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Category Archives: Welcome

Given time, I should be able to figure this out. I hope.

In the spirit of “better safe than sorry” I drove down to San Carlos without Pam and the dogs. While Tropical Storm Lidia was dissipating and heading more towards Baja than the mainland, it couldn’t hurt to make sure that the boat was secure. I’m very glad to have the free time to be able to tend to our new boat.

I arrived about a day and a half before things got blustery and doubled up a few of the dock lines, checked the chafe gear and tightly wrapped the mainsail’s cover. Watching the weather forecasts, winds looked to be 30-plus knots gusting to 50, mostly from ESE. AO really needs a new dodger and bimini, and I’m lucky to have an East-facing slip. If the winds were westerly, I would have had to either pull off the canvas or turn the boat around in her slip.

Day 2-
While waiting for Lidia, I got a few other repairs done. A new sonar transducer had been installed by the previous owners, but the cable needed to be routed under the salon and over to one of the holds on the port side. It was hoped that I could just tie it to the old cable that was left in place, but somehow that old cable had glued itself to the hull. That’s why I brought my fish tape along.

Putting a flashlight in the forward hold aimed at the limber hole I needed to route the new cable through, I then went back to the aft hold, laying on the sole with a headlamp and an inspection mirror. Reaching down with the mirror, I was able to see the glow of the flashlight. Yay!

Unreeling the fish tape, it took about 15 minutes of trial and error to get the thing close to the faraway glow, and then another 5 minutes of twisting and turning the tape until it disappeared into the light. Get up and go forward for a look-see.

By golly, there it was! A bit of tape to attach the new cable to the fish, try to arrange the cable so it’ll feed nicely, and carefully pull. This took awhile too, as I didn’t want any catches or kinks messing up all this work.

Finally;

I still needed to route the cable over to the connector in the portside settee, but that would require shutting down the air conditioner. Heaven forbid at this point in time!
I’ll wait until the next morning to deal with that.

Next on the agenda, install the new oil pressure gauge. This entailed a bit of contorting myself into the lazarette in the cockpit and trying to locate the wires from the previous gauge, hopefully to re-use.

Nope.

So out comes the fish tape again, and a new 18 gauge wire is pulled to attach to the new pressure sensor on the engine. A new fused 12 volt wire off the ignition switch, new ground wire and another pair of wires for the gauge’s lamp. The lamp circuit is switched so night vision can be preserved if necessary.

Fire up the Yanmar, and I got about 50 psi of oil. Then I noticed the tachometer. It was bouncing between 0 and whatever RPM the engine happened to be at.

It just goes to show you…

It was daunting enough finding the oil pressure port for the new sensor on this new-to-me engine, now I gotta find the RPM sensor too?

Breaking out the manual, the schematic says that the two wires I’m looking for are orange and blue with red. Put a strong light on the wiring loom, aha! Orange and blue/red right there! Follow them to what looks like a flywheel housing on the aft end of the engine and there’s the sensor. Wiggling the connectors, one just pulls away much too easily. I wish all my repairs went like that one.

Bring on T.S. Lidia! Wind and rain, with some of the rain making it into my boat!

I had removed a copper propane supply line due to a leak, and did a poor job of temping over the pass-through hole in the propane locker. This resulted in a goodly leak into the starboard cabinetry. Rather than go out on the deck in the rain, I put some little buckets under the waterfall, emptying them about every 5-10 minutes. This was not very conducive to sleep, so I modified the catchment with a siphoning hose of surgical tubing.

This still wouldn’t allow me to sleep much longer than 20 minutes, if that. The real “fix” ended up with me drilling a hole in the bottom of a plastic tray, shoving the tubing through said hole and gooping the interior with a little 4200 caulk. Then I rummaged around for a piece of hose to run the surgical tubing into in order to reach the bilge, and let the bilge pump do its job.

Good night.

Day 3-
The rain had abated, but it was still blowing pretty good. I walked our dock to see how everybody fared, and there was just one small wind-related casualty.

Don’t know whether anything from the box got lost in the drink, but there was still shore power in that thing.

At 0800 there’s a VHF forum on channel 74, and that morning it was a bit busier than usual, with talk of one ketch that went on the rocks in Bahia San Carlos. A dock mate took some photos and sent them along to me.

Ouch.

Back to work. First, do a much better job of temping over that hole in the propane locker!
Next, let’s get that sonar cable finished.
Shutting down the air conditioner and its seawater pump, I pulled the pump’s hose to give me enough room to fit the transducer through the passage into the settee’s hold, then reinstalled the pump hose, which promptly began to leak when I turned the pump back on.
After about three tries and with the boat’s interior temperature rising, I was able to jerry-rig the thing with some Teflon tape to increase the O.D. of the pump’s barbed fitting. Secure it with two band clamps and turn on the AC.

I re-checked that fitting a number of times during my stay.

Take a break and go for a swim, then head into town for water. Along the way I stopped at the wrecked ketch and met the owner.

He was quite philosophical about his loss as he began his salvage efforts.

Day 4- Sunday
The remnants of Lidia’s glancing blow to San Carlos were pretty much gone, but Mexico as a whole wasn’t as lucky. Seven confirmed deaths, flooding of hundreds of homes in Ciudad Mexico while sinkholes formed on some roads.

Baja California took the brunt of it, with nearly 12 inches of rain in some spots.

But life goes on, and I’ve been eating leftovers and such during my stay. What say we patronize a local restaurant for some dinner?

One of the newer places in town is called Tortuga’s, and Pam and I have enjoyed the place a couple of times. I had the squid with garlic for an appetizer which was excellent. Main course was seared tuna encrusted with chilies, wasabi mashed potatoes, olives and fried tomatoes with spinach. Again, superb.
My compliments to the chef!

