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Wednesday January 20, 2010

A day at the beach

The beach at the campground hasn't really been accessible because of the higher tides and water levels, even at low tide there isn't a lot of space to enjoy.

A group of 10 of us from Playa Amor enjoyed the sand beach at Long Beach, we packed BBQs with suitable foods and other essentials such as beach umbrellas and of course a few beers! We spent over 3 hours on the beach enjoying the water and the surroundings. Kasey had a great time in the water, I took a video of Kasey and Suzette swimming together, I need to figure how to set it up on the blog so people can view it.

Some pictures:


Al and Leo relaxing:

Setting up the BBQ on the tailgate:

It's a great stretch of sandy beach:

Monday January 18, 2010

A enjoyable Sunday

Yesterday, Jerry and I took the inflatable up to the reservoir to try our luck at fishing. We didn't land anything, but there were a couple of bites. The inflatable was easy to paddle around the 6 or 7 acre reservoir and we had an enjoyable couple of hours before the hot sun caused us to pack up. The reservoir is heaven for bird watchers, we saw frigate birds, cormorants, some interesting coloured ducks and we weren't even looking!

Some pictures:

Frigate birds in the distance coming in for a bath:

A land owner on the edge of the reservoir has planted some bushes and flowers:

In the late afternoon we went out to a place near Mantanchen called etc., it's a nice place on Long Beach for a meal and some beach and pool time. We arrived a bit late as the bugs came out, but the restaurant had a can of Autoun, the Mexican equivalent of Off, it kept the critters away (mostly). The area north of us towards San Blas is noted for the bugs around sunset, it's the first time we've experienced the aggressive guys. Back at camp there are a few out around sunset, but not like this.

Having said that, the margaritas and the shrimp tacos were fantastic!

Al and Jerry enjoying the atmosphere (Suzette is behind the camera):

A view of the beach from the restaurant:

Saturday January 16, 2010

Interesting Weather!

We had substantial rain and wind overnight Thursday and into Friday, enough that we had to retract the awning on the RV. On Friday we had quite high waves, enough to drive the surf up the seawall.

You can see why the ground erodes without a seawall, this wasn't a big "blow", during hurricanes the surf is much higher.

Last night, it was clear but cold, the camper was only 62 F when we got up this morning (with the windows closed), it's the first time we've needed heat down here in the San Blas area.

The outboard motor is definitely out of commission, Al cracked the flywheel while turning the motor over with the impact gun, the motor is still very tight. We may find a repair shop in San Blas to look at it.

Thursday January 14, 2010

Added 5 horsepower to the pickup!

For the last day or two I've been getting the boat and motor ready so that we can take it out here in the Aticama/San Blas area and making sure it's ready for the estuary in Teacapan.

The boat was inflated and cleaned up, everything looks good. The motor, however, was another matter. I found that the clamp screws that hold the motor to the transom of the boat were seized, it took an hour or two and assistance from Ron & Leo in the campsite to get them working again.

It appears that the motor is a bit tight as well, it's quite hard to pull the recoil starter and the motor doesn't turn over quickly enough to start. Both these problems are probably my fault, the motor should have been cleaned and lubricated after using it in the ocean last year, the salt water corrodes aluminum quickly. I considered giving up, but tonight I remembered that I could use my impact gun to spin the motor more quickly than I could do it with the recoil starter, so I'll try that tomorrow. If I get it started it should loosen up. If it doesn't, it's my excuse to trade it in for a 9.9 HP motor that can move the boat around faster "on the step", the current motor isn't powerful enough to do this.

Another reason to get the combination working is that Jerry and I went up to the reservoir to see if there was a suitable spot to launch the boat, Jerry tried some fishing with a lure, on the sixth cast he got a reasonable sized sunfish, we are betting there are some larger fish there just waiting to be caught!

Monday January 11, 2010

Another great sunset!

Not a lot to report, shopping was done in Tepic today, and over the last couple of days we have new campers in the park. Allan and Marlies have arrived, we haven't seen them for a couple of years.

Al captured a couple of pictures of tonight's sunset, one of the better ones we've seen:

Saturday January 9, 2010

Back to the Sun

Today we have a fantastic sunny day, the sun has dried out the humidity a bit, it's great.

