Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Turtles!!!





I've seen people post about releasing turtles on the beach...  Most of the time, it's at a resort or some organized tour (not my thing).  So, I've never done it.  But secretly deep inside, I've really wanted to....So, when we were in La Cruz in December, I learned about a turtle camp which is a pain in the A$$ to get to and NOT NOT NOT fancy in any way (think wooden shack on the beach).  It's the one that the cruisers locally support because no one else does - they're the underdogs.  I liked their facebook page because who doesn't want to see pictures of turtles???

That's when I learned that on the days when they have turtles hatched and ready for release, they put out a post and it's open to the public provided you can figure out where they are and get there.  Now, that sounds like my kinda challenge with my kinda organization.

This stayed in the back of my mind...... Now fast forward a month or so and we are back in La Cruz, and I mentioned to Greg that I wanted to do this.  There is no guarantee how many turtles are being released and the only directions I had was a picture of a google map location which was at least an hour bus ride away and a few towns.  Greg is used to these adventures and also enjoys them (most of the time).

A couple days later, the afternoon rolls around and we are just hanging out on Pura Vida and I see a posting about turtles.  YEP, it's on...  We text some new friends to see if they are in on the adventure and the reply with, "We're IN!"

With plans to meet at the dinghy dock, I start my reconnaissance.  Greg and I checked with a local cruising resource and were advised to take a taxi.  But I was confident (pretty much) that we had good directions with the google map.

After a quick debrief with the whole gang, I'm comfortable dragging Greg on an unsure adventure, but new friends, I'd like them to know it's a discovery exercise.

I won't drag it on, it went without a hitch, about a 45 min bus ride, then about a 20 min walk to the beach, then down the beach about 15 min to the shack on the beach.

We were even early.  But that's not a good or bad thing.  Because others did arrive and because there's no guarantee how many turtles, we're looking around and lowering our expectation to, "Gee, I hope we can at least see them"

Anticipation mounted while we waited for permission from the Mexican government to participate in the turtle release.  Finally, it came, and after a short talk about the turtles and their hatching life, baskets of baby turtles were brought out - and each of us received our own little charge to release into the night.

releases are done at sunset to give them the best chance of not being plucked from the sea.  the team is on birdwatch to pick the right time to set the little guys free. 

I cannot say enough about how cute these little guys were.  They seemed so fragile, but they were also so powerful and they fought their way to the sea.

I highly recommend it.  Even if it's at a resorty place...  just because it's not my thing, won't change the little turtles being released - they don't care... certainly, the resort wasn't there many many years ago when turtle generations before them started going to that location.

https://www.facebook.com/seaturtlenan/




















Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Fizzy drink JOY


Scoby in storage in the spare gallon jar


Last time we were out here, we were diet coke fanatics.  I'd like to say, that was a long time ago.... but although that's true - it had no bearing on our diet coke habit.

For some reason this go around, life has shaken things up.  We still want the occasional DK, but it's usually a case of us splitting a can or small bottle.  But we still get tired of drinking plain water.  We've set to combat this two ways.

Our temporary "fix" is a soda stream.  But there's nowhere to buy refills in Mexico and we can't fly in replacement canisters.  So, unless we can drive them across the border, or get a refill from another cruiser with a fancy adapter, or want to tackle filling it ourselves with dry ice.....  that's a finite solution until the CO2 bottles we brought run out.

Our other "fix" is more fun and interesting.....  My friend SCOBY DOO- used to make Kombucha.  This has been a really fun way to play with local fruits. But we mostly stay with our favorites: ginger lime or blueberry.

There are lots of how to videos if you look up brewing kombucha....   but basically, you make a Gallon batch of sweet tea and let the Scoby ferment for about 5 days, then flavor with fruit/herbs/something for about 2 days, then bottle, build up yummy carbonation, then chill and enjoy.

We usually start a new batch every few days.  Down South where it's warm, we can have a new batch ready for flavoring in 4 days, then another 1 or 2 for infusion of the fruit.  After bottling, a day or two for carbonation build up, then into the fridge.

