Around the world with S/V Zephyr

The adventures of Bill & Tracy as they fulfill their lifes dream of sailing the world. We've dreamed of this for years and now is the time while the health is still good and there is money in the kitty to make it come true.

21 November 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina, near Colon, Panama
19 November 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina, near Colon, Panama
16 November 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina, near Colon, Panama
14 November 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina, near Colon, Panama
12 November 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina, near Colon, Panama
11 November 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina, near Colon, Panama
10 November 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina, near Colon, Panama
08 November 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina, near Colon, Panama
07 November 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina, near Colon, Panama
06 November 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina, near Colon, Panama
04 November 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina near Colon, Panama
04 November 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina near Colon, Panama
04 November 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina near Colon, Panama
04 November 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina near Colon, Panama
04 November 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina near Colon, Panama
03 November 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina, near Colon, Panama
01 November 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina, near Colon, Panama
31 October 2017 | Almost to Panama
25 October 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curacao
24 October 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curacao

Prepping for the crossing, etc.

21 November 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina, near Colon, Panama
Bill/Partly cloudy
It's now Monday morning and we've been at it since just after 0800. I pulled out our special water hose)white special vinyl that leaves no taste in the water) and hooked it up to the dock then while Tracy was pulling up the floor boards and opening the vents on the top of all of our water tanks, I connected our filtering system to the hose(one charcoal filter and one paper sediment filter) to the end of the hose so we should get even better water. Our tanks were half full again after filling them in Curacao a month ago so after a good bit of waiting(low pressure), our tanks are full again and ready for out next voyage.

I then took the hose and hooked up what we call "ear muffs" which are meant to have a hose hooked to it and then the "muffs" placed on either side of the water intakes for the outboard. Tracy helped me get the hose so it would be long enough as we're 45 feet(hose of just 50 feet) and there is a space between the boat and hose bib. The Tohatsu started up on the first pull but all the throttle joints and linkages needed a healthy application of WD40. Ran it for quite a while getting all the salt water flushed from the system. Always good to do it when you have lots of fresh water.

Then off to the yards workroom where they have a wire grinding wheel and with it's help, I got most of the rust off our prop shaft puller and all it's parts. Now to spray it was a rust inhibitor so it will be clean when we need it next. This afternoon, back to the market for last minute food for the crossing.

We heard from our agent this morning and he will be by tomorrow some time to pick up our papers for finalization of what needs processing for the canal transit. Still don't know when we will be setting off but it should be sometime this week.

It's now Tuesday afternoon and we have been at it since 0800, cleaning, fixing, cooking, washing and clearing space on berths so our crew will have some where to sleep. I started out in the cockpit straightening out the mess we normally have out there. While the last passage was only 6 days, we had plenty of time to mess up the cockpit. Wrappers, small chunks of line, bungie cords(both good and broken ones) and just general mess. We've been so busy with other projects there just wasn't time. I stowed chemicals in our outside locker that we used when we did the bottom, line in the forward hold and buckets of just trash. The DuoGen has started making some squeaking noise so I dismantled the wind blade section and regressed it and now it's quiet. The deck got a thorough washing and scrubbing and we pulled the spinnaker sail out from the forward head(stow things where ever there is room) and put it right in front of the mast and covered with a tarp to keep the rains out(good luck with that). Tracy was cooking down below in the galley and handed me a bag of marinated chicken breasts to barbecue for the line handlers that will be coming on board. She was cooking hamburger down below in the galley so that job is done. She has quite the menu for our "crew" --Caesar chicken wrap served on a flour tortlla along with soft drinks. Breakfast of eggs with bell peppers, onions and cheese served on a toasted bun. Lunch of Toasted cheese and tomato with chicken slices again served on a roll. Boy, are these people going to be eating well.

The cockpit is now clean and most of the cooking is done so we are waiting for our agent to come by and take our paperwork and tell us when we will be going through. Till then, it's a waiting game.

