Mexico Thoughts 8/10

Image by Bob Hansen
Hey Gang,

I would like to sum up what my Pacific Coast voyage really meant to me…

This adventure started with my dream of always wanting to sail the open sea. I was invited to sail down the Pacific Coast in a regatta called the Baja Ha-Ha.

So, on a gorgeous fall morning in 2007, I sailed through the majestic Golden Gate with a few friends and headed south to discover new territory and acquire some more wisdom from Mother Nature and the sea. My journey turned into an 8 month discovery that I will never forget. I was lucky enough to be soul to soul with some of the most incredible people in this world. I saw some of the most pristine natural wonders along the way. And I had my camera with me wherever I went. I took hundreds of shots along the way that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Someday I would like to have an exhibition of these images. And when I do, I would like it to have a narrative feel that uses my images, notes, and stories that all represent this incredible journey. This exhibition would convey the beauty and insight that I experienced. I think it would be so cool to share and let people see what I saw. But for the time being, I will share this story with my words.

What an incredible adventure it was. I saw so much and I met so many wonderful people along the way. But there are a few people and places that really stand out. And there is one memory that is so clear to me and absolutely changed the direction of this journey. It was when I met a man named Carlos. Here's how I met him. After a long day of sailing on the coast of central Mexico. We ended up in a place called Barra de Navidad. We set anchor in a beautiful lagoon nearby. After setting the anchor, I went to shore in the dingy to grab a few supplies while being accompanied by a friendly pelican who directed me to shore. When I got to shore, that’s when I met Carlos. I noticed he needed a hand with his boat, so I helped him out and we got things settled. After that, he invited me to join him for a coca-cola and we shared stories. I guess I should add that I didn't know spanish very well and he didn't know english very well. But our body language seemed to cut through everything. There was definitely a connection of the souls. Communicating with him was easy. From the moment I first met Carlos, I knew he was a special person. He's the kind of person that you can feel his positive energy flowing from his heart. He had a pureness inside him. A joy for life. Just a great guy. It turned out that he was a local fisherman. He ended up inviting me into the village he lived in and showed me around. This was a cool little village called Colimilla. So, now I end up discovering a wonderful man and a cool village too. To make a long story short…we became the best of friends. He shared his kindness, his community, and his family with me.

As I said Colimilla is a cool place, and it's so peaceful there. It's claim to fame is being the location where the 60’s sitcom “McHale’s Navy” had been filmed. It’s a very pretty place with palm trees abound and the lagoon shirting the village. I ended up living there for about 3 months. I saw and learned a different way of life. In this village the local people live in huts or concrete structures. They live a simple lifestyle with very few amenities. All the things we take for granted, they don’t have. These people are some of the kindest and happiest people you could ever imagine. They have what they have, and that’s all they need.

This journey gave me so many fond memories. I learned how to juggle on this trip from a friend named Louis. I met him at a yachtista party at the Grand Bay Hotel and we became the best of friends. He's a retired school teacher from the Bay Area. What an amazing guy! His stories never end and he's so humble about all the things he's done. He also introduced me to his wife Laura and she's pretty special too! So, after Louis taught me how to juggle, I went back to Colimillo and I would teach the local kids. I had so much fun playing and juggling with them. I think back and it gives me goose bumps just thinking about all the good times I had. I remember those glorious tropical evenings when everyone would gather together as a community and just talk, listen, and enjoy each other’s company, and there I was out juggling with the kids. As the saying goes, it doesn't get any better than that!

Over time, my friends in Colimilla invited me to their social get togethers, they invited me to a few weddings, and of course I went fishing. They were so kind. They kept asking me to stay and live there. I guess, I earned their respect and that's such an honor for me. I have so much respect for them. They taught me to appreciate the abundance of life without having anything. Isn't it a blessing to appreciate the simple things in life?

My camera turned out to be my way of giving back. I would take pictures of the kids, the families, nature, and anything else that suited my fancy, then I would often share or give them away. So what I would do is take some pictures and then I would go by bus to a pharmacy a few miles away and get my digital images printed out. Returning to the village with a armful of prints and I would hand them out. They loved my pictures and they were so thankful. They weren't used to seeing photos of themselves or having anyone take an interest in them. It was a cool exchange for all. I have to admit that I loved walking around the village and handing them out. It was my way of honoring them and saying thanks for the lessons they taught me. It was so rewarding. Those were special moments.

