After Mark left Friday afternoon the Sea Monkey went missing. Despite the fact that Sea (C-short for OYC) Monkey wasn't ready to leave the cruising life style he was upset that Mark did not buy him a ticket home. That's just like those monkeys! We went to "Gus Gus" restaurant Friday night here in the marina with the crews from Sirocco and So Inclined for a last dinner before they head south in the morning. We thought C Monkey went to find some Chiquitas to hang out with and console himself, but he could not be found aboard Pacifico this morning (Saturday 12/4) when we awoke and has still has not returned as of this evening. Despite the fact that we went to a party this evening we are getting a bit worried for his safety. We plan to stay here for several more days and hope he shows up before we sail.
Today, Saturday, we stayed at the boat and re-organized ourselves from a crew of three to two, took stock on provisions and did some general clean up along with just lazing around. I called Buddy at West Marine in Oceanside and ordered a couple of parts. He wanted to know if he should deliver them to the marina. I don't know Buddy, ask Ruth?
Late this afternoon we could hear music; it seemed like a party was going on so being curious we went to investigate. As it turned out there was a "customer appreciation" pot-luck get-together up on the roof top deck of the marina office that was sponsored by Rick from Marine Services of Mazatlan. Without any to-do we were invited to join in on the festivities; all you can eat fresh BBQ tuna and tuna balls (like crab cakes) and FREE Pacificos! How could we say no? They also had a musician playing oldies and Spanish classics. We enjoyed the evening and probably saved $200 pesos on dinner! Tomorrow it's more chores, the whale gusher manual pump needs to be rebuilt and it's time to clean out the bilge, a nasty job but nothing major.
We would like to get into town and see more of old Mazatlan before we leave and have started our route planning for the next leg down to PV. We hope to leave Wednesday or Thursday, more on that later. Where is that darn monkey?
After a tour of the Pacifico brewery on Wednesday morning with our friends from Sirocco and So Inclined (see their blogs for a description), in the afternoon the Pacifico crew continued being "turistas" by participating in an entertaining "Salsa y Salsa" show at the Hotel Royal Villas in Mazatlan. (Mark's friend Leonique runs the show & let us join in the fun at her cost.) This was very much a hands-on experience, where our two young instructors, Maaike & Stephanie, taught everyone how to use an authentic Mexican "molcajete" (stone mortar & pestle) to work in pairs to make seven different salsas. These covered the whole range from a spicy salsa roja, salsa verde and guacamole to a dessert-like salsa consisting of pineapple, cantaloupe, coconut & a creamy rum-based liqueur, served with ice cream. Plus we received a lesson in concocting an authentic Mexican margarita from one shot each of tequila & Controy plus fresh-squeezed lime juice, served over the rocks in a salt-rimmed glass. Our hosts supplied authentic chef's attire to everyone, so be sure to check out the photo gallery! What's the first thing that comes to mind when you see Dave in an apron & chef's hat (think "börk, börk, börk!")? If that doesn't ring any bells, check out this video:
Our young instructors provided useful tips such as how to slice open an avocado, a safe technique for slicing and removing the seeds from the hot Serrano chiles, along with a reminder to avoid touching your eyes, nose, etc (use your imagination here) after handing the chiles!
The house margaritas kept flowing throughout the show, so our instructors needed to periodically get everyone's attention by ringing a little handbell & have us all shout "Ole!". Since we were consuming the various delectable delights as we made them, by the time the food part of the show was over we were ready for a nap! That provided a natural segue to the second part of the show. Tables & chairs were cleared away and Stephanie did her best to instruct her students in the basic moves of salsa dancing. Rather than rely on traditional directions such as left, right, forward & back, she used more interesting points of reference such as beach-side, street-side, bar-side and ship-side (most folks came from a cruise ship). Don't know how successful Stephanie was in teaching her class of learning-impaired students, but everyone had fun! (Again, look at the pictures.)
