23 January 2011 | Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico
Sunny--morning cool and afternoons warm
It's been almost two weeks since my last post so it's time for some catching up. As I type this, I have bread rising in the galley. Time to get back to basics.
We arrived in Paradise Village here in Nuevo Vallarta back on January 8th and got settled in. A through cleaning and Zephyr looked much better. We toured the grounds and walked the beach seeing all that was available to us. Xander, our son, was due in on the 11th so we wanted to see what there was to do here. Several pools and a great stretch of beach with several bars along the water line.
We tackled a few projects before Xander got here. We filled the water tanks as three of four were just about empty. The fourth was still full as the valve to turn it on had not been turned on. No clue why but once on, it gave up it's water. This year, I made sure to put the hose in the right deck feed so that I didn't pour water into our diesel tanks as I had last year at the same time. All other projects were put on hold till Xander left as we wanted to make sure we could take Zephyr out for a sail over to La Cruz for a day with a stop at Las Tres Marietas Islands for some snorkeling.
Xander showed up right on time with lots of badly needed boat parts to repair more things that had bitten it over the previous few month. The most needed was the replacement aluminum extrusion for the Hood roller furling. It came in a 75 inch long box. The TSA was sure to open it for inspection(and they did). What we learned later was that what our rigger told us during the refit--"You have a series 800 furler" was wrong! We have a series 900 furler. All the parts Xander brought down were too small!! RATS!!!! We found that out the Sunday before Xander left so he got to take several sets of parts back home with him. When I called Hood on Monday, they said not to bother sending back the extrusion as it would cost to much and be too much of a problem to do so. That simplified Xander's trip home.
We had a great week with Xander even taking a jungle excursion where we rode burros up a mountain, did a zip line(steel wires hooked between trees in the jungle)trip through the jungle and several shots at repelling down waterfalls into pools at the bottom. The company had encouraged us to bring a change of clothes. All went well till the trip in the BIG power boat back to the marina where we are staying as Xander's back got screwed up by the repeated pounding we took going through the waves and surf. With rest and good drugs and a trip to the local chiropractor, he left last Tuesday with while not a great back, at least one that was better.
Once he left, the jobs started. I'd made a list of about 40 things that needed to be done as well as a list of items that needed to be ordered. As I was walking back to Zephyr last Sunday, I had a conversation with a fellow cruiser--Steve on Far Fetched--his brother is coming down to Nuevo Vallarta in a few weeks and would be able to bring us down the rest of the parts we needed. We couldn't have gotten luckier. Now at least we would get the right parts. When we checked out the roller furling once we got here, rest of the bottom extrusion had split so the entire Genoa sail can no longer be used till it got fixed.
Got to close now as I've run out of time with this connection. I'll be back with more shortly as the bread rises.
OK, the dough is rising again so I have some time to continue. It's a tough life down here.
While our list is long, most of the jobs only entail an hour or so of work. One of the worst was replacing the raw water pump that cools the engine. For those of you that haven't been following our journey, our pump took a turn for the worst just after we took off from La Paz earlier this month. It had probably been going bad for quite a while, this was just the first time we had actually seen water belching from it. At idle--not a drop(that what you see when you check your engine at start up as you prepare to leave the marina). At 1750rpms, it was throwing our water like a slow faucet. Once we slowed to 1350rpms, it was just a steady trail of drips. Easily manageable. As any good cruiser, we carry a spare(along with a spare starter, alternator, fuel pump, and too many more to name here. We'd bought it even before we left Port Townsend at the beginning or our journey. It's not so much as to if it will fail, it's more of when it fails. They all do. In I went, wrenches, screw drivers, and pliers in hand. An hour or so later, out it came along with a nice chunk of hose as it wouldn't come loose from the pump even with the hose clamp off. Onto the work bench(yes, I have an honest to goodness workbench on board) and into the vise(yes, a vise too) and off came the brass fittings that the hoses connect to. I took out the old impeller and installed it in the new pump(pushed water though the pump as it spins), sealed it all up and put it back on the engine. Once done, Tracy started the engine as I leaned over it(yes, our engine room is that big) to watch the pump and fittings. At 1300rpms--just fine. At 1750--just fine. At 2000--just fine. Finally at 2400--it was still perfectly sealed. NO MORE WATER!!!! All in all, about a 3 hour job. Not bad never having done ours before. I'd changed one out when I took the class at Mack Boring in Newark(great class), but not one like ours.
The next day, I put a call out on the local net that all the boaters listen to to find someone that could rebuild it. Hey--I know I will need another one somewhere down the road--sorry-water. One guy had taken his into the work yard in La Cruz--10 miles north of here. A repair kit was $250(plus labor)--dollars while a new one would be $350. He opted for a new pump. Another boater suggested I contact "Butch". He could rebuild mine with no problem--and a whole lot cheaper. I called him and he stopped by earlier this morning a picked it up. All told, maybe $100 to have it all fixed and ready for a new life. Sure beats $350!!
So anyhow, that's how things are going here. Odd job after odd job. We have pretty much made up our minds to do the Puddle Jump in either late March or early April. We'll be heading across the Pacific for Tahiti. Like I said earlier--It's a tough life down here.
I'll be posting some pictures later so stay tuned for more.