Today I rebuilt the head (marine toilet), using the rebuild kit I had brought with us. This consists of completely disassembling the complicated system and replacing all the O-rings, flapper valves, and the like. This has to be the sailor's LEAST FAVORITE chore!
04/24/2007, Mazatlan, Mexico
There's a saying, that sailboat cruising amounts to "doing boat repairs in exotic tropical locales".
There's also the adage, "that which doesn't get used, breaks". Well, we left our boat unused for six weeks, and after coming back a few days ago, we have to contend with some repairs, all plumbing related.
1. the seacock for the holding tank is stuck in the closed position.
2. the head (toilet) does not flush.
3. the kitchen faucet drips, needs to be replaced.
#1 is the most serious; I have to replace a 1-1/2" ball valve that is threaded onto a thru-hull fitting. Removing it would let seawater into the boat so I have to either, (a) haul the boat out of the water or (b) plug the thru-hull from the outside using the services of a diver. Getting the old valve off and the new one on wil be difficult because of the tight clearances of cabinetry around the valve.
#2 is annoying but not a big problem since I brought with me a rebuild kit for the Raritan PH-II marine toilet. I plan to tackle this one today.
#3 should be not too bad provided I can find the right replacement faucet size at the Home Depot here in Mazatlan.
We've booked our flight back to Mazatlan and to our boat on April 19! From there we'll get the boat ready for the crossing of the Sea of Cortez, and then start sailing north!
Meanwhile, temperatures here in Tiburon, CA are pleasant and temperate. We drive up to Lake Tahoe periodically for some skiing, and we look forward to going back to Mexico.
03/03/2007, Incline Village, Nevada
Here we are at Diamond Peak, elevation 8540 feet (2600 m), taking a break from tropical temperatures and sailing by...what else?... freezing temperatures and skiing. The area had a heavy snowfall just a few days earlier--notice how snow frosted the trees are.
Diamond Peak has a great view of Lake Tahoe.
Our boat, meanwhile, is in Mazatlan, Mexico. We'll return in April to sail her in the Sea of Cortez.
02/20/2007, Tiburon, CA
At first I didn't want to write about this, but I later decided this could be of interest. I got bronchitis, (I know this sounds incredible, how can you get bronchitis in sunny Mexico and 85 degree weather??).
This time of year thousands of tourists from Alaska, Minnesota, Canada, and the like, migrate to Mexico for the winter, and they bring their winter illnesses with them. And I caught the bug from one of them.
After an exam and an X-ray, the doctor diagnosed pneumonia. I was down for a few weeks. The doc put me on very potent antibiotics.
My weakened physical condition put me in a position of just wanting to be home with Pascale and the boys.
(As of this writing, the penumonia has completely cleared up, thanks to the Mexican pharmaceuticals).
We've read that the best weather for sailing north into the Sea of Cortez is in the month of May.
So I've decided to fly home, take care of business for a few months, and then fly back to Mazatlan sometime in April, where we'll prepare Calou for another sea journey, and set sail northwards in the first part of May.
That time of year, the notorious "Northers" will have ceased, and we'll enjoy warm weather sailing again.
Back in Mazatlan, it's nice to be back in tropical weather again. Crew member John flew home on Jan 25.
I keep busy by reading, doing projects on the boat, playing volleybal in the pool, and cooking on board Calou.
We saw this adorable baby on the platform while waiting for the train to take us back to Los Mochis.
A word about the train: it has full dining and bar service, but credit cards are not accepted. Furthermore, there were NO ATMs at any stops along our voyage. So we found that, on our return trip, we had just barely enough cash on hand to pay for our meals. The train staff pitied us and gave us a price discount so that we could purchase full meals.
Not being able to enjoy snacks, sodas, wine, coffee, etc. during the 9 hour train ride, put quite a damper on things! Lesson learned: when starting a Copper Canyon train trip, bring as much cash with you as you can, to cover all your incidental expenses, souvenirs, and the meals and snacks on the train both ways. I'd recommend bringing at least 3000 pesos per person, preferably more.