Worrall Travel R's

Worrall Travel R's
Roz and Russ

Worrall Travel R's - Kicking the Bucket List

My photo

We are the Worrall Travel R's Roz and Russ Worrall. Our goal before we "kick the bucket" is to see as much of the world as we are able, learn about world cultures, experience making friends around the world, and share goodwill and what we learn with others. WE HOPE YOU JOIN US VIA THE BLOG ON OUR TRAVELS.

We started our world travels in 1969 in VW camper van in the USA, Canada, and Europe, but didn't actively blog about our travels until 2009 aboard our sailing vessel SV Worrall Wind, a 44 ft Nauticat Ketch.  On September 5, 2009 we left San Francisco and took a left at the Golden Gate to Explore the World.

From to Sea to Land
After almost 4 years of cruising Mexico and the South Pacific, we sold our beloved boat in Australia, 2013. The Worrall Travel R's are continuing our travels around by many other means of conveyance -boats,trains, planes, sometimes camels, elephants, rickshaws, and hot air balloons.. 

Russ is a retired engineer, optometrist, professor from U.C. Berkeley. Roz is a retired computer programmer/analyst, educator, (teacher, administrator, professional developer). 

Our Mantra:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Mark Twain

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tsunami Warning and Passing Tsunami, February 27, 2010

We awoke this morning with the report of a severe earthquake in Chili and tsunami warnings for areas around the Pacific, including Mexico.  The direction of the tsunami would reportedly parallel the coast and because of the angle of Banderas Bay, would most likely not affect us as we are tucked deep into the bay in a protected magrove estuary.

We were on our boat at 11:45 this morning when the tsunami was expected to pass by Puerto Vallarta.  This is what we did notice from our vantage point.  It was high almost slack tide and the water was up to the base of the leaves on the overhanging mangrove trees behind our boat.  About 12:00 noon, the current behind our boat picked up to 6-7 knots on an ebb flow.  The ebb flow was pulling from the bottom and the previously blue green water turned mucky brown.  The water under the mangroves, dropped about a foot and a half to two feet, and the water under our boat and floating docks was swirling around and boats were dancing about.  The ebb lasted for a couple of minutes, then stopped, and reversed it self with a small flood.  This action to lesser degrees occured a couple of times.  By 12:15, other than brown water, and the normal ebb after a high tide, the tsunami had passed us by.

All is well in Puerto Vallarta.  Hope other areas are only mildly affected as well.

Bali Hai ~ Bagpipes ~ Sun Shades ~ Parrots and Tigers ~ SSCA Party hosted by Commodores Kay and Steven Van Slyke (author of Sex, Lies, and Spinnakers).

Where exactly is Bali Hai?
We've been copying charts for our sail to the South Pacific along with other crusiers that are going on the Puddle Jump.  Just exactly what are the coordinates of Bali Hai?   Our co-op group in this first picture is sorting out 233 charts by boat at the Vallarta Yacht Club.   Roz has been the organizer of the endeavor and Patty on Armagh has been the ever faithful pickup and delivery person.
Of course afterwards, it was beer and Margaritas for all.

By the way, BALI HAI, is an imaginative composite of South Pacific Islands,  courtesy of James Michener


Yet another beautiful sunset picture on one of our evening walks.  This one had a little different tune.  As the sun was setting, we heard bagpipes ushering her into the sea.

 Sun Shades
We finally got our new Shade Tree sun covers installed on the boat.  The back part fits as planned.  The front part needs some modifications. 

The tie downs were supposed to wrap around the wood rail not the safety line.  When this is corrected, the two hooped tents will be the same height and fit better.  Nevertheless, we are pleased with the cooling effect on the boat.

You've seen pelicans before, but this male is developing a burnished head coloring indicative that mating season is on its way.

Parrots and Tigers
We have a mini-zoo next to our marina, with a terrific collection of beautiful parrots and tigers.

"The peacock has nothing over me!"

"Make sure you get my right side.  It's my best."

"Really!  You're both so shallow" 

"You mean there's more to life than a broken nail? "

"I hope those blabber-mouthed parrots are on the lunch menu!"

Seven Seas Cruising Association Potluck and Pool Party

Russ and I have been associate members of the Seven Seas Cruising Association for the last 7 years.  To become a commodore (full member), we need to have lived on our boat for one year and had a 1,000 mile passage without stopping.  We don't qualify yet.  We've been on the boat for six months and have traveled considerable miles, but have not made the big jump yet.  By this September, we should be qualified for full membership and then will need to be sponsored by 2 exisiting commodores.

Here we are attending a Seven Seas party with veteran sailors and fledglings.  Hosting the party were commodores Kay and Steve Van Slyke.  We had a lovely afternoon listening to tales of the South Pacific, asking, and receiving sage answers and advice to the questions we had.  Steve took the picture.  But here he is, hat in hand......no not passing it, but getting ready to pull tickets for the raffle.  

