Friday 14 February 2014
Friday the 13th came on Thursday this month. In fact there's only one of those actually on Friday this year. Very disappointing, but we, thumbing our collective nose at fate and all the superstitious sailors who won't cast off on even a regular Friday, will attempt to begin passage to somewhere on that auspicious day in June.
Scrambling around like squirrels in traffic, we attempt to prepare for guest's arrival Monday afternoon to be followed by departure from PV Wednesday. This process has been made more fun with engine room blower and shutoff solenoid going tango uniform (ask a friend). Attempts to find suitable parts and perform appropriate repairs will enliven tomorrow morning.
Early start to a frenetic day eventually resulted in new blower installation, secured compressor box, fresh water spewing into bilge and Jannie retrieving friends from PVR while rest of crew floundered about, with erratic success, attempting to make the operation seaworthy. Proper timing is the secret to avoiding ennui.
Remember in Grenada about 5 months ago when interminable re-engineering of water heater element added fun and frolic to an otherwise... ummm, more enjoyable experience? Couple of days before the current blown gaskets we noticed brown water coming from a hot tap. Subsequent disassembly of unit revealed brown mud rust covering its bottom due fabrication at Spice Island Yard with a ferrous nut. This is again out for redo with more satisfactory components.
Attempt to kill crew as they returned from showers ashore by leaving companionway steps open during reassembly of heater to restore water system were equally fruitless. Machined stainless replacement is so irregular and loose that no combination of thread tape, sealer and gaskets can staunch the flow. Our guests will love cold showers.. really!
Finally, realizing that cold water jury rig leaked anyway, slapped the heater back together and we live with dripplage (not a real word). Entire ship's complement have revised comments to concede that warm showers don't suck after all.
Except for clouds of no-see-ums which were so thick one could (read it one more time and it will make sense), we had a great evening ashore at a beach palapa washing down ceviche, empanadas and fried fish with Modelo cerveza instead of grilling the cow dorado that Jan caught en route. Restaurant supplied bug repellent and burning coconut husks kept us alive as the fresh fish molders in a refrigerator that again has gone on hiatus.
Although a shorter trip today than yesterday, we sustain another early departure to snorkel the shallows around offshore Isla Isabela before dusk. Expect a short overnight tomorrow (85 NM) for Mazatlan and the subsequent return to sybaritic and peso dissipation. May get engine cutoff solenoid from Yanmar dealer if he got the messages and if he's there and if it's available and if it's not a holiday and if it doesn't cost more than a new engine and if the creek don't rise (if you don't understand that last thing, just ignore it).
As has happened before and may again, this has dribbled on in a grueling and barely comprehensible fashion for far too long, so will be ended here to the total indifference of literally billions of discriminating readers, for purpose of getting happy during the hour(s) immediately prior to and following, for an indeterminate period, sundown.
Friday 31 January 2014
Although dinner at Domingo's on the beach was excellent (octopus ceviche was amazing) and came with a free ride through the surf, anchorage was just too wild and woolly to stay the night. Despite having two margaritas apiece (also muy buena) we pulled off the mooring at 1930, just at dusk, to head across Bahia Banderas with electronic charts (chartplotter) that are worse than useless, being a mile and a half off. Hope radar didn't sterilize nearby cruisers in the crowded anchorage. What was Navionics thinking? Understand update is better, but not worth the requisite chunk of change as we won't need it for long; except for southern Ha'apai group of Tonga, SoPac's are fine. Much less expensive iPad charts are spot on (what up widdat?).
Moved from anchorage at La Cruz de Huanacaxle (the place is just referred to as La Cruz, but I can't get enough of wanaCOXlay) to Paradise Village Saturday morning and, except for a run to Costco on Monday, remained unproductive until Tuesday when Mexico re-opened after the weekend and Constitution Day. Fortunately (or regrettably), the bars did not close, so we found something (in lieu of working on the boat) to keep us occupied (go Seahawks). Also visited friends Gene & Gloria, "S/V Pincoya", in Marina Vallarta, about 8 Km south, who sailed across the Pacific in 2010 and have now sailed back in an Island Piglet.. I mean Packet 44. Packets, well constructed, comfortable, full keel cutters are made in Largo, Florida, just north of former home and have a rep, at least the early ones, as a tad snailish.