For those of you that have been following our posts, you might remember the problems we've had with our Highfield dinghy(Puff). Highfield has been very responsive to our problem(hypalon peeling off the aluminum hull at the bow due to peeling paint and paint peeling all over the hull)and are trying to get a repair man here before we leave but if it's tomorrow, I see little chance of that. When we bought Puff, we had her "tricked" out with some special add ons. A fiberglass step glued to the top of the hypalon tube at the bow so we can get on and off when we come back to Zephyr and we had a steel lid for a small section of the forward interior hull so when we stepped into Puff, it was a flat surface and not the "V" of a traditional hull. We also had a magnificent set of "chaps" made that cover the topside of the tubes. Highfield has offered us a replacement for ours but we have no idea how to get what we had done to our current dinghy done to the new one. Highfield is working on that. A friend of ours that has a Highfield got theirs replaced for free when they were in Curacao. He had a problem with his hypalon also peeling but far worse than ours. ours doesn't leak leak so we aren't that concerned at least at this point. From what I've heard, they have no vendors in Mexico so other than taking it clear up the San Diego, not sure what the future holds for poor Puff. Late this afternoon, a rep from the company that fixes Highfield dinghies showed up and took a look at poor Puff. The original person that was supposed to comes father died so he sent a different person from the company. He looked at her and took some pictures and agreed that the problem was the paint and how badly it had held up. He was going to report back to the main man and now we will see what happens.

It's now 2100 and after waiting around all day, doing this job and that job as we waited for our agent to show up. He never came so now we are in limbo as to what is happening as far as when our crossing is going to happen. We'd thought it would be tomorrow but since we've heard nothing, we have no clue. It's all a waiting game as of now. I suppose he could show up tomorrow and tell us that we can go now but since he still has a bunch of paperwork to do, I'm guessing that's not going to happen. Time will tell. We sat at the restaurant this evening drowning our sorrows of not going in beer. I even drank three and it's one of the first beers I've had in a long time and this time, it called for three. We even ordered some of the worst nachos we've ever had. We even added chicken to it and it was still horrible. The only thing hot or even warm was the refried beans and it was buried at the bottom of the pile of chips. The jalapeños were stone cold as was the cheese and chicken. When our wait person brought it, we tried a bite and once we found it cold, we sent it back to try and have it heated. Instead, they made a new one exactly the same way. Cold cheese and jalapeños with warm buried refried beans. We didn't have the heart to send the second plate back so we just ate it in peace while swigging beers by the bottle. Not about to order that again. We had a "Phillie Cheesesteak" sandwich there at lunch as we've been working so hard and we didn't want to make a mess of the galley again(I'd just done the dishes from all the cooking Tracy had done all morning). Now we both love Phillie Cheesesteak sandwiches with all the cheese and onions and all the other spices envolved in the sandwich. This one was a chunk of chopped meat, some onions if you looked carefully and some melted cheese on and very nice roll. The entire sandwich was about 6 inches long and the best part was the roll. While the meal(sandwich, fries and a small salad)was just $9.99, it wasn't that bad a value(just a small sandwich).

Getting settled at the marina.

19 November 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina, near Colon, Panama
Bill/overcast and maybe some rain.
It's now Friday morning and let me tell you, when they say that November is the rainiest month of the year and that we are in the rainy season, well they were not kidding. It started raining late last night(of course it was raining when we launched yesterday)and poured throughout the night. It just stopped, or at least slowed down about 0900 leaving an ocean of water everywhere. All the parking lots are flooded as is just about everywhere else. The roads in and out between Colon and here are flooded and we lost power everywhere in the area about 0300 and are still waiting for it to come back on(finally on at 1430). From what I've heard, lots of Colon also is without power. Of course someone got on their VHF radio and asked the question "Does anyone know when we will get power?" Not the most intelligent question to ask. We will when we do and not before then. All the offices are closed as is the restaurant. The huge generator that attached to the marinas main building has failed so everyone is with out power.(update): the generator is now up and running(1030) but doesn't seem to be doing much as the office is still without systems. All in good time.

As for us, well we are sitting in the marina(cheaper than being in the boat yard)keeping close attention to our packing gland for the prop shaft. It's still putting out the occasional drip from time to time but nothing bad but if water is coming into a boat, it's always good to pay attention. We picked up the tool to take the shaft out again once we get the parts we need as we move up the west coast after our transit of the canal. Tracy is still healing from her fall a couple of days ago and aggravated her injured knee. We may need to wait a couple of days before we go. We started up the engine and after making sure all our dock lines were nice and tight, put Zephyr in gear--both forward and reverse--to again check the prop packing gland and there was no change. It still seeps just a little bit and we can live with that. I did get one of the prop shaft pullers like we used in the yard so when ever we get pulled again and I have a new prop shaft seal, we can pull the shaft and do it all over again. We're trying to get one before we leave here. I've email the local dealer and hope to hear from him tomorrow.