Day 5-
I had hoped to finalize the Mexican Temporary Import Permit in Guaymas that day, but I received such conflicting information from folks regarding what I’d need to present to the authorities that I went into information overload. Soon I’ll have to git ‘er done, but there’s one biggish wrench in the works that has me cowed.

Bureaucracy sucks.

So I spent the day aboard finding and fixing other small items. The cockpit shower had a small leak that caused the freshwater pump to cycle. After a good cleaning and a new O ring, no more leak. I was afraid that the problem was in a much less accessible place, such as under the floor boards.
Thankfully, no.

Day 6-
I got out of Dodge around 10 AM, filling up my truck’s gas tank with 1,000 pesos worth of gasoline. That’s almost $60.00. In the U.S., it’d be about half that.

Not too long ago, the state oil industry, Pemex, was “deregulated” in the hopes of inviting market competition as foreign oil companies started doing business in Mexico. Prices skyrocketed, resulting in the “gasolinazo” protests nationwide. Somebody’s making a killing.

When next we visit, I plan on going up the mast to install a new windex, a new VHF antenna, and try to find out why that wind transducer isn’t spinning as freely as it should.
Oh, and maybe sail a bit.

Anybody want to buy a MacGregor 25?

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I had not sailed since May 13th, when Pam and I had the opportunity to perform the sea trial on Aegean Odyssey, our new-to-us sailboat. She’s a 1990 Island Packet 35, and her previous owners took very good care of her.

That’s a shot of me piloting the boat out from her slip, with Pam and Leon handling the foredeck. The slip’s a little tight with two beamy boats, and there’s only about 3-4 feet between AO and Timeless’ hulls, so we positioned crew to fend off any possibility of rash. Thanks to Leticia for the photograph!

And here’s a photo of my crew during my first experience as captain of this beautiful boat.

From left, there’s Pam, Leon (Leticia’s husband), Barbara, Ruby and Randy. Not shown are the three dogs also aboard; Ziggy, Gilligan and Jingles, Randy’s Australian cattle dog.

Leon and Ruby are father and daughter, Randy and Barbara are husband and wife. Randy had acted as captain during our sea trial over two months ago, as the previous owners couldn’t be there for that brief sail. He’s a font of information on all things Island Packet, owning a 32 he keeps at the same marina where ours is berthed.

I was very glad to have him along for this maiden voyage.

Anyway, we got all the sails up and drawing in the 10-12 knot breeze we had that day.

The boat performed superbly, taking us a few miles outside of Bahia Algodones where we soon had to turn around. Randy had some appointment around 1800 hours.

On our way back in, I gave the helm to Ruby. It was her first time piloting, so I’m told.

She did great!

Approaching my slip certainly upped the pucker-factor but Pam, Randy, Barbara and Leon were at the ready, advising on distances and closing speed. A dollop of reverse thrust was all it took to settle AO back exactly where she was just a few short hours ago. Whew!

Next time, we’ll see how it all works when short-handed, and practice our anchoring technique in beautiful Bahia Algodones.

It’s certainly not a MacGregor 25, and her capabilities are far beyond what would normally put the Mac on her ear. This boat actually starts to sail well about the time it becomes too scary-windy to get the Mac out of the harbor.

There’s still so much to be learned about this boat, and I’m very grateful to have the previous owners’ experience and advice just an email away. Thank you guys!

To be continued…

Since my last visit to Rocky Point, I have been somewhat busy with certain things. Such as another trip down to San Carlos to check out an Island Packet 35.

Unfortunately, the current owner is dealing with a medical issue in her family, which has caused a much longer process of bargaining to be dealt with.
It seems only fair.

There’s earnest money in an escrow account, and we at the Ranch have been trying to sell or give away about twenty years worth of accumulated stuff. We’ve given away all our cross country and downhill skis, leaving only the boots (which wouldn’t fit any of the recipients, or were trash-worthy). I’ve sold a couple tools from the woodshop, but I’m slow to part with the most useful ones at the moment. I will want to keep a thoughtful assortment for future boat work.

With Craigslist on the brain, what else could we try to give away? When something is offered for free, whoever might call on said freebee doesn’t seem to put much effort into obtaining it. It’s free, so why put any value or time into it? These are known as “Craigslist Flakes”.

Anyway, we took another short trip down to Rocky Point last week. Ever hear of Semana Santa? It’s a very important holy week in Mexico, resulting in live music being blasted from about 1900 to 0430 hours, each and every night. That and the mosquitoes kept me quite awake.

Day 1-

The drive down was uneventful, even Gilligan-wise. We arrived in town just hours before a major water line broke on the North edge of town, cutting off almost the entire town’s supply! A very stressful bit of bad luck for everyone here.

Marina Fonatur wasn’t affected, as it has its own water supply. About 475,000 liters is stored in a large tank behind the offices, and that water became a precious commodity to some of the locals. So much so that the marina was forced to keep their banos‘ locked up. It was a privilege to get a shower near the end of our visit.

Dinner that night was at Tacos Marcos.

Day 2-

The usual coffee, breakfast and setting out for a day sail by late morning. The forecasted winds were 10-15 MPH, and I reefed fairly early in the sail.

Again, the period between waves seemed to stop my little boat at least twice every minute. It had been windy before we showed up, and it always takes a day or so to allow the Sea to just settle down a bit. We stayed out for about three hours, sailing through masses of floating seaweed. This became a bit annoying, as the seaweed would collect on my rudder, necessitating a periodic clearing. I’d pop the rudder up from its locked-down position, and then haul it back down. Hardly fell off course.

Our track that day is in red:

That little curly-que near the bottom was where I hove to in order to reef.

With winds out of the West, I did get to sail into port once again. We sailed past the Capitan de Puerto’s boat, smiling and waving, firing up my outboard at the last minute to dock in our slip. I’m a bit of a showoff in this respect. ๐Ÿ˜‰

We had sorta planned to go out on EcoFun’s sunset cruise, but the head honcho got wind of our two dogs and nixed the deal. It’s rare you find someone thinking about liability down here, but he is a gringo. Whatever.