After the show, Mark introduced Dave & Marisa to Leonique, who encouraged them to look her up the next time they passed through Mazatlan. We then hurried off to the Mega market in town to buy chili ingredients for our evening pot-luck with our friends on Sirocco and So Inclined. I bet you all didn't fully appreciate the rigors of the cruising life!
Mark is leaving the boat this evening to return home to CA, and so has passed the mantle back to "Chez Dave" and "Chez Margarisa". Although the Sea Monkey was originally slated to return home with Mark, he stomped his little primate feet and said he was staying with Dave & Marisa (he really does have a foul temper sometimes). So I guess you'll continue to read of his adventures in Mexico.
11/30/2010, Mazatlan, Mx
Hola from Marina Mazatlan
Plans are subject to change, no difference here either. We had intended to make a more leisurely run to Mazatlan via an East Cape anchorage or two but the latest weather reports we received on Sunday, 11/28 indicated a nasty northerly coming down the Sea of Cortez starting Monday night and continuing through Wednesday. Not wanting to run that gauntlet we elected to leave Cabo asap, which we did at about 1400 hrs, Sunday 11/28 and headed straight across the Sea to Mazatlan. We arrived last night, Monday, 11/29 at about 2200 hrs. We also didn't want to make night approaches to unfamiliar anchorages, but we did and thankfully are safe in a slip at Marina Mazatlan.
I'll have to talk about the sailing conditions a little bit here; we had about everything and it was great! We left Cabo with about 25 kts of wind from behind coming over the cape so pretty flat seas. We were making 7-8 knots under just the main so didn't bother to put anything else up; why bother? That's hull speed on this boat! That lasted several hours then died as expected and we motor sailed until we started to pick up some pressure coming down the Sea and had a great moon light sail on a beam reach, just about as good as it gets, and warm too! The sailing went like that through the day with the wind increasing until we had a steady 22-23 kts. The seas continued to build out of the north. That gave us quartering seas, that is with the waves reaching the boat at it's stern quarter on an angle, which kind of cork screws you around and is lots of fun to steer through.....We made good time and kept a steady course of about 74 degrees magnetic with a reefed main most of the day. It's hard to be exact as to times, because we have not been keeping regular watches. Our auto pilot failed on the leg down from Bahia Santa Maria and we have been hand steering, which can be quite a chore. We each take it as long as we can then ask for relief, usually one or two hours is about all you can handle. It's tough, but sure keeps you in touch with what the boat is doing. With one person steering and one asleep in the cockpit to assist as needed. We were all tired when we got in and that was another event in itself. With all that wind and wave action taking us to land we had to figure out how to get the sail in and under control before trying to enter into a little harbor entrance in the dark, which none of us were familiar with. We reviewed all the charts and pilot books and made the decision to take the boat behind the little island just off shore called Isla Pajaros to get into the lea of the island to be able to turn up into it to drop the sail then to motor back out and around to find the entrance. As it turned out that was a good call, because finding that entrance was tricky. It turned out that two of its three lights were out, it is quite a small breakwater and when you get into it the channel is very narrow and shallow on the shore side. The GPS chart is of little help as it shows that you are already on land; not comforting. Anyway, we made it and were welcomed at the dock by our friends from Oceanside who came down last month: Lee and Cathy on Sirocco and Mike and Bob on So Inclined. (check out their blogs) We were greeted with margaritas on the rocks aboard Sirocco and they were well received.
Today was spent, you guessed it, cleaning up the boat again, and laundry. Marisa really likes the new clothes washer device (photos to follow). It was really windy today and while sunny, it was unseasonably cool here today. We were glad that we made it in last night; it looks like "Victory at Sea" out there with a 30-35 knot northerly coming down as expected. This is a nice marina, clean and quiets unlike the rollicking tourist marina at Cabo and about 1/3 the price. There is a great little cantina almost at the head of our dock, we had smoked marlin tacos for lunch! Tomorrow we are going with the group to tour the Pacifico brewery which is here in Mazatlan. Then, it will be back to the boat and into that auto pilot problem and a few other repair and maintenance issues. Cruising: doing boat maintenance in exotic places.