It's now Saturday evening and we just finished out TV watching and Tracy is getting ready for bed, her knee is still causing her some throbbing so she's off for some Motrin to try and make it go away. I went on the bus today to the market in Colon(4 Altos) and got a few more things for the canal crossing. Some spaghetti sauce and noodles. We'll have five people to feed on the crossing--four line handlers and an advisor. They have to be fed and have a place to sleep for one night when we are in Gatun Lake. We'll be going in again on Monday and finalizing our food needs for the crossing with a menu. I took the 0800 bus in and didn't make it back till after 1330. Did a good bit of wandering around the shopping center and found a pet food store that might have some food we can use for the kids. While I was gone, several more squalls came through drenching the marina. We had a power outage a couple of hours ago and now, what internet we had(VERY SLOW)at the boat is gone and may be gone over the entire marina. We'll find that out tomorrow. With the office closed tomorrow, it could be Monday before we can get back on line.

It's now Sunday evening and the marina finally got internet up and running. It's still SLOW but depending on where you are, it's better or it's worse. They don't have good coverage around the marina. None at all some places, slow in other and still a bit better in others. It's a learning lesson as to where to go for the "best" internet connection. This morning, I gathered up all the dirty clothes and headed over to the laundry. As the cruisers had scheduled a "flea market" for this morning, I figured it was the perfect time as there are a limited number of machine for everyone. I got there just before they opened and within three minutes I was joined by two locals that live at the marina to do their laundry as well. Laura, who runs the laundry let me use the "BIG" washer so I crammed all our clothes into one machine, plunked in $5.00 of quarters and off it went. Thirty five minutes later it was done but since there are no BIG driers, I was going to take three to get our clothes dry and since there were other customers(the locals)there, well we had to split the driers between all of us. I got two and had to wait 45 minutes before I got access to the third machine. I didn't get back to Zephyr till well after 1000 but we had lots of clean and folded clothes to put away.

After a nice lunch of chicken enchilada, we took off for the cruisers lounge for a game of Mexican Train dominoes again. This time, there were seven of us around two tables we slid together. I was lucky enough to win again. Thats two wins in three weeks. It's not like I'm playing against Johanna and Timo off Iiris.

We returned to Zephyr between rain storms and settled in for a nice quiet night.

Being in the yard means lots of work.

16 November 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina, near Colon, Panama
Bill/raining again
It sure has been a busy day. Victor showed up this morning after working well into the afternoon yesterday, coming over a few times to give advice and help with getting out the old cutlass bearing out. We finally got the prop shaft out yesterday in the late morning by taking out numerous bolts and set screws that keep it attached to the Aqua Drive. It's sort of like a big tubular clam, joined at one end of the clam and then there are eight bolts that bolt the sides of the "clam" to the prop shaft. Add in two set screws in the middle of the clam that screw into "dimples" in the shaft to make sure that the shaft won't slip as it turns. Once we got the bolts out(and the set screws), we pounded big screwdrivers into the spaces between the halves of the sides "clam"to open the space between the sides of the "clam" so we could get the prop shaft back into the "clam" and line up with the set screw dimples.

Victor showed up this morning after yesterday taking a "zip" saw to the inside of the old cutlass bearing trying to cut out a section of the old bearing so he could get it out. He didn't finish yesterday so he was here at 0700 with a chisel and hammer and pounded out a section of the old bearing and with a pair of vice grips, pulled what was left of the bearing out of the stern of the hull. He took the new cutlass bearing and checked it against the shaft(fit fine) and then slid it into the hole in the hull where the last cutlass bearing went, pounding it in till it stopped. He was done but I got the privilege of cutting off the extra two inches of the bearing. Where the old bearing was made of bronze with a rubber line baffling inside it, this one is made of Delrin plastic and it supposed to last 20 years where the bronze one was only good for 10(supposedly). With it cut off, we started in on sliding the prop shaft into the bearing and up to the transmission.

Last evening, as we walked back to Zephyr in the rain, Tracy slipped on some mud and went crashing down on her right knee tearing a bunch of skin and damaging her knee cap. I had to help her the rest of the way back to the boat and then get her on board(up the ladder)and cleaned up, bandages applied and an "Ace" bandage wrapped around her knee to keep the swelling down. She couldn't put any weight on her knee and had to "walk" with the aid of a long stick for a semi crutch to lean on. By this morning, we was a bit better but she still has had problems getting around the boat and it was everything she could do to get up and down the ladder to help me on the ground. I"m glad to say that it's now 1800 and she is much better.

