Letters from Antipodes in Margaritaville

09 July 2010 | Marina Mazatlan
09 July 2010 | Marina Mazatlan
23 April 2010 | Mazatlan
29 March 2010 | Mazatlan, MX
22 March 2010 | Mazatlan, MX
11 February 2010 | Reno,NV
07 June 2009 | Mazatlan
24 May 2009
24 May 2009 | Mazatlan, MX
24 May 2009 | Marina Mazatlan, Mazatlan MX
24 November 2008 | Reno

Just one of those days

09 July 2010 | Marina Mazatlan
mike
It has been a while since the last post I have been working on the boat like always thinking that maybe we would get to sail somewhere. I have been chasing a slight overheating problem for a couple of years and think I may have found the problem. Really I have found a number of causes for an overheating problem and as I fix each and think maybe I have it there has been another and that another until I figure there can be nothing else. Well maybe maybe not we'll see if the prop re pitch will let the engine run at the rpm it should and that will stop the overheating problem. But that is not what this post is about and it is not about taking your dinghy out of the locker and when you inflate it the bottom falls off not that not what it is about either. what it is about is;

You know how some days it is two steps forward and one back and other days it's one forward and two back? Well today was a two back kind of day. Chris had to call England to ask some questions on the dinghy glue because it was not working too well for us yesterday. After talking to them we felt a bit better because it may be working better than we thought. So to celebrate the news, that maybe it was going to work out, we went up to Gus Gus for lunch. When we got back to the boat and went below we smelled something kind of strange sort of like a hot motor or something but as soon as we opened the boat the smell went away. Later as I was looking up dinghy stuff on the computer, just in case, I smelled it again and started looking for it. As I was smelling everything we could think of ( I'm sure I looked like an old fat puppy with his nose in the air than on the floor sniffing are everything) I put my hand on the floor over the battery compartment and the floor felt very warm in that area. I remembered that it had been warm to my bare feet this morning. So I pulled up the floor boards and found the smell and a very, very hot battery. One of the 4D batteries, there are 4 making up the house battery bank, was too hot to touch. I shut off everything electrical including the charger and started disconnecting all the batteries as the one that was so hot was the first in the line and I had to remove all 4 to get to it. I got it out but because of the weight and how hot it was I could not get it up on deck and off the boat by myself. Chris ran down and got John, the big Aussie guy, on Wide Open to help me. It took both of us to get the battery off the boat and on the dock. It seems that the battery was in a state of thermal run-away and about to melt down. I put it under a hose bib on the dock and ran water on it off and on for a couple of hours and it was still hot 4 hours later. We checked all the batteries and found that one and the hot one other testing bad, so out of 4 we saved two and went from a 732 amp house bank to a 366 amp bank. The charger and wiring all seems OK but we will be watching it for a few days to make sure its working correctly. Since my batteries are gels and it is very costly to replace them down here I may just put cheaper wet cells in for the short term, a year or so. These should serve until we head further South. I will be trying to figure out what happened over the next few days. The battery that heated up was 9 years old and the other bad one was 7 and seems to have a loose post. I am thinking that this maybe what started it all, a bad connection to that post. I well be checking check everything out to make sure there is not something else going on. If we had gone into town or to the beach who knows what would have happened, maybe an end to all the boat projects and a trip to somewhere cooler with air conditioning. Oh well just another day in the life of boat owners in margaritaville. And you all thought it was just sun and boat drinks while having suntan lotion rubbed on your back

mike

Just one of those days

09 July 2010 | Marina Mazatlan
mike
It has been a while since the last post I have been working on the boat like always thinking that maybe we would get to sail somewhere. I have been chasing a slight overheating problem for a couple of years and think I may have found the problem. Really I have found a number of causes for an overheating problem and as I fix each and think maybe I have it there has been another and that another until I figure there can be nothing else. Well maybe maybe not we'll see if the prop re pitch will let the engine run at the rpm it should and that will stop the overheating problem. But that is not what this post is about and it is not about taking your dinghy out of the locker and when you inflate it the bottom falls off not that not what it is about either. what it is about is;

