Friday, April 12, 2019

Our version of March Madness


The Work: One last project in the yard, installing sail tracks.
In my closet showing the length of the bolt we were dealing with
The Reward: Margaritas on the malecon, La Paz
While NCAA basketball keeps everyone busy in the US, we were having our own version of March Madness finishing projects after our fabulous paint job. 

Moving up the ranks as the month progressed, we finally launched Pura Vida and prepared for some water-based adventures. 















Carnaval in Guaymas
Kids float
(apparently) famous Lucha Libre celebrity (with cowboy hat) on
Scorpion King float, marine guards for safety
No caption required
The Guaymas float, of course, with the Shrimp
Once again we found ourselves still there for the rowdy and ambitious Carnaval ending Fat Tuesday. We think it’s one of the larger ones in the area and there were absolutely tons of people. 

We did our time there, watched the parade a couple of times (it goes for 4 days), and I won another Pokemon light to match my other one – this time throwing rusty darts at balloons. I got all 4!

One of the many highlights of the event is the crowning of the festival queen and the Ugly King. We had the pleasure of being at the dock when the floral guys created the arrangement for the boat parading the queen along the waterfront. What a spectacle! When I left the dock to do errands, the guys had just laid their first chicken wire. When I returned an hour later, another photo opp presented itself with them hoisting their labor. They had smiles on their faces in the photo, happy that I acknowledged and complimented their beautiful work.
On our dock at Fonatur, these guys created this amazing floral
array for the queen - that's our boat behind the motor yacht
The starting point
The Festival Queen in her glory - right alongside Pura Vida!

On March 18, we thankfully left the dock at Fonatur marina in Guaymas, after laundry, one more round of fresh fish tacos (3 tacos and a coke for 50 pesos = $2.60), fresh veggies at the market and washing the boat. Our friends on Echo sent us off, this time without champagne. They had graciously brought a bottle of champagne to toast our departure two weeks prior but that was short lived and we were back at the dock before we left the harbor. Alternator problems, which kept Mike busy in the engine room the next six days, troubleshooting and reconfiguring. So this time, we said, please, no deluxe send off!

She floats! In San Juanico outside the pinnacles

Dolphins alongside (they move fast so it's blurry)

We left the bay and didn’t look back, enjoying a calm crossing of the sea, motor sailing for 24 hours with ¾ moon up at sunset and setting at 5am. We did our longer shifts once again, so we each had half the night at the helm. We dropped anchor in the early morning hours at our first destination, San Juanico, welcomed by our first visiting dolphins while we had breakfast. The osprey and their nests on the four nearby pinnacles provided a flurry of activity.

Captain Mike enjoying our first anchorage
Living aboard provides ongoing learning experiences. Getting your sea legs after being on the hard takes a couple of days. Getting into a rhythm on board. Seeking better ways to preserve fruits and vegetables, minimize trash, disinfect our environs (more vinegar!) and stow our gear when we’re underway so it's safe and accessible in case of emergency.
Stowing fruits and veggies in the V berth



Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Ever try pushing a rope?

Becoming Pura Vida again

It’s been three months and a lot of work and fun since our arrival on Thanksgiving in Guaymas.
We made the decision to paint the topsides of our boat this year. It proved to be a wise choice for this year, as it met a number of our goals.
Reason #1? We don’t know in which decade she was last painted – and it looked like it. Even the guys at the marinas who offer to wash and wax our boat have told us “man, you need to paint your boat”. Every year. So, you could say it was time. Like any home, it’s wise to keep it well maintained and we care a lot about our home.
Portrait of a Boat Yard

Primer and taping off the stripes
So the painting project started in December and was completed on February 15th. Our crew, Alejandro, Aldo and Alejandro, were great and careful throughout the process and in the application of primer and paint. While frustration was, shall we say, prevalent in my mind sometimes during the long process, I remind myself that you can’t push a rope. And you can’t make someone work any faster than they are going to work. ‘Nuf said. Ultimately, building relationships works better for all.  That, along with a few burritos and beer.
Fun with power tools, cutting the crazy custom
cut wood for the anchor locker rebuild
New 'condo' for the chain and rope rode. Nice digs!
I added insulation afterwards.


