04/17/2011, Enroute to Bahai de los Muertos
We had a wonderful email on Wednesday last week from our friends Pat and Les, the couple who sailed for two weeks with us when we left San Diego. They were tired of winter and needed a break and was our offer of having them return still open. Well of course it was so I emailed back and then a few phone calls later and we were picking them up at the airport on Friday afternoon. They had the option of sailing across to the Baja with us or to meet us over there and they took the sailing across option!! Yippee as it makes for a much more restful and fun passage with more than 2 people aboard and it's a 185 mile passage. So Friday we picked them up and we spent Saturday visiting with friends on another boat called Tanque de Tiburon with Bill and Linda aboard. We finished our provisioning and we were up at 7 am this morning ready to go. It was very foggy out as we left the harbour in Mazatlan but with the radar on no problem getting out. Right now we are about 20 miles out and the seas are calm and flat and we are motoring along. There is supposed to be 10 to 15 from the SW so we will see if that happens. In the meantime we are relaxed and enjoying the ride and seeing lots of small rays and sea turtles. We think we saw a marlin but not exactly sure. Our plan is to anchor out in various bays around the La Paz area for a week or so and then head into La Paz for a few days. Les and Pat will leave us from there and take the bus down to San Jose del Cabo and fly home from there. It's so nice to have them back on the boat again as we had such a great time the last time they were with us. Well I'd better try sending this off via the radio, it's been awhile since I used it I hope I can remember how. 5 Hours Later Couldn't get this email through so I'll try again now. The sun has just set and the full moon has just risen so we will have a well lit night. Still motoring with a bit of wind on the nose.
04/11/2011, San Blas
The photo was taken by Linda on Tanque de Tiburon
So we are back where we belong in the water again. We got all of the work done that we wanted to and a few other things besides. Ian traced a battery problem we have been having and has hopefully fixed it for good.
We went back in about noon today and went right to work on cleaning the inside and the topsides as it gets very dirty in a boat yard. You are always walking on pavement and tracking in dirt and dust. We actually managed to keep the boat fairly clean inside considering but it still felt good to wash the floors and countertops of dust.
I have to say that I would highly recommend San Blas as a destination to haul out your boat to do maintenance. For a haul out, pressure wash, 7 days on the hard and 3 days at the marina we paid 365 canadian dollars. The staff we very proficient and professional and courteous. The grounds and marina were always keep clean and there we always upgrades going on in various areas of the marina.
Tomorrow we are leaving here around 6:30 am and heading north to Mazatlan. We had hoped to go straight across to La Paz but it's a 3 day trip and we only have a good weather window for 2 days so we will go to Mazatlan as we can get there in 2 days. The winds are supposed to blow on Thurs and Fri quite strong so we will wait that out and hopefully cross to La Paz on Sat or Sun. It is also a 2 day crossing. So lots of travel in the next few days.
We are really looking forward to the Sea of Cortez. We both have been dreaming of it for a few years now. The clear, warm water and the desert backdrop, with lots of wildlife and fish. That will be our next 6 months or so. We've enjoyed the mainland but are ready for a change.
Well it's off to bed as we have an very early start tomorrow.
04/09/2011, San Blas
Whew! I think we are done. Day 5 we painted the bottom with blue ablative bottom paint, Day 6 Edwardo cut polished the hull, Ellen continued her sewing project, Ian finished up with putting on zincs and cleaning up and Day 7 Edwardo finished with a coat of wax on the hull, Ellen and Ian put some gromets in the cockpit shade screens and gave a final coat of black to the boot stripe. So tomorrow or Monday we will go back into the water. Once we get the boat cleaned up inside and topsides, and re-provision the almost empty fridge, we will look for the next weather window to head up to Mazatlan. It's been a 'BUSY' week.
This morning before we started working, we went to the local Saturday morning market. I'll post some photos. It was an interesting market and we found some things that surprised us. One of which was a hole punch the exact size we needed to place gromets in our sunshades. For less than a dollar we got a tool we had a hard time finding in Puerto Vallarta! And we experienced a new fruit called a Jackfruit or a Breadfruit. YUMMY! It's kinda a cross between an orange, a papaya, guva and banana. Very very good. I also found a nice skirt and a pair of shorts for about 6 bucks. There are a lot of second hand clothing stalls at the market.
So I'm hoping this is the last blog 'on the hard'. The novelty of living in a boat yard has worn off. We need to feel the water under our keel again. Look in the gallery for more haul out pics which I added to the existing ones.
04/06/2011, San Blas
Day 3 on the hard we finished the prep work for the new boot stripe. It was too late in the day to paint so we knocked off early and had a relaxing evening.
Day 4 and the boot stripe job is complete. I think it turned out pretty good. It's not smooth and shiny like a real boot stripe should be but hey if it keeps those pesky barnacles away who cares. Advice to those who are planning to come south with your boat. If you are even thinking of raising your waterline, raise it more than you think you need so that you don't find yourself in this position doing it again when you should be out swimming, snorkeling, sailing, beach combing etc.
Since we are out of the water, tomorrow we are going to slap a coat of ablative bottom paint on the bottom. It's not really critical right now but it will save us from hauling out again in 8 months or so. And on Friday we have hired a guy to come and clean and polish the haul for us.
My sewing project is coming along but I wish I had invested in a sturdier machine. My cheap little Kenmore is being pushed past it's potential I think. I spend a fair bit of time pulling out the bobbin and cleaning up thread from the machine getting stuck. It works fine with one or two layers of fabric but any more than that it just won't sew. I've also gone through about 5 needles.
I just want to give a little plug here for the marina in San Blas for any one who is thinking of coming this way. It really is a nice little marina. It's small only about 15 or so slips, but the marina has a lot of good facilities. Really clean and nice bathrooms and showers although the water is on the cool side in the showers, a swimming pool, laundry machines, small store and one of the yummiest little restaurants which we just discovered today. We ordered an Ararachara (beef) burrito to share for lunch today and when the owner/chef brought it out I was surprised to see it looked like something from a high end restaurant in Vancouver. The presentation was beautiful with the burrito cut in half, covered with shoestring french fries and the plate drizzeled with a raspberry sauce. I didn't have the camera with me or I would have photographed it for sure. And it was DELICIOUS! We will be eating there again I'm sure. 3 beer and the burrito which was big enough for us both, cost 115 peso or about 9 dollars.
04/05/2011, San Blas Boat Yard
Day 2 on the hard and we achieved a fair bit of work. Ian spent the day sanding the new boot stripe which on a smooth surface hull really wouldn't take a long time, but our boat has fake planking so he has to carefully sand in each groove. He managed to get one side completely sanded and day 3 will be spent sanding the other side.
If you look at the above photo, you can see the barnacle footprints. I don't know what kind of magic cement they manufacture, but you can't scrape it off you have to sand it. When your in the water, if you scrape off the barnacles at just the right time, you can get them before they get a good hold and then you won't get the white footprint, but that's tough to do because you would have to be in the water almost every other day.
The rest of the hull was good with only a few spots here and there where the barnacles had adhered to the bottom paint. But they were easy to remove as the ablative paint really helps to prevent growth (for the non boaters reading this ablative paint is a paint that comes off when you rub it and this makes it hard for things to grow on it).
While Ian was sanding away in the hot sun, I was sewing away in a nice cool, shady room at the marina. I still broke out in a sweat mind you as I'm trying to sew huge pieces of material to make an big awning to cover the boat. So trying to push 14 feet by 12 feet of material through my cheap little Kenmore machine was a lot of work. I've completed the shade screens for the cockpit but the top pieces are proving to be more complicated.
As for living on the boat, so far it's been pretty good. The biggest opps has been the refridegeration system. We have a keel cooled system and since we are not in the water, we can't use it as it's the water that cools the compressor. So we now have a big ice box. Unfortunately all of the meat in the fridge is defrosting so we may lose some of it.
So that is it for now I'm going to post some photos of the haul out to date so check the photo gallery for them.
04/03/2011, San Blas
This morning at high water slack tide - 10am ish, we were hauled out of the water and are now in the boat yard in San Blas. The haul out machine is basically the same as in BC, but here you are in your boat while they lift it out of the water which I found kinda scary. I kept close watch on the slings for any sign of them slipping. It feels really weird to be 15 feet above the water in your boat. But the operators seemed very competent and everything went off pretty good. There was one moment when the forestay came up against the cross bar on the lift machine and we had 2 choices. One he could put us back down in the water and we turn the boat around and go into the lift backwards, or two which is the option we took, to remove the forestay so that it didn't bend against the bar. Raul the operator was impressed that Ian did this as he has never had anyone do that before. Most people haven't built their own boat and I guess it is a bit intimidating to remove ones forestay especially when your hanging over the water 15 feet.
So here we are living on the hard! The challenge will be to try and keep the inside of the boat somewhat clean and in a livable condition while we do the work that needs doing. Problem is as soon as you start any project on a boat, every thing has to be moved around as you get tools from one locker and paint supplies from another. Mix that in with trying to cook meals and eat and clean up afterwards and you have chaos - well at least I think it's chaotic Ian just thinks it's fine. So I guess the challenge is mine.
While Ian is doing the sanding, I am doing some sewing - off the boat - making sunshades for the cockpit and a big awning to cover the entire boat. It gets really really hot in the Sea of Cortez in the summer months. So by blocking out the sun and creating some shade you can reduce the heat a bit inside the boat. That's the theory anyhow.
So that's our focus for this week. We hope to get back in by the end of the week and can get on our way north again. We will head next to Mazatlan and from there we will cross the Sea to La Paz which is about a 2 full day trip. I will post pictures as we progress with the work. For those of you who are purists, Bob, you'll hate how high we are making the boot stripe but we are not too concerned about looks at this point, we just want to be able to control the growth of barnacles and stuff along the waterline.