We dined that night at the Blue Marlin. Cats everywhere, but we didn’t see Homero around, and the waiter thought he must be at home. His water-less home, by the way.

Skeeters and live music all night!

Day 3-

Our day sails were either feast or famine this trip. Shaking out the reef in the mainsail, we tried to sail to weather. But with such light winds, my boat was only able to get maybe a mile and a half upwind of port before I threw in the towel. The seaweed was also having its effect on our sail, and I contemplated putting the boat in hove-to mode, tying myself off and making the chilly swim under the boat to clear off the mass of seaweed around the keel and keel cable.

Nah. By the time I return to Rocky Point, that stuff will be dried and crumbly, falling off fairly readily.

Young Mr. Cabrales was selling an Ericson 39 he had docked at Fonatur:

A nice-looking boat, going for about $26,000.00. As I relaxed in the cabin out of the sun, Ziggy and Gilligan suddenly perked up and met Mr. Cabrales and his huge German Shepard, Bear. It was all he could do to keep Bear from ripping out Gilligan’s throat, or so it sounded. Leaping from the cabin, I banged my head good on the low companionway slider for the fifth time this trip. I’m still nursing the creases I put into my pate over the two days aboard.

Apologizing for my dogs’ effrontery, I dragged them back onto the boat with only a scolding. I doubt that it would have come to blood. Dogs are mostly bluster, and I’m pretty sure that Gilligan is just that, completely.

La Curva for dinner that night.

Day 4-

A few dock mate-requested items to bring back from the States on our next trip down:

A 12-pack of Grolsch beer, mostly for the resealable bottles.
A few packages of dry Ranch dressing mix.
More cookies!

A quick breakfast at our newest favorite eatery, the Kaffee Haus, haul out and hit the road by 1130. As we made the North end of town, we were diverted around the municipal plumbing activity, driving through a small freshwater lake. I trust that the authorities have the water up and running by now.

P.S.- Let me know what you need. I just may be giving it away!

Being game, we headed back down to Rocky Point to search again for whales. The weather looked a little iffy, wind-wise.

Another concern was that ASU was just going on Spring Break, and that could impact the wait time at the border, not to mention the “quiet” factor. But hey, faint heart and all that.

Thankfully when we arrived at Why, there wasn’t a convoy of college students to make the final leg of the trip an interminable traffic jam, and we crossed without delay.

After arriving in Puerto Penasco we got the boat splashed onto a rising tide, and just as I was loading up the essentials, Mary came strolling around the corner of the dock.

“Well, are you coming or going?” she asked.

“I’m going, Mary. How are you?”

“I’m pissed off!”

Now there’s a sweet little old lady.

“What’s going on, Mary?”

“Wolfe’s been gone for two days, leaving me alone to fend for myself. I’m tired of eating peanut butter!”

Well, she won’t go hungry on my watch. I offered to take her out for dinner, but she’d have none of that.

She and Wolfe had had a bit of a row and he took off, leaving her without his needed support. Something most married men only dream of but rarely put into action, I’d speculate. She uses a walker, and relies on her husband for a number of things nowadays.

“I’m going to drive my RV to California to see my daughter” she proclaimed.

Uh, oh. With Boy Scout-mode kicking in, I accompanied her up the launch ramp to her older Chevy class B RV and began removing the sun shades that were draped over the cab and tires, per her instructions. She handed me the keys and the engine came to life with only a bit of hesitation.

“Drive it over to the ramp so I don’t have to make the long walk across the gravel.”

“Yes, ma-am.”

The yard guys were wondering what was going on, so I told them. They were against the idea of her driving anywhere, and I certainly agreed. Obed and I ended up down on her boat to try to talk her out of it, but she insisted. “I’m 80 years old, and I’ve been driving since I was 14. I’m going to California!”

Asking her if she had Wolfe’s cell phone number, she made a futile search of her Kindle, thinking it might be a phone. It seemed that Wolfe was incommunicado, but Obed somehow produced Wolfe’s number and I called him up.

“Hello?”

“Hi, Wolfe? This is Tom at Safe Marina. Where are you?”

“I’m sitting in my truck at the intersection of the roads to Golfo de Santa Clara and Puerto Penasco. The road’s closed due to some parade, and I’m going nowhere at the moment. I’m about 3-4 hours away.”

“Great, he’ll be back this evening” I told Mary, handing her my phone.

“Hello”, she began. Then it quickly degenerated into a hang-up.

Obed and I walked back up to the yard, and I gave him the keys that she’d asked to be left in the vehicle.
I then got the heck out of there.

Upon arrival at Marina Fonatur, I was able to see that the harbormaster had raised the blue and yellow flags, indicating that only vessels of a certain size or larger should be out there. It’s like someone telling you that you shouldn’t do something you might wish to do. Okay then.

Dinner that night was at La Curva, where we ran into Kevin from El Desemboque. He also keeps a sailboat at Safe Marina, but we rarely cross paths. It was nice to see him again.

Day 2-

That halyard slapping against Tempo’s mast tells me there won’t be any sailing today, so after plenty of coffee, breakfast and a good dog-walkin’,

…we took a drive over to the Estero de Morua where I’d heard about an oyster farming operation going on.

A long dirt road led to the North side of the estuary, where an outgoing tide had left a lot of the oyster holds high and dry.

A man who was painting one of the houses there said that there wouldn’t be any oysters for sale until the samples sent to the federales were deemed free of bio-toxins. Recently there had been a red tide here, and filter-feeders are particularly vulnerable.
In three days we’ll know if they’re edible again. Unfortunately, that timeline exceeds our planned stay. Next visit, I hope. We had brought along a light picnic lunch just in case.

