Saturday, May 7, 2011

At the dock, voyage preparations in Marina La Cruz

It was an abrupt transition from surfing all day everyday and living on the hook in Punta de Mita's rolly anchorage to tying up to a dock. We haven’t spent time in a marina since Berkeley in 2008 and had forgotten what it was like. The first night, it was so still, we awoke wondering if we were on-the-hard. And socially there is so much activity, a little dock community if you will. We came in that Tuesday the 26th to meet Ivett from A Stitch in Time so she could start work on our dodger. Marina La Cruz was able to offer us a good deal if we stayed the last few days of April before the off-season May prices (and also the heat wave temperatures) kicked in. It has been completely worth it. Our first afternoon at the dock Ivett was aboard making a pattern for our dodger while we ran around taking off the traveler and shaping blocks for a dodger bracket for solid forward attachment points.

Since then, while our dodger is being sewn, we’ve both been chipping away at our “To Do” lists. They didn’t seem very long at first, but progress is slow. Somehow no matter how hard we work at sitting down and making an efficient list, when we break and start the work, inevitably we are each all of a sudden working on some little un-noted-on-the-to-do-list task… Such is life on a boat. Of course there are all of the “daily” boat tasks (finding and filling up with fresh water, propane tank fills, food shopping, and cleaning). Then, we’ve made a few trips to the big city, Puerto Vallarta, to borrow charts (Hawaii, South Pacific, and Micronesia, thanks Kavenga!) and have them photocopied at the local Office Max, find hardware items not available in just every corner store (1.5” inside diameter flexible bilge hose), and vanilla soy milk (which Chris found after extensive searching at a natural food store flanking Walmart).

During the days at the boat we are, as usual, exploded all over the dock. Chris is on deck attaching dodger mounts, extra life raft mounts (thanks Britannia, Krister you got Chris thinking about the forces of breaking waves on items on deck!), a mount for Fatty’s stern atop the dorad guards, and custom teak plugs for our two haus pipes. Shawn is down below sewing weather cloths, inventorying dry food stores, organizing all of Grizzly’s paperwork for as seamless a check-in to Hawaii as possible (including on line contact with US Customs,, the USDA inspector in Hilo, and a Hawaiian traveling veterinarian as well as trying to talk a veterinarian here in La Cruz into selling us supplies for a cat-first-aid-kit), and a general deep clean so Tao is ready to receive provisions.

We did have a break on April 30th to celebrate Chris’ birthday. We caught a bus into PV (Mexico’s bus service is so good!). We stopped on the way in at A Stitch in Time to pick up extra material we had ordered for Shawn to make our weather cloths. But the main purpose of the trip was to spend a blissful matinee drinking frozen frappachinos and eating buttery popcorn in the air conditioned surround sound movie theater enjoying a fun flick (in English with Spanish subtitles) The Adjustment Bureau with Matt Damon. We literally had the entire theater to ourselves!

When we came back the winds were up so we pulled Fatty’s sailing rig out and sailed her out of the marina for a maiden voyage in 15-20 knots with 2-ft chop. She did well. We, on the other hand, were getting doused by waves, slipping all over the newly painted interior and had to play around shifting our weight to get her to tack properly in such winds. Great practice and super fun (although Shawn might wear her life vest in the future- just in case, and it's hard to imagine using this as a life raft in conditions that one might need to abandon ship). After weaving through the anchorage several times we brought her back into the marina and Chris spent the next hour tacking up and down each isle of sailboats enjoying the winds with the responsive little dinghy and no seas.

Grizzly has been catching up on her sleep during the day (she no longer needs this rigged "safe-zone" as the hinge for her hiding spot has been fixed) and we are all happy that her kitty-head (converted litter box) has received a deep clean. She has been helping out by wandering the perimeter of the boat keeping the marina rats (yes, rats!) away. In the evening time she does require supervision because though she has yet to jump ship onto the dock, she really, really wants to. Thankfully both weeks of Semana Santa have finally past so we can get some good sleep (the first week here carried sounds of revelry celebrated faithfully in La Cruz every night until the wee hours of the morning and end capped by repeated fireworks (not the pretty kind, the loud jarring kind) at both dusk and dawn). Still, the upcoming week will indeed be crazy. It will be filled with the second and final fittings of the dodger, calculating, purchasing, and storing provisions, last minute trips up the mast to check the rig, watching the weather, and much much more as our departure date draws ever closer.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like Tao is getting so close and ready to go - so excited for you. We look forward to following your adventures to Hawaii. Fair winds and following seas!

    Carla and Doug