These are the archived chronicles of the sailing ship
Mustang Sally a blue water catamaran. Rae and Sharon
Simpson are circumnavigating the planet aboard. Rae and
Sharon departed White Rock, British Columbia, Canada
- from Semiahmoo Marina on June 1, 2005.
Sharon did not like Acapulco much, Rae on the other
hand thought it was great. Acapulco is the biggest city we
have visited since San Diego and it does have some of the
negatives of big cities. Nevertheless, it is a robust
place, full of energy, people with a zest for life and much
Here follows the good the bad and the ugly:
Acapulco: The Good
The brave young
The buses are unbelievable and the system works great.
The positive energy and friendly attitude of the people.
The many beautiful beaches.
A big beautiful natural harbor. Click
here to take a look around Acapulco.
The bay is so big, everything is spread out and does not seem so
The fishermen with their mile long nets that they haul in by
A charming old town.
A beautiful climate.
Most of the bay contains clean, clear cool water.
A thousand Volkswagen bugs as taxis.
Acapulco: The Bad
The hotel/tourist strip is a diesel stinking traffic jam most
of the day.
Noisy din from the traffic. Everyone honks, buses whistle,
Heat and humidity can be brutal.
Abandoned building projects abound.
Only one of the two marina's is a serviceable marina.
The one that is, is very expensive.
Acapulco: The Ugly
Some people still use the ocean as a garbage pit.
Annoying two bit hustlers.
People living everywhere.
The water around the marina area can be downright disgusting.
Every vice known to man - yours for money.
Regardless of the few negatives, we had a great time in Acapulco and our
friends Dennis and Jan helped make it so. Rae highly
recommends it. Sharon pans it. What about you?
Here are a
few pictures of the fun times.
The Silver City of Taxco
Far from the sea, in the mountains of Mexico, there is a town so
delightful that you have to pinch yourself to insure you are not
dreaming. It is a charming 18 century Spanish town in an
unbelievably beautiful setting. Click
you would like a birds eye view.
narrow streets go up and down the mountains and are steeper than Oxford street. Many
of the houses use the mountains side as a wall of the house.
The town has a half a dozen silver mines scattered throughout.
Hundreds of silver workers turn the metal into jewelry, cutlery,
wine glasses and every other object imaginable.
Sharon and Jan shopped till they dropped while Rae and Denis
took a taxi to the highest point in the city then stumbled
around the labyrinth of streets and stairs to find our way back
down. Click here to follow their
We took the rental car for a short tour of the town.
After a few blocks the girls faces were kinda like this, so we
dropped them off and let them walk.
To the right and by following this
link you can see a
few of the human faces of Tasco.
We stayed in a lovely 1930 era, rambling rancher hotel
that was a gem. Its glory is fading, but we loved the Spanish Hacienda style and unique and clever trappings
of the La Borda
A beautiful cathedral is the cities crown.
If you go to Taxco and want a good nights sleep, bring ear plugs.
The Mexican's love a fiesta and in Taxco the fiestas are
and long. Or better yet, just join the fiesta and
help contribute to the din.
January 2006: The Mexican
Riviera: Hot - Stinking Hot!
The air is thick, warm, moist and tropical. Pungent salt
air punctuated with flowers and a thin
wisp of acrid smoke. To walk in the hot sun is to overheat. Any physical effort in the sun sets sweat
glands to overdrive.
tough. Light sheets are tossed off to let the last whisper
of the land breeze evaporate the sticky sweat from hot skin.
Turning to expose sweaty skin to the whisper of air flowing
through the hatch. Glance at the clock - 3 AM. A few
more hours of cool night before the sun rises again to turn the
seascape into a blistering blue inferno.
Days follow days where the suns heavy rays bends the backs
of all who leave the shade. Without dark
sunglasses the sun's brilliant glare glints off the water
and stabs eyes like a bowie knife. Sharp pain for a
northerner whose eyes are more adept at peering through the
gloom of a grey soggy winter where sunshine is an all but
One quenches the solar inferno by diving into the ocean's
cool green waters. Or by sipping cold Corona's with lime
in the shade of a palm tree on the beach. However one stays
cool, the pace of life is slow and leisurely. Much to hot
for the quick long strides of a man with a mission. The
mission can wait. For now we breath deep of Mexico's sweet
perfumes and taste life in America's first nation to develop a
and Jan joined us here and Dan headed for home. Dennis and
Rae climbed to the highest point they could find in this city.
