11/11/2014, Barra de Navidad
Hot and humid to rain and cool in a muddy water hole!
OK, it came to me last night to change the title of this blog post, don't know why it didn't come to me in the first place except that I was tired. So, a little editing was done after the fact.
Last week we were drying things out after hurricane "Vance" and still putting the boat back together. I got a picture of with all the debris and muddy colored water. There is so little surge in this marina that it will take some time to completely flush for a full exchange and get back to normal conditions.
We got out of the marina for a couple of days ahead of this most recent low pressure system that brought in more rain. Rains flood the rivers and creaks which wash the mud and debris into the lagoon and hence out to sea. The marina and lagoon had not recovered from the effects of "Vance" from last week before this system got here. We were able to anchor out at Cuastecomate and Melaque and found that while the thick mud color dissipated within a mile of shore the water was loaded with silt and limited visibility to about 5-8 feet, even in those anchorage areas with good circulation to open water. I dove the boat and found that Pancho had done a bang up job with the bottom cleaning as well as the topsides in my absence over the summer, but water conditions weren't very inviting for snorkeling. We came back in ahead of this most recent system.
It rained most of yesterday, Monday 11/10 and filled any dinghy left unattended. I put a bucket out on deck overnight and not under anything that would add to the rain accumulation, and had about 5-6 inches in the morning. Not sure what that is on a rain gauge, but it's a lot! We've been struggling under 90+ degree temps that with humidity have had a heat index up to 105, and today it's cool, almost cold! OK, well not quite, but pleasantly cooler.
It cleared up enough today for a walk over the hills to the Pacific side of this peninsula this morning and we were treated to a humpback mother with calf diving just outside the surf line. This has been a quiet day on the boat for small projects and reading while not sweating.
11/09/2014, Barra de Navidad
Pat and I took time off from our work on Pacifico to go into Barra with "the group" and enjoy the locals
Dia de los Muertos celebrations on Saturday, November 1. I had no idea, but this is quite an event here. The main street in Barra, the Malicon, is all decked out with small remembrances to and of the departed. Most of the business also participate with very nice tributes to their departed relatives, not all of them obviously, but significant people in their lives; lost husbands and wives, mothers, fathers and sadly a few children. Almost all the restaurants prepare a special "taste" available for purchase at usually $20-25 pesos or about a buck to a buck and a half, very reasonable and very good; a great way to feed the crowd and to advertise their products. There is a street fair atmosphere and many of the participants dress in various costumes that could pass for Halloween in the US. It is a nice tribute to the departed, a carnival that the entire community turned out for and nicely done. Fun and "muy tranquillo".
11/09/2014, Vancouver, B.C.
At the beginning of the June, 2014 Marisa and I had the good fortune to visit with cruising friends Howard and Lynn of s/v Swift Current at their home in Vancouver, B.C. We met them during the 2010-11 Mexico cruising season and have kept in touch. This was one of those unplanned events the timing for which was just right. Not being shy we jumped at the opportunity and I must say Howard and Lynn are gracious hosts, inviting us to their home and giving us their unbridled attention for four days. We were treated to personal tours of much of their beautiful City of Vancouver, a drive up to Whistler and to take the gondola cars up the mountains. We were able to visit two of their Royal Vancouver Yacht Club facilities of which Howard is a Staff Commodore. We certainly had a wonderful time and the weather couldn't have been more cooperative!
This is most of us on the deck at the RVYC's main facility, quite the view!
11/09/2014, Barra de Navidad
Back to Barra on 10/25/14 with friend Pat Mead to put Pacifico back together for the season. Pancho, the boat worker that has taken care of Pacifico met us at the Manzanillo airport in his air conditioned VW for the 25 minute ride to Barra. We found that Pacifico had weathered the summer heat and rains well, dry inside and Pancho had taken great care of her for me. It has been hot, high 80's to low 90's with humidity, a lot of days the heat index is over 100, so the going has been slow and sweat rolls off like being in a shower. Fortunately the pool and pool bar are only a short walk so there is relief at the end of the day. Pat and I were getting up early to walk about an hour over the hill to the beach, but we found that we were getting started so late on the work that it was too hot to get much done. A few days off from the walking and an early start on projects progressed the work nicely. It took me over three weeks to put the boat into the storage mode by myself and a little less than two weeks for both of us to get it back together. I can't thank Pat enough for his help and perseverance in this heat. We took one day off for a bus trip to Manzanillo's "Club Social" and some shopping and another day hiding from heavy rain. Of course there's been some well deserved time off for local R & R pool side, but that's mostly later in the afternoon. Most of us here have met in the evenings at the hotels "lobby bar" for the World Series and a few football games. About the only other "cruisers" who were here were those also returning to their boat and mostly to get ready to head south, wanting an early jump on the Central America transit to Panama. Dave and Betty Ann of s/v Confidence, Barry from s/v Sea Swift, Don of s/v Antara and a few others, but those are the ones we got to know the most. All but Barry have departed now so the place is all but deserted.
This is Pat at about sun up working on deck taking the summer shade tarps down. We kept the best of three for rain, and that was a good thing! You can see the humidity in the air here. Did I comment on the mosquitoes?
10/22/2014, Barra de Navidad
April 14, 2014 Barra de Navidad. Oceanside Harbor boaters pictured are Dave & Marisa from s/v Pacifico, Tom & BJ from m/v Caribbean Soul, Dan & Deb from s/v Caper, Eddie Lare from s/v Blade and Fred & Jeanette from s/v Marsha Dee.
