We know what you're thinking.... "Man!  When are those guys going to get off their lazy butts and update their web site"!  Oops, I
forgot we don't say butt.  Anyway, here is the long awaited update to the Southern Belle Sailing Mexico web site.  Yippeee!  We have
done quite a bit since our last entry.  We have visited one of the islands near La Paz, we had our Christmas and New Years celebrations,
we crossed the Seo of Cortez to Mazatlan, we visited Isla Isabella, and we competed a passage to Banderas Bay and Puerto Vallarta.  
Here is the first installment of the update.  The next installment will follow in a few days.  We will provide details about each one of
these important events below, and you can find corresponding pictures by clicking on the Photo Album button above.  Remember, you can
always look at our previous entries by clicking on the archived Journal Entries above and the archived photos on the photo album page.

Isla Partida:

Shortly before Christmas we completed the rudder repair project on Southern Belle.  Finally!  A boat we can actually steer.  Since we
had been sitting in La Paz for so long we were anxious to go somewhere.  At this point, we were resolved to staying in La Paz through
Christmas, so we decided to visit Isla Partida which is located approximately 15 miles out of La Paz.  The weather was calm and warm
for our crossing to the island so we did not get to sail.  However, we had a great time motoring around and exploring all of the small
coves on Isla Espiritu Santo which is a large island we passed enroute to Partida.  We identified a number of spots that we want to
visit in the spring when we come back this way.  While motoring along the islands we saw a large manta ray jumping out of the water and
doing flips.  It was quite amazing but impossible to photograph.

We chose the small cove of Cardoncito to hang our hats for the next couple of days.  We shared the cove with two other boats. Our
friends Dave and Kelli on
Sweet Lorraine, and our new friends Ray and Janey on Adios.  Dave and George snorkeled along the rock wall
close to where we anchored and collected scallops (black lip scallops and pin scallops which were unfortunately not that great for
eating).  We dinked over to the next cove, Partida, and explored the estuary that separates the two islands.  Another norther kicked up
on the last night we were at the island so we had a nice sail back to La Paz the next day.

Christmas:

Christmas in La Paz was very nice.  We spent quite a bit of time with new friends who are also cruising with children.  Gene and Vicki
with daughter Fiona aboard
Caravan, and Scott and Moira with daughter Kate and son Chris aboard Arctic Willow.  Joshua and Chris were
as thick as thieves.  We organized an impromptu Christmas Caroling troupe on the docks of Marina Costa Baja one evening.  As usual, we
found one song that we could sing pretty well and just stuck with it.  The marina hosted a Mexican Style Posada Party on the Saturday
before Christmas replete with pinatas, a choral group, and a manger scene with live participants.  On Christmas eve Southern Belle
hosted a kids party.  We started by making magic reindeer food for the kids to spread around the dock that night so Santa's reindeer
could find them easier.  We also made cupcakes for Santa, played music, dress up, and pin the hat on Santa.  That evening the party sort
of transformed into a kid/adult affair and the crew of Southern Belle served a full Christmas dinner that included a baked turkey
prepared by the genius of the galley, Melinda.  Let me tell you, you haven't lived until you've prepared a baked turkey in a propane oven.  
It took over 6 hours, but was definitely worth the wait!

On Christmas morning we awoke to find that Santa had somehow located us in La Paz!  Amazing guy that Santa.  Joshua jumped into the
act of present opening while Mom and Dad had coffee and questioned the wisdom of having a party on Christmas Eve.  After a bit we
fired up the engines and took off for the bay at downtown La Paz to anchor out and attend a potluck Christmas Day party on the beach.  
It was a wonderful way for the kids to burn off some of that pent up Christmas energy.  Good food and a good time was had by all.  We
decided to stay the night on the hook and return to the marina in the morning.  During the night the tide went out and the wind piped up
consequently swinging our boat onto a shoal area.  The sun rose with us attached firmly to the bottom by our port keel.  A tad bit
embarrassing.  We were able to free ourselves by setting a second anchor off to the side and kedging ourselves off the shoal with the
rising tide.

La Paz to Mazatlan:

On December 30th we departed La Paz to cross the Sea of Cortez to Mazatlan, finally continuing our journey south to Z-Town.  After
being at the marina for so long in La Paz we had an amazingly long list of things to do before we could leave the dock.  Thankfully not as
long as the list we dealt with before we left Long Beach.  The first day out we sailed to Bahia de los Muertos in the company of
Caravan
and
Arctic Willow who were also heading south.  We had a great downwind sail all the way to Muertos where we spent two nights waiting
for a better weather window to cross over to Mazatlan.  Our stay in Muertos included New Years Eve which we celebrated at the small
cantina on the beach.  It was the intention of our group to head out of Muertos very early in the morning on New Years Day, so our New
Years Eve celebration started at 5:00 PM and ended sometime around 8:00 PM.  It was probably midnight somewhere.

We departed Muertos at 0-dark-thirty and started across the Sea of Cortez.  We had a great crossing complete with a full moon to
keep us company at night.  We sailed, we motored, we laughed, we cried... you get the picture.  We even caught a Dorado that fed our
crew.  Yummy!  It took approximately 30 hours to reach Mazatlan.

Mazatlan:

Mazatlan IS paradise!  This is the title of a tourist guide to Mazatlan we borrowed from our pals aboard Calou.  While paradise may be
a bit strong, Mazatlan is certainly very nice.  We stayed at Marina Mazatlan so that we could be close to Joshua's friends, Antoine and
Francois who were berthed at the swanky El Cid Marina aboard
Calou.  El Cid doesn't allow crumb-bum multihullers like us to stay in
their marina.  Of course, that didn't stop us from sneaking in and using their ultra-cool swimming pool complex.  They have a pool with
slides, waterfalls, caves, a giant hot tub, a swim up bar.... great for the kids and also fun for the adults.  Did I mention they have a swim
up bar?

We only spent a few days in Mazatlan, but had a great time.  We visited Mazatlan's historic district, shopped at the central market,
hiked up to the lighthouse atop Isla Creston, and even saw a cliff diver in action.  The guidebook describes the lighthouse as being the
second tallest atop a natural foundation in the world.  We could see the light from 30 miles out of Mazatlan when we were sailing in.  
We are now in the land of many wild iguanas.  You didn't have to go far to find one.  All you had to do was look down while lounging at the
pool.  Our friend John Thompson from the sailing vessel Calou joined us in Mazatlan for our passage down the coast to Manzanillo.  John
is a welcome crew member as he is an able sailor from the Bay Area of California, and is quite clever with electronics and photography.  
John survived the Indonesian Tsunami in 2004, and it was some of his photos that were printed world wide.  You can visit his web site at
www.sonomacountylaw.com/tsunami.

Before signing off, the crew of Southern Belle would like to say congratulations to both the LSU Tigers and the New Orleans Saints
for the awesome seasons they put together in 2006!!!  Hot Boudin, Cold Cous-Cous!  Come on Teams, PUSH PUSH PUSH!!!!  Yeah You
Right!!!q
SAILING MEXICO
La Paz to Mazatlan
ARCHIVED JOURNAL ENTRY #4