11/01/2010, San Carlos, Mexico
Yeah, I know, I've missed a few days but we have been traveling again.We headed back to Tucson on Sunday morning and got in about 1400. Over to the storage shed(thanks UHaul)and Tracy loaded the car. What a pro. She got everything we had brought in the trailer into the car with room to spare. With that being said, we took off for Costco to get more canned Tuna and other things that aren't available down here--the list is long.
Over to Lowe's to buy a few things including brackets to fix the hatch that covers our propane locker. For some reason when it was built, they made a four sided frame(like a picture frame) and then plopped in a piece of plywood as the main body of the hatch. Over time, the "frame" has begun to crack, letting the main section of plywood come loose which makes the top outer layer of teak that covers the outside break. Now I have to take it apart(same thing happened on the port side) and reglue it and try and stabilize the entire hatch so when we walk on it it doesn't sink into the locker below and break more. Gee what fun.
Meanwhile, other boats come and go and we keep loading more and more supplies and installing new hardware and putting the sails(main, genoa and jib) back on. Tracy's modification of the main sail cover looks great.
On Saturday night(the night before we left)the guys in the condo next door threw a party. It started at about 2000 hours and ended the next morning about 0600. It wasn't so bad except one of the guests played bongo (yes, that's right) bongo drums through the night. Over and over and over at all hours. With all that noise, it made the nights sleep not tremendously good--if at all. And the 6+ hour drive a great deal of fun. At least the movement of goods is now over and we can really buckle down and get Zephyr up and running.
We heard from the Cool Blue folks that made our frig. His suggestion is to put a bag of ice against the holding plate so the compressor doesn't have to work quite so hard on startup. We'll try it tomorrow. It's the big reason we are still in the condo as we have a good bit of frozen food that needs to be kept frozen and a warm frig just won't cut the mustard.
It's dinner time for the exhausted two of us, so that it for now. More to come as the spirits revive.
10/29/2010, San Carlos Mexico
Work continues on Zephyr. We filled the batteries and let them charge over night. By the morning, they were all(six house and 2 start batteries)charged and raeady to go. I'd posted the question as to wether they would still be good since they had been totally drained. The responses were to charge them up and then put a load on them--run the frig. We ran different things during the day and allowed the batteries to be at full capacity when we were ready to leave. Meanwhile, I vacuumed the deck to get all the blue dust(like chalk dust) off the boat. The tarp had left lots of its fibers behind. Lots of stringy bits and a ton of dust. I could have washed it off, but I didn't want to take the chance of getting any of it on our neighbors boats. Tracy, meanwhile worked below decks getting lots of thing put away and other brought out to be ready for use. One of our neighbors boats needed a drill that would accommodate a half inch drill bit so he could drill a 2 inch hole in his hull for a new transducer. I pulled out our big Milwaukee drill that we use to get me up the mast and to adjust the sheets when we are out sailing and that did the trick. It powered his hole saw and he blasted through his hull. One cruiser helping another.
More to come. It's time for dinner.
OK, I'm back.
During the afternoon, a man came by and made an offer to scrub and polish our hull. During the Summer, even though covered, it had gotten not only very dirty but the wax we had put on last year was just about gone as when the beautiful dark blue color. His bid--$250. I thought that was a bit high and told him to come back tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the folks on Prairie Oyster(the ones with loads of blisters on their hull) set about filling each divot that had occurred when they had drilled them out before leaving early in the year. It was going to take a good bit of epoxy to do the job.
The guy beside us had made a new hatch cover for his forward hatch. Beautiful job but he was a 1/4" too big. Out came his saw and off it came. So close but better too big then too small.
This morning when we arrived, the batteries had only used 34 amps over a 14 hour period and still were holding a good charge so it looks like they may be alright. Unfortunately, when I opened the frig, it was not cold at all. Something is wrong with it. I put in a call to the manufacturer only to find that they are closed Friday through Sunday and of course, today was Friday. I left a voice mail as well as sending him an email. Maybe I'll get lucky and he might read them before Monday. I was smart enough to order a recharge kit before we left so if it is low on freon, I've got a supply to recharge the compressor.
I took off early this morning with three other boaters to Guaymas. One needed a bulb for his flashlight(not available in San Carlos). Another(the guy with the big hatch next door) needed a piece of stainless steel to complete his installation of the hatch. The third just came to give directions. I went as I needed to have some brackets made so we can install our radar reflector on the mast instead of hanging it from one of the spreaders on the mast. It's hung by line from a pulley since we bought Zephyr. It's time to get it hung in a proper location where it won't fall over board if a rope fails.
Tracy took our mainsail cover and tore it apart. It's always been about a foot short. We had some extra Sunbrella fabric that matched it so she cut it in half and patched in a foot to make it longer and it fits great. Now she just has to finish the seams and add the fasteners and it will be done.
