This blog is about planning and preparation for a circumnavigation of the world in a 39-foot sail boat followed, hopefully, by a diary of the actual circumnavigation. You can track the progress of Pachuca by visiting http://www.pangolin.co.nz/xtras/yotreps/tracker.php?ident=VNW5980
Saturday, July 31, 2010
I visited Seamar this morning. On the way I met Ken who confirmed that the boat that I had seen leaning over and aground at the Magote sand bar was indeed "Footprints", that large ferro cement hulk that Arnold and I had reported as dragging anchor shortly after we arrived in La Paz. After our second call that the boat was dragging a man got on the VHF radio and gave me nonsense about long anchor rode scopes, "La Paz Waltz", and if it dragged another 100 yards to call him back. La Paz or no La Paz we knew a boat dragging anchor when we saw it. Later that boat was to threaten Pachuca when the seasonal winds changed from North to South and the catamaran "PuttyCat" had to tow my engineless boat out of harms way. I took perverse joy at the vindication of seeing that hulk on the sand bar where it belongs. The boat has not sunk and is no longer threatening others, but on the other hand it is ready to be pushed across the bar when the next hurricane visits and cause devastation to boats riding out the storm at the Magote anchorage.
At Seamar I purchased a sheet of insulation for my engine compartment at a disgusting price of about $100 USD. But it is well made layered thermal and sound insulation material 1/2" thick which will give me an opportunity to replace the insulation that forms the ceiling of the engine cover, which started to give way and drop into the engine as I approached Tahiti. In Tahiti I did an emergency fix using a tube of adhesive that mercifully held until the present day. Now that the engine cover is upside down on the main cabin table I will be able to replace that insulation with gravity working for me instead of against me. I have also purchased 20 stainless steel screws with bit washers to help with the bonding.
Anyway, it was suggested that I use a spray on contact cement produced by 3M and I was told that I would find it at Home Depot, which was near WalMart. When I returned to the apartment I told Brenda that I was headed for WalMart and Home Depot by bus. Brenda agreed to go with me.
While I had been at the marina Brenda had done some exploring and discovered a very nice carniceria where she purchased some fillet steak which turned out to be superb: tender, like eating cake, and very tasty. She then visited a "mini super mercado" and found that they carried yoghurt and cheese. So between the local stores and the nearby Bravo market we are within walking distance of most of our fresh and dry supplies. I can state without hesitation that I have never lived in a place with such a variety of fresh food. The fish is really fresh, probably caught the day before. The beef is outstanding as is the pork and chicken. And the scope of fresh - really really fresh - fruit and vegetables is amazing.
We figured that we could catch a bus at Serdan, which is about 2 blocks away past Revolucion. We set out and ran into Teresa, the apartment manager, who was sweeping outside of the building. She confirmed that Serdan was the place. We got to Serdan, which runs one way, and crossed it to catch the bus Australian style on the wrong side of the street. A helpul lady told us to go to the other side of the street just as we saw a bus which had WalMart as one of its destinations go by. We were forced to wait for another group of traffic to go by before crossing and saw another WalMart bus go by. When we got to the other side we had to wait maybe 5 minutes for the next bus.
There is no bus schedule published for La Paz, and there are very very few bus stops, but know I appreciate why. There are so many buses that you don't need a schedule. As far as bus stops go, you can hail one anywhere and they will stop. You can also get off anywhere you want. As I am learning about the Mexican way, the "disorder" carries a dimension of freedom that is novel to me and refreshing. (Another example: zoning laws are lax and you can build whatever you want how you want it and for whatever purpose. From the order and tidiness point of view that isn't good, but from the personal freedom point of view it is great!)
We got on the no. 4 bus (no. 38 is the other one) and did a tour of the residential areas and got off at WalMart which is near the aeropuerto about 20 minutes later. The WalMart had the "look 'n feel" of all other WalMarts and soon I was able to find a couple of shorts that actually fit me and didn't reach below my knees. Then we purchased other targets of opportunity such as raisins and two 1-liter casks of red wine.
Friday, July 30, 2010
The road between La Paz and Loreto was outstanding: fairly new with a superb surface and extremely well marked with all of the safety features. The second half of the journey was particularly interesting as the road snaked through the rugged hills, emerging at the other end with a good view of Puerto Escondido, an anchorage for boats visiting the Loreto area.