This journey also brought me to many ornate places and I was a guest at some of the finest marinas and the fanciest hotels. But the people in Colimilla were tops. Next came my experiences with Mother Nature. She offered me a front row seat to see her amazing beauty. I witnessed some of the most amazing sunsets and sunrises. I look back now at some of the pictures I took and I'm blown away with their beauty. And all the people I met along the way were so wonderful. Everyone unique in their own way. I can't say enough about them. They all made a lasting impression on me. I guess, I could go on and on. Put it this way… I have a long email list now. It’s all about being soul to soul with everything and everyone.

And sailing... what a fantastic feeling it is to be able to have faith in the unknown. To head somewhere and not know what's next. To be free with the wind, as if I were a bird with wings. Sailing the open ocean can remind us all that life is one big discovery. It has a way of making a person look in the mirror and do a personal review of his or her values in life. Sailing teaches us that you can’t bend Mother Nature. She always has the upper hand.

Sailing gave me a greater respect for God too. Let me tell you, when you get caught in a thunder and lightning storm in the middle of the night and you are 200 miles from land, you get pretty close to God. You realize what's in your heart. Your awareness changes. You just see it all differently! So I plan to keep dreaming and having faith in the unknown just like God intended!

Here’s a link to more pictures from this journey…

Seas the day,

Mexico Notes 5/08

Image by Bob Hansen
Greetings Everyone,

This will be my last email from my coastal voyage. I will be heading back to California in a few days. I hope you have enjoyed the sharing of my journey down the coast. It has been one heck of a good time. The world is a small place and the people I've met along the way have been so caring and beautiful! It’s Sunday morning (Mother’s Day...hola mom up there in Heaven) and I’m writing this at my laptop while looking out my balcony at the Pacific Ocean in Mexico. I am thinking about how thankful I am for the gift of life and the ability to have gotten here via a sailboat. I have attached one last picture from one of my evening walks near my condo…enjoy the vista!

I saw this neat movie down here called “The Bucket List” staring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nickolson. In this movie, they both make a list of things they wanted to see and/or do in life. So, I thought I’d share a short list of things that I have seen or done over the last several months on this journey.

• I experienced the wide open sea and the wonders it offers…
• Visited remote islands and coves…
• Enjoyed dancing dolphins at sea and at anchor…
• Saw the marvelous breaching of whales…what a treat!
• Felt the environment and the joy it can bring to my spirit…
• Saw some of the most stunning sunsets and sunrises that one can imagine…
• Experienced the feel of the tradewinds…
• Enjoyed watching the palm trees sway…
• Lived in a small village and learned how simple and precious things are…
• Tried food that I would have never tried if I wasn’t traveling...
• Learned what the bureaucracy of international ownership is about…
• Enjoyed listening to the cheerful sounds of tropical birds…
• I saw my first iguana…
• I saw my first scorpion…
• And I saw the turtles and crocodiles too…
• Took a real jungle cruise…
• Met some of the most amazing people along the way…
• Learned what true joy and happiness is all about…
• I learned to juggle…
• I had dinner with a Senator…
• I had dinner with a Villager
• I had dinner at sea…
• I went to two Mexican weddings…
• Had some of the best Margaritas in the world…
• Relaxed on some of the finest beaches…
• I saw and loved the Sierra Madre Mountains…
• And the list goes on and on…

I will close by sharing my evening last night with you. I was in a small village called Colimilla. I wanted to say goodbye to my friends who treated me with love and respect. The whole village community was gathered outside in front of their simple homes. Everyone was enjoying each others company. The weather was in the mid 80’s and tropical. And I had a crowd of maybe 8 or 9 kids from the neighborhood all around me…we were clowning around, juggling and passing tennis balls to each other. It was so much fun! I saw joy, felt joy, and I gave joy!!! It reminded me of how great life can be. So simple, yet so cool at the same time. That night I went to bed and I thanked the Lord for these wonderful people and the fantastic journey I was able to experience.

See you all soon…

Seas the day,

Mexico Notes 4/08

Image by Bob Hansen
Hello Everyone,

It’s been awhile since I have sent a message to all my friends. I am now staying in my new condo in Manzanillo, Mexico. I will be heading back to California in a few weeks. It’s been a sailing journey of a lifetime and I can say I’m a changed man. Life is about joy and happiness and I have seen and felt this countless times. I have made many new friends from all over the world. It truly is a small world we live in!

