Out of the Country
29 December 2009 | Puerto Salina, Mexico
Dec. 29, 2009
Enough with the balloons!!! In our very limited amount of time on the ocean, we have seen more balloons floating on top of the water! Regular ones, mylar ones, all tied up with their cute ribbon. This cannot be good. Not to mention if we wrapped one around our propeller... it could stop? I don't know, but that's the kind of stuff that scares me.
So...yes, I'm back. It's been a long time since I've written anything. It's been a combo of, lack of time/depression/frustration, oh and did I mention lack of time? Everything on a boat is hard. EVERYTHING on a boat takes triple the time. And, might I add, everything on a boat is expensive. We have spent double what we had allotted, to bring the boat up to speed for living purposes and blue water sailing. More about that, to follow later. I admit I'm spoiled. New upholstery, new countertops, new window coverings, new washer/dryer and oven. The sad thing is, not one of those things makes me happy. We're more comfortable, for sure, but with everything else that goes wrong it's like you are punched in the stomach three times a day. All the boat owners just look at us with a blank expression and say, "It's a boat." Most of our family and friends think we are nuts and cannot even fathom why we are doing this! I have to say, over the last six months I don't think Larry or I have questioned what or why we are doing this. I do think, though, we look at each other quite often, silently thinking to ourselves, "I had no idea this would be quite this hard!" Of course I blame Larry. He should have known! (Yes, I'm writing this with a half smile on my face!) I do wish he was a better communicator. I have never been more lonely in my entire life, even though Larry, Ben, Moe and I are all rarely more than a few feet apart. We've had a few friends come to visit, which has been such a blessing. And we have made a few new boat friends, that I'm sure will be lifelong. So, here we are, traveling from San Diego into Mexico. Our destination is Puerto Salina, just a little bit north of Ensenada. Should take us approximately six hours. We are motor sailing, (engine on, main sail up) cruising along at about eight knots. It is a pleasant ride today. Moe is happy and conked out on his bed in the cockpit. If we were in a car he would be freaking out. Moe is definitely showing his age. He also has been suffering from an antibiotic resistant staph infection, which he contracted after falling in the water in Ventura. Lovely, huh? We had a veterinarian who specializes in hospice and euthanasia come to the boat in San Diego for a consultation. We just want to make sure we are doing what is right for him, and are a little leary about getting competent veterinary care in Mexico. So, we are just taking it one day at a time, and are enjoying every minute with him.
Jan. 3, 2010
Happy New Year, or as we have now learned, Felix Ano Nuevo! We made it into Puerto Salina. Was very scary at the end. It's not always easy going into new marinas. You have no idea what the entrance is like, where you are going etc.... Our chart plotter got us close, and we could see the little green light flashing near the entrance, once every five seconds. Our mistake was, that we were late in leaving San Diego, therefore it was starting to get dark. The entrance had big rocks piled on either side, very symmetrical, (surely that must be it!) and we could see masts beyond, off to the left. The entrance was narrow though and the waves were crashing, but not quite all the way across the entrance. (Ha-ha!)
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We went for it, and then once we entered it was like we were in this narrow slough that dead ended! Phew, to our amazement there was an opening on the left and we pulled into this tiny marina! Just in the knick of time before we lost all light! It's beautiful here, in a Mexico sort of cricket chirping, warm dry air sort of way. There are gorgeous mansions on the hill right by us, and high rise apartments that are half built and then just stopped, and really nice army men walking around with machine guns. According to everyone here, we are in the safest part of Mexico, right here in this marina. There are twenty army guys, and I think they are on a thirty day rotation. They all live in a small tent like structure on the dirt overlooking the entrance to the marina. They patrol all day and all night. I keep asking Larry, what are they looking for? At least there are toilets for them here, and I guess they have access to the showers, but other than that, they have nothing. We made pumpkin bread for them yesterday. We are completely isolated here. No cell phones, no internet, no TV. There are hardly any people around, no grocery store (apparently there is a place we can get some canned goods if we walk two miles up the road), and of course no restaurants. There is a cantina overlooking the beach, which actually does serve delicious food despite the buildings dilapidated (by American standards) appearance. Not to mention the innumerable dogs running around inside. The staff is as nice as can be, and work very hard. The place is filled with older, drinking and smoking Americans. The good news is, they have free Wii Fii! And yes, we were able to make our computer work there yesterday!
