//WL2K Arriving on the Baja Side

Lisa in San Fran Isla com

Lisa and Sparky celebrating the good life on Baja.

“”You don’t have to dog it down like a submarine””, Bill was telling Lisa. The wind had risen from 5 knots to nearly 18 in a matter of minutes. Well perhaps it was a matter of 20 minutes since Bill was mostly asleep while on watch today. We had decided to at least close down the port holes ( windows in Lisa’s world) since the waves were starting to build a bit and most likely the boat would get a bit of spray which could enter through one of the windows.

Always looking to speed up an operation Bill didn’t believe it would get that wet and just figured shutting the ports would be enough to keep the arrant wave out of the boat, no need to go overboard tightening the dogs (latches in Lisa’s world) with a spanner wrench. Perhaps 30 minutes later (everyone was awake during this time), the wind began blowing as their friends describe as “blowing like stink”. Lisa and Bill are a bit more mindful of their metaphors and have no idea what “stink” blows like so when it gets a bit nasty out they like to say it “Blows like Eight is enough”, the old TV show from the 70’s.

So thirty minutes later the wind is driving into the boat at 26 knots and increasing. The waves had gone from a sea that you could see the moon shimmering on to six foot wind waves at close intervals; it was going to be an interesting morning. They were just passing Isla Cerralvo. The island is the entrance to the Cerralvo channel which is notorious for funneling winds and waves into exponentially greater forms than they start off as in La Paz.

Today was an exceptional day. If you know San Francisco Bay and the area called the “Slot”, the Cerralvo channel opening is 5 times the width (nearly 20 miles) and with at least 5 times the amount of fetch (what allows waves to grow to their full potential in height). Interspersed where several “rogue” waves that could be as much as twice the height of the normal six foot waves which are large enough to send a boat leaping off their shoulders if hit square. Luckily Beyond Reason was driving nearly directly (square) into them.

Sometime around 9 AM the waves were really coming at Beyond Reason and it wasn’t long before she took a large one on the deck. The scuppers filled completely with water and beings that the scuppers are 8”” tall by about 14″” wide, the port holes were completely submerged and the boat was carrying about 100 gallons of water on deck or 800 lbs of additional top side weight. On a Hans Christian, most of the water in the scuppers needs to funnel down a 2” drain pipe (one on each side). If you can imagine how long it takes to empty a 50 gallon drum of oil using the normal bung hole you get the idea of how long these port holes were actually underwater, or more to the point how many minutes we were a virtual submarine. From inside it looked like the Captain Nemo ride at the original Disney Land. All that was needed were the plastic fish on the outside of the port holes.

Throughout the next 3 hours Bill and Lisa enjoyed the “Nemo” ride another couple of times. Lisa swears she saw a dolphin swim by the port hole but she was tired from her night of eating Bon Bons while Bill drove so you never know. The engine prepping done in Mazatlan really helped and with a reefed main, allowed for about 4 knots of headway.

Sometime around noon the channel was behind Beyond Reason and with only 30 more miles to go there was a celebration. Part of the celebration was in not losing anything over the side and only twice filling the cockpit with wayward waves. Lisa silently celebrated that none of her port holes had leaked while Bill’s were not quite as water tight until Lisa re-dogged them to submarine mode. How was your commute?

//WL2K All quite on watch

A billion and three. It helps to have a really clear Baja night, but there you have it. The pundits all said there were one billion stars in the sky. If you live in the city you stand a better chance of counting stars since there are only a limited number you will see, but here on the Baja side of Mexico we are pretty sure you can see them all.

Having a little over 48 hours in travel times helps a lot as you have plenty of time to count stars between ship sightings (1), dolphin sightings (1) and sunsets (2). So far the trip has been pretty painless. We have sailed all but 4 hours of the trip. Our speed has been moderate at about a 5 knot average. Of our 6 crossings of the Sea of Cortez this has been the most unremarkable one yet. We have caught one fish and seen little of nothing up till now, heck, even now we have completely pool flat seas, no wind and nothing on the horizon.

We plan to pull into Isla San Francisco about 5pm tomorrow evening. Distance traveled will be something close to 250 miles. If we are lucky we will get a bit of wind around the time the moon makes it appearance tonight and be able to shut down the diesel again for a bit a piece and quite. It helps us both sleep while on watch when the engine is quite.

