No we haven’t fallen off the map. But melting is not completely out of the realm of possibility. Do me a favor: take whatever negative stereotypes of Mexicans you might have (if any) and toss them out your window. Of course that will likely require compromising your climate controlled room/car. Down here it is we who are climate controlled, not the other way around. In a Mazatlan summer doing anything first involves a taking personal inventory of your remaining strength, your fitness for public presentation, and the current intensity of the heat. Which begs the question, how does anyone get anything done??
Best case scenario: it has rained overnight (which means we actually slept last night, but also that it’s even more humid now). I already have the materials I need to do a task. I fill up a huge thermos of ice water, set up some shade, and start to work (really “start to sweat” would be more accurate if you’re measuring what actually happens most).
More often than not, any work I do on the boat requires a sweaty walk just to take a bus in order to walk to a store which probably does not have what I need. If I can find something to work with, completion of any task still must contend with the walk back to the bus, the bus ride itself, and then the full heat of mid-day. Frustration aside, these are ample reasons for anyone to move and work slowly.
Could we have picked up an AC unit? Yes, however, you never actually see the boaters who have AC units. Discounting the fact that 95% of the boat owners flee north from the summer heat, the 5% who remain are virtually invisible. They do what they can before sunup (i.e. walk – since nothing is open that early down here) then sit in their cool boats (literally and figuratively) until sundown. Then it’s out for a cheap dinner and drinks – not necessarily in that order – and off to a cool night’s sleep.
We, on the other hand, wanted to experience locals and local life. And the heat really does seem to influence most of it: a two hour siesta mid-afternoon, breakfast and dinner on the 10s, dancing – but only after midnight. Work and play all revolve around the heat. Things do move painfully slowl, but they have to. You’re going to pass out if you don’t. But much the same as the temperatures, the people tend to be warmer, too. I’m genuinely surprised when people don’t greet me as I walk by. I wondering if arrogant attitudes just have trouble sticking to a sweat-soaked shirts.
Maybe we’re not as productive as we used to be, but we are learning about ourselves and other cultures – sometimes we’re even getting work done, too. (I’ve included a list of our tasks, as evidence.*) In the meantime what matters most to us is that you pray for our next step. We don’t want to wait here as expensive winter rates kick in (November), but we don’t want to wander around blindly either. We’ll keep you posted, and you do the same.
In the two years before we left:
Rebuilt, fiberglassed and painted our aft cabin top.
Added new mainsheet traveler
Installed new jib sheet winches and mizzen sheet winch
Re-mounted our mizzen and main boom crutches
Recaulked the teak cockpit
Added sail tracks for jib sheet lead cars
Re-installed our lifelines
De-blistered, faired, and painted the bottom of our hull
Removed and glassed over # thru-hulls
Removed gross, old holding tanks, macerators, and marine heads
Added a new electrical panel, batteries, alternator, solar panels, VHF, and SSB radios, nav lights, foredeck/steaming light, engine blower…
Rebuilt Karis’s hatch
Sewed new sail covers.
Built a DC freezer/refrigerator box. Wired & plumbed compressor and cold
Made and upholstered new interchangeable couch cushions
Installed a propane locker and oven.
Installed two electric bilge pumps and a counter/alarm
Installed a 1 gallon stroke manual bilge pump
Installed an electric freshwater pump
Installed a freshwater galley foot pump
Installed a manual saltwater galley pump
Re-plumbed the entire freshwater system
Routed and mounted a port of call sign for our stern
Pulled our masts with homemade crane, sanded them trucked them to and from anodizer in Emeryville.
Pulled out old chainplates. Installed new chainplates on the exterior.
Stripped off all our teak decking (replaced some rotten spots) and fiberglassed over everything.
Re-mounted deck hardware (cleats, stanchions, deck fills…)
Rebuilt main mast step and bathroom floor around it.
Removed, rebuilt, refinished 8’ bowsprit and pulpit.
Rebuilt our anchor locker.
Schlepped 200’ of 3/8” chain down into our chain locker.
Installed our windlass (which only worked before we installed it)
Added running and standing rigging to our masts, as well as wiring
, nav/anchor lights, deck/steaming light, new sail tracks, wind indicator, cleats, winches, and rope clutches
Re-stepped our masts (with plenty of help)
Re-surfaced our decks.
Built a table/chart storage
Rebuilt our cockpit floor
Re-installed our companionway ladder
Varnished our trim (fake varnish, really, but still…)
Installed our steering pedestal
Replaced our engine belts
Replaced our engine’s starter and heat exchanger
Added a salon grab rail and grab rails forward outside.
Made a sunshade
Created lifejacket storage
Compiled and stowed exhaustive emergency ditch bag
Made a fish cleaning station
Mounted a fishing gaff
Added sliding drawer latch
Added another DC outlet in aft bedroom
Emptied entire boat and repacked what we actually needed, where we actually should have it!
Made jacklines and tethers
South of the border:
(Taken two YWAM groups out sailing)
Cleaned our diesel tanks. Made new gaskets.
Cleaned our water tanks. Added inspection port.
Flushed and repaired our engine freshwater circuit.
Replaced our fuel tank vent line
Fixed our steering cables, twice
Sewed screens/covers for three hatches
Created storage/organizer for big and little line
Mounted extra propane tank
Re-spliced our cap shroud (standing rigging)
Disassembled our stove and replaced a broken spring on oven door
Mounted our new solar cooker.
Mounted and wired a DC dive compressor
Painting and new wooden trim (never fully done)
Cleaned the hull
Made a sun shade for sailing
Reinforced aft hallway floor
Mounted a self-steering bracket to our rudder
Mounted self-steering post inside engine room
Wall mounted a cast iron skillet
Fixed our broken saltwater galley pump.
Added a step to the mast.
Created boat diagram of essential/emergency equipment
Installed our butterfly hatch safety grills and re-gasketed opening
Mounted two cleats in our cockpit.
Made water filter to make dock water potable.