S/V INTREPID II - Cape Dory Intrepid 40

My photo
Intrepid II is a Cape Dory Intrepid 40 sailboat, hull #2, designed by Chuck Paine and discovered by the Captain in Blue Hill Maine in 2006. The crew are Kelly (Captain) and Carol (Admiral and Blogger). In 2009 INTREPID II embarked on her West Coast journey from Victoria to San Francisco, the Baja Sur Peninsula and into the Sea of Cortez. In 2010/2011, we sailed ifrom Guaymas, south to Bahia Banderas and back. In 2011/2012 she left Guaymas, headed south to La Paz, spent three weeks at anchor on our northward journey and rested on the hard in San Carlos. Her 4th, 5th and 6th seasons were Boat Projects related. Season 7 - we are hoping to cruise again at long last.

January 31, 2012

How quickly time passes when you are doing boat projects!

Our neighbour - stately great blue heron
It is Tuesday, January 31st.  Where did Enero disappear?  Actually, we have a very clear idea of how our days have been spent. We are pleased with the slow but steady progress on all the boat projects. It is still a shock to realize the first month of 2012 is at an end. 

As you might anticipate, we chose to pay for one more week, as the northern winds were blowing off and on over the weekend. We waited for a period of calm to put the mainsail on the boom and raise it, after Kelly had completed all his algebraic calculations to determine where the fittings should be placed on the new topping lift.  Of course that meant on Sunday morning, when we'd planned to head out to Empalme for the Sunday Market, the wind was still.  A quick change of plans and we spent a successful few hours completing this outstanding item.  Now the main is attached, the Dutchman lines are in place, as are the reefing lines; the sail cover is on. 
Results of UV on webbing - next project

Next project - repairing our Achilles dinghy with the d-ring patch kits; this required further investigation of what type of adhesive had actually been provided - we had two tubes of 'no name' adhesive and the instructions didn't appear to refer to what we had.  Once again, thank goodness for Skype and the ability to phone suppliers for clarification.  The challenge here is that the lines used to lift and carry the dinghy are spliced on to d-rings which were attached to heavy strapping; all of a piece.  Last season, with very little exposure to the sun, we thought, the strapping basically disintegrated showing the power of U.V.!  Our new kit provides hypalon patches with attached d-rings, but no lines.  The Captain is designing a way to utilize the existing spliced lines with the old and new d-rings.

Upcoming on Febrio 2nd is Dia de la Candelaria, Candlemas Day; halfway between the winter solstice and vernal equinox.  In Mexico, this day is a traditional follow-up to Epiphany or Dia de los Reyes on January 6th.  We'd mentioned celebrating this occasion with the rosca del Reyes special bread with fellow cruisers. Carol was one of several people to find a 'mona' or small statue in her piece of bread which meant hosting a party February 2nd.  As we are still in the marina, we will contribute towards a feast of tamales on Thursday.  Fortunately for everyone, we have an expert tamale chef amongst the cruisers ranks who has offered to spend her time making a variety of tamales.  We contribute the funds and Suzy does the hard work!  Although we all take time to chat during projects it will be a treat to put down tools and tasks, enjoy each others' company and celebrate another Mexican holiday.

The Guaymas pre-Carnaval activities are underway. 

From our attempts at reading the local papers we understand that there has been some controversy over the election of the Rey Feo, or Ugly King.  Last Friday evening the runner up apparently lodged a protest and returned his 'prince belt'.  However la Reina and the Flower Queen were apparently elected without challenges.  While we've enjoyed past Carnavals in La Paz and Mazatlan, we are far too close to activities here to pick and choose our participation.  With good weather our plans will be to have a quiet time in a peaceful anchorage in mid February.  Perhaps some Bob Marley or Toots and the Maytals to liven up the atmosphere; but we have control over the 'off' button!

Newly elected Reina 2012 and Queen of Flowers
Rey Feo for 2012 - not without controversy

January 27, 2012

Friday night in the big city!

