Merry day after Christmas
12/26/2011, Ramada Inn, Mazatlan
You may be wondering....gee what happened to Steve yesterday, Christmas day came and went and no exciting blog???? What happened???
Well I spent Christmas by myself at the Ramada Inn in Mazatlan, where I still am, waiting to get Si Bon back in the water. I thought about writing something yesterday....but then I thought what am I going to say that wouldn't sound either depressing or pathetic, so I decided to wait until today. Truth is that although it was a little strange spending Christmas in a hotel by myself, I did already have a wonderful Christmas last week with Amber and Ashley, both of whom I talked to a couple of times yesterday. Not only that but Sharon, whom I also talked to several times yesterday, and I will be having another Christmas of our own when she returns from Vermont in January. As I've said before, the hardest part of the cruising life is missing family and friends whether it is a special holiday or not. I feel particularly blessed this Christmas as I was able to spend some good quality time with my kids last week and next week my two good buddies, Frank and Russ will be coming down to visit me.
So Merry Christmas to all, and please don't forget the real reason for this special time of the year. God Bless!
12/22/2011, fonature Boat yard, Mazatlan
Sorry to beat this haul out thing into the ground.....but any little boy (or girl) that ever played with a Tonka truck has got to love the travel lift. I mean really, it is a HUGE piece of equipment that can gracefully pluck a large boat from the water and wheel it all around the boat yard before easing it down onto jack stands.
OK... that's it no more blogs about the boat yard....unless???
12/21/2011, Fonature Boat yard, Mazatlan
One of the first things I realized after purchasing Si Bon 2 years ago, was that although I had had plenty of experience sailing 20-30 foot boats, there was a huge difference in handling a 42 foot boat. The actual sailing part is pretty much the same on a larger boat, but docking is MUCH more challenging. I spent many hours practicing docking and even at one point hired a professional Captain to teach me a few things. Now don't get me wrong, I don't think anyone should get to cocky when it comes to maneuvering a sailboat in tight quarters, sailboats do not turn the same as a power boat, especially in reverse. I now have about as much confidence as anyone should have in my docking abilities (not cocky, just confident).
Last week I checked out the travel lift that would be hauling Si Bon. The travel lift rolls out on two large concrete piers...not a dock, but rather piers which are about 10-15 feet above the water (pic). I would be steering Si Bon between the narrow piers and tossing lines to some dock workers above me. This was not something I was looking forward to doing singlehanded. Luckily for me one of my neighbors Ed volunteered to go with me and help with the lines. After waiting at a near by dock for the travel lift to drop another boat into the water, I steered Si Bon between the narrow piers and Ed and I tossed the lines up to the dock workers who tied her off. The operator of the massive travel lift was a young lady about the age of my daughters (pic), definitely not your average travel lift operator, she expertly ran the complicated piece of machinery with a remote control unit. As the operator began to ask me questions and look at some photos I had of Si Bon's prior haul out, she said "I have some inconvenient news for you, you need to go back out turn the boat around and back your boat in". This was not what I wanted to hear, but who wants to argue with a young lady in charge of a monster piece of equipment...not me. As I backed Si Bon out, turned her around and backed her back in between the narrow roll of pilings (pic), my confidence level rose a few more notches...still not cocky.....but getting there (I better be careful with that).
time to get busy
Amber and Ashley left today after a 4 day visit....which was WAY to short. It was really great to be able to see them and show them a little piece of my current lifestyle. We rode in the local Pulmonia's and used the local bus system, we went to a Venandos game and toured the Centro Mercado. We even climbed to the top of El Faro before boarding the water taxi to eat lunch at Stone Island. Even with all of the other excitement, one of the the highlights of their visit was dinner last night in which they prepared the famous Cook family tuna noodle casserole...which was certainly a challenge here in Mexico.
It is now time to get some work done. One of the reasons I stayed in Mazatlan instead of returning to the states for Christmas is that there are things that need to get done on Si Bon before continuing south. In a few minutes Ramon will be here to pick up our dodger (a windshield type enclosure), for long needed repair. Tomorrow I will be taking Si Bon to the boat yard where she will be lifted out of the water and have her bottom sanded and have new paint applied. While Si Bon is in the yard I am going to have a MAJOR engine service done which should be done every 1000 hours....I have no idea when or if it has been done before. There are also a few other "little" jobs that the boat yard will be taking care of.... and I'm sure they'll most likely be something else that they'll come up with. Hopefully Si Bon will be back in the water next week at this time and she'll be ready for many more hours of problem free cruising.
As for me? Well after spending some time in Amber and Ashley's ocean front luxury hotel, I've decided to get a room at the Ramada Beach resort and take a little boat break of my own....pictures to follow!
Comings and goings
Lots of changes the past couple of days. On Friday Amber and Ashley arrived to Mazatlan, after checking into their hotel we made our way back to Marina El Cid where they were to enjoy their first boat party. Our friend Keith on Victoria Dos had purchased 2 kilos of delicious Mazatlan shrimp and as he was returning to Canada the next day for Christmas, we had to eat it all or throw it away...no problema. This was also to be Sharon's last night in Mazatlan until she returns after the holidays, so it was a sorta welcoming and going away party for all. After enjoying happy hour on Victoria Dos the girls (Amber, Ashley, Sharon) and I headed out to a Vernados game (baseball), everyone was kinda pooped out so we left after about the 6th inning and called it a night. Yesterday morning before Sharon left, we all met for a beautiful desayuno (breakfast) on the beach.
Sharon and I have spent most of the past 3 months together...and living on a 42 foot sailboat...this puts a whole new meaning on the word togetherness. We have each made many adjustments over the past 3 months, getting use to living together, getting use to living in a third world country, getting use to the cruising lifestyle (it's not for everyone) and for Sharon getting use to living on a boat. Over the past few months we have become not just boyfriend and girlfriend but also teammates. We have discovered, and are still discovering who does what jobs better, this includes everything from who cuts up the onions (I do) to who takes the helm when anchoring (she does).
So as I'm excited to continue showing Amber and Ashley Mazatlan, I was already missing Sharon even before she stepped into the taxi....enjoy Vermont and hurry back.
12/14/2011, Diego's beach bar, Mazatlan
As the time nears that Sharon will be returning to the States for Christmas we continue to check things off our "to do list". Since arriving in Mazatlan we had wanted to see one of the local performers who goes by the name of Brenster, Brenster does a combination of his own songs, some Buffett, some country and a little rock and roll. Brenster does a show every Tuesday from 2:00 till 6:00 at a place called Diego's beach bar, there is a 50 paso cover charge (4.00 USD). Diego's has a special that enables you to pay 200 pasos which includes the cover charge and all you can drink during the show. So just to clarify it... we could get into the show and drink as much as we wanted for FOUR HOURS for a total price of about $15.00 USD, for those of you that don't know Sharon and I....this was not a good business decision for Diego's. We had heard that you needed to grease the waiters palm if you wanted to get served very quickly....however this was not the case with our waiter Mitchell, Mitchell never let one beer get completely empty before he had another one in front of us. Mitchell would then encourage us to guzzle down whatever was remaining in the one he was replacing by yelling "come on drink up, it's free".
Diego's is right on the beach and the stage and dance floor are on the sand. As we drank and danced the warm afternoon away while looking at the sea through swaying palm trees, there were several times that I wondered if we were actually in the "proverbial paradise".
A great time was had by all, the music was great, the ambience was fantastic and I now remember why I don't make a habit of drinking in the afternoon.