Learning Curves – Part 2

And part 2 of the learning experience?

This one took place outside of the workyard… started with us taking the Tufesa bus from Phoenix to San Carlos (the very cheapest way to get here, of course).

We knew we needed to get Mexican visitor’s visas.

We knew that most people got these when they drove across the border, at a place called “K-21” (literally, the 21st kilometre south of the border, where Immigration is).

We “knew” we could get our visas in Guaymas (the town 25 minutes away from where we are).

The long road

Monday – Attempt #1: We arrive at Immigration in Guaymas at 3:00pm; here we learn that they are only open 8:00 – 12:00 (good government hours!).

Tuesday – Attempt #2: We go back to Immigration in Guaymas, this time at 9:00am; they inform us, somewhat gleefully, that we can only get this visa at K-21 (back at the border, 6 hours’ drive away from us).

Tuesday – Attempt #3: We drive to the airport in Guaymas, and talk to Immigration there. They tell us that yes, they do have the visa paperwork, but no, they can’t give us our visas. We did not arrive by air, we arrived by bus, so we must go back to K-21.

Wednesday – Attempt #4: We rent a car (who knew you could rent cars in Mexico?!?!); it looks wonderful from the outside, but has no A/C and a disconcerting habit of ‘jumping’ left or right at any bump or pothole. This little car also doesn’t like to start on the first try. But hey, at least it moves right? The catch to the car rental? Even in Mexico, you have to be 25 to drive a rental car… which means Jon has to do all the driving. ALL the driving.

Road companions

Road companions

–> Might be worth mentioning at this point that Jon really dislikes driving in places he doesn’t know, dislikes driving cars that he doesn’t know, dislikes driving for long periods of time, and dislikes driving in the dark. So, lucky him, he got to drive for 11 hours, through the deserts of Mexico, in a funny, bumpy little rental car, with me as his navigator 🙂

Jon loves driving 😛

I don’t like stories without happy endings though: our 11 hours of driving was rewarded with 3 minutes of paperwork, where an official took our money, stamped our passports, and sent us back on our way.

Learning: When people tell you to get your visas on the way down from Phoenix, listen. If that doesn’t happen, throw lots of money and lots of time at the problem and that might fix it.

Also, when the highway says the speed limit is 40km/h, what they really mean is that if you don’t drive 100km/h you *will* be passed on both sides by trucks honking their horns and flashing their lights at you.

Also, the hot dogs that they sell at “Oxxo” (the Mexican equivalent of 7-11) are pretty good, and damn cheap fuel for day-long road trips through the Mexican desert.

Lastly, the “locals” in the work yard are all super entertained by us young’ns running around with our heads cut off… so at least we’re providing entertainment!!

Live and learn! And smile when it's all behind you!!!


Learning Curves – Part 1

Learning curves are steep around here…

Story 1:

Jon arrived at 2:30am, after 24 hours of travel (involving 2 cancelled flights, 1 missed connection, and 1 ten-hour bus through the Mexican desert)... but by the end of that first day, he had half the boat scraped (2" at a time, with the carbide-scraper)


Cracked gelcoat

...But what did all that scraping unveil? What was underneath 30 years of built up old bottom paint? A tiny little crack in the keel...


...Which it turned out was actually not just a little crack at the bottom of the keel, but actually a giant crack running up both sides of the keel, parallel to the rudder. NOT WHAT WE WANTED TO FIND!!!


gelcoat crack

What to do? Ignore the problem? Hope it goes away? Or grind the damn thing down and see what's underneath...


working on the gelcoat crack

Jon ground out all the cracked / old material, and then started the process of rebuilding it


Workyard Teachers at Marina Seca

Once we (aka: Jon) opened up the crack, we discovered it was actually a joint, most likely from the original lay-up of the boat. Thankfully the workyard here at Marina Seca has lots of Teachers (as above) so Jon's been getting lots of advice on how to fix & re-fibreglass this area. Only time will tell if this permanently fixes the problem!!!


Lesson learned: Under 30 years of old bottom paint, you may find 30 years’ of problems. Also, cruisers in the workyard are *ridiculously* helpful and wonderful and willing to impart advice (and tools) and general moral support / ribbing any time of day 🙂

This was my Monday… How was yours??

First things first, I climb down the ladder and shake my head at the amount of work this bottom needs... see that little white spot in the middle? It all needs to look like that.


But then I walk around to the stern, and smile at the fresh slate waiting for the new name (I scraped off all of the old one with an expired credit card :P)


Head for the showers, avoiding any cucarachas on the floor...


Stop at the cabinet makers, where I pantomine "shelves" for a bit, then sit on that bucket for about an hour while I wait (I think??) for my shelves to be cut! The grand total for two shelves, custom cut, and the stringers to support them on is $4.50 CDN


Come back to the boat, try to mount the shelves, discover I need to go back to the school of "measure twice, cut once" (but I will make them work tomorrow); get a quote from the workyard to sandblast our bottom for us... for $650 USD (3 weeks worth of our budget, so that won't be happening); but discover that there's still half an onion and a potatoe so I have the ingredients for a meal I actually know how to make: fried onions and potatoes 😀 Notice the gorgeous sheen of sweat from the 7:30pm temperatures!! Or maybe from those potatoes...

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