Saturday, February 25, 2012

The outboard is working!

The fuel outlet in the portable tank was plugged. Dick decided to use instead the aluminum diesel tank, but first he had to suck out the last of the diesel (he’d already pumped out the bulk of what was in the tank) - and didn’t get ANY in his mouth.
He test-fired the outboard and (yay!) it worked just fine.
Today, we moved back to panga docks where we hope to be based from now on. The rhythm of our life will now change.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Día de Banderas

Just when we thought the parades and celebrations were over, along came Flag Day. A public holiday, a morning parade, but no nighttime events.
Anchored in the bay, this was as close as we got.  The navy dock is visible from our anchorage.

Conversation at La Superior

I stopped at La Superior to buy some corn tortillas - they make the best in town.
I left my little cart at the bottom of the steps, but walked in with a gift Dick gave me (I’m not allowed to open it until the first day we’re on passage) and set it on the counter. One of the ladies smiled and said, “Oh, gracias!” The other lady behind the counter wanted to know where her gift was and laughed. Then the man got in on the action with a “Yo tambien.” (Me too.) We were all laughing. The man told me he can speak good English. I responded, “Hables inglés! Que bueno.” He said, “Veddy good, veddy good, veddy good” VERY fast and roared with laughter. He demonstrated several times how well and how fast he can say it, but apparently that’s all the English he actually knows.
Having a good laugh with the friendly people of Guaymas just brightens up my day.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Back to 1958

My cousin Glenn in Regina Saskatchewan just sent me these two pictures from my childhood. Dick and I were in Regina in July 2010 for a week as part of our Northern Tier bicycle tour. On the Sunday we went to church with Glenn, we met Clara Scheske Gee. She told me she had two pictures of me with her sons, Ken and Cyril, taken in August 1958; I was 9 years old, my family had gone to Canada for vacation. Recently she found the pictures, sent them to Glenn who scanned them and sent them to me.

Thanks to Clara for this wonderful gift, to Glenn whose advancing computer skills got the pictures to me, and to Thais (in California) who helped me download them (in Mexico). A three-country operation.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

An attempt to get away from Carnaval

On Sunday 19 Feb, we left the marina dock in the afternoon, having decided to go to the panga dock until Carnaval was over. It was a beautiful breezy afternoon, the sails went up, I was at the helm, life was good, and tonight we'd get a good night's sleep. Before turning into the narrow channel, I turned upwind, and Dick doused the sails. We were motoring slowly, a light breeze on our nose. Dick had just said, "Stay a bit to starboard, closer to the rocky shore," to better turn to port into the docks ... and then the engine DIED!   We still had a bit of forward motion.  Dick, "Turn to port!" and he left to quickly raise the staysail.  Although the rocky shore seemed to be getting closer for a while, the wind soon filled the sail, the boat continued to turn 180°, and we had control.  Whew!  We were headed back toward the channel.  Time to breathe, think and plan what to do next.  The engine would NOT start, sail power was all we had.  What to do? 

The most conservative choice would have been to sail out into the Sea of Cortez, far enough away from tanker and fishing boat traffic, heave to and keep watch all night.  However, we decided to sail back through the channel toward the harbor and marina (and Carnaval).  Now the wind was cold and the sunset was approaching.  We tacked back and forth up the channel, took the longer way around Isla Almagre Grande and Isla Almagre Chico, and sailed to anchor. 

On Monday the 20th, the diagnosis began.  Dick decided to harness up the engine.  Tuesday morning he would lower it into the dinghy, row it ashore, and take it to an outboard engine shop.  However, he continued to work through additional possibilities, including
going to shore and consulting with people in the workyard who might have additional ideas.  The outboard stayed on the boat, but the bicycle needed to be onshore.  Best to tie it down to the stern of the dinghy - wouldn't want to lose it in the bay.
Tuesday the 21st:  most likely there's a problem with the fuel tank, at least that's the first thing that will get attention.  Meanwhile, it was officially Mardi Gras tonight, our last NOISY night (hurray).
Princess Arlete celebrating Mardi Gras - what a party girl!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Raining fireworks

You can always tell that Mardi Gras is approaching when the Wild Mouse is being erected,
 four-lane streets are reduced to two as vendors put up their tiendas and the sidewalks disappear to provide ample room for the big red metal barriers which contain the alcohol-drinking venue,
and then the night noise begins.  Several live bands play on the malecón, on stages set up at the Tres Presidentes plaza, and on the street - all at the same time, all at blasting volumes!
On Wednesday night, fireworks debris rained down on a crowd of people, so for Thursday night it was moved to here - the marina's section of the malecón, about 100 yards from the dock and our boat. 
We had the perfect view from INSIDE our boat - a beautiful display! - but there was a wind blowing from the north, and it soon felt like hail hitting our boat.  (Thanks to Jim and Teresa on Pochteca for this picture.) 
On Friday morning, there was a lot of debris on the decks, some pieces sharp enough to cut bare feet, and an unwelcome mess to clean up - especially after Dick had just spent the day brushing and cleaning.
There were no fireworks on Friday night! But the loud music seems to be lasting into morning longer and longer. This morning, it finally was quiet at 5 am. Time to move on?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Boat work on the water, at the dock