You know how some days it is two steps forward and one back and other days it's one forward and two back? Well today was a two back kind of day. Chris had to call England to ask some questions on the dinghy glue because it was not working too well for us yesterday. After talking to them we felt a bit better because it may be working better than we thought. So to celebrate the news, that maybe it was going to work out, we went up to Gus Gus for lunch. When we got back to the boat and went below we smelled something kind of strange sort of like a hot motor or something but as soon as we opened the boat the smell went away. Later as I was looking up dinghy stuff on the computer, just in case, I smelled it again and started looking for it. As I was smelling everything we could think of ( I'm sure I looked like an old fat puppy with his nose in the air than on the floor sniffing are everything) I put my hand on the floor over the battery compartment and the floor felt very warm in that area. I remembered that it had been warm to my bare feet this morning. So I pulled up the floor boards and found the smell and a very, very hot battery. One of the 4D batteries, there are 4 making up the house battery bank, was too hot to touch. I shut off everything electrical including the charger and started disconnecting all the batteries as the one that was so hot was the first in the line and I had to remove all 4 to get to it. I got it out but because of the weight and how hot it was I could not get it up on deck and off the boat by myself. Chris ran down and got John, the big Aussie guy, on Wide Open to help me. It took both of us to get the battery off the boat and on the dock. It seems that the battery was in a state of thermal run-away and about to melt down. I put it under a hose bib on the dock and ran water on it off and on for a couple of hours and it was still hot 4 hours later. We checked all the batteries and found that one and the hot one other testing bad, so out of 4 we saved two and went from a 732 amp house bank to a 366 amp bank. The charger and wiring all seems OK but we will be watching it for a few days to make sure its working correctly. Since my batteries are gels and it is very costly to replace them down here I may just put cheaper wet cells in for the short term, a year or so. These should serve until we head further South. I will be trying to figure out what happened over the next few days. The battery that heated up was 9 years old and the other bad one was 7 and seems to have a loose post. I am thinking that this maybe what started it all, a bad connection to that post. I well be checking check everything out to make sure there is not something else going on. If we had gone into town or to the beach who knows what would have happened, maybe an end to all the boat projects and a trip to somewhere cooler with air conditioning. Oh well just another day in the life of boat owners in margaritaville. And you all thought it was just sun and boat drinks while having suntan lotion rubbed on your back

mike

It sure is lonely on dock 6

23 April 2010 | Mazatlan
mike - Sunny, slight wind to help cool things down and about 82
It's funny when you are out of sync with the rest of the cruising community down here. Did not get down here until March, sort of the end of the season. Everyone has been packing up to head back to the States or Canada or doing quick repairs and provisioning for the summer up in the Sea of Cortez. As each day passes there are fewer and fewer people here. Dock 6 now has only 2 or 3 boats with people on them the rest are vacant for the summer. Gus Gus up at the head of the dock will have music for a few weeks more than they will start shutting down for the summer. Chris should be here next Thursday and we are hoping the overheating problem is an easy fix so that maybe, just maybe, it will be our turn to go somewhere up into the Sea this summer. I am looking forward to her getting here for the first time in over a year. Going back to the States for a short visit never works out for us. We both have a hard time saying no when someone needs something. We've been talking alot about the boat just sitting here and not being used and are coming to the conclusion that if we do not start using it for what we intended we may just sell it and move on. Its not any good for either the boat or us to just have it sitting in a marina year after year and was not what we bought it for. My sailing fixes come through other peoples blogs and talking to the other cruisers when i am down here. She does not even get that much so we need to get moving. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers that we can have a good summer sailing the boat with not too many problems. Well that's it for the whining for the day. These are the kind of posts you get when someone remembers that a week from this sunday they turn 60. Where in the hell did all the years go and what the hell happened to my body? Why has it turn on me.

Just an average Sunday afternoon at the Palapa

29 March 2010 | Mazatlan, MX
mike


Last week I was sitting in the Palapa having a cold Pacifico and waiting for Norberto to bring me my carne asada when I notice this guy walk around the corner of the palapa. He was older and dressed in all black wearing a leather jacket, a shell neckless, and one of those French beanie things. He looked like something out of a Hemingway story and I could tell he would be interesting to talk to. I had just gotten there and was sitting alone watching Mike and Melissa throw horse shoes. So this guy walks over to the table I'm at and asks if he can sit down, I say sure and he sits, orders a beer and starts telling me about being here 10 years ago on his wooden boat Fiona. We talk for a while about how it use to be, a lot of it I remember from when we first got down here in 2004, and how much it has changed. About this time Mike from the boat Narwhal comes over and asks the guy if his name is Don, he says yes and they get to talking about hanging out in some of the same anchorages up in the Sea back than. So Mike asks him what he's been doing over the last 10 years and the guys tell us how he is living in a little town south of Mexico City with his 35 year old girl friend who works for the UN and how he is building a couple of houses on the beach in Costa Rica for him, his kids, and his grandkids. He goes on to tell us how he and his girl friend rode a motorcycle the length of South America a couple of years ago, the ride that is in the book The Motorcycle Diaries and how he was riding an old Honda goldwing home from visiting his grandkids in the states. We start talking about motorcycles and riding when he tells us to wait right there as he has something to show us. He leaves and comes back in a few minutes with a folder of pictures and news articles from Mexican and South American news papers with stories about his trip. He goes on to show us some unbelievable pictures of the Andes and glaciers and him, his motorcycle and his girlfriend, who is drop dead gorgeous. By this time we have been talking for an hour or two and he says he needs to get back on the road. He gives us his e-mail address and an invite to visit him in his home. He then picks up the tab for the beers we have been drinking for the last couple of hours and we walk him out to his bike and watch as he gets on and rides off. A really good afternoon. Oh, by the way, did I mention that he was 72 years old? Yep he was. And you ask why I bum around down there it's not just the boat drinks, cheap beer, and great tacos but the people you meet, sort of like living in a novel. A good afternoon indeed.

