Wanderbust

We decided not to buy the Wanderlust. Alan, the owner, was not willing to get the autopilot fixed, and he would only reduce the price of the boat by $500. This does not come close to the cost of a new autopilot which range from $1500 to $5000. Don was also concerned about Alan’s boat maintenance skills. During the sea trial, when the engine overheated, Don noticed that Alan had used a garden hose in place of a proper engine hose to get water to the engine. No wonder Alan had to keep replacing impellers. So we decided to pass on the Wanderlust.

Discouraged, but ready to keep looking, we were happy to learn about a new listing for a boat in the size and price range we are looking at. Don went to look at it. He said it’s very nice, newly refurbished, and a bit bigger than the Wanderlust. Once Don and Don, the broker, were done looking at it, Don (broker) needed to check the batteries on another boat in the dry dock. Big mistake. The boat was a really nice 42′, $150,000 model. Don said he really shouldn’t have seen it since it made the boat he just saw look kind of sad by comparison. We aren’t giving up. We might have to up the budget a bit, then avoid exposure to any boats outside that budget.

Dog Door

We no longer have to play doggie doormen for our pooches. Don installed our new dog door yesterday. This is a big deal since the door was so hard to get. I had ordered the door shortly after we moved into this house in anticipation of our new fence. I had the door shipped to Larry and Anita who kindly agreed to bring it with them when they visited us in May. They brought the door, and once the fence was complete, Don went to install it into our back door. Turns out, the company had shipped a wall mount version of the door, not the door mount version I had ordered. Oh no. Since the walls of Mexican houses are solid brick, a wall mount door would be very hard to install. I contacted the company about the mix up. The CEO of the company, Don — really? —  responded very quickly. He agreed to send a door mount door at no cost to me, just give him a day or two to figure out the best way to ship it to Mexico. The next day he told me he had sent it via USPS/FedEx Ground. This meant the Mexican postal system would be involved. Oh no. This was on July 11. I emailed Don on August 1 to ask if he had any way of tracking the package since it had been three weeks. He sent a link to the USPS tracking system which said the package had made it to Monterrey, Mexico, where the tracking stopped. He suggested I contact the postal authorities here. This suggestion was received with much eye rolling and laughter when I asked some locals about doing this. I told Don I had no hope of tracking the package from this end. The next day he sent me a link to a tracking system he had found which showed the package was either in Hermosillo or was headed there. Progress! The tracking system didn’t change until Friday when it said it was delivered! I had used our realtor’s office address since it is well known by delivery people. Don (Honeycutt) rushed over to the office to see if it was really there. It was! Don installed it the next day. It will be wonderful once the dogs start using it. They are unsure about it since the flaps aren’t transparent. We are using lots of encouragement, and treats so we are confident they will be door self sufficient very soon. Kudos to the Freedom Pet Pass pet door company. They went above and beyond to correct their mistake.

20170806_161643

Sea Trial Results

Hi blog readers! It’s me, Don, here to tell you about the sea trial of the Wanderlust. I went to bed the night before worrying about the weather since there were two hurricanes off the tip of the Baja that could cause a large swell all the way to San Carlos. Good for surfing, but not that great for sailing unless there is enough wind to help you cut through the waves.

Thankfully, the hurricanes also pushed enough moisture here late the day before the sea trial which caused a lot of local wind and rain that knocked down the swell. When I got up in the morning there was no swell around. I looked out our front window to see a sailboat out in the ocean slowly going by with little wind and no swell. I later found out that it was the Wanderlust heading in to port after spending the night at a small cove near Guaymas.

DSCN0517

The Wanderlust making its way back to the marina.

We were to meet at 9:45 for the sea trial. At 9:00 it was raining like crazy, but starting to lift so the trial was on. By the time I got there it was clearing so we went to the boat. Alan, the boat owner, started the engine. We all checked to see that the water pump was working. It was so we jumped in. We putted slowly out of the marina while Joe, the boat surveyor, checked things on the boat.

Everything seemed to be working great. We were almost past the no wake buoys when a loud beeping started. We all looked at each other, and Joe said that must mean that the motor is over heating. Three of us at us looked over the back of the boat to see if water was coming out from the pump. There was nothing. Joe used his handy laser thermometer, and said it was just barley starting to over heat, and we should turn off the engine. Luckily for us the wind was blowing the right direction, and pushed us back into a empty dock. Alan got busy looking for a spare impeller. With much sweat dripping off his entire body he found one in a few minutes then started putting it in. It took him about 45 minutes to get it done then we were back on the trial.

