Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Who said this was easy? 11.12.08

I have failed in my attempt to write a once-a-week blog update again. Sorry!! It is so easy to find something else to do! But I’ll bring you all up to speed on what’s been going on lately. We’ve continued to work our way down the ‘list-o-things to get done before we can leave’ and have crossed several things out this week and as always, added a few as well.

Going down the list of completed items…the mainsail slides were sewn on and the mainsail was re-hung. All of the reef lines installed and most of the lines were whipped to prevent further fraying (something we should have done long ago!). All of the sails are up & ready to go! When the mainsail was up there was a slight amount of breeze and she was tugging at the docklines…she’s ready to get out sailing as much as we are. We had a chain plate on the starboard side that was leaking so it was re-bedded. The SSB antenna was reattached, the rudder post bearing was checked & Michael added nylock nuts to it. We checked the emergency tiller, just to be sure it still worked since replacing the rudder post – it works fine! The backing plate for the stanchion base was finally completed (the one we had the engine room all torn apart for) and we have 3 additional ones to install at all of the stanchions at the gates.

We had quite a scare the past few days as Sparky the Generator wouldn't start, a very, very bad thing.
We had Bob & Rafael from Total Yacht Works on the boat Saturday who thought it was a blocked injector (we don't have a spare, of course!) so he took it to clean it out. Monday morning Rafael returned with the news that the injector was fine. Oh great! We have had lots of problems with this #%@ generator and when it wouldn't start, figured it would have to be rebuilt again. It's a Phasor LP1 3.5KW generator that was purchased for about $5K and rebuilt for another $1K a year ago, when we could get all the parts shipped direct. We shuddered to think how much it would cost here in Mexico. Further inspection found the water impeller in pieces. It was replaced (thank goodness we had a spare one of that!) and it still wouldn't fire! About 3 hours later after tearing it mostly apart, the technician shot some oil through the injector straight into the head which lubricated the rings & piston, which increased the compression from about 80 to 230. It was put all back together….and it fired! Turns out the rings and/or piston must have been a little rusty? or possibly just 'stuck' and wasn't doing it's job. So thank GOODNESS it was a simple fix....or we hope! We haven't gotten the bill yet....haha.

After a stressful day dealing with the generator, we went out to dinner with some friends from Channel Islands that are taking off today heading further South, Milan & Adrian Ford aboard M/V Integrity and John & Debbie Dye on S/V Lovely Reta who are old work friends of Michael's. It was a place called 'Fat fish' and they had a special - two dinners (Ribs, Ribeye, or Shrimp) for 160 pesos (about $13) and two for one margaritas. It was a nice evening - Adrian's b-day was Sunday and someone gave her a huge chocolate cake so she brought it and everyone had a piece! Milan & Adrian left Mazatlan the next day, headed South for the season. We hope to run into them on our travels.

Oh, but back to work! Michael changed the oil on both the engine & generator, whipped more lines, continues to work with the aft shower, and has even begun writing in the mornings all about our adventures. You’re sure to see his additions to the website shortly! In fact, he sent out a mass e-mail to everyone in our address book with a reminder we are out here & what we did over the summer and we’ve been overjoyed with the response. Hearing from long lost friends is always such a treat.

The boat is being scrubbed down, top to bottom, on a daily basis. There are lots of nook & crannies that get scrubbed with a toothbrush, wood cleaned & oiled, brass polished, etc. The cushions in the main cabin are dirty after years of use and we’ve been pondering how to clean them up. A plea out to the cruisers & condo’ers did not turn up a steam machine so we decided to clean them ourselves. The problem is they were obviously a handmade job and did not include any way to remove the foam and clean the fabric. After much deliberation, we decided to have zippers installed in them so we can take them apart & clean them ourselves. Of course, talking to the upholstery guy, the inevitable happened….we decided to get new foam installed while he had them. The old foam was getting too soft & bottoming out so why not!? We’ve been without cushions for about 5 days now and should have them returned today just in time to take them apart & clean the fabric! He could do it while he had it…but at a cost of $10/cushion we decided I could do it cheaper.