Did I say," what could go wrong?" Well, one of the upgrades this fall was to install a new watermaker. It went in without a hitch and worked great, producing 3.5+ gallons per hour of really good drinking water from the sea. Pretty cool! About 5 gallons into it I saw a few beads of water on the membrane housing. No big deal, wiped them off and kept going, then a few more, and a few more. It seems the housing itself was defective and water was oozing through the fiberglass housing wall. Somebody skimped on the resin in the fiberglass department that day. Anyway, out it came and back to the factor for replacement, which they did and it's back in and working. There is nothing like doing a job twice to know how it's done. As I mentioned we hauled out in October and among other tasks installed a new, three bladed "fixed" prop. The long and short of it is we were "over pitched" and it had to come off. When the prop is over pitched it works the engine too hard and can't get up to top RPM, and also caused some overheating issues. I have to thank Buddy Ellison for all his help in diagnosing the prop issues, double checking the engine and for sharing his cruising expertise. It's been greatly appreciated. Bill Roush was a good soul and brought his wet suit, dive tanks and made not only the dive to pull the prop, but after the repitch came back and put it back on! Then he came back again and spent the day putting me up the mast to install the whisker pole. Thanks for that Bill and the rest of the time you have spent getting us ready to go.
Meanwhile, back at the barn Marisa was working feverishly with the help of friend Sue Dijkman on several canvas projects for Pacifico. The ladies created mesh bags and side curtains for the cabin ports and sidelights, a mesh companion way cover (thanks Sue!) and cockpit shades. These will be handy and of great comfort not only for shade in the tropics, but the mesh exterior covers also keep the bugs and mosquitoes out. If you're interested in some of these for your boat or home, Sue has a business creating just such clever things. She can be reached at Susan@DijkmanDesigns.com.
Mark has been working dilligently to get our Iridium phone and wifi range extender up and running as well as technical advise in the engineering department. The frame for the solar panels is in place, AIS system extended to the nav station and with computer hook up, way cool.
We have installed the fourth house bank battery, which cost us some hanging locker space, and that gives us 400 amp hours of house with a 65 amp start battery. Not huge but better than what we had. Next we tackle the solar panel installation. Only four days remaining. More to follow.
10/31/2010, Oceanside, CA
It's been a long summer and fall of projects both planned and the unplanned. Along with all the planned improvements and preparations we experienced a leaking fuel tank in June that of course required the tank to be emptied and pulled for repair. Shortly after that we discovered a serious corrosion problem with the Edson steering that necessitated a new wheel hub and just because I was in there new cables and brake pads. I mean, what else could go wrong? Sorry I asked. After that it was the hydraulic ram in the auto pilot system, and then the transmission went out! The engine has to come out to get to the transmission and it just didn't make sense to spend that much time and effort to marry a new transmission to the old engine, so out it came. We decided to go with a Beta, 25 hp 3 cylinder diesel with Twin Disc transmission and to hire Phil, "The Marine Man" to help me install it. I have to say that was a good call. We started on Saturday morning and were sea trialing it by Tuesday afternoon. After that we took a quick shake down to White's at Catalina to meet friends Terry & Michelle (Coastal Passage II) and Jean (Southwind) then back to Oceanside. We have hauled out for a bottom job and new through hulls and pulled the rudder just for fun, actually to inspect it because it has not been out to my knowledge since it went in 22 years ago and put on a new three bladed prop. All is well, we are back into the water and onto the anticipated projects. The list is still long and hope we don't have any more surprises. As much a hassle as all this has been we can say is better to find all that stuff out here than 1200 miles down the coast!
Our friend Mark Robinson is planning to sail down the coast with us to Cabo and he is helping with projects. We hope to be done and starting our trip as planned November 16ish with the first leg from Oceanside to Ensenada where we will check into Mexico.
More to come.