Before reaching Loreto we turned left and took a road back up into the hills to San Javier Mission, founded in the late 17th century (http://bajaquest.com/sidetrips/sidetrip01.htm). The road to San Javier used to be little more than a goat track - so bad that travellers used the river bed for several kilometers before being forced onto the road. Fortunately the Mexican government is 2/3 of the way to building a modern paved road to the mission, so we were spared the worst of the rough roads.
Soon we came to a surprise. Deep into these dry sunburnt hills that haven't seen rain since last November we came across a flowing river. The seasonal water percolates through the rock for months providing this lifeline to man, beast, and flora. We drove on and were soon at the San Javier Mission, nothing less than an oasis of humanity in these harsh hills that remind me of the Pilbara region of northwest Western Australia.
Larry had a fairly deep connection to the area because he had lived with and helped over several years one of the local families. The father had died and the mother was in a nearby town but he was able to find one of the daughters and see her young sons for the first time. He then went to the police station to be reunited with her husband Jose. By then Brenda and I had finished walking tour of the town and Larry found me at the cafe having a cold beer (of course) and introduced me to Jose. They settled down with Coca Colas and we had a nice chat.
We then drove back down to the coast and did a car tour of Loreto, with its good beaches and good views of Coronado and El Carmen islands. We then parked the car, visited the church consecrated in 1697, and had dinner - well, some of us did. Brenda and I had fish tacos but Larry was not hungry. (No wonder he is so slim.)
Brenda and I arrived back at the hotel at midnight tired but happy for the experience.
At 9 AM I was back at the boat to find Neil and Joel discussing the project. Neil said that everything is going well. I asked how many layers of fiberglass have been laid down and just them Salome showed up and confirmed that he had laid on 2 layers. I went into the boat to get a fresh shirt and showed Salome the two gauges that he could use to confirm my measurements when he cut the holes in the instrument panel. I then headed for Eco Naviera and ran into Neil and Joel again where we engaged in a discussion of the bolts that would be used on the steel angle iron. Even what looks like a simple thing like putting in bolts needs planning to avoid difficulties with fitting and clearance. They had done their work well and discussed the traps and workarounds with me.
I then walked over to Eco Naviera and met - Ricardo, I think - and soon we were on our way to the immigration office. I made about six signatures the 5 minutes later gave prints of both thumbs. Ten minutes after that I had my FM3 card. I am now a temporary non-immigrant resident of Mexico for a period of one year, renewable for up to another 4 years. The FM3 card (http://www.mexperience.com/liveandwork/immigration.htm) entitles me to "basic" hospital care. "You mean like a broken arm?" I asked Ricardo. He responded that yes, precisely that sort of thing.
Afterward I dropped by the morning coffee group and showed them my card in which there was considerable interest because it is a new style of card. Then I went by the boat where Salome was going full pelt with his fiberglass work and didn't need interruptions from me, so I walked back to the apartment, opened the door to see a tidy and cool place, turned on the air conditioner, then cracked a beer feeling pretty good about how everything is going.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
It did not take Brenda long to discover that there are humming birds in the large old flowering tree that reaches to our balcony. Today while enjoying our coffee on the veranda one of the humming birds did his feeding thing no more than 10 ft from us. They seem to have adapted to city life and are oblivious of humans. The humming birds share the tree with hordes of bees buzzing around the blossom.
The apartment building looks like something from the 1960's. It has seen better days and the owner has been running it like a hotel, renting the units for short term. So it isn't exactly the Ritz but we like the setting, the spaciousness, the feeling of security, proximity to the marina and city center, and the creature comforts that we require. I'll publish photographs over the next few days.
I met with Neil this morning to settle accounts with Mercedes for his second bout of carpentry work. The charge was less than 3000 pesos which I consider great value. Neil had visited the boat and discussed the fiberglass work with Salome and his partner. The engine mounts will be completely fiberglassed from the bilge on the inside, over the top and to the hull on the other side. Salome is to work toward an inside measurement between the mounts of 12.75" with a 12.5" minimum.
They went to the cockpit and discussed the job of making the recessed engine instrument panel. They soon realized that making the panel a little bit longer would eliminate the need to fill in any of the holes left from the previous instruments. I enthusiastically approved the idea. The accompanying photo shows the engine mounts after the first round of fiberglassing. Note the plyboard in the insides of the mounts to bring the gap to specifications and to square off the corner.
