Baja Bash, well almost – Not – but that story later. Predictwind had us in light winds at least to Turtle Bay so with out stops that was our first destination. This was only to re-fuel which we had heard was the most expensive fuel in Mexico. As we passed Bahai Santa Maria the decision was made to head to Ascension about 50 miles south of Turtle Bay where we could fuel ourselves via Jerry can and save a bunch of $$. Arriving in Ascention late we slept over night and would get up early to fuel an head out. The weather window was still good and we might even catch a low headed to San Diego – this meant SE winds and we would be sailing!!! The morning trip to the Pemex was disappointing – they were out of diesel. We would have just enough fuel to get us to Turtle Bay and yes pay the price!!!
Here is the lesson learned on the next leg. I have been using Predictwind for our 12 hour wind predictions and must say it is excellent – I can rely on it. In Turtle Bay discussions on the weather window ahead had other boaters saying that the GFS grib’s downloaded from saildocs were as good. I decided to take a look at the GFS predictions for the window that lay ahead. Predictwind looked like we would get a great ride as far a Ensenada and then we would have to tuck in as the low went by and the winds clocked to the NW, GFS looked like we could make it above the low and all the way to San Diego. Rather that pull into Ensenada we decided to head to San Diego and about 12 miles north of Ensenada the wind clocked to the NW at 25 knots. We had to jibe and run back into Ensenada. The results were, ‘boomvang ripped off the mast, topping lift pulled off the end of the boom, and one of the crew – me – almost going for a dip! The lesson learned is keep to your trusted weather prediction – don’t change decision making until you have tested others first! It turned out the the boomvang had an installation flaw and was going to come off at some time anyway. We repaired our topping lift in Ensenada and the vang would wait for San Diego.
Topping lift fitting found on the deck!
Topping lift after repair.
Where the booming was attached!
Booming back on the mast.
A couple of days in Ensenada and we got our window to San Diego . It took us 7 days including layovers to go from Cabo to San Diego and it was mostly a non-bash!!
I thought I should make a quick entry on the constant job of keeping the bottom clear of growth. Even though we left Canada with fresh bottom paint it was no match for the pressure of sea life to grow. We started in Barra de Navidad scraping barnacles off the bottom every couple of weeks, now up in the Sea of Cortes a whole variety of plant and animal life would like to turn the bottom of our boat into a reef. The prop and shaft take weekly cleaning and every few days we do a little on the bottom of the boat. All this cleaning has completely rubbed most the bottom paint off in some areas. The take away here is – MORE PAINT! Yes we should have at least double coated our boat before heading south and if possible smuggle some higher copper content paint from the US. At best Interlux CSC will last one year here in warmer water, and that is with lots of bottom diving included!
Tools of the trade
Maybe it was aliens setting it off as it sat mounted by the companionway.
We had a mic failure on the way to San Francisco which was sending out Distress signals causing the US Coast Guard to contact us wondering what was going on. This was solved by unplugging the mic and replacing it. In Banderas Bay how ever our EPIRB decided that we were in imminent danger and was turning on, then off, then on …. This engaged the full Canadian Joint Rescue Coordination Centre which manages rescues of Canadian Vessels world wide. Lucky our Winlink map on our website had us pegged at anchor in Punta Mita which would be an odd place to set off an EPIRB – we could swim ashore if we had too – so the the Mexican Navy was put on stand-by while they contacted us and we figured out what was going on. Josh sitting in companionway saw the errant EPIRB go off, flashing lights again, so with screw driver in had we took the unit apart to unplug it. The whole event was a little stressful but it is good to know that if we were really in danger, the rescue network really works! Mark and Dee from the catamaran, Speakeasy, were traveling back to Victoria so they offered to return the faulty unit. Kannad the manufacturer decided to replace the unit in time for the Speakeasy crew to bring us the new unit, so all will end well!
The part that caused all the problem
We have been loving our Tohatsu 9.8 outboard. Reliable, light, quiet and lots of get up and go, BUT like all things mechanical they all require a little fixing from time to time. The latest repair saga begins with the Tohatsu making oil – gas was somehow getting into the crank case. A quick canvas of the anchorage resulted in us suspecting a carb problem. I changed the oil and cleaned the carb seeing nothing really wrong. One week later I was faced with the same problem again, sigh. Lucky for us we were anchored in Melaque where my sister (Laurie) and partner (Rob) have a winter home. We moved the outboard to Rob’s shop called the local outboard guru and learned a lot about these engines in quick order. If you have a carb problem that is leaking fuel it will show up in the water coming out the exhaust by the prop. I our case, making oil is the result of a failing fuel pump diaphragm. Finding the problem was easy but getting a part in Mexico turned out to be quite a process. This part can be bought in the USA for $15.00 but from Puerto Vallarta (the closest source of the part) it would cost $90.00. On top of that it took a week to get here, first being sent to the wrong part of Mexico….! With part here the Tohatsu is once again happy. The big take away is make sure you have a spare fuel pump diaphragm!
One of the feed pumps back in service
Yes, all those projects I thought I would get to once we were cruising in the south, with time on our hands, have remained. Once in a while things do require attention. Recently we noticed our water makers production fall off and lucky for us Chris on SV Legacy went to Spectra Factory training and carried a few spare parts aboard. After a little testing we decided the problem was the feed pumps needed rebuilding and yes he happen to have two kits available. With the rebuild kits in hand I had to remove the pumps rebuild them and put them back. The removing and putting back being the hardest part of the job, hot ,sweaty ,upside down in a small space! Now we are making a full 15 gallons per hour of water so we don’t have to change our rich water use ways.
Then the dingy motor – just three years old was having starting and idling problems. Upon checking the oil was being diluted with gas – yikes. This turned out to be a small metal shard in the fuel jet preventing it from closing but took a morning on the beach learning all about Tohatsu repair on the run. Oh and of course an oil change.
Its that it – well not really – a few electronic communication issues, our Dripless Shaft Seal lost lock nuts and started to sink the boat, the head needs greasing and oiling and the bottom of the boat is in constant need of cleaning – barnacles and other tropical life seem to laugh at the bottom paint that is supposed to keep them off!
Throw in cleaning, eating , socializing, surfing, walking, snorkelling … there is not time for discretionary boat projects – yet!
Well again we learn that all things are but fleeting experiences in a “dream”. Before leaving we had collected a rather large music library and many movies, all being stored on a small hard drive. Did I have a backup? – no, the drive was new and I would have to buy another to back up on to; which just didn’t happen. So as you might now realize, the drive failed and all that was on it vanished into thin air. We are so busy with life it has not been missed much except for some of the music. My guess is we will start collecting all over again, around and around goes the cycle of life!
The culprit, they just don’t make them like they used to.
Hurray!!! After a little struggle (mostly my learning curve and a few leaks to fix) the Spectra seems happy to make water. Sue can have as many showers as she wants and we might even make enough to wash the boat occasionally. Amazing technology and it is surprisingly efficient. We are using only 9 amps to make water at 13 gallons per hour which our solar will keep ahead of in the middle of the day. The install of the Spectra 380 is a little cramped on Adesso and is hard on the knuckles to work on but we are free from the need to find good water, this an amazingly freeing. I must say my old brain is constantly challenged with learning some new skill, and the Spectra manual was another of those things. All this “smart” technology takes smart people to run when problems occur, and sometimes I wonder if I’m up to the task.
Spectra on Adesso
Our trusty two year old inflatable, one of the many cheaper PVC dinghy’s made in China, was showing signs of sun damage. That terrible sticky surface including the high pressure floor was like walking on masking tape all the time – not to mention the dirt! In an effort not to spend money Sue undertook the job of making chaps and I put indoor outdoor carpet on the floor for sun protection. Wow what a difference our dinghy looked like it had a new life in its new suit of clothes, but that was to be short lived!
Small patch on the dinghy floor
During lunch on a rather hot summer day, I hear a loud POP! What could that be I thought – then went on with lunch. Later doing a project at the stern of the boat I noticed the dinghy floor had collapsed and even worse, on a second look, determined it had popped like a balloon. Still trying to save money I tried to patch the rip ( a rather large patch ), but alas the floor would not hold its shape. I suppose its better for this to happen here rather than some far off port where replacement would be difficult… however, this represented another ‘ouch!’ to the budget. We decided not to buy another soft bottom dinghy and spring for a hypalon to get the extra life in the sun. Campbell River, Boatland were very accommodating and we now have a 9 foot AB RIB. I must say it is a major improvement: aluminum bottom, hypalon construction, and much better performance. We have named her Amico di Adesso – Friend of Adesso and even bought her a set of wheels for those beach landings!
New AB RIB – Amico di Adesso
Since Adesso became ours the AC switching has always been hard to understand. We have two 30 amp Shore power lines and two AC panels, a generator and inverter. Switching between sources was handled by a Blue Sea rotary switch that was wired in such a way that we could not charge our house batteries with the generator, frustrating. I finally determined that Blue Sea made a switch designed to do exactly what we need so the swap began. What a shock (haha) to discover that the way the old switch was wired – ground wires from all sources to the same terminal, were a melted mess. I was very lucky to avoid a fire!!! New switch installed things are much better and yes when we have to run the generator it will charge our house batteries!!!