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Perfectly Wild

Nearly all days on the water are amazing but every now and then you have a once in a lifetime adventure. This was the case for us a few days ago. We awoke early in San Nicolás to find two dolphin swimming just a few feet off our starboard beam. It’s always a treat to see dolphin and watching them play at sunrise is no different. After a brief encounter with the dolphin we loaded the dink on the forward deck and prepared for our 30+ mile journey north to Santo Domingo at the mouth of Bahía Concepción.

It was a beautiful morning with 10-12 knot winds so we hoisted the sails, shut down the engine and enjoyed our morning coffee as we glided through the blue green waters of the Sea of Cortez. There is something so soothing and peaceful when your boat is running six knots and the only sounds you hear are the water splashing along side of the hull and the wind across the sails.

We had a lovely morning sail before the winds died off, the seas turned to glass and we had to fire up the engine. A longer sail would have been nice but hey, we were still on a boat in paradise. It’s hard to find anything bad to say about it.

img_0417.jpgIt wasn’t long before we had visitors flying about the boat. Four brown Boobies began swooping around the bow attempting to land on the pulpit.  After multiple attempts one finally landed on the rail. Within minutes all four had successfully landed and were enjoying a ride on the good ship Dazzler.

 

I went to the bow to get a closer look and snap a few pictures. They absolutely showed no fear. They even let me get on the pulpit with them. Every so often one would lose its img_0476footing and fly off but soon he’d return. There was one that was a bit bossy. We named him Jefe (boss). When others would try to land he would squawk at them and flap his wings to prevent them from making a successful landing. When they swooped in to land the tips of their wings brushed my shoulders. That’s how close they let me get. I could literally look directly into their sparkling grey blue eyes. It was so awesome to be so close to these birds.

Just about the time I was getting used to the Boobie family being aboard I looked off the port bow to see a large pod of dolphin heading our way. I grew up on the water in img_0643Bradenton, Florida and I’ve seen thousands of dolphin in my life but there is something absolutely magical about seeing a few hundred dolphin all at once. So here we were cruising and we had Boobies on the bow and dolphin in the water. I was thinking to myself that life just doesn’t get much better than this.

The dolphin didn’t linger too long, They were just passing through on their way to some other watery locale but I was grateful for their visit. I left the Boobies on the bow and retreated to the cockpit to study my Spanish.

A half hour or so went by when Dan saw something in the water about a mile off the port beam. It was a large black fin sticking above the water. Instantly he knew…it’s an Orca!
He pulled the wheel hard to port and off we went to see them. I could barely contain myself. Of all the animals we could encounter in the sea, the Orca topped my list of “wants”.

Before long we had five or six of these magnificent creatures swimming along side of Dazzler. I was so giddy with excitement I was like a kid on Christmas morning. Each time they surfaced I giggled and screeched with pure joy.

Dan and I were on the bow taking pictures and video of our new friends when a juvenile Orca about fifteen feet long separated from the pod and came swimming right toward our bow. Before we knew it he was riding the wake on our bow like a dolphin would do. Oh my God! This was a sight to behold. I can’t even explain the level of excitement we felt.

The next thing we knew he is swimming upside down under the keel. We could see the white of his underside as he went from side to side. He came up along side of the boat, surfaced and shot water out of his blowhole all over us and the boat! Never in my life did I dream I would get sprayed by an Orca in the wild! THIS IS AWESOME! My very best day ever!

As I do with all the wildlife out here, I gave him a name. He will forever be called Buddy. Why Buddy you ask? Well, you know when you meet someone for the first time and you feel an instant kinship? You just know you will be friends? That’s how Buddy made me feel. He was playful and fun and the more we cheered the more he played. He must have sprayed us four or five times and easily stayed and played for a good ten minutes. There’s just no perfect way to describe what it feels like to be so close to these amazing creatures. We enjoyed their presence around us for an hour or so. Ultimately there were about a dozen Orcas swimming all around us. Some were up close like Buddy and others could be seen in the distance. Alas, the time came for them to move on and they all started to swim away. I just stood on the bow and watched until I could no longer see their dorsal fins above the water. “Goodbye dear friends. Thanks for the memories!”

Like I said, this was truly a once in a lifetime day….from up close encounters with the Boobies to the dolphins and finally the Orcas I seriously don’t know that we will ever experience another day filled with so much amazing wildlife. As I say all the time, Dan has given me the world and each day I wake up I am getting to see more and do more than I ever dreamed. La vida es grandiose! (Life is Grand!)

We’ve posted a video of our day filled with wildlife on YouTube…Click on the link below to view it. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Until next time…

Jilly

Click Here to See Our “Perfectly Wild” Video With Birds, Dolphin & Orcas!

 

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Technology And The Sea

I realize it’s been a few weeks since my last post and I apologize for that but as you’re about to find out technology at sea can be a bit challenging at times.