With the cutlass bearing installed, Tracy came down the ladder and helped me get the prop shaft into the stern end of the boat. It's about six feet long and weighs about 50 pounds. Once we got it started, she went back up the ladder to help get the shaft lined up with everything it has to go through inside. Our hand held VHF radio died on the way over here from Curacao so I borrowed two from other cruisers so we could talk to each other(instead of screaming at each other)as we did the job. I slowly slid the shaft inside and Tracy guided it through the packing gland that seals out water that surrounds the prop shaft and then up to the "clam" so it could be reattached. It's not enough to slide it into a VERY tight "clam" but it also has to align with the dimples for the set screws. All in all, we had to shove it in and pull it back out about 6 times before we could get that darn dimple to line up with the set screw! What a pain in the butt!! In and out, and in and out, over and over. It wouldn't have been so bad except that I had to pound on a bracket that was attached to the shaft to get it out and then pound on a steel plate that I found in the yard that I put up against the end of the shaft to get it back in. Easy in and out, it was not but in the end, we got it in just right and the set screws put back in along with the eight screws in the "clam" and that prop isn't going any where. Tomorrow, I finish the shaft packing gland placement.

Once we had the shaft in place, we broke of a nice lunch on board and then back at it trying to get the Max Prop installed. I hiked down to the marina building so I could get internet and then watched more You Tube videos on EXACTLY how to do it. It's truly a marvel of engineering. It's three bladed prop that rotates as the prop shaft rotates so the forward edge of the prop is always what "cuts" the water and drives the boat. Ours is a "left" turn prop which isn't that common. It took us a while and some polishing and sanding but we got it installed and tomorrow, I'll be pumping in the grease to lube its gears as it turns forward and backwards. By 1700, we had it all installed!!! What I feared doing(taking the Max Prop apart and putting it back together again) ended up being not that big a deal. Of course I did have my wife beside me the entire time. She's really the mechanical person in the family. Got it from her father. Not so much me as I can seldom remember my father even touching a screwdriver.

It's now Thursday and we were up and at it early again, trying to get everything ready and get launched to day instead of tomorrow. I was working on the prop shaft seal getting it all compacted and tightened. Where the shaft comes into the boat, it's surrounded by a bellows type gizmo with a circular magnet that surrounds the prop shaft. Then a second independent circular magnet get bolted to the shaft with two set screws so it can turn with the prop shaft as the prop turns. These two magnets keep the water out. Last owner put it on and other than one instance many years ago, it has worked flawlessly. Once done, a quick breakfast and onto the Max Prop. I took off the end cap and filled it with grease and then screwed it on to the end of the prop. Then I took out one(there are two) grease plugs on the prop that you screw on a "zerk" fitting where you inject grease. As with most boating things, well it requires a special grease that pretty much only available from the Max Prop people at a premium price. We had a nice big tube of it so we were in good shape. I slowly injected this grease into the prop, stopping after five or so pumps and then rotating the prop back in forth to move the grease around the inside. With the front section done, I moved the "zerk"fitting to the second hole(stern of the prop) and started injecting it too along with the regular rotation of the prop. You can tell if it's full when grease starts coming out through the prop shafts and gears. With that done, we were on to putting on the zinc piece to the end of the prop and then we coated the entire prop with a mixture of Lanocote and TBT(tributyl tin)painted on with a brush. This concoction pretty well stops just about all growth that the norm on props. With it covered, we let the boat lift people(Victor)know we were ready to go and about two hours later they showed up and lifted us in their straps and plunked us in the water. Now here's where it all went sideways! Once onboard(can't be on board when the boat is in the lift)I took off for below decks to check the packing gland and break the seal between the two magnets and let the air out and the water in. I was greeted by a big gush of water and the(BAD) it started to drip. Not a little but a steady stream of water(REALLY BAD). I left the allen wrench out just incase and loosened the magnet fitting that rotates and pushed in on the bellows section(lots more water)and then slid the rotating magnet in so it touched the bellows fitting and tightened up the set screws. The water slowed to just a trickle and after getting the engine running and putting it in gear so the prop would spin, it slowed to just a repetitive drip. Since it's cheaper to stay in the marina(order in new parts) and we can pump out the bilge from time to time, we decided to head for the marina. Victor finished dropping the canvas slings and off we went, out to drain our black water tanks again and then over to the marina where the marina manager greeted us and help get us tied up. I returned to the prop shaft area and the dripping has stopped!!!!! No clue what happened but I said a prayer of thanks to the gods of boaters. I've put a small bowl under it with a paper towel so we can see if anything comes in. I plan on started the engine and putting it in a slow gear to make the prop turn and make sure it's realy sealed. I would hate to have known what my blood pressure was while all this was happening. God bless the meds I take each day. Lunch finally at 1530!