List of possible projects preparatory to sailing back across the Pacific: new sails, new standing rig, new cockpit cushions, sun and rain shields for cockpit and hatches, dinghy chaps, new anchor chain, deck box for dive compressor, varnishing brightwork, fixing forward A/C, servicing refrigerator, eliminating vibration of KISS wind generator by shortening and re-bracing pole plus re-balancing blades and a bunch of smaller bits. Some of this could actually happen. The only critical piece (except for preventing the mast from falling over due failure of 17 year old wire) is the compressor box and haven't made any headway on that at all...
.. until now. Herman will have box done next week. Assurances have been given.
"Sails, rig, cushions, covers, chaps, box and A/C are in process", he states confidently. "Money has changed hands", he discloses trepidatiously (disappears faster than time). KISS generator pole is 8 1/2" shorter and, although blades are still out of balance until possible acquisition of lead tape from S/V Starshine" on Sunday, hardest bit, requiring removal of every tool from every locker (often just to get at the one in its far reaches), is done. "All will be completed by the middle of March", he declares optimistically.
Friend Lesley is here and we're off on a sail to La Cruz de Huanacaxle (snicker) for the night, then back in the AM for A/C therapy at 1100. Busy, busy, busy.
Retrieving anchor and chain Tuesday afternoon from shipwreck carcass beneath La Cruz anchorage required serious scubage (not a real word) and ministrations for festering barnacle bites, but where's the fun if it's easy? It's like that 'no pain, no gain' thing, so it's OK, right.. right?
Anyway we're back in Paradise (the marina). Got potentially good news, yesterday, on the reverse cycle air conditioner (bad capacitor?) and bussed to Centro for a sashay down the Malecon (actually, the girls did that; being a boy, I tend more toward strolling or sauntering with the occasional galumph). Note to self after consuming Guinness pie, "in Mexico, Mexican restaurants are better than Irish pubs". Items made from stingray hide were purchased with promise they will last forever. Assume this is a good thing.
Better send this or it could stretch out for another two weeks due ricocheting between busy and lazy (and possibly a soupcon of partying).
"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana." - Groucho Marx
Wednesday 29 January 2014
Actually roused ourselves to snorkel the rocks surrounding our little cove and lower the dink to visit "Elysium" for a beer and more time squandering after having checked to see that going ashore through the surf would be rather wetter than our curiosity about the palapas thereon would allow.
Final perusal of latest, latest, latest wind and sea state at the Cape provided positive reinforcement for departing north which initial conditions seemed to confirm. Even got to sail for a few hours until surprisingly good, enabling wind from the north veered and died after midnight.
Comfortably approaching Corrientes in the wee hours with following current which should bestow a rounding well before sunrise and arrival in Yelapa ("A palapa in Yelapa beats a condo in Redondo") around 0800. Currently watching "Norwegian Star", a 967 foot BUTT (Big Ugly Tourist Transporter) en route to Puerto Vallarta, pass by at a somewhat sedate, for them, 12 knots. Wonder how many kilowatts that thing pumps out just for exterior lighting.
Rather than mess with a narrow, steeply sloping 'shelf' that rims the very deep bay, we took a mooring not far from the beach in 45 meters with occasional whiplash inducing roll. Although only three hours away from a good anchorage at La Cruz de Huanacaxtle (WanaCOXlay - do NOT say this on a first date), we wanted to see this former hippie colony. For a place inhabited by commune worshipping, free spirits, this is the only location we've found in Mexico that doesn't have a single unencrypted wifi signal out of thirty... not that we would take advantage of any such availability.
Tuesday 28 January 2014
Upon meticulous reappraisal of latest forecast subsequent to poking our nose out and discovering conditions more stimulating than expected and likely to be even more animated closer to the Cape, a decision to return Chamela for a couple of days suddenly seemed terribly enlightened. Wimps. Got re-anchored in previous location just at dusk followed closely by celebratory (for our astute decision- making capabilities) G&Ts and about four of the "Seven Years in Tibet" before pirated recording (did I just admit that?) lost interest in providing us a conclusion (ya gits whatcha pays fer).