Now I was more than prepared for the fact that there would be times and places where Internet simply would not be available. After all, it’s been almost two years since Dan and I met. I have experienced the frustrations of not being able to reach him so I try hard to plan for those times and utilize the net when I have it. Lack of Internet, however, is only part of the tech battle cruisers face. First and foremost there are the elements. Salt corrodes everything and there is water everywhere. You always have to think about how to protect your devices from the elements and unfortunately waterproof cases don’t always live up to their claims. So, as with most things in Waterworld, there are trade offs.

20170530_150304Just two weeks into our journey I faced my first tech disaster. We were doing a bit of dinghy fishing in Calita Partida. Well, let me be more specific. Dan was fishing. I was along to take pictures and videos to share with our readers. I have an underwater camera that works fine but to get the pictures off I have to download them to our computer then upload to our blog. I prefer to use my cell phone when possible and eliminate the download step. So, I take both cameras with me. My phone has a tough case on it but it is not waterproof so I always put it in a Ziploc bag when it’s not in use.

On this particular day I was laying face down on the dinghy tube and had tucked my Cabrilla Dan & Jillphone up near the bow while I used my underwater camera to get some video of the colorful fish swimming under the boat. Then it happened…Dan hooked a fish. I jumped up to be ready to help him with tools, gloves etc… and when I did I put my knee down on my phone. I immediately heard the familiar crunching sound of glass breaking and my heart stopped. Fortunately I had a good screen protector on it so it stayed together and it still works. I just have to look beyond the cracks at the bottom of the screen.

Lesson #1: Never put your tech devices in places where you typically step. Since that mishap I’ve become uber careful about where I set my phone and my iPad.

This brings me to my next technology disaster…my iPad. Let me start by saying this is not intended to be an Apple bashing. Yes, I’ve been a bit frustrated with them as of late but I’m still a huge fan of their products.

One night about ten days ago Dan woke up to find my four-month-old iPad Mini 4 doing all kinds of strange things. It would shut off then come back on with the Apple screen then go to a half black, half white screen. Then it would recycle and go through the same series of screens. He tried a hard shut down but nothing worked. Finally after enough button pushing he got it to stay off.

The next morning he hooked it up to iTunes to see what was going on. iTunes said it needed to be updated or reset to factory default settings. Obviously the default reset was the least attractive option because I would lose about a week’s worth of pictures and blog articles. We tried to update it but it would not allow it so we were left with default reset. This made Jilly a very unhappy sailor. Granted it was only a week’s worth of stuff but in that week we had been to some pretty beautiful places and I had some great pictures. Also I had four blog posts ready to go once I had Internet again. Oh well, as we say in the South, “No use gettin yer’ knickers in a bunch once the cow’s left the barn. Ain’t gonna bring him back.”

The wifi here in Puerto Escondido, like most of Mexico, is not very fast so the reset and download from iCloud was going to take hours. We hopped on the dink and headed to the marina where we hoped the connection would be a bit stronger to speed up the process.

We finally got the reset done and I started to go through the motions of getting my stuff back from the cloud. Well, if you are an Apple user, let me caution you to write your Apple password somewhere. In fact, I highly recommend putting it in multiple places. You do NOT want to lose it! A week or so prior to the crash I was prompted by Apple to change my password that I had used for four years. I did and I did write it down…in the notes section of my iPad. I guess I didn’t think about not ever being able to access it. My bad! Well, I thought, “no big deal. I’ll just reset it like I do any other password when I can’t recall it.” HA! That’s a joke. I went through the Spanish Inquisition trying to get my password reset. First there were the online questions including asking for the credit card information they had on file. Then they sent an email to me where I had to click on a link and answer questions to verify that I was the one requesting the reset. THEN, they sent a verification code to my “trusted” phone. And, guess what? I was then told it could take 2-4 DAYS to get the reset information. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This IS 2017! I mean I can reset my bank password in a matter of minutes. I appreciate security just as much as the next gal but 2-4 days??? Are they operating in the prehistoric days of the Internet over there?

Feeling highly frustrated and completely disgusted with the entire process I decided to put the iPad down and walk away. I fixed a cocktail and went out on the back deck to enjoy the amazing views of Puerto Escondido and the Gigante Mountains. After all, I am in paradise. Should I really get all worked up or should I sit back and enjoy the simpler things in life?

OK, OK, it didn’t happen just like that. There were more than a few four letter words being thrown about, my head felt like exploding and the only reason I went out back is because Dan told me I needed to walk away before I threw the stupid thing overboard and started an artificial reef in the anchorage.

Once my cocktail started to provide its delightfully calming mood altering effects I decided to wait until the following day to call Apple to see about getting my password reset. (Side Note: For you land dwellers who have 24/7 Internet service this may not have been a big deal but we were planning to leave the area and would not have Internet for several days to a week. Not having my password reset meant I could not access my iPad at all during this time. And it’s not like I’m tied to it but I do use it for other things than Facebook, blogging and the Internet.)

So, the following morning I awoke with a much better mindset and after having some coffee I decided to jump on the phone and see what could be done to resolve this debaucle. They will certainly be able to reset it over the phone and I’ll be back in business.