I felt like Noah!

14 November 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina, near Colon, Panama
Bill/Partly cloudy
It's now late Sunday evening and we've been experiencing power outages for several hours. It's on then it's off, over and over. Started about two days ago with the entire complex going dark. The marina office kicked on their back up generator but it only supplied power to the marina and not out to the yard. It's been going on all afternoon and we've been having fluctuating power since I got back to Zephyr about 1730. After a while, the power just shut off for an hour or so with it currently being on and the AC running(thank God) so we can get through the night with out the heat and humidity that Panama brings.

Once back to the boat, I took some time and pulled up the floor board in the stern cabin and got out my Allen wrench collection and took out the size Allen wrench that fit in the bolts that hold the propeller to the Aqua Drive that then holds it to the transmission. I'd sprayed PB Blaster on the heads and sides of the threads that keep the two sides of the fitting together and keep the prop attached to the transmission. While Tracy held the flashlight, I fit the Allen Wrench on to the bolt and gave it a big push and the first bolt came free. On to the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth and each one came free. Amazing as this fitting is down where humidity, saltwater and corrosion are major players. We were both amazed that they came loose. Now if Victor shows up tomorrow with the new Cutlass Bearing, we're closer to getting the prop shaft out. Just a few other fittings on the shaft that have to be loosened or taken off and it "should" come out. We'll see how it goes tomorrow--Cutlass Bearing or no Cutlass Bearing. Meanwhile, I sent an email to our agent here in Panama keeping him updated on our progress. Once this is fixed, we will be that much closer to going through the camal. Once Zephyr is back in the water, we will need to test and inspect everything we've done since should this fitting fail, we could easily sink Zephyr. It's a big hole straight down into the water.

It's now Monday afternoon and I feel like either Moses or Noah. We talked to Victor this morning and he's picking up the cutlass bearing after work this afternoon so we made plans to take the bus back to town and restock things that we feel we need to feed the line handlers and pilot that will be with us on the canal transit. Leaving here at 0745, we got to the store at just about 0900 and a few minutes later, it started to rain. Now not your normal shower but an all out downpour like we have rarely seen in all our travels and it didn't last just a few minutes. Oh no, this storm lasted till 1400 and it's still sprinkling outside. Having spent a good bit of our cash to buy the paint we put on Zephyrs bottom, we stopped in at the ATM at the 4 Altos store(grocery store). I asked for $500 and was declined as over my limit. Tried $300--same thing. OK fine, we were off for another bank/ATM. Next one was the same--over limit. Next bank wouldn't help us but we did find an ATM that would take Tracys card but not mine. After trying several more banks, I started getting the dreaded "we can't read your card" splashed across the monitor screen. Well, shucks and darnies. I've used my card with no problems since South Africa where its predecessor had gotten stolen and now it decides not to work. The credit card in the adjoining slot in my wallet still works fine as we used it to pay for our groceries. Just glad we took Tracy's card as we'd hoped to double dip the account to get back what we had spent on the paint. Not going to happen. We walked back to a covered sheltered area and waited for the bus to show up. He was due at 1100 but showed up before then so we dashed across the parking lots, avoiding the cars and buses and all the pot holes in the lot and we nice and soaked when we got to the other side. It was going to be a damp ride back to the marina. The air conditioning in the bus made it that much colder on our already chilled bodies. It was still raining when we got back to the marina and we decided to try and wait out the rain by having lunch at the restaurant. Of course, by the time we were done, it was still raining but since we were already quite damp, we just bit the bullet and loaded all our food in one of the marinas carts and waded out to Zephyr through lots of huge deep puddles and a steady downpour. As it always does, once we got back to the boat, the rain lessened substantially and I could even return the cart to the marina area and not get that much wetter.

I just got back from talking to Victor and he says he will be working on us tomorrow afternoon, so I'm going to pull the prop shaft in the morning when it just might be drier. Guess we will see.

It's now Tuesday morning and I just checked my bank account. One of the ATMs we tried to use that was turned down processed the transaction as complete so I'm out $510 till my bank can straighten it out. Boy, we love Panama!