San Francisco Island should be a nice reintroduction to sea with its white beaches, clear water and hook shaped anchorage. It might be one of the most photographed anchorages in the Baja and is in one of the most beautiful areas on this side of the peninsula, we are looking forward to it almost as much as Sparky. No pictures today.

Alright, we will leave Mañana

Bill lisa gilly and johnWe are still in Mazatlan.  The Dude has written a long passage about our trials here in Mazatlan.   Everything is going well now.  Expect something from the Chick soon.  Unfortunately Bill had to cool Lisa down a bit and remind her of the meaning of the Chicks Version.  Sorry Bill, mommy needs to vent sometimes.

Happy Memorial Day.   We miss this holiday almost as much as Thanksgiving.   Rib-eyes from Sonora tonight, Indy 500 this afternoon and the Coca Cola 600 this evening.

Remember our fallen veterans.

 

Leaving the land of Mañana

a better negrito com

Got to ask the question: Is that a Negrito on your knee or are you just happy to see me?

Mexico is so startling at times (see picture, who would ever think of using both Spanish language and English in the same primary packaging label..ie Multi Pack/4 piezas), cutting edge at other times (Internet Kiosks in the park) and always beautiful in some way.   We are departing Mazatlan today (or maybe tomorrow depending on if the mechanic shows up today).   In any event this will be the last posting that will have pictures in it for a while.   We hope to be gone for about 2 – 3 weeks enjoying the fun times that the Baja has to offer.    The crossing will take us about 240 miles or 70 plus hours if we sail the whole distance.  When the rum or beer runs low we will most likely go into Puerto Escondido harbor near Loreto.    We plan to make Loreto our home for the next couple of months and do some intensive exploring around the island groups in that area.

 

On the website front, we had some free time yesterday and put together a small montage of photos that we took last season in the Baja.   If you are comparing “Smiles per Mile” you will be able to tell from the pictures that Baja is the best value around.  

Enjoy the “slide-show” if you have some time.   Keep an eye out for updates that start with “W2LK” as these are being sent from Ham Radio because there is no telephone, internet or other social media to communicate with.

 

Have a great commute.

Snippits of Mexico

We have been wondering what to do with all the little five second clips and short videos that we have which don’t really fit in with most of the stuff we do.   Bill and Lisa took an afternoon and put together about 13 minutes of stuff we have filmed over the last year or so.   If you have a promotion appointment with your boss in 30 minutes and don’t know how to kill some time, take a look at what we have today.   It’s a little “clippy”, but fun.   Don’t shut off the video till way past what you think is the end, we put a clip of the Ferry riders at the back end of the video.

Don’t shut off the video till way past what you think is the end, there is a clip of the Ferry riders at the back end of the video.  This was the motorcycle gang that we traveled with across the Sea of Cortez back in 2009.

Two posts in one day

Well you don’t get this often but we had so much last night we thought we should make another post.   bill and the racoon comBill volunteered so you have a new Dude View if you want to get a little insight into some of the varying conditions and excitement that we have on a daily basis here in state of Sinaloa.   We leave you with a random picture of our Wednesday night trip on the town.

Never a dull moment on Beyond Reason

Unfinished Business

flowers comIn December we reported that our Garmin GPS and radar unit was giving us some problems.   At the time our frustration with having a broken part on board clouded our feelings for Garmin as all we could think of was how many more days it would be till we could get moving out of Manzanillo, Las Hadas and Santiago.  Garmin continued to work with us throughout out journeys but what we did not know was how lucky we were to be working with them instead of one of the other companies that sell radar units to people that plan to leave the United States for shores abroad.

 

We took Garmins suggestions for replacing our mapping card and to our relief, Garmin was happy to pay for the shipping and the customs fees from the US to Mexico.  The card was a free replacement but the shipping could have cost us over $200.00 as most overnight minimums are in the $50.00 range and the customs fees can to over $150.00.   Garmin covered everything.

 

Although the card did not resolve the issues, Garmin was willing to replace the entire unit for us.   There was no question about shipping to Mexico, they were willing and we felt certain they would pickup all the charges as well.  In a stroke of luck Lisa was actually flying home so we picked up the unit there, again no cost.

 

When we purchased the unit we did not do so based on Garmins reputation as being a leader in the marine electronics industry, we did so based on our need to have a simple way to connect a remote monitor to the system and hands down it was Garmin that won.   If we had had other choices we would have chosen Furuno or Simrad which both have terrific reputations for quality gear.   What we didn’t know was that Simrad in particular does not supply the type of assistance to resolve issues with their electronics that Garmin does.

 

Our friends Mike and Marie on Dejala’ happened to be in the harbor next to us when we began to talk about boat issues.   The Garmin was big on our minds and we let them know how long it was taking to get the Garmin replaced.   Mike set us straight when he told us that he owned a Simrad unit with similar issues to our Garmin.   Simrads technicians decided that the problem was with the cable that ran to the actual ray dome.  Mike asked for them to please send the required replacement but the Simrad tech told him that he could only send the cable to the US.  It would be Mikes issue to recover it from the address of his choice, in the USA.   Following a $300 bus trip, Mike recovered part of the cable.   When later asked why only half the cable was sent the Simrad tech told Mike they figured it was the lower half of the cable that was a problem so to save the company money, they only sent half.   The cable was not the issue with the unit, or at least not the bottom half of the cable.  Mike is still working with the company to get a repair.

 

All we can say is that Garmin, although maybe not as quick as we would have liked stood behind their product, kept moving the ball forward and never made us pay for anything that was directly related to getting a new unit to us.   We are now happy to recognize Garmin as one of the Good Companies out there.    Unfortunately Simrad in our opinion falls into the same category as ICOM which is another large marine manufacturer that will not accept repair work (in or out of warranty) from any country other than the USA.baseball action 3 com

 

OK, it’s baseball season so we are off to the Little League games here in Mazatlan.   Enjoy your commute.

Totally good yacht works: Grupo Naval Mar de Cortez

We launched yesterday. Having had a great experience with Grupo Naval Mar de Cortez boat yard, we said good bye to our new friends David Alonso Rice, Paul O. Mocino Rodriguez and the rest of the yard including a young man also named David who helped us all with translations and general information about the jobs being done.

Grupo,comYard work typically leads to surprises but in our case we contracted for a lightly sanded bottom, specialized anti-fouling paint, and a raw water pump rebuild. The original estimate actually was the lowest of three that we received over the last month of looking for yards. When we changed paints from the typical anti-fouling paints to the ablative anti-fouling paint we expected the yard would raise the price but pleasantly it remained the same. Perhaps the one surprise we did get at the yard was that we contracted for light sanding on the bottom but got a bit more than we expected.

Light sanding typically would involve removing small amounts of loose paint or rough areas on the hull. When we came here 5 years ago the same yard, but under the name of Carlos Yacht Refinishing/Grupo Naval Mar de Cortez, did such a good job that there really were no rough areas or loose paint. Even with a very clean bottom, Paul had a crew of two guys work all day to remove the last coat of paint that we put on the bottom a year ago before applying any new paint. At most other yards including those in the United States this would be a step that would have either increased the price of the job or would have been skipped. Paul was very detailed oriented and made sure that every last bit was removed and each underwater fitting was cleaned to bare metal before he applied the first coat of new paint.

The raw water pump was the spoiler for the whole job. We had looked up the price of a rebuild kits to be sent from the U.S. prior to asking Grupo Naval Mar de Cortez if they could rebuild it here in town. The cost from the U.S. was $139.00 plus shipping. If you read these pages you will know that shipping can easily exceed the price of the item shipped so we guessed that the rebuild might cost in excess of $200. This being Mexico anything is possible and $100 seemed like it might be closer to the final cost of the rebuild. De-installation and re-installation was not even on our radar as we figured they would ask us to bring the pump to the shop. Apparently service is still a sacred word for the folks at Grupo Naval and after we were set up in our yard stands they sent their mechanic out and he promptly removed the pump from the boat.

Last April Bill wrote about changing the impeller on the raw water pump which is just a small portion of the rebuild. From start to finish it took nearly 3 hours, with most of that time involved in the installation of the pump. When the pump was returned to us and installed we asked the price (as you know we are made of money so we never even considered the price before asking for the work to be done); total cost: $50 U.S. Bill never even got his fingers dirty.

All in all we had a good time in the yard (nobody ever has a great time in the yard.  Climbing ladders and constantly having dirt and dust on the decks is never a lead in to a great time). The job was completed in less than the four days that were projected, the price was very fair (even by Beyond Reason standards), and the peopleBill's new shirt and service were above reproach which is something that can not be said about many other businesses here in Mexico. The final small piece of small bit of customer appreciation that you just don’t see much of anymore was when we were putting the boat back into the water. The Grupo Naval Company is co-owned by Paul O Mocino Rodriguez and David Alonso Rice. Paul and I had talked earlier in the morning and said our good-byes and thanks for a job well done. As the boat was being lowered into the water, David Alonso Rice drove out to the launching ramp just to say good-bye and to thank us for the business. He had no real reason to make the effort. We had talked a few times shortly in the last 4 days but other than that our relationship was purely just convenience. To have one of the bosses make a special effort even this small was priceless to us.

We hope to have our paths cross again when we come back down the sea at the end of the season.

Hard Times

We had quite an experience this week while pulling the boat from the sea to get the new bottom paint applied.  The dude has ordered a couple of choice words around the subject if you care to take a look in the Dudes View.

What the dude failed to mention was that we lost our bow thruster during the maneuvers to get the boat lined up for the lifting.   To everyone’s surprise including his own, he backed our big barge between the fingers of  the wharf with no trouble what so ever.  It is nice to know that even without float shoes, the dude can sometimes still walk on water.

After a day of discovery and a little help from Mazatlan Marine Supply, we found that many of our high amperage draw wire connections had loosened over the years in Mexico.  The results lead to the bow thruster not getting quite enough juice to turn the propeller that pushes the front end of our Ark around.   Note to selves, check the electrical connections even when you or your husband believe they have been tighten to German Specs; i.e. “Goottentight”.

 

Aside from the Thruster and paint we have also hired Grupo Naval Mar de Cortez to rebuild our seawater pump.   The parts have been located in Mexico and we are expecting the installation tomorrow AM.   So far this looks like a perfect haul-out; at least as far as time and money is concerned.

 

Sparky has been under the Sparky is sick comweather lately.   It is almost a typical occurrence with him when we come into any large city.  We took him to the vet today via taxi, it was a luxury for all of us as the driver immediately told us to roll up the windows.  He must have just gotten the taxi out of the shop because in all our years roaming Mexico we have never had air conditioning in anything with wheels.

The doc put Sparky on double anti-biotic and eye drops for the next week or so leaving the little man a bit dejected but that was short lived.   He is such a drama king and immediately after leaving the Pet Vet, Sparky began strutting around. We were not sure if he was celebrating the attention he got, just happy to be out of the vets’ office or had been faking the illness all along and was trying to tell us he didn’t need the medicine after all.   To his dismay he will be getting the oral injection of liquid cure twice a day for the next 12 days.

 

We have about another week here in Mazatlan then hope to skip another 200 – 300 miles across the sea and back into the Baja.   We will see how close we come to staying on schedule.

Total frustration with Yacht Works

We’ve been working so hard here in Mazatlan we almost forgot why we were in Mexico in the first place, relaxation and adventure and drama, so we took a little time out yesterday (Sparky, Lisa and Bill).    For the last five days we have been either Lisa out for relaxation comfighting with boat yards or working on the boat.    The new coats of varnish are starting to pay off and within a couple of days will be completed.   It was a bit more work than Lisa had anticipated:  “Should take you about two hours to sand the varnish down, right Bill?”, she had said.    The trouble was she hadn’t anticipated that Bill would be taking the bulwarks down to bare wood and with the accumulation of 10 years of Bristol Finish being reduced to dust it took the better part of 10 hours in the burning sun to complete.   Lisa took to brightening up the inside of the boat and also bringing the shine back to the large stainless steel anchor that hangs from the port side of the bow sprite.  Although slightly less work than the varnish, the anchor still took a lot of scrubbing, polishing, buffing and waxing to bring it back to a mirror finish.

 

The boat yard fiasco was another part of the week that filled up three days before we could overcome the trouble.   It all started a couple of months ago when we were trying to decide who we would choose to lift, sand and re-paint the bottom of the boat.   There not being any Do-It-Yourself yards in Southern Mexico we had to find a yard.   Years ago we had the bottom done by Grupo Naval Mar de Cortez/Carlos Yacht Refinishing.   We had asked several people if the yard still existed and got a resounding “No” from everyone.   With this “cruiser influenced” knowledge we decided to work with Total Yacht Works.

