05/04/2010, La Cruz anchorage
Monty Python fans reading this blog post may recall the scene where King Arthur and his knights of the round table are at the base of the hill leading to Camelot. Upon spotting the famed castle Arthur says "Shhh! Knights, I bid you welcome to your new home. Let us ride... to Camelot." A song breaks out with video clips of knights dancing-
We're knights of the round table
We dance when e'er we're able
We do routines and parlour scenes......
After this bit of ridicule Arthur flatly states:
Well, on second thought, let's not go to Camelot -- it is
a silly place.
Recently Jean and I found ourselves at the bottom of a hill figuratively speaking. Our plan, using the word loosely, as those who know us understand that our plans tend to be as fluid as the ocean, was to bash uphill to San Diego for the summer. Being in San Diego would mean rejoining the rat race to an extent. That got us thinking. We all know the rat race has no winners. And does it really make sense to enter a race that nobody wins?
Well on second thought, let's not go to San Diego -- it is a silly place. Right!
So we will be staying in Mexico, most likely Mazatlan where slips are less than $400 a month for a boat our size. We will spend the hottest months visiting friends and family in the states. Jean will have a third grandson in August so we will be hanging out in Redding for that special event.
We will sell the 2004 Honda Element that I bought new and get something we can more easily camp out of. So if anyone is looking for a nice one owner AWD Element with all the goodies and some cool after market extras let me know. It's been very well maintained as I never thought I would sell it until the wheels fell off. And if anyone knows of an economical camper, or better yet has one they can loan us for the summer (never hurts to dream does it?), drop us a line. I used to have a VW Westfalia which I absolutely loved camping in. Since those are pretty pricy we may look for something like one of those Sunraders that sits on a Toyota truck chassis.
Jean has decided to sell her sexy little sports car, a 2002 Toyota Spyder. It's a fun black 2 seat convertible that is a blast for a Sunday drive or even an overnight if you aren't bringing too much with you. This car was a gift Jean gave herself for her 40th birthday. It's a lot of fun but not much use to her these days. Both vehicles are in Pacifica, CA.
04/28/2010, the rolly anchorage known as La Cruz
On today's schedule is pre-departure maintenance. Since I have not changed the fuel filters since we left the bay area I thought it would be a good idea to change out the Racors.
Exit Strategy has dual selectable filters that allow us to switch to a different filter with the engine running and then change the filter that is not in use. There is a pressure gauge that tells us if there is some partial clogging. This gauge is only visible inside the engine room so it is of limited utility unless we are having issues that cause us to monitor it. When you pull off the top of the filter housing fuel tends to spill out. There is only one place it can end up and that is the deep sump forward and underneath the engine room. Unfortunately any fluid that gets in there will be pumped overboard at some point. So to keep our friends who live downstairs healthy and happy we want to minimize the potential of fuel going overboard.
Part of cruising is the art of improvisation. Jean has some panties that the elastic has worn out. She was keeping them around for just the type of occasion we had today where we needed to wrap something around to prevent leakage. It worked pretty well and now we have clean filters. And Jean has a great excuse to wear those cute new panties she picked up in the states.
Next on the list is changing the clutch oil in the transmission. For that I found a piece of hose that will fit inside the hose we use to pump the oil out of the engine. Thanks to our built in oil changing pump this should be a pretty easy and quick task. Of course I've learned not to assume too much. There is an old adage about all boat projects taking twice as long and costing four times as much as they should. And cruising is all about working on your boat in exotic places, right?
04/22/2010, La Cruz anchorage
A while back an acquaintance of mine lost his boat when both of his snubbers failed, the chain backwound from the windlass, and the boat went on a reef. Although this occurred in the middle of a tropical cyclone it can also happen in milder conditions. Recently one boat in our anchorage had a mooring cleat fail and drug some distance during a 20-25 knot blow with 2-3 foot wind waves. So I thought I'd take a moment to share our strategy for keeping the boat attached to the anchor rode.
Our primary snubber is a slotted triangular plate that the chain fits into and a bridle consisting of two lengths of yacht braid, spliced with thimbles, and wrapped around a rubber snubber before being attached to mooring cleats on either side of the bow. It's a chafe free device. The only possibility of chafe would be at the chocks which have not caused any chafe thus far.
Our secondary snubber is a heavy piece of line with a G-70 chain hook attached. I also use this to hold the chain while setting the anchor. I simply cleat it to the large cleat in the center of the foredeck. As a precaution I stay clear in case the assembly somehow failed. I think the line is at least 3/4 so it's unlikely.
The last link is the chainstopper. This device is pretty substantial and my guess is the chain would break before the chainstopper failed.
So far this setup has worked well except for the one time that the pawl for the chainstopper went swimming. The replacement is tethered so that cannot happen again.