This will give us about a week and a half of daily Kombucha.

Below is how I make Kombucha aboard Pura Vida.  You can google and get other ideas on details.....  I've tried to keep it as simple as possible. 

Equipment needed:
Gallon Jar top helpful for coverage when sailing: Affiliate link here
Cheesecloth:  Cheesecloth affiliate link here
rubber band
scoby
jar for scoby (can be a second gallon jar)
bottles for building carbonation
funnel

To make:
1.  Boil about 2 cups of water.  In another bowl (to be used to brew the tea in the 2 cups of water) put in 6 tea bags (you can use all green/ all black or a mix).

2. When water is ready, pour over tea bags

3. Add 1 cup of sugar

- Wait until cool......  at least 15 minutes, but longer is okay.  I've even left overnight.  The Scoby just wants the sweet tea and doesn't care if it's bitter.

4. When Cool, I pour it into an empty gallon size jar.

5.  Add water almost to the top.  Make sure it's room temperature - can be cooler, but just not HOT water.

6. Add in your Scoby with about a Cup of the cider vinegar it is living in (the Scoby ALWAYS needs to be with about a cup of  leftover kombucha)

7: Cover with kitchen towel, held down by the rubber band (this is to keep flies and dust out of the jar)

8.  Place the jar somewhere out of the way and warm if your house is cold

9.  After 5-7 days, start tasting.  Depending on the temperature of your room, it can take 4 days up to 21 (I've read, it's never taken more than 10 days for me).  Some example of times and temps: Down in Mexico where the temps are in the 80's, it takes only about 3-4 days.  If we've gone on a passage and jostled it around, then it would usually be sooner.  In the house we are staying at near SF, it is about 60 degrees most of the time and my first batch has taken about 8 days to ferment.  Taste it, if you like the taste of it, then move on to flavoring.  If it's too sweet, then wait another day and taste again.  If it's too tart..... you can use it as you would apple cider vinegar, or use a sweet fruit, like berries to sweeten the taste a bit (if it's not too tart)

10.  Now that your Scoby is ready, remove the Scoby and about a cup of liquid to the small scoby jar (or a second gallon Jar)  Add Fruit, herbs, flavorings you want.  I've had really good luck with frozen fruit, I think this is an easy way to start - but you can use anything at this point.  Put the lid on the jar and stash it somewhere for 1 - 2 days

11. After 1-2 days, remove fruit from jar and get your bottling jars ready

12. Using the funnel, filter kombucha through the cheesecloth into the bottle leaving about an inch of headspace.

13. Close all bottles and leave on counter for a day or two (this is to build carbonation).  If you are impatient and want kombucha and don't care about bubbles, you can put a jar in the fridge to have when it cools.  But the bubbles are really nice...

14. After 2 days out, I put all bottles in the fridge.  Most of the time this gives me great carbonation.

Good Luck! And Have Fun!

Things to be careful for:

Carbonation bottles: Be sure to use bottles meant to hold carbonation.  The other jars, you can go with what you find.  But i hear stories of bottles exploding from the carbonation.  That would me most unpleasant and Not something I want to experience....  so I'm passing on the information.  If you currently drink kombucha, start saving your bottles, because those work perfectly.  I've also had good experience with Beer growlers.

Scoby Hotel: This is another jar that holds spare Scobys.....  I do recommend this on a sailboat especially if you are travelling.   We are in Mexico and I have only seen Kombucha for sale in a few towns.  I think I've met one other person who brewed it aboard.  So if something happened to my Scoby, it would be hard to replace it.  So I have a quart sized Jar that I keep a few scobys in just in case something happens to the main one.  then it's also easy to share if you meet someone who is interested.

Tea: The Scoby is particular about the type of tea.  It needs to be 100% black or Green.  There are a couple others that are okay, but absolutely nothing with flavor or herbs as that will kill your scoby.  Earl Grey, even though it says black tea is a NO.....     If you like the taste, maybe flavor afterward.....