For the anchor locker project, 3M mask helps with application
of Contact Cement in close quarters

New fresh water pump - with an attitude! I cleaned, primed and sanded
the hatch and cover after Mike swapped the fresh water pump
and removed the old pressure tank, freeing up valuable storage space
Contrary to what some might perceive, there are worse ways to spend our days than working on Pura Vida. Because we consider every day a blessing, we go into each day with our hearts and minds wide open for what life will bring. Most days we start with our walk along the water and come back to tackle the day’s projects, and on occasion, an outing beyond the dry yard (woo hoo!).

Yesterday’s outing was to find non-skid to mix with paint for the entry points at the gates midships on port and starboard and at the stern. With our shiny new paint on the toe rail (we didn’t replace the teak rail), it’s very slippery, and dangerous for getting on and off the boat. After 2 trips to the ferreteria (hardware store), I now know how to say crushed marble in Spanish. I purchased 2.2 kilos (almost 5 lbs) for 5 pesos (27 cents)! I completed my project today (well, as I write this I am waiting for the paint to dry so I can add one more coat to cover the non-skid). I gave remainder of the bag of crushed marble to another project boat guy in the yard. He was a happy recipient and won’t have to wait in line at the hardware store.
Jamaica (hibiscus flower juice) and caldo (seafood soup)
Sunday called for a lunch break ‘off property’ and led us to Leslie’s Palapa restaurant on the water. I loved my Caldo, seafood soup. I asked for a tool to break the crab leg and they brought me a lime squeezer. Well, turns out that works, too. Mike enjoyed a tasty smoked marlin taco and taco el gobernador (the governor).
The Pura Vida painting crew

Great crew! We all worked hard to get us to this magical point

Tomorrow, we splash! Late in the day because of the low tide, we will be lowered into the water and wait until morning to head out into the bay when the tide is high enough for our departure.

Who knows what’s next. We have some ideas and hopes but wind and weather will dictate the next chapter on Pura Vida.

Monday, January 21, 2019

And a full lunar eclipse to boot

Engine room fun!
Cleaning the bilge with a cutoff
coke bottle as a scoop


Last night’s eclipse was spectacular, with its blood orange hue, flanked by onlooking stars, Castor and Pollux. And as January flies by, the glamorous life of the Guaymas dirt yard holds us here, passing another moon cycle on the hard. It’s as if we are mesmerized, perhaps captivated by the long walk to the bathroom, the barking dogs or just our nice neighbors (who are splashing one by one). Or maybe it’s like a spell we haven’t determined the best way to break. Any way you look at it, we are doing well and enjoying our time in the yard working on our many boat projects. Pura Vida is looking good.
Battleship gray - primer status

Alejandro David and Aldo - previous color scheme thankfully not ours
Sun and sanding dust protection, nice and toasty

After :TSP, primer and paint -  celebrating
seemingly small accomplishments
Before: laying over the engine to
access thru hulls - boat yoga for both

Mike, AKA Mr. Thru Hull removing
one - loving our bunny suit

Glassing over - one less thru hull to 'manage'
While we wish we could report amazing whale sightings or scenic extravaganzas, this boring post let's you know we're alive and kicking. Our hull painting project is fully underway by Aldo, Alejandro and Alejandro – sanding, priming, repriming as needed, prepping and ultimately, there will be painting and trim work completed. Mañana is the operative word as to when they’ll be done and then we can schedule our splash. As we learned long ago, mañana does not mean tomorrow, it just doesn’t mean today.
Dinosaurius show at Las Playitas

We’ve been enjoying time with various friends and doing our daily walks. We haven’t gone to the dinosaur show, but I suppose we could. Today’s sign says ‘HOY 2x1’ – twofer today. Might be too scary for us, though.