They were delighted with the colours and homes that ran the
gamut from outright slums to grand houses with beautiful
gardens. Everything in between. The tropical
climate favors lush growth and even the poorest shanty has an
abundance of flower pots.
Zihautanejo is a robust place with a well developed tourist
trade. A range of fine hotels dot the beaches and
hillsides outside of the central town of about 70.000 or so
souls. The bay is filled with tourists, cruising
boats, jet skis and para-sailors. Cruise ships frequent
this port. It is busy like Cabo San Lucas but more laid back,
more tropically exotic.
The sculpture at the left represents one of the
deities that in Mexican lore welcomes one to the land of the
dead. Mexicans have a different way of looking at death.
Mexicans celebrate death. This seems to be one of the
attributes of the pre-Spanish culture that has not faded with
the Christian era. Most people in our culture would find
sculptures on this subject rather morbid. Mexicans see it
differently and we are trying to see it their way.
But enough words. Follow the hyper links and see for
here for a tour
of the city. Click
to view some of the cities infrastructure up in the hills.
to pan around the bay from Mustang Sally.
Mae Tang Mar is our tongue in cheek name for the gang at the
left. The crews from Maestra del Mar and Mustang Sally.
We were reunited in Barra and we enjoyed much camaraderie.
Swimming, surfing and feasting to excess - it was a wonderful
Barra Navidad is as fine a town as you can find on the coast
of Mexico. More religion oriented than most Mexican towns.
Even though religion seems prominent in most of Mexico.
Beautifully organized architecture, the town is decked out in bold
colours without the artificial feel of the more tourist
oriented towns. Tropical flowers and plants abound. A fine
lagoon where you can anchor free from the Pacific swell but
still hear the sound of surf breaking on the beaches outside the
Here is a new pre-occupation of mine. Driving the dingy
like a maniac - standing up. It breaks all the safety
rules, but I have an engine kill switch on my wrist and fully
expect to fall off sooner or later. Lots of fun!
is that name? Tough for an English speaker to say.
Tentacatita. Spanish is great because if you can spell the
word you can pronounce the word and vise versa. The name
is Ten - ta - ca - tit - a. Easy. the letter e is
pronounced "eh" and the letter i is pronounced 'eee'. So
it is Tentacatita. The word rolls off the tongue like a
drum roll. We love the name and love the place.
voyage from Puerto Vallarta to Tentacatita was amazing for the
amount of wild life.
big Mata Rays.
We hit something! The boat went ca-thunk and the autopilot
cranked the wheel to compensate. Behind us an enormous
Manta Rays is rolling in the water like he has been hit by a
truck. Uh..... hit by Mustang Sally. We are quite a
bit lighter than a big truck but at 6 tons that poor Manta Ray
must have felt pretty poorly after getting walloped. We
hope he lived. No damage on Sally.
Bahia Tentacatita is one of the most beautiful places
in Mexico. This is the place we dreamt about when we setout
on this voyage. The air is clear, the water warm and
clear. Diving paradise. A mangrove forest that you
can ride the dingy through to a the lovely village of Tentacatia.
White sandy beaches dotted with palm trees with palapa bars
tucked under the trees. Yep this is IT pretty moma. We are
here. We can quit now. We don't have to go any
further. This be paradise.
Pictures seem little scarce.
Must have been asleep at the camera switch. But click
a little slide show of our trip through the mangrove swamp to
the village of Tentacatita and back.
Friends from Home
were delighted to have Josh Roger and friends join us for a day
of sailing and diving at the Archos in Bahia de Banderas.
We had a blast. A few pictures
addition, Dan Penner joined us in early 2006 for the sail from
Puerto Vallarta to Zihautanejo.
Dan kept us laughing and he tried hard to
keep things smooth on a little boat on a big ocean. We
enjoyed his visit immensely.
Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
To all our family, extended family and friends, great
big hugs and kisses of joy.
Few people know that the tradition of a year end festive season
pre-dates Christianity. The tradition can be clearly
traced back two and one half millennium to the early Greek civilization.
We delight in carrying on this tradition in the early years of
the third millennium. Giving gifts and sharing Christmas
cheer. Feasting to excess, enjoying friendships and
family. With a different twist this year as we
are thousands of miles from home in this friendly little Mexican
Missing all our friends and family back home but we chased
away most of the loneliness with a fun local Christmas. We
celebrated Christmas eve at Philo's - a local bar and recording
studio. Philo organized a pot luck dinner. Most of
the 50 or so cruise boats in the anchorage took part.