Steve is the author of the murder mystery Sex, Lies, and Spinnakers
We have an autographed copy that we plan to read while we are crossing the Pacific.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Explorations and Preparations from the Land

After a brief trip home to California, we are once again back in Puerto Vallarta.  It was terrific seeing family and friends.   We think we saw more family and friends in 3 weeks than we ordinarily see throughout any given year.  It was lots of fun and we very much appreciated the wonderful hospitality.

Now we are beginning our preparations for the next step of our journey.  We thought it was all done when we left San Diego for the Baja Ha Ha, but alas that was just the list for coastal cruising.  Now we are looking at what we need for the big enchilada, our trip to the South Pacific. We will be installing some more sunshades, fans,  a new auto pilot, WiFi antenna, sealing up leaky dorads and hatches, and the list goes on.  We are also considering purchasing an asymmetrical spinnaker.  We just don’t know how much we will use it.  On the other hand we have heard that in an El Nino year the trade winds might be lighter necessitating more use of our engine in light winds.  Anyone have any advice for us?

Our current sailing plan is to leave directly from Puerto Vallarta the end of March when the moon is at its fullest and head to the Marqueses, postponing the Galapagos island until we return through the Panama canal.  The angle of waves  and winds are better from here than further south.  The weather conditions will dictate our departure, routing, and arrival in the South Pacific.  We hope to be in Marqueses the end of April, Tuamotus in middle May, Tahiti, middle June.

Sandwiched in between boat work, daily chores, provisioning, seminars for Puddle Jumping Cruisers, we are managing daily bicycle rides, trips to the pool, yacht club parties, and local excursions and experiences.  We love being retired and recommend it!

January 2010 – Turtles, Traditions, and Jungles, Oh My

Prior to our trip home to the states we spent some time at the nearby Turtle Conservancy  (1/2 mile from the marina) where we had the opportunity to learn about the Olive Ridley turtles that lay their eggs on the 13 miles of beach along Nuevo Vallarta.   These turtles are on the endangered species list, but Mexico is taking action to protect the turtle. Here are some follow-up links you might enjoy:

During the high season up to 300 female turtles a day lay eggs in the sand.  At night when the beach is free of  tourists and birds, conservancy naturalists roam the beach on an ATV and dig up the eggs (often 100 eggs in a nest 24 inches deep), and bring the eggs to the fenced conservancy on the beach where the eggs are reburied and marked with their lay date. 

Within 5 days of the anticipated hatch date (50-60 days after being buried), the turtles hatch and climb out of the nest. 

Sometimes it takes the turtles 3 days to reach the surface.  They have an umbilical cord filled with nutrients that lasts them up to 13 days.  They are safely removed from the hatch area and stored in a sandy wading pool 
until twighlight when the birds and tourists have gone home for the night. 

Last of the birds for the evening waiting for a snack.

The babies if turned on their backs are quite vulnerable. The turtles are placed tummy down in the sand above the wave line and they must make it to the water. 

To make it interesting and to raise money for the conservancy, tourists are allowed to help with the release for a small donation.  A rope is placed in the sand.  Tourists and volunteers, rub their hands in the seawater and sand before touching the turtles.  Everyone stands behind the line in the sand and releases the turtles at the same time, rooting for their turtle to make it to the sea.  

During their little hike into the water the baby turtles absorb the smells and light memory from the setting sun, that will help  them return to the same place to lay their own eggs in about 7 years.  Every night for 4-5 months, there is a turtle release.  We hope to do this a couple of more times before we leave.  It’s a special experience to think we may have held the one in a thousand that will survive.  They are delicate treats for the dolphins, fish, and birds.

Traditions and Jungles

Russ and I and another couple, Lori and Ken from SV-Trim, took a Vallarta Adventure trip into the Sierra Madre.  We spent the day exploring small villages, visiting a Mexican home in the mountains, and taking a hike through the lush Sierra Madre jungle.  We learned about cultural aspects and traditions of Mexican life and the rich eco-systems of the jungle.

Some of the most interesting cultural aspects and traditions that we learned about were: 1) Why do Mexicans have unfinished homes with rebar sticking out of their roofs?   2) Why does every Mexican village have a gazebo and square?  3) How many tortillas does the average Mexican eat each day?

1)     1)  Many rural Mexican homes have rebar sticking out of their roofs because they anticipate that their children may wish to add upwards to the family home at some point in the future.  Years ago, unfinished homes were not taxed, but today even unfinished homes are taxed.  Nevertheless, families still leave rebar sticking out of the top.  Financing home building in Mexico has not always been available, so most Mexicans self-finance their homes building as they go. 
 In Mexico, the water is not on all of the time.  Residents in rural areas fill up their home tanks and     
 gravity feed it on demand to their homes.

