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
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
This morning over coffee I continued fooling around with OpenCPN. I dug out my spare BU-353 GPS antenna, plugged it into the Acer and soon had the boat's position displayed on the chart. Then I explored the making and management of routes and soon had routes defined from here at Mar Del Plata to Puerto La Plata and from there to Buenos Aires. It was amazingly easy to define the legs of the route, move waypoints around, remove intermediate waypoints, enlarge the route, etc, usually with drag and drop operations. Unlike the viewer where I had to bring on each chart as I needed it, OpenCPN allows me to move around between the charts almost seamlessly.
The point is that this will remove most of the guesswork from my navigation to BA. I'll have a session with Alfredo in front of the computer and we'll discuss the nuances of the passage and make necessary adjustments to the route. During the passage I'll have the Raymarine chart plotter on to deal with AIS, the Toshiba laptop on the nav table running Dave's GPS DataLogger software for the satellite perspective, and the Acer running OpenCPN for the nautical chart perspective. (OpenCPN can handle AIS but I'm happy to leave AIS on the Raymarine C120.)
Then I turned my attention to setting up the cabling for shore power. The long (about 45 ft) heavy (AWG 12) cable was all set up with a plug for the socket on the jetty. Fortunately the Australian plug for connecting to the boat could be fully disassembled so I took it apart and cleaned the metal sockets with sand paper. However, the AWG 12 wires were too heavy to fit into the Aussie plug so I was forced to put the plug back onto the lighter cable that I had used in Australia. So the problem was to join the heavy cable to the lighter one. I purchased 16 amp male and female plugs to do the job but I realized this morning that the female plug was designed to be mounted on a surface and could not be used in free space. I was about to walk back into town lugging the two cables to show the people what I needed when I happened to see Alfredo who suggested that I simply intertwine the various wires, cover them with silicone, then cover the lot with either heat shrink or tape. I did the join but wasn't too happy with simply twisting the wires together. In my my electrical box I found wire nuts of various sizes that Arnold had introduced to the boat. I used wire nuts and put heat shrink over the wire nuts. That left the two cables side by side rather than end to end. I taped 6” of the cables together tightly, slipped tiny plastic bag over the end, then taped the lot again. For good measure I bound the two ends with a hefty plastic tie so that the joint cannot be stressed if the cable is pulled tight. In the end I had a cable over 100' long with a join that was probably more robust than proper connectors.
Incidentally, I had been careful cross over the Active and Neutral wires because according to information on the internet Argentina and parts of Uruguay for some reason have reversed the pins.
I then spent 30 minutes carefully sandpapering pins on the connector in Pachuca's cockpit next to the companionway that had been totally exposed to salt water spray for the more than 3 years since I had used it last in New Zealand.
Then it was Show Time.
I made sure that the 220V breaker inside of the boat as Off then made the connection from the shore plug to the boat plug. There was no electrical explosion so I then threw the 220V breaker. Still no problem. Then I switched on the Mastervolt 12/60 battery charger, its lights went through its startup sequence, then I looked over to the amp meter and saw that 18 amps were being delivered to the house bank (which was not too hungry because it was at 12.9V). After being idle in the harsh marine environment for almost 3.5 years the Mastervolt and the wiring associated with it were still fine.
The Mastervolt 12/60 is a hard wired automatic 3 stage charger that handles an input of 900 watts at 230V +/- 10% and puts out up to a whopping 60 amps. In a slip in the 220V world I've got no electrical supply problems. The unit was built in Amseterdam.
After a while the House bank settled down to a steady state 14.2V. I checked the Starter bank and it was still at 12.7V. I then joined the two banks using the big switch and the Mastervolt increased its output and soon the two banks were equalized. This confirmed two things that I had already figured out: (1) The Mastervolt delivers power solely to the House bank (2) The Voltage Sensitive Relay (VSR) works in only one direction, i.e. it does not allow charging to the Starter bank when it detects that the House bank has sufficient charge. The other chargine source, the engine alternator, charges the Starter bank and the VSR will allow charging of the House bank when the House bank has reached the threshold voltage. Once the Starter bank was up to full charge I isolated it again because I didn't want to mix charging between two different technologies of batteries of different ages. The House bank is composed of 4x230 a/h gel batteries, and the Starter bank is made up of two older sealed "maintenance free" batteries, no doubt lead-acid.
Scattered around the boat's cabin are three 220V double wall outlets and the next stage will be to connect Argentinean appliances such as a toaster and an electric jug (and maybe even a fan heater if it gets cold) to the Aussie wall plugs. It's quite possible that Argentinean plugs will fit as they are; otherwise I'll put an Argentinean plug on one of my Aussie power boards.
But first things first. I cleaned out the refrigerator and started it up. Then I found a small grocery store that was more like a family operation with very friendly and helpful staff (“Don't take those plumbs, these just came in and they are fresher.”) where I got fruit, vegetables, cheese, butter, bread, etc, and a cask of white wine and two large bottles of beer for the refrigerator (… well … me, actually). On the way back I dropped into a butcher shop that I had been noticing for a while and found it to be impeccably clean with the staff all wearing sparkling clean uniforms. I was impressed. I bought 2 T-bone steaks. They were thin but added up .428 kg or just under a pound. For the steak I was charged 13 pesos, which is less than $3.00. Argentina appears to be a paradise for wine drinking carnivores.
During the shopping foray I went by Delta Computers. The day before I had tried to purchase the WiFi antenna that I had seen the previous week but they were out of stock. They told me that more would arrive today. They were closed but that was understandable since they reopen at 3.30 PM and don't close until 8 PM. I returned later in the day and true to his word the man produced the WiFi antenna that Stephen and I had researched. I also picked up an Argentinean plug for the Toshiba laptop.
Yesterday Alfredo and I visited Alejandro to take the rigging issue to the next stage. We spent quite a bit of time refining the specifications and now Alfredo must wait for a phone call from Alejandro for the quotation. Once the quotation comes in I'll pay then wait for delivery and hope that we got the measurements right - or rather that Alfredo got it right because I had the easy job of holding the end of the tape over the hole at the mast end. I ordered two D1's figuring that it would be good to balance the stays and have the extra spare later. Also, I had a choice between 7, 12, and 19 wire cable. Alfredo preferred the 7 strand cable but to me it looked too rough and crude so I went for the 12 wire cable. It will still be double galvanized.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Martin and Marianne left aboard their Van Der Stadt 40 "Pinta" and shortly after Antonio, Jon, and Silvina left aboard their "Wind Chime", of about 35 ft.
|Marianne and Martin|
|Pinta on Her Way|
Both boats wiil be hopping down the coast making for Ushuaia on the Beagle Channel in the Tierra Del Fuego province of Argentina. From there they will proceed through the Beagle Channel then up the spectacular Chilean archipelago to Puerto Montt. They will be doing it in winter which apparently is the time to do it.
|Antonio at Left, Silvina, Jon|
|Wind Chime on Her Way|
Monday, February 27, 2012
In working with the software and charts I've become more and more familiar with the area and am confident that I can make Buenos Aires with little trouble. I hope to have a session with Alfredo in front of these charts so that I can get a more precise picture of the route that I will take. He's already given me an outline of the route and the only tricky bit is squeezing between Banco Magdalena and Banco Chico, but it will be useful to go over it all more closely. The entire estuary is littered with wrecks, many of them showing funnels and superstructure above the water. There must be over a hundred of them. Scores of them have warning lights above them. Charts and lights notwithstanding, it is an area where eyeball vigilance will be required, unless I am in a defined channel. I'll also have to be careful about where I drop an anchor because I suspect that there is junk all over the bottom of that estuary. (The heavy cruiser Graf Spee must be down the somewhere. I can now see the German Captain's problem: he had 3 British cruisers waiting for him outside of Montevideo if I recall correctly, but with the shallow waters his maneuvering room would have been very limited. He scuttled the ship, paid with his life, and saved the lives of hundreds of German and British sailors. A real hero, in my opinion.) (I found the Graf Spee on the chart. She lies at 34 58' 20" S, 56 17' 55" W, 5.5 miles from the entrance to the harbor at Montevideo. She's marked by two buoys.)
I also spent several hours getting close up Google satellite and "roadmap" images of the entire area (to level 15) using Dave's GPS DataLogger software, so I should be able to see the progress of the boat very clearly in both the geophysical and civil map contexts. In the closeups I could see many marinas to the north of Buenos Aires.
Martin handed back my movie hard drive. He and Marianne were able to download only 30 movies (out of 300) because they are having storage problems. They plan to leave for the South tomorrow and I advocated a quick dash in the morning to Delta Computers to purchase an external disc drive. They were not able to copy their movies onto my drive, undoubtedly because they are using a MacIntosh computer, so they handed me their external drive but unfortunately my Windows laptop cannot see their drive. (Personal opinion: Macs Suck and the world would be better without them.)
Antonio is leaving tomorrow too. I've only known these people for one week and I will be missing them. I don't think that it represents human frailty on my part but rather that they are terrific people and very worthy of being missed.
I also uploaded 3 more video clips to the blog. There are another 10 or so clips to go. Coming attractions includes a tour of the cabin of the boat during the passage.
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Saturday, February 25, 2012
I decided to clean up my act by shaving, trimming my moustache, and getting a haircut. Shaving the beard turned out to be easier and less painful than I had expected. I attacked the beard with my battery powered electric shaver then went at it with two disposable razor blades. I then trimmed my moustache, did what I could with my ears and nose hairs, then set off for the barber shop that I had seen in the main drag, 12 de Octubre. There I was the only customer and without a doubt I got the most time, attention, and care of any haircut in my life. He started off by giving my hair a shampoo. Then he moved me to the regular chair and did his work with scissors, a bit of electric cutter work, and a lot of work with a technique that I had never seen before: going round and round my head using a comb and a straight razor to trim off hair. He spent more time on my eyebrows that some barbers have taken to do my whole head. Then he worked on my ears then finished off by blow drying my hair, and after about 40 minutes it was done. His charge was 35 pesos, which is less than $8 and I gave him 40 pesos regretting later that I didn't give him more. After more than 3 months without a haircut and ears looking like something from a Koala Bear I felt like a new man.
By then it was raining and I remembered that I had left the hatches of the boat open. That was the second time that I had been caught out by the rain and I soon realized why. After almost 2 years in La Paz I was simply not used to rain. Never mind. From the barber shop I headed to Delta Computers on Edison Street and looked at a WiFi antenna. I wrote down the details of the antenna that they had and told the man that I would check it out on the internet and would return on Monday. Alfredo says that with his WiFi antenna he can use the internet from his boat often (but not all of the time.) I then dropped by the grocery store and bought some vegetables, bread, eggs, wine, and a liter of Stella Artois Belgian beer that at almost 1/3 of the price that I've been paying at the restaurant.
I walked back in the rain and had a "the works" hamburger and French fries at the little cafe near the footbridge on the way to the boat. At the boat I found thankfully that I had left the Acer laptop in its carrying case and at the forward end of the table and away from the main hatch. My regular bunk on the starboard side was wet so I moved the bedding over to the port side.
After a nap I headed to the restaurant to do some Internet work. I spent several hours uploading videos. I had planned on telephoning my brother's home in Seattle but it was getting dark, I knew that the restaurant would close soon, and worse, the foot bridge is left open to boats all night and I wasn't sure at what time they would do this. It was raining heavily and if the footbridge was open to boats and closed to pedestrians I would have a long trek around the harbor. Fortunately the bridge was still in position and I was able to scamper across and get to the boat quickly.
Tomorrow, Sunday, I would see M&M about that movie exchange that we talked about, because they will be leaving soon. I would also finally attend to setting up the cabling for shore power. Happily the house battery bank was still at a healthy 12.9 volts.
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Friday, February 24, 2012
The company could not provide stainless steel wire but had a good range of galvanized wire and turnbuckles. After much discussion about the end points of the stays we came up with the requirements and specifications and tomorrow I will visit Alexandro to learn if the headquarters in Buenos Aires has the required items in stock. If they do I will order two D1 lower shrouds and the inner forestay. They will be made up in Buenos Aires and sent to here at Mar Del Plata.
The cable is 8 mm in diameter and made up of 7 strands of wire. It is double galvanized in that each wire is galvanized then the entire cable is galvanized again. The breaking strength of the wire is 5,870 kg (about 13,000 lb), which makes it considerably stronger than 10mm stainless wire, if my memory serves me right.
This will prepare the rigging for sea, and given recent more favorable information about the prospects of sailing to Buenos Aires there is a good chance that I will make that sail and if so I'll have the entire rigging replaced in stainless steel there and keep the galvanized stays as spares.
I've got no doubts about the strength of the galvanized rigging. It is has a better tensile strength than stainless and resists metal fatigue much better. However, given the choice I'd rather stick to the more orthodox stainless steel rigging for Pachuca.
This morning at the footbridge I was approached by a man who knew my boat and asked me if I had charts of Brazil. I told him No because I had sailed from the south but took him to "Wind Chime" and introduced him to Antonio. Soon we had 4 laptops on the go with two concurrent projects: Antonio was transferring electronic charts to our friend's computer and I was helping Antonio with my netbook to track down a problem that he was having with his weatherfax software.
The man's story was a bit sad. He has a large boat - 55-60 ft I estimate - at the end of our jetty. He had rounded the Horn then went through a severe storm and lost his hydraulic steering which led to the loss of both of the masts on his ketch. The boat has been here for almost a year and he will take it north to Brazil and have one mast fitted, then he'll sail back to France.
Then on the way back from dealing with the rigging Alfredo introduced me to an American on one of the boats. When I told him that I was Australian he told me about an Aussie named Ron who got dismasted rounding the Horn and managed to motor 600 miles to Ushuaia. At the age of 55 he met a lady in Brazil and now he's sailing with a wife and child.
This cruising life, eh?
I posted the first video clip on the blog. I was impressed at the speed of the upload.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Alfredo saw me leaving the jetty and called me over to hand me some material on companies that might be of help to me. We started talking about the rigging and he suggested that I look at a boat with galvanized rigging at the end of the first jetty past the footbridge. I visited the boat and I was impressed with what I saw. The rigging looked heavy, strong, with no sign of rust. Alfredo told me that he ran the same set of galvanized rigging on his previous boat for 12 years, then he sold it 6 years ago and now the boat is in the Caribbean probably with the same rigging. He told me that galvanized rigging runs at about 10% of the cost of stainless rigging. I told Alfredo that my preference was for stainless rigging but if galvanized was the only thing available I would be happy with that.
I dropped by the office on the way to the restaurant for an internet session and wound up paying for 20 days at the slip which will take me to 10 March. The charge is $128 pesos per day which equates to about $29 USD or $28 AUD according to the exchange rates of several days ago. That isn't cheap but I've been told that all marinas in this part of the world are expensive. Martha understands that I need a bit of time to determine if I can have all of the required work done here in MdP. Anyhow, the head of the marina administration has not responded on what offer they can make for a long term stay.
At the restaurant I had a fruitless internet session. I was able to connect with all bars green but could not get any service. I saw where I was sending packets out but none were coming back. I looked around and say 4 or 5 people using laptops and I wondered if there was perhaps a throttle shutting me out. I returned to the boat.
Back at the jetty I saw Alfredo and before I knew it I was up the mast above the first spreader holding the end of a long tape measure that we borrowed from M&M while Alfredo took the measurement at the deck. We were measuring the length of the required inner forestay, center of eye to center of eye. "Centro de ojo Afredo?" "Si!". I then dropped down and we measured the length of the D1 lower shroud. Tomorrow at 9 AM Afredo will come by the boat then we will set off to a company that should be able to provide galvanized and probably stainless steel stays shipped in from their parent company in Buenos Aires. More conflicting information for me: Alfredo said that the question of Chinese wire is a non-issue.
I then returned to the restaurant, connected to the wall plug using my new cord, then started up the Acer and got connected to the internet with no problem. The service was amazingly fast and I was able to send a blog posting with several photographs at surprising speed. I will try to send a video clip tomorrow. I then did some banking then attacked my Gmail in-box which had over 300 items in it when I arrived in MdP. I was able to read every comment sent to the blog (a copy of each comment is sent to my Gmail account). I'd like to express my deep appreciation for all of the thoughtful comments and messages that were sent during my passage. There were many Christmas and New Years messages and believe me, they meant as much to me in February as they would have at the time. Thank you all.
I had lunch while doing my internet session (Quarter chicken and fries. The chicken was much too greasy - never again!) I did one last bit of internet work, a search for the prospects of employment of visitors to Tahiti (not good, unless a French citizen). Back at the slips I hailed Antonio and told him that I had dug up some information on Tahiti. On board I passed across the text via a thumb drive (Antonio reads English) and he used the thumb drive to pass back charts this part of South America. On the way out of his boat I pointed to the Monitor water paddle still in the water and explained that this was due to a problem with the locking mechanism that I would investigate later. I did this because M&M had already asked me why the paddle was still in the water. Antonio's reaction was Well, Why don't we look at it now? I took ten minutes to pump up the starboard tube of the Zodiac, throw it over the side, throw in the paddles and some tools, then Antonio joined me and off we went. The paddle release lever was bent but we straightened it with no problem. However, the paddle would not lock when dropped into position. Antonio soon found the problem: a small bolt that held back the paddle release mechanism had sheared off. Antonio needed Allen wrenches and soon I produced 3 sets of metric and Imperial Allen keys. While Antonio extracted the sheared screw I dug out the Monitor spares kit. Antonio removed the screw and the spares kit had a replacement, which I handed to him along with a tiny lock washer. After he replaced the screw we re-tied the severed rope for releasing the paddle and everything was back to normal with the Monitor. That was the second time that the Monitor spares kit had saved the day, and it was over $400 well spent. Soon I will complete the rehabilitation by replacing all of the Monitor control lines and have a spare set at the ready.
After tidying up the boat I went to the restaurant and returned with two 1-liter bottles of cold beer. I gave one to Antonio, who accepted it but not to drink alone. I asked to be excused and told him that I had my own bottle and I needed to get back into the boat to do some blogging and other things.
The shore power electrics would have to wait because Alfredo and I were going to set off in the morning, but I noted that with the sunshine and the boat's instruments shut down permanently along with the laptop during the night, the battery charge had actually increased from 12.8V to 13.0V. However, I wanted shore power not only for the satisfaction of achieving it, but also because it would allow me to run the refrigerator with no worries.
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Here are a few still photos and I'll try to upload videos later.
|Closing in on The Horn|
|Final Approach to The Horn|
|Track from La Paz to The Horn - 84 Days|
|Pachuca at Club Nautico, Mar Del Plata, Arg.|
|The Proud and Relieved Cape Horner|
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
The Aduana was more efficient and professional, except in one respect. We agreed that they would visit our boats between 3 PM and 6 PM and nobody ever showed up. He did say that if they didn't show up they'd come another day, but I doubt it. What is the point?
So now the Pinta and Pachuca and their crews have formally entered Argentina.
Afterwards I tagged along with M&M where we visited an interesting fisheries shop that carries a lot of ropes, cords, and shackles that will be of interest to me in the future. There I purchased an Argentinean flag which is a little larger than I would have liked but looks good flying over Pachuca.
We then went to a hardware store where Marianne helped me to enquire about a plug for shore power at the slip. I had done my homework and drawn a sketch of the plug, showing round pins with the lower ground pin larger than the other two. I even put a piece of paper over the shore plug and punched through to the pin holes to make sure that the distances were right. They did not have what I needed but directed me to another place specializing in industrial electrics and there I got what I needed. It was an interesting shop. There were two remotely controlled access doors and they had to buzz each door open from the counter to let me in then buzz each door to let me out. Given that arrangement and the fact that everything is behind the counter I suspect that their theft rate is 0.
I then walked a block to Edison and found Delta Computers where I had no trouble getting an Argentinean plug for my Acer netbook power pack.
On the way back I dropped by the grocery store and picked up big round loaf of unsliced bread and a bottle of "Balbo" Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 from Argentina. Wines seem to be cheap here. I paid $16.58 pesos for the bottle of wine, which equates to about $3.70. OK, it was bottom of the range (typical of me) but has proven to be quite drinkable. Next time I'll go upmarket and pay $5.00.
On the way back to the boat I dropped by the nice little place by the foot bridge and the young girl told me brightly that today they did have papas fritas, and I ordered my usual. While at the table I struck up a conversation with a local man and managed to tell him in Spanish about my passage from La Paz. I told him about my sail and rigging problems and he confirmed that "Pato" Salas at North Sails can is a very nice man (as several others have said) and can make my sails. Regarding the rigging, he says that swaging of end pieces cannot be done in Mar del Plata and the thing to do is to take good measurements and order the stays from Buenos Aires. (I was amazed. A swaging tool is small and very portable.) I cleaned the table and took the plate to the kitchen to pay the girl and she finally complained that I should leave the plate on the table because it is her job. I got the message and agreed. She asked if I liked the food and I replied that I've been here 3 days in a row, haven't I?
I wanted to dig out my electrical cabling so that I could mate the Argentinean plug with my Australian cable, but I wanted to keep the cabin neat for the Aduana (Customs). So after a nap I hand washed my light US Navy jacket, Musto foul weather trousers, and "Mountain" foul weather jacket. The foul weather gear as served me well and I took great pleasure in lovingly washing it in nicely scented clothes detergent. The "Mountain" jacket had a seized zipper which I freed up with little problem. Seized zippers no longer worry me.
While doing this work I saw Alfredo and said hello. Soon he came over and we started talking. I told him about the horror tales from Antonio and that I wasn't willing to try to sail to Buenos Aires. Alfredo assured me that he has crisscrossed the estuary many times and will show me on a chart on how to make the passage safely. It is very, very difficult to make a decision when some much conflicting information is coming in. Alfredo came on board and looked at my rigging problem and told me that he can show me a really cheap and easy solution using galvanized wire, probably tomorrow. I've got no problem with galvanized wire to get me back to Australia, because I know that it is in fact stronger than stainless steel wire. Better still, galvanized wire is more honest than stainless steel in that it lets you know when it is deteriorating, whereas with stainless steel it is usually sudden death. I mentioned the problem of Chinese wire to Alfredo and he didn't think that it was a problem because the wire used by riggers is produced in Argentina (whatever that means).
I finished the day looking forward to Alfredo's galvanized wire solution and a haircut. Martin had taken a couple of photos of me with my beard and now I felt free to shave it off (it will be painful!) and get a haircut.
Looking a bit farther down the track, I'm thinking about making contact with Pato about the sail work. The man at the cafe told me that Pato speaks English which will be a big help. I'm hoping that given all of the work that I'll be able to throw his way, Pato will be able to assist me with the rigging and electronic work to the point of arranging transport between here and Buenos Aires. He may even know of a local rigger who can take the measurements of the stays. (Otherwise I'll do it myself, probably dropping the good D1 stay and doing a measurement of the inner forestay using a tight cord. The replacement of the upper shrouds is still a very open question.)
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012
There is a lot of substance behind the saying "Let me sleep on it." Over and over I've woken up knowing what decision to make or how to attack a problem. This morning over coffee I realized that it was going to be a lot easier to somehow fit the toilet outlet hose than to run around all over town in a likely fruitless search for proper sanitation grade ("para aguas negras") wire reenforced hose. I started off by giving the inside of the hose a shave. I wanted to change the square edge of the end of the hose to a tapered one on the inside. It took three disposable razors but I manage to shave off the corner of the rubber liner. I then treated result with sand paper (Yep, you can sandpaper soft rubber, I found out.) to make it nice and smooth. Back at the head I coated the inside of the hose and the outside of the outlet pipe with olive oil then lanolin grease. The big moment came and I still could not manage to get the hose to move over the pipe so I heated about 4" of water in the kettle and tried the old trick of heating the end of the hose in hot water. That worked a treat and with amazing ease I rammed the hose all of the way down over the pipe. I put on the two nicely offset clamps then fitted the toilet end of the hose, which was a much easier job. I then opened up the inlet and outlet ball cock valves and started pumping and the water started to flush with lots of squeaking from the pumping mechanism. A few doses of olive oil in the toilet water fixed that problem very quickly. The toilet brush could not deal with the hard crust that had been left by the 3 months of stagnant (but clean) water in the bowl so I attacked it by hand with a new green scouring pad and detergent. (You've got to be willing to get down and dirty when you do toilets.) Soon it looked and worked like a brand new toilet. It was good to have it back, and now I didn't have to sneak around pouring jars of urine over the side. The big outlet valve now opens fully and in future I'll make sure I fully open it every time. I've got the measurements of the hosing that I require (38 mm diameter, 2.1 meters long) and I will pick one up as soon as I can and carry it as a spare because the current hose is top quality, in good shape, and has had the scale beat out of it. (I slammed it so hard on the jetty to loosen the scale that Martin came out of his boat wondering what was going on.)
I've found two good soft rock stations on the FM radio, one in Spanish and one in English. Life is inching toward normalcy. I went by the office today and told Martha that Pachuca is now in a slip. The looked puzzled and said "So?" I told her that I was trying to keep her informed. There seems to be no interest on which slip I'm in. (Incidentally, this slip has well over 3 meters of water.) I then asked about making a payment. She told me that the manager is considering her response to my request for the cost of almost a year's stay in advance. I let that proceed because the final verdict isn't in regarding my going to Buenos Aires, given what I've heard about the bureaucratic hassles, treacherous shallow waters that can't be properly dredged or charted because the bottom keeps shifting, and lack of lifting capability. Antonio told me that Argentinean riggers use Chinese wire unless one is very careful about asking for a specific brand and ensuring that they get it. Given that, he thinks that I'm better off simply replacing the two broken stays and returning to Australia with the other stays as they are. In view of the fact that I would need to replace those two broken stays before sailing to Buenos Aires I may not really need to go to Buenos Aires at all, remembering that North Sails has a loft here in town. Also, I'm pretty sure that I can get the boat hauled out here in MdP. My apologies for inflicting this seesaw drama on the blog, but I want to be clear on how things are evolving.
In the afternoon I headed for the Laundromat with a heavy load of dirty and damp clothes in the duffel bag which I was carrying on my back using the handy straps. Marianne had told me that it was just off 12 de Octubre along Edison (There is also an Einstein.) I went left instead of right at Edison but got to see where the computer shop is, and eventually reversed myself and found the Laundromat. The woman running it was very helpful, to the point where eventually I could see that in future I can just drop off the laundry and come back an hour later to pick it up. There were two machine loads of a pretty sad collection of clothes and towels that represented just about everything that needed washing. It even included the mattress and seat covers had done such a great protection job during the voyage. During the washing I visited the nearby bank and tested the daily limit by asking for 1000 pesos and got it. Back at the laundromat I wanted to explain the disgusting state of the clothes so I told the lady about me being on a boat and where I had come from. She seemed interested and asked a few questions so I gave her an outline of my ports of call in the last 3 and a half years. She lit up when I mentioned Tahiti and Hawaii. I expect to be a regular customer of the laundromat for a while.
I purchased a cold bottle of beer on the way back and in the evening I would probably cook rice and fish. For the last two days I'd been having a brunch at a nice and simple little place just past the footbridge where I order a "the works" hamburger with fries. It is the usual hamburger with also ham, cheese, and an egg. Yum!
Tomorrow I plan to deal with my electrical needs by visiting the computer shop to get the Acer power pack set up and then walk on to an electrical shop that I spotted during my wrong-turn tour and get a cable for shore power.
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Monday, February 20, 2012
Today we moved the boat into a slip. I saw "we" because I had a lot of cooperation and help. We had planned to move the boat into the slip to be vacated by Antonio but Antonio will be staying a few more days until the winds are favorable for heading south. But Martin and Antonio reckoned that there was enough room between their boats for Pachuca so after a short conference we agreed to make the move. I said that because I would no longer be at the end slip I would be able to go into the slip bow first now that I had enough room for the prop walk to push the boat to port as I backed out. I said that I'd be away for an hour doing some internet work while M&M used my Zodaiac to clean their hull, and when I returned I would recover the two ropes that I had set up on posts at the end slip and tie them to one of the outer mooring balls used to tether the boat. When I returned I saw that Alfredo had recovered the ropes and set them up on the mooring and ready for me to pick up as I moved into the slip.
Antonio and his crew were out and I was uneasy about moving my boat in without him being present to protect his boat but the others saw no problem. We released one of Antonio's mooring lines to allow passage into the slip then Martin and I took the Zodiac to Pachuca while Marianne waited on Pinta and Alberto waited on Antonio's "Wind Chime". On Pachuca I gave Martin a quick tour of the boat then he recovered the bow line from the mooring and we motored into the slip with no problem. Martin commented on how easily the engine started. Alberto was by then on the walkway with a friend ready to take our bow lines. Martin picked up the mooring line with the boat hook and passed it to me then went forward to throw the bow lines to Alberto. I threw a line to Marianne on the starboard side. Soon the boat was secured and I was left on my own to make the fine adjustments and get the bow close to the walkway for easy access to and from the boat. The entire operation was easy and flawless, thanks to the help of my friends.
After a nap I decided to try to get the marine head working. I figured that if I got into trouble I could get help from my friends to stanch the leaking until we could get it under control. I was forced to cut the end of the outlet hose in order to remove it from the thru hull fitting, but there was enough slack for me to re fit it. Now at last I could see what was going on with the ball cock. It turned out to be not a very dramatic problem. Over time we had been turning the handle to open the valve across a shorter and shorter arc until we had been using the toilet with the valve only half open. That was OK and we didn't notice a problem until I left La Paz. What happened then was that a lot of scale had come off the inside walls of the hose and collected in a heap at the ball valve. When the toilet quit working I saw right away that the valve could open only half way and I figured that something was keeping it from opening. The real problem was the heap of scale at the bottom of the hose. I removed the hose then started working with the valve, loosening the scale and opening the valve to let water in and flush the material out. By working the handle back and forth I got the valve to open more and more until it was almost completely open and the water was gushing in quite heavily. But then after beating out the scale from the hose I was unable to re fit it no matter how hard I tried. I think that over time they lose their flexibility and probably shrink a bit. I would have to get a new hose. I then spent the next hour thoroughly cleaning every part of the head, including bulkheads and cupboards. Nothing was very dirty because I had not been using the head and there was no visible mold, but it was a good place to begin the cleanup of the boat. I moved all of the bags that I had been storing in the head to the V berth area because it was nice to have access to the head again.
Antonio showed up soon after and spent about 4 hours on the boat discussing the sailing and facilities along the River Plate, and wow did I learn a lot. For one thing the Prefectura (Coast Guard) keeps a very tight vigil on the movement of all small boats. I'll have to notify them when I leave MdP then radio in 3 times per day giving my position, course, speed, destination, ETA, etc. I then must notify them by radio when I arrive and within 2 hours must visit their premises to do some paperwork. They take it pretty seriously and will launch a search if you are overdue.
Although San Isidro and San Fernando north of Buenos Aires are the place to go for the sort of work I need done on the boat, the waters are so shallow and treacherous that I won't consider going there. Even the locals run aground, and they frequently move around by having crew sit on the extended boom to tilt the boat and raise the keel. Antonio was told by the locals that it was safe to make a departure, and a few hundred meters from the marina he ran aground and broke his rudder. When he got hauled out he saw 4 other boats with broken rudders also from going aground. A channel cannot be cut because the mud continually shifts around. Small boats may not use the narrow shipping channel and in any case the spoils from dredging the channel are dumped along either side so that it is impossible to get out of the channel or cross it except between certain markers. It all looked to difficult and dangerous to a visiting solo sailor.
We agreed that the best plan would be to go to the Yacht Club Argentina in Buenos Aires, which is about a 30 minute drive from the San Isidro - San Fernando area. Antonio said that the various service people will visit YCA. But I was surprised to learn that there are no haulout facilities around YCA and I would have to go elsewhere for that.
Antonio also provided me with the names of various riggers and marine supply companies as well as various places worth visiting along the coast of Uruguay. Piriapolis, Uruguay is a place where I could get hauled out.
Riggers tend to use Chinese wire and I must order by brand, such as Sta-Loc. Import duties in Argentina are a whopping 50%. In Mexico for boating equipment it was 0.
There is one more day of Carnival left and then the businesses will open their doors again on Wednesday. I'll then visit the health office so that I can complete my entry into the country. After that I'll visit a computer store and then try to get the electrical cabling so that I can put the boat on shore power. If I have time I'll go to a laundromat too.
M&M will also complete their entry on Wednesday and will probably set off for the south at the same time as Antonio, when the winds are fair. I'll hate to see them go and it will seem a bit lonely here, but Alberto and Celia are still here and I'm sure that others will come.
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Sunday, February 19, 2012
Back to the drinks, also visiting where Antonio, John, and I think Cecilia. I had briefly spoken with them earlier in the day when I had been trying to find Pinta. We all sat in the cockpit around a small table drinking out of magic glasses that never ran out of beer. The conversation was lively and I learned a lot.
Alberto has sailed around the Horn. They arrived in darkness so they dropped anchor at a nearby island until daylight in order to be able to take photos. Then they actually landed on Cape Horn and went ashore. He's got some sort of ear ring or medal to commemorate his visit. We talked about the San Francisco Bay area because he goes there every year to visit his son. Alberto confirmed that on the way to BA, which will be about a 2 day trip, I'll be able to drop anchor in 4 meters of water over a sandy bottom for sleep and rest.
I learned a couple of other useful things. There is free WiFi internet at the club restaurant, with one power outlet. Also, Argentina is on 220 volts of power. That means that I'll probably be able to use my hardwired 60 amp transformer/inverter during my stay in Argentina. If I can get that working (e,g. possibly have to mate my Australian plug to the Argentinean cable) I'll have unlimited power when I'm at a marina, both from the batteries and directly from the 220 V wall plugs in the boat.
And everybody wants to help me bring the boat in, which has taken a big load off me.
First thing this morning I checked out the free WiFi at the club and got connected. Unfortunately I had to rely on the internal battery of my Acer machine and had only about 15 minutes of up time. In the next few days I'll try to find a computer shop so that I can set myself up with a power pack for the Argentine system.
Then I set off in the Zodiac and set up the lines on the outer posts of the proposed slip for Pachuca. After that I took Alberto's advice and sounded the depths of the slip and found it to be too shallow for the boat: as low as 2.4 meters with Pachuca requiring 2.3 meters. The tide was low but not at its lowest and besides a margin is required for swells from passing boats, the effects of strong winds, etc. Fortunately Antonio is leaving his slip tomorrow and after discussions with Martha and Carlos it was agreed that I could move into the slip that Antonio will be vacating, which has a depth of 3.0 meters. (Alberto had given me good advice which was a salutary reminder that it is ultimately the captain's responsibility to attend to the welfare of his boat.)
At 2 PM Carlos arrived on a dinghy with Daniel the diver. Daniel asked what I required and I explained that I thought that the hull was pretty clean but that I needed his services because the club demanded it. He came on board and I showed him the blocked salt water inlet for the engine cooling. The hose was already uncoupled and I opened the valve and only a trickle of water came through. While I was explaining how this had caused the engine to overheat the water suddenly started to rush in. Shocked, I didn't know the Spanish word so I used the English word "miracle". Somehow the obstruction had disappeared. Daniel returned 30 minutes later with his diving gear and set to work. After one minute in the water he surfaced with what appeared to be two starfish in his hand and told me that the hull in fact badly needing cleaning and it looked like the club had done me a favor in forcing me to have the job done. Twenty minutes later he surfaced with the remains of a creature maybe 2 inches long and half an inch in diameter, which he had extracted from inside the salt water cooling inlet, saying that the Japanese liked to eat them, if I heard correctly. He reckoned that it was this gooseneck barnacle or whatever it was that had caused the blockage. (I've taken a photo of it which I will publish later.) Afterwards the inrush of water was even stronger. Daniel cleaned everything: hull, propeller, its shaft, the Dynaplate, the thru-hull inlets, and even the log impeller which is no longer used. For his services he charged 300 pesos (about $70) which I considered good value.
While Daniel did his work I freed the corroded screws clamping the windvane onto the Monitor self steering then greased them with lanolin grease, then removed and stowed the airvane. After he left I completed the task of putting up the stack pack sail cover (without the lazy jacks) in order to protect the mainsail from UV damage. The zipper stitching has failed so I had to use rope to hold the sail cover in position, and will have to use tarps to protect an exposed strip of sail along the top.
I then turned my attention to the engine. I reconnected the raw water inlet hose, checked the engine oil to find it at the correct level and with no visual abnormality, specifically no evidence of water. The coolant level was spot on. I did a visual check of the engine in the light of day and found no evidence of overheating. I then opened up the raw water strainer and removed small bits of some creature similar to what Daniel had dug out of the thru hull fitting. I then started up the engine which sprang to life as usual and watched the normal amount of cooling water coming out of the exhaust. Everything seemed normal and I was thinking that I had dodged a bullet with the overheating crisis. After moving into the slip I would think about the oil and impeller changes.
Then I went to the club restaurant and purchased 3 1-liter bottles of cold beer (They didn't have any Heineken left so I purchased Belgian "Stella Artois".) and spent a pleasant two hours with M&M aboard their boat "Pinta" (hic!).
I couldn't complain about the day. I had established an Internet beachhead, had the hull cleaned, the engine cooling water was flowing, the engine was running again and seemed OK, my mainsail was covered, thanks to Alberto I had avoided being slipped in shallow water, and I expected to move Pachuca to her new home the next day.
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Saturday, February 18, 2012
I would take a load of garbage with me then see Martha about getting Carlos to send out the diver to scrub the boat's hull. If the diver could come either today or tomorrow I would let him clear the blockage to the engine water intake because I really didn't feel like diving in this grey and rainy day, particularly because I would have been exposed to the local strains of respiratory bugs and didn't want to compromise my immune system. I would postpone my move to the slip another day if possible because of the rain. That would give me time to enlist the aid of Martin and Marianna with the lines. The slip was a good one in the sense that I would be at the outer side of the end walkway and would pose no danger to another boat. However, there was the shallow water to one side. Because of the boat's severe prop walk that forces the stern to port when reversing (very useful when used to advantage) I wanted to reverse into the slip to make departure easy. Otherwise when I backed out of the slip the stern would move toward the shallows and I would not be able to move forward until the bow cleared the end of the walkway.
I was using water more freely now, particularly since it had cleared up. I'd better explain that. I had deliberately not mentioned it in the blog, but since shortly after leaving La Paz I have been drinking rusty water with the color of iced tea. In the kettle I could see the particles of rust floating on the surface in thin lines. Sometimes the particles would drop to the bottom. I had no choice but to drink it throughout the voyage, and the taste of rust became very familiar. I was hoping that the water from the port tank would be better when I made the swap but it turned out to be the same. Then within 12 hours of being on the mooring the water cleared up.
I'm not sure what is going on inside of those water tanks. They leaked when I purchased the boat and I removed both of them and took them to Scotty for assessment and repair. I figured that I'd need new tanks. Scotty cut a big square out of the top of one of the tanks and found it to be in very good condition and amazingly clean considering that they had probably been in position since the boat had been built in 1983. The stainless steel was nice and thick, the proper baffles were in place, and Scotty pronounced the tanks well worth repairing. The leaks had developed where the tanks interfaced with the wood supports. Apparently wood and stainless steel don't get along very well. Scotty welded some good strong patches then called me back to look at the results of the pressure test. For some reason the welding along the top seams of the tanks had not been done properly and leaked all around. Scotty re welded those seams and the tanks have not leaked a drop since then. But given that the tanks are of stainless steel and aren't leaking I'm not sure where the rust is coming from. Perhaps it's rust that slowly flakes off the stainless steel surfaces, builds up at the bottom over time, then spreads throughout the water when the tanks are agitated in heavy seas. I will investigate this and try to figure out a way to purge the tanks.
Yesterday I spent over an hour cleaning out the inside of the plastic water jug that I had been using to measure out my daily allocation of water. It was covered with a film of rust and also strands of soft green material that must have been some sort of algal growth. And this morning the dishes didn't know what hit them when I washed them in warm soapy fresh water.
Anyway, my health didn't seem to suffer. In fact, in spite of the physical stress, questionable hygiene because of the shortage of fresh water, and narrow range of nutrition, I was in top health throughout the voyage: no digestive problems, no respiratory problems, no bone and joint problems, etc. The only medication that I take regularly is a couple of puffs of Ventolin every day or two for a tight chest, but even throughout the cold and wet while doubling the Horn I didn't need it. I had expected to have skin fungal problems such as "athlete's foot" and "Jock Itch", but in spite of literally weeks of wearing the same socks and underpants through many hours of profuse sweating I had no problems. I'm beginning to suspect that the modern ritual of daily washing with soaps that contain perfumes and who knows what other chemicals robs the skin of natural oils and flora that it requires for good health.
A few post scripts on my entry to Argentina before I forget. The Immigration man asked me how long I planned to stay and he seemed surprised at the length of my proposed visit. However, after I managed to explain that winter was coming and it was too dangerous to sail to Cape Town until the next summer he nodded with understanding. My Australian passport was stamped yesterday and that gives me 90 days of residency in this country. Before that 90 days expires I can apply for one 90 day extension. That gives me 180 days. Thereafter I can start another sequence by stepping out of the country then making another entry. That will be easy. Montevideo Uruguay is near by, as are many other places of interest. Also, I'll repeat that Argentine Immigration wants to see evidence of departure from the last country. In my case the Zarpe from the port captain of La Paz was of no interest. Unfortunately Mexico provided no evidence - passport stamp or otherwise - that I had left their country. This was probably because I still have valid FM2 residency. That omission caused me several tense minutes of fast talking in pidgin Spanish, and great frustration to the Immigration agent. I advise anyone planning to visit Argentina (and probably any other country) to make sure that they get their passport stamped before leaving the country they are in. I asked Martha what the health clearance was all about. Was the agent going to simply look at me and make an assessment? Martha agreed, saying that even if I looked OK I might have a sick crew on board. Yea I said, like with horrible blotches all over their faces? Precisely. The whole health check thing appears to be simply anachronistic bureaucratic bullshit with no real function.
Brenda passed on a comment from James Blackburn in which he said that he could probably visit me on 12 March if I was in Buenos Aires, and at this point it looks like I will indeed be in BA.
I went ashore with 7 shopping bags of plastic garbage and other items of trash. Martha told me to simply put them in the nearby bin designed for small items so I spread the trash among four of these small bins. I told her that I was ready to have the boat hull scrubbed by the diver and she said that she would tell Carlos. I then headed into town in the rain wearing my foul weather gear and just as well because there was water pooled everywhere. I took a wrong turn and got lost which is a great way to learn about a place. I walked into the cafe part of a filling station hoping to get directions and could not resist my first dose of junk food since La Paz. I ordered a hamburguesa con papas fritas and I must say that it tasted great. I wound up at the far end of the main business street and walked back purchasing bananas, plums, and onions at on small fruit and vegetable shop where the young man spoke good English because he had lived in Boston, Mass. for a while. At a small grocery store I purchased a loaf of sliced whole meal bread and a half dozen eggs. There were about 30 people at the checkout queue and I figured that during the time I was waiting in line I could have kneaded my own bread. I then raided the ATM and milked it for another $500 pesos. I was planning to build up my kitty of cash until I got my new Visa card to replace my current one that expires in March. This took hours of walking in the warm muggy rain conditions in my foul weather gear, which was not particularly pleasant.
Back at the Club Nautico I saw Martha who had spoken with Carlos. She took me to see Carlos and explained again the need for the diver to clear the obstruction to the engine water intake. Carlos made the call and the diver will be here tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon. Before returning to the boat I visited Martin and Marianna. I enquired at one boat about the whereabouts of "Pinta" and they didn't know. The young man spoke good English and told me that they were headed south to sail through the Beagle Channel. I told them about M&M's similar plans and that they should get together. "Pinta" was the next boat over, on the other side of a vacant slip. Soon all three parties were talking and we've been invited aboard "Pinta" for drinks at 8 PM. I would prepare by having my first shower since La Paz.
One of my next steps will be to find an Internet cafe. Until that happens I will be relying on Sailmail.
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Friday, February 17, 2012
The path across the foot bridge led directly to the Club Nautico, which seems to be an all-round athletics club complete with tennis courts, swimming pool, large exercise room full weights and various exercise machines, and plenty of Lasers and other small sailing boats. The marina accommodated boats generally in the 25-30 ft range. Soon I found the shower and toilet facilities, which were adequate and very clean. Not long after that I met Martha (pronounced "Marta", but I think that it has an "h" in it) at the office who turned out to be extremely helpful and speaks English, too.
To start with, I had gotten some serious misinformation the previous day. Sure, there was no room at Club Argentino, but the man could not speak for Club Nautico which shared the same section of the harbor inside of the bridge, and he had no business telling me to go back outside of the bridge. It turned out that Club Nautico might have room. Martha went off to speak with someone. She had heard me hailing Club Argentino on the radio the previous day. Unfortunately when I finally did call her club just before entering the harbor she was not around.
Martha was surprised that I was looking for almost a year's accommodation in Argentina. She told me that the cost of a slip was 128 pesos a day (about $28 per day). I asked about services in the area and she told me that she knew who ran North Sails, who was a member of the club, and gave me his name. But she said that there were no facilities for having the boat lifted out of the water. I knew better an pressed her. She told me that I might find joy at the commercial side of the harbor.
Then the first potential show stopper came up. She told me that before I could be admitted the boat would have to be cleaned. I asked for clarification and she pointed out a boat whose hull was being cleaned at that moment - except that it was a 15 ft boat hanging off a couple of steel pipes with a hook off the end. 'Yes, but you don't mean lifting my boat out of the water' I replied. She said that Yes, my boat would be lifted out of the water. 'Not on that crane' I replied. I told her that my boat weighs 8.5 tons. She came back with Yes, well that crane can lift 10 tons. I responded that No, it's not going to happen. To lift my boat you need slings and people who know how to use them. I asked if I could speak with the yard manager and she replied that it would do no good because his answer would be the same. We were at an impasse.
Then Carlos the yard manager showed up and saved me. He walked up and asked "Pachuca?". I replied "Si" and he introduced himself with a firm handshake. Regarding the hull cleaning, "No hay problema." Of course they couldn't lift Pachuca. Instead they would get a diver to clean the hull in the water. End of Problem. I saw right away that if I had any problem clearing my salt water cooling inlet valve I could have the diver working below while I worked above. Then he took me on a walk across the foot bridge and showed me where my new slip would be. I hadn't known it, but the closest slip to Pachuca at her mooring, less than 50 meters away, was her future home. The slip is outside of the bridge and Very accessible. I could move in any time. The slip provides water and electricity. I told Carlos that I expected to move into the slip the next day. When I returned to the office I jokingly pointed my finger at Martha and said 'See, I told you so. You learned something today, didn't you?'