We've created a punch list of projects that need to be completed. Dick's list is much longer than mine.  While at the panga dock and anchored out, Dick has been steadily working on sealing all the cracks that have shown up in the deck.  First he cleans the crack, scrapes it a bit, then seals it with silicone from a syringe.
This hole is supposed to drain the cabintop water into a storage tank, but some water has been getting into one of the cabinets. 
Today we came into the marina dock. 
Not many boats here.
The main purpose, now that ALL the cracks have been sealed, is to thoroughly wash the boat.  This has been a long time coming, more than three years.
Meanwhile, my back has not gotten any better, so I went to an English-speaking doctor who prescribed some meds and put me on "light duty" for the next week. No rowing, no heavy lifting, no climbing up and down the ladder into the dinghy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Oops, this special day snuck up on us. The boat has diverted our thinking. When Roberto asked me why I wasn't wearing red, I responded "Why?" Duh.  We decided we could at least go out to lunch.  There are a pair of feet under this pile of balloons.
Almost every store along Serdán had a table of special gifts:
We tried a new restaurant, the Dougout.  It's a cockteleria, which specializes in ceviche. The seafood was wonderfully fresh but I ordered maleficio which had cooked scallops but RAW shrimp.  Bravely, I ate a few of the shrimp, but decided the slimy mush in my mouth was unbearable after a while.  Dick's crab tostadas looked great on the other hand.
I hope your Valentine's Day was a special one.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A weekend away from Guaymas

Last Friday, we decided to get away from the noise of downtown Guaymas. It felt really good to be going somewhere, to snip a few ties to the marina and city.
The view ahead:
We didn't go far - a few miles to what's called the "free dock" or "panga dock."  There are no services here, no water, no electricity.  There is a guard on duty, however, at the main road entrance.  Our view to starboard:
To port, the inlet we entered from:
It was blessedly quiet here which allowed for restful nights of sleep.
There was only one boat when we arrived, a third boat arrived on Sunday.
The road into the marina branches off another road that leads to a fish factory just over the next hill and then deadends less than a kilometer from there.  Dick rode his bike into town on Saturday and bought a few groceries.  Without a bike, we might have to walk a mile or two where we'd be able to catch a bus. 
There were quite a few locals who came over the weekend to walk around, fish from the docks, have their picture taken on a catamaran,
or have a family picnic.  These boys taught me a new phrase, uno por uno - "one at a time" - as they came on board.  I kept saying cuidado, depacio - "be careful, go slowly" - and then they'd jump from the boat to the dock. 
This afternoon we left the dock, went sailing farther out in the sea, and sailed to anchor (no engine!) back in front of the marina.  Dick couldn't stop smiling. 
The city is revving up for Carnaval, espcially along the malecón. The partying begins on Thursday, the parades begin on Saturday.   How long will be be able to stand the noise?

Friday, February 10, 2012

This week in the bay

Tuesday. Unusual weather for Guaymas, fog.  Our closest neighbor, Plan B:
L-R: Magic, Intrepid, Iron Butterfly.  Carol and Kelly on Intrepid are headed south.  Pete and Barb on Iron Butterfly are going a big north to San Carlos where they hope it will be quieter.
Wednesday.  Rain! 
Friday. Alan came by in his dinghy to say farewell.
 Alan and Carolyn on Magic left in the afternoon to anchor for one night in an inlet nearby called Catalina.  Tomorrow they will head south to Puerto Vallarta.

Sailing off the anchor

This week, we practiced for the first time, sailing off the anchor. I was at the helm, Dick raised the staysail. With no engine running, I turned the rudders to do short tacks as we moved slowly up to the anchor.
If we were really going to go anywhere, when we were directly over the anchor, Dick would pull it up, and off we would go. This time, we got to the anchor, dropped the staysail and let the boat drift back into its "happy place."
We'd like to perfect this skill. It takes a lot of sailing skill, is very useful and not often used by sailors who tend to rely on the power of their engine.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Learning to row

Whenever I see another female cruiser doing something I've never done, I think "If she can do it, so can I." Barb on Iron Butterfly rows to shore almost everyday by herself and sometimes with her husband.  Therefore it was time for me to learn.
I liked it, great whole body exercise.  I discovered my back muscles were the most sore after the first couple days.
Still smiling ...
until I lifted something heavy on the boat and hurt my back. Then, rowing only made my back worse.

Monday, February 6, 2012

News and pictures from California

Grandson Avery, about 3 1/2 months old:
Dick's mother, Leta, is in the wheelchair with Perki on her lap.  A couple of weeks ago, she broke two bones in her ankle while walking Perki and needed surgery to make things right.  In the purple top is Aurora, Dick's sister, who has had Leta at her house for recuperation. Standing (L-R) is Julie, Kevin, and Tom (Dick's brother aka Tom the Geologist).  The interesting clothing?  Kevin participates in fencing events at SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) gatherings, there was one this weekend at a park near Aurora's house.  And this from B-in-law, Tom the G:  "At Twelfth night, the event at which the new Prince and Princess of the Principality of Cynagua are crowned, Kevin was inducted into the Queens Guard. He now wears a baldric (basically a leather strap worn over the right shoulder and joined at the left hip) and black scarf tied around the left arm that identifies him as a member of the Guard."
The shadow taking the photo? That's Eric, Aurora's husband.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Around Guaymas this week

A few favorite photos from the past week or so.
Rabito is the name of the boat.  It's docked near the malecón and takes people for a ride around the bay.
The biggest fabric store in Guaymas is Parisina.  After choosing your fabric, you ask an employee (always a young man) to carry the bolt to the cutting table.  He cuts the amount you want, gives you a receipt, and takes your fabric to a holding area.  You pay for your fabric at the cashier's window, your receipt is stamped "Paid" then you take it to the holding area and exchange one copy of the receipt for your fabric.  If there are a lot of customers, this process means you end up standing in at least three long slow lines before you can leave with your purchase.
These boys were having a great time on a large thick piece of styrofoam, but they were on marina property.
In no uncertain terms, they were told by marina staff to stay off the seawall.  Note the broken section of the malecón.  About 4 years ago the malecón extended all the way to the marina, but a big summer storm broke off this section and it's never been repaired.
The Navy cleans the bay of debris: