Barra de Navidad, Jalisco, Mexico
We arrived back in Mexico on Saturday, 04-October-14 landing in Puerto Vallarta. We were shaken down by the Mexican Customs. $1500 pesos later or $150 US and we were allowed entrance. I followed my mother's advice and listed all the items that I thought we had to declare. I had checked on line and it stated that we were allowed $300 U.S. each. I even went so far as to translate my list into Spanish! But the important information that was missing was the fact that any boat parts are not considered part of the $300 exemption. The TIP or Temporary Import Permit that we paid for also had no bearing on the boat parts. They were also hassling us for receipts as my word was not sufficient for these guys. The Customs Officer said that he did not have enough time to go on line and determine the worth of our goods. So after careful negotiation by David they came up with the figure of $1500 pesos - which in all honesty is less than what we spent. So all in all we did okay.
Now Al and Sandy came down the day before with a lot more stuff and they did not pay anything. So go figure. And Al twisted the truth - calling the big container with his solar panels surf boards (which are allowed). Oh well - at least no one went to jail!!
We had a cheap hotel for a couple of days and spent them hanging out with Al and Sandy. They had a car so we did a day trip to a small town just north of P.V. called Sayulita.quite a nice little town but pretty touristy with lots of beach vendors hassling us to buy their stuff.
On Tuesday we took the bus down to Melaque and then a taxi to the Marina with all of our bags. We were very happy to see that the boat was as we had left it, with a few improvements. Arturo looked after it as if it was his own. All the stainless had been polished and shined. The bottom was cleaned a couple of times. Top sides were polished. Decks were cleaned. Motor was started at least once a month. Port holes and fans were turned on every so often to keep the air circulating and prevent mould. His wife went down below and cleaned the inside of the boat a few days before we arrived - spotless, with no sign of mould, mildew or odor. Arturo stripped and varnished the butterfly hatch - nice job and a very finicky job. The total bill was $9000 pesos for 5 and a half months which is about $750.00. Not bad considering all the work that he did. It was worth it for the peace of mind of having someone look after it.
We immediately started getting the boat ready - and quickly realized that it would take us the full month to do so. With temperatures in the low 30's (C) and humidity anywhere from 70 - 100% we found our stamina would not allow us to do too much in a day. With such a high humidity you end up sweating a lot but the air is so saturated that your sweat does not evaporate - it just runs down your face and arms and legs. It makes sense for the Mexicans to take siestas in the afternoon. My solution is going to the pool!
David's is staying on board with the fans on and a cold cerveca (beer) in his hand. I drink water by the liters. It took us a good three weeks to climatize.
So rather than giving a day to day accounting of what we did to get the boat ready I will just list them out -
- gradually removed all 100 gallons of water from the boat, did one refill with a strong solution of bleach, filtered and replaced. This had to be done 3 times to flush the system. Sure glad we invested in that 3 part filtration system so we could purify the water on the dock to drinking quality. We have already got our money back by not having to buy water.
- put the sails back on
- made fitted sheets for the V-berth and they fit!
Side bar - I never wanted to take Home Economics in High School. I wanted to take Woodworking. But girls were not allowed to back then. And I do not know how I got an A. So even though the list of my sewing accomplishments looks impressive it came with much profanity - sorry Mom - and seam ripping and serious concentration!
By about the second week I was getting a bit better but I think the idea of me doing new boat cushions in such close quarters has been axed. I think I will wait till we get to El Salvador and find some inexpensive labour. I probably should have invested in a Sailrite sewing machine and done a lot of this work when I had a house and a lot more room. My Singer did an okay job but I do think it was stressed to its' limits.
I tried to find humor in my frustration - winch covers make good hats!
And joy in the finished product - just don't look too close.
- made a cover for the helms station which looks a bit like a ghost in this picture, holding up the outboard
- made new winch covers and a cover for the chimney
- made a cover for the outboard
- made covers for the jerry cans and the extra water jugs
- made a cover for the life raft
Now you might be wondering why one would make all these covers. Well the answer is for protection. The sun is extremely hard on all things kept on the deck. This should help extend their life!
- pumped the inflatable back up and put it on deck
- slowly started replenishing food and supplies as most of the food was removed when we left
- serviced the refrigerator system which involved bleeding the system completely and then recharging it
I will take a side bar here as this ended up trying David's patience not too mention having to hang upside down for extended periods of time. Nice butt, Captain Dave!!!
It was very difficult to obtain refrigerant. He was all excited because a guy in Malaque volunteered to order some in for him but upon arrival and a trip to Malaque and back - David discovered that the bottles had the wrong head and would not fit our adaptor. I think he has been in every hardware (ferreteria) store in the area. And remenber he is doing this in the heat, many bus rides and walking! But finally he was successful, after 3 days of searching! The refrigerator is cycling quite well at about 3 hours on and 2 off. a day which is pretty good when the water temperature on the hull is 32 C. David installed a temperature control shutter in the refrigerator. All is working as it should. He had a lot of help from Rich in Morro Bay.
- tested the chart plotter
- had to run a bead of silicone around a couple of chain plates as we found some water in two of the cupboards that carry our books. Unfortunately some were not salvageable. We had a really good downpour, which proved to be a good test on the repair. No leaks!
- cleaned and inventoried the abandon boat bag
- sorted out various lockers
- checked out the single side band radio
- got Felix to do some welding repairs on our wind vane. Wonderful job for $40
Took a break from the work and visited with Al and Sandy. Took the bus up to La Manzanillo the next week and stayed with them for 3 days. Perfect day was spent at the beach at Tanakateta.
Al was coming down to Barra on Sunday so we got a ride and got him to stop in Melaque so we could get groceries. Nice not to have to take the bus.
- pickled the water maker ( fill with a preservative to help maintain the membranes when not in use)
- ran the motor and all was good. Engine hours now 2920.8
- hooked up proctor modem for the AIS - warns us if there are any ships within 50 km of us, their location, their name and what they are carrying
- tested the spinnaker and had to do some adjustments on the " sock" - a big tube the contains the spinnaker and allows more control when you are taking it down or putting it up
- bought fresh gas for the outboard and ran it for a while
- David put a refresher coat of C-tol on some of the varnish in the cockpit. I was jealous as I would rather be doing that than sewing!
- he also cleaned the teak in the cockpit with 2 part cleaner.
- cleaned the deck shower bag with more clean water and baking soda. Allowed this to sit for most of a day, rinsed and filled with fresh water.
- filled holding tank with fresh water with deodorant cleaner to flush out at sea.
We have been using the banjos ( bathrooms) on the dock so we now have a squeaky clean holding tank!
- final cleaning of the boat inside and out
- fresh sheets on the bed
- cupboards are full
- Confidence is ready to set sail again!