Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A month in La Ventana

There is something about the dusty, windy and remote East Cape town of La Ventana that brought us back again this January.  The majority of the seasonal vistors are all active 50+ year olds.  many proficient in kiteboarding, windsurfing and cycling, coming from the cold British Columbia and the Hood River, Oregon area.
We rented a small casita for a month, and settled into an active month of chasing wind and waves on the waters of La Ventana.  When the wind doesn't blow, there are plenty of other things to do. Morning bike rides in the Cactus trails, yoga, stand up paddling, hiking and exploring some nearby mountain towns. A few times we returned to La Paz, only 40 minutes away, and on a decent paved highway, to continue boat projects, do some shopping and have an occasional music date.  We enjoyed hanging out with our La Ventana friends, as well as hosting several visitors who came down from CA and other sailboats.

Brenda and Nancy on bikes admiring the Ventana Bay

El Cardon Trail (the Cactus Trail)
Nancy beach launching with Rob's help

A wind-less morning found Rob High and Dry

Nancy and Rico, her favorite Kite Instructor

A good view from the deck of Coya's Restaurant

Another view of the Baja Joe's Beach from Coya's

Nigel and Joules commuting by ATV with Chaser (dog) in the Basket

All the hard work paid off...
Video of Nancy kite-ing on last day in La Ventana
Filmed & chased by Rob, cameraman and devoted husband

Our good friends & family..and all expert kiters

Deborah (SV Cyclades) and Nancy on SUPs

Josh from Central Coast CA visited for a week

Josh and Nancy 
Josh leads us on Tango and Salsa dancing between dinner courses

Colorful local dancers perform amidst high winds and waves at the annual La Ventana Classic kiteboarding competition and fundraiser for local schools.

Nigel and Rob surveying the wind conditions

Beach time before the wind blows

Rob coming in to shore on a 12 meter kite

Sunday, February 19, 2017

December in La Paz

Returning to our Mexican "hometown" and Shindig is always something to look forward to. In December, we enjoyed reunions with friends, dogs, pianos as well as meeting new babies.

Quinn, the mighty Portugese water dog
We were Quinn's doggy-sitters in West Vancouver, British Columbia several summers ago.

Nancy plays the Baldwin grand piano at El Angel Azul, La Paz

New Year's Eve with Katie and Mike at Il Rustico restaurante

Breakfast at La Marmolera with Bret and Marna from S/V Liahona

Baby Time!  Nancy meets Nina Abigal

Conchita at Marina Palmira's Dinghy Dock

Wedding party on the steps of the Cathedral, Centro La Paz

Artists and Models pose in front of artwork
Gallery at the Centro Cultural La Paz

For several days the Malecon and major roads were blocked in protest of the Mexican Government raising gas prices 20%

But some services, such as detailing the Truck, were still available and very reasonable

Pretty Day on the Malecon 

Giant Oyster and Pearl Sculpture: La Paz had a thriving pearl industry until the 1930's

Old Man and the Sea Sculpture

Nap time for Nina with mommy, Lupita

Nancy catches up with Isaac, her cello stand partner at La Escuela de Musica

Merry Christmas / Feliz Navidad

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Auto Pilot Repairs and Boat Yoga

Boat repairs and maintenance consume lots of my time and have a noticeable impact on the pocket book.
The beginning of this boating season was no different as I addressed several big projects.

The first one is the autopilot.  Last season we developed a leak in the hydraulic ram that moves the rudder which in turn steers the boat.  I attempted to repair it with new seals but there was still a small leak at the output shaft.
Rather than keep debugging the 20 year old unit I decided to replace it and keep the old one as working spare.

Easy right....  Raymarine has a "Drop in Replacement" right.   Wrong!

Raymarine, type 2  hydraulic auto pilot ram with pump

So the specs on the new unit are very close except....
  1.   The ram is 1.125 inches longer (bad news, have to modify the quadrant tiller arm)
  2.   The mounting holes are too small (that sucks, drill out to the right size)
  3.   The hydraulic hoses come out the back instead of the top (not good, clearance problem with bulkhead, need 90 degree fittings)
  4.   The hose to the fluid reservoir is shorter (dang, need to relocate the hydraulic pump to make things fit)
  5.   They shipped me the wrong quadrant tiller pin. (Oh, make a few calls and have one shipped from England)

My version of "Boat Yoga"
The auto pilot ram lives below the aft bunk of course.  You must take apart the whole bed, sheets, memory foam, mattress and remove the slats to get to it.  I spent hours hunched over sorting out all the workarounds for the "drop in replacement".   There are health benefits to all this work, as I am practicing my own version of exercise with the Yoga Squatting Position, Mālāsana.

Modified quadrant tiller arm to accommodate 1.25 inches longer arm.  And no, it would not have been easier to mount the ram 1.25 inches back. 

So, it is in and it works great.  We have sea trialed it once and will be conducting more sailing and  testing in February.  I'm glad it is done and that we'll have a reliable unit in place that should give us many years of service.  The auto pilot is such a crucial piece of equipment on the boat.  It is like an extra crew member when you are short handed.

Finally installed and ready for action

There are benefits to all the boat projects ; Nancy goes out into town, runs our errands and sees her friends.  She brings back great photos and stories for me to enjoy vicariously.  Here's a photo of the new colorful La Paz sign on the Malecon.

Stay tuned for the next fix it blog entry.
It might be called, "Are black water tanks easy to fix?"  or "Hmmm....what's that smell"