Lots more painting.

12 November 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina, near Colon, Panama
Bill/ Cloudy and overcast
One thing I forgot to write about in my last post was taking care of doing a wire transfer to the agency that's handling out Panama Canal crossing. I'd hiked down to the marina complex and got on line. First I tried with Wells Fargo. They would love to help me but since I had no phone they couldn't send an SMS(added "personal security they claim) to, it just wasn't possible. Hey, not everyone has a phone!!! I talked to several different reps and it was all the same. "For your protection" was the saying of the day. Once I'd had enough of their excuses, I switched over to another bank we use regularly for ATM withdrawals and everything looked just fine with them. They could send me an email instead of and SMS(no suggestion of that by WF) and bingo, we could do the wire transfer. Only problem was that the wire transfer office wasn't even open for another 30 minutes(Yes, I was up early again-0445AM so I sat and waited. Once we hit 0900(0800 where the bank is located) i could speak(thank goodness for Skype) and get the transfer going. Cost us $45 to do it but it was at least on it's way to our agent. Big pain solved. Now, at least when we are ready, we can go.

It's just just before 1100 on Saturday and we just finished putting on the first blue coat of paint on the hull. Boy, let me tell you, putting blue over black paint isn't the best thing to do unless you put on the blue paint really heavy, the black shows through leaving sometimes wide stripes of paint(sort of blue/black) on the hull. We still have one more gallon of blue having put on a gallon per side earlier today and that should even out the stripes we have now. We've used up most of our thinner getting the paint off ourselves as well as adding a bit to the paint to keep it flowing properly in the heat and humidity of the day. We were on the job by 0800 and finished by 1045 so not to bad. Amazingly, we are still finding the stray tiny barnacle on the hull so out comes my knife and off comes the tiny bit. Is it perfect, well not yet but the blisters and left overs of the old paint and epoxy coating on the hull don't show as much as they did. (pictures to follow once we get internet) Now we wait a few hours for the paint to sort of dry(manufacturers instructions of 3-6 hours between coats) and we should, weather permitting, get on the last coat late this afternoon. The yard is closed today and tomorrow so no one will be here taking boat out of the water or putting them back in the water. Yesterday was a holiday and everyone was working so they could get two days in a row off.

It's now 2130 and we finished the last coat with the last gallon of blue paint. We held about a quart or more in reserve as we have to paint the places where the braces that keep the boat level are placed once we get them moved. Then on goes a thin coat(not much left) of the black and then on goes what we have of the blue and then just let it dry over night but that's for tomorrow. With no workers here, well we will have to move the braces our selves. The hull is looking better but not all of it got a third coat since we couldn't get enough paint but it's going to be under water so not that big a deal. Once done, it was off to the showers again and letting the water get all the dirt off us(paint took some extra scrubbing with a stiff brush). Of course we used a good bit of paint thinner to get what we had land on our bodies as this paint is nasty stuff before we hit the showers

On the way back from the showers(and after a quick drink at the restaurant) we saw fireflies or lightening bugs off in the grass beside the road. Lots of them. It's been quite a while since we've seen them and it's always fun to watch them slowly blink on and off in the grass. A special treat for us after such a long busy day.

Today, Sunday, I sprayed some lubricant on the threads of the bolts that told the coupling for the prop shaft to the transmission. Once it penetrates, it should be a bit easier to get off so we can pull the prop. A few other things on the shaft that need to come off but first we have to get it off the coupling. I took an extra hose that we've had on deck for two years tied to the lifelines that we never use and had privately hoped someone would steal as we've tried several times to simply give it away with no takers off the boat and wrapped duct tape(God bless the inventer of the stuff)around the end of it and shoved it up into the drain for the sinks in the galley. Since we've been out of the water(last Thursday) we haven't done dishes so they had stacked up but now, with the hose attached to the drain, it will take all the water from washing dishes away from our nice, newly painted hull and take it out into the grass. I then came back on board and did the dishes. Tracy's not feeling well after a bad last night. She made herself and plate of Nachos and put on a bunch of the jalapeños that I put in my soup, thinking they were just like the ones that came in a can she's last used that said it was specifically for "Nachos".They were very mild. MINE are not! They are nasty bits of sliced heat that if used to excess(as Tracy did) will have lasting repercussions and that's just what happened here. She's been up off and on all night and it now resting trying to get a bit os sleep in the stern berth so I'm sitting in the main cabin typing this.

