Haulout, San Carlos

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Epilogue for July:

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We did take Temptress out of the water Saturday morning (July 14, 2001) and  she was placed in storage at Marina Seca (Dry Marina). We spent Saturday night onboard in the boatyard but it was so hot that we decided to move to an hotel Sunday.
It was so hot when Clark was removing the raw water pump from the engine and I was packing, that the sweat would just run down our bodies and pool at our feet. We drank what seemed to be gallons to keep up and we could not work very long.
We plugged all the drains with bronze wool to prevent bugs from crawling in, put bug poison around the boat, covered the windows and hatches with aluminium foil to reduce the sun entering the boat, managed to place all the sails below and left.
Monday, we took a bus from San Carlos to Guaymas, then to Hermosillo where our flight was leave from. In Hermosillo, we were supposed to go to the airport to file a lost ticket application and get new tickets. Unfortunately, Air Mexico informed us they could only reimbursed us (after a year investigation) for their portion of the flight. We needed to find a Delta Airlines agent to file the lost ticket application for the entire flight. It was 4:30 PM, we were hot, tired and very anxious! We had to take another expensive cab ride back from the airport to downtown Hermosillo to find a Delta office, which fortunately was open till 7 PM. The agent in charge was new and did not know how to file lost tickets application but she finally managed to make tickets by hand for our flight by 6:45 PM. We got our new tickets just in time! We had to purchase them but at least it was at the price we had paid for the “lost” ones plus a $100 fee per person and we would get reimbursed within 3 months for the lost ones if nobody else tried to use them.
We got on the plane the next day, flew to Mexico city, then Atlanta, then Syracuse where we were very happy to see Clark’s parents! For future reference, it cheaper and just as fast to take the bus to the border and fly from Tucson to your final destination.
We will be back in November.

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Marina San Carlos

Marina San Carlos 7-13-01

It is really hot in this part of Mexico in July. It is getting worse each day. We see over 100F and nearly 100% humidity every day. We were looking forward to getting in a marina and with the dock power turning the magic switch that starts our air conditioner. Well, we got into the marina last Tuesday and hit the switch and no cool. The unit had lost it’s charge over the last 15 years or so. I seem to remember it didn’t work all that well last time I tried it in Seattle. But I cannot remember when I actually wanted Air Conditioning in Seattle. We have been working like dogs getting the boat ready to be left for a few months. Birgitta has been going a little crazy with all the water available and has been washing everything in sight. I have been helping and clearing the boats decks of everything. I did some work on the refrigeration and readjusted the regulator so the last solar panel (one we will be leaving up) will just keep the batteries happy without overcharging them.

Yesterday we took a short bus ride to the post office to check on our plane tickets. No dice yet. Our travel agent decided to wait till the last minute to send them because she didn’t want them waiting too long for us here. I guess she felt they would get bored or something. She doesn’t know much about Mexico because she believed that the postal service will deliver an express package in 3-5 days. In fact she counted on it. We understand from the local post office that a rush express package is lucky if it gets here in 12 days. So we don’t have tickets yet and our plane is leaving Tuesday. Isn’t third world travel fun!
Anyway on the walk back from the post office we passed a hardware store and on the shelf was a little bottle of R-22. This is just the potion our A/C system needs. So I bought it. But when I got it home I found that the valve I needed wasn’t one I had. I had already checked the hardware store and they only had the gas, no valves. So we were a bit disappointed and VERY hot. But today someone from our dock was going in to the next big town over and picked up one for me. I changed up the AC unit and we have cool. It is so wonderful to come in from 100F and 90%humidity to 79F and 20%humidity. We are in heaven. But nothing good is forever. We have decided to store Temptress out of the water for the period of our trip north and we will likely remove her from the water tomorrow afternoon. This will mean shutting down our wonderful AC after only one day of enjoying it. But at least it is fixed so we will be able to use it next summer.
We are using the rest of today (last cool day inside the boat) to pack for our trip and wrap all our dry food in zip lock bags in hopes that the local bugs will leave them alone. I would like to remove the raw water pump from the engine but we will need it to move the boat to the haul out ramp. I guess that will be one more thing to leave to our growing list of things we need to do at the last minute. I really hope we somehow are able to leave Tuesday. Otherwise we will be all ready exhausted and have no where to stay. We will have to rent a hotel room and wait till this all gets sorted out. Birgitta is at the internet cafe right now hoping to get some mail from our travel agent on our Yahoo account.

