08 February 2014
February 7, 2014
Jay always kids that he fixes one thing on his list and then adds two. It's true! The list for fixing things on the boat is endless. We've been back from our last excursion a little over a week now and it seems we are only half finished with our list. It goes something like this:
Fix anchor light
Get new hose for head
Caulk holding tank vent
Repair Starboard cockpit hatch
Flush out holding tank and air vent
Flush out bilge
Fix leak from sissy rail
Get bilge pump hose
Replace dinghy valve
Clean and paint inside of head closet floor
Sand and varnish rails
Sand and varnish windows
Sink drain hose (bathroom)
Sand and paint section of mast with bare wood
Fix cracked frame on starboard window
Restring fishing reel
Repair other fishing reel
Fix port side fiberglass
Get bottom cleaned
Etc., etc., etc.
And then I added some things to the list:
Take in laundry/sheets, towels, rugs, clothing
Do hand wash
Clean oven and stove top
Clean out refrigerator & freezer
Clean out can locker
Take food inventory
Fill water tanks
Fill water bottles
Get eyeglasses fixed
Etc., etc., etc.
The work began the very next day after we arrived back at the dock. Jay was on a quest for new hoses for the head. He had fixed it out at anchor, but only temporarily. Since it is such an ugly job, he wanted to get it working properly and over with as soon as possible. That is what took us on a five-mile walk through several marine stores. Well, that and the many other miscellaneous items he had on his list.
I suppose its not unusual to have to go to several marine stores to find the parts one needs. It's just that each time we go into town, we can count on it taking most of the day. We take the shuttle in, which is a twenty-minute ride, and then begin our walk. Each marine store has a little of some things but none has one of everything.
We found the head hose at the third and furthest marine store. We never did find the bilge hose. Not on the first trip into town anyway. He also found the caulking that he needed and some brushes for varnishing. We now had enough supplies to keep us busy for a few days.
Next stop was Mercado Bravo for some provisioning. Food shopping in Mexico reminds me of when I was growing up. My grandparents house, and the home my mother grew up in, was on Brunswick Avenue in Trenton, New Jersey. Those were the days when supermarkets were just barely surfacing into American culture. Since most families had only one parent working and the other one stayed at home, they had the time to visit various specialty stores.
Grandma shopped at the butcher's for meat and the produce market for vegetables and fruit. There was a bakery for breads. Grandpa was a milkman by trade, so that's how we got our milk. And down the street from their row house, in Mrs. Wizzy's front room, was the candy store. Every little girl's dream!
Here in Mexico we have Mercado Bravo for fruits, vegetables, meats and fish. We also have the organic farmer's market on Tuesday and Saturday. (Wonderful! See above photo.) Mega and Chedraui are two of the supermarkets. It is here we buy our dry and canned goods. Mega has a good cheese section and Chedraui has the better wine section. I was able to get my eyeglasses fixed at Mega. Both have bakeries but we prefer, la Panderia Gourmet, on Madero Street in town. We even have a bagel shop here! Fresh bagels every day! But as you can imagine, all these different markets mean a lot of walking. And then we are hand carrying all that we acquire. It can get quite heavy. Sometimes it takes days to provision as the supermarkets, Mega and Chedraui, and our marina, Coastabaja, are on opposite sides of La Paz. One day will be dedicated to the supermarkets and another day will be dedicated to in-town markets. Those days we usually do marine store runs too.
Walking through town, I always like to stop at Allende Books, the English book store. This too, is reminiscent of my early childhood. It was 1967 and our family was living in Bangkok. There was not much for a nine year old to do. I was in a far east country and hadn't learned the language. But I did discover an English book store and it was there I spent hours on end, perusing the shelves. This laid the path for a lifetime love of reading and writing.
We entered Allende, and by now, we were laden with grocery bags and miscellaneous boat parts. Much to the amusement of the owner, Jay walked in with ten feet of head hose wrapped around his neck. A bit of banter went back and forth between them, Jay trying to convince her it was some type of musical instrument, like a tuba, while I found two books for my research. One was on the marine animals of the Sea of Cortez and the other told tales of Baja legends.
Allende Books is just about a block from where we catch our shuttle back to the marina. A good thing too, as we were perspiring in the hot sun and weary from carrying loads of cargo.
So what do we do for prescriptions? Well, it goes something like this. There is a doctor on board one of the boats in Marina La Paz. I was told to call her on the VHF radio, channel 22a and tell her about the prescription I needed to refill. We made plans to meet outside Club Cruceros at 3:00 pm on a Wednesday. (This is where cruisers gather every morning for coffee and gossip.) She asked me a few questions. She looked at my prescription bottle and then wrote me a one month prescription. Three hundred pesos please. Then she instructed me to which pharmacy I should take the prescription and to not leave without it being filled. Any problems I was to have the pharmacy call her. Another half mile walk uphill and six hundred pesos and I had my pills. For another month only. The next time I called her to have it refilled she just sent the prescription to the marina office and I was to pick it up there and leave my three hundred pesos with them. Fortunately, this time, she wrote it for three months. A wee bit expensive, but I am grateful for her service.
Laundry isn't much of a deal. There is a lavanderia in the marina. It is usually done the same day and for a very reasonable cost. You want to bring your own detergent though as the Mexican laundromats like to use highly perfumed, probably toxic, soap suds. The first time I brought our laundry back from the lavanderia, I thought I was going to get sick from the intoxicating smell it was so strong.
We had one more thing on our list Jay needed and it was a valve for the dinghy. Again, communication amongst the cruisers' community is done through channel 22a. Jay got on the radio and called Baja Inflatable Repair asking if they had one. He did, in fact.
“Well, how do we get it?” Jay asked.
“Not sure, I'm out at the airport. Where are you?”
Not even close. He made plans to meet outside Club Cruceros at 3:00 pm. Another trip into town, a mile or so walk and $35 American dollars later, Jay had one in hand.
So goes living on a boat in Mexico.
Today we got a lot done. The windlass was taken in for servicing. Our friends came over with their ultraviolet water filter and we filled our two tanks. We sanded and varnished the windows and Jay changed the valve in the dinghy. We were also able to finally change our bilge pump hoses.
So now the list is two thirds complete and we are finally ready to venture out again next week. We have a month or thereabouts to sail up into the Sea of Cortez before we have to head back to La Paz. We hope to get up as far as Bahia Conception. We'll see. It's really up to the weather gods and if any boat ferries decide to play their mischievous games. Whatever happens, I am sure it will be an adventure. I can't wait.