We are constantly on the quest to find boat parts here - or have them made. There’s always a story or two that ensues when one or both of us venture out. We are always thankful for having access to our car to facilitate those exploratory excursions.
Turning on more friends to our favorite seafood coctel restaurant

Mixing elbows - old and new, thanks Luis!

Custom made step, hand cut slots

Trimming out our new step



Luis' artwork - our new wind generator bracket
Off balance but on their way
Sewing new outboard cover

Shrimp boats on our morning walk to the naval base

Doesn't square meat look appetizing?

We are definitely helping the local economy. The local wood shop has custom cut our two new outboard engine holders, they hand cut the slots in our entry step and crafted another step for our V-berth cabin. Our favorite engineer, Luis, made our new mixing elbow and the mounting  bracket for our wind generator, which we will finally be installing after 8 years of boat ownership. The wind generator will serve as another source of power to complement the new batteries.

The grand variety of vehicles we follow down the road remind us to keep our distance and demonstrate where the pot holes and topes (speed humps) are. This little truck had a very heavy load with a full cab and three guys in back holding 2 barrels of water sloshing about the bed. Well, we hope it was water. In spite of their flat, they drove on. Marina police are another common siting in this large port town as well as police trucks with gun-toting peacekeepers.



And speaking of driving around, when I bought gas this week, I wasn’t quick enough to snap a pic of the uniformed young lady at the Red Flecha fuel station filling a 2 liter coke bottle with gas. She kept her long painted fingernails out of the fuel spray. Nice work!

I’ve documented many of our projects with photos, which, while boring to some, show our progress!
The reward after a long work day


Monday, December 24, 2018

¡Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo a todos!

 Christmas cheer from the bustling town of Empalme! Yesterday, we trekked to the large open air Sunday market with friends, providing the perfect backdrop for our Christmas photo. Yep, they sail everything from washing machines to used clothing to an autographed Justin Bieber guitar! Nope, I didn't buy it.

Hola from the land of sunshine and mariachi music. We arrived in Guaymas on Thanksgiving, just in time, literally for the boat yard potluck. Great fun to see so many friends we've missed during our months working in Portland.

We've been here a month now and have been working away on projects while we carry on a busy social life, seeing friends from so many walks of life who all share this love called boating.


lowering 4D batteries, 1 x 1
This year, many upgrades are in process and some are completed on board Pura Vida. We replaced all 7 large ports in our salon area, a huge difference with no more crazed glass and no leaking; we had the famous diesel mechanic, Omar, rebuild the transmission this summer and Mike continues to work on adjoining upgrades and fixes to make the engine work well. Luis is building us a new mixing elbow.

Installing the new batteries
New battery installation mean we should be enjoying more consistent and long lasting power from our very important solar panels. Removing the old, huge 4D batteries required Alejandro's assistance along with boom support to lower those old lugs off the boat into the dirt below.

Out with the old, in with the new


measuring the new mixing elbow
Our Weems & Plath gauges rock - added a comfortmeter this year

Pepe adding another layer of sealant on the new ports

Taping and adding adhesive 
The other big project completed this summer was the revamp of the deck - hull joint, which again, should mean no water leakage into the boat. A multi-step process, for sure.

The fun continues for us, lest you think it's all work.





Tostada Campechaneada - just say YES! Si Si Si

Coctel King

Mariscos Miramar with Echo
And we are getting our topsides painted, we hope starting this week - with the illustrious crew of Alejandro, Alejandro and Aldo. All supplies ready for their post-Christmas work.

Our recent trip to Nogales AZ was like Christmas for us, picking up various packages of exciting things like SS 316 screws, epoxy primer and cables. And new 42x22 mini binoculars rock - perfect for our morning birdwatching walks, which have been quite successful - sightings include lots of black crowned night heron, great blue and little blue heron, egrets, oystercatchers, kingfishers, osprey, peregrine falcon, dowitchers, grebes and more. And we haven't even launched our boat yet!

Many warm wishes to you and yours for a wonderful holiday and prosperous and healthy new year!