Lots of egrets along the estuary road. I wonder what they’re having for lunch?

Back at the docks, I bent on the mainsail and installed the reefing lines in the hope of sailing tomorrow. Weather reports indicate a lessening of the winds. We’ll see.

Tacos Marcos for dinner. Later, after dark, I was lounging in the cockpit enjoying an adult beverage. The winds are still a-honkin’, and suddenly I’m inundated by a downpour of bird poop!
Directly upwind of me is Tempo’s 40 foot mast, so I figure there’s a bird up there. A big one from the feel of the shitstorm.

I boarded Tempo, grabbed a shroud and shook the heck out of it, sending the offending bird off to another roost. Dumped my drink in the harbor and cleaned up the cockpit and myself, then went to bed.

Day 3-

That durned bird had returned last night to make another fine mess, which I was again obliged to clean up. As was my upwind neighbor.

There are some upsides to owning a small boat.

The harbormaster had removed the blue flag, leaving the yellow one flapping in the breeze. This denotes “precaution, stay close to the harbor”. Or in my case, “fuhgetaboutit”. There are some downsides to owning a small boat. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So we visited the beach at Las Conchas. At low tide, the old coral reef is exposed. Tenderfoot tourists beware.

Well, the dogs are certainly getting enough exercise this trip. They run and play hard on the sand, often with Gilligan getting brutally knocked down as a result.

We ate at Senor Amigo’s on the malecon that evening, enjoying a shrimp cocktail and a combination plate.

The winds are starting to die down, too. Shall we stay an extra day?

Day 4-

More bird poop! This time the bird was atop my own mast, dropping his loads more precisely onto the poop deck. Well, at least my puny masthead can only support a small bird. Clean it up.

But it’s acceptable winds today, and we put out right after breakfast. The only little problem was the remaining swell from the days prior, which made for a rolly ride.

I kept the foresail down around 100%, and a full hoist on the mainsail. About halfway through the outgoing leg I came about, causing the iPad to skid across the dinette table below. This yanked out the Bad Elf GPS device from the iPad, causing me to lose a good portion of that day’s track.

We saw no whales this close to shore, so I headed over towards Sandy Beach to find shelter from the swells and had a great downwind run back to the harbor. By the time we neared the mouth, it was looking as if we could sail right up the channel under jib alone, which we did. Taking it even further, we sailed through the harbor over to Safe Marina, where we docked uneventfully.

Nice! Although the GPS has me run aground in the boatyard. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now was the dreaded time to apologize to Wolfe about taking the RV out of mothballs, and I gave their boat a holler.

“Come aboard” trills Mary.

She seems happy, smiling and motioning for me to sit down.

“Where’s Wolfe?” I ask.

“He’s down in the bilge replacing a couple of pumps.”

I look down in the galley where I’m subjected to a view of Wolfe’s rear end sticking out of the galley sole, and I start right in:

“Wolfe, I’m sorry for having to make that phone call a few days ago, and also for moving the RV…” and he hauled himself out, cutting me off quickly with a finger to his lips.

Apparently, the whole incident is forgotten, and everything is once again hunky-dory.

I’m relieved that Mary isn’t still ready to hit the road, and we spent the rest of the visit engaged in small-talk. Whew.

After motoring back over to Fonatur, Pam wanted to hit the beaches again. This time we wended our way over to Sandy Beach.
The construction of the cruise ship pier is still on hold, it seems.

Oh, those crazy college kids.

Sushi Sun had our business that evening. We both overate from the buffet while the dogs waited it out in the car.

Day 5-

I’d only budgeted enough coffee for three mornings, but there’s a German restaurant called Kaffee Haus very close by which I’ve never tried.

Wow. The espresso Americano is superb, and their breakfasts are too. According to another patron, shortly the place will be completely full of diners.
A new favorite has been declared, just show up before 0900 to avoid waiting in line for your breakfast. I’m glad we spent the extra day down here!

We got out of Dodge by 1130, and poor Clem was very happy to get some fresh Meaty Pรขtรฉ by late afternoon.

After our fruitless whale-watching attempts two months ago(!), we finally found the time to try, try again.

Lately, Uh Clem’s been getting an increasing portion of wet cat food, but when we’re away for a few days, it’s kibble for the old guy. Stock up the dish with Purina, slather onto another dish as much 9 Lives Meaty Pate (with real chicken and tuna. Nummy.) as we think he’ll eat until it no longer appeals to him, fill the water dishes and hit the road.

Jeez, we dote on that cat.

clem-in-the-way

Once again, Gilligan surprised us by keeping his breakfast down the entire trip to Rocky Point. Kudos, little buddy!

There have been recent rains down here, so the boat wasn’t completely covered in dirt, thank goodness. Splash, rinse, load up the various and sundry personal effects and go claim my cheap slip at Marina Fonatur.

Hey, there’s Oscar, getting ready to put out with a load of folks aboard Tempo,

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…so I quick ask him “Do you know where it is a whale?”
“About 13 miles out at a heading around 220, 230 degrees”, he informs me. Well, that would mean a 26 nautical mile day for us, and at an average speed of 3 to 4 knots, about an 8 hour-plus daysail. Our usual morning routine will need to be hurried up a bit in order to be back at the docks by zero-dark-thirty. Whatever.

Off he goes with his passengers, and I busied myself with rigging the mainsail and reefing lines. In the meantime, Pam got in a good walk with the dogs.

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That evening, we enjoyed dinner at La Curva.

What is this “Facebook” thing?

Day 2-

This trip I did not forget the coffee. Morning ablutions performed, jazzed on caffeine, full of breakfast, we set out on what was supposed to be a light-breeze of a day.

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Glad I installed the reefing lines! The winds got progressively bigger, and the swells did the same. But the real problem was the period between the swells, about 2-3 seconds, making for an uncomfortable ride in my little boat.
The tiller pilot was having a tough time anticipating which way the swells were going to toss us, so I put him on standby and took the helm. The pressure on my rudder was considerable and made for a bit of a workout, and a little voice in the back of my mind was asking “Can the rudder handle this kind of torque?”

I’m glad to say it did handle the stresses. We saw no whales that day, chalking it up to the deteriorating conditions which pretty much forced us back to the harbor. I’m such a wimp.

Dinner that night was at Tacos Marcos.

Day 3-

Do it again. But this time we’ll get out a little earlier.

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And we’ll use the outboard on the leg out. I ran it until we were about 8 miles from port, where I shut it down and raised my sails in the light winds.

I do prefer the quiet over the noise, and that’s how we’ve usually found our whales, listening for their surfacing breaths. Not long after that, I saw what appeared to be jets of dark stuff being blasted into the air quite a long way off. Grabbing the binoculars, I looked North toward Cholla Bay to see multiple plumes of spray. Captain, there be whales!

Coming about and heading NNW, we were able to intercept at least two humpbacks.

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That was as close as we were able to get, around 50-75 yards. As it was getting on towards mid-afternoon, we started heading back to port. After turning downwind, the 150% genoa was having difficulties staying filled with the light breeze.

Ayup, it’s spinnaker time!

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I broke my previous distance record for flying the sail, too. 8.9 nautical miles of downwind sailing. We made good time and the sunset was pretty darned purdy.

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All in all, a good day!

We dined at Fortuna China that night.

Day 4-

It’s a Thursday, and getting time to clear out of this town. The place gets happening around the weekends, more than I care to experience. We enjoy the quiet nights during the weekdays, and leave the noise and traffic to the revelers who start showing up about now. It also makes for short waits at the border. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Pam’s already asking about a return trip. I’m game.

During a lull in work, Pam and I found the opportunity to drive down to San Carlos, the gringo-fied town just outside of Guaymas.

I’ve been researching boats for sale down there for a couple of years now, but rarely make the time available. It’s about a six hour-plus drive, and when you include all the brief stops the dogs seem to need, well, it just adds up.

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Strangely enough, Gilligan didn’t puke during the entire time on the road.

Approaching Hermosillo, we stopped on a side road off the freeway to let the dogs relieve themselves. As we were buttoning up, a local policia municipal rolled up alongside, checking on us.

“We’re fine, just a banos break for los perros.”

“Okay”, and they drove away, turning around to head back out to the freeway. Just as we were making the turn ourselves, they pulled us over.

“License, por favor.”

We had done nothing wrong that I could think of, but the cops were insisting that we had.

They started yammering about our needing to pay 4,400+ pesos at their headquarters, about $220.00, and memories of the interaction we’d had with Sonoyta’s Finest almost three years ago came flooding back. “We’ll pay the full amount at the department headquarters. We will follow you there”, but they kept insisting that we pay there, on the spot. Every time I refuted one of their spurious charges, they’d come up with another bullshit one.

Unfortunately, we still had about 2+ hours of driving to go, and I’d prefer not to arrive after dark.

Well, the friggin’ bullies stole our lunch money, $25.00. It angers me how they abused their authority like that, and I was seething for the next 24 hours. Actually, I’m still seething. Those bastiges…

Rolling into San Carlos, we needed to locate our accommodations, an RV park called “Totonaka”. When I researched it a few days before the drive, the owner said he had a room with a king-sized bed for $50.00/night, dogs okay.

We’re not used to paying for a place to sleep in Mexico, besides the very reasonable slip fees at Marina Fonatur in Rocky Point. Checking in, the attendant quoted me slightly less than the $150.00 I was expecting to pay, as long as I paid with a credit card. Well, that partially makes up for the event back in Hermosillo.

We hit the marina for dinner that evening, a place called Hammerhead’s. Struck up a conversation with a gentleman named Virgil Bridgewater, who was looking forward to splashing his Camper & Nicholson Halcyon Days the next morning. He’d been on the hard for quite awhile dealing with life’s issues, so we congratulated him, got a boat card from him and said we’d check in with him tomorrow at Marina Real.

Day 2-

Some things never change, like following after the dogs with a plastic bag during their morning ablutions, and good coffee. I had brewed 3 pots the morning we left for San Carlos, and put them in the freezer to chill while stocking the cooler.
Well, I forgot to pack them, and a frenzied internet search was on for a close-by coffee shop. D’oh! So much for the savings on the room!

Pakal Kin Coffee Shop has some excellent espressos, just not quite strong enough for my taste. I like my coffee strong enough to dissolve the enamel off your teeth, so to speak.

Back at the RV park, I broke out the old Coleman Dual Fuel and whomped up a mess of fried potatoes, onions and eggs. There’s something else that rarely seems to change, our breakfast habits.

After clean-up, we made our way on over to Marina Real, pier 13, slip 5, and no Camper Nicholson. No Virgil Bridgewater, either. I walked on over to the office, and the lady there knew what had happened. As Halcyon Days was being splashed she started taking on water, so was immediately hauled right back out. Crikey!

We drove over to the dry facility and asked around about Virgil, and one man was able to point out the boat to us. Knocking on the hull, still no Virgil, so I gave up for the time being.

Since we’re over thisaways, let’s check out Bahia Algodones, a beautiful crescent of beachfront.

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The dogs loved it, and we made the short hike over to that rock feature in the upper left of the photo, climbing part way up.

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That person you can barely see mid-left in the photo above is Pam.

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I had set up a meeting that afternoon with a gentleman named Bob who’s selling a Valiant 40, and we met at his favorite haunt, the Club de Capitanes.