Many friends have asked me to send pictures of my new condo…so here's one for you. I also want to add that my condo is for the pleasure of myself and all my friends. So if you need a get away. Just ask and you shall receive. It is on the Mexican Pacific Coast or what some call the Gold Coast. I think my view is spectacular. I overlook Playa La Audiencia and the ocean beyond. I have spent the last month putting a little TLC into this place. I decorated it in traditional Mexican colors with a seaside coastal feel. When I first saw this condo, it reminded me of a Matisse painting I always enjoyed. It was a painting of the French Riviera in Nice. That's what made this place special to me. I think this condo is the perfect romantic getaway. A place to relax, chill, and take in the trade winds. Now all I need to complete my story is a woman at my side and I’m set...hee, hee!!!

I guess I will move on to the weather. It's simply wonderful right now. It is in the mid 80´s and very comfortable with the trade wind breezes in the afternoon. This is a “Paradise Found” and I love it! So I will end by saying, adios amigos, it's time for a margarita on my balcony.

Seas the day,

Mexico Notes 3/08

Image by Bob Hansen
Hey Gang,

I´m still alive and well in Mexico. Let me give you a quick update…

After sailing 2500 miles down the west-coast of California and Mexico, the captain of our sailing vessel decided to head back to the Bay Area. I am now living in the small village of Colimilla just north of Manzanillo with my good friend Carlos and his family while I wait for the keys to my new condo that I purchased.

Carlos has a nice in-law unit that he kindly offered to me. He and his family have been a blessing and for that matter, the whole town has been fantastic while welcoming me with arms wide open. These people are wonderful and amazingly kind. I have learned a great deal from these people. Some of the differences that I have learned are…waking up to roosters, seeing Iguana while sipping my morning coffee and having an octopus taco…it´s very good, I may add!

I´ve attached a picture of a few friends for you to enjoy. All the little neighborhood girlfriends love me unconditionally. Funny what animal cookies will do. When they see me, the whole neighborhood of little people come a running.

I wish everyone good health and happiness.

Seas the day,

Mexico Notes 2/08

Image by Bob Hansen
Hey there Gang,

I just purchased a condo in Manzanillo, Mexico. I am less than a block away from the beach called Playa La Audencia...which is the beach where the movie "Ten" was filmed starring Bo Derek.

This place is just what the doctor ordered. It reminds me of Greece or Italy...or so I imagine. I really love the charm and warmth of this place. The area has many fine restaurants nearby and my ocean view is amazing! I will be closing within the next 30 days. Then I will be repainting and swapping in new furnishings. My friends will always be welcome to use this wonderful relaxing place on the gold coast of Mexico.

I guess, dreams can come true!

Seas the day,

Mexico Notes 1/08 #2

Image by Bob Hansen
Hey Gang,

Well, I'm still out sailing along. We've logged over 2000 miles at sea now. Here is a photo from my voyage. This one is from my stay in Bahia Careyes. I will share a few more pics of Bahia Tenacatita, and Bahia Navidad (where I presently am) at a later date. As usual I am meeting new friends and experiencing treasured memories that will last a lifetime.

Lets see, where should I start… Bahia Careyes is a small cove and extremely beautiful. The fishermen love this place. They come every morning to get bait. You can practically catch fish with your hands. All you have to do is look into the water and there are millions of fish. This cove has sharp rocky cliffs with multi-colored large villas on one side and a 5 star hotel on the other. Designers love this place. It has been featured in many books and magazines for it's luxury and beauty. It has an international reputation. I absolutely love the white sandy beaches. Swimming ashore is such a treat. I have enjoyed the beachs and sometimes I visit the hotel and grab a lounge chair and order a margarita. Then I relax like a rock star and enjoy the view! Pretty good stuff, if I do say so myself.

It was on to Bahia Tenacatita, this bay is about 4 miles wide from point to point. It’s a very peaceful place. I did a lot of swimming and running on the beach here. I also had a friendly dolphin join me almost every morning while I had my coffee. He would just swim around the boat and I would try to guess where he would come up to the surface next. There was a Friday night dingy raft up where everyone at anchorage shared stories. There was plenty of food and drinks to go around. People also exchanged books and reading material…great fun it was! Oh, and I almost forgot about the jungle dingy ride…very cool. They say, “dare r crocs in dem dare waters,” but we didn’t see any.