Joe went thru all his tests. It was time to check and see how she sailed. When I looked up to see how much wind there was, and from what direction, all I noticed was a big squall heading our way. They asked me if I wanted them to raise the sails. I said no, not with that coming our way. Everyone was glad I said no. It was not a good time to be sailing. Joe was done with all his stuff so we headed in. On the way in Alan suggested that after 2:00 we try to take her out if it clears up for a sail, and to see if Sue would like to go also. She didn’t go on the sea trial because the boat was full with five people on board and a lot going on.

I headed home to tell Sue as another rainstorm started. We went to lunch during the rain, and returned at 2:00 just as it stopped raining. Not much wind, but we took out the boat, and got to raise the sails, and go at about at three knots (very slow) around. Despite all the weird things happening I think it was a successful sea trial. I got a good idea how she handled under sail. I was surprised at the good handling in light wind, and was impressed with the rigging. I think Sue was impressed with the boat also. The only thing that didn’t work was the auto pilot so I think if Alan will drop the price so that we can fix or replace the auto pilot we will buy the Wanderlust.

 

Wanderlust

Today we paid to have the boat we are interested in buying, the Wanderlust, moved from the dry dock to the marina in preparation for the sea trial on Saturday. Wanderlust’s owner, Alan, and his friend, Ken, arrived in San Carlos this morning after flying from Denver to Phoenix, then taking the bus to Guaymas. Alan and Ken are from Littleton, CO. Since Don lived in Littleton for 20 years he swapped boating and Colorado stories with these fellows while we waited for marina personnel to bring the boat from the dry dock. They were supposed to bring it at 11 am, which in Mexico time turned out to be closer to noon.

Getting the boat off of the trailer, and into the water was an interesting operation. At Cochiti Lake Don would back his boat trailer into the water until it was deep enough for the boat to float off of the trailer. Here, the trailer does not go into the water. They back up the boat so that it’s next to a large crane, put heavy duty straps around the hull, then hook the straps to the crane. Once secure, they lift the boat from the trailer, then swing it around to gently lower into the water.

Alan invited us aboard so that I could get the nickle tour. What a nice boat! It’s a 32 foot O’Day made in 1987. It’s pretty spacious, as boats of this size go. The galley is tall enough for Don (6′) to stand without ducking. It has a lot of features that make Don happy like the auto pilot. The boat seems very well kept. Don will find out more during the sea trial on Saturday. I am not going to go on the sea trial since there is going to be, literally, a boat load of people. Don, Alan, Ken, Don, the broker, and Joe, the boat surveyor, are all going to check out the Wanderlust. It could be a be bit of a wild ride since currently there two pacific storms, Hillary and Irwin, southwest of the Baja. They are joing forces to stir up the surf which should be a good test of the Wanderlust’s sea worthiness. I’ve asked Don to take his waterproof camera to document the sail. I’ll try to talk him into doing a guest blog about the sea trial when he gets back.

Steamy San Carlos

It’s hot here! We were warned about this, but we thought we were so tough being from Albuquerque where summers can be pretty brutal. But here, in addition to the heat, it’s often very humid. This has been an adjustment for us. Fortunately the air conditioning mini splits work well, and there is usually a decent sea breeze that makes things bearable. A small consolation is that I don’t have to use near as much moisturizer. But my hair is a casualty of the humid weather. Do you remember the comedienne Phyllis Diller? Lately, despite my best efforts, my hair looks much like hers.

phyllis

As Oscar, our gardener, predicted water is an issue here. The water supply is often shut off, recently for a few days. Our small cistern pulled us through since we cut down on flushing and showering. Now it seems the water is off during the day, but on at night so the cistern usually refills. Our new 5000 liter cistern is installed, and ready to go, but there isn’t enough pressure from the city water system to get water up the hill to the cistern. Victor, our plumber, is going to install a pump tomorrow which should solve the problem. Once that cistern is filled we probably won’t even know when the water is shut off — at least in theory. Time will tell.

