Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Aren't the new batteries on the floor pretty, a dark red colour, the latest fashion in batteries. They were manufactured in Nov. 07, so they are new, new, new. Apparently you put the water in under the white covers, (just in case you were wondering Steve).

So, alot of things have happened since the last time I blogged. Monday rolled around and guess what, they didn't have the type of batteries we needed in the local store. TWO WEEKS, that would be a Mexican 2 weeks, which probably would stretch out to a month, so we took things into our own hands and went out and rented a car. The typical Lange style, charge straight ahead, no research, just go, oh well we did hear on the cruisers net in the morning that they did have batteries in Nogales so off we went. We headed out on Monday afternoon and got in Nogales on the U.S. border about closing time. We found the address for the store we needed that evening and actually had no trouble finding the store the next day. TOO EASY, they did not have the batteries we needed, so off we went to Tucson. Again no research, no phone calls, just went on faith. Someone up there was looking after us. At a gas station in Tucson got a hold of one place and no batteries there, but he told us about another guy and when we called him he had some. OH JOY.!! He even had the four that we needed. I did a happy dance right there in the parking lot, Barry on the other hand waited until the guy had them in the cart in the store and then a small grin broke through on his features. WE DID IT.

We turned right around in that little rental car, whose headlights now pointed quite a bit higher due to the 300 pounds of batteries in the trunk, and drove back to San Carlos. The roads were actually really good. A separate double laned highway two lanes in both directions, certainly better that the road to Yellowknife and at times it seemed like there were about as many people, pretty desolate stretch of road. The shoulders were almost non-existant though and I kept busy with my dictionary interpreting the signs "drive carefully, dangerous shoulders", "dangerous curves ahead", "reduce your speed", etc, etc. The only thing is, it is a major route into the U.S. so there were lots of trucks on it. At one point the Mexicans were searching all the trucks, that is when I realized what a major route this was, the trucks were lined up on the road for almost 2 kilometers.

We got back in the dark and Barry loaded the batteries into the dinghy and then in a 25 knot wind we motored them to the boat. I was pretty wet by the time we got to the boat. ( I guess I should have started that paragrap with "It was a dark and stormy night") Barry loaded them on the boat and lifted them down into the bowels of the boat. Then he had no problem what so ever hooking them up and then we had light. I actually had three lights on at the same time, what luxury. Wow, it was great. What a relief. I am still shaking my head with amazement at what luck we had to get the batteries and have them fit and have them work just like that. The whole trip was worth just over a boat buck so all is good.

We are going to head out tomorrow, not sure exactly where we are going to go. I want to head northwest and see the west side of the Baja again for awhile before we head south again. If you want to send us some e-mail for the next while send it to

Hopefully that should work just fine

Friday, November 23, 2007

We were off the grid for the last week. We left San Carlos last Sat. and spent 4 days at one anchorage about 15 miles north and then went another 15 miles north and found another good spot. We were just getting used to the boat again and I cleaned and oiled the cap rail so it looks good. We were having a hard time keeping a charge in the batteries, so that meant that once it got dark we couldn't turn on any lights and had to make dinner using our head lamps and then read or cross stitch with the head lamps. We finally figured out that the batteries just weren't doing what they were supposed to, no matter how much we ran the generator and how much we ran the engine, no juice in them after a couple of hours.

SO we headed back to San Carlos to see if what we can do about them. Barry headed right to the marine store once we got to the dock and lo and behold they are getting a shipment of the type of batteries we need on Monday so some of our problems may be solved. Barry says the only problem is that they are 3 inches higher than they were, what were they thinking. YUCK!! How are we going to make them fit into the space that we have (big sigh).
We managed to fit in some beachcombing and I went snorkeling while we were out there, it was good to relax and enjoy the environment again.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

YIPPEE! We are in the water. The mast was put back on without a hitch and we managed to get the stays reattached without too much problem. We haven't got the hole where the mast goes in recaulked yet but that is on our to do list.

Yesterday we got a real surprise and her a voice from our other life on the VHF radio. Our buddy George Diveky from Yellowknife was in town. He is down here looking to buy a boat, what a lovely chance to show off Cat's-Paw IV to another Yellowknifer. He took us out for supper and then he came aboard and spent the night floating his way into dreamland. He had brought his Sat. phone with him and we were able to chat with Janet in Yellowknife for a few minutes.

I wanted to share some of the mast stepping pictures with you. It was a real experience, one I hope not to have to repeat any time soon. We are planning on leaving the anchorage on Sat. and will head north in the Sea of Cortez for awhile and then head on south. It is great to be back on the water.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Believe it or not that is me under all that covering. One side has the first coat on, red and the other side has the anit-fouling paint on. Barry says that the light blue strip above the paint is actually 6 inch masking tape, the yard boys use 1 inch tape, they are that good!!! Good thing I put that covering on, it looks like I paint in the same manner that I eat, I end up with it all over me!