Today, the oyster fishermen have arrived on their bicycles, each is equipped with an inner tube, a face mask a bag for the oysters and a knife. I'm not sure how the fishing is regulated, but this is the first time that they have been here since we arrived.

Here you can see them in the bay just offshore from the RV park:

They dive for the oysters and use the inner tube to hold them between dives:

A view towards San Blas to the north:

A view to the south toward Miramar:

Tonight it's off to Casa Manana for pizza again!

Wednesday January 6, 2010

More relaxing!

The last couple of days have been partly cloudy (which suits Al fine!) the only slight negative is that the tides are high on the beach as a result of the departing full moon, there isn't a lot of room to walk as the water is almost up to the break walls.

On Tuesday evening we had a great happy hour, an Indian lady came from inland Mexico with some hand made jewelry, she had her 5 month old child with her (who was adorable). Apparently they don't name their children until they reach the age of one. This is the remnants of happy hour after sunset (sorry for the dark image):

We went into Aticama today to pick up some bread and dish washing detergent, it's quiet compared to last week:

We have another house guest, he must of got in through a slightly open screen (where the line for the satellite radio antenna goes out). He's well camouflaged and he moves quickly. We aren't bothered by him.

One of his larger cousins did give a problem to our neighbour's electrical power however, it crawled into the electrical receptacle and shorted out the power, toasty!

Monday January 4, 2010

Much quieter!

Yesterday afternoon most of the locals packed up and left the park, today is the first workday of the year for most of them, and 3 or 4 "gringos" also headed south so the park is very quiet.

I've been sharing the internet connection with a few folks here and I believe that one of the campers sharing the connection (now departed for points south) has a computer with a virus as my daily bandwidth (375MB) was exceeded in just an hour on Saturday, as a result the net was essentially down for 24 ours, it returned last afternoon. The usage is back to normal levels today.

It been a strange winter down here weather wise, we had a day of rain recently and today it was partly cloudy, the locals say this is really unusual. The rain and cloudiness is contributing to an excess of bugs, light by Canadian standards but pesky nevertheless.

Today Al went on the beach for the first time since we arrived and we exercised Kasey and took some pictures:

Kasey is guarding the ball (it's in his mouth!):

Whatever happened over the summer, there is a lot more soft sand here on the beach this winter:

The properties to the north have constructed additional walls to prevent erosion:

This photo is of Carl's partners section of the park, you can see the erosion that has taken place, the tree is close to coming down:

Carl has put some $$ into his part of the facility, new walls and refurbished structures:

He is refurbishing the bathroom on his partners part of the facility where the caravans (and the locals) stop. The roof is being replaced and the interior is being completely renewed:

This is the staging area for the sand and gravel for the concrete (all mixed by hand and moved with wheelbarrows).

The electrics in the other area are a little rough! What is the blue wire for??

One of the features that makes the park nice is the terraces with palm trees, this is where we enjoy our happy hour and watch the sun set:

New Years Day 2010

The camp seemed to rise later this morning (not sure why!), it turned out to be a great day.

One of the campers arranged to have a meal prepared for each participant of the pot luck, held starting at 1:00 pm. We had a choice of either BBQ chicken or ribs, Suzette and I split the order so we had some of each. The local cook needed a few days warning as the pig had to be chosen and prepared (talk about fresh ribs!!).

Everyone brought a side dish and there were also some desserts available, so everyone ate extremely well. Apparently there are left overs for tomorrow.

Some pictures:

The dinner was well attended!

Ron and Patty, Ron wore his "tux"!

George, of Tioga George fame ( http://blog.vagabonders-supreme.net/) , dropped over for a chat, we will have lunch with him next week.

It looks like it will be busy over the weekend here, it should be quieter next week when the locals go back to work.

Thursday December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!

As I'm writing this entry, it's past 9:00 pm, heading towards midnight back home. The fireworks are starting to go off in the area, the Mexicans sure know how to enjoy their holidays!

We've had another great day, we enjoyed a lunch of shrimp at a local restaurant and as a result, a light dinner. Al finally got around to taking some pictures of the campground:

The campground looks a little tight, there should be some spaces opening up after New Years.