Another project for today is to recenter the rudder on our Simrad autopilot. When we installed it and after much work with the two of us sitting in the cockpit reading the manual, I sort of guessed at when it was entered. Well, after we left the dock and headed for the haul out, we had to empty out black water tanks so I used the auto pilot to make sure it now works and yes it does(Thank GOD!!!) but when the rudder is actually centered, the rudder indicator on the auto pilot shows it's off by 8 degrees so it's an easy job to correct but will take both of us as one stands on the ground while the other makes the adjustments to the autopilot.

This afternoon, we have another gathering of the Mexican Train group. Only six of us which surprised us last week. Apparently the four regulars have not had any new blood for quite some time so when we showed up, they were surprised. Probably regretted it as I won last week. No Johanna or Timo off Iiris to beat me into the ground(in Grenada and Curacao). We sure do miss them!

Hard work whlle being on the hard in the yard.

11 November 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina, near Colon, Panama
Bill/Sunny for a change.
We now have the Max Prop off and have applied the first coat of bottom paint to Zephyrs bottom. We slowly dismantled the Max Prop after watching the You Tube videos on how to do it and then went at it, stopping from time to time to walk across the yard to get internet (not available at the boat) and watching them again. It slowly came apart. Once we got down the the center hub that everything attaches too, well it didn't want to come off. I got a prop puller from Victor(yard manager) and tried it but there just wasn't enough room between the prop and where it comes out of the hull for the clips to fit in. I put out a call on the morning VHF net and one of the other cruisers loaned me a couple more pullers and while I was off getting them, Tracy went over and talked to Victor and got one that looked like a collar that was slim enough to fit between the prop and the hull. We attached it and hooked the pullers behind it and every we'd try and tighten the puller shaft that sits against the prop shaft, it would slip off the prop shaft. I went over and talked to Victor and once he could break free from hauling boats, we came over and took a look and asked for a hammer. I got our sledge hammers and he knocked the heck out of the collar that fit on the shaft. About 5 smacks and then rotated the shaft and did it to the other side and pop, off it came. No way the puller was going to get it off but at least now we were down to the prop shaft for the cutlass bearing replacement. Victor came back later in the day and now tells us we have to take off the prop shaft so he can get at the bearing. Gee, what fun!!! I'd hoped to avoid doing that but guess not.

The day started with more rain with it continuing to either out right pour or just sprinkle enough that the hull we needed to paint was wet. It finally stopped about lunch and after a couple more hours of sun and overcast skies, it was dry enough to roll on the first coat of very expensive bottom paint. Rollers and brushes were all put to use and by 1800, just as the sun was setting, we had both sides done with about 8 ounces of paint left and it went into a jar for covering where the skids are that stabilize the hull. Out came the lacquer thinner and towels and with a good bit of elbow grease, we got the paint off our hands and arms that had dripped at we painted. I was a mess and did it between side painting just to get a jump on the mess I was in. We grabbed out shower gear and slowly walked down to the showers and groaned with every movement getting there, taking the shower and the walk back. Climbing the ladder to the boat was just great fun as the legs and knees were screaming at us. A quick dinner and then we just laid on the settees and watched shows till 2100 and Tracy headed off for bed. I needed to get on line to pose questions about cutlass bearings to a forum we belong to so I had to walk down to the marina complex and get on line. Reading the responses I got this morning, it looks like the bearing is indeed bad so now I get to take out the prop shaft but I'm not doing that till Victor shows up with the replacement bearing.

