Sailing away with Nikk and Jan

Archive for September, 2013



There’s that light again. Not the moon, too many clouds. Not in the sky, either, down on the ground, moving around. Here I am, laying out on my branch, a bit sluggish now that the nights are getting colder and my juices are not flowing so well. Just barely opened my eye and BLAM, there’s that big light down there. I’m up here almost at the top of the tree, trying to get some sleep before morning when it’s time to get up and munch some leaves. Got to get my calcium balanced, a big boy like me needs strong bones to move this two feet of body and three feet of tail around in the trees.

Seven years ago this whole place changed, my tree was right at the edge of the beach, and down below some big ponds to splash around in when I wanted a change from hanging out in the branches of this huge tree. Man, did the tree shake when all those big machines went by every day, bringing in rocks, and strange looking rocks they were, dumping them all over the place. Then they pushed the sand onto the land and covered up the ponds, made all these weird places for the two-legged creatures to walk out on the water, and planted so many palm trees. I wanted them to plant more of the trees with leaves I like to eat, but our youngsters like hanging out in those palms, so it’s all right. Now there’s many, many two-leggeds and most of them don’t even know I’m up here. I can’t complain too much though, the relatives in other places like Fiji and the Caribbean are losing all their trees, pretty soon there might not be any more iguanas there. The two-leggeds don’t know that we animals can communicate with pictures we send to each other, along with feelings, even over long distances.

We iguanas pretty much stay in the same place, I’ve been here for about fourteen years now, we just lost a lot of branches on one of my favorite trees this summer, but I’m staying unless this tree falls over or gets cut down. I went over to the plaza to check out some of the trees over there, just in case I needed a new home, but those trees don’t have as many good hiding places. A few years ago some of my relatives got grabbed by humans and taken far away. Those humans didn’t know they needed special leaves to eat, they fed them all sorts of ridiculous stuff like melons and dog food, and then the poor iguanas got that bone disease and died. I just hope I get to live here until I die. By the way, my name is Ziggy, and the two-legged with the light is gone, so now I’m going to wriggle around on this branch, arrange my tail, get comfy, and go back to sleep before morning..

La Cruz Writer’s Group Goes In Search of New Inspiration

Last Saturday the La Cruz Writer’s Group (four of us) took a Field Trip. Usually the group meets on Saturday morning in the marina lounge, but this Saturday we wanted to do something different. At first we were going to head inland and north to Tepic, but that involved a long bus ride, so we opted for Los Arroyos Verdes instead. ( A van from Arroyos Verdes, adorned with flames, drove out to pick us up at the marina, and fifteen minutes later we were in a tropical paradise, 30,000 square meters of gardens, thirty-two casitas for rent, including a silver airstream trailer, a spa, swimming pool, restaurant and lounging areas. The force behind this fabulous place is Lupe, an architect and former sailor, who welcomed us enthusiastically.



And art is everywhere, sculpture, painting, decorative arts and glass, glass, glass. (For a while I was a fused glass artist when I lived in Portland and Taos.) This is definitely a place that is worth numerous return visits. Our happy and congenial group wandered, lunched, visited, and explored, including exploring topics for each of us to write about in the coming week. I am very lucky to have a writer’s group of friendly, talented women to inspire me and bring me out of the writing doldrums.




This past week we were visited by the rainy outbands of Tropical Storm Manuel, a yellow warbler who was attacking her image in the kitchen window, and two friends who came to dinner so we could thank them for feeding the marina cats while we were away. And we helped paint a new restaurant and cruiser’s hangout in town, mixing orange paint and sweat. The next post will tell all.


Bows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way

Joni Mitchell “Both Sides Now”


Cloud art and cloud poetry with a rainbow (can you find it?)

That huge cloud is a cumulonimbus, from the Latin cumulo (heap) and nimbus (rainstorm). They are associated with atmospheric instability, as warm and cold air collide.
Looking at the beauty of this cloud, it would be easy to forget that inside is a maelstrom of air currents being thrust upwards, cold air causing water vapor to condense and increase the cloud size, swirling gusts, and tops that go from 20,000 feet to occasional 70,000 foot monsters. In nature exists beauty and chaos together. After sunset the clouds begin the nightly light show, with lightening bolts sometimes blasting out of clouds in a 360 degree circle all around us. Last year two boats were struck by lightening in the marina, luckily none this year.
Down here it’s still the monsoon season, and hurricane season, although after a few hurricanes off the west coast of Mexico in July, I think August was pretty quiet, and then last week a tropical storm hit the Baja Peninsula, far away. We can get two inches of rain in two hours here, as we did two nights ago, and fantastic displays of lightening. Last night I was up until a little after midnight, enjoying the quiet (we are staying on a cobblestone street that is very busy during the day, with advertisements blaring from trucks, loud music from cars, lots of teenagers going to and from the schools across the street, and all the vehicles bouncing over the speed bump right outside the house). I happened to look out to the north and saw gigantic flashes of lightening in the clouds, with the occasional thunderbolts shooting out into view. And then twice there was a ball of lightening moving from left to right. Was I seeing a lightening bolt head on? So much electricity that it got together and made a ball instead of a bolt? Mysterious.