We usually start a new batch every few days.  Down South where it's warm, we can have a new batch ready for flavoring in 4 days, then another 1 or 2 for infusion of the fruit.  After bottling, a day or two for carbonation build up, then into the fridge.

This will give us about a week and a half of daily Kombucha.


Kombucha being flavored with frozen mango






Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Life after Tenecatita

It's been about a month since we left Tenacatita.  Barra de Navidad which is only a few miles South was the next stop for us.



It was much less stressful entering the lagoon now that we have the Heather Mexico Guidebook.  She lists waypoints to make sure we don't go aground in the unmarked channel of the entrance of the Lagoon.  Soon, we were safely nestled in the calm Lagoon of Barra de Navidad.

Over the next couple of days we enjoyed the French Baker, Greg got in some surfing, meandering around town, stocked up on Barra shrimp, had many dinners out and tried to get our fill of 50 peso jumbo margaritas while watching the surf roll in.


50 Peso Margaritas

One innocent Friday night, Greg asks.....  "what would you think of a land trip?"  After sharing his thoughts......   a couple night in Guadalajara and then a couple nights in Ajijic.  We've been reading about Ajijic for a few years and have wanted to see what it was all about.

I asked, "when are you thinking?".... he answered, "Sunday, we go buy bus tickets tomorrow"  Awesome.....  Yep - up for some land exploring.

So the next day, we asked some friends about the bus to Guadalajara, then headed over to the bus station.  With the help of google translate and my limited Spanish, I prepped for getting us tickets. The first class buses (which are still amazingly cheap) are really nice diggs.....  lots of leg room, extensions for you to lay down, power sockets, sometimes wifi, bathrooms, a little bread something to eat with a drink, and super roomy seats - think first class on a plane.    I've been wanting to check these things out.....

So, we got our tickets, got all the pre-departure info and got excited about our trip.  All of the communication was in Spanish, so I was feeling super stoked...  I may have sounded like kindergartner buying tickets... but I had them and the seats I wanted.

Next morning, bright and early, we called the water taxi to make it to our 8am departure time.  A break from the heat, we packed jeans and jackets for Guadalajara.

The only little snafu is that we thought the bus station centro was actually in the historical centro... fortunately we realized it as we were pulling into the bus station so we could prepare a little.

Uber runs in Guadalajara..... GREAT.....  pulled up the Uber app and within 10 minutes, we were in our car heading to our hotel.

SO, not sure how much you guys have heard of the gas shortage in Mexico.... it doesn't affect us much on the coast... but in Guadalajara, we saw the brunt of it.  We had a nice conversation with the Uber driver (in Spanish) about the effects......  there are only about 6 gas stations in Guadalajara at a time with fuel, so they need to wait in long lines and pay an increased price.  Shocking to see the roped off gas stations on the roads.

Our hotel.....  $25.....  in the center of the historical district, updated and modern decoration in an old historical building.  Beautiful......

We spent the remainder of our time traipsing about Guadalajara....  We did join a cantina tour which was fascinating.  We got to visit true cantinas which have been a part of Guadalajara since it's beginning 400 years ago.  This was one of my highlights.......  Greg would say that as well, but he'd also add the Torta Ahogada (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torta_ahogada)


A typical Cantina


We really enjoyed Guadalajara, Not in an "I want to live here" kinda way, but in a "wow, these buildings are so old, it's truly amazing to be among all this history.



We had a great time just walking and meandering and exploring around.  We were lucky one day and stumbled upon a tour in English. After obviously eavesdropping (not even sure if it's eavesdropping if we are so obviously listening;-)).  We were invited to join the tour which was a walking tour about 2 hours hitting some of the highlights in the historical center.  Super glad we joined that one.  After it was over, we spent some time going back to visit places that interested us that we wanted to know more about.


Looked like photos for a Quinceanera



Lobby of our $25/night hotel


Mural in Ajijic


Unique art in Ajijic


Mural in Ajijic


Bus Station in Guadalajara





Water Taxi back in Barra De Navidad