Oh what a simple-minded individual I must truly be. Upon calling Apple I spoke to a very nice gentleman named Chris. Now I’m a former Customer Service Manager who knows great customer service when I see it. Chris was spot on. He knew all the right phrases; he followed his script to the letter and even knew how to commiserate with me without sounding condescending. He is a CSM’s dream employee. The only thing he couldn’t do was fix my problem. Somehow I have some two-part verification thing set on my account and while I have verified everything but the exact time of my conception and resulting birth, he stated it will still take 2-4 days for them to send me the reset link. It is a “set in stone Apple policy and they do not wave that for ANYONE!” It was at this moment that I knew I had to get in a few well-chosen words before hanging up. After all, I know their calls are recorded for “quality assurance” and I let him know this as I began my calm, controlled rant. I even told him I truly hoped someone in their QC department would listen to it and recommended that he alert his manager to my request.

This is when I began to explain to him the fact that a four-month-old iPad malfunctioning was absolutely ludicrous and that just because I had let it go completely dead a few days before, it shouldn’t go crazy Ivan on me. Furthermore this is 2017 and I should not have to wait 2-4 days to get a password reset. The fact that they have this procedure in place is completely outlandish and entirely archaic. I further explained that I was reaching my tolerance level with Apple and would likely just toss the thing in the Sea of Cortez and go back to Microsoft.

Poor Chris. He just got up and went to work that day to do his job and get paid but then came Jilly. Now, don’t get me wrong, I never raised my voice, never used the four letter words that were bouncing around inside of my head just begging to be released. No, I just made it perfectly clear that this is unacceptable. Remember I was in the CS Manager’s shoes for a big part of my career. I’ve been yelled at, cussed out and even once was told the “profits had spoken and I was being damned to hell.” Little did that client know I was already booked on the express train with many of my friends so this was no surprise.

Anyway, I wasn’t going to be the nutcase because I know they don’t get the results they want. We just hang up, laugh at their crazy asses and go on about our day. So I pled my case in a civilized manner and once I had my say, I thanked Chris for his time and told him to have a nice day.

Interestingly enough, just a little over an hour later I had my password reset link in my inbox. Hmmmm. Maybe there is a way around their rock solid procedure.

If this was a fairytale I would be saying, “And we all lived happily ever after.” But, this is real life and it turns out that my Apple is not an apple after all, it’s a lemon!

I spent the better part of two hours and a ton of data from my phone’s data plan downloading my stuff from iCloud to get my iPad back in business. I used it later that evening and even a little the following morning while having coffee. I took a break to get ready for the day. I left it on the table while it was downloading my emails from the previous days. Guess that was the wrong thing to do. I walked out of the head to see it back to doing the crazy Ivan stuff again. “That’s it! I’ve had it. It’s going over board! I don’t care if I ever see another phone or computer again” I spouted off as I picked it up. It was at this point Dan knew he was going to have to take over the issue or the iPad would die in a watery grave in Mexico.

This time I voluntarily stepped to the back deck. Unfortunately it was a bit too early for a cocktail. Dan did his level best to calm me down but the fact is I was finally just over it. I was over the whole technology thing. If I don’t have an iPad or phone, I could care less. Who needs the frustration???

Dan called Apple that morning and they took him through a million steps trying to get it to work. Without going into huge detail they actually had him doing steps to fix his iMac, not my iPad. It wasn’t until the following day that he was able to get someone on the phone who truly understood the issue and told him the only thing he could do was take it to an Apple Store where they would replace it. HA! That’s easier said than done when you live on a boat in Mexico. And you certainly don’t try to ship it to them. It will likely never make it and if it does it surely won’t make it back to you.

Fortunately he and my cousin were planning a quick drive to the states a few days later to pick up parts so we left it at that. He would just take it when they go and all would be well.

20170610_200922Lesson #2: You can’t let it get to you! Technology isn’t perfect, things malfunction. You have to enjoy the life you are living and embrace the fact that you are living in paradise. Having your phone or iPad functioning 24/7 isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. There’s something magical about being completely off the grid….complete peace!

So, as you can see technology aboard a cruising vessel can be challenging at best. Sometimes it works flawlessly and other times it doesn’t.

Oh yeah, one last thing. The day after we were told my iPad must be returned to Apple we get into our rental car with my cousins, Dan & Nancy of SV Karvi. Dan is in the backseat and tells me he has a little present for me if I want it. Then he hands me a practically new iPhone 6 Plus. He said, “That’s if you don’t mind having another Apple product in your life.” I was so touched that I literally had tears in my eyes. The funny, and yes I can say it now, funny thing is that when I went to set it up it was requiring that he release it from his account. We tried to do that but it had some crazy email tied to it that he has never had. Guess what…Yep, he has to take that to the Apple Store to get it reset! Yes, I’m laughing because at this point there is nothing left to do! Time to fix a cocktail, step out back and enjoy another amazing Mexican sunset!

Until Next Time…

Jilly