Friday, January 15, 2016

More boat projects

When we came back from our trip to the UK and US we brought with us a Sailrite sewing machine. Some might think that strange having a sewing machine onboard but it actually makes a lot of sense as it can be used to repair the sails and a host of other sewing projects.  Jude had set about making hatch covers in Mazatlan and now started on making Sunbrella canvas covers for our two outboard motors. Uncovered the strong sunshine soon damages the plastic. I made some repairs to the boat covers and we have to make a sail bag for the staysail and some covers for the kayaks. 

I decided it was about time to give our main engine a flush with Rhydlyme, a solution that dissolves any mineral build up in the raw water heat exchanger. With all that salt water going through the engine it can get quite a build up and cause the engine to run hot as the heat exchanger become less efficient. I am a real fan of Rhydlyme as it has saved me on a number of occasions and can also be used to dissolve and unblock the hoses that run to and from the head (lavatory). 

As is quite often the case, you start a project and it turns into many other projects. When I was draining the saltwater out if the heat exchanger one of the drain plugs crumbled in my hands leaving part of the old plug in the heat exchanger cover plate. Now I would have to remove the plate and extract and replace the old plug, this in turn would mean that I have to remove the whole turbo charger assembly. Things are rarely simple. On the bright side I am glad that I found this problem as at sometime in the future the plug would have fallen off and with it the salt water in the heat exchanger would have leaked out causing untold damage. I decided that as I had removed the turbo charger it would be prudent to have it serviced since I doubt it had ever been serviced. 

Back in La Cruz

We think La Cruz is the nicest of all the Mexican marina towns we have visited as it has a great mix of a clean and well run marina, lots of things for the children to do, it's safe and has a pretty Mexican village with cobbled streets with a great selection of restaurants. The town also has most things you need to fix anything on the boat and if it does not then Puerto Vallarta is a cheap bus ride away. 

We checked in the marina and secured ourself on the dock plugging into shore power while Katya ran off to see some of her old friends. Our time here in La Cruz will,be spent preparing the boat for our trans pacific passage. We don't have too much to do but something always crops up unexpectedly. Sometimes I wonder if I am predominantly a sailor or more probably a mechanic who sails given the time I spend fixing things versus time spent sailing. 

Jude and I walked the docks to see if there were any familiar faces and familiar boats and then walked through town to see if anything had changed. A few restaurants had closed but others had opened as well but things on the whole were pretty much the same.

Isla Isabela revisited

 It is almost exactly a year since we were last in Isla Isabela. This time we motored most of the way but arrived just before dawn having left Mazatlan at dusk on a high tide. Given the tricky anchoring we furled the sails and drifted until there was sufficient light. As we rounded the south eastern end of the island we spotted two other boats in the anchorage, one of which was Kevin on Andante, who we met in this exact spot last year!

We spent a relaxing 4 days on the island and met another cruising family on Shawnigan, with the enchanting 2 year old Taj who paddled solo on his own Kayak to see us, not that he could speak yet at that age but he was quite the socialite. Katya made friends with their two daughters Nima and Alamee. Other boats arrived and departed the anchorage and eventually we departed at 3am with the winds howling. We left at 3 am for two reasons, one to make sure we rounded The headland to Banderas bay in daylight and second we wanted to make the most of the wind that was blowing. I am always a little tense when leaving or entering an anchorage at night, having to rely solely on our instruments to navigate our way around the obstacles. It's good when you have a full moon as the light, even a small amount makes it so much easier. 

We had a great sail through the night with 15-20 knots on the beam and we made great time to the entrance of Banderas bay where we beat our way up-wind to La Cruz before where we dropped the anchor in the familiar spot just before a wonderful heavy downpour started. Welcome back!