We are in process of getting our FM3’s, an immigration document similar to a passport that will allow us to stay in Mexico for 1 year. Our temporary permits are only good for 6 months and we will be here until June, which is 8 months. There is an agent here in Mazatlan who does all of the paperwork & footwork for you and we decided to go this route for this initial submission. We went yesterday and got our requisite photos, very similar to a passport, and filled out all of the paperwork. We have also been working on getting our Mexican fishing license renewed. The renewal can be done online now at and I have instructions if anyone is interested. We have printed out our receipts that we need to take to the bank to pay for the license, then return & print them out. As of January 2008, the requirement to have a license for everyone on board as well as the boat & dinghy has changed! Now you only have to have a license for the persons on board. We paid 447 pesos plus 35 pesos for the online transaction per license. Have I mentioned the dollar to peso conversion is very much on our side right now – it is averaging 12.5 – which is a welcome benefit!

Whew, all that work is making me tired just thinking about it! Haha. But of course we’re still having fun as well. Our Dominoes Tuesday Pizza nights are still in full swing, last night gathering 17 people! A group took off last Wednesday in our dinghys and zoomed out to Deer Island, just off the Mazatlan coast, for a few hours of soaking in the ocean, snorkeling, & relaxing. The day was gorgeous – sunny & warm, no wind to speak of. The island has a wonderful beach area and as we were pulling the dinghys onto the soft sand, we assisted with some young boys who live on the island. There were only about 20 or so others on the beach and the entire group of us spent some time just soaking in the water before donning our snorkeling gear & checking out what was underneath! The water was a bit murky, but once we swam around to the side of the island, large boulders provided a great area for vividly colorful fish, shells, & even a bloom of scallops. There were 3 dinghys – ours, Mike & Julie on S/V Slacker and Mike & Marilyn with Bianca in tow on S/V Lady Hawke.
The water was perfect in the 80’s it felt wonderful and we all had prune hands by the time we got out of the water. It was a quick trip – out & back in about 3 hours – but was fantastic.
Wednesday night, Rafael Rodriguez sings at Gus Gus, the restaurant at the top of our dock and we seem to catch his show every Wednesday. The food at Gus Gus is outstanding and inexpensive and Wednesday evenings they are packed with cruisers & condo folks.

Geez, is that it?! Nope, not quite. Mazatlan has always held a terrific Thanksgiving Day dinner and through sheer luck (or torture, we’re not sure which), Michael has been made the President of the committee this year. Was he nominated? Did he volunteer? Nope…he just happened to be at the right place at the right time and whala…he’s it. So for the last couple weeks he has been holding meetings, organizing the cruisers to ensure everything is taken care of, etc. Last year, there were 189 people in attendance! Luckily, there are several cruisers who have volunteered to help and so far the ticket sales are positive. The Marina Mazatlan manager, Elvira Lizarraga, has worked very hard to ensure everything is taken care of – has made the arrangements for the food, tables & chairs, beer, wine, soda, etc. It is a lot of work for everyone but it’s coming together nicely. The menu is turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, yams, green bean casserole, stuffing, salad, cranberry sauce, croissants, carrot cake & after dinner coffee for 175 pesos per person – that’s only about $14! Plus, after dinner, Rafael Rodriguez who sings at Gus Gus will play for 4 hours. It should be a wonderful evening. We’re looking forward to it. Wanna come?! :-)

There are lots more cruisers in the marina now. There were probably 30 or so who checked into the net this morning and the marina is just humming with activity. There are exercise classes 3 days a week, daily Baja Rummy games, lots of work being done on boats daily, and that great camaraderie in the air. Everyone is getting excited to begin their journey, wherever it takes them! Hurricane season is almost over – November 15th is the magical date. It has been less hot here as well, temps in the upper 80’s during the day and today we’ve been blessed with a nice breeze that is cooling everything down. The evening temps have been fantastic – cool enough for us to turn off the A/C unit and only use the fans. Our plan it still to leave just after Thanksgiving and head down to Huatulco and then begin our trip North. But remember, cruiser plans are like nailing jello to the wall! Irregardless, only 2 more weeks until we take off - woohoo!!

Keep in touch! If you missed out on the mass e-mail and would like to be included, send us an e-mail to and we'll add you to the mailing list for our very occasional e-mail updates.

We had a friend come & visit on the dock the other day - posing for pics & being talked about!


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