Tomorrow Brenda and I will become tourists. At the hotel we became friends with Larry, who has been a regular visitor to Laz Paz and really loves the area. We are going to share expenses to rent a car which he will drive to Loretto and beyond to a mission in the hills where he has friends. Brenda and myself will have the benefit of a knowledgeable tour guide who loves to talk about the area (and everything else). ... And to Brenda he has guaranteed the sights of road runners and coyotes (and who knows what else). This is a sneak photo that I took of Larry in a contemplative mood under the palapa.
I returned to the boat yard to capture some more photos of the Falmouth Cutters. As fate would have it Mike's Narwhal, hull no. 1, was placed next to another Falmouth Cutter 22 in need of much TLC. Is there a young and energetic Romantic out there interested in a project?
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Over the last 10 days we have become acquainted with Juan, part of the 3-man crew of a large commercial catamaran that they brought over from Los Cabos for repairs. The company has put them up at this hotel but Juan hit the streets last week to find something cheaper for a 4-day visit from his wife and son. He found a set of apartments that proved so good for him and his family and were so much cheaper than this hotel that he obviously felt compelled to enlighten us and help us to save mucho dinero.
The numbers were compelling. At this hotel we are paying $330 USD or about 4125 pesos per week. An apartment was available at 3500 pesos per calendar month. That's less than $9.50 USD per day. The pricing structure was strange: 2 weeks for 3750 pesos or one month for 3500 pesos. (Duh, let me think about that one for a while.)
This morning Juan took Brenda and myself to the apartment building and it was as he had said. The apartments are fully furnished, with air conditioning and TV (no Internet but we have our Telcel dongle). Our apartment is on the third (top) floor at the end of the wing with pleasant views among some trees. On the other side of the apartment we have a street view. Theresa the manager then took us down to the court yard where she showed us where to put the trash and the laundry, which has a pay washer and dryer. The apartment still shows vestiges of the hotel that it used to be because Theresa will clean the apartment and change the sheets and towels at varying times during the week.
At the office I put down 3500 pesos in cash but won't get a receipt until later today when the owner comes around. But to complete the trust thing Theresa didn't count the money until I asked her to.
Brenda and I are looking forward to the change. The apartment is on the other side of the marina closer to the town center. We will be much closer to the Bravo market for fish, fruit and vegetables, as well as the ATMs and other services that the city has to offer.
The one month tenure will mean that we can take our time about moving back into Pachuca and will possibly do our sea trials and still have the apartment to come back to.
On the way back I gave Juan a tour of Pachuca while Brenda went on to see Ib and Yadranka before they left for Mazatlan. The inside of Pachuca looks like a train crash but Juan said that he liked what he saw. We then went into the workshop where I introduced him to Mercedes and then showed him the new Volvo engine as well as the old Sabb engine next to it.
In the meantime Brenda did spend some time with Ib and Yadranka who were indeed leaving for Mazatlan today On their Hans Christian 38 Aeolus to have the first service done on their new engine. The good news is that they expect to return to La Paz in two weeks, which appears to be a change of plans. I suspect that the attractiveness of the La Paz climate more than made up for the higher marina prices, although I did make a strong case to Ib for living at anchor near the marina. Brenda told me that they expect to do some exploring of the Sea of Cortez and will eventually return to Australia across the Pacific Ocean via the Galapagos. It is possible that we will meet at some anchorage during our sea trial.
The accompanying photo is of Capitan Juan Liquidano at the helm of his ship.
Yesterday Juan had asked me if I liked Mexican food. When I replied that I love it he invited Brenda and myself to his home for dinner if we made it back to Cabo. I later told Brenda what an honor it is to be invited to any Spaniard's home. This morning he told me that he hoped that we would make it to Cabo and I told him how honored we felt and that we would try.
On the work front Mercedes and Joel were at it again with the engine mounts. I offered to paint the engine beds this weekend but Joel indicated that Salome the fiberglass man was expected to do it. I didn't argue. Why should I, when it gives me two free days for touring?
Monday, July 26, 2010
Soon the fiberglass man arrived with his assistant and Joel explained what would be required. After they left Joel told me that they would be back on Miercoles (Wednesday).
