First, A Word About the Engine: Many have asked if our engine issue "is fixed". Our response at this point is that a particular problem has been fixed -- the fuel uptake hose has been shortened. And we now have an access hole to the fuel tank to use to address other (bite your tongue!) fuel-related issues. And since that hose was shortened we have motored a couple of hours without incident. So we are cautiously optimistic that the fuel uptake hose fix has fixed our nagging, intermittent fuel starvation problem. Molly has even ceased her practice of lifting the fuel cap every half hour we are motoring and whispering "Oh, yee great god of diesel, we honor thee", or something to that effect. But because a boat and each system thereon is a work in progress . . . we will not pronounce the engine "fixed" until at some time in the future we find that we are no longer holding our collective breath while motoring! So - for those of you sending us good diesel wishes -- don't stop yet, please.
Off to Ensenada de Matachen (San Blas) and La Cruz de Huanacaxtle (Puerto Vallarta): If all things go according to plan (this said with full knowledge of the Yiddish proverb that say God laughs when we humans make plans . . . ) we will leave Mazatlan tomorrow morning around 7 a.m. Why so early, those of you that know our preferred sleep patterns might ask? In order to avoid the dreaded dredge that works to keep the mouth of the yacht harbor here at Mazatlan accessible. It's a huge, black-smoke belching critter, that crawls on an underwater cable from side to side in the mouth of the harbor. And if it's crawling, which it does on an unpredictable and un-posted schedule, a boat with a more-than six-foot draft cannot get past. So - we rise early to avoid the dredge (and we will be happy when we rise).
We are very sorry to say good-bye to Mazatlan, and particularly all the nice boaters we have met and the excellent staff at the El Cid Marina and Hotel Marina El Cid. But, we came to see more of Mexico than Mazatlan, so off we go! And, if others make the trips they are now planning, we expect we'll meet up with many of our new friends "down south".
Our first scheduled stop is Ensenada de Matachen, a small bay outside of the town of San Blas. We will be at anchor there, so we may not be able to post anything about that location until later. After several days touring San Blas and the Matachen area, we will head to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, a harbor outside of Puerto Vallarta. There are excellent reports about the marina and friendly boating community there and about the small town of La Cruz. We expect to have internet connection at the marina.
This total trip will be one of approximately 200 miles. The first leg, to Matachen, is about 130 miles, and will involve one night at sea. From Matachen to La Cruz is about 60 miles, so we may break that up by stopping a day or two at a reportedly beautiful bay at Chacala, or just get up early (like in the middle of the night - ugh) and push to make it into La Cruz before dark.
As we write, the wind outside is cold and more than brisk - so we are glad to have waited to leave tomorrow. The weather gods at Buoy Weather prophesy good winds (10 - 15 knots) and small swells (1 - 1.5 meters) between Mazatlan and Matachen for the next three days. That sounds perfect -- though we haven't buried our foul weather gear, as the night is likely to be chilly. Molly will make her famous (to us) Overnight Chicken and Rice (a version of the exceedingly bland chicken casserole with vegetables from the Joy of Cooking) for us to chow down on from our Pusser's Rum Cups. Yummm. [Actually, if prior experience is any indication we think it will taste pretty danged good after a day in the wind!]
So, bon voyage to us - and we'll write to you when we arrive in Ensenada de Matachen.
A New Blog Feature: Note that, on the right side of our home page there is now a feature that allows you to receive e-mail alerts of new postings. Our hope is that this feature will make it easier for us to keep in touch with you -- and our posts will be more like an e-mail from us to you than posts to the ether that you may (or may not) have time in your busy lives to search for. If you have enough random e-mails filling up your in-box (we are engaged in an ongoing battle to "disenroll" from a number of e-mail notices, so we understand the concept of too much e-mail), no need to sign up!
Life Aboard -- Logistics: Abracadabra is clean! We had some local boat cleaners scrub her deck and she practically sparkles. We had her cleaned before we left Emeryville -- unfortunately shortly thereafter we took her to San Francisco Boat Works to have some work done. And though the work there was well done -- the workers' priorities weren't maintaining sparkly clean decks. So -- now she is clean again, and we have purchased a new boat mop, and have agreed among ourselvs to remove shoes before we climb on board! Here is our sparkling Abracadabra at Marina El Cid.
Note the four yellow "jerry jugs" of diesel fuel strapped to the side. These were a gift from our friend (and crewmate) Frank Chan, and we have learned from others here in Mazatlan they are of a style now banned by CARB (Air Resources Board) in California. Having four of these now-banned items makes us the envy of the California boaters. The new CARB-required jugs are reported to have insufficient ventilation, which makes it nearly impossible to pour diesel from them without spilling. And no boater wants to pollute the ocean -- or (possibly more importantly) get diesel on their boat. So -- is this a case of a poorly thought-out regulation? We don't know - all we know is we can transfer fuel from these cans to our fuel tank without spilling, using a nifty syphoning device (known to Molly from her youth as an "Oklahoma credit card).
Let us hear from you when you have a moment!