20170720_154422

We sold the hot tub! Victor does work for an American that owns rental properties here who was interested in it. He ended up buying it for one of his properties. This guy is also interested in buying Don’s Tacoma. That would be great, and save us a trip to Arizona to sell it.

20170714_175727

Buh bye hot tub.

We have two trees in the back yard that we thought might be limón trees. We weren’t sure until the other night when I noticed some fruit. Sure enough! Don enjoyed them with his cerveza.

20170712_184437 (1)

Bumper crop!

Don went snorkeling the other day, and made a new friend. This silly looking porcupine fish followed him every where until Don finally ditched him. I guess he either thought Don looked like a fun guy or was possibly extra tasty.

fish friend

Football sized porcupine fish.

They have been working on the roof of the new house across the street. It’s quite a roofing system consisting of wood sheeting, re-bar, Styrofoam insulation, and finally inches of concrete. I don’t think leaks will ever be a problem for this house.

Not much else going on here. Hope everyone is doing well.

 

Stormy Skies

We’ve been having spectacular skies at night the past week. We actually got some rain Tuesday night. From the resulting small ponds on the roadways we learned that San Carlos has no storm drainage system. This doesn’t seem to be a big deal since you can usually drive around them. It makes me wonder what it will be like if we get hit by a hurricane. Time will surely tell.

Last night we hooked up the lightning strike detector to my camera, and let it do its thing. These are some of the shots it took. Notice the reflection of the full moon on the sea in a few of them. This storm was between here and Hermosillo so it was pretty far away. We didn’t see many lightning bolts, but hidden lightning lit up the clouds magnificently. Now that’s entertainment!

Naked and Afraid in San Carlos

Ha ha, it’s not what you think. When Don went to Phoenix he was able to buy a DirecTV receiver. He also signed up for their basic service which is about 500 channels of infomercials, shopping, and 13 channels that we might watch. We hired a fellow named Chava, who is well regarded in San Carlos for his satellite TV installation knowledge, to get things going for us. The house came with a very large satellite dish, but this was not sufficient. Chava installed two other, smaller dishes. Turns out the big dish is for HD, one of the smaller dishes is for the DirecTV guide, and the other is so we can get Phoenix affiliates of CBS, ABC, NBC, etc., and a bunch of those UHF stations like the CW. It took a few hours for Chava, and his helpers to install the equipment, and hang our newly purchased Smart TV in our living room. He did a great job. He even put the DirecTV receiver on the back of the TV so we don’t have to look at it. We were so excited to have TV again. That excitement quickly wore off once we started watching again, but Don is happy to be able to watch one of his favorite shows Naked and Afraid on the Discovery Channel. Personally, I don’t see the attraction of watching people get naked with a stranger, and try to survive in nasty places all for $5K. But, each to their own.

20170702_164425

Very small array.

20170702_164523

Are coconut bras allowed?  New TV, couch, and credenza.

It’s been a busy weekend. The Jorge’s started installing our fence! They got much of it done, and hopefully will finish tomorrow. It looks great. Don really likes the gate since the curly-Qs on the gate remind him of boobs. Ahem. This is not what I had in mind when I told the Jorge’s to make the gate look like the front door.

Today we went to the Elektra Mega in Guaymas to buy a new washing machine. The machine we inherited with the house was a top loading, super capacity, high efficiency Maytag. It worked OK for awhile, but lately it was off balance for no apparent reason. We called a local repairman, Luis, who worked on it for awhile, then decided he needed to take it home to work on it for a week. Don helped him cart it to his house. When Don called Luis a week later he was waiting for some springs to test it which he thought he would get this week. Alrighty then, we finally understand that the “yes, I can fix it” response means “I don’t have a clue, but I’ll give it a try.” Well, we got a clue, and decided to buy a new machine. We didn’t want to put a lot of money into a machine since they all seem to be crap these days, and the selection here is very limited. We ended up with a Whirlpool made in Mexico, so it makes doing laundry a real learning experience. Thank goodness for Google Translate.

20170702_150551

Our new lavadora.

The plumbers brought our nuevo cisterna yesterday. Oscar, our gardener, told us that our current cistern is woefully inadequate. The water service in San Carlos is reportedly iffy so cisterns help you through the dry spells. Don ordered us a 5000 kilo cistern (1300 gallons) which they will install on the hill behind our new fence so it won’t get in the way of our future pool.

