Monday, February 11, 2013

Lanham Stays Busy

While Melinda flew home to Seattle to assist her mom and dad move to their new digs, Lanham oversaw held the boat together AND fixed things at a faster rate than they could break. (Melinda apologizes to all the people she didn't call when in Seattle -- it was a BUSY time)

Here in La Paz, Lanham was riding the bike from la ferreteria (hardware store) to ferreteria and getting way ahead in his Spanish. 
First on the list was the total rewiring of the solar panels -- hardwired to a waterproof box -- no more connectors to corrode and fail -- a beautiful job! and note the lovely exotic backdrop for the hard work.

The cockpit once the welding could get underway

Next was a waiting game with the wind – blowing 30 knots IN the marina. When the gusts let down, Sergio, Malcolm, and crew could begin the welding to repair and reinforce the radar arch. They did a great job and we also sent the davits to their shop to have additional bracing added. All is back on, strong, and looking good.

Sergio at work

Early in the week, Lanham was asked to move to a new slip at the marina – easier said than done when he discovered that the transmission was shot – not the more with the troublesome cable that we’ve replaced twice – but now the transmission itself.

This is at least 2/3 through the process --
the transmission is out and on the workbench

After getting it out (MANY MANY steps including diving to remove zincs on the prop shaft, suspending the weight of the engine from the ceiling of the companion way, unwiring and unplumbing more than you can imagine) he contacted MER on Nickerson Street in Seattle. No, they did not have a new transmission in stock, but yes, they did have a rebuild kit for our model.

What luck! Melinda had decided to stay an extra two days, so could get the parts on Tuesday before flying on Wednesday!

All the new parts lined up ready to install, all the old parts cleaned and painted.
We had these two shafts completely apart to replace bearings, thrust washers and clutch packs -- we only hoped we had but them back in order with the correct tightness.

Since my return on Wednesday -- we have spent 4 days up to our elbows in transmission parts -- Sunday afternoon it was back in and we were ready for the big test -- a celebration or disappointment. 

With no time to spare (the marina office again needed us to move the boat to another slip within the hour) we turned the key -- first good sign -- the engine ran. We threw the transmission lever and she dropped into forward -- smooth and quick!  SUCCESS!!! We can move forward.

An eight piece band at the next table

Okay, truth be told, we only worked on the transmission until dark, then we played with our friends here at the marina -- John Cometti (aka Swagman) generously drove us around to provision, Vancouverites John and Deb wined and dined us on their boat (what chefs) and we all went out for pizza and to walk the Malecon for the first night of Carnival !!

Again, pictures will give a sense of the scene --
 probably only outdone in Buenos Aires or New Orleans.

                                                                   ! Feliz Carnival !

La Paz!

Having too good of a time to write buckets but want to post some photos of our first few days in La Paz. We are at a relatively quiet marina on the southern end of the Malecon -- Marina Palmira. From here we can walk to anything in town, or catch a cab for $50 P (about $4).

We have reconnected with friends from Ensenada and met more -- they are active doers -- so we are trying our hardest to be ready to go out to eat, tour, shop, or just sit in someone's cockpit in the evenings.

On our first day in town, we took the shuttle to el Centro and walked with Kirk and Mary from "Kamala." They have been in and out of La Paz since November so now have lots of local knowledge to share about the town and the local island anchorages.

We hit a taco stand for lunch, Lanham got a haircut, Mary shopped at a craft shop for Valentine making supplies, and they showed us the Mercado where Lanham bought one of the white painted sun hats that he has been eyeing.

Getting into "street food"

I just loved the colorful markets and displays!

Inside the Mercado -- booth and stalls with anything you might want.

including dresses for your Fiesta de Quince

... produce, sweets, or fish

... or sombreros

Free hat with any guitar

Do you like this one?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Long and Lumpy

Lanham did a lot of rigging adjustments in the crashing seas.
I did a lot of teeth gnashing while he was on deck, but took this picture to
show how he always wears his safety harness.
We took a bit of a beating on this long, slow crossing to La Paz. Directly into the wind the entire way, meant motoring… RmmmmmRmmmmmRmmmmm… for about 265 miles and 60 hours. The wind rarely went above 20 kts, but the wind waves were steep, close together, and coming from all directions. We were in a mix-master with the bow rising up and slamming down about every third wave. While we worried about the possibility of something breaking, we managed to eat simple meals, sleep a few hours here and there, keep our log and monitor the systems. The DeLorme  In-reach has proven to be a nice way to keep in contact with family while doing multiple day crossings. We turn it on about every 12 hours to send a tag showing our position on a map (along with latitude/longitude) and can send a brief message saying “all’s well.” It’s nice to know we are being followed!

Is it late night or early morning?? Either way
it's dark outside.

Sun goes down
water turns black
Sun comes up
and the panga fishermen are out for their morning catch
We got to our East Cape destination – Bahia de Los Muertos about 9:30PM. This was an anchorage we had been to with our delivery skipper on our previous trip to La Paz, so we had a visual memory of it being large, calm and easy. It was. There were 7 other boats already there. We found our spot and put ourselves to bed – sleeping like corpses in the Bay of the Dead. Morning sunrise was beautiful. We bathed in the much cooler (69 degree) water and marveled at the new kind of beauty – the desert mountains – that we remember loving from the north.

 We are glad we came north when we did. Definitely ahead of the crowd – most cruisers are still heading south and those that are planning to sail in the Sea of Cortez are not coming up until March or April when it warms up. We are getting to experience a little Mexican winter. Long pants and fleeces feel good, but the sun still comes out everyday – only 6 inches of rain here a year, and most all of it in the summer.

We still had 60 miles to go up and into La Paz. We did 40 the first day and stayed a night on the south end of Espiritu Santo – at Playa Bonanza. It’s a gorgeous 4-mile white sand beach which we walked, had to ourselves, and plan to go back to soon! 
Photos of the incredible Playa Bonanza:

The Pacific swell is much lessened now that we have entered the sea, and the tricky surf landings are a thing of the past. We are loving the dry mountainous landscape. The colors are vibrant, the saguaro cacti are statuesque, the beach-combing is great, and there are still dolphins, but now turtles and seals as well.

Sky line of the City of Peace
We just pulled into La Paz and after checking with friends by radio, decided to dock at Marina Palmira. It is not in the center of town, but has room, a good weekly rate, and free shuttle service into el centro. Lanham has a list a mile long of things to work on while Melinda takes a quick trip to Seattle. We’ve already changed the oil and transmission fluids since arriving, so he can concentrate on getting some reinforcement welding done on the radar arch (the mega-structure is beginning to blow in the breeze) and taking on the reworking of the solar-panels. We’ve already had a couple dock residents welcome us to the neighborhood, so he’ll have all the second opinions he can use. Today we are heading into downtown La Paz and maybe can get these recent entries posted.

Didn't get anything posted 'til now. Seattle was great fun and progress has been made on many fronts!
More coming soon. We are loving La Paz! have made good friends on the dock and are experiencing Carnival! Almost ready to head out to the islands again.