Friday, December 26, 2014

Feliz Navidad!

Feliz Navidad to all of our friends and family.  I hope you are enjoying some quality time with loved ones over the holidays.  It feels strange for us to be celebrating Christmas in 80 degree weather, decked out in tank tops and shorts.  We enjoyed the day opening gifts in the morning, then hit the pool.  We ended the evening with a scrumptious poolside, potluck with cruiser friends from Sarita and Scoots.

I have attached some photos to show what a miserable time we are having...

We brought a bit of Christmas into the boat by converting our white board to a fireplace.

Check out Santa in the background.  I know that when I get a hotel room for Christmas, I always bring an inflatable Santa along. 

Katelyn showing off her cliff diving skills. The next day our 4 year old boat friend went off the cliff.  Hannah said, "If a 4 year old can do it.  So can I."  So, off the cliff she went.  Gotta love peer pressure.  

It really wasn't as exciting as my face would have you believe...

Katelyn is about to be attacked by Katya.  

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A boat yard birthday

As I briefly mentioned before, we were in need of a haul out here in Mazatlan.  Jake had noticed as we were leaving San Diego that we had a small oil leak coming from the back side of the engine.  By the time we got to Mazatlan it had increased.  We went from a few drips on the oil pad to a small puddle, now coming from multiple spots.  That's probably not a good sign.  After some investigation we concluded that it was probably a problem with our rear oil seal.  Being that it was more than likely the original seal, now over 30 years old, it was in need of a replacement.  Jake did some extensive research online on how to tackle this problem.  To my dismay, I was told that it would involve removing the transmission, shaft, stuffing box, and the bell housing.  Jake is pretty handy with the engine, but this seemed a bit overwhelming to both of us.  Hannah's birthday and Christmas were quickly approaching and I didn't feel like having the engine ripped apart and slowly put back together by Jake.  Not to mention the moods that this would create.  We were paying good money to stay in a resort marina and I wanted the whole family to enjoy it.

We did some research and asked the local boaters who they would recommend for a marine mechanic.  We ultimately found Rafa from Rafa's Boat Services.  He came aboard and quickly confirmed what we already knew.  This was a job that could be done in the water.  However, we also had our lobster pot incident looming.  Running over the lobster pots had made a gash in the hull of the boat near the rudder post.  We also wanted to get that fixed.  And if we are hauling out for that... we might as well have the bottom painted.  Oh, and lets install some new engine mounts that Jake had purchased in San Diego.  Oh, and we need new packing for the stuffing box... We had given Rafa our list and he returned with a reasonable quote and assured us that it would be a 5 day job putting us back in the water 12/23 just in time for Christmas.  It's a deal.

The haul out went well.  The yard is located just a short distance from El Cid Marina.  Jake did a superb job of backing Ohana between concrete pilings with no dock.  Then the skilled (female) travellift operator hoisted Ohana, with us still on board.  You would have thought Katelyn was on a ride at Disneyland with the grin on her face.  Hannah also felt like she was on a ride, but apparently not the same ride Katelyn was on.  She was on a death defying roller coaster.  Rafa was kind enough to notice Hannah's anxiety.  He grabbed her off the boat so she could safely be on land.

Living on a boat on the hard (on land) is never easy.  We have to traverse a 20 ft ladder to get on and off the boat.  We have to keep our drains plugged so that water that normally goes into the ocean from seacocks (holes) in the boat under the waterline doesn't get on the wet paint or the workers. Even though the haul out yard is concrete, there still manages to be an increased amount of dirt and crud tracked in on our shoes.  We were able to use the facilities at Marina Fonatur.  They had nice bathrooms, showers, laundry and wifi.

Hannah had her birthday in the midst of the boat yard project.  Rafa bought her an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen to celebrate.  How's that for service?  It was his birthday as well so we shared.  We spent the day at the El Cid pool and then went for pizza with the Sarita crew.  My baby is 7 years old!  What happened?

All in all we were very pleased with Rafa's service.  Rafa and his crew were very knowledgeable and professional.  They gave us an estimate and a time frame and stuck to it.  There were no surprises.  It was nice to sit back and watch someone else do the work for once.

Rafa's crew hard at work.

Icecream cake in the shop.

Our baby is 7...

Hannah is always a princess.  Even in a boatyard...


Monday, December 15, 2014


Mazatlan for Christmas?  Why not?  We crossed the Sea of Cortez and arrived in Mazatlan 12/10.  What started out as a plan to stay 2 nights in a marina then head to the anchorage has evolved into a 2+ week stay in El Cid Marina.  Not good for the budget, but good for Hannah's birthday and Christmas.  The marina facilities are gorgeous and they have 2 pools with water slides and sea caves.  We are meeting several other boat families and having way too much fun.

We will also be hauling the boat out to get some repairs done while we are here.  Not fun and also not good for the budget.  We'll keep you posted on our progress.


Pigs head anyone?

3 chicken enchiladas $2.41 usd

Coconuts on the beach

Laundry at anchor

Laundry at Marina El Cid

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cabo San Lucas

We left Abreojos and headed on an overnight journey to Bahia Santa Maria.  This would serve as a good stopping/resting point before continuing on to Cabo San Lucas.  We were also excited to catch up with good friends on S/V Sarita.  We had not seen them since Ensenada and Katelyn needed some bonding time with their 11 year old daughter Katya.  We had a fantastic sail down and used the motor for about 4 hours of the 16 hour journey - not bad.  We saw plenty of whales and sea turtles on the way.  Oh, and finally landed a fish!  We enjoyed a skipjack tuna for dinner while underway.  This was great considering we were VERY low on provisions.  I also thoroughly enjoyed filleting my first fish.  I've always enjoyed dissecting innocent creatures, whether in a science lab or at home.  Jake was no fun, he made me stop and throw the remnants overboard for the sharks.

Our first victim...

We stayed overnight in Bahia Santa Maria then headed on to Cabo San Lucas with some rest under our belt.  The winds had completely died and it was pretty calm our first day out.  Around 10 pm we got a nice 10 knot breeze and threw the sails up.  We ended up sailing about half of the journey, then ultimately motored the last leg into Cabo San Lucas.

I cannot express how exciting it was to be in civilization again.  We passed the time underway talking about all the food items that we missed and what we wanted to do once we hit land (not literally of course).  We all agreed that a Big Mac from McDonald's and a Mcflurry for dessert sounded amazing. We are not typically big fans of McDonald's but anything sounds good when the only thing left for boat provisions is rice, ramen, and a can of chili beans.  We also had several conversations (me doing most of the talking) about how when we are in a city with a Costco (Ensenada) and someone says "let's go" (me) and someone else says "why?" (Jake) that someone else should keep their mouth shut. It's not easy being responsible for feeding a family of four when there may not be a "real" grocery store in sight for days.  It's not like you can just run to the market and pick up a frozen pizza and pop it in the oven.  This takes some serious planning.  And the crew moral can be seriously influenced by a lack of variety and/or edible food.

We pulled into the anchorage at Cabo just as the sun dipped down.  Thank goodness Sarita was already anchored and able to guide us in.  After dodging unlit water taxis and party boats (with plenty of lights), we anchored in 22 ft of crystal clear turquoise water.  We were too exhausted to launch the dinghy and head to land so we scrounged up whatever we could find for dinner and hit the hay.

Upon waking up the next day, we were in heaven.  It sunk in what a milestone this was to finally be in Cabo.  After 900 miles of deserted Baja coast, we were finally within reach of civilization.  The temp was 85 degrees and the water was 80 degrees.  We could see schools of tropical fish swimming by the boat and rays jumping out of the water.  The view of the famous arches was directly behind us. The downside of the anchorage (or upside depending on your taste) was that the beach is lined with huge resorts, there are party boats nearby every night with music blaring, there are DJ's and more music playing from beach side bars till the wee hours, and jet skis and water taxis zoom through the anchorage constantly.  But hey, we're in Cabo!!!

While there, we took advantage of the big box stores - Coscto, Walmart, Home Depot - and stocked up on EVERYTHING.  We rented a car for the day and filled the trunk.  We noticed that the only people shopping in Costco were Americans.  Cabo seems to have a large expat community.  I can see why.  All of the Mexicans we encountered spoke English very well.  Signs in stores were in Spanish and English.  It would be a very easy city as an American to assimilate in to.

Overall, we had a great time in Cabo.  We did some swimming.  Caught a movie (only $20 for a family of 4).  Jake and I even snuck out for a romantic dinner on the beach within eyesight of Ohana and the girls.  Oh, and the McDonald's was still recovering from the hurricane.  They were closed...

Ohana at anchor with the cruise ships.

It just doesn't feel like Christmas.

Our backyard