Great little bar/restaurant, and I hear Bob dances up a storm there in the evenings. So I bought him a beer while Pam waited with the dogs out on the patio. The boat’s out on a mooring in Bahia San Carlos, and tomorrow morning Bob will row his dinghy to shore to pick me up for an inspection of the Valiant.

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While finishing up my beer with Bob, I noticed Virgil seated at the bar nursing a cold one. That was when I found out how the relaunching of Halcyon Days went kerflooie. Something near the stern tube or packing gland.
I commiserated with him briefly, until Pam announced she was ready to git. I guess the evening’s entertainers had started to trundle in their sound equipment, and Gilligan was starting to freak out a little with all the hubbub.
That dog’s special.
But before I left, Bob mentioned another boat coming up for sale, a Tayana 37 named Rebecca. He asked me if I’d like to arrange a look-see through a broker friend of his, and of course I said yes, giving him my cellphone number.

That night we enjoyed a dinner of tacos made from leftovers back at the RV park, heated in the room’s microwave.

Day 3-

After the usual, we ambled over to San Carlos marina and I used the office’s VHF radio to hail ‘ol Bob out in the bay. While I was checking out the Valiant, Pam was off trying to “rescue” a dog we’d encountered the day before. The dog was/is pitifully undernourished, so Pam to the rescue. Unfortunately, she was met with about eleven dogs, all demanding whatever food she’d brought with her. Overwhelmed, she got the heck outta there, but not before getting nipped by one member of the pack. As of Sunday the 12th, she hasn’t demonstrated any symptoms of rabies.

Some photos of the Valiant:

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The rigging appeared to be in great shape even though it’s original. A lot of the deck trim plates were without goop, who knows for how long.

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And finally, one of Captain Bob:

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Nice fellow!

The Valiant is a well-designed racer/cruiser, but during their production run a number of the hulls were treated with an admixture of a type of fire retardant in the fiberglass resin, causing blisters. She’s one of the blister boats. I think this one would be more work than I’d want to undertake. Sorry, Bob.

I copied all the photos I took of her onto Bob’s laptop, hoping they might help him to sell her.

Later that day, I thought Pam and I should visit Guaymas and see how the marina there had fared during the recent hurricane that roared through, and on our way there I got a call from the broker that Virgil had talked about yesterday. Sure, we’ll head on back to San Carlos.

Some photos of the 37 Tayana Rebecca.

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I’ve done a little research into her past. Back in 2012 her wooden mast was pulled and repaired due to some “dry rot”. It looked as if they’d done a fine repair job.

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That’s a manual windlass.

She looks pretty good. Good enough for a deeper inspection.

Dinner that night was at a hole-in-the-wall taco joint named Tacos Don Lalo, where we had some delicious tripes de leche. Very tender cow milk gland meat with all the fixings.

Day 4-

We had to check out of the park by ten, and then it was off to Guaymas for a brief look at Marina Fonatur and its dry storage. Karin and Joe’s Columbia Flyin Sideways is there on the hard, and she looks good.

Update: As of early May, she’s for sale.

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I can’t say the same for a few other boats there, undergoing repairs from Hurricane Newton’s ravages.

The Tayana I’d looked at back in May of 2016 had been sold recently. Zorra’s new owner is a man named John from Colorado. He posed for this picture with his granddaughter Clover in front of his new boat.

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After Guaymas, we headed on back to Tucson, stopping at a chicken stand in Hermosillo for some great pollo al carbon.

I’ll be back.

Unseasonably warm weather here in Tucson, with highs in the upper 70s to 80 degrees, so let’s do this.

We show up in Rocky Point at just about low tide, and it’s a fairly extreme one, with the Moon and Sun exerting their influence. Another MacGregor, a 26er, was lining up for haul out, but seemed to be having some engine trouble. Turns out, he’d stumbled across the remnants of a polyethylene tarp that was floating in the harbor, and wrapped up his outboard’s propeller.
A few lines were tossed, and his boat was successfully dragged onto his waiting trailer.

My turn. Grateful for the 24-inch draft of my little sailboat, I put in and began the process of hosing off the dust and sand that had collected in my absence, then headed over to Marina Fonatur to claim my slip. It was nigh on 1700 hours, so a little tidying up of the cabin was done before we made our way to Amor de Pizza for some carbohydrate-heavy dinner.
At least that’s how Pam described it the next day, poor thing.

Day 2-

Winds are forecast to be light, and I’m in no hurry to get out there, so I did a bit of spot maintenance on my bow eye. During haul outs, the boys at Safe Marina crank the boat tightly to the V block on the trailer, and as the boat settles onto the trailer, the angles change, and some pretty good stresses are imparted to the bow eye.

I asked Pam to help me move the boat around in the slip to make it easier to reach the big U-bolt. Tossing her a line, she bent down to cleat it off, and that’s when her sunglasses fell into the drink. Immediately she lay down onto the docks, grasping in vain at her quickly-sinking shades. When she stood back up, she realized that she was fairly well-smeared with pelican poop! Yuck!

Good thing we’re at a sort of full-service marina, and we made use of the place’s laundry facilities.
Anyway, while she was dealing with that mess, I was excavating the forepeak of Styrofoam flotation to access the nuts and bolts of the bow eye.

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After loosening the nuts, I cleaned the old exterior washers and gooped liberally with 4200, then installed new, big ‘ol fender washers inside to help distribute the loads. Tighten up the nuts, and I’ll clean off the excess in the future.

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For now, that’ll help to keep seawater out of the boat.

So it’s getting on to early afternoon, and there’s a slight breeze enticing me to get a little sailing in today. With freshly-laundered clothes, Pam and I put out onto the Sea of Cortez.
The boys on EcoFun 1 had seen a mother humpback whale and her calf the day before, about three miles out South of the harbor. This seems very early in the season for them to be showing up around here, but armed with this knowledge, we set off on a course of 190 degrees in very light winds. Unfortunately, this is akin to the proverbial needle in a haystack, and we saw no cetaceans. Still, it was nice getting becalmed about four miles out.