Then came Bahia Navidad…the main town is Barra. This is what people usually call the area. Most outsiders talk about the Grand Bay Hotel here. It is right across the channel from Barra and it’s considered the finest hotel in all of Mexico. It is very plush. It has it’s own marina, golf courses and probably anything else you may want. With all this said…we anchored in the lagoon just down from the hotel and I love it here! This lagoon is where they filmed the TV show “McHale’s Navy." As for Barra…it is a sleeper of sorts. If you want a town with character…this is the place. It’s peaceful, has great restaurants, a world class surfin’ beach, and fantastic people. The ocean is the life blood of this place and it’s very cool. I have also met some neat native people here that have been very kind to me. It’s refreshing to see how people in other places of this crazy world still live and love us travelin' folks. I find that…if I treat them well, (even though I don’t speak spanish) then I get treated well in return. It's really about loving life and respecting others!

My next stop will be in Manzanillo. This is a pretty good-sized town with a nice bay. This is the place where the movie “Ten” was filmed. I’ll let you know more about Manzanillo when I get there.

I hope each and every one of you is happy and healthy and I will continue to share my sailing adventures.

Seas the day,

Mexico Notes 1/08

Image by Bob Hansen
Hola Gang,

I want to say hello to all my friends in the United States. We're still sailing along the coast of Mexico and working our way south to the land of who knows where...could be Tahiti in the near future, ya never know! I'm thinkin' about it. Also, just to let you know. I don't have access to the Internet all the time but I will send emails when possible.

At the present time we are anchored in a small village called Bahia Chamela, Mexico. This village is about 60 miles north of Manzanillo. The further we go south the prettier it gets. Love these white sandy beaches. As a matter of fact, I was just running along the beach today and I felt like a man running in heaven, if that's possible. I held my arms out and looked up and thanked God for this wonderful journey!

Our next stop will be the cove of Bahia Careyes. This is supposed to be quite nice and extremely beautiful. This is home to the endangered Careyes Sea Turtle that only nest in this area. I'll check it out and let ya'll know more later. It also has a very plush hotel and several nice restaurants and cantinas.

We also saw several whales, turtles, rays, dolphins, and caught fish for dinner while sailing this leg of the voyage. I was able to get an okay shot of a whale and I will try to attach it to the next email. I was also able to shoot a video clip of another whale... It's very cool! Oh, and we saw a mommy whale teaching her young how to breach out of the water. This is when they come flying straight up out of the water with incredible force and then slap back down with a thunderous boom. They must have done this at least a dozen times. What a treat it was to watch!

I think it's time for a margarita to go with another fabulous sunset.

Seas the day,

Mexico Notes 11/07

Image by Bob Hansen

For the first time in my life I will be without family on Thanksgiving. I am sitting here on the sailboat in La Paz with a warm tropical breeze gently blowing through the boat. It is only a few days before one of my most favorite and dearest holidays…Thanksgiving! It doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving. Guess it’s hard to imagine it with the temperature being in the 90’s while looking at aqua blue water all around me.

I've been thinking about TIME lately and how precious it is. I seem to have plenty of that right now. My sweetheart Janet says “I’m on island time and I have way too much of it”…hee, hee! I know one thing for sure… I have clarity in my rear pocket now. That’s what 1600 miles over the open sea will do for you. You sort of learn about spirituality the natural way. Not by reading, but by feeling the world around you as it seeps into the soul.

I find myself thinking of family and friends and how much they all mean to me. I think about how much I love everyone. How much I care for all of them. I remember all the wonderful and precious Thanksgivings I’ve had. I remember how time would seem to stop and the family would all come together. It’s about embracing all the memories and treasuring the joy we find along the way. It is an amazing journey we call LIFE.

I’m so thankful for having my kids to love. Without love in our lives, we have nothing! To love and be loved is the most cherished thing on earth. I close my eyes and I think of my mom and dad and how much I miss them… even at my age! I think of how much we all should treasure the family, because without it, there is no spiritual security. Nothing else will give you that. Not money. Not fame. Not work. I can’t imagine my life without loving people around me who unconditionally watch out for me. I know my brother and sisters still look out for me in their own special sort of way… I’m thankful for that! And last but not least. I’m thankful for Janet coming into my life and sharing her thoughts and love with me. What a great day to be alive!

With all this said… I want to wish everyone a HAPPY THANKSGIVING.

Seas the day,