The cruising continues…. The weather is fabulous, especially when compared to back home…. And the living is easy. Or is it?
Always the optimist, the lines are in the water… you can’t catch if you aren’t fishing!
We were finally prepared to leave Costa Baja for some extended cruising with a very detailed itinerary in hand, only to ascertain that there was no cooling water coming out of the stabilizer cooling outlet. Some diagnostic work revealed two hard calcium-like “plugs” stuck in the outlet hose, plus a plugged (with the same calcium-like substance) stabilizer cooler outlet. The source of these remains unclear (never having experienced anything like this in the cooling circuit before), but after removal, the coolant water gushed out freely, and we were off.
The offending bits… really had us stymied! But after the initial problem, it was a pretty easy fix. Just took a while!
Given that it was now later in the day, we headed for Ensenada el Cardonal on Isla Partida and enjoyed a fabulous sunset and a calm and peaceful night with only 2 other boats for company.
Up early the next day, we left Cardonal and chugged all the way to Bahia Agua Verde, with our fingers and toes crossed that there would be room for us. The weather was perfect, seas were calm, sun was shining mostly – wind was light. The good news was we caught a beautiful Dorado – not bad for our first trip off the dock! And on an old ratty cedar plug! Because it was a nice size I decided not to try for more. The freezer is pretty full and I think one fish is enough. Besides, that meant I could relax and read! And look for wildlife – not a lot to see, just the usual manta rays flipping out of the water and dolphins far, far away.
Not the biggest we have caught but certainly not the smallest! We’ll take it!
As we neared A-V, Lawrence’s first thought was there were a large number of boats in the anchorage – however, as we got closer, we realized that there were only 8 or 9 so there was lots of space for us – but the beaches were full of campers and vans and tents! And it’s not even Semana Santa!
Almost the same size as our rig….. hmmmm makes us wonder… could we?!?
The people from the UnCruise enjoying some trail riding!
We gratefully found our spot, dropped the hook, and Lawrence filleted the fish. The seagulls and pelicans made short work of the bits. Dinner for our first night at Agua Verde – fish tacos! Quiet lovely night… just the way we like it!
As we were putting down the anchor a kayaker had paddled out to us, and they were hovering around us as we set the hook. I went back to find them holding onto the swim grid and smiling up at me, greeting me cheerfully and holding up a small bag with cash in it. The young boy in the front dug out a piece of folded paper and handed it to me, explaining in Spanish what it was. I read the paper – their school kids were going to a sports meet in Ciudad Constitucion in March and were looking for financial donations to help them get there. They also were looking for anything with our boat’s name on it.. so I happily handed them a bunch of pesos and dug out one of our tee shirts. They were father and son and they were both incredibly pleasant! I made use of what little Spanish I have learned this trip and conversed with them for a while and then told them I needed to get back to work… it was a lovely interaction in our favourite anchorage, and the boy was very pleased to practice his English!
Our welcoming committee!
Next day we both puttered around the boat, and then put a kayak and the small dinghy in the water. I paddled around for a bit, chatted to some nice Canadian sailors, and someone from the Safari Adventure UnCruise ship (which spent the day anchored just at the bay entrance)… and then we dinghied into shore for authentic fish tacos at Brisa del Mar. There is another little restaurant on the beach, which we haven’t seen before – but there was a nomad from Vancouver Island finishing his tacos and beer beside us and he said that our old standby is the best…he should know, I think he lives there!
And, indeed, they were amazing – fresh Yellowtail and better than I remember!! And even more delicious with a cold cerveza. They also make absolutely amazing goat cheese, like a soft feta, only better – so we picked up a kilo of that… to be vacuum packed and enjoyed later.
We went back to the boat and I fought mid-day post-beer and taco malaise until it was time to make dinner. The gorgeous sunset was a perfect ending to a great day.
The sunsets never disappoint!