Today has dawned with bright blue skies so we will be out putting on the second coat of bottom paint this morning while it's cool and dry. Man, I really hate being on the hard in a yard. Just too much work is involved. I'll post some pictures when I can get back on line.
Vessel Name: Zephyr
Vessel Make/Model: Shin Fa 458
Hailing Port: Denver, Colorado
Crew: Bill & Tracy Hudson
About: We've been sailing since the early 80's on lakes in New Mexico and Colorado and finally took the plunge and bought Zephyr.
Extra: We moved on board in April of 2008 and have been working and sailing her ever since. Up to Alaska and down to Mexico and across the Pacific to Fiji. We're now in the Caribbean in Grenada after making the crossing from South Africa 7 months ago.
Home Page: http::/
Zephyr's Photos - Main
Photos 1 to 54 of 54
The electrical connection with switch for the new Spectra Watermaker.
Our new watermaker--it still needs the hoses run but we are getting closer to getting the job done.
La Panga Restaurant and Marina Palmira office
You put your trash out in trash cans by the curb.  Here, they put it in raised steel containers to keep animals out of it while awaiting pickup.
OK, sounds like a restaurant I want to try.  Nothing wrong with a skull on the sign.
Boats in Marina Palmira.
Bigger power boats in Marina Palmira.
More boats in Marina Palmira.
Marina Costa Baja
Looking West from the marina.
Looking North towards the hotel La Fiesta.
Boats at Marina Costa Baja.
We sat for quite a while just watching the sun go down and see all her changing colors.  Each night provided a whole rainbow of colors.
La Fiesta Hotel.  Nice place and just about empty.
Matt getting some relaxation at the pool.
They stroll the docks each day.
Along the sidewalk at Marina Costa Baja.
Looking down from above.  Boy, it
The view from the top of the mast of the marina.
Out into the bay.
The "Beach Club at the hotel.
More of the Marina and the hotel.
Pangas along the beach at Los Muertos.
The dingy dock at Los Muertos.
Looking out from the restaurant at Los Muertos.
Pelicans and the pangas along the launching ramp at Los Muertos.
The Sun glinting off the bay at Los Muertos.
What used to be the Giggling Marlin restaurant.  Now El Carbon.
Rock walls out by the dingy dock at Los Muertos.
One of the flying Manta Rays at Los Frailes.  Look closely.
More flying Manta Rays at Los Frailes.
The Eastern end of Los Frailes.
Ensenada de Los Muertos.
The ceiling of the restaurant at Los Muertos.
Blue goes hunting.  She knows there is something on the barbecue grill
With her toes spread, she is weaving on the life line.  The camera is still, she is not!
At anchor in Los Frailes.
The anchorage in Los Frailes.
At the pot luck dinner along the beach in Los Frailes waiting out the wind.  The wind won!!
Our new Fender Step.  It will make coming into dock much easier.
Our new Spectra 200T watermaker.  Now all we have to do is find the time to install it.
The Immigration Office in Ensenada, Mexico.  At least it is all in one building now instead of spread all over town.
The big flag by Baja Naval Marina.  An easy land mark to navigate to.
The Port Captain
The Mexican courtesy flag flying from our mast spreaders.
Celebrating crossing into Mexico.  The white wine had gone bad so we gave it to King Neptune instead.
Looking towards Ensenada Harbor.
25 Photos
Created 22 November 2013
Around Kudat and the Penuwasa Boat Yard
39 Photos
Created 18 November 2013
Up the hills till an opening shows up in front of you and then see if you can get down into it. Not always.
36 Photos
Created 16 November 2013
Some photos of our diving on the reef.
30 Photos
Created 16 November 2013
Our trip around the north end of Borneo
20 Photos
Created 16 November 2013
10 Photos
Created 23 October 2013
Our trip around Malaysia starting at Tawau.
36 Photos
Created 21 October 2013
51 Photos
Created 13 October 2013
Our trip from Tawau around the top of Borneo down to Brunei.
6 Photos
Created 9 October 2013
13 Photos
Created 6 October 2013
24 Photos
Created 6 October 2013
Pictures of our dives off Musket Cove Marina
20 Photos
Created 7 December 2011
Avea Bay on South Huahine and on to Raiatea Island.
39 Photos
Created 25 July 2011
Our arrival in Tahiti through Huahine
91 Photos
Created 18 July 2011
Getting Zephyr ready to go.
37 Photos
Created 28 October 2010
My three days getting not only knowledge and some self confidence but nice and dirty.
8 Photos
Created 26 August 2010
Heading South from Escondido.
23 Photos | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 30 April 2010
An old salt factory.
33 Photos
Created 30 April 2010
Incredible sandstone
17 Photos
Created 30 April 2010
A great place to spend time exploring.
48 Photos
Created 30 April 2010
Honeymoon Cove on Isla Danzante
25 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 30 April 2010
47 Photos
Created 14 February 2010
Our continuing adventure as we head North farther up the Sea Of Cortez.
47 Photos
Created 22 January 2010
8 Photos
Created 1 January 2010
Our visit to the famous "Mushroom Rock" bay.
12 Photos
Created 1 January 2010
Art and statues along the waterfront as you walk through downtown La Paz, Mexico
13 Photos
Created 1 January 2010
Still heading South but now in Cabo San Lucas
24 Photos
Created 8 December 2009
Making our way South along the coast of Mexico
25 Photos
Created 28 November 2009
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