After sleeping in until 0815 and luxuriating over morning tea, checked to see that weather had gotten even more exciting overnight and, had we continued on directly into heavy wind and sea at the inevitable snail's pace, would have been thrashed, trashed, mashed, dashed, roughed, cuffed, hung down, brung down, hung up and all kinds of mean, nasty, ugly things and probably had to turn back. Latest, latest no-fooling weather-weasel prophesy shows route tomorrow night into Thursday morning to be a relative mill pond (only 2 meter sea) and light, variable wind. We soldier on despite the current lack of stimulation.
Although accomplishing a few things while here - masterful (masterful, I say) jury-rig of rotten galley faucet hose after discovering engine oil pan full of water, splicing up new anchor snubber with non-rusted hardware, consummate (consummate, I say) haircut and lovely, fresh laundry (the onboard Splendide washer/dryer works, ummm, splendidly) - we have primarily been working our way through favored deadly sins, lavishing particular attention on sloth. Aiding in this endeavor were crew that came in last evening, Dan & Patty from "Elysium", also moving north, as we were temporarily departing. Delightful company, they helped squander a couple of hours over late coffee, nearly allowing me to avoid the traumatic, but necessary trim (goodbye Grizzly Adams) for another day.
Monday 27 January 2014
Although Chamela (Cha MAY la) is purported to be a popular anchorage, we're the only cruising boat currently in residence. Possibly a 2 meter swell sloshing around the large bay has discouraged southbounders. Wimps. Speaking of which, one may have noticed our northerly advance. As has been the case since leaving Bahamas for Eastern Caribbean a month into Atlantic hurricane season, we remain out of sync with other cruisers. One might infer in this activity a certain lack of the perspicacity customarily employed by most sailors. Wimps.
Having misjudged Friday as the beginning of February (this is an unhappy result of forgetting that the 2013 Daytimer is being recycled due 2014 remaining in transit for another two weeks), we now discover an extra day or so that could have been happily squandered with additional socializing in Tenacatita. This is exemplar of the imprudence in making schedules. Not only must one energize synapses to keep track of month and day, but all efforts are compounded exponentially in the minutiae of knowing which day belongs to which date of said month and in, incredibly, having to actually do something based on that knowledge. Is anyone out there concerned that I once worked for an airline?
Anyway, in spite of paragraph two, because of paragraph one and given the slim possibility that the latest GRIB (Grim Reaper Inadequately Bar-graphed) is correct, we plan departure this evening to pass Cabo Corrientes at dawn tomorrow in marginal conditions that may be better than Wednesday, but not as good as Thursday or Friday (a careful analysis of the foregoing may unearth some logic, however flawed, lurking in there somewhere). Ya pays yer money...
Sunday 26 January 2014
No banana pancakes on banana pancake day due no bananas (not to put too fine an edge on the thing, but bananas are half the ingredients of banana pancakes, the other being, ummm pancakes) plus being on a mission to leave early so as to make Chamela early afternoon. This fine plan came a cropper as John from "Seychelle", a Hylas 49, came over for talk and coffee. One of the great things about cruising, particularly for someone with limited organizational skills and a short attention span if not already obvious, is that one may meander merrily through his storyline following the thread that seems more interesting at the moment. Besides, we might otherwise have missed the breaching whale. Anticipate planting the hook just in time for happy hour. Just how much happiness can one tolerate?
Notwithstanding just expounded perspective, as Friday's planned arrival into Paradise Village Marina nears, weather becomes a concern. Capes are often dicey (e.g. Horn, Hatteras, Fear (not actually as bad as it sounds)) and, due to strong winds and conflicting currents, this is quite true of Cabo Corrientes which forms the south end of Bahia Banderas, whence resides Puerto Vallarta. Winds are down at the moment, but may freshen by Wednesday and Thursday, so Chamela may only get a fleeting glimpse - at least until tomorrow afternoon.
The favored way to get internet along the coast is Telcel 3G. It's not so reliable, but it's slow. Perhaps because few leach their signal, many resorts don't encrypt. Cool beans for freeloaders who have long-range wifi antennas, such as ourselves. It's not so reliable, but it's slow... and cheap... such as ourselves.