Saturday, December 21, 2013

More About That -- December, 2013

The List -- Is It Karma?

If you don't know what we mean by "The List", see our immediately prior post.  Warning: very little / none of the following will make sense until you have read that post.  

We've learned a little more (though precious little still) about our embargo situation.  We've learned that the marina sweep here in La Cruz was just one of many and that, depending on one's source of information, there are either 300-something or 500-something boats throughout Mexico that are On The List.  The (perhaps) good news is that many of those boats are owned by people who have a greater economic stake in getting cleared from The List than we do; charter captains, mega-yacht owners and such.  

For a relatively accurate press report of the/our situation see the most recent post on 'Lectronic Latitude -- the electronic version of Latitude 38, a widely-read Northern California-based sailing magazine.  [Note:  We think the 'Lectronic Latitude report is slightly hyperbolic when it complains about not being able to "leave the dock".  The boats are not chained to the dock.  In fact, the reporter's embargoed boat was out sailing on Banderas Bay this past weekend.  What being on The List means is that the boat can't be cleared for departure by the Port Captain, which in turn means the boat can't enter any other port in Mexico.  And yes, theoretically one could "make a run for it" in the dead of night and sail out of Mexican waters to the Marquesas and try and enter there as though coming from the U.S. -- but really, let's be serious.]      

The not-so-good news part of what we've learned is that yesterday the managers of several marinas and the head of the marina trade association met with representatives of the federal government to press quick resolution of The List.  The government representatives' position was that by law the government has up to four months to address The List and that the government will take the time needed to do the job right.  Hearing this caused Molly a sinking moment of deja vu. . . .  over her two+ decades as a government lawyer she said very similar words more than once . . .  

Karma.  It's gonna get you.    

So, we're going to write the U.S. Consul in Puerto Vallarta and say that we're one of the many boats that are under precautionary embargo and that we're ready, willing and able to provide any of Abracadabra's documentation to the Mexican government to confirm that we are in the country legally.  And then we'll wait.  There's a farmer's market on Sunday, a wine tasting on Monday night at Yaya's Cafe and a movie in the sailor's lounge on Thursday . . . 

A Final Thought:  Though it's not new information to either of us, this experience has also reminded us that at some point misery does not love company.  The benefits of exercising Our God Given Right as Americans to gripe about a situation has worn thin.  As it turns out no one on the dock really wants to hear about our situation.  They want us to hear about theirs.  


But Wait!  There's More!

In our last post we also wrote about boat work done / stuff purchased over the last two months. And, as hard as it may be for you to imagine, we forgot to mention stuff!  

               Galley Fan -- $50.  We wrote about fans in our last post and even about this, Molly's favorite fan.  [A happy cook = a happy crew.]  But what we failed to mention is that this cute little fan is held up by one of the nicest pieces of woodwork on Abracadabra, courtesy of our friend Martin Roysher.  Captain Bryce requested a small wooden base to mount the galley fan on the galley pole and, in true Arts and Crafts fashion, Martin turned that little utilitarian block into art. Thanks, Martin!

Aaaaahh !!
               A New Solar Panel -- $400.  We have added a 50 watt panel to our bimini-top solar farm and now have 250 watts of solar.  While there still won't be enough power for Molly to use a blow-drier when we are at anchor, we can watch CD's on our lap top more often!

Our Solar Farm

               Lifelines and Cockpit Railings -- $1400.  All of the old, grungy and about-to-be-safety-hazard lifelines (the cables that run around the deck of the boat and keep people and stuff from falling off) have been replaced by new, shiny, strong stainless lifelines. And Abracadabra's entrance gate, which originally was almost six feet wide - and of zero assistance to anyone trying to get on or off the boat - is now 24 inches wide.  On each side of the entry way there is now a sturdy stainless steel stanchion.  Marian Leonard - you'll be safer now!  (That's a long and scary old story . . . ) 

Welcome Aboard!

Around the cockpit we replaced the lifelines with stainless railing; sturdy, smooth bars to lean on, to catch clumsy crew members and to hold the barbecue grill.  These make our "back porch" much more comfortable.  And they look really spiffy too.    

Porch Rails
That's it for this season; not because our ideas are exhausted, but because our budget is.  But every day when we get onto the boat we talk about how we love our new gate or shade or . . .   something.  Thanks for letting us show off!

More on when we're able to go when we're able to go!


  1. I'm with Molly's brother ... being stranded in Puerto Vallarta doesn't inspire much sympathy from us government workers who are still toiling away.

    Glad to see that the two of you are still out living your dream.

    Mark Paxson

  2. Molly-
    Thanks for your email, which alerted me to this blog. I have to laugh about The List. We have permanent resident visas in Mexico and spend a fair amount of time at INM getting paperwork straightened out. The immigration rules massively changed last November, which is fairly typical at the start of each new Presidential term. The big deal for most full-time gringos in Mexico is the combination of changes to visa requirements and permission to have foreign cars. The changes forced many people to shift from the old FM3 to the new Permanente, and a few months later the rules were updated on foreign ownership of cars to say that you can't have a foreign plated car as a Permanente. If you are caught by the cops with the wrong visa, they impound your vehicle, or you pay a monumental mordita.

    I don't have a lot of sympathy for those caught out with a foreign plated car. Many people have lived in Mexico for over a decade and have always had a US plated car. Can you imagine doing that in California?

    So yes, Mexico isn't doing a stellar job of transitioning to these new rules, but they are moving in the right direction, and in my experience entitled gringos yelling at Mexican bureaucrats are a bigger problem than the rules they are yelling about. But it is true that every possible government office closes for weeks during the holidays.

    And boy is it cold this week in Ajijic, Jalisco!

    Great blog.

  3. Agreed that complying with the rules is better than yelling at bureaucrats. It is, after all - their rules and their country. My standard response to those complaining about bureaucrats that have created The List is to say "Oh, yeah. I'd MUCH rather be dealing with the IRS." :)