Thursday, October 30, 2014

07-October-14 Boat Maintenance in Exotic Places

October 2014 to 15-November-14

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!

Looks wonderful!

- final cleaning of the boat inside and out
- fresh sheets on the bed
- cupboards are full
- Confidence is ready to set sail again!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

May to October 2014


The Cruise of the Confidence Blog is back up - alive and well in Barra de Navidad, Jalesco, Mexico!

And what better way to begin again? - a short snapshot of our summer vacation! Now I know most of you are thinking that our entire life is one big vacation adventure and you are correct in thinking that. So let's edit that statement to say - a short snapshot of our vacation away from our life on the boat.

It was wonderful to land in Victoria at the end of April and have my sister, Susan, waiting for us. Hugs and kisses and tears were exchanged and then a quick return to reality. We drove up to Lake Cowichan for dinner at David's sisters' and then down to Mill Bay to retrieve our truck and get our insurance renewed. The truck required a boost and eventually a new battery. I guess it didn't like sitting around for 8 months. The truck did run well for the rest our our stay and we were happy to have held onto it.

I went to Roz's retirement party on the Tuesday and I have to admit that I felt a bit out of sorts. There were many new faces in the department and apparently more to come, along with many other changes. It did help to confirm my decision to retire when I did.

The rest of the week was spent reconnecting with David's family,

 especially Carolyn (daughter) & Paxton & Sadie (granddaughter). She is a total delight and we were quite pleased that she had remembered us! We got caught up on the mail and then sat down to deal with the tax man - no good news there!

We made it to Vancouver to touch base with Al and Sandy (from Marova). Susan joined us and we shared stories and pictures.

We went up to Kye Bay Resort at Comox for a week. 

My girlfriend, Roz, owns this resort and she was getting it ready for the coming season. The lodge next door is back to being part of the resort and renovations were under way. David and I were only too happy to help out where needed. So Roz kept us busy painting and varnishing and planting and doing lawn work. But it was not all work as we did take time out to eat, drink and just have fun.

Then back to Victoria where we began to earn our keep at Lillian's house. That was home base for the majority of our time in Canada. Lil is getting the house ready to eventually sell so we were only too happy to help out wherever we could. We will never be able to thank her enough for allowing us to stay with her. She made us feel at home - never once making us feel that we had over stayed our welcome. There were many wonderful moments - sharing stories, the wedding of her son, 

climbing the mountain,

 eating and drinking and just having fun.

There were many lunches and dinners shared with friends and family. One of the best was a return visit to Kye Bay with David and my sister. We were only too happy to help out with more of the preparations for the season. Susan built and ran a B&B in Belize and it brought back memories of those last few days of angst before the first guests arrive. Would the place ever be ready? Painting the adarondike chairs was actually fun and rewarding as you can see from the results.

 More painting inside and varnishing of doors and refinishing of floors - progress was being made. And just in time for the rest of the gang to show up to help celebrate the reunion, birthdays and all of the special occasions that we missed while away. It used to be a girl's weekend but because we had so much to celebrate we decided to invite the boys too. So we had three days of eating, drinking and just having fun and no work!

Two puppies found new homes! 

Fresh oysters picked off the reef and barbeques.

So here is my plug for Kye Bay. If you want to get away and experience a bit of paradise book now. Go to the website to learn more. But book early as the place fills up very quickly. Some people have been returning to Kye Bay for years - came as kids, came with their kids and are now retuning with their grandkids! You will love it.

I ended up staying for another week as it still seemed like there was a lot to do. Roz and Dave ( her Dave not to be confused with my David) and I put on some finishing touches, hung a few pictures, cleaned up the junk pile from the front of the lodge and it was ready. 

I then flew to the Sault with Susan to spend a couple of weeks with my family.
We celebrated Mom's 89th birthday and my 59th. We had a wonderful prime rib dinner at Debbie and Stuart complete with 2 birthday cakes. You can see that a lot of time was spent decorating the cakes. 

And of course bachi in the back yard with cousin Terry coming out on top! Are we surprised? 

The big party is next year and with any such luck I will be able to make it back. But considering we may be out in the Pacific Ocean somewhere it may not be possible. So I may have to settle for Bora Bora or some such place. Life is full of compromises! 

I managed to get some swims in Lake Huron at cousin Mike and Tarjia's and Lake Superior. Susan and I helped our brother Paul inventory some used boat parts. Had a wonderful dinner at Mike and Deb's (mike's wife and not to be confused with my sister Deb). Why does everyone have to have the same name? Too many Mike's and Dave's and Deb's. So two full weeks of spending time with family and friends and you got it - eating drinking and just having fun! I need to get back to my Mexican diet!

And David spent a month in Melbourne at his daughter Michele and Paul (not to be confused with my brother Paul!). He had a wonderful time connecting with his grandchildren - Amelia and Ethan - and just being "Grandad"! But he knew it was time to leave when he would catch himself humming Twinkle Twinkle Little Star!

I had a couple of weeks before his return. It worked out that Lil had one of those weeks off so we shared the drive and the company to Castelgar and Balfour. Lil visited with her family and I visited with Janice and Gord. This was a fun time and special as this was one couple who I did not get to see before we left last year. The house is still a work in progress but my cabin was ready for me! Janice and Gord are as much fun as ever and I believe a good time was had by all.

When David got back we had to get busy as our time was running out. We obtained our new 10 year passports. We finally completed our wills - one of those things that we all think about doing but like to put off! We ordered in some boat parts and had them shipped to our Bellingham address - water pump, head (toilet for you land lovers), replacement parts, cruising books and just stuff. We tried to spend as much time as possible with Sadie, going to the beach, 

going to the park,

 going to the fair.

 It was wonderful to share her enthusiasm with everything!

Susan and I spent a few days in Washington State, visiting the factory outlet, the Casino and celebrating her birthday - though a bit early. I lucked out at the factory outlet and came home with tops and flip flops and nothing cost more than $20! Picked up the boat part order. Everything arrived in tact. It was just fun to spend the time with Susan as we have no idea when we will get to do that again. Susan came back to Victoria with me and we rounded out the week with Dave and Lil - eating, drinking and just having fun. Do you get the general theme of this 5 month visit yet?

And finally a surprise visit from Mike and Deb from the Sault. Plans were altered so that they could be in Victoria before we left. I have known Mike most of my life and have always considered him to be one of my dearest friends. And after spending the four days with them in Victoria I felt a new connection with Deb - as a friend and not just as Mike's wife. It was truly a special visit!

All in all - we had a wonderful unexpected 5 months in Canada. We are truly blessed to have such wonderful family and friends. We only hope that some of them can come and join us somewhere during the rest of our adventure.