2)     2)  The town square across from the church is central in every Mexican town we have visited thus far.  Street vendors position themselves close to the square.  After church and in the evenings the square is filled with families.  One of the traditions we learned about that apparently still exists in some of the more remote Mexican villages is the courtship walk around the square.  On Sunday afternoons after church, parents of courting age children sit on the many benches around the square.   

Their eligible daughters walk clockwise and the their sons walk counter clockwise. 
            When a young man fancies a girl, he hands her a flower.  If the young woman accepts the flower, he turns and walks in the same direction as her.  If she does not accept the flower, he drops the flower in a pile near the girl's parents (the more flowers a girl accumulates, the more she is popular).

        The young suitor gets a new flower and keeps walking until he finds someone who might accept him.   Eventually, the young men and women are paired off and are closely scrutinized by 
their respective parents as they walk around the square.  This maybe the first step towards a
longer-term relationship.

Mexican romance, tradition, and folk dancing captured in sculpture in Puerto Vallarta

3)  The average Mexican eats 15-20 tortillas a day!  That’s a lot of tortillas!  This means that the mother in a family of six either must make 120 tortillas a day or buy stacks of them at the tortilla factories or grocery outlets.  Many families still make their own.  I just bought some corn flour and plan to try making some of my own.  Here are some photos of tortillas being made with a press and special baking bowl.

 Of course, we got to eat some of the home made tortillas in the form of tacos.  Flour tortillas are used for burritos, corn tortillas are used for tacos.  Fillings for the tacos included guacamole, prickly pear, and spicy salsa.

After the cultural aspect of our adventure, we did a little hiking in the Jungle.   

We found coconut clusters 
(smaller coconuts in a cluster) far more aromatic than the large coconuts, the oiled scent used in perfumes, 

extracts, and sun tan loction and little pods containing and orange seed used in the coloring of cheddar cheese and cheetos.

 February 2010: Provisioning and Getting Ready

Here we are in February.  The time is moving quickly.  We’ve returned to Mexico with gluten-free foods brought from the states with a letter from Roz’s doctor.  With a little hassle and a lot of sweat, we were able to import the foods we declared through customs with some modest duties. We came back into Mexico laden with boat parts and food.

Once back in Puerto Vallarta, we’ve been busy updating our boat stores list, bicycling to small villages

Eating up the calories we just burned off.

and visiting open markets


and sculpture exhibits,

provisioning attending seminars, spearheading a cooperative for chart copying for puddle jumpers, completing the installation of our WiFi antenna and router, and building starboard boxes around the dorads.

We have had one small incident moving our boat with some minor damage to another boat when the current caught our stern and swung us under the flare of a power boat, bending one of our bimini struts and chipping paint of off our new neighbor’s boat.  Nice way to make friends.  Ugh!  Forutnately, the damage was under $150.  Our friends when caught by the same current rammed their bow into another boat’s toe rail to the tune of $3,000.  We consider ourselves lucky. 

In addition to the work, we are having fun by eating out, enjoying fabulous sunsets,

             (This was the start of a sunset that went from golds and yellows to purples and pinks)


  and attending cooking classes. 

Roz and Lori on Trim signed up to take a cooking class from Tapas Del Mundo.   We had all gone to this restaurant the Friday before and learned of these classes.  The ladies had a great morning learning from Jorgito and Rosie
Roz, Jorjito, Lori, and Rosie

Jorjito explaining the finer points of peppers

how to prepare Caesar Salad, Shrimp in Garlic Sauce, Charred Tomato Table Salsa, 
Fried Olives Eudardo, whole roasted Garlic Heads, Brie Stuffed Chicken Breast, Pimento Stuffed with Goat Cheese, and eggplant raku.  Of course, we go to eat everything we ate and drink lots of wine to go with it.  Whoo hoo!  What a blast!  Now we just have to figure out how to get all this stuff on the boat and have it last for several months. 

On Monday, February 15 our newly upholstered cushions were installed.  They look terrific and really lighten and brighten the interior.  We are very pleased.  Here are some before and after pictures. 

Lower Salon Seating area:  

Before in blue.

After in golden tan with blue and burgandy accent.  We didn't have to change any of our other color coordinating pillows or rugs.  It all blends beautifully. 

Lower Salon Setee:

Upper Salon Area:

Roz is the offical bean counter. 

As we near the end of February, we are busily shopping and provisioning for food.  The boat is filling up and getting heavier.  We are planning on having enough food on board for 3-4 people for 90 days or more.  This means lots of staples, protein, and foods that are not perishable.  Quite a challenge for us as we like to eat fresh every day.  Oh well.  It's all about the journey!