The slot next to us is vacant, so we have some extra space:

The wall that Carlos started building last winter is now complete, it should stop the erosion:

There is a small room built into the wall that Carlos is renting out, it's a bit rustic but it's close to the ocean:

The entrance to the beach and our happy hour spot:

Fellow campers working hard at devouring some books!

Suzette is doing the same!

Tuesday December 29, 2009

In Playa Amor RV park near Aticama Mexico

We arrived here yesterday afternoon, the park is quite busy and we took a temporary site near the road waiting until a better site opened closer to where we stayed last year. Today we moved in and have settled, most of the stuff including the Internet dish has been set up.

It's quite a bit warmer than in Teacapan and it rained overnight last night so the humidity is high. Our bodies are slowly adjusting.

Not much to report today other than renewing friendships from last year and enjoying happy hours. Also, the Mexicans in the park are very friendly and we really enjoy the youngsters, very well behaved and happy!

Saturday December 26, 2009

Relaxing after the festivities!

We had a great Christmas feast yesterday, really enjoyed the food and the company. Marilyn and Gene, the organizers, did a great job of letting the campers know what to bring and Marilyn and Lloyd cooked a turkey that was absolutely delicious! The tables show some of the bounty:

We also had an unexpected guest in the campground again. Wandering Willie's website chronicled a similar possum intruder earlier in the month, this time the guy made Clarence's engine bay a desirable retirement location. Clarance took him into the bushes and released him, maybe he will get the idea that he isn't welcome in the engine compartment of tow vehicles:

We have started to slowly pack up, and will continue tomorrow, on Monday we head for Playa Amor. By the way, in case you might be wondering, we got closer to capturing our mouse last night, Charlie's trap went off in the middle of the night when the little guy was working on the peanut butter, but he was too fast to be caught. We will try again tonight.

Christmas Eve 2009

Celebrating the Holiday Season

Today the folks in the park celebrated Christmas eve, everyone got together for some great snacks (if I could spell "horse-divers" I would!) some liquid refreshment and comradeship. Virtually everyone in the park joined in. We also were surprised and very pleased to receive a handmade Christmas gift from the wife of the owner of the park.

A couple of pictures:

That's me with my back the camera:

For us, it's both a great and a sad time, we enjoy our friends and the great weather down here but we miss our families back home. We will get to chat with them tomorrow.

I couldn't finish this post without an update on the mouse catching adventure. Up to the present, the little guy has inhaled two servings of peanut butter in two traps (total four servings) plus two servings of Kraft cheese slices (all without tripping the spring lever). Charlie, our neighbour, has taken pity on us and has brought an improved mousetrap with a wide trip paddle loaded with peanut butter. We are setting up the other two traps with premium pepper jack cheese imported from north of the border, the cheese is fastened to the trip lever. We will see if the little guy survives the night!

Tuesday December 22, 2009

One Smart Mouse!

We went into Esquinapa yesterday relatively early (we started shopping before ten AM) and just like Canada the place was a bit of a zoo. We loaded up on food to last us over Christmas and we even saw some turkeys on sale! Unfortunately they were all over 10 lb. so we passed on buying as they probably wouldn't have fitted into the oven in the trailer.

Al also set up another wireless access point for the RV park, the new gadget allows some folks in the north end of the park to get the park's wifi signal.

We had set up a couple of mouse traps in the trailer to trap our "guest", today we found that the peanut butter had been licked clean from both traps without the traps having been set off. A neighbour has provided us with some poison, but we
probably won't use it as we don't want the little guy to expire somewhere in the trailer's structure and stink up the place. We have baited the traps with some cheese that is tucked into the latch, maybe we will be more successful tonight.

A small surprise celebration was held today for the
Don's birthday, he's the husband of our resident barber/hairdresser in camp. It's traditional in Mexico to have the guest of honour get blindfolded and do some pinata "bashing", today was no exception! Some delicious candy treats were released when Don was successful. The picture shows the pinata being adjusted from above and Don trying to strike it:

We never tire of watching sunsets on the shore, tonight's was great, there appears to be some clouds on the horizon. Someone told us that there is some rain in the forecast (we hope not!):

The park is gearing up for Christmas, we have a happy hour get together on Christmas eve (everyone is bringing canapes) and there is a pot luck on Christmas day. Can't wait!

Sunday December 20, 2009

Kasey has a new house guest!

We've been very laid back in the last few days, household chores have been caught up and we've just been enjoying the great weather and the ocean.

Last evening when Al was surfing the net before retiring, a small brown mouse was seen in the kitchen. We normally get into January before our first "guest" appears, this year he's early!

Kasey isn't much of a mouser, so we found some mouse traps back in Canada (Victor, made in USA even!) to bring down just in case. Suzette has arranged to obtain some peanut butter from our next door neighbour (our supply has mysteriously evaporated over the past week) and we will do some trapping. As a precaution, Al will also look for trailer openings so that future guests will be prevented from entry.

Wednesday December 16, 2009

Even more relaxed!

We are almost completely into the Mexican pace of life as can be told by the lack of posts.

Kasey is into his routine of four or five swims in the ocean each day and Suzette and I are into book reading big time. Today we went down to Playa La Tambura for a seafood lunch on the beach, two plates of shrimp with healthy salads on the side and a couple of cervesas for under 200 pesos. We haven't cooked a supper in a couple of days now (but the BBQ is ready!).

We enjoy watching the sunset at the end of the day with a glass of wine in hand, something you never get tired of on the seashore. I shot a picture of an interesting cloud just as the sun set yesterday:

Something else we haven't noticed here in previous years is the abundance and variety of birds, we saw a couple of hummingbirds around the camper early this morning. I need to get the camera out earlier!

Monday December 14, 2009

Relaxing on the beach!

This morning we took a quick run into Esquinapa to do some shopping. We expected Ley to be relatively quiet on a Monday morning but it was quite busy, we shopped and got back before 11:00 am.

This afternoon some final work was done on the campsite (second awning anchored down, mats re-anchored), so we can completely relax going forward. we picked up some ideas for another restaurant close by from another camper here so it's a place to check out during our stay.

Some pictures:

There has been a fair amount of sand erosion at the beach, the beach itself is actually better than it was last year, more sand!

A view of the beach and the campers:

Kasey is having a good time!

Can't resist a great sunset!

Sunday December 13, 2009

In Villas Onac in Teacapan

We got here in the early afternoon and we are partially set up, it will take a day or two to fully deploy. We decided to stay a total of 15 days here, we will celebrate Christmas here with all our friends.

It was great renewing friendships with all the folks here, too many names to remember other than Charlie and his wife, Jim and Alice who were in Celestino and beat us here by an hour or so and Bill who has a great blog, have a look at some of the bird pictures he has taken Here.

Tomorrow we finish setting up and we need to replenish in Teacapan. Down the road, a trip to Mazatlan Ford is in order to fix the A/C, it's too hot down here to run without air. Oh yes, we won't talk about the bruise (cracked fiberglass) on the rear bumper of the new RV when Al backed into the water pedestal in the campsite!

Packing for Teacapan

We've spent a couple of nights here and relaxed, so relaxed in fact that we didn't go out for supper yesterday, we prepared a simple supper.

It's hot here, this morning the inside temperature is 70 degrees F, we needed to pull in some air via the vents to cool down the camper last night.

Hopefully it will be cool on the way to Teacapan today, our truck air conditioning still isn't working ( it looks more complicated than just a fuse problem, the shop manual says that there is a relay and diode between the fuse and the A/C clutch), so a visit to a Ford dealer is in the cards.

The campground here has changed a bit, Ramon, the former manager is gone, replaced by a younger gentleman who is attentive and speaks good English. Meters for electricity have been installed and the daily rate at 150 pesos is lower than last year. Plugs for 50 and 30 amp service are available. Unfortunately, the voltage isn't very stable, it varies from 130+ to around 100, our camper surge guard shut down the power because of the potential danger to the camper. 

We brought down a line conditioner from Canada to solve this problem as we've seen similar situations in Mexico before. It's only rated for 20 amps but it increases or decreases the voltage to obtain a nominal 120 volt output. It was installed and it works. It's unfortunate that the owner here spent the $$ to upgrade the electrical pedestals with the poor power quality, I'm not sure if it's his transformer or the local supply that is at fault, it's not his wiring, he has good wire thickness.

A couple of pictures of the park before we leave:

Friday December 11, 2009

In Celestino Gasca

We are camped in Punta San Miguel here in Celestino, we had a look at Villa Tortuga on the way by, they had six RV's parked, their capacity is eight, so we stopped here, we are two campers in a campground of 40+ sites. We looked at the other two campgrounds as well, Villa Celeste has a few campers but looks empty and Celestino to the south also looks deserted, we may drop over to Villa Tortuga tomorrow as Ron Hall reports that they have a good restaurant.

Things are quiet here and we are settled. Pictures later!

Thursday December 10, 2009

Cooler weather!

We must have somehow affected the weather here by watching Toronto's snowy weather and sneering, today it's overcast and cooler here, jacket weather.

Last evening we enjoyed some more shrimp at the restaurant, I think that's our third or fourth seafood dinner in a row, tonight we are eating in, chicken is on the menu for a change.

We will pack up tomorrow morning and head for Celestino, Ron suggested that we try the Villa Tortuga RV park there for a change, it's got full services and a nice beach. Since we understand that Ramon is no longer at Punta San Miguel (and Ron said it was closed when he went through), we want to try something different.

The A/C in the truck is still giving some difficulties, it blew a couple of fuses on the way here yesterday. A larger unused fuse was found in the fuse panel (15 amp instead of the 10 amp size that's blowing), hopefully it will last longer before blowing. Actually we may not even need air conditioning tomorrow if it's as cool as today.

The RV park here is being improved each year, a couple of years ago it was in decline, now we see fresh paint, reliable electrics (except for the power interruption this morning, CFE is working on the wires in the village) and a friendly local who speaks English and looks after us very well.

A couple of pictures to show the changes (look at previous years posts to see the improvement):

The camping slots on the west side of the hotel are pretty barren, but there is more space than the other side:

A view from the beach:

A jeep on the beach in the distance:

Lots of shrimp boats out this morning!

Wednesday December 9, 2009

Las Glorias Mexico

We are in Mr Moro Hotel and campground, we are settled in after a nice shrimp dinner in the restaurant.

Suzette reports that there are a few new puppies around and we are feeding some of the "regulars".

We plan to be here for two nights and we will post some pictures later.

Tuesday December 8, 2009

Enjoying the great weather!

Our second day here was great, the temps were high, a little bit of dark cloud in the morning (maybe it can be seen in the pictures below) but the sun was out for the rest of the day. We did some shopping in Huatabampo today, Al was brave enough to hit an auto parts shop (without the sample fuse), a replacement fuse plus a spare was found for the A/C fan clutch on the truck after a little sign language and searching. Two fuses were purchased for 1 peso (10 cents) each, Al got change from a 20 peso note.

Our friends that we met in Santa Ana dropped in from Alamos this morning and we enjoyed their company at the restaurant for dinner. We are sure that our grown children will be glad to hear that one of these friends is a Canadian doctor and former surgeon, he will also be in the San Blas area with us for our stay there. Now if only a vet will join us, things would be absolutely perfect (not that we need medical or veterinary care!).

A couple of pictures:

We are parked with the rear of the camper facing the ocean and a palm tree to our side:

Some of the other campers in the park:

The sound of these waves make sleeping so easy at night:

The beach looking toward the local harbour:

Tomorrow it's off to Las Glorias, Suzette is waiting to see the new batch of puppies!

Monday December 7, 2009

In Huatabampito

We arrived at the El Mirador here around 2:00 pm after a longish drive from San Carlos (around 300 km. but the road was a bit rough so we took it slow).

We were repaid for the travel by an excellent seafood meal at the restaurant and warm weather (as this is being written after 9:00 pm it's still 75F in the trailer with most of the windows open). We understand that our friends in Playa Amor and in Teacapan are suffering through heavy rains, we hope the weather improves as we go south.

We plan to stay another night, then head to Las Glorias.

One additional benefit of being here is that we met Mike and Terri Church, authors of the Mexican camping book. We hope to get our copy signed before they leave for Mazatlan tomorrow.