Total Yacht Works has been on our radar for years.   We have never done work with them in the past, based on experiences that many of our friends have had with them, we resisted doing work with them at all. Since finding out that they were the only game in town we decided to give them a shot, but with reservations.

We contacted Total Yacht Works, believing they were the only business in town that could do the work. To our surprise we got a very nice estimate on the work that needed to be completed so we made our way up to Mazatlan.   According to the letter we received it appeared we would only have to wait a couple of days before a spot in the yard would open up so we pulled into Marina Mazatlan and paid nearly $1.20 per foot for our boat to spend the night.   The folks at Marina Mazatlan are nice but we just paid $0.60 per foot at one of the nicest resorts in Western Mexico so Mazatlan is a bit pricey.

When we walked over to Total Yacht Works we noticed that Grupo Naval Mar de Cortezor or as we know it, Carlos Yacht Refinishing was actually in business still.   This was a total surprise and something we would have to explore after visiting Total Yacht Works.    As things turned out the yard could not accept us for another 9 days.   With this new information we began to think about the work that could be performed during our waiting days and scheduled Total Yacht Works to come down to the boat and chase down some diesel leaks that we were still experiencing.   With everything scheduled we walked down to Grupo Naval Mar de Cortez/Carlos Yacht Refinishing and out of loyalty to a business that we had had good experience with before, asked for a bottom paint estimate,  After all we had nine days to kill otherwise.

On Monday we received our estimate from Grupo Naval Mar de Cortez/Carlos Yacht Refinishing and several hours later, Bob from Total Yacht Works came out to check on our engine.   Bob arranged for somebody to come out and fix the trouble for the following Wednesday.   After he had left we both discussed the estimate we have received from Grupo Naval Mar de Cortez and decided that even though they could not start the work any sooner we would stick with a company that had treated us so well before and let Grupo Naval Mar de Cortez do the work.   We considered waiting till Total Yacht Works showed up on Wednesday to let them know we would not have the bottom done with them, but then reconsidered and thought the best policy would be to let Total Yacht Works know immediately so they could reschedule somebody else into our place.

We met with Bob again later that afternoon and let him know our decision and asked if that would cause him any trouble.  He was pleasant and said “No problem” and that he would see us on Wednesday.   Wednesday rolled around and no one from Total Yacht Works showed up.   We made a radio call to Total Yacht Works and all they could say over the radio was, “Bob had sent us an email; please take a look at it”.   That seemed funny as Bob is in a berth just 2 boats down from us and we hadn’t gotten internet coverage during the preceding couple of days.    When we finally looked at the letter it said that because we were doing business Grupo Naval Mar de Cortez, Total Yacht Works would not do any work on our boat!   We were both flabbergasted and frustrated as we had been in Mazatlan now for 6 days and nothing had been fixed or worked on and now we had to find a new mechanic.

The actual “finding of a new mechanic was easy enough. Mazatlan Marine Services was just around the corner and assured us that the work could be completed shortly after the bottom work was done.   With this work now scheduled we began the work on the varnish.

Although we are extremely frustrated with the waste of time that the road to work with Total Yacht Works has led us down, it actually fits nicely into our original opinion of the business.    In the past we have met no less than 5 separate boats (Xanadau, Windward Bound, Itchen, Pionero, Emerald Star, Triple Stars) that had had work done by Total Yacht Works.   In each case the original work performed was substandard and they had to return to Total Yacht Works, two had gotten half way across the Sea of Cortez on thier way to La Paz when they had to turn back. In defense of Total Yacht Works,  they stood behind their work and re-performed the work they had originally done and sent the boats on the way again, completed.   We guess there is really nothing wrong with a business that “stands behind their work”, but it seems like such a waste of time to have to get the work done, sail away and then have to return because the job was not completed correctly the first time.  As it turns out that is exactly what has happened to us:  Come in, ask for work to be performed, get the OK, and then have the work denied:  A waste of time.

el cid homes comSo yesterday we took a time out and all piled into the water Conestoga and took a ride down the canals of Mazatlan that are lined with nice homes and manicured yards.   We ended up watching the sun set as we returned home with the scent of the ocean in the air and a pleasant breeze washing over us.   Adventure and relaxation with a little drama thrown in for texture.