We put on two coats of bottom paint today, so it acutally felt like we are getting somewhere. First we washed and scrubbed the whole bottom, then we wiped it off with fibreglass cleaner. Then the first coat was a barrier coat, a 2 part epoxy paint, we waited 3 hours and then added the first coat of anti-fouling paint. We will add another coat of anti-fouling tomorrow and that will be that. Out paint job does not look as good as the yard guys but as Barry says it will pass the 10 foot test. Hopefully the new paint will help keep the barnacles away. It worked well on another level the almost lethal fumes kept the bugs away all day, they would come within 10 feet of the boat and fall out of the sky.
The plan is to get the mast restepped on Tues. and if there is time we will be put in the water on Tues, the tides may not be right. Otherwise we are hoping to be in the water by Wed. for sure. Hasta Luego.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Well we did it. We managed to get all the halyards strung and this morning we put the sheaves (the pulleys at the top of the mast that the ropes go around) back in and it all seems to work. The main halyard which was very hard to pull last year seems to be working quite nicely although we do not have a sail attached to it yet so I guess it is a BIT early to tell!

We had 4 of the internal halyards in yesterday and we were working on the last one and it would not come through so one final yank and the stupid tracer line broke and we had to start all over and restring the tracer line. It was another 2 hours of work but it was just as well because once we were done the line seemed very free and worked very well. There was some whopping and hollering going on once we had completed the last one let me tell you. Whew, that was a very frustrating, expensive lesson on the quality of line to use for your tracers!!!

I hope this conveys the reason why we chose to have the boatyard guys grind off the old paint, what a horrible job!

Today we headed to the marine store and bought bottom paint. The guys are working on the bottom again and will fill the blisters tomorrow and hopefully we will be able to start painting on Sat. We may actually be able to put the boat in the water on Monday or Tuesday. That will be 2 weeks since we arrived and about what I figured. Maybe I should just say we should be in the water before the end of the next week and then I won't get my hopes up and be disappointed if we don't manage it before then. Yesterday a couple asked us if we wanted to go to the grocery store with them and their car so we hopped in and bought tons of groceries. That was very kind of them.
Getting a haircut Mexican style, on the ground in the boatyard, where anyone can walk by and gawk.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

There is something wrong with this picture!!!

We have made some progress on rectifying the mess we left ourselves with. Barry was hauled up the mast on Friday and the structure they had was not tall enough to get him up to the top. He did reach one line that was coming out the top, but it was not connected to anything at the bottom. We did the only other thing we could do and took the mast down. It came down without a hitch yesterday, and we have been slaving and swearing away trying to get lines but in it.
The structure to enable you to work on your mast was not QUITE tall enough.

In order to get a line strung you have to put a long steel wire up or down the mast, from one end to the other and then get it to come out the top, or out of the teeny tiny holes that the halyards go through. We are still talking to one another and Hallelujah we got all 5 internal tracer lines in place today. NOW we have to attach the halyards, which are the ropes that haul the sails up and down the mast, to the tracer lines and get them to feed through the mast. We are crossing our fingers that we should be able to manage this feat.

Today the boat was moved in the grubby work area and they are sanding the hull and getting it ready for us to paint. They are also repairing the blisters that we popped last spring, they are holes that go through the gelcoat, most are about 1/2 inch in diameter, some an inch. The guy in the yard wanted us to strip the whole boat and have it all redone but that could take up to 3 to 4 months so we declined. Hopefully we won't be sorry.

We did manage to get some recreation time in, we attended a going away party for the girl that looked after out boat all summer, it was a pirate party so plenty of arrrhhhh's were heard. A sword fight broke out at one point over the booty so it was fun. Our buddies Pat and Carole had us over for dinner and dice the other night so although it seems like we are slaving away we are managing to have fun. More friends are showing up everyday and soon our buddy boat people from last year will be here (Sandi and Steve) so it will be wonderful to see them again.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

We are safe and sound in San Carlos, MX. We had a good flight to Tucson and then caught the bus to San Carlos despite having to wait 25 minutes for a cab to get to the bus station. I was basically starting to panic but I should have remembered that it was a Mexican bus we were taking and it left 20 minutes late. Our buddies from Espiritu, Pat and Carole, very kindly picked us up from the bus station and drove us to the boat after a lovely dinner which featured out first Mexican margarita!!
It was basically a great trip except I bought some duty free Baileys when we passed through Calgary. I had it in my hand and the salesclerk said that I had to pack it in my luggage, I couldn't carry it on. I was going to give it back and she said she had bubble wrap so I reconsidered and stuck it in our luggage. Duty free after all. WRONG!! The bottle broke and we had very sweet sticky luggage. It actually dripped on all the bags and I have some lovely brown stains on some of my shirts, as well as sticky stuff all over the front of our floater jackets.
It was wonderful to see the boat again. It looked pretty good, a bit grimy, but not nearly as dirty as I had expected and best of all there are not bugs inside, bonus. We have a fairly large problem to deal with though. We took all our lines off the boat. We put in replacement lines to the top of the mast to enable us to just pull the original lines through when we returned. WELL, we chose the wrong type of replacement line and the line is disintegrating, it falls apart in your hands when you try to pull on it. We have no way of getting up to the top our mast to pull the lines through. I think the lines inside the mast may still be good but that is not a guarantee. The work yard where the boat is has a large standing structure for working on masts so the boat will have to be moved over there and we can hoist someone up to see if we can manage to get the lines back where they belong, or we will have to take the mast down, fun, fun, fun.
We are finding it very hot here and are drinking a lot of water and having siestas in the afternoon. Hope all is well with everyone back in Canada. we miss you all.