Philo arranged for a four turkeys and gave out presents to a few
hundred of the local kids. Afterwards the instruments were tuned
up and music rang out through the streets of La Cruz.
Check out the La Cruz Christmas scene
The Sal Mae Tang Mar gang went to work on Christmas day and put
on a fine feast. A few pictures
May your Christmas be wonderful and your dreams for 2006 all
Sharon and I made the 85 mile passage to La Cruz on December
20th. Winds were northerly at 10 knot or less. We used the big
spinnaker to move us south. It was fun to try and sail in
an area where most cruisers lament the lack of wind. Winds
were weak, but with the right sails and a little patience,
and a bit of use of the motors we managed to average 5 knots for the entire
La Cruz is a little village 10 kilometers north and west of
Puerto Vallarta. The people are great here.
Lots of welcoming restaurants, bars and boaters. We will
spend Christmas and New Years here with friends before heading
further south. Catch up on some boat maintenance,
kick back, relax and enjoy some of Mexico's flowers. Check
out the scene in La Cruz if you like by clicking
The harbour is a little treacherous. Big swells generated
by the storms in the Gulf of Alaska roll through
the harbour and waves break in the harbour! Somehow the
harbour has silted up or construction work has caused it to silt
up. Regardless, landing there is a matter of good
timing, luck, dodging the breaking waves and hammering on
the throttle of the outboard to kick through the waves.
Landing inevitably results in a water logged butt - we must be
San Blas was a blast.
A beautiful Mexican City. The most picturesque seen so
far. Paved roads, lots of bicycles, lovely town.
A trip up into a tropical jungle.
Swimming in the most beautiful fresh water pool in a tropical
setting. Falling into a crocodile infested swamp.
Yeah, I actually finally for the first time in my life, fell
into a real life, crocodile infested swamp. Barely made it
out alive. Exciting but not near as tough to get out of as
some of my life's more metaphorical croc infested swamps.
Life has been interesting.
Isla Isabella (the Galapagos of Mexico)
A naturalist's paradise. This Mexican national park was
awesome. More than expected. Tens of thousands of
birds. And the fish - shooting through the water in
schools of thousands, rolling in and around the rocks like
a mile long carpet of white wrapping around the underwater
The diving was great
and the wild life was ..fantastic.
I gotta show you ....
click here for
off the Baja, we departed La Paz at 8:00 AM on Saturday, December
10th. We allocated 48 hours for crossing the Sea of
Cortez, but Aoleos favored us by tossing brisk north winds our
way. We zoomed across the sea with the knot meter bouncing into the double digits.
The loud sound of the water roaring by the hull and winds
whistling were punctuated by occasional whacks and bangs of the
It was like riding a wild Mustang. Once the sails
were set, Sally's two riders just hung on and monitored
her systems while she galloped cross the sea.
Nothing beats riding a catamaran on a broad reach in a fresh
"Exhilarating" says Rae, "too much" says Sharon.
Sharon was an excellent sailor for this crossing and we rely on
each other during overnight runs. She sleeps
while I watch the boat. Then I sleep while she watches.
With the stronger winds we cut 10 hours off the planned passage
time! The photo at left shows her the morning of our
arrival feeling good about the crossing .
We sailed in the company of our good friends on Maestra del
Mar - Rod, Charlotte, Morgan and Carrie shown at the right.
Now we are all out of the Baja desert and into the mainland
tropics. It feels great to be here. Mazatlan offers
great shopping and good prices if you know where to look.
Dinner for two, with 4 Coronas cost $10 last night!
We had a lovely evening with Hal and Kathy Moan from Airborne
who gave us lots of good tips about the mainland. Hal and
Kathy are Blue Water Cruising Association members that left for
Mexico two years ahead of us. John and Margot from Caretta,
friends from the same association joined us as well.
Kathy's Margarita recipe is numero uno!
are enjoying the town and getting some Christmas shopping done.
Everyone is getting in the spirit and the boat is decked out in
Christmas regalia. Will miss friends and family this
festive season and that makes the heart heavy - so we try not to
think about that to much.
But we wish everyone back home a wonderful Christmas, New
years and festive season!!