Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Transitioning to Summer

"Pisces, Pisces, this is Tao on one-six" "Hey Tao, wanna go one-eight?" "One-eight" This has been a near daily beginning to our radio conversations with our buddy boat Pisces since we caught back up with them here in the Sea at Los Frailes. We awoke sad this morning as Pisces is no longer accessible via our VHF. Approximately a week ahead of our schedule, this morning they are driving "La Camioneta" (a sweet new-to-them van!) up to Tucson with their rudder on top, and we are gearing up for our last week of craziness preparing to transition into our summer. We've been anchored in Bahia San Carlos for a week now, slowly chipping away at closing the boat up for a few months while we head back to the states to visit family and hopefully make a little money for our cruising kitty. It is shaping up to be a bit of a heart-wrenching process as Tao is to be pulled out of the sea and put "on the hard" on stands in the middle of the Sonoran desert for several months through the heat of the summer. Not only are all these changes from our last 6 months of cruising proving to be psychologically difficult to adjust to, but the process of preparing a boat to be left in such heat is full of a million detailed tasks. In addition, to prepare for next seasons possible ocean voyaging we have created a list of priorities (200+ items strong) of things to buy while in the states or upgrade upon return. Overwhelming to say the least.

Poco a poco (little by little). It was invaluable to be able to observe Pisces' process and we have allotted ourselves extra time to try to keep this transition as mellow as possible. Over the past week we started by researching all the possible places to leave Tao on the hard. Upon sailing in, we were leaning toward Guaymas, as it is known to be the least expensive, and near "the big city" of Guaymas, a hub for local fishing and shrimping operations. Upon visiting, it is run by a very amiable Gabriel, and is quite a small operation in a dirt yard with a barbed wire fence for security (it was strange to see Outkast and Misty on stands without their people). It turns out that it is on the outskirts with quite a trek, requiring a bus, to get to town for buying parts to do work or even for finding a place to eat or grocery store which would make working on Tao upon return a bit difficult. Singlar is newer to the area and known to have exorbitant prices. Still we wanted to check it out. We were very impressed by their facilities (clean, paved and highly secure) and were pleasantly surprised that in trying to fill their small yard, they are offering 60% off their prices which bring them to a reasonable cost. The down side is there are no boat work services available through the yard, we would have to find everything ourselves. Marina Real, closest to the Sea, was immediately out as you are not allowed to live on your boat while working on it. Marina San Carlos tends to be the favorite among the majority of cruisers that want to work on their boats. It is obvious that they have done this for a while and are quite a well oiled machine. Because of the cruisers demand, services for both the boat and the cruisers, although more expensive, have popped up all around this little town. It is also where Pisces hauled out the first day we were here (and several others such as Plume plan to), so we were able to intimately check out their process. After weighing all the pros and cons, we have decided to haul out into Marina Seca in San Carlos because of the high level of experience, decent security, and the larger net of other cruisers experience to draw from there. We'll just have to battle the dust and mosquitos and the extra money is worth it to us for a little more peace of mind.

Over the last week we also managed to purchase tickets from Phoenix to our different destinations just in time for the 2-week mark; we both fly out on June 5th. It's quite complicated and more details will follow as things fall into place. The basic idea so far is that Shawn and Grizzly are flying to New York to visit family and Griz will be staying with GrandMum for a while. Shawn will then head to Idaho for a trip down the Middle Fork/Main Salmon with Chris and on to Oregon to hopefully work a few trips on the Rogue before checking out the yoga scene back in Berkeley. Chris is flying to Corvallis to visit his sister Sarah and pick up our chariot Pepe, and then working his way to Idaho for another season of river running with Canyons. Unfortunately, post ticket purchase, we found that the beautiful Mexican buses do not allow pets in the cabin. Yikes, now we find ourselves with a deadline in the states and no easy way to get there. We are practicing our zen and having faith that a ride from another cruiser will fall into place at the right time. Don't worry though, we do have a back up plan. We'll keep you posted. Until then, we haul on Friday at 2 pm local when the tide is high enough for our 5-ft draft. Tomorrow we plan to take a slip and drench everything in fresh water- it has been since the states since Tao has had a real fresh water bath and all of our running and standing rigging as well as our sails, canvas covers, windlass, Moni, Seahor(se), and Eeyore are screaming for a serious wash down. How different unlimited freshwater showers will be for us as well... Which brings us to today, we are madly scrambling around on board taking measurements, baking bread and cookies to use up the open flour, and generally trying to get all of the tasks that need to be done in the water completed while at the same time reminding ourselves to enjoy this part of the adventure as well.


  1. We love you guys! Good luck in the coming days, and remember, it's just part of the adventure!

    We are now in Tucson, it's very different...definitely some adjusting we need to do.

  2. Congratulations, you made it to haul-out. A boat "on the hard" makes we owners uncomfortable for sure, but it can bring peace too. Did you guys hold on to the mast and get wet while Tao got her fresh water washdown? Good luck in your travels. Things will work out! See you soon...Ken...