20170702_160904

Mucha agua.

About a week ago Don put some heat shield film on the the windows — that he could reach — in our stairwell. It is reflective so some curious birds have been checking themselves out. They are fun to watch. Don says they think they are chasing competitors away. Here’s a pic I was able to snap before Zip chased the bird away.

Pyrrhuloxia

Cardinal lothario.

New Boat?

We put in an offer on a boat which the seller has accepted. We still need to take the boat on a sea trial before making our final decision. The seller can’t come to San Carlos until the end of July so the waiting game continues. I’ll save the details for when the deal is done. Fingers crossed that the sea trial goes well.

 

 

Flora, Fauna and Rocks

It’s been a while since I felt like I had much to say. I spent most of last week dealing with the closing of my house in Albuquerque. Not much to say about it except it’s done, thankfully. It’s kind of bittersweet for me. I really loved that house. Do I have any regrets? Heck no!

It’s been pretty hot and humid here the past week. Yuck. But, the plants are loving it. Here are some pictures I took around the neighborhood and our yard.

 

A popular pastime around here is rock stacking. Looks like some skill is involved, and possibly some Super Glue.

 

Here is a picture of our very small backyard, the site of our future swimming pool.

20170620_112637

The sellers of this house left behind some interesting yard art. I think they were all made at ceramics classes at the Club Deportivo.

 

Here is a picture of the front of the house they are building across the street from us. It’s kind of starting to look like a house.

new house

We were invited to James 60th birthday party last week. It was at the Palapa Griega, a restaurant on the beach. The Dudes, a popular local band, was playing loudly so it was hard to have a conversation. Crowded, noisy restaurants seem to be a popular venue for parties here. Not exactly our cup of tea, but we had fun anyway.

The Dudes

The Dudes

I wanted to share this picture of Gringo Pete’s Condo/Hotel new paint job. I think he needs to hire a proofreader for his painters.

20170620_111641

Adios Queridos Amigos

Late Friday evening we bid Larry and Anita hasta luego. We enjoyed fun filled days with them, and, thanks to Larry’s bonus adventure ambulance ride to the local rescue center Don and I now know medical help is minutes away. Big thanks also to Anita for her drill sergeant ways, and endless energy. Our house is in much better shape for her efforts. We made several trips to the Rescate Thrift Store to donate all of the unwanted items the sellers left behind. Now we have plenty of room to buy replacements for all of the items we left in Albuquerque about which we often reminisce. 😦

Don made a quick trip to Phoenix to pick up stuff we couldn’t fit in the U Haul when we moved. Our friend, Tracy, kindly stored it for us. Knowing that we would be heading to Phoenix soon I ordered some rugs on line, and had them shipped to Tracy’s. Now we need to buy some furniture to put on them. The dining table we inherited has a glass top which, of course, is always covered in fingerprints, etc. Why anyone would ever buy a glass top table of any sort is beyond me. I’m hoping to find a big, round, copper top table to replace it, but will settle for a pretty wood table.

We also bought some kayaks! They are just like the ones our friends in Florida, Joanna and Mark, have. We had so much fun using them when we visited Jo and Mark last year. They are really cool since you pedal instead of paddle. Woo hoo, can’t wait to try them out.

20170610_170213

Now we are wondering who will be brave enough to visit us next?

The Journey Home, or 12 Hours? What Happened?

It’s sad that I won’t be able to see the house being built across the street get completed, but at least I got one mystery solved before departing. All cement and mortar is mixed in either a wheelbarrow by hand, or in a small electric powered mixer. They were working on the second floor and were ready to pour the concrete slab, and I was wondering how they were going to do it. Option 1 would be to use the power mixer, sitting on the ground, and pour the mixed concrete into either 5 gallon buckets (their favorite measuring devices), or to fill wheelbarrows and walk them up a wooden plank to the second floor. Option 2 would be to muscle the electric mixer up to the second floor and hand carry the ingredients in buckets up the plank where they would be mixed, and poured directly into the forms. I was pleasantly surprised the next day to see two giant cement trucks, and a huge concrete pumper parked outside. It took less than two hours to pour and hand finish all the concrete for the second floor. The following day work resumed mixing mortar in wheelbarrows and hand building the brick walls.

