As far as internet and email goes, we've fallen off the edge of the world. It is almost non existant in this part of the Sea of Cortez, and when it is existant it doesn't work well.
We've seen some lovely country on or trip up from La Paz. We've anchored in Ensanda Grande, Puerto Everisto, Agua Verde and Puerto Escondido. All have been slices of heaven. We will be leaving in the morning, trying to get to the 4th of July party about 100 miles north of here. It will be push as we are supposed to get northerly winds in the 20 knot range. Doesn't matter if we make it on the 4th, the important thing is we will be catching up with friends.
Have to make this short. We are on shore using a very slow connection, but before I go I would like to congradulate Mike on Odessa for having completed the very arduous trip to Seattle from Puerto Vallarta. Drop us a line every once in a while Mike.
The new windlass is installed and is working well. It has a completely different sound then the old one. This stronger motor spins up to speed without the moaning and groaning the old one did, the chain flies through the gypsy pulling the anchor without effort. This is just what we needed.
It was supposed to be an easy bolt on exact replacement. I actually believed this would be the case. However, nothing on a boat works that way. I should know this by now. There was just enough difference between the old mounting baseplate and the new windlass bolt holes that I had to do some grinding on the plate and grinding on the windlass. The larger motor more then filled the windlass case. It's electrical connections extended past the bottom of the case, making it necessary to add a layer of marine starboard to create space underneath for the wire runs. It took an extra day, but now that all the cursing has stopped and the bruised and lacerated fingers feel better, its sure been worth the effort.
The first hurricane is churning up the waters south of us, so it is time to head north into the Sea of Cortez, fully provisioned and eager to drop anchor in new places.
Its been about seven months since we left San Diego for Mexico, and now that I'm back for a short visit I've noticed a few things:
1. It's really cold up here. People are wearing jackets. I came up with only shorts and tee shirts and I'm cold.
2. The border crossing was painless. There is a sign posted at the entrance to the US side of the border that promises that the US personal will: A. Be happy to see you and will try to be welcoming. B. Will treat you with courtesy and respect. There was more on the sign, but the line was moving to fast for me to read the rest. I did think that they met points A and B.
3. The papers here are in English. I can read the headlines. What a treat.
4. San Diego has a great public transportation system. The trolley from the border into town was great. There were about twenty stops between the border and the last stop, where I got off, and all of them had plenty of parking and connecting buses. The trolley runs right thru downtown.....on the surface. None of the hugely expensive deep bore tunnels that Seattle seems to think are necessary
5. Things are big here. I went past Petco Stadium, the home of the San Diego Padres (I think), and it was huge. Who would think that Petco was selling enough dog food to pay for the naming rights.
6. The Navy owns most of the waterfront here. There are literally miles of shipyards filled with exotic looking naval vessels. We passed one building, probably half a mile long, that was occupied soley by defense contractors.
7. I saw 36 policemen on the trip in from the border. I began counting at one of the stations where there were 27 cops all standing around looking for troublemakers. I wish I had taken a picture. It must have been some sort of special operation. There are a lot of cops in Mexico, but they never have the presence that I saw today.
8. Things are neat. No litter anywhere. It may not be as perfect as Disneyland, but it's darn close. Public spaces are pristine and most of the houses and yards I saw were very neat and tidy. I think Mexico is about 50 years behind the US when it comes to clutter and litter, but they are paying attention and they are catching up quick, double timing it.
9. The US is rich. We went through some very modest neighborhoods, poor even, but nothing approaching the level of poverty in Mexico. Well off Mexicans have homes that are as splendid as those of well off Gringos, but the homes of the poor are profoundly worse then those of American poor. Looking at the way we choose to spend our money, I don't know if we can maintain such a high standard if we aren't smart with our wealth. For example the naval presence here is overwhelming. So is the expense.
What or who is it that scares us so much that we arm ourselves to the teeth, while we neglect so many pressing needs, like our children's education. I can't imagine a worse threat to the peace then a horde of unhappy, uneducated, unemployable American kids with unlimited time on their hands.
We debated taking the awning down while I am traveling, as it would be a handful for Judy to take down by herself if the wind were piping up, but we have some very nice neighbors who volunteered to help if it needs to come down, so up it will remain. It makes quite a difference inside the boat to have the decks shaded thru the day. Glad it can stay in place.
This is the first time we deployed the awning, and I have to say we are glad to have provided Luis (the canvas guy in La Cruz) the opportunity to practice awnings. I am sure he will get it right next time. His workmanship is pretty good, it just design details that need improving.
PS We have radically redesigned the awning. We don't deploy the section forward of the bow. To much effort, and it gets in the way. We recut the section from the bow back to the dodger and installed "D" rings in from the right and left edges about 18". The rings are sewn on the top side. We run spectra line through the rings, suspend the center of the awning over the mast, out to the spectra lines that are run from fittings on the dodger forward through loops of spectra lines attached to the port and starboard shrouds with a couple rolling hitches and on forward to the bow where they are cinched up tight and tied off to the base of the forward most stanchions. Running the lines forward like this allows us to pull the lines taunt enough to suspend the awning without putting lateral stress on the shrouds. The rear corners of the awning are tied to the fittings on the dodger. The front corners and middle forward edge are attached to the shrouds and the mast with adjustable straps. Unclipping the forward straps allows the awning to be blow back to the dodger if we get sudden wind gusts or Chubascos, securing securing the awning in a matter of seconds