Our friends, Dave and Renae are here, two slips down. We were neighbors in the marina in Ventura, and again in San Diego. We just really love them. The familiarity with them is a huge comfort to us. They are on a beautiful 53 foot Selene, motor vessel. They took us to La Fonda, a restaurant a few miles up the road by taxi, for New Years Eve dinner. This is where Dave and Renae spent part of their honeymoon, thirty four years ago! I had the most delicious lobster! Very fun evening!
So, let's back up here a bit. I bet you're wondering how we got from Ventura to San Diego? Let me tell you it was quite a trip. We did it in one straight shot. Took around 22 hours. We knew we were trying to outrun a storm, but for the last five hours the storm outran us. At 4 AM, after Ben, Larry and I had been enjoying a magical evening of motor sailing under the stars, it went from 12 knots of wind to about 30 knots in about two minutes, pelting rain and angry seas. Fortunately we were not alone and had the sweetest, kindest man, Jon Jenks along with us as our teacher/helper. He and his family sailed to and lived in Japan as missionaries. He is very experienced, and his presence kept us calm. The waves over powered the auto pilot, so the men had to hand steer the remaining five hours, which is no easy feat. Ben and I basically succumbed to seasickness and retreated downstairs. Ugh! Apparently, when we came around Point Loma there were winds clocked at 60 knots and waves 14-18 feet high. I will say...our boat loved this! It felt like we were flying! We were so happy to pull into our slip at Kona Kai marina. Exhausted and exhilarated!
Now, you don't think I'm going to let you read this without some of my potty talk, do you?! Well, during the trip to San Diego, Larry thought he was able to macerate (the little pump that grinds up our discharge and pumps it overboard) our holding tank. Yes folks, this is what happens in the oceans. Mind you, we have pumped out every 4-5 days (at a pump out station) faithfully since the purchase of our boat in July, with the exception of that one time in the beginning by Rusty Buckets (remember...$30 for 30 gallons?). So, it was a treat to pull into a marina and not have to worry about it for a few days. But nooooo...the next day when the toilet was flushed you could smell it. Uh-oh, we're full!! Well, Larry is running off in a cab to Kaiser to get his wrist x-rayed thinking he may have fractured it the week before after a fall from the mast (you should have seen his head too!) Anyway, so I thought I would treat ourselves and see if we couldn't hire someone to come and pump us out. No problem, just hail Pepe La Poo on channel 16! Lo and behold he shows up but seems to have a problem getting suction. (Isn't this lovely ladies?) A few minutes later he says he is finished, $35.00 for our 30 gallons. Well, a couple of hours later our toilets won't stop running, hmmmm, Larry pulls up the floorboard over our holding tank and the tank is bulging! Literally leaking out raw sewage! Merry Christmas! No one is working over the holidays! This about did me in. What more could possibly go wrong with this boat?! We were very blessed, and found a wonderful man who came out Dec. 26 and got straight to work. All new pipes and fittings etc...I have no shame any more after having these guys come on our boat having to do what they had to do. I can't even begin to describe the smell. I just kept saying to him, "Thank God for people like you!" Now that we're here in Mexico, they'll come to our boat and pump us out for $3.00! I wonder where they take it afterwards?
We're off to Ensenada tomorrow to officially check in to the country. We are still working on Ben to keep his mouth shut, another words don't speak unless spoken to! I guess we'll be back to homeschooling tomorrow too. Which I might add, we love! Ben is doing just great! He also has become quite the surfer and had a wonderful instructor, Jeff Belzer, in Ventura. He usually surfed three times a week. This experience has been life changing for him. I can positively say, Ben is addicted to water. He even earned $12.50 today cleaning dinghies and boats in the harbor, wearing his new snorkel and mask from Santa!
Happy New Year to our family and friends! We miss you! We miss our old life...but we're forging ahead...because we have to...otherwise we wouldn't really be living, right?