San Carlos

Tuesday July 10, 2001. San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico.
N 27 deg. 5′
W 111 deg. 05′

We sailed Monday across the sea of Cortez, from Santa Rosalia to San Carlos. It was a fast but bumpy ride, sailing a close-hauled to close-reach course and crashing against the waves. On the plus side, we did not have to worry about the engine and whether 4 fan belts would be enough to cover 70 miles. Typically the wind should have been from the south but there was a “monsoon flow” bringing easterly winds from the mainland.
Monday afternoon, we anchored of Las Tetas de Cabra or Goat Tits Peak which is a very well named double rocky peak visible from a long distance when coming across the Sea of Cortez. We checked Marina Real, where we had planned to stay and where we were expecting mail, but finally decided to park Temptress in Marina San Carlos which is much closer to town and offers bus service. From Marina Real, it is a $20 taxi drive into town! Marina San Carlos offers moorage on a first come first serve basis but fortunately a slip became available Tuesday. Unfortunately, it appears that our air-conditioner is low on freon and therefore is not producing the cool ambiance we had hoped for.

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Now begins the work of preparing Temptress for storage: removing and rinsing sails, removing running rigging and cleaning it from salt and dust, pickling the water-maker, disconnecting electronics to protect them from thunderstorms, taking the saltwater pump off the engine to bring it to the US for repairs, storing all the deck gear below, packing all the dry food, moving the cushions from areas of known leakage (there are a lot of thunderstorms in San Carlos), cleaning the fridge, laundry, etc.

We hope all is well with you

Santa Rosalia

Sunday July 8, 2001. Santa Rosalia, Mexico.

Before getting to Santa Rosalia, we visited the north shore of Isla San Marcos. We took a nice hike in a narrow canyon where occasional rainwater keeps a few shrubs alive.

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The walls were quite colorful: from brick red to white with yellow and beige to weave a tapestry of warm shades contrasting against the bright blue sky. However, the sunlight is so harsh that it is difficult to capture the earth tones with a cheap camera (the expensive camera does not do beach landings).

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I would have to start painting to capture the beauty of the land. We also visited the numerous sea-caves along the shore. Several had entrances just large enough for the dinghy, but then opened onto open beaches behind the half dome of the cave. When we were quiet in the caves, they seemed to come alive with mysterious gurgling sounds which we imagined to belong to long lost sea monsters. The sound effects were created by waves filling and emptying void spaces in the rocks.
We celebrated July 4th with a dinghy potluck where we exchanged sea stories with the other cruisers in the anchorage. Then Friday, we sailed to Santa Rosalia to meet our dear friends on Long Tall Sally, and to buy more fan belts for our engine.

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Santa Rosalia is an old French mining town, complete with a modular steel church designed by Gustave Eiffel and the extensive remains of a copper foundry.

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The architecture is different from most other Mexican towns, which are typically Spanish-inspired. It is a small town (less than 10,000 inhabitants) with no internet cafe (which is a benchmark for a town size…). But it did have several auto part stores with plenty of fan belts and numerous little grocery stores where I replenished our supply of fresh fruits and vegetables.

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We tried to visit the museum, which is housed in a nice old administration building, but it did not open when my guidebook said it should and the cruisers in the marina said that its hours were few and unpredictable.

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We did get to see old photos of the town in its mining days in the cultural center and the foundry itself is a historical monument which appears open to visitors. I walked around it, trying to remember from my college metallurgical class how it was supposed to work. Most of the infrastructure and some of the equipment was still there: railways, lifts, pots, oven, drains, copper pigs carts, piping, etc.

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Steam locomotives and steam cranes are decorating plazas and streets in the town. Even the harbor breakwater was made out of slag.

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The current industry appears to be squid fishing. An armada of pangas line the harbor and goes out at night to capture the bizarre animal. The squid processing plant is owned by reverend Moon and all the squid is shipped to Korea. You can not find squid in any of the restaurant in town! Many cruisers come to Santa Rosalia on the weekend to replenish their supplies: groceries, diesel, propane, and water. If you arrive Saturday and leave before dawn Monday, you can avoid the check-in procedure with the port captain and immigration, and the fee associated with it. So the harbor was somewhat crowded and there was a lot of social activity at the little marina palapa. It was quite fun. We celebrated a birthday at a restaurant and had a potluck the next day. Tomorrow early, between 3 and 4 AM, we will leave to go to San Carlos. It is about 70 miles and we plan to arrive in the afternoon. And as soon as Temptress is in a slip, Clark plans to plug in the air-conditioner (we can not run it at anchor)!

