SCOOTS has traded the warm water of the Pacific for jackstands in the Fonatur Boatyard, Mazatlan. She'll remain here for the next few weeks, getting her topsides - meaning her hull, not her deck - and her bottom, painted, and having some minor repairs.
On the appointed day, SCOOTS' date with the Travelift was scheduled for 1 pm. This time of day is not particularly ideal, as the thermal winds would be blowing, which could make maneuvering SCOOTS in tight spaces a bit interesting; but on this particular day, 1 pm was also right at slack tide, which meant that we didn't also have to contend with any current. We talked it over and decided that as the more experienced helmsperson, Eric would drive SCOOTS over to the boatyard, turn her around, and back her into the narrow Travelift slot. And it is
A skinny place
We have to fit between those two cement walkways...
He did a great job, and soon SCOOTS was positioned between the concrete jetties like a horse in a starting gate, and with just about as much space to spare on either side of her.
In the slot
Having your boat hauled out of the water, and transferred to some flimsy-looking jackstands, can be a nerve-wracking experience - especially when she's 51 feet long and weighs about 33,000 pounds! Imagine having your
home lifted up, moved down the block, and set up on jackstands!
But the professionals at the Fonatur Marina and Boatyard dispelled my anxiety as soon as they set to work; all the workers made sure that SCOOTS had a safe lift and got settled comfortably onto her jackstands. Myriam (yes, a woman lift operator!) drove the Travelift with skill and confidence;
Our skillful Travelift operator
...after taking a look at the diagram we provided her, which showed the correct placement of the lifting straps on SCOOTS, she climbed into the control booth, started the lift, lowered the straps into the water, slid them underneath SCOOTS, and came up with them in just the right places.
A tight fit
Since we're in Mexico, where things tend to be a bit more relaxed, Eric and I got to stay on SCOOTS' deck and ride up with her in the lift. Once she was suspended high enough, we jumped across the gap from SCOOTS' swim step onto the pavement.
In the slings
Now that SCOOTS is "on the hard" as they say, work has begun in earnest.
I was AMAZED at the amount of marine life that had made SCOOTS its home, even though her bottom was cleaned and scraped not 6 weeks ago. These waters are extremely prolific! Little crabs skittered around in gaps and crevices; barnacles covered the hull like an upside-down starry night, filled the gap between rudder and hull, occupied all the through-hull openings, and had even found a way to live on the propeller!
Crusty marine life
Encrusting organisms had wrapped much of SCOOTS' metal prop shaft in a calcified blanket, reminding me of how Spider Man gets encrusted with the Black Spiderman suit (here's a link if you're not familiar with this reference: Spiderman
For the first few days, Eric and I have been living on SCOOTS in the boatyard.
SCOOTS getting settled in her temporary home
Though the boatyard has some excellent facilities - electricity, clean showers and restrooms, a lounge for reading, washers and dryers, even a small pool (though it could have used some cleaning when we were here) - for visiting boaters, it's still a bit like camping: neither our fridge nor our toilet will work on land, as they require saltwater for their operations; we have to climb up and down a 15-foot ladder to get to and from SCOOTS' deck; we have to keep the hatches closed while the guys are sanding, which really heats up the interior; we have to take our shoes off before going below, so we don't track in boatyard dirt. We also had a layer of green dust everywhere, until the workers at Active Marine finished scraping and sanding SCOOTS' hull two days ago, and gave her a thorough washing.
While those guys were working on the hull, Eric and I were working on other jobs. Here's a sampling of some of the fun projects we've done in the past few days...
...going through our vast collection of cold-weather clothes (why did we think we would need these?), sorting those to bring to the Bay Area and those to send to my sister in New York,
...removing the last items from the the fridge and freezer, and washing the shelves and compartments,
...removing the engine's raw water filter, getting the top off (which didn't budge until a vise and a big oil filter wrench were brought to the task, thanks to the calcifying effects of marine life), cleaning out the detritus, and replacing the filter on the engine,
...sopping up the leftover liquid in the bilges,
...removing the compass and the cockpit table, opening the steering pedestal, cleaning and polishing the housing, and lubing the steering mechanism,
...cleaning the crusty marine life out of the through-hulls and applying seacock grease,
...fixing a couple of cabin lights,
...choosing a font, colors, shading, and size for SCOOTS' new name and city decals,
...pulling out the old alternator and sending it out to be rebuilt.
The inside of our boat, like the outside, is in a state of disarray at the moment. That's how it's going to be, for a little while.
Later this week, Eric and I will say adios to Mexico, and fly to the States for a few days, to spend time with our family and renew our 6-month visas. While we're away, work will continue on SCOOTS, with an estimated completion near the end of May.
When we return - and until SCOOTS' makeover is complete - we'll be staying in a little apartment we've rented from Airbnb, in the Historic section of Mazatlan. We visited the apartment and picked up the keys a couple of days ago; we're both really excited at the prospect of exploring Mazatlan from the inside!
That's it for now. Hasta luego!