). None of my pictures turned out so I stole this one from Velella.

We’re on Isla Mujeres and legal. Much to our chagrin, we have to go to Cancun to pay the API fee which can only be paid there. Welcome to Mexico. Last time I was here we were on Jade (a searunner 40 built by my dad). 20 years ago.

Happy Birthday Tucker!


Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

Searunner 31 from the top of the mast. Blue hole, Lighthouse reef, Belize

Lighthouse Reef, Belize

We landed in Cozumel, Mexico this afternoon. Imigration was closed so we´re illegal…

Cheyenne Weil, Joshua Coxwell