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San Marcos Island

7-5-01 San Marcos Island Temperature a cool 99F or 38C
N 27 14′ 39″ Sea temperature unknown (knot meter broken)
W112 06′ 14″ assumed to be about 78F

We moved from Conception bay to San Marcos Island yesterday. This is about 20 miles north but many degrees cooler then Bahia Concepcion. The water and air in Conception don’t get out much and just hang around getting hotter and hotter. We planned to make this trip a couple of days earlier but we awoke to a bit of a surprise. We typically didn’t sleep all that comfortably in Bahia Concepcion because of the heat; we would lay on top of the sheets and run a fan to make it tolerable. One morning we awoke in the company of a lot of house flies. They were doing normal fly mischief buzzing around, crawling on your skin and trying to fly up your nose. I was laying there trying to get a bit more sleep when something my grandmother used to say came into my head. When the flies come into the house it is going to rain. We haven’t seen much rain on this trip. Actually only twice since we entered Mexico. Well, once we got up and started our day the weather started changing. First the wind started blowing. It got up to about 30 knots, which isn’t really all that bad, but it came from a direction where we had no wave protection for about 20 miles. Then we started hearing thunder and seeing lightning. Many of the boats in the anchorage took down their awnings and got ready for a wild storm. We left ours up as we trusted it in a blow and wanted to get it rinsed off. Also I wanted to watch the storm from the comfort of a dry cockpit.

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When the storm proper got to us there was a lot of rain. Not a Seattle type rain, where it may take a week to get an inch. This storm got down to business and poured. The rain fell so hard that it knocked down the waves. This was really nice because they were just starting to build to a really uncomfortable level. While it was raining Birgitta (always looking for something to clean) got out a brush and started scrubbing the decks. All the while the lightning is crashing all around us. Dead close and bright even in what daylight filtered through the thunder clouds. Within about 3 hours all was over and the skies were clear and the days heat started again. Needless to say no one moved that day. The next morning, more flies. So we figured we were in for the same. Not quite. Well the wind started from the same direction. And built and built. Then the waves started and built and built. But no rain. Without the rain we got no relief from the waves. They just kept coming. Also during the night one of the lines holding one of our awning struts came untied, so the strut jumped ship. I had a spare for that one, so no really big deal, but the awning is now flopping wildly and we had to take it down in high wind on a pitching boat. During the take-down we managed to loose part of another one that I didn’t have a spare for. Anyway we got it down with no injury or other damage and proceeded to wait out the wind and waves. It was a wild ride. Temptress and a couple of other 40 something foot boats had a bumpy time of it but the smaller and lighter boats were really putting on a show. One boat, Lev, (photo to follow) was pitching about 30 degrees up and down. We both agreed we were happy we weren’t visiting them during this ride.

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One boat decided to take leave of the anchorage and head for a more protected spot during the height of the action. They had just broken their snubber (a nylon line that holds their anchor chain to the boat) and lost the hook at the end. The rest of us stayed figuring the trip would be at least as uncomfortable as staying at anchor. All ended well. No one was hurt and no real boat damage. I tried to dive for the lost strut and had to assemble my huka (surface supplied air) system and do a long dive for it. I found it after about 20 minutes down and then, since I had the gear out, cleaned the bottom one last time this season. I actually got cold as the water temperature at the bottom was much lower then on the surface. it felt really good to be cold for a change. I found that I handled the heat of the rest of the day much easier for it. I think I might just sit on the bottom for a half hour or so on the next really hot day.

Yesterday we left there for here (San Marcos) and had a nice sail most of the way. But we did have a disturbing engine problem. We have a pump on the engine that pumps salt water for cooling. This pump is failing but I expect it will get us to San Carlos (about 80 miles from here across the Sea). Problem is that it is leaking sea water over the engine and appears to have caused rust on the pullies. This rust is eating through our belts. We have been using the same belt since we left Seattle. During the trip it wore almost through so I changed it. No problem, I thought, as I had 2 extras. Well 2 engine hours latter the second one is about shot. Now I am down to only one new belt and 2 little pieces of rubber string to get me the rest of the way. I plan to try to polish the pullies and just hope the belts last.

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Tomorrow we will be going about 10 miles to Santa Rosalia, where I will to the polishing and change to my last new belt. If that fails I will turn off the alternator to lighten belt loads and hope for the best. The belt drives the alternator which provides power but we can make power with our solar panels and can get by without it. It also drives the pump that pumps fresh water through the engine to keep it cool (just like in a car engine). We can’t run the engine at all without that, so this could be serious. Well we will hope for the best. Might have to get creative with duct tape and hope for good winds.

We plan to make the crossing to San Carlos this Monday at about 4am and get there Monday afternoon. Then put the boat in a marina and turn on the air conditioning!!! We understand that it can be as hot as 120 over there in San Carlos. We will then have about a week to remove the damaged pump and put the boat in storage mode for our trip north. At this stage we are both looking forward to a vacation from our trip for a while. Just getting too hot down here and a change of lifestyle will be nice.