Our Slog (Ships Log) with a Satelite View
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Eric & Sherrell
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Posted on Sunday Mar 5, 2006
We departed Mazatlan 3/2 and traveled to Isla Isabela a beautiful bird
sanctuary about 92 miles away. However the tiny anchorage was packed with
boats so we squeezed in and slept for about 4 hours then raised anchor and
left. It is too bad because we both really wanted to see the birds on the
island for over a year now. So when we finally arrived and found it
packed with boats that had no plans of leaving we were bummed.
Oh well, we were on a schedule anyway. We still have to find a slip then
get to Guadalajara for surgery, return back and meet family. So far
everything has worked better than expected. We arrived in La Cruz almost
48 hours after leaving Mazatlan. We found a good spot to anchor near old
friends. We called one of the marinas and found one that would let us tie
up to some pilings while we are in Guadalajara. Pretty amazing. I wish
our logistics always worked out this easy.
Anyway, surgery next week, recovery then returning for visiting family
will keep us busy. I am sure things will keep going as smoothly as
everything has so far.
Posted on Wednesday Mar 1, 2006
We got our papers back from immigration and we're planning to depart
Mazatlan tomorrow! Yeah! We'll head to Isla Isabela, then Banderas Bay
and PV. From there we'll bus it to Guadalajara for surgery then return to
PV to visit family when they fly in.
It feels so good to be getting ready to set sail!
Posted on Saturday Feb 25, 2006
Sherrell completed her radiation treatment without having to take a break
(it's fairly common to take a break in order to prevent bad skin burns),
on Feb. 17th, after which we rushed back to Mazatlan. Except for having
to rinse the boat before we could even board it, it felt wonderful to be
back. We were told that several weeks ago there was a couple days of very
heavy winds from the North - directly to the North of our boat is a dirt
parking lot hence the 1/4 in. thick layer on our boat.
Right now, we are working hard to get the boat ready to head further South
to Puerta Vallarta next week. In the meantime, we will be watching the
Carnaval parade Sunday, then hopefully picking up our renewed FM3's
(long-term visa's) from immigration on Monday. We say hopefully because
last year it took over 4 weeks to get them due to Carnaval - the whole
city pretty much shuts down during this time. Since we started the
process 1 week before Carnaval started, we have high hopes.
One way or the other, we need to head back to Guadalajara in a couple
weeks for Sherrell's last surgery, to remove her ovaries. This is to
dramatically reduce the amount of estrogen & progesterone produced which
feeds her type of cancer. It's either this, or have a shot once a month
until menopause which doesn't fit in well with our cruising lifestyle.
Then, on March 14th, Eric's dad arrives in PV with his wife and step
daughter for a fun-filled week in the tropics. It sure would be nice to
be there on the boat instead of having to stay in a hotel. We're keeping
our fingers crossed that we can get our FM3's in time.
Posted on Wednesday Feb 1, 2006
SherrellÃ?Â¢Ã¢â??Â¬Ã¢â??Â¢s officially half way through her radiation treatments. Our class is almost finished too. WeÃ?Â¢Ã¢â??Â¬Ã¢â??Â¢re in week 4 of 5 and our final test is next week. Hopefully Sherrell will make it one more week before her skin needs a break from the exposure to radiation. Then we can finish class and leave the city for a while.
At least we got away from Guadalajara for 2 days to visit Ocean Lady anchored in La Cruz (north of Puerto Vallerta). It was great to be on a boat again and even better to hang out with friends in a warm town.
Posted on Thursday Jan 5, 2006
We're officially students at the University of Guadalajara and we start class next week. We'll be taking beginning Spanish 2 hours a day for five weeks. It's probably the most we can handle while Sherrell goes through treatment. They start the localized radiation treatment tomorrow. They mapped the area using a MRI machine today so that tomorrow they can target the proper area. The radiation will prevent any remaining cancer cells from dividing and forcing them to die off. The treatment requires 28 days with usually a week off somewhere in between to let the skin heal. Oh yeah, we brought Jezebel with us, so she wouldn't have to stay on the boat alone and she seems to be doing really well. So far we've kept her locked in the room when the cleaning staff comes, but other than that she has been roaming around and enjoying all the running space at night. Sometimes I wish she would just sleep like the rest of us though.