IMG-20170610-WA0009

 

Valerie

Valerie, the seat thief.

Friday evening we made our final trip to Guaymas to catch the bus back to Phoenix. The bus, pretty much loaded to capacity, departed at 11:30 pm, right on time for the nine or so hour trip back to the states. Our first glitch was finding a lady named Valerie sitting in my seat. Not to be rude, we tried to sit someplace else, but there weren’t many empty seats. Fortunately, Valerie realized she was in the wrong seat and graciously relinquished it. Being totally hyped for the journey home, I immediately fell asleep and one and a half hours later totally missed our first stop at Hermosillo. Two hours later we encountered some type of security checkpoint in Benjamin Hill/Santa Ana. I was still in a near catatonic state, drooling, drowsy, and the bus was so dark that I thought we were waiting for a train to pass. I kept nodding off and coming around, thinking “this is a really long train”. We had been stopped for over two hours before I realized we were waiting to go through our first check point. With only a few lanes open, everybody was jockeying to get their position in line. When out turn finally arrived, we got off for ten minutes while they searched the bus and X-rayed our luggage, then back on the road.

The next stop came at the Mexican side of Nogales where we got a 20 minute beak while the bus was washed down to keep unwanted bugs and seeds from entering the states. It was snack time, so I scanned the snack bar for anything I recognized, or even wanted to eat. I spotted a pile of Coyotas, a traditional treat consisting of brown sugar sandwiched between two sugar cookies. I had earlier sampled a Coyota while waiting with Don at the Chevy dealer in Guaymas. It was IMG-20170610-WA0004filled with honey, so I assumed they all contained honey. As we approached the Coyota stand, I was dumb struck like a goat staring at a new fence when I saw the variety of fillings they put into their Coyotas. Everything being in Spanish, I recognized some as ham and beef, but the majority contained a variety of mystery fillings. I had just watched a lady choose a bag labeled “cajeta” for her children, so figured they had the best chance of being sweet, so I also grabbed a bag.   As it turns out, cajeta is Spanish for caramel, so I dodged a potential gag attack with that one. Anita, behind me in line, wanted a cup of coffee, so she was given a cup of hot water, powdered creamer and a pouch of instant coffee. I guess it was OK since she also avoided a gag attack.

At that check point, a guy came on board and began explaining to the locals, what they were about to encounter at the next checkpoint, the dreaded US border. He gave a 30 minute speech and at first we had no idea what he was saying since it was all in Spanish, but it gradually sank in when he mimed a pat-down, and body cavity search as he was explaining what to expect at the next stop, plus the lady (Karla) in front of us spoke English, and gave us a recap of the whole thing. There were always people on the bus who spoke English, and were friendly and willing to help. At the US border in Nogales, we once again departed the bus, and formed a line with all our bags placed in a line in front of us. The border guards produced a cute golden retriever that proceeded to sniff the baggage. He periodically stopped, placed his paw on the bag, and waited for the officer to asked who owned the bag, what was inside it, and if it could be opened. Each time, the canine got a doggie treat. After several false alarms, we began thinking the dog was just picking stuff at random to get a treat. He did spend a large amount of time sniffing a child’s backpack containing goodies. Good thing I had left my Coyotas on the bus, or they may have ended up inside a golden retriever. Passing the sniff test, we picked up our bags, and headed through customs. This was the first time in our whole trip where we were asked to show passports. We were then asked the usual questions; “Where were you visiting in Mexico?” Reply; “San Carlos” (truth).”Did you buy anything?” Reply; “No”. (lie). We bought a few trinkets for friends back in the states, and I could have just easily waved my hand, and said “These are not the trinkets you are looking for”. Next came another X-ray machine where we exited the building into the United States. We had made it. Back home with no more delays all the way to Phoenix. At least that was what we thought, but NO! The Department of Transportation decided to do their version of a pat down. They tested everything on the bus, brakes, lights, horn, wipers, will it start, will it stop, will it go forward, will it go backwards. Then they drove over a maintenance pit and gave the undercarriage a hernia exam. In total, it took approximately 45 minutes. At this point we just looked at all these delays as “getting our money’s worth.” One more hour to Tucson, five minute stop, and two hours to Phoenix. In total, our nine hour trip took about 13 hours.

On our final trip, we met many friendly people who helped us with the language barrier, including my seat thief Valerie, a convention scheduler named Karla, Lorraine who lives San Carlos, and some dude from Mazatlan headed to Seattle. Snacks on the return trip consisted of a bag-o-chips, uno bottle of water, and a chewy goodie bar, not quite as good as the trip down, but still nice to have. All and all this excitement only cost a total of 220 US dollars for the both of us. Keep in mind everything that could happen did happen, such as the rare DOT examination, so most trips back to the states will most likely be less exciting. Anita and I will definitely do it again, a good time was had by all.

moonrise

Moonrise over San Carlos.

 

The Reports of My Death Are Greatly Exaggerated!

Life down here has been quite pleasant. The house overlooks the 14th hole of the local golf course. Not being a golfer, I can only conjecture on the accuracy of the following events. The green appears to be in pretty good condition, the fairway is in fair condition, until it gradually fades out and turns to mostly dirt. The rest of the course consists of what I will refer to as “the rough”, which is where most of the balls go. It is a pleasure to watch the “golfers” tee off then spend the next 10 minutes scouring the rocks and bushes for their balls. Based on the success of finding your own ball in all the carnage, I am guessing that they end up finding someone else’s, decide that it is a better drive than theirs, and sneak it back onto the fairway. Unfortunately their house is out of ear shot, so I miss most of the colorful commentary.

One day we journeyed to Empalme, a nearby town, to do some quality shopping at the local flea market. Between the four of us, we had an extensive shopping list that no self respecting home owner should be without — a dustpan, cast iron skillet, binoculars, and a jig saw. We scored everything except the saw, so procured a few other unnecessary items to make up for it.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

The following day we chartered a boat to do some deep-sea fishing. With an empty ice chest and a basket full of hope and good cheer we boarded the En Sueno. We were all like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story” waiting to see Santa, smiles plastered across our faces and knowing the fish would all but jump into the boat until our cooler could hold no more. The ocean was great, with waves just high enough to make for a cheap carnival ride, the sky blue, dolphins swimming along with the boat, and fish nowhere to be seen. We think we might have hooked a sailfish (pez vela), but the nasty booger just ate our bait and swam someplace else to digest. By the end of the day we departed En Sueno with happy memories, semi-established sea legs, and an empty ice chest.

The major incident, and thus the name for this segment of the blog, is my (Larry’s) near death experience. As some of you may know, 20 months ago I had open-heart surgery to replace some leaky valves. I literally went in for a valve job. Because of an abnormally slow heartbeat, I also had a pacemaker implanted to make sure my pulse rate never drops below 60. That said, now for the rest of the story.

I had been feeling a little tired lately, but thought it was all the snorkeling, shopping, and alcohol consumption. I laid down for a small power nap and was awakened by Anita saying, “you look like shit”, or something of that nature. I was laying in a pool of sweat unable to figure out where I was, so Sue immediately called the local EMT’s, to haul my ass to the Rescate, a community supported clinic. My sugar level had dropped to 43 (I think you become a zombie at 40) and my oxygen level was 81 (you become a zombie at 70). As soon as they hooked me up to oxygen I began improving. I was in the clinic for about two hours, on oxygen and an IV to replace the fluids I had left pooled in the sheets back at the house. The doc said everything that had just happened was all due to low oxygen levels. I am pretty sure his discharge orders were to no longer do any strenuous activities, such as cleaning and other household chores. One important thing to mention at this point is the quality of Mexico’s healthcare. Although it quite often takes days for workers to show up for scheduled appointments, it literally took five (5, cinco, half of 10) minutes for the ambulance to arrive at our doorstep. The care provided was quick and professional. The only drawback was the attending doctor was out shopping at Home Depot in Guaymas when he got the call, but was only minutes away from the clinic. The doctor, who spoke excellent English, and actually had a sense of humor, was not only a physician, but a surgeon as well, so he had a profound understanding of pacemakers and heart issues. He compared me to a ’49 Studebaker; old, still running, but hard to get spare parts for. The clinic has no billing guidelines, so you just give donations for services rendered, possibly live chickens, mothers-in-law, pesos, or whatnot.