I must say again how really really impressed I am at the pace of Joel and his colleagues on this job. If I've got it right the engine bed should be ready on Thursday or Friday. I plan to spend the weekend painting the entire engine compartment with 2-part marine paint. If I know Joel he will now be working on the construction of the wooden gantry for moving the engine from the jetty onto the boat.
After everyone had left the boat finished the job of getting the refrigerator going (broken wire) but was disappointed to find that after 30 minutes there was no cooling. It looks like that gas leak has gotten worse so I'll call in the fellow who tracked the last leak with a super sensitive sniffer.
I had spent two hours last night drawing to scale on graph paper the recessed cockpit instrument compartment that I have in mind, so I visited Neil in his office to show him the plans. He liked them and suggested one very good change. I returned to the boat for another hour's work of making the change and including a 10mm mounting flange. Neil then made photocopies and said that he is confident that the fiberglass man can make it and will discuss it with him. If we can pull this off Pachuca will sail out of La Paz with flush-mounted cockpit engine instruments protected behind plexiglass.
After lunch Brenda and I went to the boat yards in search of Mike's 22-ft Falmouth Cutter Narwhal. We found it and soon Mike came out to get some lunch. He was a very happy man because the cause of his problem had been found. Mike's boat has the traditional shaft packing gland with the two large nuts for tightening the packing. The Achilles heel of the arrangement is the rubber boot that spans the gap between the stern tube and the rear of the packing gland. If this boot either ruptures or comes loose water will gush into the build through the stern tube. Both ends of this boot must be double clamped for safety. In Mike's case both rear clamps rusted through and the boot came loose.
Mike learned a hard lesson from which we fellow sailors can benefit about checking this area frequently.
To the right are photos of Mike and his wonderful little boat.
My attention was drawn to a harsh birdcall that I recognized - a Cactus Wren. Then the call changed to something very melodic and completely different. The bird making these calls, which looked nothing like a Cactus Wren, then started jumping up and down on top of the post, spreading his wings, afterwhich he resumed a loud and varied concert. I had heard of mockingbirds, but this was the first that I had seen.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
[First photo shows Neil at left discussing the measurements with Joel. The engine support angle steel is in the foreground.]
Joel showed me the new steel engine supports which are 32" long of 3/8" steel with 4" per side. Boy, did they look strong in real life. I've got no doubt that they will support that 400 lb engine with no problem.
I left that session confident that all three of us have good insight into the fitting issues and that I no longer need to worry a major problem due to a misunderstanding.
Joel had confirmed that the there was an inaccuracy in the distance between the engine supports on the jig. We looked at the drawings for the distance between the coupler and the center of the rear supports but they were not provided, which surprised me because that is such an important measurement. Joel went to the shop to measure the engine directly to determine whether it was the front or the rear support locations on the jig that were incorrect. (The rear ones were wrong.)
Joel and indicated that on Monday I could expect either Mercedes or a fiberglass man to build up the engine beds.
Now that I had the run of the boat to myself I began work on removing the old SABB instrumentation from the cockpit. Six wires passed from the instruments back into the lazarette then into conduit up the port side of the boat into the main electrical panel area. I decided to leave these wires in place because they might be useful one day for perhaps cockpit lights. I tied them off neatly at each end of the conduit and labelled them.
This left several holes where the instruments had been so I played around with several possibilities on what to fill in and what instruments to place where. Neil had given me a never-used Yanmar plate that had one hole the perfect size for the tachometer and two holes that would have to be reamed out to accommodate the volt and temperature meters. But this leave some smaller holes and a set of lights that I would not require so decided it best that I start afresh.
Back in the main switch compartment I put in more time trying to find the wire that was supposed to connect the switch panels to the negative bus bar. Hard as I tried I could find no such wire, nor any wire that had been parted. However, I did discover that the negative bars of the two panels are wired in common. I sat there frustrated: How could I solve the switch panel grounding problem if I couldn't find the ground wire? Then came like a Zen koan the question "What was there before there were bus bars?" Then I realized that the two bus bars had been installed in New Zealand so the switch panels must have been grounded either directly to the batteries or perhaps through the engine in some way. At that point I quit worrying about why the grounding to the panels had stopped and decided to simply install a new grounding to the negative bus bar.
During the afternoon while Brenda was making a short visit to the boat a couple passed by and the woman said G'Day. "Are you Australian?" I asked. It was Ib and Yadranka Svane, lately from Port Lincoln S.A. They had flown over an recently purchased a Hans Christian 38, Aeolus, built in about 1985. They had repowered the boat in Mazatlan and had motored over to put some hours on their new Yanmar engine.
