Saturday, December 20, 2014

Finally waterborne!

21:30, 12 December 2014, Still in Gabriel’s yard

Hard to believe that we are still here, on the hard after almost 6 weeks but we see the tunnel, and maybe the light at the end. Not sure, as it might be a train coming but there is a light…..

The mast is up and the lights, VHF and wind systems are working, the painting is finished and we have begun to get at the list of chores to ready us for a mid-week splash next week. Over the weekend we will get the bottom paint done and shift any excess stuff to the truck and trailer where it will be stored until we get back. Early next week we will move the truck and trailer to a storage location in San Carlos where we stored the van when we were here last. In a way we will miss the crowded comfort of our little Casita on wheels with our dusty patio and party lights, but the indescribable feeling of being afloat will make up for it until it is time to return here. It will be time to strike out the Christmas tree and the decorations for the last week before Christmas. We hope to be in Bahia Conception for the holidays.

Our visit to Alamos was a very nice change to the daily drudgery of the boatyard.Alamos is a beautiful colonial town that appears to have been bypassed by progress as we know it. It has been the domain of the rich for decades, fueled by the rich silver mines that surround it. It has the requisite church and associated park with its requisite band shell, indoor market which spills out into the adjacent streets, a few trinket shops and a set of carnival rides to support the religious festival that was occurring while we were there. The main part of the town is made up of huge squares bordered by streets. Like many of the colonial Mexican towns each square is divided into properties with living quarters built around a courtyard. Over the past century this town has been discovered by Americans and upper class Mexicans. Entire squares have been bought and combined into mega homes with absolutely stunning courtyards. Our hotel was one of these, a combination of 4 properties painstakingly redeveloped over the past 20 years by an American entrepreneur and his family. The Hotel Los Alamos is now one of the top 5 star mid-sized hotels in the world.
Our hotel, Hacienda de Los lamos

The bar had over 560 different tequilas and mescals ranging from $5 to $125/shot.
We tried the $10 cheapies and loved them.

07:30, 18 December, Last day on the hard.

Yahoo! We are splashing in a few hours!!! Our work has progressed to the point that we can do the remaining bits afloat. The hull has received its coat of anti-fouling, seacocks have been serviced, the engine has been run up, anchor and dinghy recovered and the mess of accumulated junk around the boat picked up and trashed. Amazing how the stuff collects. My precious saw horses have been adopted by friends who will store them for us until our return in April.

We moved back aboard Gosling 3 days ago and, yesterday we made the final commitment by driving the truck and trailer to San Carlos and putting them in the storage yard for the next 4 months. The Casita was a comfortable alternative and we are glad we had it while working on the boat. Thanks to Ian(Kasasa) for driving us back to the boatyard otherwise it would have been a long and complicated bus adventure.

Our plan, today, is to go directly to the Fonatur docks, as is our normal routine after a stay at Gabriel’s yard, to clean the yard dust and grime, complete the rigging (including tuning of the rig), installing the main and genoa and completing the transition from our summer storage state to a proper sailboat. We also have the techs coming back to finish some work on Saturday. The time there will also allow us to start on the list of mall projects that seem to pop up continuously. On that list is varnishing the woodwork, a recurring chore for all boaters. Thankfully we have very little exterior teak, but what we have is still a pain to maintain.

Ian and Ellen will be splashing on Tuesday and Fran overheard Ian saying that he was preparing a Christmas Eve South African meal. (He is in a quandary though. Normally the main dish is elephant…..) The thought of something exotic (not the elephant) was sufficient to have her insist on another change of plan.  Now we are spending Christmas with them at the Fonatur docks and will be leaving for the Baja side on the 27th (the 26th is a Friday, bad karma to leave on a Friday….)

Better get ready for the lift.
Prepping the slings
Lifting. Note the left front tire... scarey but OK (after the fact)
Gosling, back in her natural element
20:30, 19 December, Fonatur dock, Guaymas

It is a howling black-ass night out there but the wind in the rigging is music to our ears (OK, it is irritating at times) and the slight rock of the boat is nice after all these weeks of anticipation.

Our launching went well. It is always a scary sight to see your home away from home transported from the relative safety of the yard to the water by a contraption that appears on its last legs, but appearances are deceiving and we made it without a hitch. Once lowered into the “ditch” we did the rounds of the likely places for a leak to happen and, apart from a slight drip at the “dripless shaft seal” (which disappeared after the shaft began to turn) all was well. The straps were released and, with help from the travel lift crew we turned Gosling around and headed into the bay. 25 minutes later we were nestled into a slip at the Fonatur docks and began our list of outstanding chores beginning with repairing a leak that we discovered halfway here. It wasn’t where we expected a leak and it probably didn’t open up until we began to motor over but it was sufficient to get the bilge pump operating a few times. Sometimes you have to be a contortionist to work on a boat and this was one of those jobs, a worn out fitting linking some drains to a seacock under the engine room deck and behind the water heater. My multitude of spares (the cruiser packrat syndrome) came in handy this time and the problem was resolved after a few scraped knuckles, swearing and a bucket of sweat, oh yes, and a t-fitting, some hose that I got from Steve (Warren Peace) last year and a few clamps. Better than new!

Today the mainsail was rigged, Forestay reconnected (it had to be removed for the travel lift), the boat washed down, outboard tested and the boat readied for “tech Friday”. Omar will be here to tune up the engine, Salvador will be checking the systems he installed last week and Jesus will be tuning the rig.

Apart from the wind it is very quiet for a Friday night in downtown Guaymas. Mind you it is a cold evening. Fran like to gauge the nights by the number of duvets we use. She had 3 last night, but then she hasn’t been feeling all that well lately. For the last few days she has been having stomach pains and trouble sleeping. Yesterday she decided to seek medical advice. At a nearby walk-in clinic she was seen by a physician who did a very thorough examination and gave her a prescription, all for a $3.00 fee (no typo, three dollars). The drugs were almost 8 times that much, and, 24 hours later, we are happy to report that she seems to be on the mend.

We were surprised to learn that Phil (Manasea) is in the yard here. He just launched last week from the same location as us but found some leaks on his way over. He was hoping to get south for Christmas but now it looks like his repairs will scuttle that plan.
Only in Mexico, a truckload of piñatas

20:00 the following evening, Fonatur docks.

After a very windy night and morning the air is very still but this blow is supposed to last for another few days. Hopefully we’ll be able to get a better night’s sleep tonight. Shit, just as I write this I can hear the wind picking up… Well the Christmas tree is anchored in place with lots of lines. Last year the top actually blew off and I had to go diving after it. That won’t happen this year. The water is too freaking cold, and, besides we have lashed it together quite well.

Another busy day and much accomplished. The BBQ is back in operation after a rebuild with a new burner and other bits and the main outboard is working great after a carburetor cleaning. Seems to need one every year on our return, even though we drain the fuel out of it before we leave. The Christmas tree is up and lit, the electronics are working as well as can be expected. We will have to live with a reduced VHF range until the new antenna arrives in the New Year. Fran is feeling better and all is well with the world. Oh, yes, and the malecon is absolutely quiet, a rare event for a Saturday night.

Today is our youngest son, Michael’s 40th birthday. God, we are old!! Happy Birthday Mikey. In mid-April 1974, HMCS Skeena returned to Halifax from a spring deployment in the Caribbean, the magic happened, and Chris slept through it all….

Next blog will be delayed until we reach some sort of efficient internet capability. Once we leave here we will be heading to the Baja where service leaves a lot to be desired.

Merry Christmas everyone and the very best in the New Year.


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