Monday, February 29, 2016

House cleaning cruiser style.

You wash windows and scrub floors.  Onboard we do the same with a few other tasks added in to protect against the damaging affects of the sun and salt water.  Today was stainless polishing day.  Here's a quick peek.  I know, kind of boring...but it's what we do.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

A pictorial look at Chacala.

Chacala's gateway to the bay.

 Bigfoot south of the border.

 "A gnarly wave curling overhead dawg"

 At the fish market

 10 pesos showers, 5 pesos to use the bathroom and you can even rent a table and chairs.  A  bargain!

 Mexicans are colorful people.

 Mariachi band wandering the beach with the ice  cream man in tow.

A typical ending to the day.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

SV Rage lost on the rocks.

About a week ago we took a trip over to Los Arcos on the other side of the bay with some friends off of SV Espiritu.  Upon returning we dropped the anchor in La Cruz among 30 or so other boats.  The wind was blowing around 20+ knots as it typically does here in the bay in the afternoons.  Along with the strong winds we also had a large swell rolling through the anchorage.

Just after getting settled Marne looked out and saw the 40' SV Rage very near the rocky beach behind us.  It was obvious that she had broken off her anchor line and was drifting into danger with no one aboard.  I immediately jumped in the dinghy and headed that way.  By the time I got to the boat, along with 2 or 3 other cruisers in dinghies, Rage was already lodged on a large rock about 100 yards off shore and with each swell she was being lifted 5-6' off of the rock then slammed back down as the swell past.  It was a gut wrenching sound.

Dinghies rushing to help...

Within minutes she had dislodged from that rock but was pushed further into shore, lying on her side on the rocks with each swell adding more damage to her hull.  It was immediately apparent that there was nothing we could do.  The owners, who were on land, were contacted and came out to helplessly watch their boat get destroyed on the rocks by the pounding surf.

Over the next few days many, many volunteers came out to help them recover as much as they could from the vessel, forming fire lines passing items hand to hand through the surf and onto the shore.  I was busy with the fridge situation but Marne volunteered and spent several hours in the surf with the others doing what they could to help the owners.

Marne and the others in the fire line.

Rage is still on the rocks and has been declared a total loss.  In the next few days she will be cut apart, taken on land piece by piece and disposed of .  All of us here in the area feel so bad for them and send our deepest condolences for their immense loss.

Life changes quickly so enjoy every moment and take nothing for granted.

SV Liahona
Bret and Marne

Friday, February 19, 2016

Cool change.

Don the fridge man helping solve the fridge problem.

After several weeks, actually more like 2-3 months, of frustrating times chasing down possible problems with our refrigeration system, it appears that we have it all put to bed.  Long story short is that there was an unknown blockage in the system, most likely in the capillary tube, that we blew out with about 300 psi of nitrogen then welded a filter/dehydrator in the loop to prevent future blockages and finally recharged the entire system.  That was about 4 days ago and since it has been running like a charm.  We are so glad to have that nagging problem behind us.

We are now anchored in Punta de Mita, a small surf town at the far northwest end of Banderas Bay.  We will hang out here for a couple days then head north toward Chacala and Matanchen Bay looking for more surf over the next week to ten days.  After that we come back down to the Puerto Vallarta area to pick up Marne's sister and niece.  Life is good.

SV Liahona
Bret and Marne

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Refrigeration problems.

It is a boat and I have to remind myself that problems, large and small, will always be there.  We often hear that the definition of cruising is working on your boat in exotic locations.  It is pretty true. The current challenge is the refrigeration system.  Last season it worked flawlessly.  This season has been a bit of a roller coaster.  The positive side is that we have yet to be completely without it even though we have suffered several bouts of it not working as efficiently as it should or when it quit all together it was only for a few hours.  However, the refrigeration system is not one that we really want to go without and so it is not a project we can put off until we have nothing do to at some day in the future.

After leaving San Carlos back in October it worked perfectly for about 2 months when it started being much less efficient than it should be.  Efficiency is important because it takes electricity that we have to produce ourselves in order to run it.  Over the last couple of months it has been an on again off again affair...which costs me sleep and is probably taking years off of my life from all of the anxiety and stress.