But “the perfect day” was marred by the realization that – out of the blue after watching our usual evening entertainment on TV – the inverter had decided to blow its internal breaker and no longer invert. To the point where there was that awful electrical burning smell all boaters hate and fear, accompanied by a puff of “magic smoke” from the 24 year old Trace inverter/charger. Lawrence went into Uber-calm diagnostic mode… and I went into quietly supportive mode, getting the scoop occasionally but mostly just sitting and reflecting on life. Silently and inwardly panicking of course… but panicking out loud doesn’t do anyone any good so I opened doors to clear the air and quietly talked to whatever deity is in charge of power supplies on boats. Oh, and I texted Bob Senter because he’s as close to a deity for boats as I know.
The diagnosis came in – the patient had died… but the good news was we had life support for the boat in the guise of our trusty 12KVa Northern Lights generator. As long as that workhorse was running we had power and the batteries weren’t going to die (we have a separate MasterVolt charger, as well as the now-dead Trace). Lawrence activated the (un-labeled) inverter by-pass so the inverter was totally out of the equation and no power was getting to it, which made me feel much better about our situation! Also, the fact that we had just replaced all our combined smoke and CO alarms and there was one in every room and they were all connected to each other so if something went south and more magic smoke appeared we would know immediately!
Eventually we went to sleep. All that adrenalin made it difficult but we finally managed to crash. The next day we had breakfast, I watched the fish swimming around the boat using her as a shield from the hungry pelicans…
and then we lifted the anchor and headed for Marina Puerto Escondido. Lawrence had put out feelers for new inverters, and started the task of learning everything he could about what we had and what we needed. The decision was made to go with a new 3000W Victron MultiPlus inverter/charger, plus the Victron Cerbo and GX Touch 70 screen to monitor it, as well as the Lifeline house bank (through the newly installed Victron Smart Shunts). Puerto Escondido had a slip for us for a few days… which was wonderful! The slip is 70 feet though, which makes it expensive, but definitely worth it.
N8002… we are in great company here!
Now it’s day three at PE, and the office has informed us we can have the slip until February 1. The good news is that weekly rates are significantly less than daily rates, so we are happy to stay here in the hopes we can get the new inverter and some assistance in installing it.
So, while Lawrence explored the wonderful world of inverters to figure out everything needed for the new installation and accompanying monitoring, I fed the sourdough starter, made sourdough crackers, went for a walk, and rinsed off the boat. Now we know we aren’t leaving soon, there are other boat chores, because as we all know there is never a lack of things to do on a boat!
The kayaking is great around the bay, there are lots of places to hike (I’ve even gone up one of the local hill climbs to get a view of the world around us!) and look for birds, people to talk to, and scenery to enjoy.
It doesn’t hurt that we are in very good company – a number of the vessels from the Nordhavn Convoy to the Sea of Cortez are moored here, and it’s pretty awesome to see our sweet little N50 situated right next to one of the first N80’s. Turns out having a boat twice your size berthed next to you is a good thing when the current Norther is blowing into the marina!
Yesterday and today’s chore for Lawrence has been to take the pilot house doors off and redo the rollers. It takes both of us to lift the door on and off, but otherwise I’m free to do my own thing. So, as we both got up before 6 this morning, I decided to take another stab at baking bread. Last batch actually got thrown out before even letting Lawrence taste it. He was appalled, of course, but I have my pride and that sad little thing wasn’t doing it any good.
It’s a good thing it doesn’t rain much because this is turning into a four day job!
The perfectly imperfect loaf!
Son Andrew and his wife Adrienne,who have taken my sourdough starter donation and turned it into something great, walked me through their recipe… which is highly simplified compared to what I have done in the past. Having a baby and a dog isn’t conducive to long slow processes so they have perfected the “one day from start to finish and a loaf of bread on the table for dinner” system. At the end, when we compared loaves, theirs took points for beauty but I think mine took “Miss Congeniality and Good Taste”. For me that’s a win.
Last night, the barbecue came out, after a wonderful FaceTime visit with our grandbaby (and his mom and dad, too of course). We sat outside on the back deck, listened to the amazing sax player up at the La Brisa restaurant, and had arrachera and chicken tacos for dinner. When life hands you lemons in the form of a dead inverter and no immediate means to get it replaced… you make up a new boat cocktail (white rum, Ancho Reyes, orange and lime juices and a splash of simple syrup) and jalapeño poppers… and just chill.
This morning moon rise sunrise… no bad days!