Mural on the wall of the RV Park in San Carlos
19:00 hours (07:00 pm) The music is absolutely exuberant and right next door across the small expanse of water. If only we were here on holidays, could take siestas and party until 3 am!!  The Captain is calling down from the cockpit that there is a parade of sorts, trucks loaded with big speakers towing floats and heading towards the Fisherman statue. Lights are flashing, fireworks set off, but there are nowhere near the number of people you would expect for all the frenetic energy being expended.  Who knows what the rest of the evening and early hours of tomorrow morning will bring!  We expect this is a lead up to Carnaval which will take place starting February 16th. 

Our dancing shoes are tucked away in a locker and we've just finished a very tasty dinner at home: red snapper "roja imperial", pan-fried with a panko breadcrumb and herb coating, steamed  broccoli and cauliflower and colourful fusilli pasta.  Of course an economical but presentable white wine. We will listen to the music; now there are horns and a rapid drum beat over-layed with a variety of other instruments; voices over various loudspeakers ramping up the level of energy. Perhaps we will have to venture out to see for ourselves; or not. 

While we are in the midst of all this energetic activity, it still requires a long walk to circumnavigate the parts of the malecon which have yet to be repaired from a previous hurricane.  Huge chunks of concrete still lie askew and unrepaired, preventing a direct walk from the marina to the main part of the malecon.  You must detour down some gravel, walk behind what is usually the space for a variety of midway rides and small food stands, then head towards the wide sweeping sidewalks which are the 'malecon' around the harbour.  It is hard not to think about all the infrastructure projects which are badly needed here  (LGD folks - thinking of you and all those dollars being doled out back home!)

Friends have sent concerned messages about staying safe in Mexico and we reply that we always try to be vigilant without becoming paranoid.  We find Guaymas safe and welcoming for the most part during our visits to the mercado or ferreterias (hardware stores) or walking down Serdan, the main street.  We've been asked for the time and don't feel intimidated nor uncomfortable when walking together or on our own.  Of course, being cruisers, we are rarely out late at night.  Our midnight experiences are vicarious as we stuff plugs in our ears and wonder what the music really sounds like up close!  Hopefully, by the end of this cruising season, we will be able to confirm that once again we have found Mexico and its people to be warm, welcoming and friendly.

As for updates, Kelly successfully made his run north to Nogales on Monday for the topping lift and replacement Dutchman system, along with a variety of purchases at WalMart, Home Depot and Safeway.  I also sent with him a package to the Medical Services Plan folks to be mailed from the U.S. to speed up the delivery time.  Hopefully they will see their way to ensuring I am reimbursed for the excellent medical treatment I received for my vertigo

The wind has not cooperated.  Northers blew again, making it difficult to lay out the mainsail and measure the appropriate spacing for the mono-filament and related attachments.  Today we lugged the mainsail up to the cruisers' lounge and laid it out on the floor to measure and determine the placement of the Dutchman system on the Amsteel line which will now form our new topping lift.  Remember -- measure twice, cut once -- so it's similar to that old carpenter's maxim.

With Kelly on the highway, the Admiral decided to be 'Suzy homemaker' and tackle a week and half of laundry.  That entailed hauling 4 bags up the dock and ramp to the laundry room, only to find signs taped to the dryers that there were no functioning dryers until further notice.  The marina office confirmed that head office in Mexico City had not released funds to pay for the propane to fuel the dryers. It's the latest in a long list of business decisions which impact cruisers at Fonatur marinas without any thought to the flip side.  As in compensation of some sort when a service is not available.  Without going into a long rant (been there!) I sent off emails to the head office suggesting that the cruising community would be more than interested in providing feedback and recommendations for operating a successful and efficient marina. We all have our opinions about what is really behind so many of the decisions which make it difficult for the marina staff to carry out their day to day duties.

Laundry the hard way when the dryers aren't working - more eco-friendly of course!
We found time to explore another few Guaymas highlights, such as the imposing
statue which stands over Guaymas. We don't believe it is of Benito Juarez, despite what the maps say. 
Below is the lovely Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.  It is important to stop and appreciate the efforts the city and its citizens make to celebrate their history and their beliefs and community.
Sacred Heart Cathedral
Arches inside the cathedral
Given the various glitches and side steps we've encountered in our current projects, the Captain advised the marina office that INTREPID II will remain at the dock for another 'semana'. The Northers are building again and won't lie down until at least Monday and we have agreed we won't wear ourselves out racing to complete projects with no down-time.  This means that we will be here for Candlemas or "Candeleria" on February 2nd.  Those of us who found the 'monas' or little statues in the Rosca del Reyes on Epiphany are required to provide a party on that date, featuring tamales.  We have met a lovely lady who lives onboard a sailboat moored near the shrimp boats, Suzy, who has offered to make the tamales for all of us. So we will all participate in yet another Mexican fiesta.  Having made tamales in the past ourselves, we appreciate the work that goes in to these fabulous foods.

