The maintenance list is getting shorter as I await the final outcome of my autopilot issues, Garmin have confirmed I need to send the ECU unit back to them. I should get RMA details shortly so I can package up the item and work out how i get it to them so it can be replaced and delivered to Bill and Julie’s place from Voyager between 12th and 22nd of Feb. I probably need to send it back before they leave Mexico to ensure it is received before they come back to Mexico on the 22nd. In the meantime small projects are getting resolved on a daily basis. There has been an annoying leak, which I was having trouble finding, it was either the hose from the sump pump for the shower or the bilge pump hose. Finally, I found it and it was the bilge pump just before it exits the boat it has a high lift to ensure water does not come back into the boat. The hose had rubbed against a hose clamp and split. The fix was easy……………….a dangerous statement known to upset the sea gods.
However this time it was, cut out the section install a coupler and yaby daby doo, it was fixed.
As I had a locker apart I decided to re position the main fresh water pump which was pretty noisy when in use. It was mounted horizontally and the rubber feet where not doing their job. Again I thought it would be pretty straightforward, screw into a bulkhead and extend one of the feed hoses. Fortunately I had the extra 18 inches of hose and Ken on Drifter had the right size coupler. Off to a good start………………then things started to turn to shit. The next few hours proved to be some of the most frustrating I have had in a long time.
I had lent some small hose clamps to Bill on Voyager and he had replaced them. I did not put them back in the hose clamp container where they should have gone. It took an age hunting them down but I eventually I found them in the navigation table. ( a general dumping ground for stuff ). Then the real issue surfaced. To mount the pump I need to lay in the aft berth , lift up an access cover and get my head and shoulders into the area under the floor. Now known as the hole from hell . I couldn’t hold the pump in place ( with the damn rubber feet falling out ), get a screw in and see at the same time. The flashlight would move, roll away so I couldn’t see the end of the screw. Or my arm would start to ache and the pump would move. I was at full arm stretch so the aching came on quickly. Lots of swearing, cursing and general cable tie cuts later the thing was in. The end result is a pump which is now much quieter and a truely aching body.
The to do list is getting smaller and looking around the boat it is in the best shape it has been. Mostly it now only cosmetic improvements.
The movement of boats has slowed to a trickle, those who planned to cross to the mainland or do the puddle jump have left. There are a few boats up in the islands to the north, they come and go but in general everything is pretty static. Land based activities tend to fill most peoples diaries, darts on Tuesday and Friday at La Costa, salsa lessons at Stellas on Tuesday and Thursday, live music at a variety of places. Swop meets, dock parties, pot lucks, frequenting of local restaurants and the daily sundowners. This is supplemented by the obligatory visits to Home Depot, Walmart, Bravo market, Mega and the farmers market on saturdays.
Around late March boats return to La Paz and start to get ready to explore the lower and middle sea. A slow sail north, stopping at the islands and then the split, those boats who are headed for San Carlos/ Guaymas to haul their boats for the summer and the adventurous few who step up to the challenge of spending the summer in the northern sea. There is a third group which leave their boats in Escondido and La Paz for the summer.
As a way of thanking Monica and Scott for lugging down my replacement autopilot I suggested I take them out for a meal. We decided on Harker Boards, a paddle board rental place which has a restaurant upstairs. I mentioned it to a few people and asked whether they would like to join us. In the end 19 people showed up and we had great beer, 2 for 1 pizza and a great night. Some went in cars, some cycled and us poor folks walked.
Thursday involved a day trip to La Vantana and Bahia Meurtos……………….Albert and his friend Dave invited me to join them on a day out ( day off the boat ). We set off in Alberts car and had an enjoyable ride through the countryside/ desert. I don’t get to see the “interior” of places very often, so it made a pleasant change. La Vantana is a kite boarders paradise, known globally for its strong winds. I witnessed these winds 2 years ago in Alex II going up the channel to La Paz, it was the roughest weather I have experienced in the 3 years I have been in Mexico. The village was much bigger than I expected, we stopped and had breakfast and beer at the main kite boarders bar. it was pretty cool, there was an arts and crafts market and the place was full of kite boarders chicks and dudes. Great place and good atmosphere.
We then went off to Meurtos , to another cool and unusual bar. I had been there before , a couple of years ago. The bar has a great train set, a plunge pool, billiard tables and an awesome beach in front of it.
To finish the day we stopped on the way back and bought a small bag of fresh vegetables for 60 pesos ( NZ 6 dollars, UK 3 pounds) which we then split between the three of us