Ain't plumbing fun

22 March 2010 | Mazatlan, MX
mike - 80 degress and sunny

Well, I finally got back to the boat about 10 days ago. Left Reno in a blizzard, it took the plane two tries to deice and we ended up being about an hour late getting off the ground. No problem as I had a 4 hour layover in LA. We were only about 15 minutes late leaving LA for Mazatlan. The flight to Mazatlan was, for the most part, uneventful. Although we did hit a bit of clear air turbulence about a third of the way down the Sea of Cortez that bounced us around for a few minutes. Wouldn't you know it was right after the drink service so a few people wore their drinks. Anyway after doing the immigration and customs shuffle, Vic from Charisma met me and gave me a ride to the marina. While everyone was complaining about how cool and windy it was for me it was great, no need for a coat and no snow anywhere in sight. For the next couple of day I just sat around in the warm and visited with friends that had been here all season. After that things went down hill. I started on the first boat project, replacing the Henderson pump for the lavic head, a small project that I projected would take 2 or 3 hours at most. Particularly after I made it easier by breaking the sink drain and having to remove the sink, this opened up the area around the pump and all its hoses so it was very easy to reach standing up and not by squeezing my 6'3" 260 lbs body into a 3 foot square space under the sink. But as we all know, nothing on a boat goes according to plan. The 2 or 3 hour project turned into a 4 day project, the simple pump replacement turned into a pump replacement and a decalcification/acid cleaning of all the hoses, valves and ElectroSan unit. For those who are not familiar with saltwater and onboard sanitation systems, when saltwater and urine come in contact a chemical reaction takes place that precipitates the calcium out of the urine and coats the hoses. The result is like someone pouring wet cement into the system hoses and letting it dry. How do you clean them? You should run an acid solution through them every so often, vinegar will work if there it not to much build up and you use enough. If it has gotten pretty clogged than it works best to use a muriatic acid solution. NOTE: Don't do this if you do not use protective clothing and eye protection and don't know what you are doing. The other way to clean the hoses is to remove them from the boat and beat then against the end of the dock, this breaks up the calcium deposits and they are flung from the end of the hose coming to rest on everything and everybody around you. This method, besides adding a distinctive whap, whap, whap rhythm to life in the marina, may insure that you are not invited to many dock parties. In addition to this fun project I seemed to have picked up a bug that just drained all may energy for about a week. The good news is that I am well, at least physically, the head project is done and everything seems to work great and I'm ready for the next project. This one is a short 2 or 3 hour project to replace one of the foot pumps under the galley sink and will be a can of corn.... He says as he is trying to stuff his less the svelte body under the galley sink and we fade to black.

waiting for parts

11 February 2010 | Reno,NV
mike
Have been home for the last few months. The holidays came and went and we were dealing with some family issues and so have missed most of the winter sailing season in Mexico. That's the down side, the up side is that I think we have set it up so we can be gone at least a year without having to go home unless an emergency comes up or we want to. Our definition of an emergency not someone elses. Our friends Bob and Janet have made it down to Cabo on their boat Katie Hill and are going to try to get together with us for some buddy boating. I should be heading back to the boat in a week or so and will start getting it together to get out of the marina for the summer season in the Sea of Cortez. I hope to meet up with some of you who we've been reading about in your blogs from Mexico and say hello. Also hope to finely get some pics of our boat in all those great Sea of Cortez anchorages that you have been posting on your blogs. Hope to see you all soon down south in the warm latitudes.
Vessel Name: Antipodes
Vessel Make/Model: 1988 Wauquiez Centurion 47
Hailing Port: Reno, NV. USA
Crew: Mike & Chris Brown
About:
Mike is a retired Reno Fire Dept Batt Chief and Chris is a retired State of NV computer programmer. Both retired in 2000 with short returns to gainful employment to replenish the boat fund. Both have been sailing for about 28 years. [...]
Extra: Antipodes was purchased from a French partnership in 1999. It is a step up from their previous sailboat a 16' hobie cat. Antipodes was sailed by one of the partners and his girlfriend from France through the Panama Canal to Tahiti. The boat was featured in a short film about the trip.
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Antipodes's Photos -

Who: Mike & Chris Brown
Port: Reno, NV. USA