The hull washer/polisher man came by while I was out running my errand to Guaymas. Tracy talked him into doing the job for $150 instead of the $250 he had originally wanted. Little did he realize what he was walking up to when he approached our hull--Haggler Tracy was ready to go. He didn't stand a chance.
I put our EPIRB(Emergency Position Locator Beacon) back on the stern railing so should something happen, others will know where we are and can come and rescue us(at least we hope they do).
We had forgotten how much work it was working on boats to get them ready for launching. By the time the yard closes at 1700, we are both whipped and ready for dinner. We'd headed back to the condo for lunch and ran into two of the guys that went to Guaymas earlier with me. We took off for lunch at "JJ" restaurant in "downtown" San Carlos. Great tacos and lots of good conversation. With a table full of cruisers, it made for a great lunch.
With the boat cleaner coming tomorrow and probably finishing on Sunday, we will probably head for Tucson on Monday or Sunday if the guy finishes early. We've gotten everything put away from the first load and are ready to try and get the rest down here in one more shot. With Tracy's skill at packing a car, we just might make it.
Stay tuned--as always, more to come. Heck, we might actually get back in the water some day.
10/28/2010, Marina Seca yard in San Carlos.
Yesterday was move day. We showed up about 0900 to be told we were further delayed till about 1100 before we could have Zephyr moved to the work yard. Two boats got bumped ahead of us even though we had gotten on the schedule a week ago. Oh well. Not like we had a time schedule to keep.
About 1030, the trailer took off for Zephyr. I walked in with it and took some pictures of the move. Click on our album page to see the new photos. In went the trailer and up she went on the hydraulic arms and out she came for the move. Slick and easy. Over she came and set in place, just about the same place we were in last June when we came out.
As she was put in place, I cut many of the lines that held what was left of the tarp. Being ripped down the middle, it was bagging near the bottom where the stands that support the hull go. Once in place, I climbed the ladder to inspect the deck and cockpit. As expected, there were blue strands from the tarp everywhere tangled in every nook and cranny from the disintegrated tarp but all in all, she was in good condition given the harsh Summer she went through.
Tracy unlocked the doors and headed below. Inside, she was just as we left her. Lots of equipment from the deck that we had stripped off still in nice neat piles. I checked the electrical and found that while the "start" batteries were fine, the "house" batteries were dead. The switch for the windlass had gotten left on. I'd missed it when we locked up. It has a small light on it and over the last four months, it had tapped out the batteries. It's not wired through the central circuit breakers for some reason. Another one of those weird things that happen when boats get wired I guess. I check the batteries--found they needed some water so we took off for Guaymas to go to Walmart for some. A nice easy 11 miles and back to San Carlos. By now, it was 1600 so while Tracy stayed in the hotel putting other things away that we had bought, I took off for Zephyr to fill the batteries and get them charging over night. With them drained like this, I'll have to get them put through a "load test" to see if they have lost their power and will need replacing. It's only money after all. Plus, it will require another trip to Tucson to get them as the car will be fully loaded for the next trip from the storage locker.
Today, back to Zephyr for cleaning and putting what we had stripped off put back on. More of our "adventure" to come so stay tuned.
10/27/2010, SanCarlos, Mexico
We made it to San Carlos!!!
We headed out from the hotel after a quick breakfast for the UHaul storage room to make sure we got as much stuff into the car as possible. If we can keep our trips back and forth(from San Carlos to Tucson) down to one more if at all possible. We loaded up some more stuff and took off about 8:30 for the border.
We stopped on the American side of Nogales and picked up auto insurance for our stay in Mexico. A total of $82.00 for a 30 day policy. Off for the border(with good directions from the insurance agent). Over we went with a quick stop on the American side to say goodbye to the US border agents. Once into Mexico, we stopped at the first checkpoint for importing things. Red or green lights tell you if they are going to search your stuff for contraband(we got the green light). Next, off to the Immigration Office and fill out the necessary form for our visa and then headed to the bank(same complex) and paid a bit over 500 pesos for our visas. Back to the first agent who stamped our Visa and back to the car. Then off for the final check point(another red and green light). Again, another green light(YEA!!!) and we were officially in Mexico(legally).
On we pressed trying to stay at the speed limit. Now no one else was even coming close to trying and we got passed by dozens of cars, vans and trucks. As with stop signs, speed limits are a state of mind not necessarily a fact of law. It there for the entertainment of the tourists so they will feel better I guess. As we approached the numerous smaller towns and villages along the way, each had signs out announcing that they had "topes" along the road. For those of you that have never driven in Mexico, a "tope" is a LARGE and nasty speed bump placed in the middle of the road to force every car and truck to slow to a near stop(so street vendors can try and sell you things) or risk the destruction of the undercarriage of your vehicle. Each town has a minimum of three. Now while they may have the signs, we found that not every town actually has any "topes" but you slow down just at the sight of a "tope" sign. On we pressed, farther and farther South toward Hermasillo, the next large town. Once there, we took the "by pass" around the center of town. Unfortunately, this also made us miss most of the restaurants for lunch. As it was well after 1330, we were both getting hungry. As we drove on the by pass, some of the asphalt was so rutted--especially near stop lights, that we scraped the bottom of the poor Mazda as we drove down the "paved" road. We finally stopped at the last OXXO store--like a Circle K or 7/11 pit stop as we drive out of town. I grabbed a packet of small burritos and a coke, got some gas and headed out. I just finished my figuring of the conversion from litres to gallons and pesos to dollars and it translated to about $2.64 per gallon. About even with the US for the gas. When we came North last June, it was much more expensive than US gas.