For anyone interested in our ground tackle the primary is a 55lb Delta, secondary a 16kilo French made anchor that is a superb anchor. I just don't know what it's called. One or our Ha-Ha crew dated a French lady who used one just like it as a primary anchor for decades. The third anchor is an FX-37. I want to get something like a Rocna or Manson for next season. Additionally I'd like a pretty small Danforth to use as a stern hook. The Fortress works great but it's bigger than needed for stern anchor duty in places like Chacala. The Delta is a great anchor but I'd prefer a somewhat larger anchor like the Rocna or Manson that has better resetting capability.
04/18/2010, Marina Riviera de Nayarit
This is my second try at a blog post today. In spite of Latitude 38 extolling the virtues of the Tel-Cel aircard the performance here in La Cruz is abysmal. So the nice blog post I put together got lost due to the flaky connection.
Today I was knocking growth off the bottom with what you see in the photo. Yes that's a 20 peso spatula from the Wednesday market tie wrapped to a boat hook. And it works quite well. I didn't want to get in the marina water.
In other news we hope to actually get out of here this week. We may brave the bugs and visit some friends in San Blas or dip south. The plan has always been not to have one. We'll spend some time in the anchorage so I can finish the bottom cleaning, especially the prop. Looks like we may need a new zinc on the rudder. We should be provisioned after tomorrow so we'll have some pics and news from somewhere new soon.
04/11/2010, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
Our trusty little 2hp Suzuki outboard conked out on me a few weeks ago. With our folding Porta-Bote we found this outboard provides adequate performance due to the efficient hull shape and light weight of the boat. Most cruisers rely on 6-15hp with others going up to as much as 25hp to power their RIB's (rigid bottom inflatable boats). Those higher output engines weigh over 100 pounds and are a target for thieves. This season in Barra De Navidad ten outboards were stolen. I am guessing that most of those were 10 or 15hp engines. I can lift our little Suzuki with one hand and hang it on our rail so it is disappointing to have it out of service. A local shop confirmed my diagnosis of a an ignition problem. Unfortunately it took over a week to get that diagnosis confirmed and I was unable to procure the part we need before Jean flies back from the bay area tomorrow. Having anything shipped directly to Mexico is impractical. The part we need is a sealed module that houses the coil. A new one is $94.30. If we ship it directly down here the landed cost would be close to double. We have a larger outboard, an 8hp two stroke that we will use until the smaller one is fixed. I am still by myself on the boat and I don't have a good way of getting the 8hp off and on the boat. Our good friends, the Morrisons, loaned me their dinghy when they realized I was rowing back and forth to the marina. Their boat was in the marina so they did not require the dinghy. They left a few days ago so I am back to rowing. The rowing is not all bad since it is good exercise however I am limited as to when I can transit between the boat and shore. In the afternoon it is not uncommon for us to have 20 plus knots of wind and three to four foot wind waves. Those conditions are not conducive to rowing. So I go to shore in the morning and row back after dark when the conditions are calm.
Rowing at night is a special experience. The gentle swells are more noticeable and rowing really puts me in tune with the environment. Last night was special on account of somewhat greater than normal phosphorescence. And of course the starry nighttime sky is a pleasing backdrop. Phosphorescence occurs when light absorbed during the day by marine critters is emitted at night. Bookrags.com provided the following information:
Many aquatic organisms exhibit marine phosphorescence, from bacteria to phytoplankton to jellyfish and deep-sea organisms. Most emit a blue-green phosphorescence in a region of the electromagnetic spectrum which is highly visible in deep and dark waters. Marine phosphorescence is an almost ubiquitous phenomenon in the oceans, it helps marine organisms survive by providing them with a means to search for nutrients and defend themselves against predators. The study of marine luminescent organisms is a very active field of research, providing valuable insights on marine ecology, since it can be used as a tool to determine how these organisms live and how they are affected by factors such as light, pollution and salinity of the ocean.
Watching phosphorescence occur with every dip of the oar is a special experience that makes rowing the mile or so back to the boat quite rewarding.
04/02/2010, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
I've been on my own for a while since Jean is in the states working on a project for a friend of ours. Fortunately she is returning on a week and a half. As I mentioned in a previous post it's not the same without her around. So it was really nice to have some visitors today. Our good friends Rich and Lori of S/V Third Day, along with their son Jason and daughter Amy came over for pineapple pie and drinks. I have not seen much or Rich and Lori other than their brief visit to La Cruz about 6 weeks ago.
I enjoyed the company and sharing thoughts about summer plans. Third Day will summer in the Sea of Cortes. Rich will be spending some time away from the boat in San Diego on business so we hope to see him there if we end up spending the summer there ourselves. We may be teaming up for an exciting project aboard Exit Strategy that will be of definite interest to cruisers. We'll share details later as they develop. Jean and I will finalize our plans in the next few weeks. If we head north we will undoubtedly try to rendezvous with Third Day.
Jean just called so I am going to sign off for now. Have a great day!!!