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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Winter Refit

24 October 2006
San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico

It's been three weeks since we came into Marina Real to begin our winter refit projects on Nakia. Interestingly it's a lot like life in the marina before we left to go cruising, including having a job. But at least we're working for ourselves and we get to set our own hours. In our case we usually get up at 5:00 so John can be ready to start at first light. So far we haven't had any complaints from our neighbors which may be because the "boat boys" (the local crews and hired captains of the power and sport fishing boats) arrive for work at about the same time, as does our neighbor, Stan on SolMate.

The current project involves replacing the hatches up on the cabin top. We have one forward hatch over our head in the bow (where most sailboats have a V-berth) and a butterfly type hatch in the middle over the salon. We are replacing those with three Lewmar hatches. To date John has:

Removed the old (extremely heavy) teak hatches
Pried out the interior teak frames
Cut and ground the fiberglass exterior frames (which were built up for a custom fit of the original hatches)
Made plywood inserts to create new frames
Tabbed the inserts into place
Filled, fiber glassed, and epoxied the new plywood frames (interior and exterior)
Cut holes for new hatches in the new plywood frames
Filled and faired frames (currently ongoing)

He's taped heavy plastic to the interior overhead, vacuums as he sands, and we hose down the entire boat after any sanding to keep the mess to a minimum.

To pick up parts and supplies for the refit we've made one overnight trip to Nogales, AZ, and John went a second time making the round trip in one day with a friend. It's a 5-6 hour drive each way plus stops at Customs both leaving and entering Mexico to take care of paperwork. We'll need to go up there at least once or twice again, but hopefully those will be over night trips so that we can take advantage of the U.S. shopping.

The "marina life" part of the refit includes unlimited fresh water from our hose on the dock, which was great for cleaning and stowing things we won't be using for awhile; unlimited electricity at the dock; showers and flush toilets in the marina bathroom (there's no hot water though, and the weather is already getting a little too cool for tepid showers); choice of two self-service coin laundries; WiFi access up at the marina office, which unfortunately doesn't reach our boat in the slip; and we've even decided to get a Skype phone number so that people can leave us voice messages. Our truck gives us access to all kinds of shopping including small markets locally in San Carlos, bigger stores 20 miles south in Guaymas, and mega stores (Costco, Home Depot, Office Depot, Ace Hardware, WalMart) 85 miles north in Hermasillo. We've signed up at the local video rental store to try to catch up on some of the movies we've missed, and we're working our way through all the local eateries with SolMate.

As I mentioned the weather is getting cooler and tends to be too breezy for swimming already, but we're only a few blocks away from a pretty beach for walking, if we ever make the time for it. Fortunately we can already tell that the improvements we're making will be well worth the time off we're taking from cruising!

Linda and John

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tied to the Dock

3 October 2006
Marina Real, San Carlos

The Catch 22 anchorage in Bahia Algodones was lovely (imagine a 20' deep swimming pool with a sandy bottom) and we hated to leave it, but we are now in Marina Real for the foreseeable future. We've returned to civilization (including our little Toyota truck!) to begin the winter refit projects that John has planned for Nakia. The two big jobs that he's going to start first are installing a new Formica overhead and replacing our boxy teak hatches with sleek new Lewmar ones. We're excited about giving Nakia a new look and will try to post pictures as we progress through each task. Working conditions are less than ideal right now as we try to acclimate to the higher humidity, and we're keeping our fingers crossed that someone will switch on nature's A/C by the middle of this month. A simple thing like doing four loads of laundry at the not-well-ventilated laundromat this morning had me soaked in my own sweat and it wasn't even 10:00 yet. And we find the marina showers won't run cold water - the best we can get is tepid which isn't very refreshing. But we are plugged in, and can run multiple fans; keep the refrigerator full of cold water and beer; and when we get really desperate, go for a drive in the air-conditioned truck to eat pizza in an air-conditioned restaurant.

As Ray on Adios always says, life is good!

Linda and John