We left our Portland slip Tuesday, July 10, 2012.  We’ll be updating this journal with descriptions of our adventures aboard Cetacean, our Tayana 37 cutter, as we make our way south and then east.  The sailcetacean blogsite includes other pages (ships track page, writings and gallery) for you to explore. Hopefully you will find the writing and images amusing, informative, maybe thoughtful. Stay tuned.  We welcome your feedback and comments. 

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Denver and some other stuff

More fun to watch lightening from an apartment balcony than a sailboat.

We’ve rented an apartment near Denver’s LoSo section (lower downtown), and  it’s pretty centrally located for getting around downtown Denver and near our granddaughter and her family. The miles long 16th Street walking mall is one block from the door of the apartment building.  Like the PNW, good beer, coffee, sidewalk cafes and restaurants  are  everywhere; odd people too.

If I had to guess, I’d say Portland and Denver are the two (microbrew) beer capitals of the Western US. Someone here said that Denver was the Napa Valley of beer. I have no idea how accurate that statement is, but it would be fun proving it one way or another.

There are two spectator sports nearby:  watching the weather and watching people. The weather changes quickly; rain, hail then sun then lightening, change the order, repeat. The lightning is way more fun to watch from an apartment balcony than from the deck of a sailboat. The local media reported  sailboats racing on a local lake were knocked down (blown over) from a micro-burst – - dumping all the sailors into the lake. The Sheriff was called to fish them out. So, lots of  weather.  Lots of people too. The people on the mall, like the weather, are varied and dynamic – lots of cultures are represented , economic backgrounds, dress, piercings – almost looks like Portland. I’m sure, lots of stories.

The Mall
The Mall
Free Buses on the Mall
Free Buses on the Mall

We saw lots of  similar people in Mexico.  I may be stretching things a bit because every person is a story and everyone is different, but  I expect there are a few common themes in both Countries.  In both counties, the basic idea is to survive, keep warm and dry, find food and make a little money any way possible.

Guanajuato, Mexico
3rd Economy in Mexico

It may be my imagination, but the numbers seem to be increasing. Is it because we are doing less to help, or the population is increasing in general or maybe it’s related to how technologically savvy a person needs to be…to become an employee and a lot of people don’t have the skills?  Perhaps I need to understand who they are and why. It’d be interesting.

Changing subjects:   Our rented apartment is on the 12th floor of a 42-story building. The other day I decided to walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator.  A building employee pointed out the door to the stairs  – “but the elevator is just behind you!”  After assuring him I wanted to walk up (a look of craziness showed on his face) I started.  How hard could 12 stories be? I was totally pooped after just 8 stories, the last four were a blur. It has now become a challenge to do the building, but there are 42 stories in the building.  But there is time for thought during the stair stepping agony: Is there a relation the number of street people and  how easy we’ve made our lives:  through technology and the use of our conveniences.  I think we shun away from hard tasks if there isn’t a simple ready made answer. I wonder?



It’s hard to become good at something.  Been trying to learn a bit more about photography and especially, how the written word effects our viewing of printing pictures and printing images too. There isn’t as much free time on a sailboat as one would think so this is a great opportunity.  One of the themes I’m exploring is the merits of titles, descriptions and stories to accompany photographs. It seems to me that even great art is enhanced by narrative. It could be information about the artist or photographer, maybe  a story of the photographer’s adventures in pursuit of the image?  Maybe a word about the images’ cultural context? Every image should tell a story by itself, no argument, but it seems to me that some thought-provoking words to go with the image only enhances and does not detract.

We walked into a photo gallery the other day in Red Lodge, Montana. The photographer/owner was there to explain a stunning (close-up) photo of a slinking  wolf – with the hackles on his back raised and facing the photographer, maybe 25 feet away. According to the photographer, unseen in the photo is a pack of Coyote chasing the wolf.  The wolf was using the photographer as a shield, or in basketball lingo, “a pick.”  The story made a huge difference, even though the photograph could be viewed and enjoyed on its own.

Just a title seems like a good beginning. What would the “Girl with a Pearl Earing” be without that title?

