10 January 2006

View from the CUBE

Ahoy from one of many Sandpiper guests. Tom and Amy have been very busy being hosts to a stream of family and friends south of the border in Nuevo Vallarta. I am Christian, one of Tom’s Coast Guard amigo’s from the s/v Christa now homeported in a chilly Woods Hole Ma.

I arrived on January 1st 2006 after a plane ride from a chilly and snowy Boston. It was wonderful to arrive in the beautiful blazing heat and chaos of a Mexican airport. What a relief to be released from my cubicle ridden life to enter what can only be described as tropical bliss. Tom met me at the airport, I ditched my winter jacket for my signature white t-shirt and off to the Mexican buses we went. The buses are something special in Mexico. For the uninitiated Mexico can be a bit rattling to Americans. The buses are a fine example. They don’t appear to be the safest, they rattle incessantly and much confusions seems to surround them, but in due time you arrive at your destination.

Sandpiper lye’s portside too Paradise Village, its really really beautiful. For the folks who don’t understand the sailing life, your really missing a side of life where you can’t help but slow down and drop out of the “normal” lifestyle. Tom and Amy have basically achieved bliss. Don’t mistake bliss for no activity or lounging around all day. Maintaining a boat and getting ready to cross-oceans is a lot of work. So with the cavalcade of visitors its been difficult for Team Sandpiper to do work they must to maintain the illusion. I suspect when Johanna and I leave in a day or two, daily routine aboard Sandpiper will change.

Now that I’m nearing the end of my visit aboard Sandpiper it seems that its been a wonderful blur of restaurants, Mexican buses and hanging out with really cool people. Tom’s Mom Toni and Amy’s friend Johanna have been here simultaneously so its just added to the fun. We spent a couple of days in downtown Puerto Vallarta just cruising around. PV is really cool place. It’s almost like an old school type place. The best way I could describe it is to compare it to the East Village of New York City but with a hip tropical feel. We dined at this tiny Spanish restaurant, buried in the hills overlooking Bandaras Bay and we ate all kinda food I’ve never eaten before. The experience is unique in that it’s the type of place you sit for hours while the wait staff keeps bring small dishes out one after another.

Paradise Village is this large resort, overflowing with coconut palms and gringo tourists. Sandpiper has access to all the amenities of said resort. Accordingly we’ve spent some time hanging out at one of the two large pools. The “activity team” provides entertainment. These gringos administer a ripping game of poolside bingo and tequila volleyball. I’m particularly interested in people watching and chick watching; however you want to describe my perverse activity. Anyway the water is warm and the sun shines bright and warm each and everyday. The only thing that may beat this is a trip to the south pacific.

In closing, my inclusion in Team Sandpiper for a few days has been inspirational. I will be retiring from the Coast Guard in October 2007 and plan on sailing my boat to the tropical latitudes…….in the wake of Sandpiper. I hope to catch up with Team Sandpiper in a port of call in some obscure time-zone. Tom and Amy will be life-long amigos and I look forward to moving aboard Sandpiper next year in another beautiful spot for some more inspiration!

Fair Winds,

Christian Allaire
Aboard S/V Sandpiper, Mexico via Oakland

No comments: