Saturday, September 14, 2013

Summer Days


The days pass slowly, repeating the same routine day after day. The heat and humidity make it impossible to work outside except for brief periods in the morning and sitting inside all day has sapped the energy out of us. We vow we will not spend another summer like this again. Next summer will be different, we just don't know how.

Upper Deck

Despite our gloom, we've had some major projects done on the boat by the local workers who seem able to work in the heat. They recaulked the upper deck, steps to upper deck ,and forward hatch, two additional solar panels have been installed and the hull has been polished making it look like new (see previous post).

And we count the days until we can get out of here ( target departure date is November 1st).

Luis Polishing Hull

Mid August to mid September seems to be the rainy season here as storms form inland and work their way out to sea and the occasional tropical storm passes north a couple hundred miles to the west. Last weekend we got 6" of rain in a 36 hour period and it rains overnight most days.

Our current plan is to head south to Banderas Bay and then further south to Tenacatita and Barra de Navidad. We hope to find a quiet bay with warm water and stay for weeks on end only coming back to port to reprovision. This will recharge our spirits and perhaps provide us with some clarity on what to do next. We feel like the victims of too many options; sell the boat/stay on the boat, stay in Mexico/go to Panama, find another summer activity/who knows what. Poor us, we know, stop your whining and just enjoy life.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Summer Project–Polishing the Hull


Our hull is painted with AWLGrip paint over black gel coat. The color is a mix of AWLGrip dark green and black and you can only see the green if it’s in direct sun light. Over the last 5 years in Mexico the hull had developed a grey smear on it from the hard water, particularly in Ensenada where they have the most brackish dock water we have ever seen. You might as well be washing your boat with sea water. We’ve tried scrubbing the hull with no luck and were afraid that the only solution might be to have it repainted. You can’t wax the paint, the wax will turn yellow over time.

I started searching the internet for help and found a thread on the Cruisers Forum on AWLGrip paint and it was recommended to use AWLCare polish on the paint to seal and restore it. I ordered some, at $60 per quart, but when we used it it only seemed to make it worse. Smearing the grey rather than removing it. After that I contacted the AWLGrip rep in California and sent him some pictures of the hull. He suggested that we polish the hull first with 3M Perfect-It rubbing compound to remove the water spots and dirt and then apply the AWLCare to seal the paint. We hired a local young man in the marina, Luis, to do the job and the results were fantastic. It looks like new paint! Here’s some before and after pictures.


Before -





Half and Half -




After -





Hopefully from now on all we’ll need to do is apply the sealer every 6 months to keep it looking this good.


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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Another Tucson Road Trip

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Another road trip to Tucson to pick up project supplies and parts. This was a big haul with 26 packages for us at the UPS mailbox store and another 10 items waiting at West Marine in Tempe. This time we house sat in Tucson at a very nice and comfortable home of some friends who were travelling up north. It was nice to stay in a house rather than a motel. It's like really living on land like everyone else and gives you a taste of what your missing. Love that high speed internet.

I guess you can tell you're not ready to move off of the boat when you are in a hurry to return to your home on the water after spending a week in a nice house. We're still boat people.

It's 850 miles from Maz to Tucson and another 175 to Phoenix so it's over a two thousand mile trip up and back. Going north we stayed in San Carlos at the Best Western, like last time, but I don't think we'll do it again. They've got a new "boss" and we had to make a 500 peso deposit because we paid in cash and they put us on the second floor and the a/c was located right next, like 6 inches, from the bed and blasted cold air on Linda all night despite her efforts to build a barrier out of a luggage rack and bath towels. We also had dinner at Tequila's restaurant that we used to like a lot when we had the boat here 4 years ago but now that place didn't seem so good. Maybe it's us. When we had the boat here we were newbies and enjoyed the place. Now after 4 years in Mexico San Carlos seems like a gringo town and not like the rest of Mexico. It's all a matter of perspective.

On the whole it was a good trip. The roads up north seemed beat up and the tolls get higher as you go south but they are working on the roads so maybe the money is going to a good cause.

Now that we have a boat load of parts the real work begins just as the hot weather kicks in.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Spanish Lesson



We got a quick Spanish lesson from the waiter at a restaurant called 'Social' in Maz. He asked us our names and when I said Frank he said 'Fransico or Pancho for short'. We didn't know that.

Linda is Spanish for 'pretty, complete, perfect'. Of course we all knew that.

The picture above is from Wikipedia of Fransico Villa, more commonly known by his nickname Pancho, a prominent Mexican Revolutionary general.

You can call me Pancho and Linda is as always, linda.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

It's a Gift

Paseo Clausen

It’s getting hot! The heat and humidity are going up in Mazatlan and it’s only June. Days are now in the low 90's while the humidity is in the 70's, sometimes into the low 80’s. We keep at least one a/c on 24 hours a day and sometimes 2 in the afternoon. We have three ac units on the boat but we try not to cool the areas where we are not. The heat and humidity really effect you outside so we have slowed down on our outside projects and curtailed our trips around town.

We made a run up to Tucson already to get some project supplies and see some friends. It's about an 18 hour trip and we make one overnight stop along the way. Highway 15 is fairly nice and there are plenty of places to stop for food and gas and lots of good motels. The roads in the northern half in Sonora are the worst but the highway in Sinaloa are very good. The car stopped running while in Tucson, just refused to start one morning, and we took it to a shop recommended by some friends. It turned out the 'computer' that controls all the electronics had died and because the car is 20 years old they had to get a replacement out of Pennsylvania that took 3 days, so we sat in the motel watching TV waiting for the car. We've had the car since new, 20 years now, and it has 220K miles on her. As the mechanic said "After all this time and miles it has paid for its self and she owes us nothing. Every time she starts it's a gift". It was 108⁰ (but dry) in the afternoon, so without a car we couldn't walk around too much except in the evening. We'll be making another run up north in late July for more parts and do a little house sitting for our friends Jennifer and Dean.

We're trying to keep busy inside the boat without going too mad but we're already looking forward to leaving in November.

It's going to be a long summer.

The picture is of the beach off of Paseo (avenue) Clausen with the Mazatlan skyline behind. There are statues all along the city beaches throughout Mexico.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Settling into Mazatlan

Morning in Paradise

Another morning in paradise.

We made it back to Mazatlan and have started to settle in for the summer. We’re looking forward to the 5 months of heat and tied to a dock, well, not really. We both enjoy being on anchor rather than in a marina but during the hurricane season, and the summer heat, you need to be in a marina for the protection and electricity so you can run the a/c. At least we have our car so we can explore the city and area and get to the grocery store without having to walk a great distance.

While were here we will get some projects done and order some items that we can pick up in Tucson. There are skilled workman here so we can get help with some of the larger projects and things we just can't manage on our own. We'll try to post some pictures as we go along.

Marina life seems to stifle the adventure of boating. You get to work on the boat without the pleasure of using the boat.

One feature of marina life is we now have internet via WiFi, it's a slow but functional connection. The downside of being on the internet is that you're exposed to all the sad and depressing stories of what is going on in the world. Life in the US seems to be a drag and we're glad we're here and not struggling up north. We watched an episode of Saturday Night Live the other night and didn't get most of the jokes. It just didn't make any sense to us and we realized just how out of touch we are with contemporary life in the US. It just reinforces to us how lucky we are to be doing what we're doing.

Here’s where we went during the last 6 months,

Arrival Date Place Lat/Lon Location
1/23/13 Marina Mazatlan 23.270617 N 106.454600 W
2/25/13 Punta de Mita 20.764783 N 105.515417 W
2/26/13 Marina Vallarta
3/6/13 Punta de Mita 20.760133 N 105.521433 W
3/7/13 Chamela 19.582583 N 105.130950 W
3/12/13 Tenacatita 19.302400 N 104.835550 W
3/17/13 Barra de Navidad - Lagoon 19°11.462'N  104°40.362'W
3/19/13 Barra de Navidad - Marina 19.195200 N 104.682017 W
3/22/13 Ensenada Carrizal 19.096400 N 104.437700 W
3/25/13 Santiago Bay 19.108967 N 104.393967 W
3/29/13 las Hadas 19.102400 N 104.343600 W
3/30/13 Santiago 19.109683 N 104.395183 W
3/31/13 Tenacatita 19.299217 N 104.837783 W
4/6/13 Barra de Navidad - Marina 19.195200 N 104.682017 W
4/18/13 Tenacatita 19.298417 N 104.838117 W


19°28.342'N  105°03.639'W
4/25/13 La Cruz – Anchorage 20°44.891'N  105°22.136'W
4/26/13 La Cruz - Marina 20°44.920'N  105°22.690'W
5/10/13 Punta de Mita 20.764733 N 105.520400 W
5/11/13 San Blas - Matanchen Bay 21.517183 N 105.241800 W
5/13/13 Stone Island - Mazatlan 23°10.910'N  106°24.545'W
5/14/13 Marina Mazatlan 23.270650 N 106.454833 W

Morning Commute

The morning commute in Bara de Navidad lagoon.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mexican Riviera


We have spent the last month on the Mexican Riviera bouncing back and forth between Bahia Tenecatita and Manzanillo with stops in Barra de Navidad Marina (twice) and lagoon, Ensenada Carrizal, Santiago Bay (twice), and Las Hadas. We arrived in this area in the middle of March and the cruising season had already started to come to an end and most of the boats had left to head north into the Sea or south to Central America. We were in this area 3 years ago at the height of the season and all of the bays were packed with boats so it was nice this time to have some space. We were in Manzanillo and Santiago during 'Semana Santa', Easter week and the beaches were packed with people with jet skies and water skiers zooming throughout the bays.

Highlights -

Barra de Navidad - This town is full of decadent treats for boaters.

First is the French Baker, an honest to goodness Frenchman who has a bakery in town and delivers to the boats at anchor and in the marina fresh baked pastries, bread, and pies every day (except Wednesday). His French Bakery store in town has all of the fresh baked items plus the best coffee in town.

Second, the water taxi system for those on anchor in the lagoon or for those on one side of the lagoon (e.g. the resort marina) who wish to get to town. For 20 pesos each return it is a great trip and adds to the magic of the place.

Third, the town of Barra which is a laid back tourist town with some great restaurants. You can eat here daily and never get bored. It's not the cheapest place but is moderately priced. If only they had a good fish taco stand.

Super Hawii - Mulaque

The Super Hawaii grocery store in Malaque. Get on the bus in Barra and take the 15 minute ride to Malaque to get to one of the best grocery stores we have found outside of a big city. They have Tillimok Cheese, boxed wine, Miracle Whip, pretzels, good coffee, and pickles. All it lacks is a fresh meat dept. It's doesn't look like much from the street but it is a treasure.

Barra Marina

Big Bay Resort & Marina. We never stay in resort marinas but we did this time because we heard they lowered their prices to $.60 pre foot per day from the normal $2.60 per foot they have charged in the past. For us that's $27.60 vs. $120 per day. For that price you can live in a 5 star resort like a rich person without going broke.

Manzanillo & Bahia Santiago

Bahia Santiago is a large, open bay that provides great protection from any weather from the north and some protection from west or south seas. It has great holding in 30' of water and could hold dozens of boats. When we were there it was busy with all of the vacationers but we had fun watching all of the entertainment for a few days. After awhile the constant buzzing by the jet skies became tiring and we decided to move on.

Las Hadas

The anchorage in Manzanillo is off of the Las Hadas resort in a small bay surrounded by hotels and condos. We took the dinghy into the resort marina and grabbed a taxi over to the shopping area and bought some supplies and had a latte at Starbucks. We also went out to dinner at the Paradise restaurant with some friends anchored in the bay. The food was disappointing and overpriced but the company was good. Again the bay was full of jet skies and water skiers and the music from the disco lasted until early in the morning so we only spent one night there.

Ensenada Carrizal

This bay was a pleasant surprise. Located just 5 miles north of Santiago it has no houses or development, just steep, rocky sides with a small beach at the head of the bay. The bay is opened and gets waves bouncing around off of the rock walls but it's like a little bit of wilderness along this coast. There are also some blow holes on the outer end of the bay that are fun to explore in the dinghy and provide a periodic booming sound around the clock.


We first arrived in this area in mid March and the daytime highs and humidity were in the mid 80's but in April the temps dropped to the high 70's and the humidity was around 65 making it very nice to walk around town and work on the boat. Water temps were around 80 in most locations so we swam almost everyday while on anchor.

After 2 weeks in Barra de Navidad at the marina we are leaving to head north. First stop will be Tenacatita for a few days and then work our way to La Cruz in Banderas Bay for 2 weeks before returning to Mazatlan for the summer.