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Something happened halfway through that day’s sail, and my Bad Elf GPS quit on me. Whatever. We did see few sea lions lounging around.

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Dinner that night was at Tacos Marcos. For less than $10.00, we ate nine chicken tacos, slathered with all sorts of good stuff.

Day 3-

Up way early, walk the dogs and get the coffee on. the winds today are supposed to be about the same as yesterday, but Irving from EcoFun 1 says they’ll be about 8-10 kilometers/hour. Lessee, that comes to about 5-6 miles/hour, somewhat better than yesterday’s waning puffs. Cool.

After breakfast, I noticed the breezes were coming from a direction that would allow me to sail right off the docks, without the use of my outboard motor. All I had to do was deploy my headsail, and we should be able to clear the dock finger immediately to our North.
Well, I waited too long, and the breeze slowly moved more onto my starboard beam. But I still went for it anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚
So what if I bonked lightly off the neighboring dock? There’s a small mark on my hull to remind me of my hubris.

After letting the light wind push us around the outer end of the docks we turned into the breeze, I handed Pam the tiller, raised the mainsail and we began the slow procession towards the mouth of the harbor. Then, there was the gauntlet of fishing boats to pass through. I counted at least 11 boats anchored outside the mouth, which limited our choice of heading to about 280-290 degrees until we cleared the fleet. I don’t want to mess with these guys and their business.

From there we headed South, looking for whales.

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After a couple hours of sailing, we decided to turn around. Ain’t no whales out here! About two miles out from port, Eco Fun was on the radio, asking for a report of any sightings. I could only say “Nada, nada.”

Then, a lone dolphin breached the surface to our North, but I didn’t feel that one dolphin was newsworthy enough to warrant a radio alert. Not long after that, Eco Fun was on the horn, advising us about a pod of dolphins between us and them. Yay!

I tried to get some photos, but ended up with shots of the surface of the Sea of Cortez.

By then, the light breeze had turned straight out of the West, and I was hoping to sail back into the harbor. We approached the harbor mouth, and as I dropped the mainsail and made the turn easterly, the breeze pretty much quit on us. Well, can’t be tying up the channel like this, so I fired up the outboard. We probably used about a half pint of gasoline that day, if that.

We went to China Fortuna for our dinner that night. Pam needs all the vegetables she can get.

Day 4-

We needed to wait out a very low tide for haul out, and there was the process of giving away/eating all the stuff that wasn’t allowed back into the states. This makes for some interesting breakfasts, sometimes.

Everything was buttoned up by 12:30, and it was an uneventful drive back to Tucson. Let’s hope that more whales will be here the next time we visit.

I wasted no time in getting back down to Puerto Penasco after trailering my little boat down last week. The duct tape on the wheels’ hubs was replaced with simple axle dust caps, and we had her splashed by 1600.

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Over at Fonatur, SV Imagine was getting some boat love from her owners.

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It’s a Friday afternoon in Rocky Point, somewhat warmish, and Pam wants to take the dogs to the beach. I want to get the boat rigged for sailing tomorrow, so off she went to Las Conchas on her own. She won’t be long, as dinner time is fast approaching. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m also kind of excited to try out my new navigational capabilities, since Karin and Joe from SV Flyin Sideways had gifted me copies of the electronic charts they had of the Sea of Cortez (and beyond). Been looking for these for about two years now, so, thanks guys!
I’ll be testing OpenCPN, the open-sourced marine navigation program, using a laptop computer and a GPS receiver.

Dinner that evening was at La Curva, while the dogs languished in the car.

Day 2-

Up before dawn, coffee and dog-duty. It seems that Pam was right, there are no garbage receptacles to be seen around the area. What am I supposed to do with this small plastic bag full of poop? Oh yeah, there are dumpsters behind Fonatur’s offices.

A little later on, breakfast on the docks, followed by final prep for the day’s sail.

I needed a radio check, but never got around to it before heading out. Oscar, Tempo’s captain, said he would accommodate me while we’re out there. Okay, so we put out, only to find that the usual hailing frequency, channel 16, is “busy”. Someone’s got a radio with a stuck transmit function, obliterating any and all communication on a very important channel!

This issue put the local maritime authorities on alert, and while we were out, I saw a power boat coming straight for us. Having no idea if the boat’s pilot was aware that we were on a collision course, I changed my course for him. When he got close enough so I could see he was the local Coastie and he wanted to talk to me, I hove to.
He spoke some Spanish to me, but my Spanish is not too good? He then raised his hand-held VHF and pointed to it, which I took to mean there was a radio problem. Ah yes, there is a radio problem.

So I switched off my VHF, he checked the status of channel 16 (no change), thanked me and then sped off towards the next boat.

Here’s our course for the day, as depicted on the iPad and the laptop.

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The laptop’s rendering of our track that day is to the right in the photo, stunted due to worries about the laptop’s battery life.
OpenCPN seems to put us a little North of our position relative to the chart. This may be because there really aren’t any up-to-date electronic charts of this area available with verified GPS coordinates.

Or something.

Adding in the fact that the laptop needs at least 18.5 volts to charge its battery, there may be a change in power systems needed for the boat.
Not this boat, however. The next boat.

We enjoyed dinner at the Blue Marlin that evening, and a nice walk with the dogs from the marina and back.

Day 3-

Same-old same-old routine, but the VHF problem had gone away. I had hoped the locals figured out who the culprit was, but later on the problem returned. But this time, it covered ALL CHANNELS!

Okay, then.

With reckless abandon, we still put out for a daysail, this time heading WNW towards Cholla bay.

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Delightful sail, culminating is being becalmed about five miles from port just before dusk. I waited too long to break out the spinnaker for the return trip, and the sun began to set on us. Stow it, fire up the outboard, turn on the navigation and steaming lights and head back in.

