What to expect

Rants, missives and occcasional updates about where Masquerade is located and what we are up to.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Getting settled in Ensenada

We have now been in Ensenada for nearly a week. We have met quite a few other cruisers and are feel we are starting to get into the swing of things. On arrival we were immediately greeted and invited to a Cruiser’s Christmas Potluck and white elephant gift exchange. The potluck turned out to be a lot of fun, but it broke up quickly once the sun went down and the temperature dropped. There is a Cruiser’s net every morning at 8 o’clock on the VHF radio. This is way for everyone to know who is coming or going, share news, weather, ask advice and buy/sell gear. These nets are common in the popular cruising grounds throughout Mexico. Important information like the location of a good happy hour is disseminated (2-1 drinks and free pasta dinner!).

We have since completed all the paperwork for clearing customs for ourselves and getting a temporary import permit for the boat. There is a streamlined process with all the offices you need to visit now in a single building. Now it only takes 3 hours, instead of all day with multiple trips across town.

Exploring the town has been fun, things change pretty quickly once you get out of the tourist area. Everyone has been friendly and we are trying to speak some Spanish. We have some language tapes and some books to help us, but wish we had started this earlier in the year. I am hoping that some of my high school Spanish is locked away somewhere in my brain and can be coaxed out. Several friends have taken Spanish immersion classes (for a week or more) and we may look into that as well.

The boats out on anchor are apparently a bit of a tourist attraction. There are multiple boats that load up with Mexican tourists and motor around and out of the harbor (whale watching/sea lions/seals, who knows what). These boats tend to pass very close to the anchored boats (passengers taking pictures and videos) while leaving a large wake. This behavior usually gets ignored or a brief wave from the cruiser. What is funny is that a boat doing this in the pacific northwest would have elicited some rude epithets and a completely different hand gesture. It is a different world.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Last stop in Caifornia

We have made it as far as San Diego. This will be our last stop in California and the USA. We wanted to get here to sit out the first winter storm of the season. They have made all sorts of dire predictions including waterspouts, but we have not seen much but a few squalls. We are at the public dock (the police dock), this is a nice protected spot (not like Newport where the dock sucked).

We hoped to get out of here quickly, with perhaps a short visit to the Mexican consulate. However we had yet another failure of our Navman instruments. The depth sounder that we just had repaired has failed. We lost out depth readings on our way to San Diego, nothing is more fun than entering a strange harbor without a working depth sounder. We now need to get this taken care of before we head out. We may also want to set up a backup system in case this one fails again.

We are hoping to get out of here and into Mexico soon.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Still in Newport Harbor

We have been here for quite a while, getting the boat ready for Mexico. We have been doing a bunch of shopping/provisioning and working on boat jobs. We have access to a truck thanks to my parents (thanks Mom & Dad!), which makes doing all this much much easier. The downside is that we feel we need to shop for exactly the right part, for the cheapest possible price, and need to get everything on the list. Without the car we would probably make do with less and save a bit of time and money. However, I am sure that we will be happy that we bought everything later in Mexico,

We had a great party at the dock for friends and family! There was a nice sandy beach with picnic tables, which worked out well as we could not possibly fit everyone on the boat at once. We had a nice warm sunny day, and about 25 people showed up. I know we enjoyed it, I hope everyone else did as well.

Our mooring ball is right next to Balboa Island, this is a neighborhood of multi million dollar houses (some only summer homes). This is not a normal area. Cindy and I walked into a shop on the island while I was wearing a Village Marine t-shirt. I was given the t-shirt when we bought our watermaker from the company. The salesman in the shop asked if I owned the company! Back in the normal boat world he would have asked how I liked the watermaker. I guess being around this kind of money skews your view of the world. Apparently on Balboa Island you only wear a shirt with a logo if you own it.

Friday, November 3, 2006

Still in Santa Barbara...

We are still in the Santa Barbara marina, we had planned to be here for 3 or 4 days but now hope to be out before they start charging us double. They encourage the transient boats to move on by increasing the rates after two weeks.

We had hoped to be down to Long Beach or Newport but had to change our plans. We had started to smell some diesel fuel back in Monterey, but could not find a fuel leak. While warming up the engine so I could do an oil change I once again looked for the leak. This time with the engine running I found that the injection pump was dripping profusely. Unfortunately the pump is buried by various engine parts, so that the exhaust manifold/heat exchanger needed to come off first. We shipped the pump off to be rebuilt and waited over the weekend for it to come back. We put it back on Wednesday, replacing all the parts that had to be taken off earlier. No joy with the rebuilt pump. The fuel cutoff was installed backwards so the engine would only run if the kill switch was pressed in. Not only that but the throttle control was bad as well, and would only run at full open. So we had to dismantle the exhaust and heat exchanger again and remove the pump to be send back.

Hopefully this can be corrected quickly and we can get the engine running again soon. The dock is going to get expensive starting Friday.

The good news is that we found the issue before we left the US. This would be a much more difficult problem to fix in Mexico. Shipping parts internationally can be complicated and expensive. Once again I am being taught the need to find problems as soon as we notice that something feels wrong. Of course, I once again waited a few more days than I should have.