Posted on Friday Dec 16, 2005
Our lives were shattered by Sherrell’s diagnosis. Putting things back together again is practically impossible. The time between diagnosis and the actual surgery is the toughest time emotionally. The doctors do a ton of tests and look for signs the cancer has spread and after each test you’re anxious for the results. It’s an up and down roller coaster ride leading up to surgery which usually has an open ended outcome based on what the surgeons find. To complicate things, we really wanted to stay in
After two frantic weeks of research and help from family we settled on a private clinic in
On Dec. 16th Sherrell went under the knife. There was a suspicious lump in the right breast and the left breast still needed more tissue to be removed as well as the sentinel lymph node. The possible outcomes ranged from a bilateral (both sides) mastectomy to just a single tissue removal and a few lymph nodes. We had a plastic surgeon also standing by for reconstruction if the cancer was too difficult to remove and a single or double mastectomy had to be performed.
Surgery lasted only 2 hours. They were able to remove a clean section on the left side and the lump in the right side was benign which they also removed. They tested the sentinel lymph node and 3 others and found microscopic traces of cancer. On paper this is considered a negative result, but because the meaning of the presence of microscopic cancer isn’t yet fully understood, the surgeons removed more nodes (levels 1 and part of level 2) for further testing. The overall results are really positive and our chances of killing off the cancer are excellent.
Sherrell’s recovering slowly and next week we’ll meet with the doctors again to discuss the follow up treatment. It will most likely consist of 6 months of chemotherapy with about 5 weeks of radiation therapy. Hopefully we can get the chemo done in
Thanks to everyone who has written letters of support because they are working!
If I could only be remembered for one thing it would be for beating cancer. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.
-- Lance Armstrong
Posted on Thursday Nov 24, 2005
Our cruising plans are on hold for a while.Â Sherrell has just been diagnosed with Breast Cancer here in
Please don’t feel sad or worried – we’re not.Â We are facing this as we would face any problem:Â with determination, a positive attitude, and information, information, information.Â Send your positive thoughts our way.
Sherrell & Eric
Posted on Monday Nov 21, 2005
For those who are interested in building their own trim tab self steering system, we just completed part 2 of our design guide. It’s a 60+ page document and is practically a book and I’m glad it’s done. Also, we’ve revamped the page and added a couple of pictures.
Posted on Sunday Nov 6, 2005
Yeah! We did a 49 hour passage from San Carlos to Topolobampo and another 46 hour leg from Topolobampo to Mazatlan. We were able to sail quite a bit on the first leg, but the second leg we had crappy winds and only sailed for about 10 or 12 hours.
Our “loop of the Sea” from Mazatlan up the inside of the Baja, then back down the mainland side, which we took a leisurely 7 months to complete, covered a total mileage of 1603 miles. Wow! And here we thought we were “just going up into the sea for the summer.” It’s a little funny that it took us only 5 days to cover about 420 miles back down the main land coast and about 6+ months to cover the 680 or so miles (as the pelican flies) from Mazatlan to Puerto Refugio (with a billion stops in between).
So we’re going to visit Sherrell’s dad for Thanksgiving, make plans for future family rendezvous and try REALLY hard to get some more boat work done.
Posted on Friday Nov 4, 2005
Even if this bay wasnÃ?Â¢Ã¢â??Â¬Ã¢â??Â¢t a great spot to rest on our way to
This little town gets lots and lots of ships and cruise ships so the channel and entrance are marked with navigation aids up the wazoo, including 3 separate sets of range markers. ItÃ?Â¢Ã¢â??Â¬Ã¢â??Â¢s a thing of beauty after so many comically charted entrances with no aids. Not that the charts here are any good, it still shows us anchored in the middle of town, but with nav. aids life becomes a lot less stressful.
The aids allowed us to enter the bay at in the pitch black dark of dark and pitch black dark nights. Our radar punched through the night and lit up the marks like stars in the sky. We could also see the navigation lights really well too, until the fog rolled in.
We were swallowed by it! It swooped down and ate everything in sight. We couldnÃ?Â¢Ã¢â??Â¬Ã¢â??Â¢t see more than 10 feet, even the well lit channel markers 30 feet away were a feint glow. It was really bizarre! Fortunately it cleared as we approached the town, and shortly there after we were saved by the rising sun revealing the glory of TOPOLOBAMPO.