Friday, March 12, 2010

End of season blues… 3.12.10

That’s what it feels like! We arrived in Mazatlan, back in our old familiar slip on dock 6 and immediately got to work tearing the boat apart and prepping it for the summer. Well, after spending an entire day being lazy after the long passage!

During our last passage, I made a comment on how much the backstays attached to the dinghy davit were flexing. When we arrived at the dock, we were shocked to find the Mizzen middle shrouds tight as a fiddle, while the upper & lower shrouds were loosey goosey! It didn’t make sense…..until we looked closer at the dinghy davit system and found the 2” stainless steel tubing that makes up the dinghy davit was ripped! Thank goodness the mizzen shrouds were holding it up! It would have been a HUGE bummer to hear a SNAP and find our dinghy davit, dinghy, & solar panels being towed behind the boat – with the mizzen mast dangling with it! It was a weird tear. Luckily, we can fix it – just a little welding.

Ripped stainless steel on the dinghy davits of Ahea Kali

Dinghy davits on Ahea Kali with ripped stainless tubing

After consulting with the welder & Rick (one of the repair guys here in Mazatlan) we welded in some gussets – a long piece of stainless steel, that looks like a boomerang to me, that will fix the problem. Solid #($%& gold, I think that’s what Michael called them after seeing the repair bill. Ouch! But they’re pretty and functional! And we shouldn’t see this problem again! (let’s hope!)

New dinghy davit gussets on Ahea Kali

Luckily, we didn’t find any other major issues from our time out this season. Whew! We had the normal wear & tear and issues like normal….but nothing major.

And a bit of sad news – we found gumby, our resident gecko, dead a day or so after we arrived at the dock. It was a huge bummer as we’ve really enjoyed having our little friend on board….but that’s life. We gave him a quick burial at sea…or at the dock…and said some nice words. We’ll miss seeing the little guy but are relieved not to have to worry about how he’ll survive this summer on the boat.

Tilly (our VW van) was in good shape in the parking lot, a little buried in mud from the winter rains, but sitting pretty. We reconnected the battery and tried to fire her up and she didn’t want to start. Hmmm…. After a little while diagnosing the problem, Michael deduced it was bad gasoline. It smelled bad, like varnish, and though she was turning over, it just wasn’t starting. We dumped a few jerry jugs of gasoline we had left over on the boat into her and after a shot or two of starting fluid….she hummed away! The oxygen sensor light was still on in the dash from our road trip down so I began looking for a repair shop here in Mazatlan. Since Mazatlan is the pulmonia (a golf cart-looking thing that runs on a VW engine) capital of the world I figured I would have no problem finding a qualified technician on a VW engine. I consulted the VW Vanagon website that I follow faithfully and they recommended a technician by the name of Victor Lamarque. We called him up and scheduled an appointment. Long story short, after leaving the van there for a day, 5 phone calls, and a bit of frustration….we got the van back purring like a kitten. We need a new part to make it ‘right’ but it’s impossible to find this particular part in Mexico (they never made Westfalia’s here) and we would have to have it shipped down from the U.S. So they ‘tweaked’ the air flow sensor until it was better, changed the spark plugs, & cleaned the injectors – with 3 hours of labor and a specialist called in from another shop. Guess the total bill? 936 pesos….or about $78. Incredible!

Every waking moment since we’ve arrived we’ve been work, work, working!! Or should I say cleaning, cleaning, cleaning!! You know how you go on vacation somewhere and how much cleaning you have to do when you get ready to leave? Yep, that’s what I’m talking about. Though on a sailboat the cleaning seems to go on forever!!

Sails – scrubbed, rinsed, dried, removed, folded & stowed, Sheets, lines, & halyards (all of the ‘ropes’ on a boat) – cleaned, rinsed, rinsed, rinsed until the water comes out clean – then dried & stowed, Anchor, chain & rode, dinghy scrubbed & flipped upside down on the deck of the boat, tarped, & lashed down for the season. Everything on deck cleaned & de-salted & stowed – liferaft, fishing gear, kayaks, scuba & snorkel gear….