We aren't as lonely on the dock as we were last week.  As always Mike on nearby  MV "Fn Fun" holds down the last dock space with his Hatteras (get well Mike...your kite surfing duties await!).  Ken of Plan B came in to the dock for a few days and we always enjoy heading out to brunch at the Armida Hotel with him.  Margaret and Julius and Digby (SV Zeeba) came back in from the anchorage for a night's respite and now have headed south. Tony and Pat are still hard at work on SV Forbes and Cameron. Dick and Arlete successfully launched SV Quatro de Mayo and are fine-tuning things at the fuel dock.  George continues to 'move forward' on SV Mollymawk and Taz holds down the fort in the corner of the dry storage yard.

Surveyors have been busy on the docks and Ted (the marina manager) says that Fonatur does this periodically; who knows if it means anything.  I'm trying to identify the flocks of black birds which flit about around dusk in great flocks with cheerful songs.  Think they are some sort of swift.  They have a regular routine of swooping down just overhead of the docked boats, then zoom over to the malecon and back towards the marina office.(Dannie C. where are you to help - oh yes...by now you should be in San Blas!)

Time to say 'buenas noches'.  Take care everyone and know we are thinking of you!

Enjoying the sunset - pretending we are on vacation!

Yes - we do take time to stop and enjoy the sunsets!

January 19, 2012

Here and there in Guaymas and San Carlos

Metal sun plaque at Hotel Armida - a great place for brunch

Metal cross at Panchito Villas (in the bano!)

A talevera designed wash basin - very colourful

The junior school drum and bugle corps - who often practice on the malecon in the evening

Looking out to the anchorage from the marina office

INTREPID II - the last sailboat on the dock - somewhat dwarfed by the Hatteras yacht next to us! This zoomed photo shows how close we are to the centre of the city and the malecon
La Choperia - the source of many of our sleep deprived nights - up on the second level of the marina complex -booming music until 3 am - way past cruisers midnight!

A new find - Moy - a bulk food store - the only source of peanut oil we know of - we hope to attempt making our own peanut butter with the handy-dandy Magic Bullet
Our intrepid Subaru wagon on Lopez Ave outside Ferreteria 66

Latest update from the Captain

Actually, the update is on behalf of the Captain who is still in the lazarette!  [The following was inserted from the Captain Kelly's page.]

The Captain is usually 'doing' rather than 'blogging' and even more so as we are trying to prepare for our 3rd cruising season. So the Admiral is ghost-writing a few lines and adding pictures in the meantime. 

Not the roomiest lazarette - taking out the old hot water heater
As we've mentioned on the main blog page, we have been challenged by both our planned-for projects, such as re-installing the SSB radio which we took home for repairs, and installing the new hot water heater.  And by the unanticipated projects, like the water pressure pump acting up, finding our topping lift and attached Dutchman system missing, among other challenges.

Dealing with these day to day "problemos" entails online searches for parts; asking other cruisers if they have spare items or know where to find them; and most frequently, heading off to one or two favorite ferreterias (hardware stores) where staff have been extremely helpful in the past.  Yesterday, thanks to the staff at 'Distribudores 66' on Av. Lopez, the Captain has pieced together a variety of brass couplings, connectors and reducers which he hopes will allow him to successfully finish installing the new hot water heater to the engine.  Bronze fittings are the ideal.  We hope these fittings will be a reasonable 2nd choice.

Brass fittings - after a long search
A great ferreteria for many boat projects

Old water heater - installed in 1993
Removing the old water heater from its place in the lazarette required surgery.  It became apparent that the heater had been installed before the wooden frame around the lazarette and its cover were added.  It was not possible to remove the wooden frame in one piece, so one incision was made in the wood.  With some wrangling, the old heater came out.  However, the new one required a second incision as well as removing a piece of the fibreglass before it could be squeezed in.  So much for careful measuring.  Another trip to the ferreterria to find braces to attach the wood back in place, along with some dollops of silicon.