We’ve been looking at clouds this past week, enjoying a break from the oppressive heat and humidity. The humidity is still there, but when the temperatures are ten to fifteen degrees cooler (F)
the relief is significant. When we returned from two weeks in the Pacific Northwest we thought that we’d be suffering and sweating buckets, but luckily the temperatures over 90 waited a week to appear. Today the sun is out, the temperature here will be 93 degrees, and apparent temperature 103, due to the 85% humidity. I’m in the dining room, with the air conditioner on, and it’s a comfortable 84 degrees. One of the reasons that it’s been two months since I wrote a blog is the heat and humidity. My brain cells go into sloth mode when it’s this hot and humid. The soaking pool is heaven, it’s about 88 degrees and cools our core temperatures back to normal, but after that it’s time to read or nap. I think I’ve read about thirty books this summer!

The first two months here we were only using the air conditioner in the bedroom at night to avoid lying in a puddle of sweat while trying to sleep. Then the electricity bills suddenly went from $900 pesos (about $75 dollars US) to $90 pesos. The solar panels that Dick and Mary Ann put up on the palapa roof were sending excess electricity to the grid, and the electrical company started giving credit. This month the bill was $45 pesos, so we are using the air conditioner in the dining room during the day which is so lovely, and allows me to “do my homework” for the Writer’s Group which meets on Saturday at the marina.

There is still morning yoga at the marina at 8am, and two days a week Stretch Dance in the Ocean (Bay of Banderas) at 10am. Crystal leads the Stretch Dance class, she is a wonderful, powerfully positive woman that I was lucky to meet here this summer. Those of you on FB, go to my page and you can see some beautiful, fun pictures of the class. Nikk and I are also going to the marina at night to feed the three marina cats. One was abandoned last winter, the other two Siamese were abandoned about two years ago at the marina when they were part of a litter of four kittens.
The veterinarian here in town is Dr. Dunia, so one female Siamese was named after her when she spayed and neutered the kittens and the abandoned adult cat.


This is Dunia, she is beautiful, and loves to be petted. We heard rumors in May when we took over feeding the two marina cats, the Siamese and the Grey Tabby, that there was another Siamese in the marina, the brother of Dunia. Sure enough, after a couple of weeks we were feeding Dunia one night on the steps leading to the boat ramp, and suddenly there was another Siamese slinking alongside the wall about fifteen feet away. We left him a little pile of food. By August he decided that he wanted to be fed, and started running along with us as we walked up to the malecon (the paved, bricked walkway on the top of the berm). He hasn’t gotten close enough to be petted, and probably never will, but last night he was only two feet away from me as I put down his food. Chulita, the Grey Tabby, is very friendly and sweet, and loves to be petted. I am hoping that someone will adopt her this winter when the cruisers and sun-seekers who own or rent homes here return. The cats all hunt lizards and rodents in the rocks, too. And one night while we were feeding the two Siamese cats, a small raccoon appeared.

The big change at the marina is the closure of the restaurant and the store at the beginning of August. Now all the cruisers have to go up into town to eat, buy beer, pop and snacks, get returnable ten gallon bottles of filtered water, and there is no longer a place with umbrellas and tables outside the tienda where we often met our fellow cruisers in the morning to chat. The waiters and waitresses and clerks all lost their jobs, which made us sad. The restaurant and tienda are owned by a time share company, not the marina, so their profit margin must have been suffering in some way, and now lots of workers are suffering. However, several of the waiters were hired as marina guards. One of the live-aboards, Lynn on La Vita, wanted to help a lovely waitress named Marisol, so she organized a Sunday morning opportunity for Marisol to come to our house and do some barbering on four sailors, then manicure Lynn and Jan. Nikk’s hair had been growing for about five months, and was curling behind his ears when she took the electric clipper and shears to it.


That’s all the news from La Cruz for now. Here’s one more beautiful view of sunset clouds from the rooftop, the “cloud illusions”.


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