Hi there. It’s been a while since we’ve posted on the blog. I suppose we’ve been distracted. However, we went and spent a month away from civilization, friends, and diversions, and took time to catch up on some writing. Here’s a little backlog of what we’ve been up to for the past 5 or so months.
After our two-month hiatus in the states we were refreshed, spoiled from the ease of land life, and more than anxious to get back to life on the water. We missed swimming with the fish, the freedom and calm. Orion was put in dry storage while we were gone, for security during storm season and so that when we returned we could do some maintenance on a dry boat. We hugged our family goodbye in Arizona and headed back down to Guaymas in early October with the plans of doing a two-week yard period, which (not surprisingly) turned into a month of boat projects.
Bringing a boat back to life after putting her to bed for a couple of months is no easy task. We cleaned months worth of dirt off our blackened deck, wrestled her sails back on, and slowly found the cabins underneath all the stored deck supplies. Then we went to work on projects that are difficult or impossible to do while she’s wet. We replaced the packing in the stuffing boxes around our drive shaft and rudder, repainted the markers on our anchor chain, and built new shelving in a closet. We fixed the alternator, which had not worked properly since we got to Mexico, and resealed two leaking chainplates and cleaned out the moldy cabinets the leaks created. We dealt with our brightwork (exterior wood) for the first time since we bought the boat, scraping off all the old varnish with the help of a heat gun, sanding the wood down, filling in the holes with filler, and applying several coats of teak oil. We made wooden flopper-stoppers to hang off the sides of the boat to reduce rolling in bumpy anchorages. Our last job was painting the bottom. She hadn’t had a bottom job in nearly four years and it was getting difficult to keep up with scraping off the growth. You don’t want to paint and then leave the boat out for days, because the sun deteriorates the copper in the paint, reducing the biofouling properties. So we sanded off the remaining old stuff and painted a couple coats of the new, finishing up the day before she splashed.
Guaymas was an interesting city to hang out in for a month. Somehow it felt more Mexican than all the other cities we’d visited. This is probably because it isn’t touristy at all, with almost no gringos other then those in the boat yard and marina. The opportunities to practice Spanish abounded as we searched for random parts in hardware stores and filled ourselves on the cheap and yummy food around town. Guaymas enjoys a culture rich with art. Just a few blocks away from the marina there was a central square with a stage that blasted live and recorded music a few nights a week, sometimes until the wee hours of the morning. It was good fun but seriously loud and sometimes reminiscent of wasted karaoke. There was also a lovely two-week arts festival with music, plays, and dances in the square, which culminated in the best Dia de Los Muertos festival I have ever seen. Day of the Dead is one of my favorite holidays because it is a celebration of life and death with color, honor, memories, and imaginative art. I resonate wholeheartedly with the concept of taking a day every year to honor those who have passed, to keep their memories alive and as a means to remind us to really live. Plus I just love the all the amazing Mexican folk art that goes along. The streets were filled with playful skeletons of all sizes, parades, colorful altars, and some really good live music.
While we enjoyed the relaxed culture of the town we were also somewhat wary. Many locals informed us that gang violence and robbery are concerns, especially in the neighborhood just south of the marina. Fortunately, we never had a problem but we walked around less and less at night as we talked to more people about it. Two different cruisers had dinghies and outboards stolen from their boats while at anchor, so we were fastidious with locking up. We even ended up staying in the marina a week instead of heading straight to anchor, just for the extra security and ease. It was a bonus that the Guaymas Fonitur Marina is SO cheap (we paid $8 a day, which included water, power, wifi and a pool)!
A fun aspect of October in Guaymas is that this is the most common place in pacific Mexico for people to leave their boats on the hard for the summer (or longer). This is because it’s cheap, secure, and more or less out of hurricane zone. October is the month when everyone shows up to cruise again, after the intense summer heat has eased and there are only a few more weeks of hurricane season. At first during our stay the only cruisers around were Doug and Lucas, some of my favorite quirky single-handlers, our buddies on Sangvind, and us. Then day-by-day new people showed up until the finally right before we left the place was packed. Everyone was moving and shaking, making travel plans for the season and working hard to get their boats ship shape for the voyages. The enthusiasm was contagious. It was party time. We were back in action and ready to head out into the Sea.