On the way they had heard a distress call, realized that they were close to the stricken boat, and helped save Mike's Falmouth Cutter 22'. Two days before he had begun taking serious water around his shaft packing and could not staunch the water. He had been pumping the bailing for over two days and finally issued a Mayday. Aeolus was soon on the scene and Ib rigged up an electric pump with hosing. A tanker came by then a Mexican Navy boat who put a man on board to help him connect the pump. Then Ib suggested that he disconnect his engine raw water inlet hose and let the engine suck its cooling water from the bilge. That helped a lot. Then they followed Mike into La Paz all night and into the next afternoon watching his erratic course because he was barely coherent with fatigue. But he made it and his boat is now at the Abaroa boat yard.
This morning I ran into Bob Carroll whom I hadn't seen for over a week and he paid a visit to Pachuca to see the work that has been done. He gave me the idea of sinking the cockpit instruments into the quarterberth area with a slight upward tilt. I'll see if I can get someone to build a box that can be set into the side of the seat and hold the instruments at the prescribed angle. The box would have a see-through cover that could be lifted up to work the instruments. This afternoon I drew up the plans for such a box.
In the evening Brenda and I visited Aeolus for drinks with Ib and Yadranka. As luck would have it Mike was there. He had made a great recovery from his ordeal and did not look his 75 years of age. Mike is ex-US Marines and the boat is all that he's got. He told us that he seriously considered going down with the ship because he felt that without his boat he had nothing. When Aeolus arrived he was losing the water battle and hanging on by a thread. But it was a happy ending and great karma for Ib, Yadranka, and Aeolus.
Friday, July 23, 2010
In the afternoon I saw Neil who presented me with Mercedes' bill of 5450 pesos (about $435 USD) for 2.5 days of work. That was at the rate of $18 USD per hour and I was more than happy about the work and the bill.
Neil and I then discussed the project. He told me that Joel has already started preparing two lengths of 3/8" angle steel with 4" sides. He then preempted my question of coating by describing the plan to primer the steel then putting on 2 coats of 2-part epoxy which made me more than happy. This will be the only chance that we get to coat that steel and I want to make it good.
We then had a good interaction on the fitting process. My first question regarded the plan to fiberglass the engine beds and was Joel absolutely sure that the engine beds would be either correct or a bit low, because if the result was too high we would have to cut through the fiberglass topping and then do it again. Neil telephoned Joel who gave assurance that the result would be within the capabilities of the engine mount adjustments.
Then I posed questions about the plan to pre drill the steel rails. I had become ultra cautious about everything and had measured the engine directly and learned that (a) the engine mounts were not spaced in an exact rectangle as per the Volvo diagram but had a half inch difference between the left and right sides and (2) Mac's jig was slightly different from the official diagram that he had worked from which I had shown to be not quite accurate. Don't get me wrong: Mac's jib had been invaluable for the rough work, but for the precise work we had to work from the reality of the engine that is sitting in the workshop. I made the point that if we pre drilled and fitted the rails then found when the engine was lowered that it did not fit perfectly - including lining up perfectly with the shaft - we would be in big trouble.
From this discussion came the plan to use the wooden gallows that we plan to build for lowering the engine into the boat for raising the engine up and down for several "fittings". The steel will be placed on the mounts, the engine will be lowered and positioned, then the steel will be marked for drilling. The engine will be raised and the steel will be removed for drilling and painting. I like this plan much better because it is more predictable and sure.
Then I raised the issue of the width if the existing engine beds. I expressed surprise that Joel had not built up the insides of the wooden engine mounts. As it stood the center bolts of the engine mounts would fit just inside of the mounts. I told Neil that this assumed that the engine beds were perfectly aligned because the slightest deviation would put us in trouble. Neil said that he expected that the mount bolts would pass just inside of the turns of the angle steel, leaving enough room for the nuts below. Even so, I said, what about the width of the mount feet? We looked at the drawings on his computer, printed out the layout of the feet, and I went to the boat to measure the gap between the two engine beds. The results were not good: the gap between the wooden engine mounts was about 1.5" too wide. Neil looked at the numbers and agreed that it appeared that we would have to add another 1" of width to the inside of the engine beds. I asked that he and Joel please double check my findings and that will be done early in the morning.
This will explain why I put quotation marks around the word "finish" in the first sentence of this entry since it is quite likely that Mercedes will be back for more work.
In general I am extremely pleased with all aspects of the installation effort. Neil is a delight to work with: interested, involved, ready to listen, extremely responsive, and in a position to get things done. He has invited me to get involved and has made me feel free to do whatever tasks I want in this project. Joel is great to work with and several people have told me how good he is at engine alignment (including Rick this morning, whose engine was realigned by Joel). And the pace so far has blown me away. I've had too many experiences of contractors putting in a few hours then disappearing for days until I chase them down by telephone to get them back. This is different: they are fully focused and my biggest worry is getting to the boat and opening it up before they arrive in the morning.
We then did some strolling along the edge of the marina and some of the streets then took a cab to the beach. In my mind I had expected a desolate beach but instead we found a "fun" very touristy beach full of people and with lots of boating activity. It was a beautiful beach with soft golden sand hooked to a dramatic rocky hill at the cape. Brenda enjoyed paddling in the clear water.
We then took a cab from the beach to the bus station and soon we were on our way back to La Paz via the short ("corta") route. I dozed most of the way to Todos Santos but Brenda saw long stretches of the Pacific coast line on the way. We arrived at La Paz well before sunset and had a pleasant short walk back to the hotel. The walk was short because a fellow passenger told the bus driver the best place to let us off which was much closer than the bus terminus.
Cabo San Lucas is pure tourist and resort. One fellow resident of this hotel described it as "Las Vegas meets Mexico". The atmosphere was totally different from that of La Paz, which is the capital of the state of Baja California Sur and more of a normal working city. The marina was full of expensive power boats - I only saw three masts - which confirmed what I had heard about Cabo being a haven for rich North Americans who came down to their boats once or twice a year for their big game (e.g. marlin) fishing. I recall seeing two ATM's side by side, with one dispensing pesos and the other dispensing dollars.
I've been told that in the 1960's Cabo San Lucas was but a tiny fishing settlement and that most of the population are comparatively recent arrivals who were attracted by the then growing tourist trade. But the area has been hit hard by the recession, and I can understand the struggles of businesses and individuals to survive economically. Having said that, I must say that we found businesses very active in their efforts to get us into their premises and on the streets and the beach we were constantly approached by people trying to sell all sorts of trinkets, hats, etc. They politely accepted "no" for an answer but it did detract from my experience partly because I do not enjoy giving refusals to desperate people trying to make an honest living.
Brenda's Bird of the Day is another dove. This time it is the very small Common Ground Dove and indeed it is common over all of lowland Mexico. It is only six and a half inches long, one of the smallest doves in the world. They seem well adapted to town life and can be found in vacant lots, gardens and open air cafes.
I made 2 or 3 visits myself but generally stayed away because much as I wanted to begin work on the instrumentation I would have caused too much interference to Mercedes, who had enough problems with the dust and the heat.
However, I did manage to do something constructive in the 45 minutes before Joel and Mercedes arrived at the boat to begin the day's work. I wanted to get the electric fan and the refrigerator working to give Mercedes some relief from the heat. He likes Pachuca's water - cool and mineral free - but cold water would have been better. I started off with the knowledge that both the positive and negative bus bars of the house battery system were functioning. I soon established that both switch panels are getting over 13 volts from the house batteries. This had to mean that the panels were not grounded. I ran a wire from one of the switch panels to the negative bar and the panel came alive. I was running out of time so rather than investigate the problem further I set up two ground wires directly from the panels to the negative bus bar and started up the fan just as Mercedes arrived. I tried the refrigerator, which is not powered through a panel, and it did not work. Maybe this morning I'll get that going.
I think that my grounding problem is associated with that monitoring system that was set up in New Zealand. I haven't had time to research it but I have a dim (and unreliable) memory of being told that the system measures the net flow of current out of the bank by monitoring the flow on the negative side. I think it likely that in removing the wiring associated with the Sabb engine I inadvertently broke a circuit. (Hmm, I wonder if connecting two of the wires in the bundle that I took off the 160V alternator will do the trick.)
