Monday, March 26, 2012

Out of the Water

One of the major tasks we chose to accomplish before our South Pacific departure was to have “Blue Rodeo” hauled out for bottom paint in the La Cruz Shipyard. We had agonized over whether to budget the time and money to haul her out now or wait until fall in New Zealand. Ultimately, the decision was made based on the fact that areas of bottom paint applied in 2010 were pealing off giving the fast-growing, tropical barnacles places to adhere. The whole bottom of the keel was bare so barnacles were very happy making a home there and, we figured that after a 18 day passage to the Marquesas, we’d be dragging along our own, thick, rough marine ecosystem which could cost us a fair amount of boat speed. In Mexico, we have been diving down to clean it weekly but that would probably be difficult to do in mid ocean. We were especially disappointed that we had hauled out just a year and a half ago at a very reputable yard in Washington and paid a premium price for a top quality bottom job. When we sailed down the coast to California just a week later, paint was already peeling off the keel. It’s been an extremely frustrating issue so we are looking forward to putting it to rest with a good job here in La Cruz. When all was said and done, we made sure the work here was done properly with all of the old layers of bottom paint completely removed and three layers of epoxy barrier coat applied before the new anti-fouling paint was applied. It was a dusty, messy process but the workers did an excellent job and we were finally satisfied that we had a paint job that should be good for several years.

While “Blue Rodeo” was in the boat yard, we are unable to stay aboard her so we were very fortunate to have the use of a house in La Cruz to use for as long as we needed. It belongs to our friend Karen (who sailed with another friend Mike on “So Inclined” last year) and was away crewing on another boat heading south for the Panama Canal. Her home is a cute, little, two bedroom Casita with a pool and large deck on the hillside just above town. It took us just five minutes to walk from there to the boat yard and marina. Having the use of the house greatly simplified the whole boat yard ordeal. We feel so grateful for her generosity and hope we can, in some way, reciprocate in the future.

It was frustrating for us to be off the boat for the two weeks that the boat was out of the water as it hampered our ability to make much progress on the many projects to be done before our departure. While fellow Pacific Puddle Jumpers were busy aboard their boats readying them for the passage, we could accomplish little other than attending a seminar or two and studying information in books and on line about the areas we planned to visit. Fortunately, we have had a few pleasant diversions as well. Our friend Robert from Seattle and his new girlfriend Kathy came down for a few days. They rented a house with a pool right on the beach near the marina and got to watch all of the sail boat racing action that had been scheduled for the week. The whole area was bustling with activity as the La Cruz Marina was hosting a big sailing event called the MEXORC and providing the finish venue for the big San Diego to Puerto Vallarta Yacht Race. Even Mexico’s President Calderon (a sailing fan) arrived by helicopter to signal the start one of the big races. It was truly crazy around here with all the work being done for the Presidents arrival. Event facilities were erected and police and military personnel in full combat gear were everywhere providing security. As imposing as they appeared though, they were all quick to return a warm smile and a “buenos dias” as we frequently strolled by them as we headed to and from the marina. They even went as far as to put in metal detection machines at all the gates. We had front row seats as the President’s helicopter landed in the parking lot just just a few feet in front of us. Even with all of the commotion, just a short distance away, live went on as usual in the small and charming town of La Cruz. Happy children played in the streets, sleepy dogs lay about and hard working men and women went about their daily routine.

Also during the wold week, our friends from Oceanside, Lee & Cathy from the vessel “Sirocco” arrived for a brief vacation and to crew aboard a boat from their yacht club that was racing in the events. We sure enjoyed their company and reminisced about all of the fun we’d had last season with them and fellow Oceanside sailors Dave and Marissa from “Pacifico” and MIke from “So-Inclined”. We treasure the memories of the great times spent with the group.

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