Hey, there’s another cruiser docked at Fonatur!

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That there’s SV Coastal Drifter, a David Folkes designed steel-hulled behemoth of a boat. She’s owned by Phil and Debra Perfitt, a couple of Canadians from Canada. ๐Ÿ™‚

Debra’s the stunning blonde on the left.

They had been splashed from Cabrales’ yard just recently, and are in the process of provisioning for their next adventure. And they’re cleaning Coastal Drifter from top to bottom, after the boat sat in the work yard for the Summer.
I certainly know about that little problem.

We traded pleasantries, then headed out to Tacos Marcos for our final dinner in Rocky Point.

Day 4-

Today, we were given the nickel tour of both Coastal Drifter and Imagine by their respective owners. Two very different boats. Drifter is built like a tank in some respects: just look at those railings. Plus, a steel hull can be repaired almost everywhere in the world, compared to fiberglass. Beamy, with a displacement of around 38,000 pounds, she’s more than twice the weight of Imagine.

Alex (or Radu, as I’ve come to learn) and Katja have spared no expense in the outfitting of Imagine. She has state-of-the-art electronics, and a Carl Alberg pedigree. A superbly designed dodger and bimini enclosure keeps the sun, spray and bugs at bay, and she’s way fast, I hear. Below decks, she’s just as gorgeous. There’s a whole lot more of her to be seen on their website.

Thanking our hosts for the tours, I had to get busy striking the mainsail on Sovereign, and packing up for the trip home.

There’s some kind of election going on in the states tomorrow, and I wanted to get across the border before anything crazy happened.

In the run-up to this season’s sailing adventures, I checked out the trailer axle bearings. Both sides looked and felt good after disassembly and a re-greasing.
The Bearing Buddies were looking a mite rusted, but I just shrugged it off, hammering them back in place over the axle nuts, and pumping in some more grease.

This was a mistake.

As I made the last turn to enter the freeway proper, I noticed in my rear-view mirror what appeared to be a tin can skittering away from my trailer. Hmm. On the freeway for only a short time, I then exit onto highway 86 Westbound towards the bustling town of Why, Arizona, about 120 miles.

Trailering protocols, however, demand that I stop and physically check the temperature of the trailer’s hubs, in case of an imminent bearing failure. So, about 20 miles down the highway, I pull over to check ’em.

Yep, that was my portside Bearing Buddy I’d seen back there. Checking the other side, its mate was gone, too! Crap! Can’t be lettin’ dust and debris contaminate those bearings.

A few miles further up the road is an Ace hardware store in Three Points. I pull in, and the proprietor asks me what I’m looking for, only to shake his head in dismay.

All is not lost, however: duct tape to the rescue! Climb aboard the boat, delve into the tool kit and fish out the roll. Minutes later, I’m back on the road.

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The rest of the drive was uneventful, and I arrived in Rocky Point during the warmth of the afternoon.
Set-up of the boat took awhile, mostly because I hardly do that stuff but twice a year, nowadays. Mast-up storage is a great time saver, but you don’t stay as familiar with rigging and de-rigging.

Arturo helped me park the boat in her spot, and I shared a sandwich with him. Afterwards, I mosied on over to Marina Fonatur to say hello to the folks there. Slipped at the end of the docks is this beautiful 37 foot Alberg.

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She’s owned by a couple named Katja and Alex, whom I briefly met the next day. They had no troubles with me posting a photo of their boat, Imagine.

That evening, I dined on crackers and cheese aboard Sovereign, and the mosquitoes dined on me as I slept. I still need to install netting over the companionway and pop-top, but so far, I’ve lacked the impetus. Well, this was my impetus. The Zika virus scare has hardware stores everywhere unable to keep decent netting in stock, it seems. Boo!

Day 2-

Not much to tell, except intersecting with Katja and Alex at Fonatur. I also stopped by the storage facility across from Cabrales’, and saw Rick, finishing up some repairs on his Spencer.

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She’s looking good.

He and Mary plan on splashing later in the week, and then head down South towards San Carlos, where they’ll hop across to the Baja peninsula.

The Challenger ketch is still dry-docked there, and I now hear she’s been sold for $25,000.00. I hope her new owners sail her often.

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By 10:00 I was headed back towards Tucson. We’ve been experiencing record heat, but things are just starting to cool off around here, and I suspect my tenants will be clamoring for their furnaces soon. I hope to fit in a sailing visit to Puerto Penasco before then. I miss the food and the people down there, too!

To do- new Bearing Buddies and mosquito netting. Priority on the netting.

In the ongoing saga of rental maintenance, I found the need to tear out a bathroom wall or three, plus the bathtub.

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A mold issue was the primary motivator, due to leaks that went unreported by our previous tenant. I can understand why the tenant didn’t want to have me over to do a bit of preventive maintenance. It was because he lived like a pig.

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Anyway, this wall happens to be a load-bearer, so I had to support the engineered trusses that make up the ceiling/roof structure with those 2x10s I had laying around from another bit of rental work. I lifted up the trusses about an eighth of an inch, allowing me to cut away the old studs, sill and top plates.

This ain’t cabinet making, this is rough carpentry. It required some effort on my part to just let go of precise measuring and joinery.
“The cabinet maker measures to the nearest 1/32 of an inch, the house builder to the nearest 1/8th of an inch, and the boat builder to the nearest boat.”

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Today, I’ll finish the plumbing for the tub and shower, and install the approximately 4 sheets of drywall needed to finish the living room and half of the bathroom. The rest of the bathroom will need green board behind the tub and tile areas. Then, rebuild the trashed bath vanity and install a new tub and tile.

Here’s to good tenants!

Update- Difficulties soldering the tub fixture has put off drywalling for one day.