Except for the visceral feeling one gets from initially observing some art or a beautiful scene in nature, I  think most scenes, images or photographs, paintings, and other art are assisted by and enhanced by the written word.  I know it helps me to write, maybe only because I’m forced to think about the image/subject.

Printing is another huge area for learning. Computer screens have spoiled us.  Before computers the only ways to view a picture was either shoot slide film or have a print made.  Now I rarely make prints since we just store the digital files, display them on screen, there is no more shoebox!  Shoot and forget.

But the cameras are so good that to really appreciate the quality and the technology  one should print photographs, large.  I had designed  the electronic innards of  photo printers for 15 years but I’m finding there is still a lot to learn about using them. In particular, insuring that colors on the screen match the colors in the print by using color calibrated screens and soft-proofing. Picking the right paper, cropping for the frame. Choosing a frame. But like sailing, the fun is in the journey and so is learning new stuff.  I’ve been lucky enough to hook up with a local professional photographer who prints his own work. He is going to help me with some of my pictures. It should be very interesting!

We are looking forward to some hiking in the Rockies, spending more time with our granddaughter and her family and exploring some more of Colorado.

In the mean time – I’m including some recent photos from our car trip here – playing with  titles and descriptions. If anyone has comments,  I’d appreciate it.

Wheat and Green





Our world is ever hungry for both food and electric power, so the title seems appropriate.
Feed Me
Sparse and Spectacular Wyoming






Any comment appreciated

Playing Catchup

Ron and I are in the U.S.  We flew out of Mexico on Saturday, June 21st for Portland, Oregon. The Marina Chiapis Manager assured us it was “only a little shake,” when we inquired about the July 7th 6.9 magnitude earthquake epicentering uncomfortably close to Cetacean’s dry dock at Marina Chiapis, Puerto Madero, Chiapis, Mexico.  We had left for PortlandContinue Reading

Lacondon Jungle Trip, Part 3: Yaxchilan and José

We drove from Palenque town to explore Yaxchilan, our third and final Lacondon Jungle Mayan ruin. To get to the Yaxchilan site, it’s necessary to take a boat.  The boat ride traverses the Usumacinta River, a waterway between southeastern Mexico and northwestern Guatemala. We entered the Yaxchilan park site, found a river transit service, paid the boat fee, andContinue Reading

Lacondon Jungle Road Trip, Pt 2 – The Palenque Ruins & the Truth According to Victor Damas

The journey from Comítan de Domínguez to Palenque’s modern-day town was exhausting. Of course there were lots of topes (see Ron’s discussion of topes in his last post). Add the numerous and steep “Curvas Peligrosas” (dangerous curves); the drivers who pass on blind curves, the slow trucks, unusual and startling sales attempts involving road blocks, and it’s aContinue Reading

Road Trip to Chiapas’ Lacondon Jungle, Part 1

  Marina Chiapas will be Cetacean’s home for the June-to-October hurricane season. We’ll be heading back to the states to visit family and friends from July through September. Leaving Cetacean for an extended period is always lot of (sweaty, detailed, sometimes frustrating) work: packing up – deciding what to leave behind, what to close downContinue Reading

Crossing El Golfo de Tehuantepec – my own big, blue monster in the offshore closet

  Aaron maneuvered Patient Pariah out of our shared Bahia Santa Cruz, Huatulco, MX anchorage. He motored past the anchorage’s dicey, rocky entrance, headed to wind, put up his main and then turned left. “Be safe kiddo,” I whispered. Aaron was sailing, alone, into the baddest piece of water on the Mexican Pacific coast: El Golfo deContinue Reading

From Z to A and the Tehuantepecker

Dear Reader – I’m sorry we’ve been neglecting you. Hopefully we can make up for our absence by being really boring/entertaining/flippant. We sailed to the fabled place of Zihuatanejo, made famous by the movie Shawshank Redemption adapted from the novella “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” by Steven King. In the film Andy Dufresne in prisonContinue Reading

On Goals

  I was thinking about goals the other day, when it became apparent that we’d have to change our year’s –end destination for the sailing trip. Boat repairs got in the way of making the necessary southward progress toward Panama. We’d put a lot of time and effort into the planning for Panama so whenContinue Reading