Somehow we all collected here at Barra, some by intent, some by chance, but our Oceanside group was a large percentage of the late season cruisers still here in Barra. We had quite the end of season dock party, Oceanside Cruiser's style, and everyone was invited to join in. In a few days our group had scattered, leaving only s/v Pacifico and s/v Marsha Dee to summer-over along with a handful of other boats. This is a good spot to consider for your summer hurricane hole. The marina is well sheltered and withstood the Cat. 3 hurricane "Jova" of 2011 without loss. We'll see what next year brings, but the marina has offered the best rates in Mexico for off season moorage.
10/22/2014, Barra de Navidad
The last two weeks of April were getting pretty warm, actually hot with humidity building it was getting uncomfortable. I had the end of season "leave the boat" list from Mike and Julie of s/v Slacker as well as ideas from a few others and my own, but pretty well stuck to Mike and Julies list. I'd been working on the list for almost three weeks before leaving. I arranged with Pancho, one of the local boat workers to oversee the boat in the off season, to include periodic wash downs, bottom cleaning, run engine 2X monthly for half hour, check batteries, recheck dock lines and adjust as needed.
This is my list with their ideas and a few others all mixed in and I'm sure there are as many more ideas as there are boaters out there, but this is what I did to leave the boat in the tropics in hurricane season:
Pull and store all small electronics in oven and lower lockers with batteries removed.
Clean out refrigerator, ice locker and portable freezer, dry and prop open.
Put out buckets of dehumidifier, spares for periodic refills.
Wipe all surfaces with vinegar.
Clean and oil cabin sole (Pacifico has a natural teak and holly sole)
Fill and bleach water tanks.
Fill fuel tank and treat with biocide.
Empty and clean all deck jerry jugs, tether with cable and lock into cockpit.
Service outboard engine, chain lower case oil, lube oil in cylinder, drain carborrator and clean, dump (give away) any remaining gasoline.
Same for Honda Generator.
Remove all clothing, bag and close tightly.
Remove all food items, give away anything perishable. Bag remaining food stuffs.
Remove sails, clean, dry, fold and put below.
Remove all halyards and control lines threading with messenger lines, wash, dry and put below.
Remove all canvas, wash, dry and store below.
Clean and treat dinghy with 303 or similar, roll up and store on deck under tarps.
Clean all stainless steel.
Clean radar, cover with old t-shirt.
Remove BBQ, clean and store below.
Remove two of three solar panels, clean and store below.
Pickle water maker, drain lines.
Place all clothes, bedding and towels in vacuum bags for storage.
Spray with wd-40 and wipe down winches, cover.
Turn off gas.
Plug haus pipes, engine intakes.
Rig tarps to cover boat, tightly.
Clean anchor chain and rode, dry and store, seal locker.
Lightly spray engine with wd-40, wipe down
All this and I had time for the pool in the afternoons too, of course it was getting to hot to do any more work, and I just finished in time to fly home April 30, 2014 from Manzanillo.
End of Season, to be continued!
After the photo op at the giant sail fish sculpture we made haste to get to our destination, "Club Social" or The Social Club, here in Centro Manzanillo. This is a great old bar, founded by the present owner's father in about 1952 and continuously operating ever since. They have kept the place up with fresh paint and fixtures, but it essentially remains the same. The photo is a tad out of focus, or since it's a point and shoot camera perhaps I was a bit unsteady. Sorry, it's the only close up shot of Tom and BJ that I got! There is an older fellow playing his guitar off scene to the right. They come and take your drink order, Pacificos all around please, and then they bring the food. They have about seven food items and they just keep it coming for as long as you want as long as your ordering beverages. They line up the empty bottles and when your done, just count the bottles and that's your "la cuenta". Needless to say this was lunch!
05/08/2014, Las Hadas
OK, I'm saying "clear, sunny, warm, but it's getting frigging hot! Tom, BJ and I went off the boats and caught the local #8 bus from the peninsula where the resorts are located into the main shopping district, which includes Walmart, Home Depot, a Mega and Commercial super stores. From there you catch the local bus that takes you to "Centro" or downtown which was our destination. The old harbor at Centro Manzanillo is quite small, but the new mega container harbor just a little further in is the largest container port in Mexico. Despite that Manzanillo is really a small city, but with a big city flavor to it. They built this gigantic metal plate sculpture here at Centro just off the old small commercial harbor and Mexican Navy yard. It is quite a site to see and with Tom & BJ front and center you get an idea of just how large this thing really is.
05/08/2014, Las Hadas
After a week of a steady routine of walking and swimming daily I took off to join Tom & BJ on Caribbean Soul about 20 nm south of Barra at the anchorage at Las Hadas. Nice spot, no red tied so clear water and the south swell has not set in yet. This anchorage is on the northern side of Manzanillo Bay and as you look out across the bay the appearance of the company you're keeping is quite diverse! The big guys are outside though, so you don't have to worry about their swing radius!
05/08/2014, Barra de Navidad
Back in Barra with Tim on March 20, 2014 for his flight out on the 21st, then I was solo again. Marisa is scheduled to join me over her Spring Break, or Santa Semana as it is called here. I'm back to dealing with my health issues and first on the agenda is to get back to a cardio exercise routine after a month of cruising.
Up at 7-730 AM and off the boat for a morning walk up into the hills following the road into the hotel from the Pacific side of the hill behind the marina. It's quite a grade to reach the high point of the road and still only about half or less of the way to the summit, but I'm sticking to the road and a quick pace. It's either up or down, almost no level terrain at all and it really worked me.
This is the view from the high point, looking westerly out over the marina to Barra and beyond towards Melaque. I walked this route about six days a week, 25 minutes each way unless someone wanted to go with me over to the "secret beach" on the Pacific side, that is about 2 hours round trip with some sight seeing involved. With this routine plus swimming laps in the pool in the afternoon after working on the boat all day I lost the five pounds I put back on, I was down 15 in January, and another 5 pounds to boot. It is cool enough in the morning but the heat is coming and humidity with it and by 10 AM, it's hot!