Yesterday we had a refrigeration guy onboard and he says everything is working as it should.  I know from past experience on this boat that it is NOT working as it should, no matter what all of the numbers tell him.  Today I have taken things into my own hands and am monitoring the system carefully charting the cooling rates, warming rates, amperage usage, as well as high and low pressure readings from the refrigeration guages that I borrowed and have connected to the system.  Hopefully I will be able to understand the possible problem better.

Friday we have another refer guy that will come aboard and hopefully give us a fresh and informative second opinion on what might be going on.  As for now...I monitor, stress and look forward to the day (hopefully very soon), that the refrigeration system is not one that I have to worry about on a minute to minute basis.

I will update later.  Ciao for now.

SV Liahona
Bret and Marne

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Tulum, marriage and cenotes in Quintana Roo and a quick trip to Belize.


Lunch with the newlyweds, Jeff and Karla.

I know, right?  Who writes a title that long?  Well, I kind of had to because it has been so long since I have made a blog post.  Sorry, it has been a busy couple of weeks.  My sister, my only and MUCH older sister (she always loves that), got married on Feb. 1st in Cancun so Marne and I took a flight over to the Caribbean side to take part in the festivities.

Cenote in Quintana Roo

Cenote diving with Rawly, Aven, Marne and the Captain.
(click on this link to see the video that Rawly did)

While we were there we drove out to a cenote in the state of Quintana Roo (very close to Cancun). Cenotes, or sometimes spelled xenotes, are cavernous underground, fresh water rivers and caves that flow sometimes on the surface and sometimes far underground.  The Maya regarded them as holy waters and they were definitely an important part of the civilization here on the Yucatan peninsula.  They are amazing!  Crystal clear water surrounded by lush jungle.  As you approach it appears to simly be a really nice swimming hole.  However, once you jump in, and if you are daring enough to freedive down some dark sketchy tubes, you will be rewarded with light at the end of the tunnel (most of the time) that will have you finding the surface far from the spot where you dove down.  Honestly, how beautiful they are is hard to describe with words.  Go to YouTube and look up Cenote diving in Yucatan.

One of our spare days Marne and I drove down to the ruins of Tulum, a complex of Mayan ruins that sits right on the aqua blue coast of the Caribbean.  They are incredibly beautiful but somewhat encumbered with the vast amount of tourists that come to view them.

As we cruise in Mexico we have a visa that allows us to be in the country for 6 months.  That creates an obvious problem if you plan to stay in the country for 9 months as we are doing this year.  You cannot get it renewed at a consulate. You must leave the country and then return in order to get a new visa.  One afternoon about 2pm we were looking at a map for things to do and we noticed that the Belize border was not that far away.  So a quick and last minute decision was made to drive Karla's rental car the 3-4 hours to Belize, cross the border and then re-enter to take care of our visa problem. It was a long trip but we got what we went there for and then headed back north to Cancun.

On the way home we decided to stop at a local, side of the road taco place to grab some dinner.  They had various cuts of meat (that is a pleasant way of saying a variety of body parts) but they were all borrego...goat.  I know it doesn't sound good but we had some at a flea market in Santiago and they were delicious.  We decided to go with the tongue tacos and were a bit surprised when the gal brought out a complete, boiled goat head, cut the tongue out and then chopped it up and slapped it on the tortillas.  A bit graphic before eating but hey, we are in Mexico!  I wouldn't say they were delicious but they were pretty good and they did the trick!

The trip back to Puerto Vallarta was riddled with a total of 6 hours of delayed flights and then finally a taxi ride to La Cruz where we arrived at 1:30am, about 5 hours late for our dinghy ride out to the boat.  So we had no way to get back to the boat unless we wanted to make the 1/2 mile swim at 2 in the morning. The night guard was kind enough to let us into the La Cruz yacht club building where we attempted to sleep on the floor in the VIP room.  The VIP room is air conditioned VERY well.  Laying on the floor with only a t-shirt and shorts we felt like we were trying to sleep in a meat locker!  Many times necessity is the catalyst of ingenuity so we gathered all of the seat cushions from around the room and stacked them on top of us for some insulation.  They worked quite well but sleep definitely evaded us that night.  It was a LONG day!

We are happy to be home here on the boat anchored in La Cruz.  We will hang out here for a few days to take care of some projects then we will most likely head north a bit to look for some surf.

Ciao for now.

SV Liahona
Bret and Marne