Saturday, December 31, 2011

Flashback to Mazatlan....

Current Location: La Cruz, Mexico

Here we sit aboard our boat enjoying the delights of the season…and 80 degree weather! It took me a while to get into the Christmas spirit without the routine of our usual traditions and cool weather. However, as we pulled into La Cruz (also known as Huanacaxtle - 20 miles north of Puerto Vallarta), we were able to put up our little Christmas tree and lights, which helped kick off our holiday celebrations.

As usual I am not current on my entries so here comes another time travel blog…taking you back a couple weeks to time spent in Mazatlan. Now imagine hearing the flashback song from Wayne’s World…dooooo-doooooo-doooooo-dooooo……

December 16-18:
Last I mentioned we were pulling into Mazatlan after crossing the Sea of Cortez. Our plan was to pull in for the night, shower, fill up with diesel and water, and then be on our merry way. Difficulties arose as we made our way into the Mazatlan harbor. Our transmission which had been previously giving us some trouble, decided to throw another little snit. Getting it into and out of gear became challenging and if it did finally slip into gear, there was a lack of thrust from the prop (are you impressed with my technical talk…Ben thinks it’s hot!). Simply put, it was a crap shoot to see if the boat would go where we wanted it to while under motor. Not a problem while on the open water, but definitely an issue when trying to maneuver into the tight entry of Mazatlan harbor. As usual, Ben was unflappable and went to his standard line of, “worst comes to worst, we’ll sail it in!”

We decided to stay at Marina El Cid, calling ahead so we could go directly to our slip. As we maneuvered past the breakwater and into the narrow entry of the harbor, we willed our transmission to cooperate. Ben did a drive by of our slip and as we slowly turned around to make our way back, we had no thrust from the prop…aka…we lost the ability to maneuver. Unfortunately, just as this occurred, we observed a large charter power boat barreling down the channel directly at us.

In Mexico I don’t think there is a 5 mph wake rule and if there is the locals interpret it as a 20 mph. I quickly hopped up on the stern and started signaling by waving my hands, trying to communicate that we were unable to turn. I’m not sure if I can fully express the helpless feeling this conjured up! Floating in the channel of the marina, with vessels entering, docks/boats on one side and rocky terrain on the other. I was ready to pounce and fend off wherever the collision would occur. Fortunately, just as I was strategizing how to do this, the prop engaged and we were able to avoid any incident.

As we maneuvered into our slip (where I actually jumped onto the boat next to us to fend off), we were greeted by Tom from Camelot. He helped us with our dock lines and gave us a quick rundown of Mazatlan, the most important tidbit was that happy hour had begun at the pool. After patting ourselves on the back for once again making it safely into port, we did what every responsible sailor would do……we ventured off to have a cheap beer and forget about our boat problems for a while.

After enjoying some libations.....the head scratching began.

This is where Ben pulls apart things and sits in the cockpit for hours on end, wondering where the problem lies. This is not a metaphorical thing, he literally scratches his head during this process (and other things I’m sure, but that’s life on a Floating Frat House). I won’t bore you with the mechanical details…guys, look for Ben’s post on the technical update later…but we planned to stay one night and head out for Puerto Vallarta. As with any sailing adventure, plans change (we are currently on Plan W) and we stayed for four days. One of the many lessons I have learned during this odyssey is to be flexible and when plans change it’s not the end of the world. It's usually quite the opposite, great things tend to happen!

Turns out Marina El Cid was the equivalent of Disneyland for our crew members, J.P. and Mickey. With pools complete with waterfalls, caves and swim up bars (well, the latter was for me), they were in hog heaven! Throw in the miniature golf course, shuffleboard, ping pong and the exotic iguanas by the pool, they had reached Nirvana! As Mickey so aptly put it, “I’m glad our engine is broken, we can stay here for a while!”

As for myself, I spent time in the spa getting a much needed pedicure and haircut. I think I actually heard the woman audibly gasp as I took out my ponytail holder! Ben passed the time tackling the puzzle of diesel engines and folding props. It was truly a place where there was a bit of heaven for all of us!!!

During our stay we spent several hours soaking in the enormous hot tub, meeting new people. J.P. recently informed us that he found it annoying when we stopped to talk to adults and spent a long time in conversations…it was boring. Ben suggested that he was always welcome to participate and it was a great opportunity to learn new things since we were meeting people from all walks of life.

J.P. accepted this new challenge during one of our marathon hot tub soaks. We happened to meet a vacationing older couple from Iowa whose children were grown. They asked us all about our sailing trip and we learned about life on their farm in the Midwest. J.P. was listening intently and inquired about what they grew. Their reply tickled him, “Soy.”

He excitedly turned to me and said, “That’s a good thing to grow since I am allergic to dairy!!”

Another five minutes passed and when the conversation didn’t turn to Star Wars or farting, he swam away to practice his snorkeling skills at the other end of the hot tub. But alas, Ben and I were happy to see that our seven year old was taking an interest in other people’s experiences and learning something new about life.

Next up: The decision to pull out of Mazatlan with a cranky transmission and our sail to La Cruz, Mexico (Puerto Vallarta).

Happy New Year!


Boys trip into town....somehow Ben convinced the concierge of the hotel to let them see the newly constructed penthouse suite. To quote J.P. "this is definitely a bachelor pad!"

No comments:

Post a Comment