Shutting down Ahea Kali for summer

We hired some of Rick’s guys to wash & polish the boat for the summer (we do it 2x a year – once before we take off so it will repel the salt and once before we leave for the summer so it will repel the sun!) and it looks GREAT!

Then there’s the inside – scrub-a-dub-dub!! Walls, ceilings, cupboards, doors, floors, oven, microwave, rugs, you name it! Scrub it down with windex and then place a repellant for mold & mildew on every surface. Whew! It takes a while to get it all done. And don’t forget to inventory everything! Because we NEVER seem to remember what we left on the boat - food, toiletries, medicines, spare parts, etc. That way we don’t end up with 2, 3 or 4 of the same item we weren’t sure we had on board. You know how it goes – Do we have this on board? Um….I think so but I’m not sure. Well, we better take one down, just in case! Haha…

We’ve done a fantastic job of using everything on the boat this season. We still managed to have some cans we will give away and we’re down to the last of certain things but it’s amazing to have used so much this season!

We’re planning to leave here in a very short 8 days so we’ve been super busy not only with putting the boat to bed but with appointments – dr’s appointments for our yearly check-ups, hair appointments, meeting with the bottom cleaner (Ruben), the guy who will look after the boat during the summer (Tony), and scheduling anything else we need to get done over the summer. This year we’ve been plagued with bad bellies so we’re having additional Dr’s appointments for tests to make sure we don’t have any bugs. Hopefully not!

We’ve also been packing for our trip up to California and ultimately, up to Alaska. We always manage to pack way too much so we’re trying all our might to pack light this season. It’s definitely interesting! Luckily none of the clothes seem to overlap except for a couple items from Mexico to California so it’s been easy to pull out all of our cold weather clothes – jeans, jackets, scarves, long sleeved shirts, sweats!

So are you feeling sorry for us yet? C’mon….a little sympathy, please?! Just think of poor us, working our tails off, hands stuffed inside yellow rubber gloves scrubbing away, vacuuming, washing, repairing…. Not even a LITTLE sympathy?!

Fine – don’t. haha!! Because once we arrived back on the dock, it took only one night off before our nightly ‘Dock 6 party’ started up again. It’s always great to get together with everyone – every night at 4pm – appetizers, cold drinks, and lots of conversation!

The every evening Dock 6 party

And then, of course, we’re still having a great time here in Mazatlan. Lots of catching up with long lost friends, dinners out (we’ve got to try the new hot restaurants and don’t forget our favorite other ones), listening to great music, and preparing for our other friends to leave whether going back to the U.S. or taking off on their boat! We had a wonderful dinner with Jerry & Sally from S/V Aquarius who were showing off their new condo (that is amazing),

Jerry & Sally on the balcony of their new condo in Mazatlan

were lucky enough to spend a couple hours with Chris from S/V Kinship as he passed through town for a day before heading back up to San Francisco, and had an amazing time at Dunia’s for shrimp lunch with 15 other cruisers! We’ve already lost the Slackers – Mike & Julie headed back home a couple days ago. And Niels left yesterday. This is the time that I hate – saying goodbye to everyone! Some for just 6 months, but others you’re never sure you’ll ever cross paths with again. I hope we will though! It’s been a ton of fun to meet such wonderful friends this year – like always!!

Then there’s yoga twice a week, morning walks with the girls, shopping, and beach days. The weather has been a bit cold lately – there are two weather fronts in the area which have kept the temps into the mid 70’s during the day, and cloudy & windy. That’s no weather to spend at the beach! Saturday the weather is supposed to improve, we hear, and we’ll plan for a beach day when it will actually be warm & sunshiny!

We even put up our security system on the boat… :-)

Ahea Kali’s new security system

And you want to hear another ‘such a small world’ story? While chatting away at our dock party, Ron from S/V Palio and I realized we were both from Wichita, Kansas. He began asking me things about my dad – where he went to school & when he graduated. It turns out….they graduated from the same high school only one year apart! I’ve known Ron for 3 years and never knew he was born & raised in Wichita….until one night at the dock party! Crazy!

Until later…


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