Off again with Blue regularly hissing at Snowshoe every time she saw him. No reason necessary, just to let him know who is the boss. Occasionally the odd paw was thrown just to get the point across. We finally pulled into San Carlos at just before 1600 covering the 1250 miles in the three day drive.
We first stopped in at Marina Seca where Zephyr is stored to verify our move time of 0900 on Wednesday(today). Guess what? Our move was delayed due to "tides". Here's how it works, when the tide is high, the yard has to haul out or launch as many boats as it can. They use a trailer equipped with hydraulic arms which they back under the hull of the boat they are taking out or putting in then raise the arms slowly to cradle the hull and then out she comes. If the tide is to low, they can't get the trailer under the boat and hence, the boat can't get hauled out. High tide is this morning so we are slightly delayed for our move. No problem--where are we going to go any how. We did take a look at Zephyr while we were in the area. She's fine though the tarp we had put on her had basically split in half along the boom and spinnaker pole we had laid it over. We'd split the tarp so it would go around the mast and then added lots of grommets and "stitched" the edges back together over the spinnaker pole that lead from the mast to the bow. I guess it didn't work out as it had ripped all along the pole and boom. The tarp still covers the deck and sides(at least that is what it looked like from the ground). Once she's in the "work"yard, we can get aboard and see how she faired over the Summer.
We met up with a couple(Jim and Diane on Prairie Oyster) that we had met last year in Marina Palmira in La Paz on the Baja. They were just returning to their boat the same time we were and theirs is getting moved the same time ours is. It's like I have said in blogs past, you meet the same people many times while out cruising. I expect that we will meet up with more old faces and friends while we work on Zephyr and after we set out in a few weeks. Time will tell. So, here we sit and wait(at Gringo Pete's Hotel and Condo) getting acclimated to a slower style of life from the hussle and bussle of life in Colorado.
Tomorrow, I'll tell you and show you what we found once we got on board.
10/25/2010, La Quinta Hotel
Here we sit in our hotel room getting ready to make the jump tomorrow back to Mexico. We spent the day adding to our pile of things to take back. Today was the required trip to Costco(stuff for us to eat), PetSmart(the kids like to eat too), and Fry's for the things we hadn't bought while in Denver that we still needed. Some meat and some chicken plus some water proofing to spray on the dodger canvas.
Tomorrow, we head for the UHaul storage space early in the morning to reload the car, carefully checking to make sure we take the most important stuff for the first trip South. It still looks like it's going to take a good three trip to get it all down there.
Once the errands were done, we headed to the Pima Air and Space Museum for some good old fashioned sightseeing. Lots of planes and space craft to see and read about.
So, tomorrow, we're off to get our new visas and be back with Zephyr again. I'll let you know how that goes.
10/22/2010, Last day in Colorado
I picked up the small "Sport" trailer from UHaul this morning and we loaded it this afternoon. It is packed to the gills as so is the trunk of the poor Mazda that has to tow everything down to Tucson. We still have a bunch of things to put in the back seat, but there was no way we would have ever gotten everything into the car. Heck, we will be lucky to get what we have left to take in the car plus the cat pan and the two kids. I don't think they will be enjoying the trip as it will be a bit confining and Blue HATES that.
It's amazing how much STUFF we have bought, ordered or just took from the house to take back to Zephyr. Once we get to her, I'll try and make a list as to what we took. With so much stuff, we now think it is going to take an extra trip back up to Tucson to get everything down there.
We've made reservations for Albuquerque for a night and then two in Tucson so it will give us time to get the trailer unloaded and sorted plus time to do some more shopping to meat and essentials that we just couldn't load here in Colorado. By the time we are done, poor Zephyr is going to be really over loaded.
I called Marina Seca in San Carlos and got on their schedule to move Zephyr from the storage yard to the work yard so we can start in on her on Wednesday. We've got a bottom that needs a good couple of coats of paint and a few other jobs that have to be done before we "splash" her hull in a week or so. I also made reservations at Gringo Pete's Hotel and Condo in San Carlos for a few days. It will give the kids a base to play in so they won't be under foot while we are working on the boat.
At this time, all of our ducks are set in a row, now all we have to do is finish loading the Mazda and get on our way. I'll let you know how that goes. stay tuned.
With luck, we will be on the road a bit after 0800 for the 444 mile trip to Albuquerque we know so well having lived there for many years.