Then I set off to formalize my entry. I went straight to the Prefectura (Coast Guard) and they sent me straight back to Club Nautico to have some forms filled out. (The clubs are not just helpful in the entry process - they are essential!) Back at C.N. Martha filled in the forms and told me that I had to do it in the following order: (1) Health (Salud), (2) Immigration, (3) Coast Guard (Prefectura), (4) Customs (Aduana). I found my way to the Health office and was given a slip of paper and told to go to one of the banks and make a deposit of 50 pesos. I commented on what a trivial amount that 50 pesos was (less than $12) but the lady said that it was important to her. As I was about to leave her office a young couple came in. On the way to the bank the couple caught up with me and told me that they had been told to follow me.
It turned out to be Martin and Marianna, a pair of delightful young Dutch people from their boat "Pinto", slipped in the same line of boats where Pachuca will be. Soon it became obvious that Marianna was a dynamo with great people skills and who spoke fluent Spanish, and would in fact be leading me. Martin and Marianna were on their way to Ushuaia from where they would traverse the Beagle Channel and go up the Patagonian archipelago in winter. From there they planned to head for the Marquesas then Hawaii.
We got to the bank and I'd never seen anything like it, with maybe hundreds of people waiting for their turn for service. We were there for 2.5 hours which would have been longer had it not been for a terrific well traveled Argentinean who gave us slips saving us about 80 positions in the queue. During our wait M&M told me of an boating neighbor from Buenos Aires who is adamant that for serious boat work Buenos Aires was the place. They will introduce me to him and I'll discuss it with him. Given that I plan to spend some serious money not on a patch-up but on systems that I expect to last for years I am at present inclined (and resigned) to go to Buenos Aires to have the work done. The move will have the advantage of putting me next to both the airport and the city and all that it has to offer. Having said that, the final verdict is not in. I remarked to Martin "Marianna is very very good." He replied "Yes, I know." I told him that he was a very lucky man.
I had been told to return to the health office before 3 PM because the woman would be setting off somewhere by airplane. We got back to her office at 2.30 PM and the place was shut. M&M led me to the Immigration office and left me to it because they had done that part. I got good help at Immigration but was told that I had to then get processed by the Prefectura and then return. I did that, having great difficulty with the Prefectura because there was no evidence on my passport or elsewhere that I had left Mexico. I showed him my Zarpe, which was the clearance by the La Paz port captain, but he took little interest in it. We got through that and while he was processing my case I showed him a photocopy of my Mexican FM2 residency permit, pointing out the expiry date in July and explaining that because I was still a resident of Mexico I hadn't needed an exit statement. It didn't matter because by then he had decided to process me. However, he had fretted about Pachuca being an Australian boat while I was presenting a US passport. I explained my dual citizenship and presented my Australian passport. He was happy to work with that so from here to Australia I'll be traveling on the Aussie passport.
I returned to Immigration and got their final stamp then headed for the Aduana. At the Aduana the man asked me why I didn't have a stamp from the Health department. I explained that I had visited their office, been sent to the bank where I had spent 2.5 hours as I showed him the bank receipt (he nodded knowingly), then when I had returned to the Health office at 2.30 PM I found it ... he finished my sentence with "cerrado". 'Si, cerrado' (closed). He knew the score. He accepted my form and told me that I would have to wait until Miercoles (Wednesday, and this was Thursday) before returning to Health then back to the Aduana. They said that there as no problem legally.
All I'd had all day was 3 cups of coffee and a muesli bar that M&M kindly gave to me, so I was tired, hot, and hungry. Nevertheless I pushed on to find an ATM to try my Visa card and get some cash. The first bank rejected me for lack of funds. 'Great', I thought, 'the beginning of the next crisis.' But I decided to try another couple of banks before squealing to the ANZ bank in Australia and the next bank delivered me 600 pesos (about $130) with no problem.
Back at Club Nautico I had a chat with Martha. I told her about the delay with Health and she explained that Monday and Tuesday were holidays. What Holidays, I asked, expecting to hear something in the order of Indendence Day, but instead got a reply of "Carnival Time". OK, stop the entire economy for Carnival Time? Why Not? Our lady at Health had decided not only to extend her holiday by taking Friday off, but also by closing the office at 2.30 PM on Thursday and leaving her customer twisting in the wind. I replied to Martha "I'm starting to like this country."
I then went to the restaurant and purchased 2 1-liter bottles of cold Heineken beer. I got back to the dinghy landing, found my Zodiac still there, and soon was back on board. I restrained myself long enough to bring down the quarantine flag and my back pack which was nearly dry. Then I poured myself the first glass of beer and after 112 days at sea, more than 30 days of abstinence, a hard hot day with practically no food, I watch the amber fluid rising under a layer of pure white froth and told myself 'This is going to be very good.' And so it was. The first liter barely touched the sides. At the time of this writing I was half way through the second liter and life seemed very good indeed.
It had been a tough day but you know, I figure that I can do as much living in one day in this cruising life than I would do in 30 days of genteel suburban "living".
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- Shore Power and OpenCPN
- Videos from 18 December
- Bon Voyage
- Good Electronic Charts of Argentina
- Videos from 1100 Miles North of Horn
- Haircut, Video Clips, and Rain
- Videos, Sailing in Gale Winds
- Video from 1100 Miles out from Horn
- Videos From 55S on Way to Horn
- Video of Track
- MdP - Rigging Progress
- Video of Approaching the Horn
- MdP - Good Internet Session, Monitor Fixed, Progre...
- Back on the Internet
- MdP - Formal Entry Completed, Electrical Gear
- MdP - Toilet Working and Laundry Done
- MdP - In a Slip
- MdP - Hull Clean, Engine OK, Differet Slip
- MdP - Water and Health
- 1st Day at MdP (2)
- 1st Day at MdP (1)
- Day 113 - Safe on a Mooring, Overheated Engine
- Day 112 - Motoring, Land Ho, Poised for Entry
- Day 111 - Less Than 60 To Go
- Day 110 - 125 to go and N of 40S
- Day 109 - Wind and Under 200 Miles
- Day 108 - Becalmed and Plenty of Fuel
- Day 107 - Creeping Along in Light Winds
- Day 106 - Under 300 Miles
- Day 105 - Under 400 miles and No Incoming Mail
- Day 104
- Day 103 - Sailed All Night at a Cost
- Day 102 - Rough Night and Monitor Repair
- Dy 101 - Moderate Progress Upwind and Gale
- Day 100 - Mainsail Up and Moving Well
- Day 99 - Better Progress and Shorter Distance
- Day 98 - Creeping North
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