Mustang Sally
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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. 


Acapulco - Two Views:

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 excitement. 

Here follows the good the bad and the ugly:


Acapulco:  The Good

The brave young cliff divers are amazing.
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 busy.
The fishermen with their mile long nets that they haul in by hand.
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, gears grind.
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

Drug crimes.
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 here if you would like a birds eye view.

The 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 wanderings.

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 Hotel. 

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 frequent, loud 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. 

Sleeping is 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 forgotten commodity.

Aaaaah Mexico. 

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 civilization. 



Dennis 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, much 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 yourself.  Click here for a tour of the city.  Click here to view some of the cities infrastructure up in the hills.  Click here to pan around the bay from Mustang Sally.

Barra de Navidad

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 reunion.

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 lagoon.

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!


What 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.

The voyage from Puerto Vallarta to Tentacatita was amazing for the amount of wild life.   Whalesbig 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 here for a little slide show of our trip through the mangrove swamp to the village of Tentacatita and back.


Friends from Home

We 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 here.

In 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.

A 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 village of La Cruz

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 here

The Sal Mae Tang Mar gang went to work on Christmas day and put on a fine feast.  A few pictures here

May your Christmas be wonderful and your dreams for 2006 all come true.




La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

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 passage.

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 here.

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 sailing!



San Blas

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. 

Slide Show Here!


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 rocks. 

The diving was great and the wild life was ..fantastic. 

I gotta show you .... click here for pictures.


Jumping 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 slamming waves.

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 breeze. 

"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!



We 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!!



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