It was just as well that the boat was inaccessible to me because I was feeling very low and not very productive. In the middle of the previous night I had woken up with gut pains reminiscent of my Tahiti food poisoning experience and I knew what was coming. Soon the diarrhoea started. Brenda was very sympathetic until she got sick too. We had not eaten out the previous day. It had been too long since we had eaten the fried chicken for lunch so we figured that the main suspect must be the tuna that I had purchased at the market several days earlier. We had frozen it then thawed and ate half of it and the next evening ate the other half. From now on we will purchase just enough fish for one meal that night.
While lying in bed I got the bright idea of using my time to apply for the FM3 "non-immigrant" status which will allow me to stay in Mexico for another year (and beyond that if I renew every year). I already had the required photographs. The immigration people had told me what documents I required, and that the form could be downloaded from their web site. I had much trouble with their web site. The English version was hopeless so I was left to pawing through the Spanish version with little success. I got on the Web and found much of the information on FM3 to be obsolete. One site stated that there are "several" FM3 forms. I didn't have time for this so I engaged Eco Naviera to do the work on my behalf. They will be paid about $160 USD for their services which involves me producing all of the documentation and their simply filling in a form on my behalf. Another $180 USD or so goes for the FM3 form itself.
When I went back to close up the boat I saw that the beds were down to the stage where two sections had been cut down on each side. Over these sections will be the engine mounts, riding on half-inch angle steel. They will accommodate the nuts for the bolts passing down from above.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
That afternoon I had a what in my working life I would have called a project meeting and we got agreement on the basics such as the design of the engine beds and who would do what. During the meeting I noticed that Joel was working with some skilfully drawn hand sketches of the engine bed design and it turned out that Neil's father Mac had done them. Neil explained that this is the sort of thing that his father liked to do. After one 20 minute visit to my boat Mac had gone and sketched out the plans and built a jig with little fanfare before he left on an extended visit to the USA two days later. (He is still there.) It was suggested that a man named Mercedes might do the carpentry work. Neil called him and he agreed to meet Joel and myself at the boat this morning at 8 AM.
At 8.30 this morning I greeted Joel with Buenos Dias and introduced myself to Senor Mercedes. I was expecting only a planning discussion with things starting to happen later. I asked for their help in lifting the sliding engine cover onto the cabin table. After this was done we spent 20 minutes removing the engine cover base after which it was passed to me in the cockpit and I placed it on the cabin top. Removing that base greatly improved the prospects for the job.
Mercedes will return tomorrow and hopefully be able to finish the job.
In the morning Brenda exhibited her negotiation skills when she went to pay for another week's stay at the hotel. The occupancy rate had gone up a bit and I asked Brenda not to let them charge us more than before. She did better than that. She told Hugo that because this was our third week of stay maybe he could do something about the charge. Our week's stay immediately went down from 6 days at $60 USD (7th day free) to 6 days at $55 USD. That's enough to fund a fine dinner for two. She followed up that act by going down to a vendor selling fruit and vegetables out of a truck at the end of the drive way and purchasing 5 beautiful mangoes for 10 pesos - that's about 20 Aussie cents each. We had one with yoghurt for desert and I declared it as good a mango as I had ever eaten in my entire life.
The second photo shows Joel (left) and Mercedes at work using Mac's jig.
The next three photos show the engine bed before and after cutting. Note the end grain and the color of the wood.
Then there are the three "lost" gauges.
Finally there is a look at Pachuca's new water line, 2" higher than before. Note that her high stern will be pushed down when the new engine is installed.
- ► 2012 (344)
- ► 2011 (288)
- Expanding Mobility
- Visit to Loreto and FM3
- The Apartment
- We Are Moving
- Work Resumes and Boat Photos
- Steel Rails and Instrumentation Work
- Day 3 of Engine Bay Work
- BEP, ALT1, SHUNT, and QUESTIONS
- Day Trip To Cabo San Lucas
- Day 2 of Engine Bed Work
- Back at Slip 111 and Fast Progress
- Ready for Splash
- Finally Shafted and Breakthrough
- Waiting on Shaft
- Visit to Pepsi Cola
- Propeller Shaft Hiccup
- Sunday Morning Side Show
- Bilge is Clean
- Vale Sabb Diesel
- Ready for Lift Off
- Boat on Hardstand
- Volvo Engine Has Arrived
- Un Dia En La Playa
- Maybe Monday and Small Jobs
- Engine Update
- Boat Transport
- ▼ July (26)
- ► 2009 (376)
- ► 2008 (269)
- ► 2007 (43)