Sunday, January 24, 2010

0910, 18 Jan 2010: Enroute to Jaltemba
We have just departed Mantenchen (correct spelling this time) Bay, San Blas enroute to Jaltemba. It is a short ride of about 30 miles and we should be in by early afternoon. We had a quiet night in calm conditions with hardly any motion. It is definitely warmer 500 miles south of Guaymas and we had to keep the fan on all night to remain comfortable in the aft cabin. Also in the anchorage was Relax (Bob and Gisele) and Alobar (Joel, Dave and Robby). Both vessels had left from Guaymas and Alobar had been in the yard with us a week before we left. The reputation of this bay being “midge heaven” didn’t pan out, however, we did use the hatch netting that Fran has made and Dave. The guys on Alobar were covered with nasty looking bite marks this morning.
The remainder of our ride into Mazatlan was uneventful. We arrived at the El Cid marina mid-morning, a few hours after high tide. There is always a surge in this marina as it is located a few hundred yards from the harbour mouth but we didn’t expect the current. This was Fran’s first experience with a cross current and our alongside wasn’t pretty but no damage occurred to Gosling or the large cruiser we brushed against…. and, with the help of Dave (Star Dancer) and George (Shamrock) we were secured alongside in short order. Lots of fenders, extra lines and a tight tie kept us from moving too badly in the slip but the noise from the lines sliding in and out of the fairleads was always present. We wrapped old t-shirts at the friction points and that helped somewhat.
Except for the surge problem the marina was very nice, with all the resort services available to the visiting cruisers. At $1.00 (US)/ft it is a good thing we hadn’t planned a long stay but it was cheaper than marina Mazatlan by 10 cents/ft. We didn’t check out the Singlar dock but it appeared quite full when we passed by the following day in the dinghy. We had quite a light show the first night with a rare thunderstorm which resulted from the storm track further north. We later found out that the same system generated very high winds in San Carlos, causing 7 boats to go ashore in the bay and a waterspout to form in Banderas Bay just off the marina in La CruzRepairs were the order of the day for the 2-day stay. I procured another piece of stainless for the wind vane from Rick Cummings (Mazatlan Marine services) and with the help from Dave& Robby (Alobar) we had it repaired in no time flat. I tried to get a tech to look at the radio but all were too busy so I decided to tackle a few last possibilities myself. Inspecting the connection to the backstay antenna I found a lot of corrosion. A good cleaning of the backstay under the connection, a slathering of di-electric grease (thanks Trish) and a new section of stripped wire made a world of difference. I then tackled the software and discovered a discrepancy in the port assignment. I was amazed to find that everything worked perfectly afterwards. Sometimes I really surprise myself!!!!
Fran contacted her friend Dianne (a fellow line-dancer from Victoria) and with her husband we all went out for dinner at Fat Fish. The spareribs and the guitarist were just as great as 3 years ago.
Saturday morning was the local swap meet, a big event in Mazatlan. In getting the dinghy and outboard ready I found another problem. The hose from the tank to the motor and the bulb were rock hard and one of the connections at the bulb snapped when I tried to straighten them out. Furthermore, someone has decided that they needed my dead-man switch key more than I did. Luckily there was an outboard motor shop just down the street and I was able to get all the parts I needed. How many more “issues” will I find? The swap meet was quite fun and we got rid of a few items and picked up a few treasures, including an older copy of the Nobletech Navigation Suite. I later found out that the copy should have included a dongle so, at present, it is just a nice box containing pretty disks….
We departed later that morning, this time fully aware of the current and using it to our advantage. Fran did a phenomenal job of leaving the dock and her approach to the fuel dock was perfect. The boat preceding us, a 60 ft with bow thrusters, had lots of problems..... Too bad they weren’t there to see our manoeuvres.
We powered down the beaches and made sail when we were out of the shelter of the offshore islands and sailed all night down the coast with a following wind and sea, dodging fishing boats all night. By morning the wind petered out and we powered the remainder of the way, some 20 miles.
During Fran’s watch she heard the bilge pump running quite often; too often! We discovered yet another loose hose clamp on the fresh water supply line, this time at the engine room bulkhead. By that time we had lost most of the domestic water supply. Luckily we are only a few days from La Cruz. We should have enough to last until then. The splashing of the water onto the hot engine also caused the propane alarm to go off. It is refreshing to know that the detector can sense almost any vaporized agent, steam in this case. A few weeks earlier it detected the propellant from the spray paint I used in the engine room. I rather expected more leaks to occur with the new, higher pressure pump. I think a re-plumbing job is in the offing to remove most of the extra joins that have been added over the years.
1830, 23 Jan 2010, Slip 9B16 Marina Nayarit, La Cruz
We have been alongside for the past 3 days, enjoying the relative calm of this new marina. There are a lot of boats here that we have met along the way; Indian Summer, Full Quiver, Alobar and Freedom Kirkland to mention a few. We are waiting out a high wind and high swell event before we proceed south. The swell is the result of the terrible weather that has plagued the Pacific coast over the past week. When we arrived we were shown the photos taken by Steve (Full Quiver) of the waterspout mentioned above.

After our departure from Mantenchen Bay we made it to Jaltemba without incident, having to power all the way in light winds. We spent most of the afternoon and evening with Bruce and Marg Walton, Victoria friends who spend a few months in a condo in Rincon de Guyabitos.
The following morning we weighed anchor and continued south, again in calm conditions, around Punta Mita and into Banderas Bay to Marina Riviera Nayarit a relatively new marina where we had stayed last spring for a few days and at half the price of the El Cid it is more affordable. An hour out of Jaltemba we caught our first Dorado of the season.

Life alongside is sometimes busier than at sea with projects to accomplish and supplies to get. Without a vehicle we have to rely on others or, more commonly, on local transport which turns an hour errand into a half-day event. Luckily we were able to share a vehicle with the crew of Alobar the other day and got our Sam’s Club shopping done in short order. Today we went to the swap meet at Marina Nuevo Vallarta where we met up with Lin and Lee (Royal Exchange) and caught up with their news of the past year. An odd swap meet for JG; he sold an item and didn’t buy anything!!!
We have been out every night since we got here, playing Mexican Train with friends and listening to jazz and rock bands at some of the local establishments. Tonight, for a change we are eating onboard (Dorado) and enjoying a movie night on Gosling (with popcorn). We expect to be on our way south by Tuesday.

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