Results of surgery on wood frame and fibreglass
The staff at Expo Ferre are good enough to let the Captain have access to the inventory behind the counter when he can't find the exact words or phrasing to describe what he needs, or a reasonable alternative.

As a sidenote, we are both relieved that this project was on "the list", as there was a wiring issue which needed addressing.  We discovered that when the old water heater was put in place, the installer was short of the requisite size of wire, so added undersized wire with butt connectors.  There were clear signs of over-heating.  We are now wondering if that was part of the problem when the heater stopped functioning.  In any case, appropriate wire and connections are now in place.

Jib now in place
The jib is back on the roller furling; as we've decided to leave the spinnaker behind, the deck is less crowded.  The cockpit is another story!  Until all the work is finished in the lazarette, everything stored in this one locker is stowed outside in as organized a fashion as possible.

The new topping lift line and Dutchman flaking system have been ordered and should arrive at the Nogales UPS store shortly for pickup.  Of course, we will pay for yet another week at the dock. While it is tempting to save pesos ($20 Cnd. a day) by anchoring out, the convenience of being at the dock to run errands is worth it.  As we have yet to inflate our dinghy it would be a bit of a swim! 

Stay tuned...perhaps the Captain will finally have time for a few comments.

January 16, 2012

Scenes from the past week

Scenes from this week:

Entrance to excellent seafood restaurant on dirt road north of San Carlos - they use solar panels and close at dusk

Good friends, good food and byob to La Manga

Outdoor tables...great view south...happy customers!

The estero between San Carlos and Guaymas...a marshy mix of salt and freshwater
Frequent visitor to our docks

"our" heron....who has been at the marina since we arrived in 2010 - patient and composed

Our less than roomy lazarette....Kelly working on unbolting the old water heater

January 12, 2012

Life at the dock for a bit longer

Thursday, January 12 and our thoughts are with a dear aunt who is quietly celebrating her birthday in the cold weather of Edmonton.  Wish you could enjoy some warm weather with us!

The mystery deepens regarding how certain of our lines have disappeared between last April when we cleaned and bagged sails and packed up the sheets and lines.  The topping lift with the Dutchman system is nowhere to be found at home or onboard.  The Captain has placed an order for replacement items and we will "enjoy" another week at the dock.  There are no shortage of things to keep us busy. The enjoyment aspect will hinge on how often the drum and bugle corps fires up in the evening and how loud and late the various musical entertainments in the area chose to be.

There are comings and goings on the dock.  A few folks have headed out now that the winds have eased up; another boat crew is waiting for an injured foot to heal; a third is showing a much loved boat to a prospective new owner.  In the works yard, folks are working away at some more involved projects, always hopeful they will come to an end so they too can set sail. We are all busy and focused, but there is usually time to walk about and supervise each others' tasks.  Brain-storming how to best approach an installation of a part, borrow that one tool you don't seem to have, as well as just chatting.  There aren't any regular 'happy hours' at the moment, but there is a friendly, cooperative cruising community in place.

Kelly successfully re-installed the SSB radio and was able to check in to the Sonrisa ham net.  The reception is not the best while at a dock with too much interference; at least we can listen to other cruisers who do check in and usually catch Geary's weather updates at 07:50 am.  Having this functioning radio connection is an important safety feature as well as a welcome communication link. In the past, we have tried to check in on a regular basis while moving from anchorage to anchorage, so that our recent positions have been recorded by the net controller.  Just in case anyone needed to track us down.  As well, the radio alerts us to anyone in our immediate area who is in need of assistance or wanting to pass on messages.

On our recent trip to San Carlos to search our 'bodega' (storage unit) we spotted a Book Sale to raise funds for the local animal shelter.  Of course we turned around and paid a visit.  Even with the availability of Ereaders and movies, most folks like having a batch of books to read at the ready.  At the moment, in our cruisers' library exchange at the marina, we've all read everything each of us is interested in, so it was a bonus to pick up a few new titles to add to the book bag.

Today we have been invited to join friends on a drive north of San Carlos to a newer restaurant on the beach .  The food is good, although the service is somewhat slow apparently.  It is a byob place, with a 'dress warm' proviso, as the sea breezes can be brisk.  We are looking forward to this new experience.

PS:  we have changed the setting on this blog to allow folks who don't have a Google account to make comments....sorry for any difficulties some of you had...comments first go for 'moderation' so we can check them, and then post.

January 7, 2012

January 2012 activities - Keeping busy in the sunshine

Photos from the marina looking out from our dock.

Our view looking north to malecon and spires of San Fernando church

Our view to the east along the malecon

Plan B at anchor with pelicanos cruising by

Pelicanos swallowing fish at sunset

This first week of January has been a mixed bag of activities for the INTREPID II crew with little time for a posting, but here are a few items of note.

old wiring - not well connected
Kelly continued with his electrical challenges arising out of installing new LED lights in our dining area and the galley.  Minimal issues or none at all with the new products and we are pleased with the results.  However, there were some interesting existing wiring arrangements which required much more time and ingenuity than originally anticipated.

Our water pressure pump is still behaving erratically.  We need that to be functioning well before installing the new water heater.  Today is a concentrated effort to deal with all the odds and ends of bags and bins in the v-berth and cabin. The goal is to minimize what we keep on board, then take away suitcases, bins of extraneous stuff we hope we won't need later.  We even passed up attending the swap meet in San Carlos to ensure we didn't find any treasures, which of course wouldn't have a place onboard!

Carol tracked down the name of an English speaking doctor near the marina.  She paid several visits to Dr. Sanchez to confirm that she indeed had a serious inner ear infection which was the cause of extreme vertigo these past few weeks. That was one of the reasons we wanted to get to the dock rather than be climbing ladders. Dr. Sanchez advised her to have an immediate series of four injections to address the vertigo, along with antibiotics.  By the 3rd injection, there was a noticeable difference. She is finishing up the medication with comparable pills.  On Friday she sat through a somewhat painful procedure to flush out her ears and voila!  Much improved sound and minimal vertigo.  (Carol:  now I can tackle the rest of our lockers and also hear much more clearly the thumping disco music which has been going to 2 or 3 am.  A mixed blessing.)

'The Doctor' mural in Sanitorio Sanchez
The reception area in Dr. Sanchez' office features a dramatic mural called "The Doctor". It is a very sombre rendition of a physician leaning over a sick child while the anxious parents are in the background.  Dr. Sanchez advised that his father established the clinic in 1958;  the mural was painted from the original English painting by a well known Guaymas artist. Our doctor spent considerable time determining the issues and arriving at a suitable treatment.  He listened well and answered all our questions. Further, he sees patients at all hours, if necessary, and was there at 9 pm for the injections, after having been at the office since 7:30 am.

In the meantime, we've visited with our SV Rosebud friends who are staying in San Carlos, put a few more items in our rented bodega, also in San Carlos and unsuccessfully searched for line for our traveller, which needs replacing.  There is one marine chandlery in San Carlos which seems to cater more to sport fishing vessels than sailboats, so no lines available there.  
Rosca del Reyes
Yesterday, January 6th, was el Dia de los Reyes (the feast day of the 3 Kings, or Magi). Suzy and Ron of SV Golden Eagle, who are working on their own boat projects in the dry storage area, hosted the remaining cruisers to a celebration.  With assistance from  SV Forbes and Cameron folks, Pat and Tony, we enjoyed slices of the decorated 'rosca'.  This sweet bread is formed into a circle and colourfully decorated; it also contains tiny plastic statues of 'baby Jesus'.  We all thought only one was baked into each cake, but several folks found 2 each and Carol bit down on one herself before we realized there were several.  The rules of receiving this honour:   host a subsequent party with tamales on or about February 2nd.  Although we will all likely be dispersed by then, we've promised to do so wherever we find ourselves next month.
Time to get back to projects.  It's an overcast day, fairly calm, but we expect south winds clocking around to northers soon.  By Sunday the highest wind is expected to hit 26 knots before easing up. We're here for another week, hopefully accomplishing our outstanding tasks, do a final provisioning run and making plans to 'head south'.